I just love it when I am down in the dumps, our Lord reaches down to me and pulls me up with something amazing! And this morning it started with the daily scripture on my YouVersion Bible app:
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
Then the app asked me if I’d like to see devotional plans related to this scripture – and then I saw it, “Speak Life.” Oh, yes, one of my favorite (I have about 1,000) worship songs. But this one is really special as I try, oh how I try, to speak life to all my loved ones, friends and family. But I fail time and time again.
Right now, it’s over my soon to be 4 year old grandson. I love this precious little boy, Colin, more than I ever thought I could love a baby – even my own baby. We have been there for every important moment in his life – for the most part. We have a special bond, his Pee-Paw and me. But he has a typical little boy streak in him that can rile us both up.
We’re preparing for Colin’s 4th birthday party. He is so excited about it and we’ve told him all of his relatives will be there – so he will rattle them off, including me (his Mee-Maw) and his Pee-Paw. To make a long story short, this precious little guy can really rattle your cage and he did a few days ago. I asked him to get into his car seat while I put his almost 2 year old brother in his. By the time I got to the other side of the car, Colin was ripping open the console that has lots of keys, change and nicknacks that don’t belong near children. (Shame on us grandparents). Needless to say, I didn’t speak life into him and he un-invited me to his birthday party! OUCH
Before I start a plan, I read about it: “Written by a self-proclaimed ‘gunslinger’ of painful words, learn to speak words not of recklessness but of restoration to God, yourself and to those you love. Taken from Brady Boyd’s new book, “Speak Life.” I never heard of him, but the plan was also in conjunction with Dave C. Cook. Him I know so that was all I needed….but somehow I had hoped it was related to TobyMac’s song, Speak Life. As far as I can tell, it wasn’t.
I plan to post the daily devotional over the next four days as I pray I can overcome my gunslinging painful outbursts. Here is Day 1 of 4 from the devotional, “Speak Life”
The Four Conversations
God is eager to equip every one of us to use our words to bring not selfishness or haphazardness but rather encouragement and strength to life. This is a radical shift from how most people communicate. As it relates to the words we say to one another, we think the “thing” can be summed up in terms of extroversion or timing or winsomeness or quickness of wit, but there is so much more going on in our verbal exchanges.
Every time I open my mouth to speak to you, I’m revealing how I’ve been doing in three other “conversations”: what I’m saying to myself (self-talk), how well I’m refuting the lies of the Enemy, and how closely—if at all—I’m walking with God.
To the extent these three conversations—between me and God, between me and myself, and between me and Satan—are being managed poorly, I face a correspondingly higher risk of saying something idiotic and/or hurtful to the people I love. But to the extent these conversations are managed in the manner God intends, I will speak words that are relevant, authentic, life giving, and wise, and I will rarely—if ever—stick my foot in my mouth. I will be someone who blesses, not curses, with the words I speak in the fourth conversation: the one between you and me.
So how do we leverage the opportunity for good that exists each time we open our mouths to speak? One simple conversation will get that ball rolling, and it’s the most important of the four: the one between you and God.
Conversation 1: Between You and God
Getting good at communicating well begins, interestingly enough, with prayer.
Yes. Right. Prayer.
It’s important to steal away in the quiet of a given day to communicate with your heavenly Father, but equally important is the practice of speaking to him and hearing from him while in conversation with others. As words are flowing from your mouth, seek input in real time:
How can I serve your purposes in this person’s life, God?
What words are fitting for this situation?
What are you after here, Lord?
Where are you working here?
How can I be of help?
When you and I seek God’s wisdom—when we lean in to hear his voice and pursue divine insights before we open our mouths—we stand a 100 percent better chance of doing good instead of harm. Any conversation you have with another human being ought first to be a conversation between you and God: What are you saying to me, Lord? What are you up to in my life? Why are you having me communicate with this person? And what do you want me to say?
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6 ESV
“pray without ceasing,”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
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