How Do We Sound?

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The words we speak are important. Our words have the power to uplift others or discourage them. Thoughtless words spoken in haste cannot be erased.

How Do We Sound To Our Loved Ones?

In families, we sometimes fall into bad habits of not listening to each other and thinking we can say things to our spouses, siblings or even children because…well…they’re family. But they are the ones we most need to encourage and not tear down.

All too often, in the rush to have ourselves heard, we speak first and think next—and that usually comes with unfortunate results.

James 1:19 tells us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Translation: If we slow down enough to actually hear what the other is saying then we’ll have a chance to think about what is being said. We can take it to heart, and then carefully and wisely answer, which keeps you from blowing your top too quickly.

And if you’ve blown it? Humbly and quickly apologize.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” — Proverbs 12:18

Slow To Speak

Measure your words carefully. Be mindful to use words of kindness and praise, not words that hurt or say things in anger.

“For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips form speaking deceit.” – 1 Peter 3:10

You have the power to heal others or to injure them, to lift them up or hold them back.

Famous commentator Warren Wiersbe said, “Fill the heart with the love of Christ so that only truth and purity can come out of the mouth.” The only way to do that is to stay in the Word of God. Learn from it and let it transform your life!

Study the Word

There are two ways to be involved with the Word!

  • Listen: Jill is recording her Living Through Testing Times Bible Study lectures each week. You can listen by visiting here or through iTunes (Falling In Love With God’s Word with Jill Grossman). This week’s podcast, Lesson 5, is about how to speak and encourage well.
  • Join: On Monday, November 30th, you can join the Bible Study itself at Springhouse Worship and Arts Center. We’ll be finished up with James and beginning a study of the book of Job so it’ll be the perfect opportunity to join us. We’ll also continue into the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians over the Winter.

These are terrific, easy ways to study the most valuable book ever written. Please consider joining us and contact Jill at 615-476-6698 or stillgrossman@comcast.net for more information.

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Guest Post – Change Is Hard

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Note: This week’s post is from a dear friend and second time mom, Anna Owen.

Change is hard.

Duh.

Let me rephrase…

Being formed into a new creature other than what you were in the past takes a toll on what you thought was your identity in this world.

Ok, that’s better.

New Additions

I just recently had a baby. A beautiful little boy who has all of my heart, and takes my breath away. He also takes a lot of my time and energy, which leaves Sister to occupy herself a lot.

Sister is a fabulous human being, too. So smart, and kind to new brother, and has taken the change rather well in my opinion. Crying Baby Brother means she gets to watch more tv than normal, and eat M&Ms. The parenting award goes to me, thank you!

Sister became Big Sister the moment Brother was born, but, she didn’t really become ‘Big Sister’ until he was 5 days old.

Big Sister

You see, up until this point, she did not have to share her space with anyone. She could sit on the couch wherever she wanted, she got the attention of Mommy and Daddy equally, and, she could sit in the baby bouncer all day. You know, the one that came out of that storage closet when Mommy’s belly got big.

So, when she wanted to get in the bouncer at day 5, and Brother was in there, she suddenly realized that she was not the only one in the world anymore. It is almost like I saw a light click on behind her eyes when she started crying. She realized she was not the only one, and I realized just how hard this was going to be for her.

Change is Hard

We just sat there and cried with each other. She was crying because Baby Brother was in her space, and I was crying because my Baby Girl was changing into Big Sister. My heart broke for her in that moment, and I wondered if that was how God feels about us when we go through a change. He knows how hard change can be in our lives, but understands the importance of it.

I can imagine Him putting his arm around us and handing us tissues when our heart changes after it has been broken.

Or, when the slow change of being constantly rejected at every, single. job interview.

Or, when he is standing right behind us as we are spinning our wheels, trying to get ahead in our finances every month. Tears streaming down his face as he knows just how hard this is for us.

Eventually, I had to pick up Baby Brother from the bouncer for smelly reasons, and sister jumped right in. Sighing in relief, smiling through the tears on her cheeks. She honestly never looked more beautiful.
And suddenly, my Baby Girl became Big Sister.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

Yes, change is hard.

Anna is a wife and mother living in Smyrna, Tennessee. She loves to study babies and young children, and has a certification in Montessori Education. Anna has been attending Springhouse Worship and Arts Center for almost 20 years with her family, and has served all over the church from Children’s Ministry to Praise in Motion. She enjoys exploring Nashville, eating at local restaurants, and crafting until all hours of the night.

