May 262016


Yeah, you’re busy. Join the crowd. We all are. Most of the world is. Deal with it…

But have you considered perhaps a little patient quiet time might actually increase your sales?

Most of us don’t realize it, but we hate the sound of silence, and if we’re questioning a prospect and don’t get an answer within two or three seconds, we’ll usually either rephrase the question or answer it ourselves. This can sabotage your good results by preventing you from gathering key information you’re seeking, making it harder to land the sale. Or even worse potentially portraying you as self-serving rather than advocating the customer’s needs.

As hard as it is, since we’re conditioned otherwise, pretend you’re a rodeo bronc rider and go for the full eight-second ride, giving your prospect the polite silent treatment as you internally count one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, all the way to eight. Often, people need several seconds to frame their thoughts since they’ve likely never previously considered your question.

You’ll wind up gathering additional  pertinent information and also demonstrate your courtesy and consideration.

If after ten seconds you still don’t have an answer, it’s time to rephrase and re-ask the question a different way.

Learn to be the silent salesman.
At least for a brief moment.
Then get busy again.           –RG


Apr 142013

There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way to death. – Proverbs 14:12 ESV

pathI have always interpreted this to mean that when we ignore God’s ways and instead cling to our own that the results are personal and tragic loss, generally in the form of moral wickedness, sickness, financial ruin, psychological problems, and eventually physical and spiritual death. I still think this is the core meaning, but like most passages of scripture, there is layer upon layer of wisdom as we dig deeper. It seems no matter how often I return to a passage thinking I have already mined every precious nugget from those golden words, there is a new vein from which to extract some further insight from the Holy Spirit for application in my life.

So it is with these words as well – and at the moment they are very convicting to me, actually causing tears of repentance to flow as I begin to understand what I am risking, not only in my life but in the lives of others.

I share this because I wonder how many people are struggling with the same self-doubts and fears? How many know in their heart what they should do, yet there are crippling thoughts which cause them to remain silent and still? How many of us still adhere to our own ways that seem so right, and not God’s ways which are absolutely right because we are not trusting completely in His guidance?

I wish with all my heart that I could write inspired and anointed words declaring the righteousness and holiness I have attained in my walk with Christ, but the truth is I have very little of either. I am striving but far from arriving. So all I can write about with a clear spirit is the ongoing war between the light of Jesus and the inherent darkness which seeks to retain possession of my body and soul.

For reasons far beyond what I can cover in this single blog post (but will delve into more deeply in future writings) I have always struggled against my calling, giving far too much heed to every word of the enemy and to every imagining of my mind, easily finding a multitude of reasons why I cannot and should not bring the Word of the Lord to those around me. What credentials would allow me to speak on such things? I have never attended seminary. What church has appointed me a minister? What proof do I have of the revelations and insights I have been given? Who really cares about what I’m saying anyway?

Intellectually, I realize the most holy of men to ever walk this earth, except our Saviour, were far from worthy of their calling. But for such a thought to travel from the brain to the heart to become wisdom is often a long and arduous journey. In my mind, I know that God has always called the unqualified, esteeming their obedience more valuable than their talents. Yet my heart still struggles with understanding whether this is true in my life as well. Doesn’t this apply only to other “special” people?

Or does it indeed apply to me as well? And to every other person called as a child of God?

So what is the destruction that ends those things which seem right to us? Is it only our own personal destruction? Or when we have been disobedient to our calling do we perhaps also risk destroying others? Sins of omission exist in addition to those of commission (James 4:17). So is personal unworthiness an excuse for inaction that I can bring before the throne of grace on judgement day when asked, “Did you do what I called you to do?”

I have struggled often with whether others (plural) would heed the words I speak or write, and whether I was a proper vessel to bring these words forth. But the Holy Spirit asked me today just how many must heed? Did not Jesus teach us that although He has a hundred sheep if but one (singular, not plural) is lost He will leave the ninety-nine to retrieve the one who is lost (Matthew 18:12-14)? It is the same with my words. If they reach but one person and bring that person to Christ it is worthwhile and helps fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15) that Jesus proclaimed to us as He ascended back into heaven to prepare a place for us when He returns.

