What Hinders Communication in Relationships

Communication is one of the most basic skills needed to establish and maintain any human relationship. In marriage it is especially important that a couple master this ability. Whenever you find a successful marriage, you will always find two people who have become skilled at communication. Likewise, wherever you find a failed marriage, a communication breakdown is always one of the root problems. Therefore, it is essential that you learn how to become a better communicator. Let’s look at some basic issues that hinder good communication.

 1. Check your attitudes. Your attitude is critical to being an effective communicator and is the basis for what you say and do. Without the correct attitude, your words will always come out wrong. You may be totally right in all that you say, but it’s the way you say it that many times turns your mate off. Let’s look at some of the attitudes I am referring to.

Do you have an arrogant or superior attitude when you talk with your mate, communicating that you are always right and that he or she knows nothing? Do you become indignant and refuse to listen when your spouse questions your actions or motives? Have you ever thought, “Who does he think he is to ask me that?” 

The Scriptures teach that this attitude of heart is very destructive to your relationships. Solomon said, “He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife…” (Prov. 28:25). Is this attitude the cause of strife in your marital communication? If so, consider Paul’s counsel, “To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:2). Humility is the attitude of heart that keeps you from speaking evil of anyone or to anyone, and enables a gentle spirit to communicate effectively. Your home needs this attitude. 

Another sinful attitude that destroys communication is deep-seated resentment or bitterness, which is like poison to your life and marriage. The Apostle Peter noticed this attitude when he spoke to Simon the sorcerer. Simon had become envious and bitter at the success of the disciples’ ministry. When Simon asked for similar abilities, Peter said to him, “…You are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:23). If you have a bitter and resentful attitude, your spouse will pick this up as soon as you begin to speak. Your tone of voice reveals the poison of unforgiveness inside. Jesus said, “If you have anything against anyone, forgive him…” (Mark 11:25). A heart of forgiveness will be your only remedy for this poison.

Indifference or apathy greatly hinder progress as well. Jesus described this attitude in the parable of the marriage feast; He invited many, yet “they made light of it and went their ways…” (Matt. 22:5). This is the same attitude that many experience when their mates try to talk or spend time together. Indifference becomes apparent when you say “not now” or you simply change the subject. When you make light of your mate’s request to talk or spend time together, you are communicating to your spouse that he or she is not really that important to you. Every time you indifferently turn your husband or wife away, it will cause discouragement and a greater distance between you.

Of course, not every time is an opportune time to talk. If you have to postpone a conversation or time together, make sure you communicate your sincere interest and willingness to spend the time it takes to build the relationship. Then, be sure you are the one to initiate the next conversation over that same subject. 

Can you recognize any of these attitudes in your heart? If you do, be assured that they will hinder effective communication. The Bible describes each of these attitudes as sinful and requires you to put them off. 

2. Check your words. Once you have examined your attitudes or the way you talk, now considerwhat you say. What kind of words do you use? 

Do you use harsh words? Do you possess the skill to cut and slash your spouse verbally in the midst of an argument? If so, you may win the argument and be daily destroying your relationship. Solomon said, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). David also said the tongue can be like “a sharp razor” that can cut and wound a person very deeply (Ps. 52:2). Is this what your tongue is like?

Harsh, condemning words are incredibly destructive. Think how you feel when a person condemns or belittles you. Doesn’t it drive you away from that individual and make you want to retreat? If you speak this way to your spouse you will see the same results. Paul specifically commanded husbands, “… love your wives and do not be harsh with them”(Col. 3:19). Likewise, this command could be equally given to wives. Clearly then, the husband-wife relationship cannot thrive with the use of harsh words.

Another class of words that must be avoided involves lying or deceitfulness, which slowly undermine your entire relationship. If you are deceitful and tell only half the story or a doctored version that makes you look good, sooner or later your spouse will catch on. Trust is fundamental to your entire relationship, but lies and half-truths will eventually undermine your credibility. Any amount of lying to your spouse is like taking an ax to the bottom of your own boat, it will ultimately sink the ship. 

