“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4, NIV)
I have a tree in my backyard that’s weathered many storms, literally. It has been knocked down, blown over, and let’s just say, it’s seen better days. Yet, this tree continues to spring back up.
Today’s Scripture talks about the tree of life and likens it to a soothing tongue.
This tells me that our words have healing power.
Think about the times you’ve been hurt, felt discouraged, and just plain old wanted to give up. A kind word spoken in your moment of despair gives you hope.
It’s the same with our children.
In their little hearts they deal with all sorts of doubts and fears, even when they don’t know how to verbalize them.
Our words can be a balm to their souls.
Sadly, the opposite is also true. Harsh or critical words tear down.
There’s nothing gloomier than a child whose spirit has been crushed.
I pray that our words don’t make them feel small and insignificant; but that instead, we speak words of life over them and to them.
We can pray for their lives to be filled with life-giving words instead of spirit-crushing ones.
It’s not too late, Mama.
Even if you think this is an area you’ve completely messed up, there is still hope. The Creator of life longs to breathe new life into you.
And just like my tree, your children can bounce back.
Allow your Spirit-filled words to revive their crushed spirits.
Choose today to breathe new life into your children and new hope into their hearts, one soothing word at a time.
Seek words that speak life.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)
Have you ever said something to your kids that you immediately regretted?
Those are the times I’d hear my father’s words ringing in my ears: “If you don’t have anything good to say, just don’t say anything.” He was certainly a man of few words, and now I understand why.
The Bible tells us to avoid unwholesome talk, but it doesn’t just stop there. We are further encouraged to choose words that build up. Our words should benefit those who listen and meet their needs. This admonishment applies to all relationships, but how much more our children?
How would the atmosphere in my home change if I chose helpful instead of hurtful words? How would yours?
You see, Mama, God knows that when we choose helpful, beneficial words, blessings abound. Our children are blessed, and we are blessed in turn.
Out in the big, wide world there will always be critical words that discourage and tear down. But inside our homes we have an opportunity to create a safe haven for those precious souls within our walls.
So, as you go about your day, will you join me in choosing words that build up and bless? After all, our children are listening, and they are hanging on our every word. Let our words be full of love and encouragement.
I hope you'll excuse me, sisters, for making this last day one where we focus on words straight from the Father's mouth, no embellishments added!
Let's listen in…
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4, NIV)
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV)
“The words of a wise [woman's] mouth win [her] favor, but the lips of a fool consume [her].” (Ecclesiastes 10:12, ESV)
“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.” (Proverbs 11:13, ESV)
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of the evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45, ESV)
Let's keep our hearts, sisters, in the love of Christ---and good things will flow from our mouths!
“And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.’” (Matthew 28:18, ESV)
My sisters and I doubled over in laughter outside a little cupcake place in downtown Seattle. There's nothing like sisters making you laugh in the middle of a difficult day while they buy you cupcakes and snap photos of that disgraceful look of a woman inhaling large bites of triple chocolate.
We went on our way when suddenly, a man yelled cuss words our way. He stared straight at my sister as he cursed her with vile words, and it was like the devil himself glared hatred through his evil eyes. I watched with bated breath, but she calmly turned to face him, and said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ.”
We walked on. Kate was unafraid and entirely calm. “I'm used to working with people like that,” she says.
Sisters, we hear often that we have spiritual authority. But do we know how to live clear with the Father, and walk in that authority? Do we know how to speak it out to everyone, every time?
We need not bow to degradation. Not from an evil, possessed man on city streets, or from a teen in our home, or from a friend or spouse. In Christ, we have authority to speak words of life and light, and to receive nothing but life and light. Never absorb words God doesn't back up with His own words.
“Unafraid” should be the title on the King's daughters. “Warrior Women” should label their foreheads.
God says, “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”
Open heavens await brave women. Undefiled living with a pure conscience graces a countenance and causes it to shine light through the world. And a passion for Christ fills you will love and takes you to places you never dreamed.
Sisters, pray over the pots you scrub today, and live LARGE. You have kingdom rights, and God Himself will back you up with an expanse of goodness that never ends. Make good use of what He offers, and let your words be marked!
“Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech.” (2 Corinthians 3:12, NKJV)
His eyes flashed with passion as he spoke, and my eyes
The message he had was one of passionate pursuit of Christ at the expense of all else. It's not easy to preach a message that has people squirming rather than laughing.
I thought of my own kids. How many times am I tempted to preach to them an easy gospel, one where I compromise on what I know is best, so that I'm loved by them? Or, do I internalize words of my own so that my life stays a bit more comfortable because I can't handle what owning the truth will bring?
The speaker’s words are raw, and some sort of brave power rises up within me. I'm ready to give all, forsake all, and repent of all, so I can gain even more. I sense a heavenly mandate over my life and a hand reaching down to pull me up. And I give my hand to grasp the One leading me right to the edge of the cliff where I step over the precipice—in sheer faith that God will give me wings to fly when I could crash a thousand feet to the bottom.
When we bring a pure gospel, we don't mince words. We don't forsake God's words when others would rather hear a watered down version.
We speak forth all truth. Only then can we bring forth the real truth.
I walk up to the young preacher, and I thank him sincerely. Our kids needed to hear this word in a watered down world where most are not beholding the face of Jesus in all its glory.
Mothers, we are called to preach. Grab your Bible and bring life to your kids. Bring them God's raw Word and you will share with them God's supernatural life in a dead world.
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, ESV)
My sister set a white chair before us, and then returned with a white tray and two bowls of cream covered strawberries. Two cups of hot coffee and a glass of cream finished the array nicely. Then, she disappeared quietly.
Just a little while ago, this friend who came to visit was in Kurdistan at a women's retreat, and told me of the many lonely women she got to sit with. “I only spoke once,” she says, “There were quite a few speakers booked for the three days. But I got to minister to individual women much of the time.”