And so, with the realization I am not, nor could ever be, qualified or worthy of bringing His Word to anyone, I must nonetheless respond in obedience to the calling to speak those things the Holy Spirit places upon my heart. I lovingly hope that those who hear and read these mortal words will not see me – but will instead see the glorious light of the message inside the filthy and unqualified messenger. Let me become nothing, for He is everything.

The way that seems right to this man, the self-justification of avoiding doing this very thing I am now doing, if I continue upon that path, leads not only to my destruction, but perhaps unwittingly prevents another soul from being saved that could otherwise gain heaven by accepting the precious gospel message. For that reason I must speak, even as an unworthy messenger.

I cannot allow such blood on my hands.

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak. – Exodus 4:10-12 ESV

Blessings and wisdom to you…

Nov 052011

toothbrushWhen I asked my lovely wife whether she would buy a used toothbrush, I got the totally expected response, “Eeew! Gross…” And I’ll bet most folks would chime in with a similar opinion. We certainly wouldn’t want a stranger’s dirty past making its way into our mouths.

But I ask you, isn’t that sometimes what we as Christians do? When we accepted Jesus as our lord and savior we became a new person (John 3:3) and the old person is passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). If this is the case, why would we let the old words from our own strange and dirty past invade our mouths?

The Power of our Words

Follow me for a moment if you would…

Our words have power. After all, the world and all that is in it and surrounds it was created by the power of God’s words (Genesis 1:3-26), and He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27).

His image isn’t His physical likeness, obviously, since He is the invisible God – a spirit with no physical form. But He breathed into us His very essence and that includes the desire and the ability to create. And it includes using the power of our own words for good or for evil. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and both Solomon and Jesus pointed this fact out to us very emphatically.

Solomon said that where the word of a king is, there is power (Ecclesiastes 8:4), and has not Jesus Christ Himself made us kings (Revelation 1:6) as well as priests?

Jesus said that we can speak without doubt to a mountain and it will move (Mark 11:23), being cast into the sea if we command it and believe without doubting.

That certainly sounds like power to me.

Let’s couple this with some other scriptures starting with Romans 4:17. Note the phrase, “calls those things which do not exist as though they did”. Yes, this passage refers to God. But remember His essence of creativity was placed within us, so we too can call into being those things which are not. Consider “The 4th Symphony” did not exist until Tchaikovsky called it forth. America did not exist until Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers declared we were independent. Black civil rights did not make tremendous strides in our country until a southern Baptist preacher proclaimed that he “had a dream”. The world is indeed changed by the power of our words.

If you are married, you did not gain your husband or wife until you said, “I do…” And if that is not proof of the power of our words to bring forth monumental changes to our lives, I can offer no greater evidence.

The True Source of Power

But be careful here and do not mistake the meaning of this. Do not think this power is from within us. Instead, it is a gift from God that He has given to us – a minuscule measure of His infinite authority. And without Him we can do nothing. Without Him we ARE nothing. We are divinely created, but we are not divine. We are creative, but we are not the creator. We wield power, but we are not the source of it.

Psalm 37:4 explains that when we delight in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our hearts and therein lies the source of this power. It is God Himself blessing us and caring for us and empowering us to fulfill His command that we subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28), to use all of its vast resources in the service of God and man.

Let’s look at another way our words have power from above – our words are the method of our salvation. Romans 10:9 explains that we are saved by confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead. That is the most awesome use of the power of words any human will ever wield.

Continuing our exploration, let us remember that Jesus has promised that when we abide in Him, and His words abide in us, that whatsoever we ask will be done for us (John 15:7). He further tells us that whatsoever we desire when we pray, believe that we have received it, and it is ours (Mark 11:24).

Aha, that word “desire” shows up again. Remember Psalm 37:4? The promise that God gives us the desires of our hearts? Shall we now join that with Matthew 12:34 that tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks? Not quite, but we’ll come back to this point in a moment.