If you struggle with lying or deceitfulness, pray what David did, “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue” (Ps. 120:2). Do what Paul commanded; “Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25). As a married couple, you are members one of another in every sense of the word; you are one flesh. Don’t lie to one another. 

Similarly, exaggeration works to destroy effective communication. Are you an exaggerator? Do you hear yourself say these words, “you always do this”, or “you never do what I ask?” The words alwaysnever, or every time are like gasoline on the fire of an argument. These words will cause an explosion of anger because your spouse can always think of one time he or she did do what you say never occurs. The only solution to exaggeration is “…speaking the truth in love…”(Eph. 4:15). The truth may be that your spouse many times does this or that, as opposed to always or never

As we strive to speak the truth, let us remember to speak the truth in love, for certain words of truth can also greatly hinder your communication. I am referring to the true statements about your spouse’s past failures which you bring up to use as ammunition during a conflict. These words cut deep, specifically because they are true, but they are words that should never be used to win an argument. If you have forgiven your spouse for a past failure, then it should be off-limits. Why? Because God talks about your sins this way: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 8:12). The word remember means “to hold in a mental grasp or to recollect so that it may be used at a later time to punish.” God declares here that once He forgives, He chooses not to remember your sins and will never use them to condemn you; we must forgive in the same manner. Therefore, speak the truth about the present issue only.

Finally, foul language also tears down good communication. I have discovered that many couples swear and call one another names in the midst of an argument. If this occurs in your home, understand that these words will not be easily forgotten because they demean your spouse and signify your lack of love and respect. Once you have said these words, you can’t take them back. This is why Paul said, “…you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8). He also said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). Don’t tear your loved one down, but build him or her up when you speak. Ask God to put that check in your mind before you open your mouth. Pray as David did, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my mouth” (Ps. 141:3). God will answer this prayer.   

3. Check your actions. The specific actions you take while you interact will either enhance or hinder your ability to effectively communicate. Let’s look at some of these actions.

Are you a good listener, or are you quick to interrupt when your spouse is talking? This disrespectful action will greatly frustrate your mate and tends to stir up anger. James said you must be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). When you interrupt, it means you are thinking of how you want to respond instead of really listening, and this hinders meaningful and enjoyable conversation with your mate. 

A related action to interrupting is sentence-finishing. This occurs when your spouse takes a pause to think about what he or she is about to say, and you help your mate out by finishing the sentence. Such behavior, is again, extremely frustrating and reveals that you are not listening or trying to understand. It indicates that you have already pre-judged his or her thoughts and declares that you think you know what your spouse is about to say.   Solomon said, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). Rather, allow your spouse to fully complete the sentence, then respond. This will demonstrate you care and are truly listening in order to understand.   

Explosive anger is another pitfall and is often only used to control a conversation. Sometimes people use anger to simply manipulate the other party into doing what is desired. This person knows that his or her spouse will cower and retreat in the argument once the rage appears. Yet, this ploy is very foolish because you may seemingly win the argument, but in the end you risk losing relationship and intimacy with your spouse in the process. 

However, there are times when anger is not a ploy used to control another. Sometimes an individual just has no control of the emotions that rage inside, due to a lack of desire or understanding as to how to control them. Such a person is simply out of control. Irrational anger is what drove the religious people of Jesus’ day to attempt to throw Him over the cliff at Nazareth. These religious people were simply out of control. Luke says the people were “filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city…that they might throw Him down over the cliff”(Luke 4:28, 29). If you have explosive anger that is not dealt with, deep and intimate communication will be impossible. No one ever wants to communicate the deepest things of their heart with someone who is raging out of control in an angry fit. Remember, “…the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Your wrath and anger can never produce something good or righteous in your marriage relationship. What you need to do is get some specific counseling from your pastor regarding how to control your anger. The sooner you take this action, the sooner you will learn how to communicate effectively.   

