The Tongue: a Tool for a Fool or a Device to be Nice? Guest Post by Karen Finn

Ministry Mamas, I want to introduce you to my new friend Karen Finn. She is the author of Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour?, a teen-girl Bible study about their spiritual fruit. In the near future, we will be seeing a review of her book here at the blog. But until then,  I won’t keep you from reading this great post!               ~The Ministry Mama

Karen Finn - Tongue Guest Post 2
Next month, I will be speaking at a Ladies meeting on taming the tongue. I’m not sure why my pastor’s wife asked me to be the spokeswoman for such a tricky topic; I am certainly not an expert on the matter! But then again… who is?

Here’s a fun fact you may or may not be aware of: the female gender is known for its chattiness. A study conducted by the University of Maryland’s College of Medicine in 2013, found that on average, women speak about 20,000 words per day, while men speak only 7,000 words per day. This statistic is probably not all that surprising. Most women would agree that it’s fairly accurate. A woman’s ability to talk….and talk….is commonly joked about in social circles and portrayed in cartoons, television sit-coms, etc.

It doesn’t matter what career you have, what ministry you’re involved in or whether you are at home raising your children. As a child of God, you are responsible for your words–every single one of them. Your speech identifies you as a fool or a follower. And this “little member” (James 3:5) can be the tool for a fool or used as a device to be nice.

If you could calculate the amount of words you’ve spoken in one day, how would you categorize them? Are most of your conversations repetitive or insignificant? Does your communication with others generate laughter or a positive response? Have you used your words to encourage or bring restoration? Did you engage in a hearty discussion with a stranger, learning something new about that person? (I found out today that my cashier at Wal-Mart is a fellow chocoholic!)

First Peter 1:15-17 states, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” The word conversation in this passage is translated in the Greek as “behavior.” Our actions and attitudes are reflected by what we say, how we say it and why we say it.

Before you open your mouth to say something, please consider following these points:

1. Say what you mean. A.K.A.: “Think before you speak.”

I like the instruction given in Psalm 15:1, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Our impulse to respond abruptly or harshly to a comment can instigate a raging war; a verbal one, that is. Frequently, someone’s feelings get hurt and friendships are broken— all because one of the parties involved failed to be more patient with their tongue. It’s best for us women to think soft so that we can talk soft.

In the Bible, there is much to be said about the danger of a misused tongue. It’s been compared to a raging fire (James 3:6), a poison (James 3:8) and a razor (Psalm 52:2). Choose your words carefully; knowing that once they have been uttered, you cannot take them back. The wrong choice of dialogue can inflict much pain and heartache.

Having a discerning spirit to recognize what should or should not be said, will also be a testimony to others. Consider this statement: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26) It requires quite a bit of strength of character to NOT say what’s on your mind. What comes out of our mouths should honor God. We ought to always strive to make a good impression with what we say.

2. Mean what you say.

No one likes or respects a hypocrite and a liar. But, that is exactly how you will appear to others, if you are loose-lipped, full of gossip and known to give a false compliment or statement. Ouch.

First Peter 2:1 says, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.” Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in Chapter 4:31 gives a similar command: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” It takes a conscious effort to perform this act of “laying aside” or “putting away” the culprits of a tainted tongue.

I am so thankful that we have a God who loves us and is always ready and willing to forgive us! We don’t have to stay in bondage to our sin, but can rely on His perfect and precious promises to cleanse us and give us a fresh start. Colossians 3:9-10 explains it this way, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” This newly established relationship with our Heavenly Father is what should motivate us to speak honestly and honorably to others!

3. Don’t say it mean.

Have you ever been offended by someone’s tone of voice? It wasn’t so much what they said, but how they said it. Was the person speaking even aware that they had a poor attitude or a brusque manner in dealing with you?

Our speech has to have balance-not too hot (words of anger and rage); not too cold (rude, course talking). And, as described in Colossians 4:6, our conversations should possess grace: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Just like salt is used to flavor and enhance the taste of a food item (if used in the correct proportions), we must remember to interject a bit of grace into our speech. Grace is representative of that which is beauty, elegance and charm. When we keep this Scripture truth at the forefront of our minds (and our mouths), we will ultimately see the benefits and blessings that God bestows.

