Our Words Matter

by Edie Melson

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.                                                                                                                            Proverbs 16:24 ESV

 I love words. I take joy in reading a book where the author transports me to another place. I love movies and plays where the dialogue pierces my heart with healing truth. Most of all, I love it when my words bring comfort and joy to someone else.

God loves words too. In Genesis 1:1 we see how He speaks the world into being. In John 1:14 Jesus is referred to as “The Word became flesh…”. Throughout the Bible we see the power in words, and the warnings of the power—good and bad—they contain.

While I’m careful with the words I write and the words I speak to others, I discovered something else.

I’m not as careful when I choose the words I say to myself. I’m guilty of saying things to me that I wouldn’t allow someone to say to the worst person on earth. And all that negative self-talk can have a huge impact on me. With those cutting words comes a willingness to believe what’s being said. Believing the lies I spoke to myself was destroying me.

Maybe you do the same thing.

“I’m so stupid.”

“I should just quit, I’ll never amount to anything.”

“I’m ugly.”

“I don’t know why anyone would want to hang out with me.”

“I can’t do anything right.”

These lies are not from God, for His view of me is very different. When self-condemning thoughts like these cross my mind, the best anecdote is to speak God’s truth over the lie. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God has uniquely gifted me with an ability to serve Him and build up His Church (1 Corinthians 12:7). He delights in me (Psalm 149:4).

Statistics tell us that when we speak negative things to someone close to us, it takes anywhere from eight to sixteen positive things to outweigh one negative remark. We apply that statistic to our kids, our husbands, even our friends—but we ignore the fact that it also holds true when we’re speaking to ourselves.

The truth is, each of us is unique and precious to God. He paid the ultimate price to bring us back to Him. How can we despise what God esteems? Think about how different your outlook might be if you spoke respectfully to yourself?

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While Were Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.comand on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the conversation: What negative thoughts plague you? What truth from God can help you combat those condemnations?

Sapphire Friends

by Sheri Schofield

She was quiet and shy. Her two sons, ages seven and eleven, sat in the pew, glued to their iPhones. I introduced myself and said, “I’m teaching a children’s church class for ages seven to ten. Would your younger son be interested?”

The son looked up briefly and shrugged. “I might come,” he said, and went right back to his game. He never came. Our youth pastor later explained that the boys probably avoided connecting with people because of constantly moving to get away from their abusive father. A few weeks later, I read in the newspaper that the father had violated a restraining order and had been arrested. The mother and her sons disappeared. They wanted to be safe.

Sometimes Christians have similar fears. Having been hurt or offended before, they keep to the fringes of the church, ready to run at the first hint of anything unpleasant.

We know that everyone has their failings, so there can be no perfect relationship. But is it really better to isolate oneself to keep peace of mind? Or is it worth developing strong, Christian friendships and risk possible hurt?

Here in Montana, we have locations where sapphires can be dug by hand. Many people visit these locations to hunt for the beautiful blue gems. They dig up a shovelful of dirt, sift it carefully, then toss it aside if they find no sapphires. Finding a jewel is always exciting! The finder takes the gem to be cut, has it set into jewelry, and treasures it.

At church, we need to make the effort to know and to be known. If we do not, we are not functioning as God designed us to function. He’s gifted us for the purpose of building up others. “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7, NASB). We are urged not to forsake assembling together, but to encourage each other (Hebrews 10:25) and to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).

We were designed for community. Without it, we could very well doom ourselves to emotional and spiritual poverty.

When we do find a sapphire-friend, we rejoice! Our lives are richer for the relationship. We get to mutually share our joys and sorrows and help each other to be strong in Jesus.

We have something worth sharing with others. Remember the man Jesus delivered from demons in Gerasenes? He wanted to follow Jesus! He wanted to get out of town! But Jesus told him to stay there to tell others what great things God had done for him (Mark 5:2-20). Let’s reach out and share our own unique stories of God-moments with each other. Together we will be built up in the love of Christ and find ways to tune our lives to His.  It’s worth the risk.

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another. . .”  Hebrews 10:24, 25 NIV

 sheri schofieldAbout the author: Children’s ministry veteran Sheri Schofield was unexpectedly called on to save her husband’s life, a battle that took her to the Pentagon, Congress, National Security and the President of the United States. At her website, www.SheriSchofield.com, she shares this journey in her book One Step Ahead of the Devil. Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, will be launched June 1. It is designed to help parents lead their children into a saving relationship with Jesus.

Join the conversation: What benefits have you enjoyed by participating in Church life or fellowship?

Be the Fingerprint

by Michelle Lazurek

Two months ago, my husband suffered the loss of his father. At the wake, we were surprised to see the large number of friends and family who came to show their support. A number of people from his former churches also attended. It was a sweet reminder that the Church is comprised of many brothers and sisters in Christ who lift us up and help us bear our burdens.