Third, beware of blame shifting. This is usually done when your spouse points out one of your faults and you quickly cover yourself by shifting the blame to your mate or to another. This is what Adam and Eve did when they were first confronted by God for their sin. Adam said that it was, “…the woman You gave to be with me, she gave me to of the tree, and I ate”. Eve also shifted the blame to Satan, “…the serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12, 13). Neither Adam nor Eve would take responsibility for his or her own actions. Adam in one breath blamed God for giving him this woman and blamed his wife for giving him the fruit. Eve in essence replied, “The devil made me do it.” What solves this problem? Simply take responsibility for your own actions. Blame shifting is the result of pride and dishonesty. You know what you have done and your spouse does too, so why not admit it? Without you personally taking responsibility for what you’ve done, all you will do is play the blame game which only delays progress to a solution. This is a game that no one will win.

The last action that hinders good communication is the unwillingness to confess your faults during or after an argument. This is a problem that results from that same attitude of pride, and to resolve it the Apostle James suggests, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord…Do not speak evil one of another…Confess your faults one to another…” (James 4:10.11; 5:16). God requires you to humbly and honestly look at your own actions and not shift the blame. When either husband or wife takes this action of first confessing personal faults, it usually softens the other to do the same, and communication is restored.

But, you may ask, “How do I change all these sinful attitudes, words, and actions?” Take heart, there is a way! 

What helps build your ability to communicate?

Let’s look at some of the most important ways to build your ability to communicate.

1. Establish intimacy with God and find His help for change. Here is where you get the power to change in the areas where you have been failing. When God is at work filling you with His love and teaching you His Word, you can’t help but have something to talk about. Establishing this intimacy with God will inspire the most important communication between you, the sharing of spiritual things. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they went everywhere sharing Christ. When they were commanded not to speak anymore in His name their response was, “We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). God was at work in their lives and they had to share it with someone. David experienced the same drive to communicate what God was doing in his life. He said, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul” (Ps. 66:16). What is the Lord doing in your life? Are you sharing that with your mate? The kind of relationship you have with the Lord, will naturally translate into your relationship with others and especially with your spouse. Your relationship and communion with Christ is where real communication with your mate begins.

If you are not walking with Christ at this time and have never made a personal commitment to Him, this is the primary reason why you are struggling in marriage and in your ability to communicate. He can dramatically change your entire life, but you will never experience it without a personal relationship with Him. You can start this relationship by simply acknowledging your sin to Him in prayer, asking Him to forgive you and come into your life. If you really want to change, He can help you do it. Take a moment right now to communicate with Him in prayer, and ask Him to come into your life. You won’t be disappointed! 

If you are a Christian, you can also be greatly hindered in your ability to effectively communicate by simply having sporadic devotions or no devotions at all. This is because when you are spiritually dry, you will have no power or joy to communicate with others. Let me illustrate. Think of the times when you have struggled spiritually and you have seen another Christian in a store, what did you do? Did you run up to this individual with an overwhelming desire to fellowship, or did you turn and walk another way so you wouldn’t have to talk to him? The answer is obvious, you don’t want to talk to another person when you are discouraged or depressed; it’s the last thing you want to do. When you aren’t growing spiritually the same thing will happen at home. You won’t have any desire to communicate with your spouse either. You will naturally retreat from communication with your partner.

Therefore, return to the Lord and ask Him for His help. Renew your relationship with Him, then the desire, power, and love you need to communicate with your spouse will begin to flow again.

2. Acknowledge your faults. This will take some brutal honesty in your own heart. Stop now and look back over your attitudes, words, and actions. Where have you been failing in your communication with your mate? You must first acknowledge your faults if you desire to see anything change.