Many of those women were Muslims converted to Christ, and had lost families, husbands, and homes. They were broken women, saved women, empowered women who had lost much to gain everything.
“Nancy,” I say quietly, “Reaching out to individual hearts is one of the most powerful things you can do. If someone from Kurdistan came over here, right now, to speak life to me, it would mean so much.”
The spoken Word-Made-Flesh brought to a hurting heart by someone from another culture is powerful. Because God's words never, ever return void, and they accomplish a lot when they transcend culture.
My friend Nancy spends much of her time speaking words of life. She can travel thousands of miles or a few, and she always does the same thing. She weeps when women weep and is joyful over their blessings as well. Always, she speaks the same thing—love, hope, and the promise of grace.
Who are you to speak into, today? Your child, husband, friend? Who can you reach with powerful words of life—because daughters of light are born to bring words of life to a world longing for their thirst to be quenched by something otherworldly?
Speak it out. Your King has called you!
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, ESV)
We all know what it's like to struggle between vacillating opinions. We all know what it's like to desperately want our kids to choose what we think is truth—and then, to exhale sighs of inner relief that God defends his own truth when we speak it out.
His Word never returns to him void, sisters. And you can and must teach your kids earnestly.
Some of you have husbands who err. They live and speak words of death and your kids suffer from lack of light. I'm here to tell you that you have a divine mandate from heaven not to slack on teaching and speaking words of truth into your kids' lives.
God never asked us to silence His voice when He asked us to honor our man. Sister whose husband is wayward, do you know you can and must speak God's truth into your kids' hearts whether he does, or not? That you can speak with clarity when things get cloudy in their hearts?
That you can stay on track and help them not to turn to the right hand or left?
Sister, your heart may be broken, but when you stand on God's Word, your foundation will never break, shake, or crumble. You'll stand strong in the face of all odds; and in the end, those in your life will see the power of Christ more in your trial than if you had stood with ease.
Your kids may not see it now, but they will see it later.
They'll come full circle, back to the Word-Made-Flesh as they saw it in you, and they'll cling to it in their own days of trouble.
No one can ever, ever shame you when you stand on God's Word. Let no one tell you otherwise. Live in confidence, and walk in clarity that only comes when you stand on words that will never pass away.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’” (Matthew 28:18-19, ESV)
Some of my friends are so encouraging; I literally view my interactions with them as pure life.
When I said, “I really desire the gift of prophecy,” they said, “You already have it—but we'll pray for more.” And they'd sit me in the center of the room while they gathered round and laid hands on my head, praying life-giving prayers all the while.
I grew by hanging out with them. Grew like never before.
Because they operated in the authority of Christ, they brought the life of Christ. Sisters, did you know you are heaven-sent with a mission to bring life in the face of death; to being truth in the face of lies; to turn evil into good merely by your presence because you are filled with a God who has all authority in heaven and earth?
Some of you are smack dab in the center of the most traumatizing circumstances. Evil wins in the lives of those around you, and you're left gasping for a single breath of air just to make it, much less inhale deeply. But, God has authority, and you only need to ensure you are breathing His air.
Do you walk in so much life that you give out the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Sister, you are called by God to bring the authority of God to each hurting heart in your life today. You are called by God to invest the life of God into immature places, and fill them with heavenly graces, instead.
Give out all you have, and you will be given more.
Because all authority has been given to Him, He now asks you, sister, to go forth and bring it to those around you.
Abide in Him, and you abide in His unbending, unyielding, uncompromising, life-giving authority that always brings life to those around you.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:11, ESV)
I have a difficult time discerning what words to absorb and what words to cast aside. Truth is, sometimes people give you what can be called nothing but verbal vomit.
It takes strength to turn aside from stinging words. But we don't deal with flesh and blood, sisters. And the other day, as I stood with head bowed while someone sliced the air with the most hurtful words I had ever heard, I could do nothing but listen silently.
It wasn't after I calmed myself that I really began to see what was going on.
As I mulled over what was said, I realized that they threatened me with the very thing they were most concerned over for themselves. The only way they knew how to get rid of their panic was to try backing someone else into a corner.
Some of us cry when we're afraid, or panic, or pull the covers over our heads. Others of us lash out with words that are worse than a blow on the head with the strongest club in Africa. But do we see what motivates both?
When Satan speaks through another mouth, we dare not listen. But sisters, when God speaks, we dare not argue. If anyone demoralizes you with words straight from the smirking face of the evil one, you must be strong enough to turn aside and refuse to absorb those words.
“We can give words of life when we write,” I told the kids. “And we can also choose to receive only words of life. We must turn aside from anything that counters God's Word to us.”
They look at me soberly, and I walk back to my seat. Sisters, can you walk back to the rest of Christ today by absorbing His words into your very bone and marrow?
As Ann Voskamp says, “All is grace.”
“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3, NIV)
“May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees. May my tongue sing of Your Word, for all Your commands are righteous. May Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.” (Psalm 119:171-173, NIV)
Father God, You have spoken life and all that is, into being. You placed Your breath in me, Your Spirit lives in this temple.
Lord, I ask that You renew me in heart and mind each new day. Inscribe Your words upon my heart, and set a guard upon my lips, that I may ever bring You praise.
Do not let me speak in haste and hurry. Pour Your peace and understanding out upon me, that I may speak with wisdom and grace in all situations. Make the benchmark of my life one that my children will want to model all their lives.
Father, You know my weaknesses. Prepare me with knowledge, strengthen me with Your love, so I may walk victorious and calm in the more heated times of life.
May my lips overflow with praise for all You have done in me, for me, and through me.
Keep Your hand near me, ready to help me choose Your ways, Your words, and Your will all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.