Day 18 Proverbs Challenge: Poison or Fruit —You Choose

by Latricia C. Bailey

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (MSG)

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.”

These are the chants and boastful words from prizefighter and champ, Muhammad Ali, taunted towards another notable fighter. On October 30, 1974, 32-year-old Muhammad Ali became the heavyweight champion of the world for the second time when he knocked out 25-year-old champ George Foreman in the eighth round of the “Rumble in the Jungle,” a match in Kinshasa, Zaire. The fight was impressive because of many reasons. But the thing that always makes the difference to me with any fight are the words that initiate it.

Professional boxers fight and often use trash talk to incite fear or doubt in their opponents. Muhammad Ali to me was the king of trash talk not because he wanted to hurt them, but because his strategy was to initiate fear of him in them. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Latricia C. Bailey

Day 17 Proverbs Challenge: The Christian Cover-Up

by Sharman J. Monroe

“He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love,
But he who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends.”

Proverbs 17:9 (AMP)

We see and hear a lot everyday. We see somebody engaging in behavior we think is wrong or somebody tells us something negative about somebody else. You get into an argument with someone. The person you were relying to do something doesn’t. You get offended. You are hurt.

That’s life on a planet inhabited by people who are different from you with different likes and dislikes, different opinions, different desires and so on. Conflict will happen. But we don’t have to talk about all the conflict in our lives or repeat who did what to whom. When we say something negative about someone to another person, we diminish that person’s opinion of the other. Soon that person looks at them negatively and looses respect for them. That person may begin to treat them badly and also say negative things about them. This is not godly behavior (Gal 5:22). When conflict happens with another person, work it out with that person, not in the court of public opinion (Matt 18:15). When you hear something negative about another, unless someone’s safety is at issue, keep it to yourself (Prov. 26:20). Cover each other. Unbeknownst to you, you will be covered in return.

As my mom used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Sharman J. Monroe

Day 16 Proverbs Challenge: Steps

by Tammy Phillips

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

The new plan was in place.   For almost seven years I had served as the administrator and hostess at a ministry house in southeast Washington, D.C.   Then, another ministry door flew open. I moved from the District to a small town in Georgia. The mission sending agency I helped established years before was sending me to Jamaica to serve.  I would be running a ministry house, similar to where I had served in D.C., and helping to start a Bible Institute. The plan was set. I made a move.

The plan started to unravel almost immediately.

I was to run the ministry house. The mission sending agency, Simon’s Branch, Inc., and the owner of the house were to split the profits. Her building was going to be the site for our Bible Institute. Then suddenly the owner denied agreeing to a partnership between her business and our mission sending agency. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Tammy Phillips

Day 15 Proverbs Challenge: What Were You Thinking?

by Tammy Phillips

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

Proverb 15:4 (NKJV)

Accessories defined her look. The hat, the jewelry, scarves, shoes, and handbag transformed any top clothes she wore into fashion model ready. I asked her if she was always fashionable. Her answered surprised me.   She shared that when she was pregnant, her pastor approached her, his arms outstretched; she readied herself for his bear hug. While greeting her, he whispered, “Why do you always wear the same old clothes?” His words altered her breathing; she quickly walked away. Alternating between four dresses that were always cleaned and pressed, she wore what she had.

Later alone with God, she cried out, “I am your child. Please help me.” The assistance came immediately. One woman in the church surprised her with two dresses. So did another. Soon, she had several pretty dresses to wear. This was when her interest in accessorizing began. She learned she could alternate different pieces of clothing, adding some splash and look completely different each time she stepped into the church.

Pastor obviously did not THINK before he spoke. Many would argue that, since his words propelled my friend into fashion action, it was good that he talked to her.   I am of the mind that he should have kept his comments to himself. The pain he caused was unnecessary. She expected Christian love from her pastor, not a petty, hurtful comment.   The notion that our opinions and the truth are synonymous has always been amazing to me.

Once, during a youth activity, we asked several young ladies to squeeze toothpaste out of the small tubes they had each been given. Then, they were told to put all of the paste back into the containers through the same hole it came out of.   Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Tammy Phillips