Next, go and acknowledge these faults to your spouse, asking his or her forgiveness. Tell your mate that you truly want to change in these areas. Your spouse will probably be amazed that you would honestly confess to these things without being forced to do so. When you take this action, your ability to communicate will take a dramatic step forward. Acknowledging and reconciling your faults with your spouse is half the battle.

3. Spend time together. Once you have dealt with your failures in your attitudes, words, and actions, and have sought God for His power and help, you need to take the opportunity to communicate. Do you set specific time aside to communicate? You did this before you were married. You talked on the phone every chance you could. You went out on dates and would talk about everything and anything for hours. Do you remember how romantic and how much fun it was to talk? This is what must happen again. How? 

You need to start dating the one you love on a regular basis. Why not call your spouse and set something up today? Then tomorrow, make a special effort to call your spouse again just to say, “I love you.” Talk to your husband or wife about your upcoming date and your anticipation of being together. You may also try turning the T.V. off and sitting after dinner just to talk over your day. Take a bike ride or a walk together. You need to regularly set time aside to just be together because failure to do so is one of the fundamental reasons why many couples slowly drift apart. Other things soon take priority over being together, then slowly and imperceptibly the distance begins to grow. You can stop this drifting, but it takes constant vigilance to keep time together as a high priority.

Solomon and his wife had the right idea. The Shulamite requested of her husband, “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away…Let me see your countenance, let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, and your countenance is lovely” (Song of Solomon 2:10,14).

Do you want the kind of romantic relationship Solomon and his wife had? Then, take the same action that they did, and you will afford yourself the best opportunity for real communication and romance. Is the voice of your spouse still sweet? It can be, if you will again make the same effort you did before you were married. Your spouse is worth the time and the effort!

4. Encouragement and praise. If you desire to build good communication with your spouse, try this strategy. Each time you are together look for something that he or she has done well, and praise him or her for it. If you encourage the actions which are godly, loving, and responsible, you will build your mate up and build your overall communication. 

This is what the Scripture teaches us to do. Paul says we must, “…Exhort one another daily…”(Heb. 3:13). Speak the words that, “…build others up…” (Eph. 4:29 NIV). Solomon declared that, “…A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). This encouragement could again be equally given to women to praise their husbands. But, the question is, do you do this? One day Jesus Christ will say to you, “…Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matt. 25:21). If Jesus considered these words important to say, shouldn’t you do the same? Praise and encouragement is an acknowledgment of your love and appreciation, which naturally builds a person up. 

How often do you say an encouraging word, or a “well done?” Your mate must do something right, responsible, or loving each day. Look for these things and then tell your spouse that you appreciate them. If harsh and critical words destroy your communication, think of what praise and appreciation will do. Take the time to talk and to spend time together. Be gracious with your words, and encourage instead of being harsh and critical; it will build your communication more than you could ever imagine.

Remember, “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious…” (Ecc. 10:12) Therefore be wise. Go and give a word of praise and encouragement to your loved one today!

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**By Covenant Keepers / Photo by Polina Zimmerman at Pexels

Invisible Barriers to Healing

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

God provides healing as part of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. But what do you do when you don’t see the healing manifest in the physical realm? Derek Prince discloses six common barriers to healing—and how to overcome them. The notes below are from the sermon here: Invisible Barriers to Healing

Common Barriers To Receiving Healing

A. Ignorance (Isaiah 5:13; Hosea 4:6)

B. Unbelief (Hebrews 3:12–13)

Prayer: “Oh, God, I come to You in Jesus’ Name, and I confess my sin of unbelief. I do not try to excuse it. I am responsible for it. I am sorry for it. I ask You to forgive me and to deliver me from it and impart to me Your faith. I want to declare: I believe in God the Father, I believe in Jesus Christ His Son, I believe in God the Holy Spirit, and I believe in the Bible—the true, authoritative Word of God. I believe, Lord Jesus, what you said, “God’s Word is the truth.” Amen.”

