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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of July 21, 2014

Use your words as building blocks not battering rams.

Every word you say will have an affect on others. Positive words will encourage and strengthen other people, but negative words will tear down and harm them. You must decide whether to speak positively or negatively. Please understand that speaking positively requires a deliberate decision, whereas speaking negatively comes easily—for it is human nature. Therefore, actively strive to speak positive and encouraging words to others.

It is no surprise that the Bible instructs us to say beneficial things about others: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29). Furthermore, Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt ..." Speaking positive, uplifting words is extremely important. Indeed, Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."

In Psalm 19:14, David prays, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." David clearly knew the importance of words, and so he prayed that he would speak words that were pleasing to God.

We must deliberately choose to speak positive words; otherwise, we will instinctively complain and be negative—for that is human nature. Thus, it is no surprise that Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells us, "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." Similarly, Proverbs 10:19 says, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Usually when you "hold" your tongue, you'll catch yourself before you say nasty things about others and cut them down with your words.

Lastly, it is important to understand that whatever you say is a reflection of your heart attitude. Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (also see Luke 6:45). In other words, your words are simply an overflow of what's in your heart. If you think poorly about others, you'll speak poorly about them. On the other hand, if you think positively about others, as the Bible instructs us to, then you'll speak positively about them.

Since words carry power, make a decision to use your words as building blocks not battering rams.

Giving is the only antidote to greed.

Jesus says, in Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Jesus is making the point that our heart's highest loyalty will be for only one thing. We can't be equally devoted to two things; ultimately one will win out over the other.

If money is the most important thing to you (i.e., if you're greedy), then you will serve your money more than you serve God. And you will find it very difficult to follow God's instructions to give to others: If there is a poor man among your brothers ... do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs (Deuteronomy 15:7-8).

If it's true that no one can serve two masters, then the best way to fight against greed is to make sure that your master (your highest loyalty) is God—not money. Follow God above all else; that way your money will follow God, too.

John writes, If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:17). That sounds rather harsh at first, but it's really no different than what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24. If you love your money more than God, then you'll keep your money for yourself rather than giving it away to help others. The only way you'll give generously to others is if you love God more than you love your money. So, how do you know if you love God more than money? By examining what you do with your money: Do you keep most of it, or give most of it?

If you want to fight against greed (that is, if you want to love God more than your money), then you'll follow God's instructions to give—give to the poor, give generously, give joyfully, give liberally, and give regularly. Giving is the best weapon against greed.

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