The picture you see at the top of today's writing makes me laugh out loud. The little girl means she wants something to do with the movie Frozen. Instead, she just got something...frozen. But this is the kind of thing that happens when we are not clear in what we say. How many times have we tried to communicate with a friend or a loved one and we are not specific or clear? Signals get crossed or we leave out an important detail. How many times have we found ourselves in a conversation that feels like we came into, it in the middle? I would guess most of us have had to say at one time or another, no that's not what I meant.
Good communication is a skill that must be taught and learned. And it is vital for all relationships, work, school, friends, families and marriage. It is one of the most important skills we learn. One of our biggest communication problems is that we listen to reply, not understand. We communicate with God by prayer. But He is not a genie. We are called to pray as Christ did, according to the will of God. So, our communication with God...prayer...is our asking God to draw us closer to Him. When we pray to God it is a time to bring him our troubles, confess our sins, praise Him, pray for other people and commune with Him. Sometimes we hear God answer us by voice. Sometimes we just know something. Often God communicates with us through His Word.
We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Paul says to pray continually. And we know that there are enough things to pray for, we could pray continually. We know we can go to Him anytime of the day or night and that means we can pray continually.
Philippians 4:6 days, ”Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Paul reminds us that whatever we need...not whatever we want...we can take to the Lord. The old hymn says “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” It matters not how big or small the prayer request, God will listen to them all. That does not mean He will answer immediately, or even how we would like but He will answer.
Going to God in prayer is not just something that comes with the New Testament. We read in Jeremiah 29:12, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” This follows immediately after God telling the people of Israel, He knows the plans He has for us...plans to prosper us and not harm us. This is a promise from God that He will always be there, listening, waiting for us to come to Him.
The Bible has much to say about how we communicate with others. We are commanded to do everything to the glory of God, even in how we communicate with others. Again, we hear from Paul. “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 grace those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29. When we talk to and with others what we have to say is to be positive, encouraging, and appropriate for the situation. And James reminds us of this. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19. Perhaps you have heard people say we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. We are cautioned to watch what we say so that we do not lead people astray.
When we speak our words have great power. We can use words to build others up, encouraging them in all they do. Or we can use words as weapons, tearing people down and working to destroy. James says this, ”So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest fire is set ablaze by such a small fire!” James 3:5. Once we speak a word, we cannot get it back. Many of us have learned this one the hard way. Getting misspoken words back is like putting toothpaste back in the tube.
Words are also a big reflection of what is in our hearts. Matthew 12:37 tells, ”For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” These words are sobering but they also make it clear that our words have consequences. Both the good and kind, and the cruel and offensive. There are two types of communication. That between God and us, and that between one another. And all of it is important. We try to improve our communication all the time. Otherwise, we might end up with frozen peas, not toys from the movie frozen!
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W