C. Unconfessed sin (Proverbs 28:13) [Ask God to reveal any areas of unconfessed sin]

Prayer: “Oh, God, I acknowledge I am sorry. Forgive me, cleanse me in the blood of Jesus. Thank you for forgiving me, God. I receive your forgiveness. Now, God, because You have forgiven me, I forgive myself.”

D. Resentment and unforgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25)

Prayer: “Holy Spirit, I ask You now in Jesus’ Name to speak to my heart and show me areas of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness and make me willing to forgive. If there has been any resentment in my heart—any unforgiveness, any bitterness— I renounce it now. I lay it down. If anyone has ever harmed me or wronged me, I forgive them now, as I would have God forgive me. Lord, I forgive them in Your Name, and I believe You forgive me. Thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ Name.”

E. Occult involvement (Exodus 23:24–26):

1. Fortune-telling

2. Ouija board

3. Horoscopes

4. Superstition

5. Rock music

6. Drugs, etc.

Prayer: “Lord, if I have ever been involved in the occult, even ignorantly, whatever it was, I confess it as a sin and I renounce it. I ask You to forgive me and I commit myself now that never again will I be involved in those things. Forgive me, Lord, and release me from their influence. Right now. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.”

F. Freemasonry (Exodus 23:32):

1. False religious system

2. Royal Arch Degree – The god Jabulon (Ja = Jehovah, bul = Baal, on = Osiris). This is an abomination in the sight of the Lord.

3. One example: Woman with baby, six weeks old, that would not take nourishment (girl’s father was a Freemason). Baby took three full bottles after curse broken.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, I want to serve You and love You. If there is in my life (or in my family) a curse of Freemasonry or any other cult, I ask You to release me and forgive me and break its power over me right now. In Jesus’ Name.”

G. Effects of a curse over a family:

1. Mental and emotional breakdown

2. Repeated and chronic sicknesses (especially hereditary)

3. Repeated miscarriages or female problems, barrenness, etc.

4. Breakdown of marriage and family alienation

5. Continuing financial insufficiency

6. Accident prone

7. Suicides or unnatural deaths

Prayer: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, that on the cross You were made a curse that I might be redeemed from the curse and enter into the blessing. And because of what You did, Lord Jesus, in Your precious Name I release myself from every curse over me and my family and I claim the blessing that You purchased for me with Your blood. Thank you, Lord Jesus.”

H. Evil spirits associated with sickness (Luke 4:40–41).

Direct cause of sickness:

1. Spirits of infirmity, crippling, pain

2. Curvature of the spine

3. Spirit of death (Look on dark side of things, morbidity, dressing darkly)

Prayer: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” (Ps. 118:17) I. Ministry to the sick (Mark 16:18) After prayer, keep your plug in.

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**Courtesy of Derek Prince Ministries

** The spiritual warfare prayer

**How to have a relationship with God and be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

A Sower of Discord

”Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather with me scatters…” ~ Matthew 12:30

Satan is called the accuser of the brethren who accuses them to God night and day. Jesus on the other hand, is at the right hand of the Father forever making intercession for them. When we cover the sins of others by praying for them instead of talking ill of them, you’re in fellowship with the Lord, but when you talk ill of others and point out their sins to others, your in fellowship with Satan and do his work for him.

To sow discord is to say and do things which cause distrust, anger, and bitterness, which results in arguments, fights and ill-feeling towards others, which the sower has planted into the ground of people’s hearts.

Usually the ‘sower’ is acting as if he/she is not trying to cause arguments or ill feeling towards someone else. Sowing discord is something done in secret, justified, done by deceit authored by the father of deceit. We have come to think that it is a harmless thing to sow discord in the office, home or church, but the Bible says God not only hates the sowing of discord but God says, that it is an abomination to Him. God hates discord and strongly denounce those who sows strife. Sowers of discord disrupts unity and causes great division which in many cases could be irreparable.

