Tag Archives: Speech

How to Pray

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. –Proverbs 30:7‭-‬9, KJV

Do you ever think Jesus felt frustrated with His disciples? They made a few silly statements and asked quite a few silly questions, sometimes immediately after He gave a decent explanation of things.

That has little to do with today’s passage, but for people steeped in religious teachings and Bible readings (well, the tanakh, or our Old Testament) they missed quite a bit.

For example, do these verses look familiar?

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Luke 11:1‭-‬4

Admittedly, it could be hard to miss this little prayer in Proverbs for how important it really is, especially knowing Jesus’ disciples were mostly anything but religious leaders who studied the Scriptures frequently.

This passage, though, does more fully explain what Jesus was telling us to pray:

  • Teach me to be content,
  • Help me control my mouth and thoughts,
  • Keep me from blaspheming you by my actions,
  • Remind me that You are in control, and people watch me when I say I am Yours.

In other words, “God, help me love You and love others.”

It keeps coming back to these two things. Almost like they are great commandments. 😉

Pray for contentment in all things but one: Pray for an abundance of love.

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Playing dress up

wolf-2920469_1920There have a few times connected with my job as a school nurse in which I’ve had the pleasure to don a costume in skits for the lower elementary.  Several years in a row I was the Big Bad Wolf for the Great American Smokeout (smoking prevention), and once a friend of mine was the Grape Ape while I hid behind a homemade stage as the puppeteer, (for what I don’t exactly remember…)

And you thought school nurses just sat around putting on bandaids!!

One thing I noticed about being “incognito” is the emotional freedom to act out of character.  Regardless of how hot or uncomfortable the suits were, I had so much fun, which probably makes it more enjoyable for the kids. Continue reading


Trying Not To Be Fools With His Words

Many readers of Proverbial Thought may enjoy the thoughts we share each day.

Maybe you do not understand some our thought process.

I for one do enjoy writing out these devotional thoughts for others to enjoy, but it weighs heavy on my heart.

For starters, read Proverbs 26. It will only take a few minutes. What really strikes me is the number of verses about the wastefulness, follies, and even dangers of fools speaking proverbs.

We are basically putting it put there that we are responsible for affecting the way people think!

In fact, when I was a new believer of Jesus Christ, I knew I should “do my part” and read at least something in the Bible. I chose James, for “not being too long and possibly boring me, nor too short and making me look lazy.”

Ouch. This was the first thing that stood out to me (in my NIV Bible at the time):

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1

I understood that to teach others means I would be scrutinized myself, both by other people and by God.

That terrified little 16-year-old me! (Even at six feet tall at that time …)

Honestly, it should be intimidating to all of us.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

God has an expectation. If you teach others about the Word of God – which all believers should in some way – you are expected to know what it says and how to explain it adequately.

This is the struggle we deal with every day for Proverbial Thought, and for many of us, who are pastors and ministry leaders, as a daily concern.

Therefore, we write to help others (you, dear reader!) to be better equipped to share your faith, even if mostly about the Proverbs.

If you are a follower of the Lord, you should be able to share the reason for your faith. Use any tool available to you to grow, starting with regular Bible study, researching what others have said, and meeting with fellow believers (by going to church, attending Bible studies, meeting together just to talk, and serving togwther).

Hopefully, we have played a role in your growth and not written foolishly.


Be an Earring? Yep.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. -Proverbs 25:11‭-‬12, KJV

We must be willing to hear the truth.

If you are willing to hear that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, you can be saved. If you can hear that you have messed up and that there is hope for change, that becomes good news. (This is what verse 12 means.)

If you are struggling with something – whether a sin, a discomfort, a pain, or a problem – it can be difficult to listen.

A fitly spoken word is one that cuts through the pain and worry, it cuts through the distractions, and touches the humanity of the hearer. How many times have we been hurting, and that one person comes alongside, comforts us, and we feel safe to trust listen?

Now Apply It

There are many things wrong in our world today. They lead to pain, discomfort, and problems, and frequently they come from sin.

Now, who would you rather listen to:

  1. The person who attacks your intentions, character, and way of life, or
  2. The person who can connect with you, offer hope, and then points out your part?

Obviously, we would all listen to the second person more readily. Both point out the problem and the sin, but only one treats you with respect.

Which person are you?

Do you vilify those you disagree with or who cause problems, or do you seek to resolve things peacefully?

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18‭-‬19 KJV

We are to be peace-makers.

And remember, do not take attacks from others personally. Just like us, they need to be washed in Christ’s atoning blood and forgiveness. Show grace. They are hurting, too.

Let them see Christ. You are the gold earring they will see as they whisper in His ear. You are the gold necklace they find when resting on His shoulder.


Too Excited or a Babbler?

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.Proverbs 20:19 NIV

Innocent Excitement

Growing up we knew not to tell my sister exciting news that needed to be kept secret (like presents for people). Likewise, my wife hates secrets and surprises, because she wants to tell others. They just love seeing people get excited.

The verse today is not about people like them, who innocently want to bring people joy. (But if you want to surprise someone, you might have to surprise people like my sister and wife, as well!)

Babblers

Other translations use the word “babbler” instead of “anyone who talks too much.”

These are the people who simply have no filter, feel the need to incessantly talk, or, worse, like causing trouble or even harm.

It tends to be easy to find them. They may be the only person you told something to, like the coworker you told you might be getting a raise, and now everyone knows (and may be jealous). It could be at church, when someone reveals “dirt” or offers a “prayer request” that takes five minutes to explain the nitty-gritty details.

As for you, simply be someone that can be trusted. Be the crying shoulder and listening ear, the confidante that others rely on.

Which type of person are you?

Do you get too excited sometimes?

Do you blab and undermine?

Or do you know how to hold your tongue and maintain confidence and trust?


Having the Grandeur to Forgive and Forget

Hold your tongue

Hold your tongue

Holding my tongue is easier said than done some days. Someone says something and off I go. I react. I speak. I regret it.

God’s wisdom teaches me to pause. I should forgive what they say. I should forget what they say. Many times we forgive but we don’t forget.

If I can forget it, I am truly liberated and free.

His wisdom teaches me to pause. Rather than respond I need to forgive first. Then I need to forget. Then I have nothing left to say about the offense that started everything to begin with.

God’s goal for me is that I know how to hold my tongue.

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.

Proverbs 19:11 (The Message Bible)

Forgiveness is also an essential part of the life of disciples of King Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 commands, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in the Messiah God forgave you.”

Similarly, Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Master forgave you.”

The key in both passages is that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

Why do we forgive? Because we have been forgiven!


Out of the Heart …

A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. -Proverbs 18:20-21 KJV

A quick read-through of verse 20 had me thinking of a salesman, making sales with his smooth talking and eating from the work of his mouth (by buying food).

Then I thought about it longer than a couple of seconds.

Well Said

A person is satisfied by speaking well of and to others. When a person uses their words to lift up, praise, and edify another – especially by sharing the gospel – there is a satisfaction that fills every part of the body. (Also, church potlucks!) And this comes out of the love of God within us.

But when we do not have God’s love compelling us, all sorts of evil easily flows out, and that usually (and ultimately) leads to receiving the same.

And [Jesus] said, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Mark 7:20‭-‬23, KJV

We need to have our hearts and minds changed by the power of Christ’s blood washing us clean. Then our words shall become sweet and evidence the change.