Posts Tagged edification

Words of Life

John 6: 63

The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

There are multiple purposes for the Word of the Day. One is simply to bring some of God’s Word into your busy day. I can do the searching for you, mine the nuggets and send them to your inbox.

The Word brings encouragement so one of the other purposes, and a major piece of the Word of the Day, is to give you Words from God for your edification, Words which build you up and encourage you with His Good News. There are also Words of the Day meant to challenge your theology and thinking, driving you deeper into the bosom of God and His thoughts. Some Words are for direction and correction. These hopefully cause us to think about the status, direction and purpose of the church. We are the church and the way we think plots the course of the church so these Words of the Day offer questions about our beliefs and policies. Are we fulfilling the roles we purpose? Are we fulfilling our mandate?

Words of the Day are also meant to inspire a deeper relationship with our Father and to cause us all to seek Him with renewed vigor. They are also used to continually reveal the heart of the Father showing His endless love and kindness towards us all. This is a tall order for one devotional, but it is possible because it is God’s Word. I prefer devotionals based on God’s Word. That is why I send you a bit of God’s Word every day. There is a reason for that. His Word has power in it. It has the power to lift you when you are down, and to celebrate your victories. It empowers your visions and gives you hope. The Word is the Good News we all need daily. It is like taking a daily multi-vitamin. You need a lift and God has just the thing for you. I hope on your busiest days, you will at least read the part God wrote. Ignore the part I write if you are busy but get your dose of His word daily.

We all need a daily touch from God. This is one way for you to reach out and ingest a bit of His thought each day. Some Words of the Day will speak directly to your heart. Many times, God has used the Word of the Day to speak to a specific need of one of our members. He will do that at liberty. Other Words of the Day may be for a different day. In other words, they don’t hit you today. Just let those percolate. Their day will come and then you will have just the Word you need. They may not even be for you but rather for someone you will encounter. You may be surprised, as I often am, at how the Holy Spirit ministers life when you ponder these scriptures. Even when a Word of the Day doesn’t seem to speak to your current need, you may find, when you consider it, that there is a seed in there just for you. I find this to be true for myself. Also, there are times when I intend to write one thing and the Word of the Day goes off in an entirely different direction. I don’t stop to question it, the Holy Spirit has his reasons but then when I go back and read it I find education and edification for myself. Therefore, allow yourself the opportunity to contemplate the implications.

Lastly, another opportunity for the Word of the Day is to create a community forum where we can share our ideas and experiences. You may post your thoughts but you can also reply to others comments. Perhaps you have an experience which validates theirs. Of course, this community dialogue must always be motivated by the same inspiration as the Word, i.e. encouragement, edification, and praise.

All this ministry does, and specifically the Word of the Day, is intended to improve your quality of life and the quality of life of those you come in contact with through daily encounters with the Holy One. God has good plans for you AND His good plans for others will be affected by you. You are meant to live in peace and grace. Prosperity and health are your inheritance. You are also a powerful messenger of the love and power of God which is wrought in demonstrations rather than words, a gift rather than a sermon, a smile in place of condemnation. You are a powerful person whether you realize it or not and when you are coupled with the Word of God, you are divinely powerful. So, fill yourself with God’s Words. I will send you one daily. Then go out and change the world, or at least one person’s day. This is our joint ministry to the world.

Space of Grace

Ephesians 4: 29

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

If you do not stumble here, then you are a perfect person for this is where we usually trip up ourselves, with our mouths. That is the ultimate insight. We damage ourselves with our mouths.

At first reading, this passage is clear enough. However, as we continue to ponder this scripture, one begins to hear a lifestyle emerging through it. Paul was encouraging Christian unity in this chapter. Clearly, there will be no unity in any group if its members do not police their words. Paul leads us a step further though. His words direct us to edify one another with our words. In this he creates a distinction. He didn’t say, “Just keep your mouth shut,” which, by almost anyone’s standard, is good advice. Paul teaches us, instead, to speak words of grace. Our words can lift the hearer. They can build up the group.

Here is the hard part, Paul would have us avoid making statements that are even true if they are likely to disparage another. We are not talking here about lying, never let it be said, but some things just don’t need to be said. As a former lawyer, I can tell you that I struggle with this. Truth is truth and so often I think the scoundrel should be exposed. This is where the world’s way of thinking diverges from God’s way of doing. That is why we have to pay such close attention to the Word. The world’s teaching is engrained within us. Sometimes we have to root it out by really seeing what the Word teaches.

Everything God ever told us, or ever will tell us is for our own good. He didn’t give us a bunch of rules to steal the life from us. He gave us rules to give us life, and that more abundantly. When we let unwholesome speech out of our mouths, we damage ourselves, those who hear, and we do no great favor to the heart of God. However, since we are growing up in the things of God, let us not stop with bridling our tongues. Let’s learn to direct our language in a way which edifies others. Find the space of grace and share it with others. Words can hurt but they can also heal. Use yours to unite and console.