Sowers of discord are usually driven to serve their own interests. Discord Sowers exploit the passion/emotion of others, and, more often than not, derive pleasure from conflict. Sometimes they are aware of what they are doing but sometimes they just play into the hands of spiritual forces that are intent upon destroying the mission of the church.

They regularly nourish these feelings that drive their behavior by brooding on, real or perceived: past injuries, present suspicions and future insecurities. They are often propelled by inner turmoil. The sower of discord probes the vulnerabilities of other’s; seeking for weak points to expose and exploit. Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

Zechariah 3:1-5

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

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** By Christ centred church of God / Photo by Skitteroo at pixels

The Sin of a Paralyzed Man

A PARALYZED MAN
In John 5 Jesus met a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. This man often sat by the pool called Bethesda, because the Lord sent an angel there to stir up the waters and heal those who were in it (v4).

I wasn’t surprised that Jesus healed this poor man. But I was a little surprised by what He told the man afterward:
“’Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.'” John 5:14 NASB

The thought entered my mind, what could this man have done who was paralyzed all his life which led Jesus to warn him so sternly “Don’t sin anymore… lest something worse happen to you”? I pictured this man capable of little, except perhaps for begging for money. So I wondered, what was his great sin?

I believe the answer lies not outwardly, but what was within his heart, and we get a glimpse of this in verse John 5:7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

I believe this verse shows an attitude within this man’s heart which was one of “I’m the innocent victim. The reason why I have all my problems is because everyone else is selfish. They all won’t help me into the pool, and they all cut in front of me when I try to get in myself.”

He may have been paralyzed his whole life, but his sin nature and flesh was just as active as anybody else. His body couldn’t harm anyone, but self-pity in his heart must have caused him to murmur and grumble and blame just like anybody else.

THE VICTIM VERSUS THE SINNER
And so, his warning from the Lord is one which convicted me – if I have a view of myself as an innocent victim, and anybody else as “the problem”, then the Lord has the same fearful warning for me – ‘Sin no more (in your heart), lest something worse happen to you.’ The only justified (innocent) ones are those who come to the Lord and say, “I’m the problem.. it’s not my family or friends or children or spouse, or my coworkers – it’s ME. I am the problem” (Luke 18:13-14).

It’s tempting to hold grudges and blame when something bad has happened to us. Maybe it wasn’t someone else’s fault and I’m just looking to blame someone, or maybe it was someone else’s fault – maybe they sinned against me, maybe I have been a victim in that way – but I’m definitely not innocent either! And that means I cannot look down on anybody as if I’m better than them.

Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

TRUE FAITH PRODUCES OBEDIENCE
One thing I’ve seen in my own life is that when I don’t take a Scripture seriously, then I have to be honest… it must be because I don’t really believe it. I imagine a man who reads Matthew 7:1-2 for the first time, or Matthew 6:14-15 for the first time and takes it at its Word. If he really believes it, he says to himself, “Wow! If there’s even one person I don’t forgive while on here earth, then God won’t forgive me of my sins?! I have to go forgive my enemy right now!” That person would be absolutely radical to make sure that they’re not holding even one ounce against anybody else. If I continue to blame others or hold grudges it must be because I don’t believe what God says.
Praise God that He is absolute love, and His mercy is never-ending. He loves me as much as Jesus (John 17:23)! And it was out of absolute love that Jesus gave such a fearful word to the paralyzed man. It’s like this paralyzed man was driving a car straight off a cliff, and Jesus told him sternly, “You’d better turn your wheel the other direction right now, you’re heading for a cliff.” Praise God for His Words to us now, so that we can avoid the cliff of judging and blaming others.

Lord, help me to release any grudge, or unforgiveness or judging I have against every single person on earth, and reject every thought that “I’m the innocent one.”

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** By Bobby MacDonald © Copyright – Bobby MacDonald. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://nccf.com/ 

Photo by Alvin Decena at Pexels

Unifying the Body of Christ

Sermon by Zac Poonen “Christlike Freedom from Racism and Partiality”

Unifying the Body of ChristDivided we fall, United we stand

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God, whom we have never seen?” 1 John 4:20.

