Devastating Words

Gossip causes more trouble than we realize.

Four priests got together for a friendly conversation. One of them said, “People come to us confessing many things, and confession is good for the soul. While we are together, we should take some time to confess to one another.”

The others were reluctant for a few minutes, but came around to the idea confession time would be good. The priest who had the idea started the confessing. He enjoyed going to movies, and he would frequently sneak away from church to go to the movies.

The second confessed to smoking cigars, and the third confessed to playing cards. When it was the fourth priest’s turn, he remained silent. The others pressed him until he opened up.

“Mine is gossip, and I cannot hardly wait to get out of here,” he said.

Gossip causes much difficulty. It can create strife in families, friends, and on the job. It can bring good people down and rise up fools. Sharp tongues can erode one’s confidence and ruin reputations in a matter of minutes. Gossip has the power to cause much devastation.

While you and I cannot control our neighbor’s tongue, we can control our own. If we do not repeat gossip, we will not be spreading the wildfire it lights. If we do not intently listen to gossip, perhaps the conversation will be changed. Without our participation, the devastation caused by gossip may not be as severe.

Proverbs 26:20-21 says, “Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.”

During World War II, the American government became concerned enemy spies were passing along information about the location of troops and ships. The military adopted the slogan, “Loose lips sink ships.”

Gossip can cause much devastation, but kind words can build others up and minimize the damage. Say something kind today.

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Why Be Generous?

Generosity is rewarding.

A farmer had an abundant crop and was able to fill his barns completely. The farmer still had goods and grains needing stored, but he had no room in his barns. He decided he would build bigger barns so he could tightly hold on to everything he harvested. His plan was to save for years to come.

The farmer told himself, “I can relax, eat, drink, and be merry for years to come,” but the Lord, in Luke 12:20, said to him, “You fool, you will die this very night, then who will get everything you have worked for?”

Jesus goes on in Luke 12:21, “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth, but not have a rich relationship with God.”

There is certainly nothing wrong with saving for retirement and being responsible with our money. In fact, Scripture encourages us to handle our wealth responsibly. Being generous is part of the responsibility we have in handling what we have been given.

Jesus says in Luke 12:15, “Beware, guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Proverbs 11:17 states, “Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.”

Solomon goes on in Proverbs 11, “Give freely and become wealthier. Be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper, those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

“Trust in your money and down you go, but the Godly flourish like leaves in spring,” Proverbs 11:28 continues.

Generosity is not an old-fashioned principle. The world is in need of generous people now more than ever. We can be generous with our time, our love, and our money. Jesus says it is better to give than receive. How will you be generous today?

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Something Awesome

One act of kindness inspired another, which changed a life.

Kim Jones was moved to action after riots left a nearby community in need of clean up. Jones, and her daughter Aaron, put some brooms, shovels, and trash bags in their car and started cleaning up. As an African American mother of two sons, Jones said she had to do something, so she decided to help clean up.

Kim and Aaron saw Jimmy Jordan walking across the parking lot. Jimmy was wearing his Wal-Mart uniform, and seemed to be walking a little slowly. They offered him a ride, and as the group was talking, they discovered the Wal-Mart greeter had been taking the bus and walking to work for over a year. His car was broken down.

Kim decided to ask her friends for help. She was hoping to raise $1,000, but she actually raised $8,000. Kim and her friends were able to buy Jimmy a new vehicle, and Jimmy is grateful.

Kim said Jimmy reminded the group it was better to give than receive.

Watch Kim Jones’ story here.

The Bible reminds us the Lord blesses generosity. As Christians, we have the opportunity to help one another. God reminds us we are one family and requests we make every effort to keep the unity found in the bond of peace.

Worldwide Beautiful

Giving Thanks

Many reasons to give thanks.

A husband had a habit of grumbling about the food his wife prepared for meals. He would grumble, then offer a prayer of thanksgiving. His pattern of grumbling then thanking was the same every day.

One day his young daughter asked, “Dad, does God hear our prayers?”

“Why yes,” the father replied.

The daughter continued, “Does God hear everything else we say?”

“Of course,” the dad said. He was bubbling with pride because he had inspired his child to ask spiritual questions.

His pride quickly turned to embarrassment and humility when the daughter asked, “Well, which one does he believe: your grumbling or thanksgiving?”

Blessings can come in all shapes and sizes, and Psalm 136 encourages us to give thanks to the Lord for all that he has done for us.

Verses 1-3 say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.”

The Psalmist gives us some reasons to give thanks.

  • Give thanks for the mighty miracles God performs.
  • Give thanks for the beautiful creation surrounding us.
  • Give thanks to him for the freedom he brings.
  • Give thanks to him for the provisions he provides.
  • Give thanks to him for his past actions.
  • Give thanks to him for his present grace.
  • Give thanks to him for his grace and love. We are reminded 26 times the Lord’s faithful love endures forever.

With current events, it is easy to forget how many times we have been blessed, yet there is much for which we can be thankful.

Helen Keller said, “So much has been given to me that I have no time to ponder that which I don’t have.” There are many reasons we have to be grateful. Take time today to thank God for 10 of your blessings.

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Never Failing Promise

This promise never fails amid failure.

Henry Ford once said failure was the opportunity to begin again more intelligently, and Thomas Edison was no stranger to failure. As Edison worked on his various inventions, he failed many times.

In 1914, a fire destroyed Edison’s factory, equipment, and much of the record of his work. Edison surveyed the damage the next day and concluded, “We can start over anew. All of our mistakes are burned up.” His failures did not stop Edison from moving on.

