Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Praise

Samurai welding sword

How Do You Weld Your Words?

Samurai welding sword

Writers understand the power of words. Our goal is to carefully craft sentences to stir up emotion within our readers, so hearts synchronize in tempo with that of the heroine and lungs breathe the same air as the hero. The thesaurus is our right hand as we pursue the perfect phrasing to construct an image or engrave an impression.

Often, the power of words is underestimated. We forget how, in Genesis 1, God spoke the world into being. Nine paragraphs begin with “God said,” and then something was created, for instance, “Let there be light (Gen 1:3)” and “Let us make mankind in our image (Gen 1:26).” Jacob, in the Bible, understood the power of a blessing. He pretended to be his brother Esau by tying goat skins to his arms so that his almost blind father Isaac would bless him instead. A father’s blessing was so powerful that when Esau found out what had happened, he begged his father to bless him too, but Isaac could only tell Esau he would live by the sword and serve his brother (Genesis 27).

Words can be life-giving, or words can be a loaded weapon.

Our careers, passions, and lifepaths are frequently formed by words of encouragement that speak life to our dreams, but a negative comment can be a dream crusher. My fifth-grade teacher saw my creative writing potential and instilled the seed of becoming a writer within my heart, but my seventh-grade teacher criticized my grammar and set my dream back twenty years. Now, I kick myself for listening to that seventh-grade teacher (and praise God for grammar correcting software).

Man and woman arguing

Recently, my husband and I have been working with married couples of all ages and hear a lot of “If only he would…” and “She needs to…” We hear a lot of I and me and very few us and we. They don’t recognize the criticism and judgment in their words. Dr. Gottman and Robert Levenson performed a longitudinal study to identify happy and unhappy couples. They discovered a ratio that could depict whether a married couple would stay together versus become divorced with 90% accuracy. That ratio was five positive interactions to every negative one (Benson, The Magic Relationship Ratio, The Gottman Institute, Oct 2017). It takes five compliments to overshadow one criticism.

James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” But, how do we change the pattern of spewing criticism? I’ve taken to praying as David did in Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” It’s a daily struggle to die to the greedy pride of self and bite our tongue before it starts a fire that burns out of control.

What of those hurtful comments that still echo in our ears? Deuteronomy 30:19 God says, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” We can choose blessing and shake off the hurtful words that have hung over us like a dark cloud. We can choose life and life-giving words to live by.

We can weld the weapon of words for good.

Sword

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New England Patriots

We’re Still Here!

New England Patriots lead by Tom Brady

Over the last month, “We’re still here!” has become the mantra of the New England PatriotsTom Brady, who has been called old man, washed up, peaked, and diminished, showed America he still has plenty in his tank when he and the Patriots worked together to win Superbowl LIII.

 Tom Brady, loved or hated, has to be admired for the fact he doesn’t accept being mediocre. He refuses to quit. He didn’t throw in the towel when he was the 199th sixth-round draft pick back in 2000. He wasn’t content to stay in Drew Bledsoe’s shadow. He wasn’t complacent after one Superbowl win, or a second, or third. Even after a record of six Superbowl wins, he still has no plans to retire.

Tom Brady doesn’t just coast through life and neither should we.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). It doesn’t mean only praise God when we’re in the mood or on the good days when we have more energy. It doesn’t state until you’ve read the Bible all the way through, led a church group, or taught Sunday school. It says if you have breath praise the Lord, and I can pretty much guarantee that if you’re reading this you still have breath. 

You’re still here. 

It is not a time to coast or grow complacent. We are to keep fighting the good fight until Jesus takes us home. Now, I’m not saying to grab a soapbox and go out and start preaching on a street corner, nor am I meaning to guilt you into taking on additional responsibilities. What I am asking is to look for opportunities to praise God through your words, actions, and deeds. If you keep your eyes peeled and your heart available God will provide.

Each season is unique.

Tom Brady doesn’t play the same way he did back in 2001. He has adapted to different players, strategies, and his own physical body. My husband and I are also not able to serve in our church in the same capacity we did before we had children. With the kids evening sports schedules, we can’t even participate the same as we did when they were young. But we still have breath, and God has given us other avenues unique to this season for us to be able to praise him and be salt and light to others.

Tom Brady throwing football
Tom Brady

How is God calling you in this season? Is He tapping you on the shoulder saying, “remember me? Come back to me. My arms are open wide.” Or is He nudging you to challenge yourself in other ways: lead a church group, bring a meal to a neighbor, watch a single mom’s kids, encourage a co-worker, write a blog. God works in mysterious ways, and He has a way of fitting you into that plan.

Because you have breath,

And, because you’re still here.

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