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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Apples of gold in settings of silver
Brooksyne arranged a bowl of Granny Smith & Red Delicious Apples in her Paul Revere Silver Bowl.  I added the "golden" apples!

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"Fitly Spoken Words"

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver" (Proverbs 25:11).

I recall Monday, March 22, 1999 as being one of the hardest days of my life.  My Mom, who was visiting my older brother in California, had just had a very serious injury due to a fall and was having brain surgery. Her life hung in the balance.  I also experienced a personally painful dose of denominational politics in its nastiest form.  Figuratively speaking it felt as though I had received several hard blows right in the stomach, knocking the wind right out of me.

The healing, as is so often the case, began almost immediately with a word "fitly" spoken.  I recall my pain and dismay at the events occurring in my life and was somewhat slumped over under the weight of it all.   A friend, sensitive toward my difficulties, approached me and placed his hand on my shoulder.  In his own words he reminded me that God was in control and that He surely had a plan that I could not see at the time.

The next several months would be a time of overcoming as my Mom slowly recovered; eight days in the main hospital then in a rehab hospital in California for eight weeks and then months of recovery in our home.  In spite of the severity of the injury she lived another 6½ years and did remarkably well.  Of course God worked out the other issues in my ministry as well.

When you've experienced times of hardship or perplexity I hope you can recall those special occasions when you have been the recipient of "a word fitly spoken." Or perhaps God has used you from time to time in giving "a word fitly spoken."

The daily Scripture verse is a proverb, which is a "short pithy saying" ("pithy" is a not a word commonly used but I recall this definition from Bible College.) "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."  The word "fitly" in the text translates a Hebrew word found only once in the entire Bible which conveys the sense of "in season", (translated "aptly" in the NIV).  The New American Standard Version uses the phrase, "A word spoken in right circumstances."

These are God-ordained words that go right to the heart that meet the need for that particular circumstance.  I can specifically recall many times in my life when I have received a "word fitly spoken". Once, shortly after we were married, I was greatly discouraged in regard to seemingly closed doors of ministry and Brooksyne spoke eleven meaningful words, "God will never lead us where His grace cannot keep us." It didn't change the immediate circumstances but it sure gave me a  more hopeful perspective that I still remember 29 years later.

When we offer words of encouragement or words of wisdom to others we're usually unaware of their effect!  As I reflect on times when I have been the recipient of these needed words they're generally very brief, making it easy to memorize or mull them over and over in my mind. 

Today's encouragement will hopefully be a reminder of the power of our words to encourage others (whether spoken or written.)  Every one of you will have numerous opportunities throughout the day to build others up. For some that may be a lengthy "formal" discussion. However most encouragement is brief and may even seem inconsequential at the time.   Who needs to hear (or read) such a word from you today?  As you ask God for divine appointments in your workplace or in your surroundings this day, may you be mindful of the needs of those around you. As the Lord enables, be sure to offer "a word fitly spoken."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, You know the exact number of words that will flow from my lips today; some of them meaningful while others are simply forgettable words. Would You make me sensitive to those who need caring words.  Help me to look not only to my own interests but also to the interests of others as I offer words fitly spoken to those desperately needing to hear a word from You through a servant like me.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note: It's interesting to consider expressions of care, thought-provoking words, Christian music and poetry, and other positive influences that have greatly impacted me over the years.  Many of the messengers God has used in my life are unaware of how their "fitly spoken" words ministered to me at various times. As I am reading through Proverbs in my personal devotions I see the prevailing theme of using our words wisely and weighing our actions very carefully. I've committed quite a number of Proverbs to memory but wish I had made a habit of doing so when I was very young.  Some Christians are in the habit of reading a Proverb everyday to coincide with the day of the month.  For example on March 1 they read Proverbs 1 and today, March 22, they read Proverbs 22.  It's a great exercise and no doubt much memorization will take place with little effort for those who do this.

In my preparation for today's message I discovered several other Scriptures with a similar theme.
"A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!" (Proverbs 15:23).
"The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary" (Isaiah 50:4).
"For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes" (Jeremiah 31:25).

Today's suggested song is a great reminder of God's love.
"He Knows My Name" 
"My Beloved"
These two songs (like yesterday's) are from the Cornerstone Community Bible Church in Sugar Land Texas. Here's a page with worship music from their church.

Note: As I studied for today's message I focused on the first part of the verse, "a word fitly spoken." Frankly based upon study resources I have readily at hand I can't determine what apples of gold in pictures of silver are other than a pleasant image! Can someone help me here?

Spring is Coming!

Magnolia bud
Magnolia bud photo taken by a friend, Doris High

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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