Pleasant Words

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 1:1-53, Acts 4:1-37, Psalm 124:1-8, Proverbs 16:24

Daily Verse: “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Prov. 16:14

Pleasant words.

Using positive language brings life to the receiver. Watching someone’s face light up like a Christmas tree from hearing gracious words encourages them and us.

“I want to be like you when I grow up,” I told a friend. Playing a charity golf tournament together, her shots amazed me. The look on her face when she turned around surprised me.

“She’s such an encourager,” she told the other ladies in our group.

At the time, I didn’t think of it as encouragement but instead stated the facts. I do hope to hit the ball as well as her and admire her ability. For my friend, the words brought sweetness to her soul and health to her body.

Speak kind, true, and necessary words only. If your thoughts don’t meet all three of those guidelines, don’t say them. Life’s hard enough without saying mean and hurtful things to make it more difficult.

Bring life to people with the words you use.

Lord, forgive us for the times we’ve said hurtful things. Please help us develop a reputation for saying gracious things that bring life to the receiver. Guard our mouths and keep us from saying harmful things. Let us give life with our words. IJNIP. Amen

Common Sense Required

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 23:24-24:25, Acts 3:1-26, Psalm 123:1-4, Proverbs 16:21-23

Daily Verse: “Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.” Prov. 16:22

Common sense required.

“Use some common sense!” Mom said. When I came to her with a problem, those four words would come from her mouth. Since she passed in 2014, I still hear them run through my mind when I follow a rabbit trail with my thoughts.

In today’s world, people’s ideas of common sense vary. The type of wisdom my mother referred to came from the Bible. Scripture’s good sense leads to a fountain of life as we apply it to everyday situations.

Overthinking often leads to false narratives that lead us on destructive paths. But keeping things simple, applying common sense, and not complicating issues will keep you from folly. My mother didn’t want me to make up stories in my mind; she wanted me to focus on the facts, staying grounded in truth.

Stay grounded by applying Biblical wisdom to your life. Don’t let false narratives lead you astray. Allow common sense to prevail and enjoy the fountain of life that comes with it.

Lord, forgive us for letting our thoughts get away from us. Please help us to apply common sense to our lives, grounded in scripture. Bless our efforts at staying grounded in truth. IJNIP. Amen

Blessing of Faithfulness

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 22:1-23:23, Acts 2:1-47, Psalm 122:1-9, Proverbs 16:19-20

Daily Verse: “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Prov. 16:20

Blessing of faithfulness.

Putting into practice God’s instructions leads to blessings.  Heavenly bliss comes from maintaining a right relationship with the Lord.  Each morning, I confess my sins to my Maker, act to right any wrongs, and then try again to represent Christ well in my life.  Inevitably, in my humanness, I fail, but failure doesn’t stop me from trying again.

Following Jesus stretches people.  Currently, I’m working on forgiveness issues.  My screen saver on my phone helps me:

“Forgiveness is the conscious choice to give up your right to make the other person pay because you trust God to make things right.”

Working on forgiveness helps me maintain a soft heart toward others, keep my mind centered on God, and release me from the bondage of offense. As a result, heavenly bliss replaces a bitter heart, a blessing from above.

Apply God’s principles to your current circumstances.  Experience blessings from above as you give thought to the Lord’s word and discover His goodness.

Lord, thank You for giving us Your word to live by.  Help us find direction as we seek You.  Let us experience heavenly bliss as we pursue right living through Your word.  Praise Jesus for allowing us to live life to the fullest.  IJNIP. Amen

Pride Destroys

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 20:14-21:22, Acts 1:1-26, Psalm 121:1-8, Proverbs 16:18

Daily Verse: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 16:18

Pride destroys.

“Don’t write a book on pride because no one will buy it.” Joyce Meyer said at the last conference I attended. No one wants to admit pride issues, yet we all have them. And if we don’t want to confess our prideful ways, we can’t deal with them.

Pride leads to destruction because of wrong assumptions and skewed perspectives. I constantly battle pride and have suffered for my arrogant ways, especially relationally. Nothing hurts a relationship more than the inability to say, “I’m sorry.”

