The First 15

Wednesday September 27, 2023

by Erica Uplinger

Today is Wednesday, September 27 and this week we are exploring what the Bible says about the power of words.

Opening Prayer

As I observe these first fifteen minutes of my day in prayer with God, I pause and become still. I breathe deeply and slowly. I refocus my busy mind and seek to experience God’s presence.

Pause and Pray

God, I praise you, you are holy, you are mighty, you are Lord of all. Enable me to open my mind and hear the message you have for me today. Speak a word of life into my heart through the power of your Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I praise God and marvel at the beauty of his creation with the words of Psalm 19.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4a

Pause and Pray

The book of Ephesians teaches us how to live our daily, practical lives in a way that is pleasing to God. The back half of Ephesians is for Christains who want to make progress in the Christian life. The letter instructs how Christians should conduct themselves in relationship with others – neighbors, friends, husbands, wives, parents, children, employees, employers, everyone. The letter to the Ephesians challenges the believer to use words carefully. We are to speak truthfully, not utter words in anger, use foul language, or spread gossip.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:25,29-32

Reflection

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I examine myself, the speech that comes from my mouth and the words I swipe, text and type. Lying is harmful because it breaks down relationships and corrupts the truth. I examine myself for honesty, looking for any falsehood or deceit. I watch out for exaggeration – tones I use for emphasis, deception, or secrecy. When I recognize I was not completely truthful, I carefully examine my reasons and correct my words if possible. I inspect my heart for signs of anger. Anger is a strong emotion that clouds my judgment and leads to slander, gossip, and verbal abuse. Angry words do great damage. I should only use words that build others up and not use words that bring people down.

Ask: In all forms of communication, when have I used my words for good and when have I used my words for evil?

Pause and Pray

God thank you for the call to holiness you place upon my life. Through the power of your grace, enable me to put off any falsehood and speak truthfully at all times. Do not permit unwholesome talk to emerge from my mouth. I pray my words will build up and benefit those who listen. Let me be kind and compassionate and have a heart of forgiveness. I read the words from Ephesians again and listen for the specific message you have for me today.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:25,29-32

Ask: What image, word or phrase stands out to me when I slowly read this passage? What is God trying to say to me through these words of scripture?

Pause and Pray

What is God revealing to me about the words I speak, write, text or post on social media? Am I in the habit of speaking truthfully with complete honesty? When have I been guilty of unwholesome talk? I reflect on the times I have used words in a positive way to build others up and benefit those who listen. I reflect on times when I have done the opposite. When have I said words in anger? When have I spoken unkind words behind someone’s back? When have I used foul language? Cussing, swearing and taking the Lord’s name in vain is prohibited in the Bible. To whom does God want me to show kindness and compassion or offer forgiveness? Who will I communicate with today (either in person or through technology) that will benefit from positive words? I name them before God in prayer today.

Pause and Pray

Holy Lord God, I invite you into my relationships. You, Lord and you only, know the words I have spoken and the good or harm my words have caused. Through the power of your grace, I ask for forgiveness for the times my words have done harm, I pray you will work in these relationships to heal and repair any brokenness. Please inspire me to use my words every day as tools for good and for strengthening others. Amen.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 12:18-19, Proverbs 16:24

Closing Prayer

I leave this time of prayer renewed by the word of God. I go to speak gracious words of life that bring healing and peace.

Amen

The First 15

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