Use Words to Build Up One Another

 Elizabeth Rosner

May 22, 2017

Use Words To Build Up One Another

Elizabeth Powell Rosner

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.  1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)

I work in a testing center on a university campus.  As you can imagine, we often encounter people who are not at their best, besieged by anxiety, frustration, confusion, and doubt.  My co-worker, Sherry, and I are prayer warriors and we frequently intercede for our center, and our examinees.  Several weeks ago, we had a large group testing over a period of three days.  During this time, we tested over a hundred students.  Tammy called and was exceptionally rude on the phone, complaining that her GPS was not taking her to the correct location.  I gave her directions  and told her we looked forward to seeing her.  She hung up on me.  When she arrived, she was visibly agitated, quite curt in her tone with me, heaving a loud sigh when I requested her government ID.  I admit, at this point it was rather late in the day, I was tired too, so the last thing I wanted to do in my flesh was ignore her horrible behavior.  But apparently my prayers from earlier in the day were answered, and I responded with grace and warmth.  I complimented her outfit.  I told her we were happy she was testing with us that day.  I welcomed her, showed her to her locker, and told her where the bathroom was.  She just stood there, looked at me, then collapsed into tears.

She thanked me for being so nice to her. 

She said her day had been “beyond stressful” and she was feeling overwhelmed.  She repeated her gratitude for my being so kind to her.

I just thanked God that He intervened.  I could have responded to her the same way she initiated our interaction, and been justified to do so, but I did not.  I may have had the right to respond negatively to this student, but it was neither beneficial nor constructive.  Instead, another favorite psalm that I pray frequently washed over me.

     “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NIV)


“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.  1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)


We never know when our words are the only balm a soul so desperately needs.  Sisters, commit to speaking life over each other.  Commit to speaking love, even when the other person is appearing less than lovable.  Commit to praying over your words and ask the Shepherd to guide your interactions so they will glorify Him.  Seek opportunities to be kind in every circumstance.


Pray This Prayer:  Jesus, there are times when my flesh wants to lash out and be rude and unkind in response to others’ behavior.  Thank You Lord for speaking through me to Tammy.  Thank You for allowing me to witness her hardshell exterior crack under Your goodness.  I know it was all You and that I cannot take any credit.  May every encounter I have today and every day glorify You!  AMEN

Read, “Graceful Living” by Johnette Benkovich


Share an incident where you had to extend grace. How did it remind you of the grace God has extended to you?

Jenessa Hefler

May 16, 2017

Decisions, Decisions

Jenessa Hefler

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  We all know this verse and, in fact, probably have a pillow or wall plaque of it in our home… (full disclosure: my current journal has this verse plastered across the front). It is a beautiful promise and an encouraging sentiment when we are faced with decisions, uncertainty, and fear of the future. While this verse is widely known and boldly proclaimed in times of trouble, far fewer of us have read further on in Jeremiah, where it says…

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

When I first really read on past 29:11, I was in a season of despair, doubt, and frustration. I desperately wanted to know that God’s plans were good and were indeed plans for a hope and a future, but I frankly I couldn’t see how. As I read, I felt God telling me that His plans were not plans like mine- His plans were not about success, accolades, or life progress like I wanted, but instead for me to come to a place where I would do exactly what 29:12-13 says. All God wanted was for me to seek Him with all of my heart and then suddenly all of those “plans” wouldn’t (and didn’t) matter.

I am now again in a place of decision- making. Nearly nothing in my life is certain right now- I am living with my parents, working temporarily as a substitute teacher while trying to figure out what job is best for me, and uncertain of my boyfriend and I’s next step- and every day I think I’ve figured out the best plan. One day it’s to move to Oakland and become a social worker, the next day it’s to stay at my parents’ house and substitute for one more year to save up money, the next day it’s to stay in Fresno but get my own place and go back into full-time teaching… you get the idea. I am tempted daily to try to figure out God’s plan for my life. I am always trying to see how He is working behind the scenes, crafting me and my surroundings for the best future. But in all this seeking of answers and plans, I have lost the joy that the following words in Jeremiah 29:12-13 promises. I have begun to cling solely to 29:11 again- seeking God’s plan, God’s answers, God’s will for my life, God’s presence.

What if God’s will for my life (and yours..) is just to call upon Him, come and pray to Him, seek Him with all of our heart, and know Him (as 29:12-13 states)? Why does that feel like not enough? Why do I still want an answer, a 5-year plan (or even just a 1-year plan), and success? May I suggest that it is because I don’t trust God. I may trust Him enough to plan it all, but I’d like to know the plans so I can follow along and, in essence, not really have to trust. To that the answer is found in Proverbs 3:5 -6.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6


God’s presence is not in my (or His) future plans. It is in the right now, the unknown, the unanswered. May I learn to trust Him with all the unknowns and seek only His presence- which is the only answer I will ever need.

  1. Bring your heart before God now. Find a quiet space with your Bible and paper/pen. Write down all of the decisions, fears of the future, and anxiety plaguing you… All of it. Every messy bit. Read them aloud to your Heavenly Father. Then read a Psalms aloud to the Lord (Psalms 27 or 34 are two of my favorites). Ask God to help you trust Him more. Thank Him for the ways He is already working and for His patience with you as you learn to trust.
  2. Google “verses about trusting God” and read them. Write your favorite out on a sticky note and put it somewhere you will read it every day. When you are anxious, read it.
  3. Remember how patient God is. Learning to trust is a lifelong process and daily battle. Just read the Old Testament- the Israelites constantly forgot how faithful God was and turned to their own ways. Yet God was patient. Be patient with yourself too.


Read, “Let God Be God” by Matthew Brough


How has your faith been tested lately? In what ways have you activated your trust in God?

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