7 Tips for Communicating Effectively

Do you ever get in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden you realize communication is not happening?  I know that happened with my husband and me before.  Somehow, we stopped connecting, we weren’t listening to understand, and sometimes things were said that hurt the feelings of one of us.  Solomon, who is considered by many to be the wisest person, has great advice to help us communicate peacefully and effectively:

  • “He who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 (Keeps a person from putting their foot in their mouth or hurting someone.)
  • “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (Harsh words can pierce someone’s heart, but wise words will bring healing to a relationship.  We can pray for words of wisdom.)
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (A soft answer makes it easier for the listener to hear what is actually being said rather than reacting to harshness.  It helps keep defensiveness from building up walls.)
  • “A person finds joy in giving an appropriate reply, and how good is a timely word.” Proverbs 15:23 (The right words said at the right time are good, and joy can be found in it. Sometimes we need to wait for the right time to say certain things.  Timing is so important!)
  • “The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” Proverbs 16:21 (Want to help someone understand what you mean? Use pleasant words to get your point across.  Think of a positive way to get your meaning across.)
  • “A word appropriately spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 (Words that are appropriate are going to be thought out, not a just a spur of the moment reaction that will stir up anger.)
  • “A gentle tongue can break a bone.” Proverbs 25:15 (A gentle tongue is not weak. A gentle answer can accomplish a lot.)

When voices get louder, people get defensive.  When people get defensive, they stop listening and stop communicating even though they’re talking.  I love how Solomon teaches us to hold our tongues, not use reckless words but careful and thought out words, to use soft and gentle and pleasant words.  Did you notice the proverb that says, “A person finds joy in giving an appropriate reply,” and their words are timely which means a person waits until the timing is right.  Sometimes that means waiting until the next day.  It means thinking about a response ahead of time so an appropriate reply can be given.

There is so much wisdom from God in Proverbs, a book in the Bible!

How To Be Thankful Even When Life is Hard

Have you ever felt unsettled? Things just weren’t going right or your world turned upside down? Maybe you’ve lost your job or maybe can’t find a job. Maybe you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Maybe you’ve lost someone very dear to you either suddenly or through a long illness, or maybe a loved one is suffering with an illness. Maybe you have children who have lost their way and you’re not sure where they are. Maybe a good friend has betrayed you. Maybe your health is not what it used to be. Maybe you’re experiencing depression or fear. The “maybe” list can go on and on.

Life can be hard!  During this week of Thanksgiving, how can someone be thankful when life is hard? How do you do hard and be thankful at the same time?

Being thankful is a choice and is mentioned many times in the Bible. When it says to come before the LORD with thanksgiving (Psalms 95 & 100, etc.), it doesn’t give any stipulations like “when everything is going right” or “when we ‘feel’ like we have something to be thankful for.” There is always something to be thankful for, and we might have to ask God to open our eyes to see the many blessings around us.

  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with  thanksgiving,  present your requests to God.   Philippians 4:6

In every situation..  Not just certain situations.  And thanksgiving goes right along with prayer.  While we are in prayer,  we can give all the hard things in life over to God and give Him our worries.  When we stop feeling like we are in control and realize that God is in ultimate control, then and only then can we stop being anxious.  Somehow that opens our hearts and eyes to see all the things we do have to be thankful for.

The Bible also tells us that we need to come before God like little children.  He is our heavenly Father, our Creator, the God who knows us.

  • He (Jesus) called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.   Matthew 18:2

Have you listened to the prayer of a child recently?  Have you noticed that sometimes they pray for everything, simple things, things that adults often take for granted?  God is the Creator of everything.  They are coming before God with thanksgiving for everything, no matter how simple.

Maybe these two Bible verses can help us to open our eyes, come before God as children, give Him all our worries, and truly come before Him with thanksgiving…in every situation!  When we focus on being thankful to God, our eyes are opened to the abundance of blessings we have to be thankful for… no matter how hard our life is at the time.

Sunday Thoughts: When Tragedy Strikes

We don’t know why tragedies have happened the last few months, why innocent children and staff died at Sandy Hook Elementary; why so many people, several of which were children, died and were injured and lost their homes in Moore, Oklahoma; why people died in a tornado in Granbury recently.  There have been other tragedies as well the past year, the past decade, and throughout history.

But one thing I do know without a doubt is that our God cares, and He is close to those who are hurting.  He will comfort all those who turn to Him for comfort.

There are so many people in churches all over the country who are reaching out monetarily and with their time and sweat to help those who are hurting.  The church where we attend in Texas helped people up north after the hurricane hit so hard a few months ago.  And you know what?  Some of those people from the church who were hit hard up north came down to Texas to help those in the West, Texas, disaster recently.  It really encourages me to hear of all the many things that are being done by fellow Christians all over the country to help those who are hurting, who are brokenhearted, who are grieving.

I am so overwhelmed with the end-of-school things that have to be done, but I hope that I can go to at least one of these places where people are hurting and be of comfort and help to them this summer.  That’s my goal.

The best source of comfort comes from God.  Here are some verses from God’s Word, the Bible:

New Century Version, BibleGateway.com

  1. Psalm 34:18
    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
  2. Psalm 147:3
    He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
  3. Psalm 23:4
    Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me. Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.
  4. Matthew 5:4
    They are blessed who grieve, for God will comfort them.
  5. 2 Corinthians 1:3
    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort.
  6. 2 Corinthians 1:4
    He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.

Sunday Thoughts

Just having a lot of Bible knowledge or going to church every Sunday is not what being a Christian is about.  It’s about being transformed into what God would have us become and about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, & strength.  It’s about loving others as well.  It’s about having a servant spirit like Christ and being transformed more and more into being like Him every day of our lives.  It’s about being transformed and changed because of the great love, mercy, and grace that God has showered on us through sending His one and only Son into this broken world… to save us!

Sunday Thoughts: Strangely Dim

Several years ago, when my mother only had a few days left to live, I would sit in her room, reading my Bible.  I knew in situations like those that God was and is always the true source of comfort.  The chorus of one song kept going through my mind over and over again, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”  I knew He was there with me in those very hard days.

Francesca Battistelli posted on Facebook this past week that she has a new song out “Strangely Dim.”  This immediately caught my attention…the words struck a chord in my heart because those words are in the song, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.  I quickly listened to her new song on YouTube and loved it.   No matter what anyone is going through in their life, it’s amazing how the tough things in life grow dim when we have our hearts focused on Jesus.  When we trust in Him, we can talk to Him in prayer and turn any and all problems over to Him.  He not only is God’s Son…He is also our best friend, if we open our hearts to Him!  He can comfort us in the way no person can.

Sidenote:  Francesca is one of my favorite female contemporary Christian music artists.  We (our son, my husband, and I) heard her live at a Celebrate Freedom concert at Southfork Ranch (yes, the one that was in the TV show Dallas) a couple of years ago, and we were impressed with her sincerity and commitment to God.  We were impressed how she was seven months pregnant and was sitting on a stool out in the Texas heat (the stage was shaded and she probably had a fan blowing on her).  She must have felt a great commitment to share her songs.  By the way for those of you who keep up with her, they have another new baby, a little girl.