Thursday, March 22, 2007

"The Mouth Speaks"

Don't indulge in conversation that is harsh, bitter, critical, impatient, crude, vulgar, or unrefined.

A friend of mine and I once agreed that if we didn’t have to speak, or shall I say, couldn’t speak, then our spiritual lives would always honor the Lord. However, God chose to give me a voice. Shouldn’t I honor the Lord with what I speak and say to others?

Christian women from the beginning of times have needed desperately to fight a stereotype….gossip. Most men will tell you that their wives are gossipers, like a child telling you that their parents are nicer in public; husbands are quick to admit that a five minute phone call to her best friend will turn into a two hour gab-fest (otherwise known as “catch-up time”).

In fact, I have certain “friends” that talking to them is nothing but gossip. “What’s going on with her? Who is she with now? She’s marrying who?” Shouldn’t I be asking, “How’s your relationship with the Lord?” If I’m talking to my friend on the phone, shouldn’t I be concerned with her, not someone else?

My pastor tells us how it is (praise the Lord). He said that people, including Christians, love to see people mess up. And he’s right, because instead of me asking about someone so I can pray for them or discussing situations so I can pray, almost always, my #1 motive is DIRT. I want to know the “juicy” stuff.

Not only that, but I have found myself just wanting to “discuss” someone, their behaviors, their life, just to see if someone else agrees with me. “Am I the only one that notices that Sue raises her voice at her husband?” What does that end up accomplishing? Thirty minutes of gossiping on the other times we’ve seen Sue mess up, or her husband. Who prays for her…no one? What am I doing in reality? Possibly causing another Christian to stumble, perhaps they struggle with gossip too. I need be very concerned with the hearer of the conversation (1 Cor. 10:24).

What I learned: First of all, ladies who love the Lord are called to be different (I will say this almost in every post). This means that the things we say have got to be different from the world. Before I say anything and the words are on the tip of my tongue, I should ask myself, does what I’m about to say honor the Lord? If it doesn’t, I shouldn’t say it.

I thank the Lord that He sent the Holy Spirit to convict me, because boy does He ever! Almost always, as soon as I say something, I think, “oh, I shouldn’t have said that!” God’s Word says that “the beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop a contention before a quarrel starts” (Prov. 17:14). That’s the same with our words. Once we start speaking them, they take control. These words that we use can either honor the Lord, or make Him look silly.

I admit, I’m so critical of others, I can be critical of myself too, but I most certainly forgive differently. Example, when I mess up, “oops!” On the contrary, when someone else messes up, “What were they thinking!?!” Of course, when someone messes up I need to talk about it, with someone else….”what was she thinking?”

What to do now? I can never take back what I say to others, but I can work to honor the Lord with my mistake. How?

  1. Ask the Lord to forgive me.
  2. Thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit’s conviction. And pray that I will become more aware of my convictions.
  3. Ask the other person involved directly or indirectly in the conversation for forgiveness. People are watching us, especially waiting for us to mess up. Others often realize that we’ve messed up before we even realize it. I need to humble myself and ask for that person’s forgiveness, which alone will be a great witness to them for Christ. It’s okay to show others that we mess up sometimes. As Christian ladies, we need to be able to tell our Sisters, I have failed the Lord today.
  4. Commit, through prayer and accountability to change the way I speak, weather it’s crudely, negatively, critical, boastful. Constantly talk to the Lord about it, He knows! I think often I underestimate God’s love for me. But God wants us to tell Him what’s going on, even though He already knows. Also, ask close friends to keep me accountable when they hear me saying things that don’t honor the Lord.
  5. Change things around.

Other: “Jane is cheating on her husband, did you know that?”

Me: “We must pray for Jane and her husband.”

Take control of your conversations!

Ladies, let’s be different from the World and stop gossip in its tracks! Whoever said being a lady meant sitting around and gossiping is wrong, being a lady should be about confiding with dear friends through prayer and encouragement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Does Your Face Say?

One’s facial expression can say a lot to others, without an exchange of words. God gave us great use of our faces so that others may know when we are happy, sad, excited, or angry. These past couple of days I’ve tried being very aware of my facial expressions. Do I look bored, frustrated, or bitter? If so, I really needed to readjust myself. Is my face warm and shining with the love of Christ? If not, perhaps I should change something, perhaps my heart.

The best way a lady should present herself is pleasant and kind. I tried to have a constant look of pleasantness. No, I wasn’t grinning the entire two days, but I did try to turn my lips upward instead of downward. Check this out: Wanna look better in less than one second?

Try this: Position yourself in front of a mirror. With lips closed, move your lips upward, as if smiling, until the corners of your lips go slightly up from sideways position : ] . Now, with tiny smile, try looking angry while holding this position. Hard isn’t it?

Okay, now frown, turn corners of lips downwards : [ , or even straight across

: | . Try to look angry…..oh wait, you already do!

Now ladies, I know that I’m not the only one that looks at the mirror several times a day, you know, just to make sure that my eyebrows are just where I left them earlier that morning. Try this: Walk up to a mirror several times throughout the day, naturally, just like you were walking through the grocery store or through your home. Look at your face, no, not at your teeth, but look at your facial expression at the very moment. Would you want to run into You on Aisle 10 looking like that, or would you want to meet You in the kitchen looking like that?

“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17

My problem is, how can I have a pleasant look on my face when I’m feeling my worse, or just got my feelings hurt? God called me to be different though. If I can’t find anything to make me smile, I’m forgetting about what He has blessed me with. Am I worse off than anyone else? No, I’m definitely not. Shouldn’t I carry myself in most pleasantness that if I am truly feeling bad, others will say, “Something must be wrong”. I really hope that people wouldn’t say, “What’s wrong with her now? Or “Does anything ever go her way.”

Do you know people like that, who are always in this state of “Blah…..”. And you wonder, do they have nothing to be happy about? I’m sad to see Christian women like this.

What I learned: When I don’t feel like looking pleasant, I’m going to ask the Lord to forgive me for negative thoughts I may be having. Then I’m going to sing in my head, “Oh Lord my God, when I’m in awesome wonder, consider all…the world Thy hands have made……..Then SINGS my soul, my Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art, HOW GREAT THOU ART?”

I mean, really? God is so great, how can I not smile about that?

Ladies, we are to be more like the godly women we are called to be and present ourselves to the Lord, humbly with love, and gratitude that makes our hearts smile from the inside out.

There are “proper women” who don’t have the love of Christ in them and don’t know how to show love through the look on their faces. It is PROPER for the ladies of Christ to exhibit this love.

Now, turn that from upside down, and show the Love of Christ!