The Bible tells us to bear with one another in love, knitted together as a local body, accepting and respecting each other’s differences; be it colour, nationality, language or gender. We’re to put aside our racial, cultural or societal differences, and to die to ‘self’ in order to maintain unity within the brethren. As the Bible states in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As Christians we are all called to conform to the likeness of Christ, and not one particular group or culture. We are all equal and loved by the same almighty God who sent His beloved Son Jesus to die for us all. The only thing we’re not to compromise on is God’s Word, His instruction manual on how we’re to live; and the Lord requires the whole gospel to be preached, without exception or apology.

The almighty sovereign God didn’t make a mistake when He placed us in a particular local body; He placed us there so we can serve, build, love and unify as one body in Christ, putting aside all differences in order to build unity and the spirit of faith in the church. Let us not justify why we cannot accept someone who is different than ourselves. Let us search our own hearts and ask the Lord to cleanse us from any partiality, deep rooted behaviours, patterns, prejudices that leave us so slowly. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive us. We can ask Him to help change us, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. How can we learn unconditional love, if we’re around people who meet all our conditions?

Here are some Bible verses that can help build unity in the Church:

  • Ephesians 4:2-3, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
  • John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
  • In Romans 12:16, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, Never be wise in your own sight.”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What is so special about you? What do you have that you were not given? And if it was given to you, how can you brag?”
  • Philippians 2:2-4, “Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.”

So then, let us love one another, for when we love one another all will know we’re His disciples. – John 13:35


Article by Lori McPherson / Picture by Pixabay at Pexels

 

Testimonies to Strengthen Faith: Trials and Tribulation


“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

These video testimonies will strengthen your faith. In times of trials and tribulations, many lessons can be learned from these: hope, endurance, patience, forgiveness and much more, as well as how to be over-comers in these last days.

As Christian believers we’re to look unto Jesus and His finished work on the Cross, as He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We’re not to be afraid of those who want to kill the body; they cannot touch our soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. We don’t put our trust in man, but in God alone. Jesus will give us His peace that surpasses all understanding, and help us to rest in Him amidst the storms. Jesus, our Lord and saviour and soon coming King forewarned us that times of tribulation will come as we’re in the last days: And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22 NLT)

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Revelation 12:11)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15)

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones… See, I have warned you about this ahead of time… Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. (Matthew 24:21-22; 25; 29-31 NLT)

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39).

By Lori McPherson

The Father’s Love Letter

The Father’s Love Letter
An intimate message from God to YOU.

My Child,
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad. Almighty God

Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com


**How to be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

A Good Thought For The Day…

Customer: Well, after much consideration, I’ve decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I’m not very technical, but I think I’m ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?

Tech Support: What programs are running?

Customer: Let’s see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge, and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support: No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?

Customer: I don’t know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and select Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.

Customer: Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Oops! I have an error message already. It says, “Error- Program not run on external components.” What should I do?

Tech Support: Don’t worry. In non technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before you can Love others. Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files: Forgive Self, Realise Your Worth, and Acknowledge Your Limitations.

Customer: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over my Heart. Is this normal?

Tech Support: Yes, that means Love is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up. This Love program is freeware.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)


*Prayer for forgiving others

Saved Out of the New Age

We all have our stories to tell of how we came to know Christ, and I always love to hear them, as they’re never the same. The Lord works in miraculous ways, wooing us and convicting us via His Holy Spirit, as Titus 3:5 states ‘He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’.

I grew up in a dysfunctional secular household in London, England. I had a warped view of spirituality from a young age and this led me to seek ‘higher truth’ in my own way. I was bit of a magpie grabbing onto whatever fit in with the way I wanted to live my life, till eventually I came across a movement called the New Age which derived from the East. A movement which heavily into improving, ‘the self’ and worshipping ‘the self’ through a wide range of spiritual beliefs and practices. I latched onto it and ran, even qualifying as a life coach in such matters. 