Building a Body

1 Thessalonians 5: 11

Therefore, encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

Each day presents us with opportunities to interact with other people. Do we ignore people or do we say a friendly “Hello?” Do we spend more time tearing people down or building them up? You have so much power. You can strongly affect other people’s day or even their self-esteem. And how do we talk to children? Do we allow them to make mistakes and encourage them or are we always critical and reproving? Do you encourage and build up the children around you? I wish to encourage you to use your power for good. Reach out to people. Say “Hello” to strangers. Encourage someone who is down or who makes a mistake. Build people up and make them stronger. And pray for others as you do. You will be doing your heavenly Father a big favor and he will be very proud of you. 

Answer Desk

John 14: 6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

There is so much in this verse but I want to focus on just one narrow aspect of it today and hopefully bring light, answers and freedom to people. That narrow focus is that Jesus is the way, the answer. So, think of someone you can forward this to today.

One day while sitting at my desk working I was thunder struck by all the trouble and problems people have. I really do not know how people who don’t have Jesus work through all of the junk that life puts in the way. As I probed the issue, though, I realized that many of us Christians are not living in the fullness of the victory that Jesus has won for us. I see people struggling with problems and I know the answer God has for them and yet they never turn to God for the solution. I have some mini-books lying on my desk and as I look at them I think how just one of these little books could set someone free if only they would seek help. 

Not only does God have an answer, He is the answer. Jesus didn’t pay the price that he paid so that we would continue to wrestle with problems. He taught us, in fact, that he had already overcome all of the troubles we would face. Why, then are we not living in his answers? Why are we overcome with problems? 

I am not going to pretend I have all of the answers. I still have challenge areas too. I can share with you what the Father is teaching me though. I have noticed that my problem solving process is entirely too egocentric. I ask myself, “What am I going to do about this.” You can see in that one sentence the real problem. There are three pronouns which have to do with me. There is problem. Even when I get out of myself enough to pray about the situation I often ask Dad what I should do. Increasingly His answer has been, “Nothing.” You see, I am not the savior and while that is very evident the truth is that within the boundaries of own our lives most of us do act like we are our personal deliverers. We are the problem solvers. We are the fixers. No wonder we are drowning. If I could have done these things for myself, Jesus need not have come. 

Very few of us pick up the phone and call another, even for encouragement or prayer. We rarely call or write seeking advice or inspired scripture. We don’t even pick up these little booklets written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and I believe the reason why is ego. To call someone else is to admit weakness. Oh God forbid! Furthermore, it is an admission that they may know more than we or be more spiritually mature. Well, here is the rub. Not calling proves we are not mature spiritually. Another reason we don’t reach out is because we have guilt in our lives. We already know we are not doing as we ought and we do not want to receive recrimination. 

Part of the solution is that if we are called, if someone does ask for help, we need to make sure that we encourage and edify them rather than belittle them. They already feel small and inadequate. Secondly, don’t give them your worldly advice. If you cannot seek the Father and His counsel or give them relevant scriptures then refer them to someone who can. Refer them to a book even.

Guys, I entreat you. There is no need for us to suffer as we do. Let us all go get the help we need. Let us dare to pick up a “good for us” book and let the author minister life. Call your pastor, call me and ask what book may help. There is so much help available and no need for us to continue to go around the same mountain again and again. No matter how smart you think you are, God just knows way more and has seen it all before. He can give you the answer in a second. Let’s retire as the lords of our lives and just see if there is something Jesus can do. Let’s end the suffering for ourselves and our friends. God is the answer and He really will help in every single little and big situation. Don’t wait until you are drowning to reach out. At the first indication of trouble, call your praying friends and if you don’t have friends who pray, it is time to get new friends.

Lastly, no matter where you are in the world, we at Ivey Ministries are here for you. This is our passion. We want to see God’s people living free. The Word of the Day is being read in many different countries now and on six continents. Where ever you are, whoever you are, we are praying for you and will always be here to help in the time of need.

Power Tools

Ephesians 4: 29

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

God is serious about our words and how we use them. We can use them to build up others or tear them down. The word edification means instruction or enlightenment, especially when it is morally or spiritually uplifting (Encarta Dictionary). So, therefore, we are supposed to use language with each other that is uplifting. If people feel better and/or encouraged after speaking with you, then you are fulfilling the direction and purpose of God. But if people feel frustrated, hurt or bad when they leave your presence, then you are not using your words in a way that God will approve. Language is a powerful tool that we have for good or for ill. It is so powerful and so important that it is the weapon that God gave us with which to battle our enemies. He didn’t give us lightning bolts or fire balls that shoot from our fingertips. He gave us his most powerful weapon; words. Each of us must make wise choices with this awesome power.