Measure twice, cut once

October 27, 2011 1 comment

Measure twice, cut once

Are you watching your words?

Measure twice, cut once is a phrase often used by carpenters. It is an axiom that is essential for frugal use of time and materials. While it takes more time to measure twice, ignoring this principle can be costly.

After Hurricane Rita devastated Southeast Texas several years ago a dear friend asked me to help install tile in his brother’s house. He was experienced and I was learning. If you have never laid tile you can hardly appreciate the hard work involved. It is difficult enough to put the square tiles in place, evenly spaced. Add to that installing tile around corners, curves, bay windows, doorways, etc. and the job becomes increasingly difficult. At first I looked, analyzed, measured, re-measured and cut very slowly. Once I had successfully cut a number of tiles and they fit properly I became confident, um…over confident. I stopped measuring carefully twice since I had practically become a professional. Needless to say, after wasting a few tiles I realized the importance of measuring twice. Fortunately, I learned that lesson and then became consistent in my measure twice, cut once practice.

In many other situations with experienced tradesmen I have observed that the good ones consistently measure twice, cut once. This is a principle they never outgrow. They have learned, usually from experience, that they are not above making mistakes. In fact, many of them measure more than twice on difficult cuts.

Someone once told me to use this principle with my words. It makes a lot of sense. It is foolish for us to speak before thinking. Many of us are guilty of this. If we will just wait…pause…measure our words before we speak we many times will avoid conflict and even bring about healing.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

Merriam Webster defines reckless as marked by lack of proper caution: careless of consequences; irresponsible. As Christians it is our obligation to be careful with our words. As the definition indicates, it is irresponsible of us to do otherwise.

If you believe that it is a waste of time to think before you speak, I challenge you to search the scriptures. It is clear in God’s Word that we are obligated to measure carefully our words before we use them.

…be quick to listen, slow to speak.

James 1:19

Recently we discussed in our Wednesday night marriage class the importance of carefully responding to one another. Many of us become reckless (irresponsible) in our communication with our spouse, family, friends, co-workers, etc. Were we to be slow in our responses, careful in our choice of words and careful listeners I am confident that we would avoid many unnessary conflicts. Rather than responding too quickly we should stop, breathe, think, pray and then respond. Response includes facial expressions. Many times we invoke negative reactions by showing our annoyance. Part of effective and godly communication is our non-verbal responses. If our initial internal reaction is negative we should again stop, breathe, think pray and then respond.

A fool shows his annoyance at once…

Proverbs 12:16a

In conclusion, I leave with you these probing questions (taken from our marriage curriculum by Bill Hybles) for you to consider before responding verbally or non-verbally:

Am I the problem here?

Am I being unreasonable or selfish or insensitive?

Am I aggravating the situation?

Am I yielding to sin?

Honestly answering these questions before responding will help us be great communicators.

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Broken Relationships – Do you have any?

Carefully examine our relationships and make amends for any that are broken.

In order for us to become and accomplish what God has called us to be we must mature as a body. As a local part of the larger Body of Christ, we must forgive, reconcile with and love one another. After all, Jesus said it is only second to loving God. (Mark 12:31) And there is this admonition,

For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  (I John 4:20b)

Inspect your heart to see if you are truly at peace with all men. Particularly important is that we have unity among the Body of Christ. Many of us know how difficult it is to function when our physical body is not functioning properly with itself. Of even greater importance is His body!

Of greater importance than our sacrifice of worship is our relationship with one another.

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:24)

Perhaps you know there are relationships that need to be mended, but you just don’t know how to go about making that happen. I would be honored to assist you in this. The Lord gives us very clear and really simple instruction in His Word of how we are to deal with such matters. So, if you would like to receive some help feel free to contact me.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians  4:32-5:2)

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Press through

May 23, 2011 1 comment

When you are feeling down…press through it.

I hate when I feel that way. Sometimes it just seems to happen. Not necessarily because of something I’ve done or not done. It can even happen when everything seems to be great. It’s frustrating. Today this happened. While there were a few situations that contributed to me feeling this way, they did not justify my feelings.

What I have learned (when I remember to apply it) is that I need to focus on others when feeling this way. So many times when I feel down,  if I change my focus to others things look up almost immediately. The Lord made us servants. He desires to use us. He created us to be used for Him!

Try it if you haven’t. If you have but it’s been a while, remember to do it.

Also, I’ve found that reading the Word brings perspective when it seems to be cloudy.

May His presence surround you and give you perspective as you minister to others and get in The Word!

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Happy New Year!

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I truly want this year to be different than the last and any previous years. To be continued…

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