Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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The Power of Words

Episode Notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

"Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together."
"The Power, Wisdom, and Reward of a Gentle Word."
"The Power of Words."

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Dannah Gresh: Throughout the book of Proverbs we see a similar theme over and over again. And Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says it has to do with our tongues.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: A wise man does not have to say everything he knows. He demonstrates restraint and humility and speaks at the appropriate time; whereas, a  fool gushes—blurts out foolish things and has no restraint.

Dannah: Learning how to restrain our tongues today on Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. 

A few weeks ago, I was spending time with my darling twin grandbabies. Zoe and Addie are two now! That day as I watched, Zoe ripped a toy out of Addie’s hands and simply walked away . . . toy in hand.

Addie stood still for a second and then walked over to Zoe, got between Zoe’s face and the toy, and looked up into Zoe’s eyes and softly and sweetly said, “Zo Zo, share, Zo Zo share . . . share . . . (and then just a tad more firmly) share, Zo Zo!”

In that moment I could hear their mom’s voice in every word Addie spoke! Aleigha has been teaching them toddler conflict resolution skills! Her training manual seems to include softness and gentleness. 

And it’s obvious that the girls are practicing softness and gentleness by how they use their tongues. I’m quite a few years older than my sweet grandbabies and I’m still learning how to use my tongue. But I certainly know, I want to be known as a woman who has been trained by Jesus to use the power of words well.

God’s Word has a lot for us to learn about holding our tongue, soft answers, and wisely using words.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fit the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wrote the book Adorned. The book is about women in relationship to each other—mentoring, teaching and living out the gospel before a watching world. In a book on relationships, Nancy spent an entire chapter on slander. Why? She knows the weight of words spoken with ill intent.

Dámaris Carbaugh uses words for a living. She’s an author and singer. She’s sang with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and has recorded sixteen albums.

Dámaris spoke at the Revive '17 conference on the topic of slander, and she brokenheartedly shared how she used words to cut and tear down. Here’s Dámaris answering the questions at the end chapter 6 of Adorned.

Dámaris Carbaugh: When I read this chapter of Adorned about slander, I tried to remember when or if I had slandered anyone. Believe me, I’ve lied. As a teenager, I made up stuff that was ridiculous. I lived in New York City. My mother never let us go to the street and play, so all my city girlfriends had boyfriends. I didn’t. So I made up stories. I had a boyfriend in every burrow. (laughter) Lies. I know what it’s like to lie. So lying is something I’m very acquainted with.

Gossiping is also something I’ve done. I’m embarrassed, but I have blurted out what I don’t like about this or that person, which is wrong.

But slander—this one was a bit of a challenge for me.

Nancy clearly states that slander is not always a lie. But slander always hurts someone. Again, I asked myself, “Who have I slandered?” I wanted to think of an actual lie that I said about someone because I wanted them to look bad in someone else’s eyes. Had I done that? I really had a hard time trying to remember.

But then, ladies, the Holy Spirit made something very clear to me. He said, “Dámaris, slander is also when you behave in a way that misrepresents the Lord Jesus Christ. You bear His name. You are a Christian.”

Have I made someone think less of Jesus because of the way I’ve treated them or spoken to them or ignored them?

Your life should be one that reflects His character. Are you lying to others in the way you represent Him by your behavior? Oh, my! Guilty! I have definitely spread lies about the Lord when I’ve opened my mouth to rant about what troubles me, what agitates me, what’s giving me anxiety, or what I feel is something that has absolutely no remedy—saying things like, “That person is never going to change. I’m done with him. I’m done with her.”

Slander. Spreading lies about someone. Oh Lord, have I slandered Your character to someone? Have I spread lies about You? This is very, very serious.

Nancy pointed out that the Greek word diablos is translated in Titus as slanderers. It’s also translated in other parts of the New Testament as Satan.

Want to hear something interesting for us Latin women? The word for Satan is Diablo. So we get that. We don’t need a Greek New Testament for that one. (laughter) We understand that one real well.

Lying is diabolical.

Let’s ask the Lord to help us walk in truth. Can you say, “Amen”? (Ladies respond with, “Amen!”)

The Lord listens well. Do you? Do I?

In the fifth or sixth grade, I can’t remember, I snuck into my elementary school teacher’s closet and opened the metal box that contained our records, and I quickly looked for my name. When I took the card out, I found that that it said Dámaris Corteese—that’s my maiden name—chatterbox. (laughter) Yup. That pretty much described me.

Do you know that in Proverbs it says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking.” In some other versions: “When words are many, sin is not absent” (Pr. 10:19).

