Kind Word Post Cards

In this week’s post, I challenged us to speak a kind word to someone once a day. While the spoken word is wonderful, a written word can be a blessing, too. It’s easy to dash off an email or a text message, but don’t forget the value of snail mail as well.

I admit I’m traditional but I can’t imagine anyone not liking getting a handwritten note from a friend. I often open my mailbox anticipating a card or letter nestled in among the bills and junk mail, and when that happens, it always brings a smile to my face.

Send a note of encouragement to someone this week. An “I was thinking about you,” “I’m praying for you,” or an “I think you’re amazing” kind of note will cheer the heart of the person who receives it.

Should you take the snail mail challenge and not have any stationery, here is set of post cards you can print and send to your friends:   Kind Word Post Cards

Printing instructions: Print page one. Send it back through your printer aligned just as it came out of your printer and then print page 2. Trim each card so that the photo on the front does not have a white border. Print on white card stock or photo paper that is glossy on one side and matte on the other. Print the pictures on the glossy side.

Rx: One Kind Word Daily

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”

Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)

Anxiety. Fear. Worry. They keep you awake at night. They rob you of your joy. They paralyze you. All of them bring a heavy heart, as noted in the first part of Proverbs 12:25. A heavy heart can affect our whole being since the word heart here is figurative for our mind – the place where our thoughts and feelings originate and reside. Thankfully, though, there is a remedy for a burdened heart. The second part of this verse suggests that a kind word can cheer up the anxious heart. I love this!

Have you ever been anxious or worried and had someone tell you something that encouraged you? That person just gave you a kind word! Kind words may not always relieve our burden or solve our problem but they sure can lighten it. Proverbs 25:11 tells us that a timely word is a beautiful treasure. I’m thankful for the encouraging words I’ve received when I was downcast or discouraged, such as the times when out of the blue and at just the right moment someone would tell me I was beautiful or kind or good at a particular task.

Consider the kind words you’ve heard in your lifetime and thank the Lord for the people who have encouraged you with them! And, if you haven’t received kind words in this way, take heart. There is a whole book of kind words written just for you: the Bible. If you need encouragement, meditate on the following verses:

John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (NASB)

Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)

Isaiah 43:2: “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (NLT)

Zephaniah 3:17: “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (NLT)

1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (NLT)

God cares for you; after all, you are his masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)!

In addition to pondering these verses, also consider: Have you spoken any kind words to others lately? Make it a point to say something kind to someone every day and be sincere in what you say. Practice 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”

Remember, the prescription you need for a kind word a day is the same prescription needed by those around you! Choose kindness, receive kindness and let your hearts be lightened!

Evergreen

“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.”

Proverbs 11:28 (ESV)

Making the most of summer break, my daughter and I have been going on long bike rides, crossing four neighborhoods at a time on these hot July days. To be able to make it home, though, we stop along the way for water and snacks. One of our favorite places to stop is under a large shade tree on the edge of someone’s yard which also has a bubbling rock fountain behind it. It is so refreshing to sit in that shade, out of the hot sun, and hear the gurgling water behind us as we gulp from our water bottles and eat pretzels and Cheez-Its. We are so thankful for those wonderful, thick, green leaves that are filled with life, and in turn, restore vitality to us by shielding us from the sun and providing a cool spot to be refreshed.

Despite the searing heat of July, I wonder: How are these trees so filled with brilliant green leaves and so full of life? It is because they grow naturally, receiving all the water they need from one main source. They don’t go anywhere else for their needs. They simply grow as the root system of the tree provides for them.

Proverbs 11:28 reminds us that, like the tree, we do not need to look for life anywhere else. When we trust in anything other than the Lord, we will fall. Trusting in God brings about the righteousness that helps us flourish like the green leaves of a tree in spring and summer. Jeremiah 17:7-8 beautifully expresses the life of the righteous, whose trust is in the Lord:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (NIV)

Just as the green leaves withstand the heat of July, the righteous who put their hope in the Lord will stand strong in times of trial and will not wither; they will remain full of life – evergreen.

Do you put your trust in the Lord? It is easy to find other things in which to trust: money, people, jobs, grades, physical strength, appearance, material items. Is there anything you trust more than the Lord for your life? Everything except Jesus will fade away (1 John 2:17, Matthew 24:35), and if your trust is in any of those other things, you will fall. Place all your trust in Jesus. Turn to him and be like the person described in Psalm 1:

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3 (NIV)

Delight in God’s word and find refreshment to stay evergreen!