Here are some suggestions for a grace-flavored conversation:
-Be a peacemaker. Allow your words to be soothing and pleasant to hear.
-Encourage your listener by noticing a job well done or pay them a compliment.
-Try not to focus the entire discussion on your interests; share the dialogue.
-Take the time to discover another’s opinion on a matter.
-Learn to be a good listener.
-Illustrate an attitude of gratitude in all things.
-Smile and make lots of eye contact!
-Give God the glory for what He has done and is doing in your life.

As mentioned earlier in this article, a woman will speak, on average, 20,000 words a day. Rather than counting the number of words spoken, why not make your words count?

More about Karen: After years of freelance writing for both secular and Christian publications, Karen bravely ventured into the world of self-publishing and Precept Publishing was born! Karen has been involved in youth and women’s ministries for more than 20 years. As she became more familiar with teaching teen girls, Karen developed a desire to see more fundamental material provided for young women. “Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour?” is much more than a Bible study book. It is a resource for women of all ages, which shows them the importance of feeding upon God’s Word daily. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Karen resides in the sunny South (South Carolina to be exact) with her family. Please visit her website at www.PreceptPublishing.com or her own personal blog called “Because The Heart Matters.”

 

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Christmas Ladies Meeting Ideas

Christmas Ladies Meeting Ideas

I have compiled a list of Christmas Ladies Meeting Ideas for you to be able to quickly and easily have a resource. You can make your Christmas Ladies Meeting fun and full of meaning surrounding Christ’s birth.

Christmas Ladies Meeting Ideas

  • Host the meeting in someone’s home to give your meeting a warmer feeling.
  • Have a Progressive Dinner and rotate between 3 houses.
  • Bake cookies together to give out in the community or to special people in the church.
  • Have an apron sewing party to send to missionary wives or other ministry wives as a Christmas gift.
  • Consider doing a Baby Shower for Jesus and have ladies bring gifts to help restock your nursery or toddler class with new toys, books, blankets, etc. OR sponsor a new church planter and give toward their nursery needs. See my Baby Shower for Jesus Pinterest board.
  • Do crafts, like make wreaths or other gifts to give away to others.
  • Go Christmas caroling to families or elderly people in your church.

Gift Exchange Ideas

  • Coffee Mugs
  • Socks – Christmas socks, warm & fuzzy socks, silly socks
  • Christmas Ornaments – nice ornaments or even consider doing an ugly Christmas ornament exchange
  • Homemade Cookies or Bread
  • White Elephant
  • Christ-Centered Christmas Cards
  • Do a Christmas Secret Sister exchange – like Secret Santa. Draw names prior to the meeting and buy a gift for that person and bring it to the ladies meeting.

Gift Exchange Games/Poems

Fun Game Ideas

Food Ideas

  • Hot Chocolate Bar (view my Pinterest board here)
  • Finger foods & Mini Desserts
  • Soup and Sandwiches include crackers, cheese, and cornbread
  • Red & Green Foods (salads, jell-o, fruits, desserts, etc.)
  • Peppermint Goodies (Think peppermint brownies, hot chocolate, patties, and almond bark)
  • Chili Bar

 Devotion Ideas from the Christmas Story

  • The angels giving glory to God – Our main purpose in this life is to give glory to God also.
  • Mary’s humility when approached by the angel and throughout Christ’s lifetime she is always watching and waiting.
  • Joseph’s viewpoint – Faith in the impossible.
  • Shepherds view a miraculous sight – are you seeing the miracles of God in your life?
  • The shepherds left the stable that night and spread the news about the Saviour’s birth. – Are you sharing as excitedly as the shepherds did that night?
  • The Son of God was born in a stable, and was born to die. – We should also lower ourselves to serve and sacrifice for the one who gave Himself for us.
  • The star shining its light to bring the wise men to Christ. – The light of God should shine through us to bring people to Christ just the same.

I also have two other Christmas Pinterest boards if you are interested in viewing them.

Christmas Ooo La La   and   Birthday Party for Jesus

 I pray that you will come up with some quick ideas here and be able to use them. If you have something that will benefit this list, then please share them with me. Send me an e-mail through the contact page!

 

 

 

Larkly Bible Studies ~Facebook Giveaway~

I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, Ruth Ann Larkly, the writer of a great series of Bible studies that we will be giving away on Thursday, November 20th. She is a pastor’s wife in the state of Arizona and has been married for 9 years to her husband, Tim. They  have 4 beautiful platinum blond children.