Myannagrace.wordpress.com

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She’s A Mean One

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Jill and I had a disturbing moment this past weekend during a Garage Sale we held at our house. A moment of sadness for a precious little girl.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” — Proverbs 18:21

Shoppers

About mid-morning, a car pulled up in front of our house. An older woman got out of the the passenger seat and started looking at our junk…um, I mean stuff.

The driver of the car got out and opened the backdoor of the car, which was facing away from us on the street. We couldn’t tell what she was doing until a pair of bright red, floppy Fireman Snoopy Slippers appeared under the car and scurried towards our driveway.

That’s when we saw her.

Fireman Snoopy

She was an adorable little girl with beautiful dark hair. She had on a cute cotton shirt and short set and the slippers which were obviously a favorite! When we said we loved her shoes, her grandmother confirmed our hunch that they had just bought them for her and she wouldn’t take them off.

Eventually the little girl found a toy she wanted and her mother gave her fifty cents to pay.

As I look back on this moment, I’ve realized that I was genuinely thrilled that I’d get to meet her.

I’m telling you this because I’m simply more comfortable with adults. I’ve often said I’m a better father to my own kids now that they are young adults than when they were young.

So again, as I look back on this moment, it was odd that I felt compelled to get out of my seat and kneel down to receive the 50 cents from her hand. As she shyly handed me the money without saying a word or looking me in the eye Jill and I both commented again on her shoes and added how beautiful she was.

And her mom said, “oh she’s a mean one”.

We were stunned.

Words

We were literally speechless as they got in their car and left. Eventually one of us said, “wow” and the other, “sad”. That was about all we could say.

As I write this post two days later, I still feel a sense of life being literally stolen by those words.

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
— James 3:10

We need to watch our words folks.

  • “He’ll never amount to anything”
  • “Bless her heart, she’s…”
  • “He’s dumb as a…”
  • “You won’t believe what she did…”
  • “Well, at least he’s…”

“The tongue has the power of life and death.” — Proverbs 18:21

Let’s choose life every time.

Leaving a Legacy

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As we approach the end of this year, I’ve begun to reflect on the past. Past events, relationships, conversations, goals made or unattained, etc… and I’ve thought legacy…

What kind of legacy am I leaving? And then I asked myself, do I leave a legacy or live a legacy?

Living a Legacy

Unfortunately people are often more concerned about how long they will live than how they live. They think that having a lasting legacy means living a long life. But Scripture teaches us that God is more interested in what we do with the lives He has given us.

Your real legacy is your life, your influence and your testimony. This is what your loved ones will cherish most, and it is also what matters most to God. Everyone has a testimony—good or bad, strong or weak, rich or poor. We are all building a legacy every day of our life. You have a legacy and you are living it right now.

Your Witness

Think about it…

  • Are you leaving your children a love for the Word of God?
  • Will they inherit a legacy of praying?
  • How have your children learned to spend their time and money?

We might tell our kids that it is important to make the Lord our highest priority, but if they never see us pray or give to His work, they will have no reason to follow our advice or follow Christ either!

Leave them a legacy of your witness. And keep in mind that the legacy you live is a witness to everyone, not just kids.

Encourage them spiritually. THAT is a significant part of your legacy. The way you react to difficulty in times of persecution, suffering and pain is a part of what you leave. People will remember your pattern of response during the tough times. When they see you put your trust in God, they will do the same.

Write It Down

Now let’s say you are at the end of your life and you are looking back on all that God has done for you—all the times He’s answered your prayers and met your needs. If you’ve never told anyone or written them down, write them down!! Stories are powerful and encouraging to others when they are feeling low. Journal!

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” — Revelation 12:11

As we approach this Christmas season and all the gift giving that goes on, I encourage you to think on these things – let others observe you and your walk with Christ, and give the gift of stories to your children.

This is your legacy that will have eternal rewards and it will last.

This is the truest gift you can give.

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Guest Post – The Honor of Child Rearing Part 2

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The following is a guest post from Alan Smith who is among  other things, Assistant Missions Pastor and leader of the Single Parent’s Family Ministry at Springhouse Worship and Arts Center in Smyrna. Be sure to read more about him below and visit his Coffee Cup Ministries website here.

Last week in Part 1, I wrote about the fact that parenting is NOT us vs. them and the important differences between discipline and punishment.

I’ll pick up where I left off by saying that sadly, I made many mistakes in the learning process and punished when I should have been disciplining. As a father, I have prayed and asked the Lord as well as my children’s forgiveness.

And I believe by His grace He will cover those times and still produce a positive result in my children’s lives.

