Saturday, November 30, 2013

Keys to Good Communication

The holidays can bring a lot of stress or they can bring a great deal of blessing, but what you receive out of it (and what you inevitably give to others) hinges on one very important issue: communication.

How information is shared through the way people communicate to one another is a vital key to whether or not relationships are healthy and strong, or whether they become weakened by repeated injury. Injury is incurred when communication disregards or devalues someone else’s feelings. Verbal and non-verbal clues include sarcasm, interrupting others to challenge what is said, insisting our way is correct (which leaves others feeling invalidated, hurt and angered), silence, withholding love or conversation, or other forms of cold love. We may not always see eye to eye with others, but we do need to demonstrate the same consideration and respect as we would want others to show us. When respect in communication is lost, then offense is sure to follow. We can spend all our time trying to prove our perspective is the only right way, or we can spend the time we have with others trying to work towards healthy, loving and respectful communication. Knowing when to yield is key to peacemaking.

Have you ever noticed that it's hard to concentrate when you have offense, negative impressions or other unfruitful thoughts running around in your head? Those things are like little mice that gnaw away at our peace. The enemy is very good at making suggestions that cause people to misread or misinterpret things in order to elevate false judgments towards others. That is how he manipulates our thoughts and emotions in order to create a feeling of offense towards someone else. We become convinced that our perception and the things we've meditated on are truth, when in fact it was nothing more than the enemy fabricating a lie in our minds. We have to learn to take those thoughts captive and cast them down!

The truth is, every time a person elevates a judgment, offense, or suspicious thought towards someone else, those things become barriers that stand in the way of really loving the other person involved. Let me give you a little example from my own life. In one situation, there was a person that had found numerous ways to offend and hurt from past events, and nothing had ever been said by that person to indicate they were actually sorry for some of the things they had done; things that left me feeling suspicious of their motives and quick to take on offensive thoughts at any given moment. Then one day I had to re-examine the relational dynamics, because things had changed over the course of time. I finally had to release all my previous judgments and offenses because the facts no longer supported the idea that this person was the same person as who they had been in the past. The facts supported the reality that this person really did want to be in my life and valued communication. It was at this point that I told the Lord I repented for carrying old judgments, irritations and offenses into the present day. There was no longer a place for them if I truly wanted to be able to see that relationship totally healed. I had to make a choice to choose to love that person instead of hold on to false judgments that made me leery about trusting them. The enemy would continue to look for any way to place barriers between us until the decision was made to cast down the suggestions and temptations to be offended every time he decided to throw a fiery dart.

It's time to remove those barriers and go beyond our comfort zone, and give opportunity to others that perhaps we hadn't given them in times past. Because what we meditate on, and what we allow to remain in our spirit, is what is communicated to others – whether we realize it or not. People often have blind spots to their own flaws. Remember that we often tend to judge ourselves by our intent but others judge us on how we make them feel, whether it’s intentional or not on our part. Whatever we carry around with us, in the form of unresolved issues, hurts, offenses, unforgiveness or anger towards other people and situations – will be communicated in some form to others. It may or may not be the same people that were responsible for the original hurt. Unresolved hurt and offense magnify over time and will spill out onto others. These become our core issues, or root issues that create difficulty in relationships and how people perceive communication. It is vital to take the time to repent of any lingering negative emotions and seek God for healing so that those things do not continue to damage communication and weaken existing relationships. Not to sound insensitive, but it is our responsibility to get our heart right with God and others regardless of whether or not someone else has mistreated or disappointed us. Regardless of whether or not someone who has hurt or offended us has offered a sincere apology or not...because that is what GRACE is. It's demonstrating love and compassion whether we think a person deserves it or not. God is so extremely gracious with us. We must give it away to others. Because it's that grace that opens the door to reconciliation and mending relationships that have been estranged, awkward or broken. Forgiveness is the only way out! Until you forgive you cannot be healed, neither can you be forgiven by God for your own sins. It is not optional! You must unload those heavy burdens now! And when you do, you will find more and more relationships get healed because of your choice to do the right thing.

