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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Kraybill Church Road manure spreading 12/10/18 (Click to enlarge)
Our neighbor was out yesterday morning performing an essential farming task.

"The Crushing Word"

Note: This week we will consider how words can be a blessing and at times a great source of pain.

Message summary:  "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." But it didn't take long in life for us to learn that words can hurt, sometimes worse than sticks and stones. Most of us have been on the receiving end of hurtful words and likely you may recall one or more specific instances as you read this. We both can.

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"How long will you torment me and crush me with words?" (Job 19:2).

Many of us recall this short ditty from our childhood, perhaps we even repeated it.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me"

But it didn't take long in life for us to learn that words can hurt, sometimes worse than sticks and stones. Most of us have been on the receiving end of hurtful words and likely you may recall one or more specific instances as you read this. We both can.

Hurting wordsBut most of us have also likely been on the giving end of hurtful words, sometimes unintentionally but at other times quite intentional. Even as the times I have received them come to mind, so do the times I have given them, equally painful. Sometimes things were made right; at other times life went on, contact was lost and correction may seem impossible, but the memory lingers. In fact at this point in life I would say I am more pained about what I have given than what I have received.

Hurtful words can take on many forms.  Perhaps someone is mocking the physical or mental defect of another. A person may be targeted due to differences in race, faith, geography, education and many other areas. There are also many motivations. Yesterday's message considered the blessing of kind words but today let us consider what we have all experienced, unkind words.

Job was enduring a trial of practically unimaginable misery. He longed to receive comforting words but in today's text Job is responding to Bildad, one of his "comforters" who is adding to his affliction instead of helping to alleviate it. Rather than sensitively speaking words that might bring comfort, assurance and encouragement these words brought on torment to the point that Job says he was crushed with the words. Another version states, "Break me in pieces with words" (ESV, KJV).

Job might have despaired of his life, if his only outlook in the midst of his circumstances was based on the words of his "comforters". But He had to look beyond their gloomy and accusing messages and grasp hold of his confession of faith which he does in verses 25-26:

I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

If you've had a visit from a "comforter/accuser" in your life with a message of "crushing words", may you find peace, comfort and acceptance from God who is the Father of compassion.

When we're hurting He's right there with us, speaking to us through His Word and by His spirit. He listens to our heart's cry and lovingly assures us that "I will never leave you nor forsake You."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know the oft repeated expression that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a mistaken message certainly not derived from Scripture. Harmful and hurtful words can do irrevocable damage that will not disappear through first aid or antiseptic. Harmful words have a way of playing over and over in our head and entering into the deep recesses of our hearts. The more we cling to them the greater we risk exaggerating their original message or the intent of the messenger. We build walls, become defensive and do little to resolve the problem. Help us to weigh our words carefully, put ourselves to the test of asking, "Are the words coming from my tongue pleasing to Your ears?" When we habitually put our words to this test we will not use foul language, engage in crude joking, gossip, point out other's shortcomings, slander or make fun of others but we will instead choose to build one another up in love. Keep us faithful in doing so we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

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Thank you

Stephen & Brooksyne

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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