With Power Comes Responsibility

Matthew 12:22-36 recounts the story of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man who was blind and could not speak and how the Pharisees accused Him of being able to do so because He received His power from Satan, the prince of demons. Jesus has much to say about words in this passage.

First, note that it was through the power of words that the Pharisees sought to condemn Jesus, but He instead turned it into an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson. It is here that we learn there is an eternally unforgivable sin. While one may make speak even against Jesus himself (such as did Paul while he was still Saul before his conversion) and yet be forgiven, to speak against the Holy Spirit is forever unpardonable (Matthew 12:32, Mark 3:29). Thankfully, this sin can never be committed by a Christian (that’s a topic for a different teaching on a different day), but it demonstrates the terrible consequences of evil words.

Second, note that Jesus further warned that we will give an account of every careless word we speak on the day of judgement (Matthew 12:36) and that by our words we will be either justified or condemned (Matthew 12:37). Doesn’t justified or condemned sound remarkably like the life and death mentioned earlier?

Third, Jesus said that a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things, while an evil man, out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things (Matthew 12:35). How do these men bring forth good and evil? Why, by the very thing the whole passage is about – by their words.

And where is their treasure? Jesus told us. It’s in their hearts. Also, let us consider another similar thing Jesus said in Matthew 6:21. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. What is our treasure? It is those things we prize most. It is our values, those things we place above all others, our greatest desires, those things that we believe most. This is the treasure that fills our hearts.

Now let’s go back to the passage in Matthew 12:34 that teaches us out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Putting this all together, we learn that we speak with the God-given power to create those things we value and believe in most. What we value and what we believe is what we speak, and those things we speak have the power to justify or to condemn. So really, it’s the value of what we truly believe that will bring us life or death – and we will talk about those things.

What’s in Your Mouth?

What things do you talk about? For that, my dear brother or sister, will reveal the treasure in your heart, and therefore your future. My hope and prayer is that you are speaking positive, encouraging, edifying, and uplifting things based upon the promises of God in your life, and that you see them manifested with thankfulness and wonder in the most miraculous of ways.

Or are you perhaps speaking words of doubt, anxiety, worry, and negativity?

“I don’t know how I’m going to pay the bills. The economy is just getting worse all the time. I’ll never find the right husband (or wife). I hate my job. My kid’s always getting into trouble. The doctor gave me bad news and says I’m not going to get better. I know God has done great things for others, but I don’t know if He’ll do it for me.”

If you are, this is the old person talking. So get the dirty toothbrush out of your mouth and get a new one.

“But it’s hard, Brother Rick,” you may be saying. “I’m just being realistic. It’s natural to worry about things.”

You are so right. It’s perfectly natural. And 1 Corinthians 2:14 says the natural man does not accept Godly things since they are foolish to him and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

So stop being natural, and be – as my daughter is so fond of saying – SUPERNATURAL!

It will take practice, but it will produce tremendous rewards both in this life and in the next. On many occasions I’ve said kiddingly (with all seriousness) that the church doesn’t always offer truth in advertising. We proclaim how easy it is to be saved, yet we fail to warn how hard the process of renewing the mind can be. And that’s what this is all about. We must renew our mind and think differently than we did in the past.

In addition to salvation and eternal life in heaven, Jesus wants us to see the kingdom of heaven here on earth (Matthew 6:10-11) and in John 3:3-6 He teaches us that we cannot enter that kingdom unless we are born again. This is the renewal process.

To be renewed we must hear the word (Romans 10:17), study the word (2 Timothy 2:15), and speak the word (Jeremiah 23:28) over and over until it penetrates to our very core and becomes so real in us that we automatically recognize and overcome the old voices that would speak as strongholds in our mind (2 Corinthians 10:5). When we truly believe, the possibilities are limitless (Mark 9:23).

Once we think differently and line up our thoughts and beliefs with what God promises for our lives, we change the treasure and the abundance in our heart. When that happens, our words, which have such awesome power to create, will bring forth wondrous blessings in our own lives and in the lives of others.

Since you’ve been speaking like that you look marvelously beautiful! That new toothbrush is giving you a radiantly dazzling smile.

Or is that simply God’s glory emanating from your mouth?

woman smile