When Ron and I argued in the first years of our marriage, it physically pained me to say, “I’m sorry.”  Marriage requires forgiveness, humility, and grace from both parties. After ten years of marriage, I’ve become better at debating instead of demanding.

Leading with humility will strengthen any relationship. Identifying prideful ways helps eliminate them and allows us to become more like Jesus.

With humility, our Savior led the way to salvation via the cross.

Lord, forgive us our prideful ways. Please help us see areas of pride we need to address in our lives. Please give us the humility and grace we need to overcome destructive ways. Let us become more like Jesus as we lead with humility instead of pride. IJNIP. Amen

Guardrails Preserve

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 19:11-20:13, John 21:1-25, Psalm 120:1-7, Proverbs 16:16-17

Daily Verse: “The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.” Prov. 16:17

Guardrails preserve.

Driving across the many bridges and tunnels in the Hampton Roads area reminds me of the importance of guardrails. Looking over the edge of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel always amazes me. The 23-mile drive over the Chesapeake Bay connects southern Virginia with its eastern shore. Concrete barriers stop cars from going over the edge into the blue waves below.

In the same way, setting guardrails, and boundaries in life, helps us stay on the straight and narrow. Ron and I don’t eat meals or travel alone in cars with people of the opposite sex. We use a budget to control our finances. As a coach, I teach private lessons in public venues with many eyes watching.

“Alcoholics wouldn’t take the first drink if they knew it would ruin their life.”  Words I often use when talking about temptation. Innocent beginnings can lead to terrible endings. The first conversation didn’t begin the affair, but it started the journey.

Accepting our fallibility helps us set proper guardrails to protect us from the world’s temptations. Staying on the straight and narrow requires boundaries.

Lord, forgive us from straying from the righteous path. Please help us stay on the straight and narrow by placing guardrails where we need them. Let us remain far from evil by using healthy boundaries to keep us on the right road. IJNIP. Amen

Leader Encouragement

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 18:1-19:10, John 20:1-31, Psalm 119:153-176, Proverbs 16:14-15

Daily Verse: In the light of a king’s face, there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.” Prov. 16:15

Leader encouragement.

As a coach, leading my students who listen well, accept direction and apply themselves gain much praise and attention. However, the rebellious students who do the opposite of whatever I say stretch my patience and cause me to grow in ways I never imagined. In a perfect world, well-behaved students would fill my classes, but we don’t live in that kind of world.

Whether leading students, children, or employees, those who make our life easier receive favor. Becoming better leaders means learning to handle difficult people and the well-behaved, giving each person our best, regardless of performance.

Looking at life from Jesus’ perspective, we all misbehave, yet He loves us equally. Christ didn’t die for perfect people; He died for the imperfect.

One of my best students threw her racquet in frustration. Shocked, I had to address her behavior for the first time.   She reminded me that we all sin and fall short of the mark. Yet God loves us and sent Jesus to save us.

Performing well brings favor, but God saved us with undeserved grace, even in our sins.

Lord, forgive us for favoring those easy to lead. Help us learn to love everyone equally, despite their performance, understanding that we each have a unique purpose. Guide and direct us as we lead others, helping to represent Christ well in all we do. IJNIP. Amen

Honesty Approved

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 17:1-29, John 19:23-42, Psalm 119:129-152, Proverbs 16:12-13

Daily Verse: “Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.” Prov. 16:13

Honesty approved.

Applying to government, candid people bring value. Ideal rulers prefer truth over anything else. Unfortunately, narratives don’t equal facts. People tell many stories in today’s world.

Ron and I love watching “true story” movies. But I learned we must discern the language used to describe the narrative. “Inspired by” differs from “Based on.” A story developed from inspiration doesn’t reflect the whole truth, whereas one based on actual events tells the facts. People take many liberties with inspiration, knowing that changes what I think of the movie, not believing everything.

