We’ve begun assigning categories to our posts to make it easy for you to find a previous post or to check out what’s been written on a particular topic (or just to read the Friday Funnies when you need a good laugh!). You’ll find the list of categories on the right sidebar.
We hope this serves you!
This week we thought we’d poke a little fun at ourselves.
Each year on vacation we try to take a picture to chronicle the growth of our family. With three boys two and under, this is no small feat. It took three separate photo shoots (with multiple pictures per shoot) before we finally came up with a picture worth a spot on Grandma’s mantle.
Given the challenge of getting five boys, our husbands, and ourselves cleaned up and looking presentable three different times, and the additional difficulty of getting all the boys happy at the same time, we weren’t exactly laughing during this process. Although we did manage to smile for the camera.
Here’s a picture from each shoot to give you an idea of the journey to Grandma’s mantle. The final picture is the winner!
May God give you much grace, peace, and laughter this weekend!
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
The Girl Talkers are kindly letting the fellas say a few things to the guys who are reading the Girl Talk blog. Yeah, we know you’re out there. Some of you have even admitted it. Look, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. When the Girl Talkers talk, we listen too. There’s a lot we guys can learn from the women.
We’re all on vacation right now, which is why we are able to guest post. We want to offer our thoughts to husbands about vacation. Remember the post a few days ago where the ladies talked about serving while on vacation? Here are our ideas for how you can serve your wife:
1. Play 18 holes of golf, not 36.
2. If you have children, don’t use the last of the milk for your third late-night bowl of Lucky Charms.
3. Offer to watch the children during the afternoon nap.
4. If you’re going to take a toddler on the jet-ski, try to keep the speed under 50 mph.
5. Consider giving your wife the remote control during the 5:00-6:00 a.m. slot.
We can do a little better than the ideas listed here. Guys, vacation from our normal work responsibilities does not mean a vacation from our responsibilities to lead, serve, and care for our families. It’s all too easy to view vacation as a refuge of relaxation rather than a unique opportunity to serve and lead our families.
The temptations to selfishness and laziness are strong, but our leadership and service will set the tone for our vacations. So whether we are planning the activities for the day or making sure that our wives get time each day to meet with the Lord, let’s be sure that we are leading and serving for the glory of God and the good of those we love the most.
Steve, Brian, and Mike
Today is the final post in our little series on speech. We’ve learned of the dangers of corrupting talk and discovered that Ephesians 4:29 instead directs us to use edifying words and appropriate words. Finally, this verse also tells us that our words should be purposeful, “so that [they] may give grace to those who hear.”
What amazing power and potential there is in our speech! When we are purposeful and intentional to use edifying and appropriate words, this is the result: God promises that our words will impart grace to those who hear. Every conversation we have with another person carries this marvelous potential of passing on the grace of God. And we are a people in need of God’s grace, are we not?
So if a friend is condemned or legalistic, I want to give her justifying grace through my words. And if my husband is struggling with a particular sin, I want to give him sanctifying grace through my words. For a fellow church member who is suffering I want to give them comforting race through my words. If a child is disobedient, I want to give him or her convicting grace through my words. And if a friend is weary, I want to give her sustaining grace through my words.
There is no doubt that we will be talking today. No doubt. So in light of this verse, let’s purpose that each of our 25,000 words be edifying and appropriate, that we “may give grace to those who hear.”
We’ve been studying words this week from a message my dad gave on Ephesians 4:29 entitled “Encourage.” We’ve learned that we are to put away all corrupting talk and instead speak edifying words. But not only should our words be edifying, they should also be “appropriate” or as it says in verse 29: “as fits the occasion.”
As women, we generally give due attention to our dress. When invited to a party, dinner, or event, we take great pains to ensure we are wearing proper attire. We would never attend a formal event in sweats, or waltz into a pool party in high heels.
However, I am not always nearly so careful with my words. I don’t stop to consider whether or not they “fit the occasion.” And yet, unlike my dress, words are of the greatest significance. For “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21)
That’s why Ephesians 4:29 is a much needed reminder to stop and listen before I speak. Proverbs 18:13 says: “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” And all to often I play the fool. Instead, I must consider the person to whom I am speaking. And I must choose the precise words that would serve them in that particular conversation.
