“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

Writing “A Good Word” is not always easy – especially when tragedy is in the forefront of our minds because of things like Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I personally did not know any of the victims, but I feel the sadness, the heaviness in my heart, that so many of you also feel for these families whose lives will never be the same again.

The wickedness of the event stands in such sharp contrast to the day on which it took place. A day that is set aside especially for showing love, February 14.

And as I ponder about what I can do to help the world become a better place, less violent, more gentle and respectful of others – here is where I have arrived in my thoughts…

I can imitate Jesus.

I can show love to people, like he did. I can be kind to people, like he was. I can listen to people and serve people and share what I have with people, the way Jesus did. Most importantly, I can tell people the good news of salvation in Jesus and how their lives can be forever changed for the better. And who knows how far the ripples of influence will go?

I cannot force others to think or behave in a certain way; but if I think and talk and behave like Jesus it might influence somebody else to want to be different and better themselves, right?

Nobody can change the whole world. But we can choose to imitate the One who has made a greater difference in this world than any other person who has ever lived.

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

George Halas, founder and coach of the Chicago Bears NFL team, once said, “Nobody who ever gave their best ever regretted it.”

Many good coaches and sports figures say and do things that inspire young people on a regular basis. Right now, my wife and I are enjoying the winter Olympics on television. And last night, one of the American women snowboarders said something to a reporter that caught my ear. The reporter asked if this young athlete thought the judges had scored her too low for her run down the half-pipe. Her response? “I just know I did my best.”

When all is said and done, isn’t “giving our best” ALL we can do?

That’s true for athletes, students, parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, mail carriers – you name it – and it is true for Christians.

Here is a Scripture that encourages us to give God our best! “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

God gave His best to us. Let’s give our best to Him. And remember, “Nobody who ever gave their best ever regretted it.”

“A Good Word” – by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

Last night I was teaching from Luke 5:17-19 about the friends of the paralyzed man who literally tore through someone’s roof in order to lower their friend’s mat through the ceiling right in front of Jesus so the Lord could heal him.

I asked the class, “What are some other ways these friends could have reacted?” They could have just quit and gone home. They could have pouted and said, “None of our friends ever gets healed by Jesus.” They could have blamed the crowd who was blocking the door. “If those people would just get out of the way…”

But, instead of quitting, pouting, blaming or anything else, they found a way to solve their problem. AND THE POINT IS THIS: Those friends chose a solution to their problem instead of giving in and being defeated by it.

The ability to think and to make choices is powerful! It means we do not have to be defeated (as in the above story). It means we do not have to go along with the crowd, because we can think and choose to behave differently than they do. It means we can choose our attitude and actions in life’s toughest situations.

The apostle Paul wrote: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)

Like soldiers receiving an order, “think about such things” is an order given to Christian soldiers by one of God’s apostles.

I hope today that you will embrace the ability to choose your thoughts and your actions whenever problems (or problem people) show up.

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

 

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

The e-mail list for this little inspirational blog continues to grow. (Thank you very much!) Also, I’ve begun a Facebook page called “Charlie’s Good Word” – if you want to join there or if you want to pass it along to others whom you think might benefit from doses of regular encouragement. (I try to send out / post 2 or 3 a week.)

Here is today’s good word – and it really helps explain the reason I write.

There is a proverb that says, “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength.” (Proverbs 24:10)

My goal for sending out these brief messages is simply to help lift people up. To encourage people. Hopefully, to say the right thing at the right moment that will help us think better, talk better, listen better, serve better, be better.

In the words of the above proverb, ALL of us falter. ALL of us have times of trouble. And if we face those times alone, then truly, “how small is our strength.”

BUT, the same writer (Solomon) wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

There it is. Friendship. Relationship. Encouragement. In other words, Help.

I write in order to be a friend, to encourage, and to help. Thank you for the privilege.

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

This morning Luke 23:25 jumped off the page at me. It says, “He [Pilate] released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder [Barabbas], the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.”

The part that gets me is the last phrase. Pilate “surrendered Jesus to their will.” Of course, the “will” of the Jewish leaders was to crucify Him.

As I internalize this sentence and meditate on it, here is my thought: In my life I will either surrender myself to Jesus’ will, OR I will “crucify Him” (get Him out of the way) in order to have my own will done.

To read the second half of the first chapter of Romans is to see a world unbridled by the will of God. No restraint. Only the pursuits of self and sin. “Not Thy will, but mine be done.”

And three times in that chapter it says, “God gave them over… to the sinful desires of their hearts (v.24); to shameful lusts (v.26); to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done” (v.28).

In other words, it is as if God says, “If you insist on having things your way, I will let you.” BUT what a disturbing, evil and perverse world – a world that rejects God’s will.

However, pressing on with the personal application of today’s thought, let’s you and I keep watch on ourselves. Let’s live today saying, “Not my will, but yours be done, O Lord.” Let’s be careful NOT to make Jesus surrender to OUR wills, but that our wills should be surrendered to His.