As I grew in the parenting stages of my life, I began to seek out older parents. Folks who’ve not only raised their children but also in the stage of grand parenting to find Godly counsel and advice on Scriptures to help encourage me in HOW to raise my children.

The Word

I leave you with just a few of these passages that have helped me these last 13 years of my parenting.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.” – Deuteronomy 8:5

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law” – Psalm 94:12

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” – Heb. 12:6

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”– Heb. 12:6

Walking It Out

The key, as to everything, is finding out what the Word says, walking it out in balance and trusting and praying for the Lord’s guidance and direction in all things.

My prayer is that the Lord of peace guide you in all your ways as you seek to raise Godly young men and women who will follow hard after Him and bring Him honor and according to Proverbs 29:17 –

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
he will give delight to your heart.”

*all scriptures are from the ESV

About The Author

AlanSmithFamilyPic-240x300

Most days, you can find Alan Smith at Wherry Housing in Smyrna, TN. where he shows the love of Christ through acts of service as a partner with Community Servants. He is an ordained Pastor transitioning to full-time missions at home and abroad. He lives in Smyrna, TN with his wife Renee and their two children Jeremy and Chelsey where he gets to serve God and others every day!

Learn more about his Coffee Cup Ministry here.

photo credit: crypto via photopin cc

Guest Post – The Honor of Child Rearing Part 1

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The following is a guest post from Alan Smith who is among  other things, Assistant Missions Pastor and leader of the Single Parent’s Family Ministry at Springhouse Worship and Arts Center in Smyrna. Be sure to read more about him below and visit his Coffee Cup Ministries website here.

One of the most difficult things for me in parenting was the idea of punishment/discipline. The “how” of correcting inappropriate behavior in my children.

Time Out?

I was raised in a culture/era where if the child was acting up or showing off, parents grabbed a belt, strap, yardstick or whatever was handy or within reach and just wear ’em out!  There was no such thing as “Time Out” or I would have been in a continual STATE of Time Out!! LOL.

Now, for better or worse, I “think” I turned out ok. I mean I definitely have a sense of respect and manners that I see lacking in a lot of the children in today’s society. BUT, I have seen some folks in today’s culture who seem to be doing a great job in trying to find the balance of verbal instruction and discipline along with corporal discipline as needed.

I think to be an effective parent we need to have a good understanding between ‘discipline’ and ‘punishment’.

A BIG Difference!

My poor son had to be the guinea pig of mine and Renee’s parenting 101 as we, like most new parents had to learn this on the fly. We didn’t have a lot of good parenting skills already acquired and we also didn’t have many experienced mentors who had walked the road before us to impart to us (Biblical based) ideas and suggestions to “teach” us how to mold our approach based on what God said in His Word.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the scriptures throughout Psalms and Proverbs on ‘spare the rod’:

  • Proverbs 13:24 – “train up a child”
  • Proverbs 22:6 – “if you strike him with a rod he shall not die’
  • Proverbs 23:13 – “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him”
  • Proverbs 22:15 and many others

But there is a BIG difference between punishment and discipline.

We’re On The Same Team

Parenting is NOT an US vs THEM relationship.  We are on the SAME Team!

Check out these definitions and see which seems more appropriate in the child rearing HONOR we have been given by the Lord:

DISCIPLINE

verb (used with object), disciplined, disciplining.

  1. To train by instruction and exercise; drill
  2. To bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control
  3. To penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.noun
  4. Training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
  5. Activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training:
  6. The rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.:
  7. Behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control:

PUNISHMENT

  1. The act of punishing.
  2. The fact of being punished, as for an offense or fault.
  3. Apenalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.
  4. Severe handling or treatment.

Sadly, I made many mistakes in the learning process and punished when I should have been disciplining.

In next week’s continuation of this blog post, I’ll talk about how I learned how to overcome those challenges and share Scriptures that have been key in that process.

Until then, I’ll leave you with this prayer:  “May the Lord of peace guide you in all your ways as you seek to raise Godly young men and women who will follow hard after Him and bring Him honor and according to Proverbs 29:17.

*all scriptures are from the ESV

About the Author

AlanSmithFamilyPic-240x300

Most days, you can find Alan Smith at Wherry Housing in Smyrna, TN. where he shows the love of Christ through acts of service as a partner with Community Servants. He is an ordained Pastor transitioning to full-time missions at home and abroad. He lives in Smyrna, TN with his wife Renee and their two children Jeremy and Chelsey where he gets to serve God and others every day!

Learn more about his Coffee Cup Ministry here.

photo credit: Andy M Taylor via photopin cc

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