First Thessalonians 5:14 is the “dress code” for our words. It tells us what words are appropriate for what occasion. “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
So let’s ask ourselves: does our child need to be admonished or forgiven? Does our friend need to be warned or comforted? Does our husband need to be counseled or encouraged?
We take great pains to dress appropriately for our own reputation, and yet when we speak appropriately, we bring honor and glory to God and bless those who hear.
“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Prov. 15:23).
This week, a question from a mother of daughters, Rebecca:
Do you have any comments/thoughts on doing hope chests? Is this something you did? I like the idea to point my daughters’ hearts ahead to the time of their life when they will be investing in homes of their own, but not sure of how to forge ahead with this.
For those who may be unfamiliar—a hope chest is a tradition of purchasing and setting aside household items (such as dishes, flatware, kitchen appliances, bedding, heirlooms, etc.) for a daughter’s future home.
I did hope chests for each of my daughters with mixed results. It definitely served, as Rebecca noted, to point my daughters’ hearts toward the home. And in this day and age, I’m enthusiastic about anything that will encourage young women to glorify God by loving the home. However, styles and preferences for household goods change so rapidly that many of the items I purchased when my daughters were teenagers no longer appealed to them by the time they moved into their own homes.
If I had it to do over again, I would probably do a variation of the traditional hope chest. Instead of purchasing items, I would set aside money each year. When my daughter got married or bought a home of her own, I would take her shopping with that money to purchase the items she needed. It would be a special memory and also fulfill the practical need for household items. It’s not cheap to set up a house these days!
Let me emphasize that these thoughts merely come from my own personal experience. I am sure many women out there are far more creative than I am. However, I would want to encourage all mothers to think strategically like Rebecca. If not a hope chest, what are other ways you can encourage your daughter to love the home? How can you prepare her, practically and spiritually, to manage a home and possibly care for a family one day? Even though these skills might not be tangible—like a hope chest—they will be a valuable legacy for your daughter.
Yesterday Nicole talked about the words that shouldn’t come out of our mouths (corrupting talk). Today we want to consider the words that we should be speaking.
In our Ephesians 4:29 verse we are commanded to communicate edifying words: “only such as is good for building up.” Edifying words are words that identify how God is at work in someone’s life. Philippians 2:13 tell us that “it is God who works in [the Christian] both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
C.J. said in his message entitled “Encourage” that, “We have the privilege of discerning where God is at work and drawing attention to how He is at work in their lives. And God is at work, all the time.” These ways that God is at work my husband likes to call “evidences of grace.”
One way to identify evidences of grace: Begin by reading the lists of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and the gifts of the Spirit (Rom. 12:3-8, 1 Cor. 12:1-11). Then look for one of these specific signs of God’s activity in the life of someone you know (start with those you live with!) and tell them about it. No doubt, by the end of this day, you’ll be more aware of God’s constant activity in the lives of His people. And you will have obeyed this Scriptural command to build others up.
Vacation is a super fun time for food—or in this case, I should say drinks. One of my favorite things about the South is sweet tea. When I order iced tea at home it takes at least 45 sugars to get it sweet. The ice makes it impossible to dissolve, causing my last few sips to be nothing but sugar. So while I’m in Tennessee, I drink all the sweet tea that I can hold. (For all you non-southerners out there, one great place to get a good sweet tea in your neck of the woods is Chick-Fil-A. I would recommend topping that off with a lemon.) Now, while we are on the subject, another favorite is Coke with lime. But the trick is to first put in your ice, than squeeze in the lime, and pour the Coke in last. This works best if the Coke is already cold so that the ice doesn’t immediately water down the Coke. Finally, the perfect breakfast “food and drink in one” is my favorite cereal, Cocoa Krispies (a vacation staple for my nephews and me). The greatest thing about this cereal is how it turns your milk into chocolate milk. I always pour in extra milk so that there is plenty left to drink after I finish the cereal.
