"Use Your Words!"

Our youngest grand daughter, Klaire, is quite precocious! You would expect a "doting grandfather" to say this about any of his grandchildren! She is admittedly pretty smart and aware of things in her 2 1/2 year-old world. By comparison to the eight grandsons, to me, she seems to be ahead in her verbal skills. Now, it was not always that way! She used to squeal when she was frustrated and couldn't make her family understand what it was that she wanted. I distinctly remember hearing her mother repeatedly say something rather adult to her, "Klaire, use your words!"

When our middle son, Marc was a little guy, his brother, Matt, did a lot of the speaking for him. Marc had chronic ear infections that left him unable to hear what was being said and this impacted his ability to speak with clarity. So, he learned the "point and grunt" technique of communicating. For example, in the mornings for breakfast we would open the pantry and ask the boys what cereal they wanted. Marc would "point and grunt," and Matt would immediately interpret and say, "He wants coco-puffs!" I would look at him and say, how do you know that? Matt, Mr. Verbose, (like his dad!), would simply say, "I just do!"
Old-World Word Books!

So, when there are eight grandsons in our family it was sure refreshing to have bright and beautiful little girls to later come come along who seemed to begin speaking at an earlier age and with such clarity! Speaking of "clair-i-ty" ... Klaire is one of our three little angels blessed to be an early and very clear communicator!

During a recent and intense three-days, she fought through a stomach virus as we maintained daily contact with her mother, Melissa, using the visual app on our smart phone. It was during one of those calls that Monique asked Melissa if Klaire was feeling better. Melissa turned to Klaire for the answer and I heard a little voice in the background declare, "No! Not yet!" We laughed although the whole ordeal was hardly anything to laugh about!

Have you thought lately about the Bible's teaching regarding the power of words? James details the destructive nature of words and warns, "And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell." (James 3:6 ESV). He further states the contradiction within the words we speak, "From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so." (Ja. 3:10).

What about the power of words for blessing? There is a familiar acronym that gives structure to our prayer lives: ACTS. "A" is for Adoration. The book of Psalms offers constructive use of our words to praise God. Many turn to the Hebrew Psalter to personalize and give shape to their own prayers of praise f'rom David's lips, "Bless the Lord, O My soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name" (Psalm 103:1). The "C" is for confession and again, David laments, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" (Ps. 51:2).

The "T" within the acronym is for thanksgiving. The Apostle Paul expresses how the generosity of the Corinthians reflects the absolute generosity of God when he gifted the world with His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Paul's prayer is also our prayer of thanksgiving, "Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15). And the final letter, "S" stands for supplication, a formal word for earnestly petitioning the Father concerning specific needs. I think that we selfishly start here in our daily praying when it would be better to frame our prayers with praise and thanksgiving first. How does God feel when His children are so consumed with their list of needs that a focus on Him, who He is and what He does, hardly gets mentioned?

I like the phrase, "Use your words!" Instead of starting out our praying with declarations and questions like: "I'm hurt and upset! I don't understand! Where are you God in all of this mess? Why don't you answer me?" Shouldn't we be adoring the Father for how good and loving He is and shouldn't we be thanking Him for all the blessing He daily sends our way?

Let's use our words wisely and affirm with the Psalmist, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (Ps. 19:14).

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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