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Ruth Ann and I at her home in Arizona

Ruth Ann and I had a small connection when my husband interned for her future husband, Tim, who was already pastoring before they were married. We met for the first time in September and she made me feel as if we have been long-time friends.

These Bible studies are a result of God working in her heart through many circumstances. The first book, was born out of a thesis written to obtain a Master’s Degree at her local college. Then, after she completed it she had it bound and sent to her mother and mother-in-law for a Mother’s Day gift. From there, God used that to be able to move her forward. She shared the Bible study with Grace Hardy, an older friend in the ministry, who encouraged her to self-publish her book. Her friend helped her to find proofreaders and the Lord began to work things out for everything to fall in place. She and her husband also tediously have edited and re-edited these books so that you can have quality ladies Bible studies that will benefit your life.

After the end of the first book, she felt as though the Lord closed that door of writing, but only temporarily until He began stirring a new set of ideas and thoughts in her heart. She has gone through the process of writing each book in much of the same way, when the Lord works in her heart she writes a new one and Lord willing, there will be more!

Ruth Ann is a woman of vision that believes there are more ladies out there that can write what the Lord has put on their hearts and who should put them into book form. She hopes that one day the Lord will help her be able to organize a writer’s conference for those who are called to write but are not sure how to go about getting their information into book form. Tim, her husband, has formatted her books and can offer great insight for getting a book self-published. “Not many books are written in our Christian circle unless someone has connections with a church that has a printing ministry,” she said. She hopes that can change for the sake of the Lord’s work.

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The Larkly Family

In listening to her discuss the time when she received her first order of books and decided to send them to 80 women in her life. She sent out a group of books at a time with personal letters and then waited for their responses. When she finally heard from them, she was relieved that many women provided lots of positive feedback. Ruth Ann feared when people she knew in the past heard that she had become a Christian writer, that she would not be taken seriously. It concerned her that with some of the mistakes she had made in her past, that it would prevent people from understanding how she has grown in her walk with the Lord. But she has not allowed those fears to hold her back, but has decided to step out in faith each time she published a book.

Her first book is, Your Faith Affects Your Family, that covers Biblical women’s lives like Samson’s wife, Lot’s Wife, Miriam, and 9 more. The second is, Your Faith Affects Your Family Volume Two, includes 12 chapters and women like Hannah, Mary, and Jezebel. Her third book  is, Your Family’s Faith Affects Other Families. Each of these Bible studies are written specifically for women. They have very easy to read chapters, that have scripture, great explanations, and end the chapter with a section called “Our Personal Prayer,” and “Questions to Consider.” If you have ever read through a Regular Baptist Press ladies Bible study book, then these books have a very similar format that can be easy for personal or group use.

Here are some personal testimonies from ladies that have read her book(s):

  •  “Walking readers through the lives of timeless Bible characters supported by the references from the KJV Bible, this book draws our eyes to the Heavenly Father. The author does a good job of guiding readers through personal introspection, personal research and Bible study, and offers insightful application in a simple and easy-to-follow manner. This book has been a blessing to me personally, and I look forward to its encouraging influence on others, as well.”
  • “This is an amazing women’s devotional of the life of and role of women in the Bible and how they interacted or effected their family.  This is a great eye-opening devotional for women; it convicted me on what God has called us to be and how He wants us to glorify Him through the way we live our lives.”
  • “Ruth Ann’s unique biblical insights into women of the Bible will be a source of enlightenment and encouragement. As you read it, you will be challenged to examine your own heart to see how your faith affects your family. I am thrilled to recommend it.”
  • “This book was very specific on different women in the Bible and how their faith affected their different families in good ways and in bad ways as well.  I appreciated that Mrs. Larkly took the time to discuss the things that were wrong and the things that were right in these women’s lives.  Each account seemed  to have different lessons to take away from.”

The great thing I believe is not only the content of the books, but the cost. Each book is $8 and if you purchase the set of all 3 books, she will give you a bundled price of $20 (plus shipping). You can purchase her books by following this link and contacting her on her Facebook page.

Larkly Bible Studies Giveaway1Enter this great giveaway on the Ministry Mamas Facebook page here!!

Want to know more about the Larkly family? Follow Ruth Ann as she writes at her “Happy as a Larkly” blog.

 

The winner of Ruth Ann’s bundle of 3 books will be notified on Friday, November 21st.