What Every Family Needs

May 30-June3


Timely Encouragement

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. – Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

Memorial Day, perhaps more than any other holiday, was born of human necessity. Abraham Lincoln pondered these thoughts in the late fall of 1863. His darkest fear was that he might well be the last president of the United States, a nation embroiled in the self-destruction of what he described as “a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.” He began his remarks with those words as he stood on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19th of that year.

The minute’s speech that became known as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address turned into what might be called the first observance of Memorial Day. Lincoln’s purpose that day was to dedicate a portion of the battlefield as a cemetery for the thousands of men, both living and dead, who consecrated that soil in the sacrifice of battle. Said Abraham Lincoln: “That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause which they gave the last full measure of devotion…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…” (Sermon Central)

President Lincoln provided a timely word of encouragement that our nation needed to hear. The Apostle Paul instructed the church to also provide words that build up in a timely fashion. Halitosis is the condition of chronic bad breath. That’s obviously off-putting for most people. But Paul describes a worse “smell” coming from an open mouth that releases stinking, rotten words!

According to Peter O’Brien, what is prohibited, then, is harmful speech of any kind whether it be abusive language, vulgar speech, or slander and contemptuous talk.


Every family needs people who say what is constructive at the moment. When do you recall someone in your family saying just what you needed to hear when you needed to hear it?


Praise God for the people He has placed in your life who speak timely words of encouragement. Ask God to let your home be filled with constructive words of encouragement.


Words of Grace

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. – Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

A woman died and went to heaven but when she arrived at the “Pearly Gates,” she found Peter. “Before you can come in, you have to spell a word,” he said. “What word?” she asked. “Grace,” said Peter. “That’s the only way into heaven.” She said that’s easy and spelled, “G-R-A-C.E.” “Come on in. But I was wondering if you’d do me a quick favor. Stand here for a few moments. I’ll be right back. If anyone comes, just follow the same procedure,” said Peter. Peter left and behold here comes her ex-husband. “What are you doing here?” “I just had a heart attack. Did I really make it?” he asked. “Not yet. You have to spell a word,” she said. “What word?” After a few moments, she said, “Czechoslovakia.”

 Paul taught in Ephesians 4 that our families need words of grace. Grace in this context is a quality that adds delight or pleasure or a winning quality or attractiveness that invites a favorable reaction. In short, our gracious words spoken to others can be used by God’s Spirit to transform trial into triumph and sorrow into joy. Paul is implying that we, as God’s ambassadors, can function as channels of His grace even in our everyday conversation. Someone prayed, “Lord, make my words gracious and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them! One of the first things that happens when a man is really filled with the Spirit is not that he speaks with tongues, but that he learns to control his tongue and what he says.


According to Kent Hughes, “We are to converse in such a way that our words become a vehicle and demonstration of the grace of God.” What is something someone said to you recently that was a vehicle of God’s grace?


Thank God for His gift of grace in your life. Ask God to help your speech to be filled with grace toward your family and others.


Put Away Negativity

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. – Ephesians 4:30-31 (ESV)

A man who had car trouble on a lonely road asked a farmer to tow him to the nearest garage. On the way, his wife was protesting to her husband the fee the farmer charged. “It is scandalous,” she said, “to charge us ten dollars for towing this car for only three miles.” To which her husband replied, “Never mind, dear. I’m having my revenge—I’ve got my brakes on.” Many a person has thought himself to be getting revenge, but all the time the major damage was being done to him. (Speaker’s Quote Book)

The Apostle Paul taught that negative speech grieved God’s Spirit and hurt relationships. The Holy Spirit is grieved or pained by sin, in context, especially the sins of the tongue! The Spirit Who makes men share the truth is put to shame when the saints lie to one another and utter rotten words to each other. Paul says we should lay aside “all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander.”


A young lady once said to John Wesley “I think I know what my talent is. It’s to speak my mind.” Wesley quipped “I don’t think God would mind if you bury that talent.” Do you think there is anything about the way you talk to people that needs to be buried?


Thank God for the gift of His Spirit within you and the help He provides in controlling your tongue. Ask God to help you identify and bury any destructive words that you have a tendency to share.



“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

Well Chosen Words – Marion F. Ash and an elderly gentleman were painting a farmhouse on a hot summer day. They had just refreshed themselves with a cold drink of water and were returning to their ladders when a small boy with only one arm came riding toward them on his bike. He stopped and said, “I live down the road a ways. Ma sent me to see if you needed some drinking water. If you do, I can go back and fetch it in a glass canning jar.” Mr. Ash was about to decline the offer, but his older companion said, “You sure came in the nick of time, Sonny. A good drink of water would do wonders for both of us.” The youngster grinned and called out, “I’ll be right back. I bet you think you’re lucky that I came along!” The elderly man replied, “You can say that again! Now our worries are over. We’ve got another man on the job.” Commenting on this incident, Mr. Ash wrote, “With a few well-chosen words my friend had transformed a young, handicapped lad into a confident human being.”

The world needs people who affirm the worth of others through acts of kindness and words of encouragement. This poor old world needs the wealth of positive attitudes and hopeful persuasion. —H. V Lugt (Our Daily Bread)


Pastor Jim shared the importance of sharing kind words of encouragement in our families. What stood out the most to you from what he shared? Did you sense God leading you to make any changes?


Romans 2:4 says God’s kindness leads us to repentance. Thank God for His kindness toward you. Ask God to help you follow His example and demonstrate kindness to others.



“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

Old Joe was dying. For years he had been at odds with Bill, formerly one of his best friends. Wanting to straighten things out, he sent word for Bill to come and see him. When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with such a bad feeling between them. Then, very reluctantly and with great effort, Joe apologized for things he had said and done. He also assured Bill that he forgave him for his offenses. Everything seemed fine until Bill turned to go. As he walked out of the room, Joe called out after him, “But, remember, if I get better, this doesn’t count!” We may smile at this story. Yet what a clear picture this gives of the way we sometimes treat one another. The forgiveness we profess is often superficial.

The forgiveness Paul encourages us to extend is Christlike and permanent. Learning how to forgive and forget is one of the secrets of a happy Christian life. “Forgiving” means literally to give freely and unconditionally or to bestow as a gift of grace and then to remit a debt, and hence to forgive. The underlying motive (and power) for believers to forgive others is God’s action through Christ toward us. The old adage is appropriate “Like Father, like son.” As sons (and daughters) we are to accurately reflect His character, especially His gift of unconditional forgiveness, to a lost, skeptical, and cynical world that desperately needs to see God’s love in action.


Is there anyone who you are struggling to forgive? Is there anyone who you need to ask to forgive you?


Thank God for the unconditional forgiveness that He has extended to you. Ask God to allow that same type of forgiveness to exist in any relationships you have that currently have unforgiveness.