Keys to Right Communication:

  • ·Respect others regardless of how you may feel about things they have done. If you want to receive respect, it must be given. It’s a two-way street.

  • ·         Offer a sincere apology. Own your own faults instead of shifting the blame onto others. Pride blames and takes on a spirit of accusation, which only creates more offense. The path of humility lends itself to keeping peace and apologizing when one is needed to sooth injured feelings. Sometimes you need to do so even if you don’t feel you are wrong, but out of consideration that you want the relationship to move forward.

  • ·         Forgive and mean it!

  • ·         Respond with an answer that demonstrates self-control; don’t react to the bait that may be on the hook, dangling in front of you. Reactions cause more problems. Responses can dissolve anger.

  • ·         Know when to terminate a conversation. Do it with kindness but don’t keep going in circles because the enemy is just waiting to draw you into a fight. Table a conversation until both parties can come back with self-control, respect and humility. Humility is the only thing that is going to work towards reconciling differences.

  • ·         Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Remember, it may or may not be truth, but perspective is 99% of the other person’s reality.

  • ·         Know when to pray and ask Holy Spirit to communicate with the other person and step out of the picture for a while. Give Him time to work. God is all about healing and restoring but in His time. How often we want to assume the role of the Holy Spirit and tell someone else everything we think is wrong with them or how they have offended us. It’s Holy Spirit’s job to convict the world of sin; not ours.

  • ·         Think outside the box for solutions to keep things running smoothly. If each person is trying to manipulate a situation or control others so that they are pleased with the end results, then it is going to create resentment in others. No one wants to feel the effects of guilt, manipulation or control and it will cause offense and worse results. Be flexible. Be willing to yield and create new solutions that work for everyone involved. Selfishness is not conducive to workable resolution of differences. YIELD!

  • ·         Be a peacemaker. Speak peace into a situation. Speak kindly and with consideration.

These are keys to good communication.

Father God,

I pray for the grace and strength to let go of offense and genuinely forgive those that have contributed to the injury of my soul. I choose this day to let it all go. I reject fear, anger, unforgiveness, insecurity, and bitterness. Help me to no longer need a sense of vindication or demand that others make situations right, for if I have to wait for that it may never come. I want to be free now. I choose to release everyone from every debt and offense. Holy Spirit, come fill my heart with peace and help me to communicate from a place of love , grace and acceptance towards others. I do not wish to project hurt and offense onto others. Heal my heart, heal my conversation and the way I communicate with others. Help me to find creative ways to resolve differences and to demonstrate respect towards others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Heart That Trusts God Is Full Of Thanksgiving

Let your heart be at peace. God has people praying for you even if you don't realize it. You don't need to know who they are. You just need to trust that the Lord loves you and will put it in the heart of others to pray you through your trials. Jesus himself lives to make intercession for us and that is why HIS ministry is eternal. If Christ is lifting up prayers on your behalf, don't you think you will get through what ever it is you need to get through? Yes, you will! So, let your heart be full of gratitude and tell those anxieties to GO, in Jesus name! We can either speak life or speak death. Speak life into your finances, your health, your employment situation, your family and your future. You are full of the Spirit of the Lord and what you SPEAK, matters! You will literally create whatever you speak out. Just as the Spirit of God in Genesis spoke life, order and creativity out of nothing, and created with the spoken word, so do we. We actually have the power to create the circumstances of our life! Make a deliberate choice to find things to be thankful for, and let your mouth be filled with praise. I pray that we would each take the time to reflect on all we have to be truly thankful for, and that God's love and commitment to you and your family would be at the top of your list!

"Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them." Heb. 7:25

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

God Wants to Heal Family This Christmas!

Well, I just have to say, GOD DOES CONFIRM HIS WORD! If you check out my previous post, you will see that a bunch of us moms are believing for family restoration by Christmas. I invite you to join us in The Virtuous Mom prayer group for a powerful prayer rally on December 5th, where we will be uniting in prayer all across the world to pray for our children and pray for family restoration on that day. We are believing for Christmas miracles!