I truly believe, and I think some of you will agree, that people like me who love to talk are more prone to sin with their words. That’s not to say that if you don’t talk much, you don’t sin. Believe me, you do. (laughter) You just do it differently.

But my assignment is slander, so listen up.

I’ve been so guilty of talking to get you to like me. I’m not really a flatterer. I just talk. I talk about myself. I want to make you laugh—which isn’t necessarily something that bad. But let me be very clear here: Why am I doing it?

Is the underlying desire behind everything I say, everything I do, that you would think more of Jesus?

I put a little note here because I wanted to stop because even Jesus had a way of talking.

You know what hit me the other day? The most famous, probably, verse in the New Testament, John 3:16. We all know it, but it hit me that Jesus said those words to Nicodemus. He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

Do you hear that? He didn’t say, “Nicodemus, listen to Me: God so loved you that He sent Me.” Even there He’s making much of His Father.

Is that why I want you to like me? Is it so that you would see how wonderful Jesus is? Because, listen, ladies, when my heart is in the right place, and when I sing wanting you to hear Him through the lyrics, or right now as I’m speaking and praying with all my might that you would see how glorious He really is, I cannot begin to tell you the overwhelming joy that completely fills my being.

But the times when the motive is slightly skewed or not in the right place, the Holy Spirit allows me to feel that dull, deep ache—it’s called godly sorrow—of knowing that I have not pleased Him. Or, better said: I have misrepresented Him.

I’m so glad the Holy Spirit has made that clear to me so many times. He causes us to remember. That’s what the Holy Spirit has come to do—to bring to remembrance everything His Word has told us about Jesus.

The reason I wasted so many years not even caring about other people was because I was consumed with myself. God was patient and merciful, and He is still changing my heart.

Also not in the notes—you know how I know He’s merciful? He hasn’t killed me. (laughter) I’m alive! So are you! Hallelujah!

Listen to the entire episode "You Don't Say." This came from the series "Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together."

Dannah: Oh, don’t you love that about God? He is patient and merciful and actively changing our hearts and our tongues. Oh, that my prayer would be like Dámaris’s, that the desire behind everything I say, everything I do, would leave you thinking more of Jesus.

How do we do that? Leave people thinking more of Jesus? Great question.

Let’s look at Proverbs 15:2 “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” 

Recently, I unpacked this verse on Revive Our Hearts. I want you to hear what God laid on my heart concerning our tongues and using them for wisdom rather than folly. Again, the verse from Proverbs 15:2 reads, “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”

Dannah: I want us to go back to verse 2 and look at the wisdom of a gentle answer today: “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”

Here we see a common characteristic found in a lot of Proverbs—parallelism. It’s the contrast of two opposing realities. These are realities that cannot coexist. Either you operate this way or the other. There’s no middle ground.

Yesterday, as we explored verse 1, we learned that you can either operate as a woman who thoughtfully and prayerfully responds to conflict with a soft and gentle word. Or you huff out harshness; you huff out words without thought, and you will stir up anger.

In today’s verse, we learn that either you speak with wisdom and make knowledge understandable and attractive to others. Or you speak like a fool and pour out what the Bible calls “folly.” Which will you choose?

Now, when I’m making a choice . . . well, I’m a girl who likes some details. So I’m going to give you a few today. Let me give you some details on the options that you have before you:

Choice A: “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge.”

The first and obvious fact is that this choice is the mark of who? What kind of woman? A wise woman. A wise person is not impulsive but prone to self-examination and self-control. And that leads to clear thinking and good actions. And those actions are what makes a woman’s wisdom obvious to others.

But let’s look closely to see a hidden treasure in the words: “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge” I found this so interesting. Follow this trail with me:

Commends means to praise. Right? We know that.

A wise tongue praises knowledge. It points to it, and it says, “It is good.” Perhaps, too, the tongue of that person is commendable. The tongue of a wise woman is worthy of praise.

That’s what we see at the surface. But in the Hebrew language, the word used here is one used when describing an excellent musician. Isaiah 23:16 uses it to describe a person who can “strike the harp well.” (That’s not something I can do! Maybe it’s something you can do!) Ezekiel 33:32 uses it to refer to a musician who can play skillfully.

So this verse about our tongue is describing someone that uses the instrument of their tongue like a master musician. Do you like that? I love that! You know what it makes me think of? Addie and Zoe! You’re probably saying, “Of course, Grandma—all roads lead back to Addie and Zoe.” But it’s not just because Nannah Dannah can’t stop thinking about those squeezables. It’s because they’re practicing.

