As we prepare our hearts for autumn...

I thought a reprise of this old devotional I wrote might be would be just the ticket we need to refocus our thoughts as the blustery winds blow in.

 

I am like a deaf man who cannot hear…

Be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord.

Psalm 38:13a / 35:22b

 

The wind blew strong all through the night, rattling windows…and my nerves…and today it blusters still. Even as I sit here, it howls and hollers. Our neighbor’s screen door slams open and closed, being pushed and pulled with each stiff gust. Leaves scurry and scatter across our lawn in every direction. The typical sounds of a neighbor’s dog barking or of traffic hurrying along the nearby highway are muffled, if not silenced, by the wind’s boisterous behavior. 

But, it is not just the wind that has been blustering of late. My mind feels tumultuous as well. Unsettled thoughts have been clamoring noisily in my head; yet, the more I try to pull them together, the more strewn they become. The worst part of it is I cannot seem to make out God’s voice over all the confusion. I cry out to Him, but my words just echo off the walls. 

“What’s wrong with me, Lord?” I ask. “Is there some sin issue in my life that is separating us?  Is that why I am struggling so?” I lay my heart out before Him and confess my sad propensity to stumble; yet, the tumult continues. I wonder then if the enemy of my soul is behind this menacing disruption between my Savior and me; perhaps he is the one creating this disturbance in my mind. I whisper a prayer of protection and thank God that He is greater than anything the enemy can hurl at me…still the blustering continues.

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Have a blessed and rest-filled weekend dear readers!

 

LuAnn, Heidi, Jo and Julie

 

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A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

—Proverbs 16:28

 

Recently I watched gossip about two people sweep through a group of friends.

 

It reminded me of the tornado that passed through our town a month ago. In the tornado’s wake I observed mangled tree limbs hanging precariously from tree trunks, yards littered with leaves and branches; thick roots from stately old trees and surrounding ground uprooted, laying on their side like opened lids on cans; medium-sized trees lay in power line hammocks, docks’ metal twisted like candy canes, pontoons doing back floats and torn-up roofs were letting heaven’s tears fall into its rooms unprotected.

 

The gossip tornado left behind destruction in its path also: distrust, loss of friendships, disappointment, anxiety, and anger. It was just as mangled a scene.

 

I even got swept up into the wind’s current for a moment. I thought the person speaking to me was doing so out of deep concern and love for another. Thankfully, some choice words revealed a deeper motive of self-interest that woke me up and gave me the insight to turn the conversation around and then leave the starting storm before I was swept up in it.

 

Unfortunately, this person just went on to the next person and then the next, and the next, and soon a tornado was in full force.

 

Words have no wings but they can fly a thousand miles.Korean saying

 

Words have the ability to speak life...or death. 

 

Gossip damages not only the person who it is directed at, but it damages our spirit when we get involved in it. We are shading someone’s view of someone else without that person’s say or explanation. And I think deep down we know this is wrong. We are grieving Holy Spirit residing in us when we use our tongue this way.

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There’s no real way to avoid conflict in marriage.  It is possible, however, to properly resolve disagreements as they arise and actually build a stronger relationship.     

On this week's Connecting Faith, Jo Bender talks with author and Christian psychologist Dr. David Clarke about how to best address conflict in marriage.

Click here to listen to the podcast of Jo Bender's interview with Dr. David Clarke. Or, join Jo live every Friday at Noon on AM 900. Listen to previous podcasts of Connecting Faith on myfaithradio.com

A silence fell over the group that went on…and on…and on. So, I started to talk. I chatted on like a radio.

Carole Mayhall

 

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I’ve been reading through the book of Job from the Bible this summer. It really is a painful little book. It’s painful, not only because of the horrific catastrophes that happen to Job. That is excruciating enough to imagine. But, to have to listen in as his closest friends carelessly prattle on and on as Job suffers…well, that just breaks my heart.

Poor Job even tried to stop his friends after their droning deluge of words and pleaded with them, “You think you are wise. But, my spirit is broken. If only you would listen carefully to my words and let this be the way you comfort me.” (12:1-2, 16:2-3, 17:1 and 21:1-2) Unfortunately, the droning continued. His friends just didn’t get it. 

Some folks never do.

Proverbs 18:2 tells us that a fool “only wants to tell others what they think.” 

That’s precisely what Job’s friends intended to do. In response to his pleas, they said things like, “I cannot keep from speaking.” Or “Listen to what I have to say.”

The minute I meet some people, I know how the conversation is going to go. No matter how hard I try with some, a whirlpool sucks us in and we swim in never-ending circles…”

Carole Mayhall 

Job’s friends desperately needed a class in Listening 101.

When we listen, really listen, we pay thoughtful attention to our friend; we hear what is being said and unsaid, in order to fully understand what’s on her heart.

But listening is hard work. Especially when our friend grows quiet. Some of us are uncomfortable, nervous even, with silence. We feel the need to fill the air with words.  

I love the quote by one of the Desert Fathers, Arsenius, who said, “I have often repented of having spoken, but never of having remained silent.”

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