Publication: One-to-One, Spring 2011
Every night for the past few weeks, I have sat clown and written a love note to my daughter, Gracie, who is studying in Italy this semester. By the time she returns home to Alabama, it will have been nearly four months since I’ve been able to see her, but thanks to technology, we are able to keep in touch in other ways.
The love note is in the form of a Devotional or Bible Study that I am writing just for her. When the day is winding down, and the house is getting quiet, I have some moments of personal prayer and Bible reading, and then I share what the Lord is showing to me with my daughter.
When she awakes in the morning, the Devotional is waiting in the inbox for her. I share some verses, and some thoughts about the verses, as well as any guidance the Lord gives to me for her as she is going through life in a different culture. We have been amazed at how often the Devotional for the day turns out to be prophetically timely and relevant as the day’s events and relationships begin to unfold. God is ever faithful-to His Word and through His Word.
What I have written has been specifically for her; it’s not part of a group study or something I am writing for others. However, I do want to mention one of the verses the Lord gave me for her a few days ago: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in the settings of silver. (Proverbs 25:11).
A bit earlier in Proverbs, we read this: “A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:20-21).
THE POWER OF OUR WORDS
As I sat one night in my kitchen, lit only by the glow of my computer and thinking about my daughter asleep thousands of miles away, I meditated on the power of our words.
How valuable is it to get a timely and wise word in a moment of crisis or need? What is it worth when all seems lost or confused, and suddenly, with laser-like clarity, God sends a message that shatters the darkness and cuts through the fog? When the weight of fear or a broken heart is suddenly lifted by a Holy Spirit-anointed word of love, encouragement, and hope? How many lives have been saved by a good word?
The Lord anointed prophets of old to declare His Word to His people, bringing guidance and filling hearts with life. The same Lord also anoints parents to bring words of life to their children. There is power in words, and not only in the specific words, but in the motivation behind the words …the “spirit” they contain.
If we as parents will be faithful to listen to the Lord, then He will reveal His Word to us and anoint us to speak it to our children and to declare it over them. When Gracie was still in her mother’s womb, I read Scripture to her, prayed over her, and sang to her. The moment she was born, she already knew my voice, and instantly, quite visibly recognized it when she heard it.
So many times lately, I think of all of the opportunities I missed to share the Word with her or to pray with her, and wish I could have each and every moment back now.
However, I can also thank God for the times when we were able to pray and talk about the things of God…to discuss Scripture and the kingdom of God.
THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD
Beginning when she was five years old, it was my joy to drive her to school most mornings and have time to pray over her and bless her for the day ahead; we did that right up until the time she started driving herself to school as a Junior in High School. My wife, Susanne, and I both prayed over her every night. We taught her to memorize different Bible verses that had been dear to us.
The Lord gave these instructions to Israel concerning His Word and their children:
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth” (Deuteronomy11:18-21)
The ability to discern, hear, and receive “a word fitly spoken”-or to share one with others-is immeasurably strengthened when we have first sown the Word of God into our own lives, and into the lives of our children. We have been given a high calling and privilege to plant God’s Word in our children’s hearts, and to continually speak words of blessing and life over them.
What are our words saying to our children? Are these words bringing life … or death? Let us prayerfully look for ways to increase the life-giving words that we share. Does this mean we never correct or adjust? Of course not! In fact, words of discipline and correction can be among the most loving and life-giving.
What we have received is what we will share. Again, it is not simply the mechanics or semantics of our words that matters most; it is the spirit in them …and the Spirit in them. How does our Heavenly Father speak to us? What is He saying to us now? Take what we have freely received from our Father in Heaven, and share it freely with the children He has given to you.
Scripture Reference: Proverbs 25:11; Proverbs 18:20-21; Deuteronomy 11:18-21
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.