What’s up with Your Communication?

Looking for some answers on what perfect communication is? God has them. Let’s check them out. God would you help us understand how to communicate the way You intended when You created us?

I am reminded of the power of our words as I read Psalm 12:1-3 this morning. In James 3:5-6 we learn that the tongue is a small thing but how it can change the whole course of our lives. James helps us understand how our tongue can produce great evil (James 3:8-10). But there is more to controlling our tongues than simply not slandering or cursing others.

Jesus tells us we will give account for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36–37). He uses term idle to describe useless words. Words are powerful things, but words of these sort seem to be impotent and unprofitable. Indeed our words are powerful, King Solomon reminds us of this also in Proverbs 18:21.

The ability to speak is a gift from God, it makes us distinctly human and some point to Genesis 2:7 when God breathed the breath of life into man that with it came the ability to speak. If this is so, the question becomes how are we stewarding this gift from God? In Ephesians 4:29 we are given clear instruction on the objective of our words. We are told to avoid corrupt communication and that our words are to minister grace unto others.

As we allow the Word to test us and correct us let us consider for a moment on what to put off and what to put on.

Put off corrupt communication. First it says communication not simply talking but listening as well. With that said let us consider most dirty jokes and humor. If heard it will likely contain one of three elements. Two of them are things that humans make private but animals do not; sex and bathroom activities. The third is taking God’s Holy Name in vain. This genre of humor seems to fly in the face of God’s intended purpose for his gift of speech. Are we partaking, viewing, listening, joining in and laughing, exposing, or even sharing this type of ‘humor’? In the past I have found it difficult to avoid. It has seemingly poisoned most TV as heard in the infamous marketing  slogan “sex sells”. In the past, when I have avoided it, it was quite rewarding. Like all things trading in something that is empty and perverted for something that is full of truth fills us up and edifies.

Put on edifying communication. Again begin by considering what we are exposing ourselves to. God willing His Word is the primary stimuli in our lives and the lives of those we shepherd. God please help us. Then consider what we are communicating into this world. Our speech yes but also our non verbal communication; dress, accessories, demeanor, etc. Does it edify and build up? Is it productive and other focused? Is it from God? God willing, He is the primary thing we bring into this world.

God may You guard the gate of our mouths (Psalm 141:3). May You strengthen us with Your Spirit and bring to us the perfect remembrance of all things the LORD Jesus Christ has spoken (John 14:26) that we may edify the world and minister grace to it (Isaiah 55:11). May we love others with the love of Christ. May we walk in the everlasting ways (Psalm 1:1-3). Amen.

Originally published on BibleJournal.net form August 10th, 2016’s reading: Ruth 3–4; Acts 28; Jeremiah 38; Psalms 11–12

 

Parenting: Giving Added Value to a Child’s Christmas

He who would make children happy must do for them and do with them, rather than merely give to them. He must give himself with his gifts, and thus imitate and illustrate, in a degree, the love of Him who gave Himself to us, our needs, and who, with all that He gives us, holds out an expectation of some better thing in store for us: of that which passeth knowledge and understanding, but which shall fully satisfy our hopes and longings when at last we have it in possession.
-H Clay Trumbull

Rustic Christmas wreath on old weathered door with Christmas lights in a snow storm.
Rustic Christmas wreath on old weathered door with Christmas lights in a snow storm.

 

The story told in this chapter on Christmas was a story of anticipation. Children gathered round swelling stockings with suggestive outlines. Threads strung throughout the home for children to follow creating moments bursting with suspense as they race to see what mystery awaits them at their journey’s end. What cherished memories such experiences create.

This week I asked Jamie if she remembered what she was gifted last Christmas. She did better than I. I could hardly recall a thing. As we reflected on Christmases past the memories were not of things to hold in our hands but of things to hold in our hearts. I realized then that my focus had been just off. A bit or the whole way wrong, I am not yet sure I know. Nonetheless, too material for certain. The spirit of a gift given is undoubtedly a wonderful thing; focused on the other, a habit to exercise the wondrous joy of coming out of self. Still, something was missing or quite the opposite rather: something had been perverted along the way and was now in excess.

This Christmas we have set out to reverse the reality that the value placed on each gift amidst the abundance thereof is greatly diminished. To replace the abundance of things to hold in hand with an abundance of things to hold dear in our hearts as cherished memories. To replace the money leaving our account with self leaving our soul. We thought to ourselves what if we simply gave one gift? How could it not then be special? We are going to try to head this way, uncertain that the outcome will align with the longing for the cherished, but one thing is present already, anticipation is building.

Merry Christmas and may God bless you with the fruit of the Spirit, when we are less and He is more, shone through to all you enjoy His celebration with this year. May your Christmas abound in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness and temperance. Amen.

 

-A takeaway from Hints on Child Training by H Clay Trumbull

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciate

A Journal Entry: When to Talk

let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
-Saint James

When to talk and when to listen

I have come to keep a journal. Reflections on the day and so on. This morning in my time set aside to blog, thoughts of reflection on a topic that has gone unanswered too long and an idea of resolution consumed me to journal instead. So this week I will share this entry. Names removed, adding in verses for and some of my thoughts that did not make their way to the entry for context, etc:

5.2.15

In the past I have not been sure as to the volume of my speech. In business settings, in the past I have felt like I, in general, have ideas I think will help. So I have always erred the side of sharing them. That said, I have been mindful of God’s word that encourages us not to speak hastefully and in great volume. It has been a point of uncertainty for me. The balance of volume my speech. Should I talk or should I remain silent? Is this a point of pride? That everyone must hear my idea because my idea is so good? Yesterday I had breakfast with one of my mentors. My struggle on the matter came up as we talked about James 1:18-20:

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

I have come to believe this to mean that if we are going to be God’s firstfruits amongst His creatures, if we are going to serve and love our fellow; the formula to make that possible is to be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath. We need to listen to be positioned to love others well. It does not say “do not speak” it says to “be slow to speak.” This I think helps us focus on listening. The opposite thinking about what we are going to say and waiting for the first opportunity to speak, I do not think is slow to speak but rather quick for we have already spoke to ourselves and are just waiting to privy others our thoughts. The question I asked him was how does this work with the gift of speaking and teaching and sharing understanding. He looked at me and smiled. He gave no answer. No word left his tongue. Interesting. Perhaps now I think he may have been teaching me a lesson after all. After breakfast he and I went to visit an old friend of my fathers that was in town from the city on a case, he is a God fearing lawyer, his father was too. I asked him this same question after talking about James 1:19. He said that it was a tough question that he had no answer. He did however afford me a piece of advice his father gave him. ‘It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.’ That is, as I took it, when in doubt remain silent. Still my dilemma remains for my confidence soars in conversation that a particular idea should be shared for the service of those there. Not to my glory of course, that I rescue them with my idea or some nonsense, but instead, should what is shared help; glory be to our God who makes all things known, the Creator of all ideas. I was mowing the lawn last afternoon, preparing our home for a dinner with the families of two business partners where we planned to discuss how to help another in a new venture. As I was mowing the lawn reflecting on the day, I came to this bit of advice that my fathers friend passed to me from his father. ‘When in doubt remain in silence.’ Then a thought flashed in to my mind. 1 Peter 4:10-11:

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

In my estimation, if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow, then speak as it is your duty. This, I think, is when the doubt is removed; that point of balance I had been searching for. When to talk. My father’s friend said something else that I think answers the ‘if’ of the qualifying question above. That is; discerning if you are speaking for the LORD in service of your fellow. I am doing my best to recall and paraphrase his comments, ‘I thrive in hardship.’ He said, ‘It is good for me. To be humbled and know I rely on God. I have no humble bone in my body. God brings me to my knees.’ This sort of revelation has been reoccurring to me as of late years. My complete reliance on God. On God’s Spirit to show me what to do. I think now, God willing, my dilemma in speech will draw me closer to God. Practicing the presence of God. God give me discernment and faith with wisdom, understanding, knowledge. I need Your help God. I depend on You moment by moment. Draw me near You God and draw near me. Show me what to do.

A quick programming note: I want to clarify something that was clear in my mind when writing in my journal but could be taken for granted here. And when I say clear in my mind I do not mean that I have figured this out, only that I have come to believe these things important. These things are things that if, should you believe you are to speak, I do not think should give way to manners and other proverbs addressing our speech. Things like talking in definitives or otherwise squaring off that you are in the right, interrupting and other forms inserting yourself when another is speaking, or dominating a conversation as to not let another contribute. 

 

-A journal entry on speech

  As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

Getting In

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
-C.S. Lewis

friendship in business

In business the desire for strategic partnerships often arises when trying to accomplish. As an entrepreneur I have found myself doing what I suppose many entrepreneurs do from time to time: dreaming about a future in which we have partnered with another who is already serving the masses. Dinner with the king and so on. But how does one broach the matter with the great? The bible gives Christian business people an understanding on exactly how this works. Let us have a look.

 First things first the bible shows us what the dynamics of the situation are in Proverbs 19:6a

 Many will entreat the favor of the prince…

 Entreat. Ask someone earnestly or anxiously to do something. So we know that the great are approached earnestly and or anxiously by many. What is an earnest approach like to the great? I am assuming it is not like getting a call from your cable provider on the benefits of latest bundle. It is more likely, I think, that these are more like the I have a dream speech. It is quite reasonable, I believe, to assume that the solicitors care deeply about the matter, that they have thought deeply about it for some time, perhaps even sacrificed to bring it to its current state for years. How are we to stand out?

Anxiously. In this context, I take this to mean that the solicitors’ sense of desire is great. Perhaps to the point of causing the solicited to be a bit put back, startled or even uneasy. When we think about it the two are in very different positions. One has just heard of this idea, proposition, or even this person; just now. The other is quite the opposite. This passion and sense of urgency and desire on the matter seems only separate them further.

The verse goes on to say:

Many will entreat the favor of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

So what is this mention of gifts doing here then? Interesting. Another verse in Proverbs mentions gifts and the great and even speaks to the topic of broaching the divide between ourselves and them. Proverbs 18:16 reads:

A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

 So the bible is telling us that a gift will help us get our in so to speak. But what sort of gift is this? A new car? A fruit cake?

Gifts. The very best sort are focused on the other. Giving a gift that you like is one thing; I enjoyed this so I thought you might to. But then again your mother may not like so and so as much as you. But let us suppose this Mothers Day you found out a bit about where your mother would like to be and gave her a gift that helped her get there. In business this, I think, is of the very best sort. Not so easy of course, but all the same the best I think.

I have come to believe that these great business people are great because of their being focused on those they are serving. Again this speaks to how difficult it can be to present an idea to them. They are likely consumed with executing their specific plan for serving their customers and there may not be room for a new idea that is yours. It is highly probable that they have a plan and that you can learn about it. Perhaps the gift you bring could establish your friendship by coming alongside them in their journey of service. How much better if it was on their terms and not yours. If you were focused on joining them on their journey not inserting yours and trying to make it fit. Focused on them. The question, I believe, then becomes: how can you give a gift that helps them with their plan of helping their customers?

-A takeaway from an internrocket.com shareholder meeting

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.