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Speaking Good

It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to identify the difference between a good and poor working environment. Depending upon your field of work, I’m sure you can identify at least one disgruntled co-worker. This individual doesn’t need much to incite their latest rant. A few weeks ago, I had an interaction with a woman who went off the rails over something minuscule. The words she spoke was like venom from a poisonous snake, sucking out the joy of everyone in her presence.

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.And God blessed (spoke good of) the seventh day, set it apart as His own, and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had created and done, Genesis 2:2-3.

As I start to study the Bible from the beginning of the Old Testament, several words have stood out to me. The Creator of the heavens and the earth didn’t just work hard to complete this project. Rather, God spoke life into the creation of our planet. Following each sunset, signaling the end of each day, God reflected upon what was specifically fashioned and formed. Rather than the perfectionist who mutters, “I could have done better,” God spoke good of each created being and thing.

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of [e]untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you, Philippians 4:8-9.

The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in a letter to the Church at Philippi. The context of Paul’s words come shortly after mentioning Christian helpers whose names are in the Book of Life. Paul suggests that the greatest accomplishment on earth is living a life that honors God so that your eternal destination is secured, 1 John 5:12-13. One of the ways this is accomplished is through speaking good. May today’s passages inspire you to become a positive voice in your spheres of influence.

by Jay Mankus

Why You Should Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

Whenever I have a negative experience with an associate, co-worker or friend, my curious nature wants to know why. Did I do something wrong? Did I offend someone? Or does this individual simply not like me? These are the thoughts that go through my head daily. However, after reading the Bible today, I learned a valuable lesson on why you should avoid jumping to conclusion.

Now Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and he was laying them on the fire when a viper crawled out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the little animal hanging from his hand, they said to one another, Doubtless this man is a murderer, for though he has been saved from the sea, Justice [the goddess of avenging] has not permitted that he should live, Acts 28:3-4.

A first century ship in route to Rome ran aground off the coast of Malta. On a cold rainy winter day, 276 people abandoned ship, floating or swimming to shore. When natives of the island saw this event take place, a fire was started to bring warmth to wet and shivering bodies. The apostle Paul felt compelled to help out, gathering sticks when a baby viper snake attached itself to his arm. Gossip and murmurs began to spread around the campfire, perceiving Paul as a murderer was who escaped a ship wreck only to die on this island.

Then [Paul simply] shook off the small creature into the fire and suffered no evil effects. However, they were waiting, expecting him to swell up or suddenly drop dead; but when they had watched him a long time and saw nothing fatal or harmful come to him, they changed their minds and kept saying over and over that he was a god, Acts 28:5-6.

Aware of the deadly poison of vipers, the locals were waiting for Paul’s arm to swell up and then die. When this didn’t happen and Paul suffered no ill effects, another conclusion was made, a polar opposite of the first. From a murderer to a god; these are too extremes. This illustration proves the point not to jump to conclusions. While you may be eager to know what influenced someone to do this or that, only God knows the ultimate reason. Thus, the next time you see something from afar, sort out the facts first to ensure that you reach a logical conclusion.

by Jay Mankus

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