In preparation for the service, I thought of a picture my daughter made in preschool. It was a hand turkey. After being dipped in paint, her hand had stamped an image that was uniquely hers onto a piece of paper to be decorated with feathers. I sensed God wanted me to talk about fingerprints. He brought to mind a few facts:

1) Our fingerprints are unique to us. No one in the world has the same exact fingerprint as me. Therefore, my hands leave an impression that can only be traced back to me.

2) I leave my fingerprint every place I touch, whether I can see them or not. This is due to the oils naturally secreted in my hands.

3) When my physical body leaves a place, my fingerprints remain on everything I touched while I was there. That unique impression can last for quite a while.

I realized that each person that attended the funeral were people that my father-in-law touched. He may no longer be in this world, but like a physical fingerprint, his impact on others remains.

God has gifted each of us with gifts that enable us to serve each other in love. Paul wrote: “Now there are varieties of gifts…And there are varieties of ministries…There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, NASB). God created each of us with unique abilities to be used in the lives of others. That means you can have an impact in a way I cannot. Our ability to help someone along in their faith is as individual as our fingerprints.

Every day we have an opportunity to leave our fingerprints on each other. A simple act of kindness may seem insignificant but can leave a lasting impression whether we see it at the time or not. It could lead someone to change their thinking and shift their focus back to God. Something as simple as holding the door for someone, smiling at a store clerk, or offering a coworker something to drink can have an impact. Each time we choose to love, we touch lives for eternity.

Where is God calling you to leave your fingerprint?

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB

michelle lazurekAbout the author: Michelle S. Lazurek is an author, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children’s Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal, and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author’s Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Michelle is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more on Michelle, please visit her website.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random numberrighteous and lost generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Michelle’s book, Righteous and Lost: Finding Hope for the Pharisee Within,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How are you using your God-given abilities  to touch those around you?


Between Purpose and Platforms

by Amber Weigand-Buckley

Even though I’m 5’11”, I have a great affinity for platform shoes. You, know, the higher the wedge, the closer to God. Yes, I’ve even donned the extra 8 inches of sole at the office as proof that I can walk in them and incorporate them into my business casual.

But goodness knows they weren’t made for traversing steep rocky slopes. For me, those slopes specifically pertain to my mid-forties. Bottom line: walking around in my platforms may get the attention of people I tower a foot above, but walking on them is simply not sustainable for the long haul.

My impractical footwear is much like the foundation many build when doing the business of ministry. This is especially true in the publishing world. It’s a little precarious teetering on top of a flimsy platform. When you are a writer and speaker, it’s easy to become obsessed with building a platform (audience). Maintaining a level of notoriety can be consuming.  The stress of always needing to get your name out there, always striving to move up to the next level is exhausting. We too easily lose the reason we do what we do in the rat race that is the publishing world.

Sometimes building an audience to hear a message becomes a higher priority than the message God has sent us to give.

You can probably see where I’m going with this: if it is not about God’s message and purposes, then my ministry becomes all about me. Paul has carefully instructed us on our priorities in how to use our spiritual gifts. He wrote “to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB, emphasis added). God has gifted us to build up the body of Christ, not ourselves. What we do should be for His glory alone.

Have you become “platform”-focused in your ministry instead of purpose-focused? Here are checkpoints to see if you might be tripping up:

  • Do you view brothers or sisters in a ministry similar to yours more as competitors than coworkers? That their ministry somehow undermines what you are doing?
  • Do you fail to acknowledge those who work by your side? Are you tempted to take credit for their great ideas or hoard the glory for yourself?
  • Do you find yourself making friends with people for what they or their acquaintances can do for you?
  • Do you get jealous of others’ success?

This list could go on. For me, in my role as a writer and word artist, there can be a tricky balance between building an audience and fulfilling God’s purpose. The highest kingdom value is in being obedient to the message God has created us to pass on for His glory. Living for an audience of ONE needs to be front and center for us. Always.

Our purpose is simple: stay true to God’s calling. And rather than competing with those who are similar in their calling, we must join together to become a choir of voices proclaiming the truth, all ultimately for the glory of God.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others…holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” Philippians 2:3-4, 16 NASB

24991101_10214928057980177_8461748523593770063_nAbout the author: Amber Weigand-Buckley @barefacedgirl is founding editor, art director and podcast host for the multi-award-winning Leading Hearts magazine. She has been in the mag-making business for 22 years.

 Including the 16 years as editor for ONCOURSE  magazine in Assemblies of God Youth Ministries, the publications Weigand-Buckley has served on as editor have garnered a total of 13 Evangelical Press Association Awards. She also was named the 2015 Advanced Writers and Speakers Association Member of the Year (awsa.com).

In her full-time she is wife to her Brit-native Philip & mum to 3 inspiring creatives: Saffron (17), Imogen (Moose) (14)  & Penelope (10)  as well as social media manager & communications support for many authors, non-profits and missionaries.

Get a Leading Hearts delivered via your mobile device by texting LEADINGHEARTS to 64600.

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt competitive or even jealous of someone serving in ministry?