Remembering the words of John the Baptist: “He must become greater. I must become less.” (John 3:30)

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

I was awake in the middle of the night thinking about today’s Good Word and into my mind sprang the words of the great philosopher (not to mention, classic rock artist) Steve Miller when he said so poetically, “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future.”

How true.

A dear sister in the Lord wrote the lyrics to a hymn we sometimes sing:
Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages,
Swiftly the hours are changing to years,
How are we using God’s golden moments,
Shall we reap glory, shall we reap tears?
Into our hands the gospel is given,
Into our hands is given the light.
Haste let us carry, God’s precious message,
Guiding the erring back to the right.

Let’s take some time today and ask the introspective question: “How am I using my time?”

The apostle Paul wrote: “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16) Adam Clarke gives us the deeper meaning of the phrase “making the most of every opportunity”. He says it means “buying up those moments which others seem to throw away.”

You and I are not TIME WASTERS. We live conscientiously – knowing that God has given us a mission in this life. And with each passing day “our salvation is nearer… than when we first believed.” There really are only so many heartbeats left.

How are we using God’s golden moments?

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

The following words are by the writer and minister Edward Everett Hale:

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do
Interfere with what I can do.

One of the great chapters in the Bible is found in Nehemiah 3. It describes the families in Jerusalem who were re-building the fortification wall around the city. And the thing that makes the chapter great is the number of times it uses the phrases, “next to him” or “next to them” (which is no fewer than 20 times!)

You see, one person or even one family alone could not have re-built Jerusalem’s wall. It required this family working next to that family, and this man working next to that man and so on.

Each person was important and each one had to do their part in order to have success. Let me say that again. Each person was important. Each person had to do their part.

In the kingdom of our Savior, you are important! And we need you to play your part – your unique God-given special part in the kingdom family.

Then together, with each of us doing our part, with God’s help, there will be success and our King will be glorified.

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

This account is not in the Bible (so don’t bother looking for it there) but the story is told that when the apostle John was elderly and feeble he had to be carried on a cot through the streets of ancient Ephesus. And as he passed by the people he would say, “Little children, love one another.” Over and over, according to legend, that was John’s greeting, “Little children, love one another.”

It is not difficult to imagine that statement as John’s mantra especially when you read his letters of 1 and 2 John.

Is anything greater than love? Because of love, God gave His Son as our Savior (John 3:16). Because of love, Jesus laid down His life upon the cross (John 15:13). Because of love, we obey the Lord’s commandments (John 14:15). Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 that – of the three: faith, hope and love – “the greatest of these is love.”

When the average person thinks of love, they most likely think about warm feelings of affection toward somebody else. True love, however, is choosing to behave in loving ways – whether there are warm feelings or not. (Feelings are nice, but not essential to love.)

Love is a verb (an action word). Jesus even went so far as to say, “Love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:44) How? Paul gives some suggestions: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:20-21)

Opportunities to love are everywhere. So, enjoy following (obeying) this teaching of Jesus, knowing that you are pleasing God.

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

One person wrote this: “Confidence can be defined as that uplifting, energizing, positive feeling that you possess — before you truly understand your situation.”

Many people would tell you that they have self-confidence. For years, I’ve been teaching from the Bible that Christians should possess a “godly self confidence”. In other words, our confidence is NOT in and of ourselves to “do” or “produce” or “overcome”; rather our confidence is in God to accomplish much while we cooperate with Him in submission, obedience and faith.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians teaches us about “godly self confidence”.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Phil. 2:12-13)
NOTE: As we continue to obey God (i.e.. cooperate with Him) He is working in us to accomplish His good purpose.

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)
QUESTION: Is it Paul “doing” or is it the Lord’s strength that is “doing”? The answer is: “Yes.” It is God at work and Paul at work – cooperating together to do God’s will for God’s glory!

So, whatever your situation, I encourage you to live today with godly self confidence!

“A Good Word” by Charlie Thomason

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

 

 

Lady Dorothy Nevill once noted, “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

I smile to myself as I read those words because they remind me of a handwritten note in large, black Sharpie marker that I used to keep taped on my office wall which read: “I don’t usually get into trouble for the things I didn’t say.”

Have you found that to be true in your own life?

You know, once you or I speak harmful or hurtful words out loud people cannot “un-hear” them. After the damage is done, we can ask for forgiveness or promise never to say such things again – but words, once spoken aloud, cannot be unheard.

I have a book that illustrates it like this.

There is a legend about a person who went to the village wise man for advice after repeating some slander about a friend and later finding out it wasn’t true. He asked the wise man what he could do to make amends for his thoughtless act.
The wise man told him: If you want to make peace with yourself, you must fill a bag with feathers, and go to every door in the village, dropping a feather on each porch.
The man found a bag, filled it with feathers, and went through the village leaving a feather at every door. He then returned to the wise man and asked, What else can I do?
There is one more thing, the wise man said. Take the bag and go collect every feather from each door step.
Later the man returned and told the wise man, I could not find all the feathers, for the wind had blown them away.
And the wise man said, So it is with gossip. Unkind words are easily dropped, but we can never take them back again.

Proverbs 21:23 says: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”

I think I’ll be quiet now.