You see, no musician—no musician—becomes commendable overnight. They practice! Moms, grandmas, encourage your children to practice their piano, but do not fail to encourage them to practice their gentle, soft words. And may we practice. (I long ago stopped practicing my piano. I can play “Chop Sticks,” and that’s about it—but not a lot more than that.) I hope, though, that I never stop practicing my gentleness, my softness.

The little conflicts, the little ones—who takes out the trash at your house; whether you or your roommate cleans up her dishes; the competition for the best seat at a conference—they’re not little. They’re not little at all. They’re practice sessions. They’re opportunities for you and me to prepare us for bigger conflicts.

Are you practicing well? Are you practicing the right kind of heart? The right response? The right attitude? The right actions? The right words?

I think a woman in the Scriptures who probably had a lot of practice at choosing a tongue of wisdom that commends knowledge is Abigail. We read about this precious woman in 1 Samuel, chapter 25.

Now, she was married to a man, Nabal, who was known for his harsh words. He was also known as a fool. I think that might be how she had so much practice. But we also see that that practice came in handy when a conflict had deadly stakes.

Abigail and her husband Nabal show up on the pages of the Bible when a conflict arises between him and King David. It looks like King David is coming after him. You know, the guy who has killed his tens of thousands. The stakes were high in this conflict, and it looked like Nabal would soon be dead except Abigail ever so bravely intervenes with a soft, gentle answer.

Our host at Revive Our Hearts, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, taught a series on this. Let’s listen as we hear how Abigail exemplifies a tongue of the wise and Nabal is surely a model of a fool who pours out folly.

Nancy (from “Abigail: How to Live with the Fools in Your Life”): We’ve see that Nabal was a man that was harsh. He was badly behaved. He was selfish. He was stingy. He was harsh with his tongue and harsh with his spirit. We want to take warning from the example of Nabal and of David and say, “That is not the way to respond to life.” And to see that there are consequences if we respond as Nabal.

But we’re seeing in Abigail an alternate way to respond, a different way. It’s a way of wisdom, a way of a virtuous woman who makes a difference in the people around her.

So we come today to verse 30 of 1 Samuel, chapter 25. We’re in the middle of a speech. It’s a plea, an appeal that Abigail makes to David. And she has just said to him, “David, no matter who comes after you, you’re God’s man. God has anointed you to be king. You are going to be safe in God. You don’t need to take matters into your own hands.” And she’s now appealing to him, “Don’t do something that you’ll later regret.”

Verse 30, she says to David, 

When the Lord [that is Jehovah] has done to my lord [that is David] according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince over Israel, my lord shall have no cause to grieve or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord taking vengeance himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”

She appeals to David on the basis of his long-term well-being. “David, you’re going to be the king. God has appointed you. God’s going to exalt you. Don’t do things now that you’ll regret then. Don’t shed blood unnecessarily. Don’t take vengeance yourself. Leave that to God.”

Dannah: What wisdom! That was Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth from a series unpacking the life of Abigail.

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge.” Abigail lived that proverb out. “But the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Nabal, he had that covered, didn’t he?

Abigail was disciplined, self-controlled. She didn’t react but clearly thought through her response. She took the time to search for the soft answer. She was wise. And as a result, her gentle words saved not only her husband from death at David’s hand, but also rescued David from a foolish, impulsive decision he would later regret.

I want you to see this: Her soft, gentle answer made knowledge understandable and attractive to David. And that altered the course of events. That’s the power of a gentle tongue, once again.

Listen to the entire episode, "The Wisdom of a Gentle Word." This comes from the series, "The Power, Wisdom, and Reward of a Gentle Word."

Dannah: The power of a gentle tongue.

Abigail was able to give a soft answer because she faithfully practiced how to use her tongue and she chose a “tongue of wisdom” that “commended knowledge.” 

Are you practicing this skill? As I shared at the beginning of our time together, my granddaughters, Zoe and Addie, are learning this skill, and I know it’ll be a lifelong course of study for them. I’m still practicing; I’m still learning how to have that tongue of wisdom. But I’m so thankful that God is patient and has brought me sooooo far.

You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. 

We’ve been diving into some heavy stuff today. Talking about the power of our words. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth talked about words and tongues and says that in Proverbs, King Solomon reminds us over and over to watch how we communicate. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: One of the recurring themes in the book of Proverbs is the danger of talking too much and the importance of restraining our words.

Let us look at some of those verses in this session. Proverbs 10:19 is one of the verses that is most familiar to us. It reads, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” 

Two verses earlier in that chapter, verses 8 and 10—have a similar phrase: “A chattering fool comes to ruin” (NIV).

