The Power of Words

Have you ever seriously considered the impact of your words? People care about what you say. Your cynicism or judgement can bring down someone’s spirit.

Words can build us up, and words can tear us down.

I had someone say something to me the other day, and it continues to bother me. He may have meant it as a joke, but knowing him as I do, I couldn’t see the funny side of it. I felt he condemned me because I had to go to work, and had to miss church on a Sunday.

Does working on some Sundays make me less of a Christian? What about my relationship with God?

Have you ever treated someone with disdain because of this same issue? I used to be a lot more judgmental than I am today. But God used college, time, maturity, and perspective to give me a kinder and more understanding spirit. I realized that it’s all about your relationship with God.

Don’t get me wrong, I long for fellowship… and the day where I get to do that regularly with my church family.

But please don’t tear down my spirit when it is already downtrodden.

I need you to speak life, to care about each person you talk to. You could totally make someone’s day, just with a few words of encouragement. Be the light of Christ in their lives. Don’t make them feel bad for something they have no control over. Your words can build them up, and give them hope.

So, will you use words to build up, or tear down?

 

In Christ,

Ariel

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Do you want joy that lasts?

Joyful journey

Joy.

What is it? Do you think it is the same as happiness? If it was, why do we have a different word to describe it?

God has taught me a lot about joy the past couple years. These have been the most challenging years of my life. I had a difficult job that had me crunching numbers all day (and, as you can see, I prefer writing), moving away to college (and graduating!), and relationships that broke into a million pieces… and left me broken as well.

Wait. I thought this was supposed to be about joy!

It still is. The back story is necessary to show that joy is not the same as happiness. I was not happy trying to develop the math side of my brain, or happy that a close friend told me they’d be there, then broke off our friendship completely.

At those low moments, God wrapped me up in His arms. He gave me peace, and peace’s friend joy showed up too. I decided I wanted them to stay. I love this quote that defines joy:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” Rick Warren

Trusting

Settled assurance reminds me of peacefully trusting God. As a child of God, in the end everything will be alright. It will be way better than alright, it will be awesome! It is a determined choice to praise God. Another way of doing that is thanking Him. Have you tried thanking Him for the trials, such as health issues or broken relationships? Yeah right, you say. Honestly, a few years ago, thanking Him for those things would’ve sounded ridiculous to me too. But not anymore.

Why? Because when I thank God for what He will do through the difficulties, I am showing Him I trust Him. His ways are much higher than mine, and I believe He has a plan for me.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

What Now?

The situation may not change. The friend may never ask for forgiveness, and your health concerns may stick around. What truly changes is our attitude. Thanking God, and therefore praising Him, opens your heart to receive the amazing, incomparable joy that He gives lavishly. Go on and soak it up!

John 15:10-12 

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (Jesus’ words)

Thanks for reading! I’m praying that you will be abundantly blessed with the joy of the Lord.

 

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+15:9-11&version=NIV

http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/the-definition-of-joy

Time to Slay a Giant

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We all have fear, insecurity, and doubt.

But we don’t have to let these things dictate our actions. What if these things are the giants we must slay? I don’t want to live a dull life because fear holds me captive.

Do the thing you think you cannot do. Just begin. For me, one thing was starting a blog ;). Does that mean you will have 100 followers in a month, or a year? No, but you will be writing, and may have the opportunity to encourage or inspire someone… and that is worth writing for! Not into writing? What about a fitness goal? Join a fitness class at your recreation center. Don’t make excuses, make friends and keep yourself accountable.

As many of you know, I am passionate about camp ministry. I have volunteered in many different positions, from activity director, to art director, to assistant counselor.

The most challenging position was that of a counselor. You are responsible for the lives and well-being of 6 or more kids! Their parents have put their trust in you, and in the directors.

I loved being the art director. It was so much fun to teach art and get to know kids as they created masterpieces of their own. I stayed in this role for a few years.

This year, I knew God was challenging me to step out in faith; to be a head counselor. I am preparing my mind, heart, and body for action. I want to love these kids with all that I have, but more than that, I want them to see Jesus. To know Him, and love Him. To see that He is their Savior, Father, and King.

Please pray for the staff, campers, and myself as we serve Christ at Upon the Rock camp! He is going to do great things, I just know it :).