As a part of life, you and I will experience failures. We will be overlooked by the Hiring Manager. Our plans may unravel rather than work. Those whom we think to be loyal friends may walk away. Failures come, and amid these moments, it may seem everything is crumbling around us; however, there is one promise which will never fail us.

Whether we are succeeding or failing, the Lord is with us.

  • Deuteronomy 31 promises the Lord will personally go ahead of us.
  • Solomon writes in Proverbs 12 the Godly are deeply rooted.
  • Jesus says in Matthew 28:20, “and be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”
  • The writer of Hebrews quotes the Lord as saying, “I will never leave you. I will never abandon you.”

Failure may cause everything else to crumble, but the Lord will stick around.

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Failure Creates a Mosaic

Success takes time.

It took years to construct. The structure was made of only the finest gold, silver, and cedar. The construction had to be solid, and the furnishings had to be beautiful and perfect. Solomon used only the most skilled craftsmen to perform the work. The temple Solomon built for the Lord was a masterpiece. He commented in 2 Chronicles 2:5, “This must be a magnificent temple because our God is greater than all other gods….”

We are God’s temple.

The Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 6 that we are the Lord’s temple. In the same way it took time to build the temple Solomon constructed, it may take time to build our lives into the magnificent mosaic the Lord desires. When you feel like a failure, keep in mind…

The temple of our lives is a masterpiece.

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3 Steps to Turn Failures to Successes

An F can serve as the foundation for an A+.

Babe Ruth, Robert Frost, Oprah, Winston Churchill, and many others, including you and me, have something in common. Failure has been a part of the life experience. Perhaps some on the list have reached great success, but it has not occurred overnight. It has taken much work and times of failing to reach the level of success now enjoyed.

Everyone experiences failures in life, and how these moments are handled is up to the individual. Here are 3 action-steps we can take to turn our failures into the starting point for the path to success.

Be honest about the situation.

Be honest, especially with yourself, when failure occurs. This will give you the proper perspective to move forward.

Take advantage of the failure.

Exploit the moment; pick it apart to learn everything you can. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and understanding to help learn from the failure. The most valuable lessons we can learn come from the mistakes we make.

Never use failure as an excuse not to try again.

Keep trying may be the best approach. At one point in his career, Babe Ruth had struck out 1,316 times, but he did not stay in the dugout. It may take several job applications before you are noticed or it may take multiple attempts to run the marathon before you cross the finish line, but success can only come if you keep trying.

Charles Kettering suggested we must learn to fail with intelligence. He commented, “Once you have failed, analyze the problem and find out why because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you do not want to fail is the last time you try.”

What steps are you taking to turn moments of failure into the launch pad for success?

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Feel Like a Failure?

Failure comes and goes.

It has happened to us all. No one likes it, and it is not one of life’s enjoyable experiences. It hurts, it is painful, and it is a part of everyone’s life. It is failure.

One stumble does not break or define a person. Some of history’s most successful people have experienced the agony of failure.

  • Babe Ruth held the record for the most strike outs, and struck out multiple times in a World Series game. Yet, look at his overall record.
  • Robert Frost was rejected by a magazine stating there was no place for his poetry.
  • An English teacher wrote on Winston Churchill’s report card that he did not have much potential for success.
  • Oprah was fired from a Chicago TV station. She went on.
  • You and I can insert our failures here.

Max Lucado says, “Though you’ve failed, God does not. Face your failures with faith and God’s goodness.”

  • “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand,” remarks the Psalmist in 37:23-24.
  • Proverbs 24:16 says, “The Godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.”

Failures will come, but the Lord will help us overcome those failures and move on with life. Remember amid failure, the Lord is with you.

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5 Tips for Building a Firm Foundation

Firm foundations survive storms.

There seems to be no shortage of storms in the world right now. Glance at the headlines, and you will soon discover storms coming at us from all directions. COVID19, personal safety being at risk, and the like are causing storms. While it may be a particularly stormy time, storms are nothing new to life.

Proverbs suggests we build our lives on a firm foundation to survive these storms. Solomon writes in 10:25, “When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the Godly have a lasting foundation.”

How do we build this foundation?

  • Develop a relationship with the Lord by spending time in the Bible.
  • Seek wisdom through prayer.
  • Search the Scriptures for answers to life’s questions.
  • Always strive to do what is right.

Building on this foundation is not easy, but it is worth the effort involved. Jesus tells a parable of two builders. The first builder did not take the time to dig through the sand to place his home on a rock foundation, while the second builder dug through the sand to rest his home on a rock foundation. A storm came, and flood waters rose. The first house was swept away, but the second house stood, unmoved by the tumultuous waters.

As we are weathering a stormy time, how firm is your foundation? Do you need to allow the Lord to add stability?

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Love Endures

Love conquers all.

Dear Hate by Maren Morris is a powerful reminder of hate’s grip and love’s conquering power.

The battle between hate and love has existed since Adam and Eve were in the garden. The disgusting work of hate ensnares us, but love has the power to conquer everything. Love conquers the divides between people, love heals the wounds inflicted by hate, and love mends the broken heart. Love has the power to overcome anything hate throws our way.

1 Corinthians 13:6-8 says, “Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

The Bible gives us a glimpse into the end of the battle between hate and love. Love conquers all. God is love and nothing has the power to stand in his way. His grace and mercy will win.

Meanwhile, as the battle rages, you and I have the challenge to be messengers of love.

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