A Word Spoken in Due Season (Proverbs 15)

Pro 15:1-4, 18, 23 NKJV A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. (2) The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. (3) The eyes of the LORD [are] in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. (4) A wholesome tongue [is] a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit. … (18) A wrathful man stirs up strife, But [he who is] slow to anger allays contention. … (23) A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word [spoken] in due season, how good [it is]!

Dear Son, One day when I was around twelve years old I went to the public tennis courts to play tennis with my younger brother (your uncle). He wasn’t doing so good at returning the ball and I was frustrated. My temper boiled over and I blurted out, “you retard!” On the other side of the fence a family had just arrived and was getting ready to play tennis. They had a son with down syndrome. I didn’t realize the insult I had hurled at my brother would hurt them, but I remember very vividly to this day the mother getting the children back into her car and leaving. I spoke foolishly that day (and I didn’t play tennis for nearly ten years after that incident because I was so ashamed).

The way you use words will either help or hurt others. Sometimes you just want to blurt something out, but it’s wiser to hold it in. You don’t need to justify yourself or show everyone the score. You don’t need to prove that you are smarter or craftier than others with your words. Sometimes the best word you can give is to just sit back and listen.

Other times you need to speak. Your words carry the power to give life. You need to stand up for those who don’t have a voice. You need to stand for those who are legitimately weak and oppressed. You need to affirm the good work that others are doing around you. You have the ability to add value with a rightly fitted compliment or affirmation. Learn how to affirm those around you and you will go far in life. You will find that some men and women will work harder for a well earned affirmation than they will for a large pay check.

Be careful with your words. Be generous with your compliments. When you are angry, it is wise to hold your tongue and listen to what is going on around you.

Father, thank you for the grace to parent my children. I pray they would be filled with good words to bless and affirm others. I pray that you would guard their mouths from foul language and the merciless things they might say when they are angry. I pray that your Spirit would move freely in their lives, guard their hearts, and free them to speak life to others. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Learn to Work Well (Proverbs 14)

Pro 14:1, 4, 23 NKJV The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. … (4) Where no oxen [are], the trough [is] clean; But much increase [comes] by the strength of an ox. … (23) In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter [leads] only to poverty.

Dear Daughter, when I was in college I got used to the habit of cleaning my truck every weekend. I didn’t grow up in a family that cleaned out the vehicles very often. In fact my grandparents had several vehicles they just let go and didn’t maintain. So when they finally stopped running they were pushed to the side and a new vehicle was purchased. Their house looked like a junk yard. Reflecting back, my grandfather was probably clinically depressed and self medicating with alcohol.

The way I got started cleaning out my vehicle every weekend was thought a friend at college. He was cleaning out his car and asked if I wanted to clean out my truck to. He didn’t realize it, but by encouraging and teaching me this habit he probably rescued me from a cycle of depression as well. Because until that time I didn’t realize the value of maintaining the things that would maintain me. My friend used to always say, “take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you.”

There are many things in life that I pray you are blessed to take care of. Perhaps one day you will be blessed with a husband and family. There will be small thing you can do that will help you maintain and build your household. These same small things if neglected will tear your family apart. Its your responsibility to seek joy in doing the small things (like family prayer time, cleaning up, encouraging one another, taking time for gratitude, etc.) well. It won’t only be a blessing to those around you, it will bless you more than you know.

It’s a blessing to pick up toys, fold laundry, clean cars, power wash sidewalks, feed animals, clean up after animals, cut grass, clean house, make our beds, and all the other little things we do along the way. There is profit in it every time. Cleaning and maintaining a car demonstrates our gratitude for having a vehicle. Making the bed demonstrates our gratitude for having a bed.

Sharing my grandparents DNA I’m prone to fits of depression as well. I know that for some folks the issues are deeper than what I’ve faced and a chemical solution to a chemical problem might prove very helpful. But I’ve found that when I’m most prone to depression is when I let the small things go. So I’ve learned to be diligent about making my bed, cleaning out my vehicle on the weekend, etc. Doing these small things well has become an act of gratitude and worship for me, knowing that God had endorsed a healthy work ethic.

To be sure there are days we should rest (one in seven) but there are also days where we should work (six out of seven). I encourage you to work well to the glory of God.

Father, Thank you for the blessing of raising my children. I ask for wisdom for my wife and I in leading our children and guiding them. I pray that you would allow us the grace of finding our fulfillment in putting our hands to work in whatever ways you have called us to. I pray that my children will have a good work ethic and see the way to worship you in work six days a week and in rest one day a week. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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