I was into self-help books, astrology, tarot cards, mediums; I believed in reincarnation and studied past life regression. I was into reaching higher states of consciousness through meditation, which I learned through yoga, in turn making me curious about the yogi teachers themselves. I believed there were many paths to God and it didn’t matter what religion you practiced, as it all led to the same place and that it was a personal choice on how you chose to get there. 

I was running wild, partying, clubbing, drinking, shopping, consumed by the image beast. I was careless and reckless in my behaviour, mixing with the wrong crowds. I wore a mask to the world, not wanting to be me, as deep down I was wounded, lacking self-esteem. I was in the miry clay, the pit of sin. I was on fire for the devil and running away from life.

 I got to a point that all the doors closed in on me, and everything that could go wrong, went terribly wrong. I was caught between a rock and a hard place and went through a serious bought of depression. I was broken and wounded, and felt like I had no one to turn too. In my pain suicidal thoughts wrecked havoc on my mind. When I had a realisation of the selfishness of this act, I had a feeling of remorse and that I was ‘not right’ as a person; and that I was a self-pitying evil mess and I just randomly started to repent of my sins. I didn’t realise at the time what I was doing, but I know now. And Jesus in the midst of my pain reached out to me and gave me peace. In Psalm 34:18 it says ‘The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit’ it didn’t matter that I wasn’t a Christian as the Lord is no respecter of persons. In my pain and torment, I just knew to cry out. That night the Lord took the broken pieces of my life, and mended me together again. What months of therapy couldn’t do, Jesus did overnight, He healed me. The following morning, I looked at the world with fresh eyes, I felt like a new person. 

I knew it was Jesus because of the prayers my grandmother had been giving me to read in the midst of my pain; she was always watching the religious channel and as I was staying with her at the time, something must’ve unconsciously sunk in. Because of this I wanted to know more about Him and started to read the Bible, I always thought that he was some sort of teacher, like one of the gurus from my meditative yoga practices. And as it says in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So, I sought Him. I’d heard about Jesus, the great teacher, the Hollywood Jesus with the blonde hair and blue eyes, the baby catholic Jesus, the Muslim Isa the prophet, but it’s not until that night in my room when I was seeking for ways to take my life that I came to know the real Jesus, the Son of God! 

Soon after I found myself working abroad, and was led to a Christian volunteer charity worker, who was a pastor. He showed me some verses in the bible, that really spoke to my heart like, Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ.” and also Deuteronomy 18:9-14, among others. I had to renounce the new age religion and repent properly of my sins. I had to personally invite Jesus into my life. So I did, as Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). It was the goodness of God that brought me to repentance (Romans 2:4). 

 Since becoming a Christian that hole in my heart that I tried to fill with the empty things of this world started to slowly get filled with Jesus, as something in the spirit realm had taken place, the third heaven, God’s Kingdom. I started to build upon this relationship with prayer, just talking to the Lord. And I began reading and looking for guidance via His Word the Bible, His love letter to the world. The Bible is living, it’s breathing, and it’s sharp and active, like a double-edged sword. And when it goes into your soul, it cuts things, it breaks things, and it changes things. It weeds out the garden of your heart so it’s pleasant for the Lord to reside there. 

When I realised how much I’d been deceived it shook me to my core, but my journey didn’t end there, it was only the beginning… The Bible says in John 8:32, ‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ 

 Lori McPherson

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**My full testimony is called “BLINDSIDED” and is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback

**How to be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

Prayer for Forgiving Others

Dear Merciful Lord,

Thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me. 

I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts. Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.

You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Colossians 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful. Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) With gratitude I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of the Most High God. Loved and accepted. Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.

And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith. In Jesus’ Name,

Amen!

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By Kristine Brown

This prayer was written by author Kristine Brown from kristinebrown.net and originally appeared on Crosswalk.com