Although I love my food, what really makes food so fun on vacation is enjoying it with my family. One of our favorite activities is sitting around the dinner table talking until it’s almost time for the next meal. I can remember my parents beginning this practice of intentional meal time when I was very young. My dad would ask about our day and in turn direct us to ask each family member a question. What began as a training process developed into a much loved tradition.
So that’s it for now. There’s still much talking and eating (and of course drinking) to be done.
Before I left for vacation, I cleaned out my refrigerator. Generally, I try to toss leftovers before they turn rainbow colors and sprout biological plant life. But it’s not unusual for me to find four half-used containers of sour cream coated in blue-green fuzzies.
This fridge-cleaning illustration does in fact relate to our ongoing series on speech (see yesterday’s post). For any experience with rotten food will help us to better understand Ephesians 4:29. In this verse we are commanded to, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths…” In this instance, “corrupt” is a word used to describe spoiled or rotten food. It not only stinks, but it also spreads. Not a pleasant thought.
What sorts of words are corrupt and rotten? Obviously lying, profanity, and vulgarity make the list. But Ephesians 4:31 widens the description a bit. Here we read: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
Dad said in his sermon that corrupt talk includes all words or communication that deters growth in godliness and hinders the cultivation of godly relationships. It defiles others. It has a decaying, rotting effect on a person’s soul. This end result is certainly worth further reflection.
So the question is, how many of our 25,000 words per day are like rotten, moldy sour cream—repulsive to God, and injurious to others?
The Bible says we should eradicate these corrupt words from our speech. Instead, our words sould be edifying: “only such as is good for building up” (Eph. 4:29). And we’ll examine these edifying words more closely tomorrow.
But if you are all too aware of the corrupt nature of your speech, let me remind you of the good news of the gospel again. Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, came to earth and lived a perfect life on our behalf. He never once spoke a corrupt, bitter, malicious, or angry word. Not once. And if we have repented from our corrupt speech and put our trust in His perfect righteousness, His blood covers every filthy, rotten word we’ve ever spoken.
So let’s revel in the Savior’s perfect righteousness today, and purpose to put away all corrupt words and so bring glory to Him.
From the time our children were little, we sought to pass onto them our enthusiasm for Sunday—our favorite day of the week. Sunday is the day we join with the members of our local church, worship God, hear preaching from His Word, and fellowship together. No other activity on any other day is more important than this.
One Sunday each year we spend time with some special friends of ours—Bill & Cheri Kittrell and family and Cornerstone Church of Knoxville. This church has “adopted” our family and made us feel as if we were one of their own. Their kindness is a gift from God to us. If you’re ever visiting this way or if you live near Knoxville, we recommend you check out this young, vibrant, joyful church whose members have a passion for the gospel and a heart to serve.
Here’s the Kittrell family (L2R:Cheri, Bill, Lauren, Will, Bryant, Dan is not pictured) in front of the construction site for Cornerstone’s new facility opening this December.
My husband C.J. gave the message yesterday and it forms the basis for a little series we are doing this week (among other fun things). His message was entitled “Encourage” from Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
It was about speech, communication, conversation—something at which we women are prolific! It was certainly convicting to me, and this is probably the third time I have heard this message. Some of us were talking after the meeting about how we needed to go home and apologize to our kids for unkind words that very morning!
C.J. pointed out that speech is significant. In other words, our words matter. It’s just that there are so many of them—an estimated 25,000 per day—that we don’t often take them seriously. But, as Paul Tripp wrote in his book War of Words: “When we speak, it must be with the realization that God has given our words significance. He has ordained for them to be important…God has given words value. So we must do all we can to assign words the importance Scripture gives them.”
This week we will examine our 25,000 words per day in light of Ephesians 4:29 and assign those words “the importance Scripture gives them.” We’ll also discover the kind of words that bring glory to Him: edifying, appropriate, and purposeful words. And we will look at how this verse applies to our speech as women.
If you would like to listen to C.J.’s message, you can download it by clicking here.