I just wanted to you to know that I ran across a wonderful article today on my news feed from Facebook. And guess what?? Well...I'll let you read it for yourself! Here's the link: God Wants to Heal Family This Holiday Season. I would also like to say THANK YOU to the author, Wanda Alger, for allowing God to use her to share such a wonderful word of encouragement. Thank you, Wanda! So, I thought, why don't we just line up with what she wrote in her article, because she obviously got it from God anyway, right? Let's believe together for everything that is written. I turned her article into a prayer, and what a mighty one it is. I just want to encourage your heart today. Your blessing is on the way! We are just agreeing with heaven and watching as the answer manifests in the earthly realm. Have a joyful day and know that GOD HAS GOT THIS!

Father God,

I lift up my family members as well as families everywhere and I pray that You would bring us each into a spiritual awakening. Awaken our family members to right priorities and healthy relationships before the end of 2013. I pray for divine order to be established and that the hearts of our family members would be zealous for healthy family relationships. I pray that you heal and restore marriages and that forgiveness, grace and humility would flow graciously into each person in every family. I pray for those in my city, my geographic region and throughout the world. I pray that Your order would bring healing, unity and a powerful release of anointing that is restored to every family member. Bring families back into their proper place in Your kingdom.

I pray that broken relationships would be healed, and that as past issues are revisted, it would not be for condemnation. Bring a new perspective so that healing can take place. I declare there would not be defensiveness, pride, anger, or offense – only grace, humility, forgiveness and a desire for genuine restoration. Let every person choose restoration and not miss their moment to be a part of family restoration. I declare pride is bound in Jesus name and will not stand in opposition to unity, forgiveness, healing and restoration. I declare the prodigals will come home in Jesus name. I declare those that do not know you or those that have been at a distance with You and with their family members, will come home and be reunited. I speak reunification, restoration, and reconciliation to be released over every family member, every lost soul, every person struggling with feelings of abandonment and rejection, and I declare that nothing will stand in the way of them seeking out those they have been estranged with. I declare  they will desire restored relationship with their heavenly Father more than they want to remain on the outside looking in. No longer will they be an observer, but they will experience a revelation that has been missing; they will understand what they could not understand before.

I declare that myself and each of my family members will be alert to circumstances, situations, conversations and opportunities that were not there before. I declare that together we will all seize the moment to speak love and kindness that restores relationships. I pray that You wake up the hearts that have been cold and unfeeling. I pray that You cause us each to be ready to listen, respond and follow Your directives to demonstrate Your love. Let YOUR LOVE flow freely from us into others. Redeem the past, Father, and restore better than these relationships have ever been. Put YOUR LOVE in our hearts for one another. Put Your grace, compassion, mercy and tenderness in our hearts for others. Put things in order so that a solid foundation can be established in each of our hearts and lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lose the Ox!

Amos 3:3 says, "Can two walk together unless they are in agreement?"  It is so important to know the heart, integrity, character and the SPIRIT of those you are connected to! There is a warning in scripture not to be unequally yoked with those that are going in a different direction. That can apply to marriage partners, friendships, business relationships and even those with whom you fellowship. Partnerships of any kind, especially those in Christian fellowships, church relationships or ministry connections should be with like minded people with the same heart, going in the same spiritual direction otherwise you can find yourself unequally yoked and struggling under a burden you are not supposed to be dealing with. To be 'yoked together' is like a yoke placed on a team of oxen. They both shoulder the same burden. They pull together, not in different directions. They are not striving to each do their own thing, compete, or pull against one another. People that try to partner up with others that are prone to competition, division, or wrestling against one another is like carrying dead weight. You can't accomplish anything of value if you are constantly wrestling against one another or if you are too busy trying to deal with the burdens of unhealthy relationships. Those things detract from a person's ability to be fruitful and healthy. You cannot move forward if you are carrying dead weight. Some of you need to lose an ox! The 'seduction' and lies that originate from the enemy will try to influence you to retain the things that compromise your integrity, God's will for your life, and the path of faith. Faith surrenders all and says, "God, YOUR will be done. Lead me in the path of faith and help me to recognize where I need to let go and lose the ox!"