 

 

Listen for the Whisper

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”

Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

I just wanted to go home. It had been a long week directing and helping 3,000 meeting planners and audio/visual specialists at their annual meeting spread across three hotels and a convention center in downtown Atlanta. I was tired. And so was everyone else on our small association staff. Even though each member of our staff had his or her own hotel room, we still had plenty of togetherness as we worked 15-hour, and in some cases 19-hour, days side by side.

That’s a lot of time to talk to each other. And I found that as the week went on, we began sharing more and more personal information about ourselves during our break times and early morning staff meetings … to the point of awkwardness in the case of one person who announced that she and her husband had slept together before they were married. She immediately followed that with, “I can’t believe I just said that!” Oops.

This occurred some 25 years ago, and I still remember this woman sharing such personal details of her life with a room full of co-workers and then regretting what she said. At some point in time, all us have been there – we’ve said too much and then wished we could take it back. Proverbs 10:19 offers us a good reminder to be sensible in our speech.

Have you ever begun to say something and heard that still small whisper in your conscience telling you not to say it? Did you follow that advice? I’ve heeded it at times, but I’ve also shoved that voice aside and said what I wanted to anyway. And then I regretted saying IT.

Our words are powerful – they can bring great joy or deep hurt to those around us. In    Proverbs 18:21 words are symbolized as holding the power of life or death. James 3:5-6 likens our words to flames that can set a whole forest ablaze. Gossip works that way. Angry words work that way. Words convey feelings, and those feelings are contagious. Let’s commit our hearts to following Proverbs 10:19.

Begin considering your words before you speak. Use your words wisely and bring refreshment and healing to others (Proverbs 10:21). Speak without regret!

Identity Crisis

Proverbs 9

Several months ago, my daughter whispered to me at a department store register, “Mommy, is that a man or a woman?” I looked two registers over to see to whom she was referring and my heart sank. I was going to have to explain to my 9-year-old child that the “woman” was a “man” who wanted to be a “woman.”  When I see someone so confused, it breaks my heart, and I want to know how this identity crisis has evolved and why so many people in our country are unwilling to embrace who God made them to be.

Proverbs 9 answers my question: Both Wisdom and Folly are perched at the highest point of the city, calling out to the simple to come and dine with them. They have both prepared a feast; however, only Wisdom makes a promise: She promises understanding and life, and that is indeed what the person who seeks wisdom will receive. Folly only entices people to come and enjoy. Her invitation is simply for pleasure. And the end result of that pleasure is unbeknownst to her victims: “But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.” (Proverbs 9:18)

So how did our two God-made genders of man and woman become 70-plus designations of everything from transgender to bisexual? And how did so many in our world embrace this idea? Folly’s voice has wooed a generation to believe they are not good enough and they need to change their identity to compensate. Society has told us that God’s creation is wrong and needs to be remade. That men and women were made to be interchangeable. These ideas have turned our world upside down, with some catastrophic results: the AIDS epidemic, depression, suicide, social ridicule, social division, and an entire generation of confused, self-defined people. Folly has indeed trapped her guests “in the depths of the grave.” And the sad thing is they are fighting their way to that grave with every militant step for their rights that they take.

For those of us who prescribe to Wisdom, how can we join her in calling out to those who follow Folly? Proverbs 9:7 tells us that “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.” We may well receive abuse if we try to correct those who are Folly followers but we are commissioned to make disciples and share the Good News (Matthew 28:20). We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourself (Leviticus 19:18). This means we cannot simply stand by and watch. But, we also must not judge or say hateful things. We should show them love and pray for them.

Pray for them to see God’s love. Tell them about God’s love. Point them to God’s love. Maybe this is inviting them to do Bible study with you. Maybe it is sharing your faith. Maybe it’s just listening to their feelings. But it’s always prayer.

If you are interested in learning how to share the Gospel with transgender people, this is a good article.

That’s what Wisdom was calling about – for us to join her in a feast. She just wants us to know love. Through love, understanding will come. There is no harsh judgment in Wisdom. She only says, “Leave your simple ways and you will live, walk in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:6)

Let’s keep our focus on Wisdom, and let’s share her voice when God prompts us.