Proverbs reminds us that in the multitude of words—too many words—sin is inevitable. Too much talking leads to all kinds of other sins: the sin of exaggeration, lying, foolish jesting, meaningless chatter, and criticism. You get in a group, start talking, and you say too much. Invariably, I find myself about to say something—about someone else—that is critical. I would have been better off if I had just restrained my lips and spoke less.

It can lead to saying things that are inappropriate or that are poorly timed—maybe something that would be acceptable to say in a different setting, but in that particular setting it is not appropriate.

It can also lead us to making comments that are insensitive or self-centered.Too much talking can lead us to murmuring or boasting and many other sins flow out of the sin of talking too much.

Proverbs 12:23 tells us, “A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.” 

Over and over again in the book of Proverbs you see this theme: A wise man does not have to say everything he knows. Instead, he demonstrates restraint and humility and speaks at the appropriate time. A fool gushes—blurts out foolish things and has no restraint.

You see this same thought in Proverbs chapter 29:11, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” 

Ladies, I have to say that most of us, as women, are particularly vulnerable to this kind of foolishness. If we feel it, we have to say it. And it is not always necessary or best to say it. A foolish person gives vent to all his feelings, but a wise man or woman holds it back. 

Proverbs 15:28, “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth [or gushes out—literally ‘bubbles forth’] evil.”

Do you see how the mouth is connected to the heart? The wicked person has an evil heart—a foolish heart and an unwise heart—and he is going to gush out, bubble out things that are going to be evil words. Whereas the righteous person—the person with a righteous heart—carefully weighs his words.

This is one of the reasons that I don’t like doing live-radio interviews, especially if they are going to have call-ins. I do it sometimes, and I ask the Lord for grace to do it. But I still know that there is a good chance—if I’m speaking on the spot, without a chance to think before I speak—that I’m going to say something that I will wish I hadn’t said.

It is those “off the cuff” comments that get me into trouble. But the heart of the righteous carefully considers how to answer before he speaks, rather than just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. It is so dangerous when someone says, “What do you think about . . .” I’m quick to say, “Well, I think that . . .”

What I think may be very wrong, inappropriate, or it may not be the wisdom of God’s Word. That’s why I prefer time to think when a question is asked. I don’t always take time when I have it, but I do need to take time to think, What does the Word of God have to say about this specific matter?

Proverbs 17:27–28 says, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace [This doesn’t mean he is wise, but it means that his silence gives an impression that he’s wiser than he really is.]; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.”

He who has knowledge spares his words. A wise person uses caution in his speech. He doesn’t gab; he thinks before he speaks and measures his words carefully.

Listen to the entire episode, "The Power of Words, Day 5." This came from the series, "The Power of Words."

Dannah: Wise words from Nancy. If God has used our time today to convict you of the way you use your words, I invite you to dive deeper into God’s Word by listening to Nancy’s entire series on "The Power of Words." And you can find that series on ReviveOurHearts.com.

One woman who knew how to use words wisely is Deborah. Remember Deborah? She was a woman judge during the days of Israel. As a leader there were some days she needed to hold her tongue and others she needed to speak with wisdom. Deborah is the latest study in the Women of the Bible studies from Revive Our Hearts. 

When you give a gift of any amount, we will send you the Deborah study. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to give, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. 

Next week on Revive Our Hearts Weekend, we’ll talk through some of the pitfalls of friendship and we’ll hear from Kelly Needham. Thanks for listening today. 

Thanks to our team: Michelle Hill is the producer of Revive Our Hearts Weekend, she tells me what words to say! Phil Krause, who makes sure I say those words well. Dylan Weibel, who records my words so you can hear them. Rebekah Krause and Justin Converse, who engineer it all so the words sound real nice! 

For Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh!

Revive Our Hearts Weekend is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teachers

Dámaris Carbaugh

Dámaris Carbaugh

Dámaris Carbaugh’s depth of love and devotion for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is evident through her special gift of song and powerful speaking ministry. You will be moved and inspired as Dámaris reveals a true servant’s heart through her beautiful voice and infectious love for teaching God’s Word, which reflects her personal spiritual journey. This talented musician was a featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and regularly appeared on the Day of Discovery television program. Walk with Me is the latest of her fifteen albums. After years of being a gospel singer, her gift for communication and  zeal for the Word of God expanded her ministry. She is a much sought after bilingual conference speaker in the United States and Latin America, and she is the author of a book in Spanish, Adiós a mí.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.