It's important to understand that those that are not of the same spirit don't have the same heart towards loyalty, either. When loyalty is tested, people often show signs of competition and jealousy which can lead to bullying, broken relationships and more unwanted problems - all because those people were not meant to be yoked together in the first place. We can all learn from relational difficulties, and we certainly can't run from all of them; but we can make choices to set healthy boundaries for ourselves and at at times when it's necessary - confront those things that warrant confrontation.

I feel that there are many people right now that are in that place of making difficult choices. It's a time of transition, coming to a crossroads, and making decisions where to go from here. I pray that each person would have the courage and conviction to confront whatever bullies may stand in their path. Sometimes you just need to stand your ground and challenge the bully regardless of the outcome. Because here's the truth: there is always someone more powerful than the current reigning bully, and above them is even higher authority. (Read Ecc. 5:8). God himself sees all.

Ecc. 8:9 "All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt."

You can't move forward carrying baggage from your past. You can't fulfill the plans and purposes of God if you are not yoked together with the right people. It may mean leaving your comfort zone, confronting a person, situation or relationship that warrants confrontation - because God uses confrontation to bring about a turn of events that couldn't have occurred otherwise. Be strong and of good courage. The Lord your God is with you and will lead you in the path He has prepared for you!

"Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared." Ex. 23:20. 

So be it, Lord! Let your angels lead us, O God! Take us by the hand and lead us into the place you have prepared for us. In Jesus name, Amen.  

Here is a great motivational song by Brit Nicole. Enjoy...and let your light shine!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Be Anxious For Nothing!

When you look at the ocean it appears as though there is no end. Powerful. Majestic. A force to be reckoned with. Yet even when it seems quiet on the surface, there is so much going on beneath the surface that we cannot see. Faith is a lot like that too. It takes a different perspective to understand that what we see isn't all there is going on! As huge and as incredible as the oceans are, they all pale in comparison to God. Trying to imagine all that God is capable of, the way He will work out the issues of our life or the things that concern us are all beyond our comprehension. Yet so often we put limitations on Him and allow a faulty perspective to reduce The Omnipotent, All Knowing, Almighty God to the size of our worst fears. Fear projects a false reality as though it were real and makes a person feel as if God is not going to intervene in a situation or answer their prayer. The question is, "Why assume God will not answer your prayer??" 

When you can unravel the "WHY" to that question then you have the root of double-minded thinking. The voice of
fear does not have to be louder than the voice of faith! When we limit God, it's like trying to put the ocean in a cup. IMPOSSIBLE. Let your faith be encouraged today! God has unlimited power and ability to change your situation in a moment. Often though, He is just waiting for you to line up with faith. Trust Him even though you cannot predict the outcome or understand how He works. Faith doesn't have to have all the answers up front; it just understands there is much more going on in every circumstance than what you currently know. Often what things appear to be is not the whole picture. Your prayers are heard in heaven. Be still and know He is God.  Look at this picture of life under the surface. There is a whole other realm of activity going on!

When things seem like nothing much is happening can often be crisis times in a person's faith. We look at the circumstances and think, "Is this the way things will remain?" Yet when it's quiet to us is when God is often hard at work. He is just not tipping His hand to the bigger picture. This is the time when He deals with His enemies, and our enemies, too. He deals with those that would stand in opposition to His purposes. He makes things ready on every level. He has prepared the messenger to deliver the message, but the people must be prepared also to be able to receive the message when the time is right. He allows circumstances to reach crisis levels. He makes all things ready at the appointed time and then brings all the pieces together at the appropriate time so that His purposes are accomplished. What ever you are going through today, trust God to work it out. What you see is often not a true indicator of the outcome. GOD determines the way things play out. Your job is simply to pray and to trust. Be still. Be still and know He is God!