WHAT DO YOU SAY? (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #10.2)

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WATCH YOUR WORDS, PART 2 (continued from June 18, 2019)

How often have you heard one of the world’s greatest misconceptions? “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Wanna bet? Tell this to any of the countless adults struggling with deep emotional wounds — left by overly-critical parents who never spoke an encouraging word to their children; who instead uttered harsh words like “You’ll never amount to anything!” (By the way, that’s certainly NOT what God has to say about you. His Holy Word proclaims, “…Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV)

  • Family feuds, marital breakups, and fallouts with friends and coworkers all begin with negative, cutting words. Of course, the opposite is also true: not only are friendships and family ties formed and nurtured by positive words of love and affirmation, but a sincere word of peace and kindness can also repair any breach. In fact, one of the secrets of a healthy marriage or relationship is the ability to effectively communicate. Remember, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1 NLT)

Sure, it’s okay to vent once in a long while, to get stuff off your chest. But be careful in whose direction you vent — and for how long. You don’t want to take out your frustrations on some poor innocent bystander, such as a loving spouse or loyal friend. It’s best to vent to God. He’s a good listener and never takes a dreamer’s doubts or a creator’s rantings personally. However, once you do get it out of your system — your fears, doubts, disappointments, disillusionments, and any emotional wounds you’ve suffered — turn it all over to God. Pray about it. Then leave it in His hands, and move on. You have places to go, and things to do.

Maintaining strong, healthy relationships is essential, and a careless word can break even the strongest ties. Words have caused important political elections to be lost, peace treaties to be broken, and even wars to be declared. The author Edward Bulwer-Lytton expressed the power of words best when he wrote, in 1839, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Whether spoken or written, words pack a punch that can help you prevail in nearly every trial.

Even your relationship to God is dependent on your words: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 NIV) And whenever we fail (or stray from God), we can quickly return to His good graces with a few sincere words: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us….” (1 John 1:9 NIV)

Jesus said, “A good man produces good deeds from a good heart. And an evil man produces evil deeds from his hidden wickedness. Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45 TLB) Which takes us back to the importance of feeding our minds (the “heart” of the matter) with the Word of God, and its encouraging, refreshing, and uplifting message of hope. And afterward, maintaining that positive, faith-filled attitude we keep emphasizing.

Get into the habit of speaking out God’s Word. Feed your dreams and creativity by quoting His precious promises, such as “God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone.” (Romans 11:29 GW) A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” (Proverbs 18:16 NKJV)

And to combat those times of weakness we all suffer, when we WANT to give someone a piece of our mind (the piece that’s mostly gristle), we need to be “prayed up”; we should daily ask the Lord to help us overcome any loose-lips tendencies we may have to spout off, offer our unwanted opinions, put people in their place, or demonstrate our acid wit. Ask God to “Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” (Psalm 141:3 NLT) Seek His supernatural grace for your words: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 ESV)

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Where Do Dreams Dwell? (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #10.2)

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Get Tom & Wilma’s new book.

One of the wisest men of all time, the Biblical King Solomon, once wrote, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV) These words of wisdom are as fresh and as relevant today as when they were first recorded, nearly 3000 years ago. And, this advice is vital to creators and dreamers alike — actually, to every last one of us.

Committing all our efforts to God, and then entrusting Him with both the process and the outcome, requires us to do two interrelated things: Lean on the Lord (previously discussed) And…

Abide in the Lord!

Humility in the face of God is acknowledging that without Him, we can accomplish nothing worthwhile. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from Me you can’t do a thing.” (John 15:5 CJB) Ouch! The image the Lord uses is clear: God is like a grapevine laden with ripe fruit. But we’re like the thick gnarly branches of a tree. If someone looks at us and sees us laden with juicy grapes, it’s only because we’ve allowed ourselves to become entangled in the fruit-bearing vine of our God.

Now, with human effort, we can accomplish stuff … on our own … in our own strength, in our own way and timing. But if we act independently of God, we’ll never fulfill His perfect will and divine purpose for our lives. Hence, we’ll never get to see just how amazing things would have turned out — if we’d allowed God to be the architect and builder of our dreams and artistic endeavors. And we’ll never realize the incredible heights of achievement or see all the wonderful places God wanted to take us — because we refused to let Him drive! And navigate us through the road of life.

In our own strength and wisdom, we can accomplish “great things.” But such things carry little if any spiritual weight. They lack eternal value and they’ll always pale in comparison to what God can accomplish THROUGH us! We just need to trust Him enough to let Him steer, remembering that God said, “…I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Getting back to John 15:5, some Bible translations use the phrase “whoever abides in Me,” but the idea is the same. To abide means: to dwell and to rest; to remain or stay; to be firm and unmovable. God wants us to dwell with Him, to rest in His strong arms, and above all, to stay connected to Him, the source of our strength and creativity. We can do this by making Him our “First Love,” by keeping Him as our #1 Priority, by allowing Him to guide us in all things, and by seeking to obey Him in all areas.

The act of “Abiding in the Lord” doesn’t simply happen. It’s a discipline, expressed by one’s attitude and actions, which must be sought and developed. We begin by believing in God’s Word and His promises; by entrusting Him with our lives, as well as our hopes and dreams; and by banking on His infinite love, mercy, and faithfulness. Then, instead of focusing on the problems and challenges of life, we must keep our focus on God’s Divine nature and character, and His ability and willingness to meet each and every need — always remembering that “God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

Learning to abide will also require spending some quality time with God each day, during which we fellowship with Him through Bible study and prayer. We’ll discuss “Tapping into the Power of Prayer,” in our next Boot Camp session.

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