Integrity begins with us. As Christ’s followers, honoring Jesus means telling the truth, taking responsibility for our actions, and setting an example of righteous lips. Expecting honesty from others but not putting the same expectations on ourselves doesn’t serve Christ or anyone else.

Live a life based on truth; search for the facts before believing the narrative. Understand, in today’s world; people care more about the story than they do the truth. We shouldn’t believe everything we hear.

Lord, forgive us for falling for false tales. Please help us have a discerning heart that can quickly identify the lies of this world. Let us represent Christ well by living a life of integrity and always speaking the truth. IJNIP. Amen

Honesty in Business

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 15:23-16:23, John 18:25-19:22, Psalm 119:113-128, Proverbs 16:10-11

Daily Verse: “A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.” Prov. 16:11

Honesty in business.

When people used gold and silver to pay for things, crooks used light and heavy weights to make fraudulent transactions. In today’s world, criminals use two sets of books to hide their indiscretions. However, God uses just scales and knows the ones doing fair and just business.

As in all things, liars get exposed, no matter the transaction. God’s justice will prevail eventually. If we want to save ourselves time and heartache, we will tell the truth up front, no matter how difficult.

Honest people use correct weights and balances when doing business. People want truthful and fair estimates. Skilled businesspeople know precisely what a job will cost and charge accordingly. 

When we had our kitchen cabinets replaced, the contractor ordered an extra piece. He called us immediately when he realized his mistake, asking us if we would pay half the cost. The man’s honesty and willingness to take responsibility made it easy to cover the extra expense.

God uses fair and just measures; we should as well. Representing Christ well means doing an honest business.

Lord, let us always do honest business transactions. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in all we do. Help us develop a reputation for fair deals, regardless of the transaction. In all things, let You receive the glory. IJNIP. Amen

Sovereignty of God

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 14:1-15:22, John 18:1-24, Psalm 119:97-112, Proverbs 16:8-9

Daily Verse: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Prov. 16:9

Sovereignty of God.

When does anything ever go exactly as we plan it? Ask any bride on her wedding day; she will tell you what went wrong because something always does. But often, the things that don’t go the way we want bring chuckles and good memories later.

Praying over my week; I had a conflict, booking two appointments back-to-back, leaving no travel time to the second meeting. The only solution I could see meant leaving fifteen minutes early from my hair appointment to reach my following commitment on time.

What a surprise when I received a text from my hair stylist that she had double booked. Could I come at 11:15 instead? Why yes, I could. “Perfect,” I responded. God took care of the conflict by moving my first appointment and including travel time—something I couldn’t have done alone.

Trusting God to establish our steps clears our paths, resolves conflicts, and helps us keep the divine appointments He has for us. Next time things don’t go as planned, trust God’s purpose to unfold. The Lord’s sovereignty always rules.

Lord, forgive us for getting irritated at schedule changes. Help us remember; You direct our steps. Take us where you want us to go, and don’t let us miss any divine appointments you have for us. Let us live out our purpose one step at a time. IJNIP. Amen

Peaceful Conduct

One minute read.

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 13:1-39, John 17:1-26, Psalm 119:81-96, Proverbs 16:6-7

Daily Verse: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Prov. 16:7

Peaceful conduct.

Abraham Lincoln, a man of faith, filled his cabinet with his opponents when elected president. Men who openly disagreed with Lincoln became part of his everyday work life, which brought unity back to a divided country.

“The best way to get rid of your enemies is to make them your friends.” Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s actions pleased the Lord, he showed love toward his enemies, and they made peace. Everyone desires love, acceptance, and the ability to express different opinions without feeling rejected and ridiculed.

Jesus loved those who disagreed with Him.  When the rich young ruler couldn’t give up his worldly possessions, Christ let him go, allowing the young man free will. We don’t have to agree with people to love them.

Living a lifestyle of love and pleasing God invites peace into your life. Loving your enemies helps them become your friends.

Lord, help us to live a life pleasing to You.  Give us the tools we need to love those who disagree with us. Help us pray for our enemies, allowing us to find peace with them. Soften our hearts and give us grace and mercy for all. IJNIP. Amen