Better Communication

Good communication is needed in every relationship, but I feel more so now that a lot of our words are typed through text messages or emails. We have lost most face to face communication, and since there is a high percentage of how we speak is done by body language or facial and vocal expressions, there is much more of a chance to get the wrong message from the one that was meant.

Our relationships thrive on good communication, and I feel it is the nutrient needed for a healthy relationship, whoever that is with. It could be your Pastor, spouse, friends, shop staff, employees, postman, the list is endless.

Norman Wright explains that when people communicate there are at least 6 messages that come through.

What you mean to say

What you actually say

What the other person hears

What the other person thinks they hear

What the other person says about what you said

What you think the other person said about what you said

This shows how important it is to think and work on how we communicate with everyone we have contact with. By spending more time working on what and how we say to others, we can make sure more of what we say is clear and helps us to smooth out any weaknesses we may have in this area.

If we want a relationship to go deeper, then we need to grasp how to communicate with that person, not just in what we say but in how our body and  vocal languages come across. We all have some hang ups in this area. We may have a fear of opening up to others for fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, low self esteem or image. All these factor in when we open up to anyone. The relationship will only ever go as deep as you are willing to communicate with openness and honesty. Say what you mean, and work hard to say it in the way you would want it to be received. Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes for a minute and think about how you would want that sentence, greeting, criticism, word of encouragement to be said. How would we want to receive that spoken and unspoken communication?

Try to be constructive and focus on the positives of the other person or group.

Proverbs 18:21,” your tongue has the power of life or death.”

Bring life and love to our relationships.

 

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Reliance

I don’t know about you, but there are those weeks I am tempted to wish would go quicker, that there could be nothing else that could possibly be thrown at me! Surely!! Those weeks that are super busy, with no time for relaxation or even I feel quality times with God. Those weeks that feel like you are squarely in the fire line of the devil and that he must have sent all available bad stuff to be aimed at me! Those weeks!

In those times, I know I am probably in the wrong frame of mind, and having a wrong attitude to the things that are going on around me and what I feel are happening to me. In those times, I can feel God’s presence and voice calling me to just take 5 minutes to be with Him, and it is then that I know He is always there with me, always my Rock. In those times, I know I can rely on my God. He shows me even in the quick verse I read on my way to the next meeting, the word that is given by a stranger, the prayers that are answered daily, that He never leaves us in those places where we might feel He is too far away.

My husband read recently,

“Don’t be scared when the devil attacks you,

Be scared when he doesn’t”

I know this is just a quick saying, but it says so much to me. I know more scary stuff, more bad things happen on weeks when our church is praying for revival, when there is an important service we are part of, a prayer for Israel meeting. I know those times are coming now, and so know thst my God is there, and helping me to be stronger in Him, and that He is always Reliable.

I hope you know how Reliable God is too in those times.

Pray or not?

Leonard Ravenhill in his book Why Revival Tarries says,

“The Cinderella of the church today is the prayer meeting. This handmaid of the Lord is unloved and unwooed because she is not dripping with the pearls of intellectualism, nor glamorous with the silks of philosophy; neither is she enchanting with the tiara of psychology. She wears the homespuns of sincerity and humility and so is not afraid to kneel!”

I find it incredible that across most of the Western world, prayer meetings are the least attended meeting in the whole church calendar. It is the forgotten hours during the week, not given much thought and quickly cancelled. I believe that you can gauge the spiritual life of a church by the prayer meeting numbers and quality of prayers given.

How can we expect to see revival in our community when we can’t be bothered to go to prayer meetings and not see that we are in a battle to see souls saved. If our prayers are dead, then what are we?

Ravenhill goes on to say, “Victory is not won in the pulpit by firing intellectual bullets or wisecracks, but in the prayer closet.”

D.M. McIntyre,D.D. has been quoted “Before the great revival in Gallneukirchen broke out, Martin Boos spent hours and days and often nights in lonely agonies of intercession. Afterwards, when he preached, his words were as flame, and the hearts of the people as grass.”

How much more could be done in the spiritual if we spent more time on our knees, pressing into God and His Word. How much would our lives be changed, to become more like Him.

Quality not quantity?

A very sad and unfortunately normal fact for the Church in the Western world is that it is not growing, and so many churches are closing, being demolished, or being turned into nightclubs or trendy apartments in cities. This is something we should be very concerned about, and we should be being proactive in dealing with head on. How many church mission statements cover this rising trend by saying they are looking for “quality and not quantity” in their congregations.

Acts 2 shows us the wonderful Day of Pentecost, and the growth of the early church was not just in the amazing numbers, but geographically also. The Gospel didn’t just stay in Jerusalem, it went throughout the world within a few years. By the end of Acts, the Gospel had hit most of the Middle East, and even Europe and possibly England itself. What would have happened if the first church had the same attitude as we seem to have in the 21st century? It is possible it would have been a short phase and just fizzled out before the disciples had died.

A healthy church is a growing church, not just in growth of numbers, but spiritually as well. It sees its congregation growing in their walk, in their life and as they change and grow, they spread the wonderful good news of the Gospel to all they meet and live with. They live and relate in different ways to those around them, to the point that people know there is a difference to them, a feel that only knowing God can bring.

A church that only looks inwardly, that only wants to stay as it is, is destined for self – destruction. It cannot sustain itself. It becomes burnt out or it could only take one major incident that could split the congregation to the point of closure. A church cannot survive without growth, or any imbalance in how it is lead or taught.

Teaching and preaching is what we in churches do. That is part of our roles, all of us. Older, mature brothers and sisters mentor the younger spiritual members. Leaders bring teaching and leadership that gives the congregation the strength and confidence in God to go out and live the Gospel and new life they have. We all have a role of some sort of evangelism. I believe there are those with specific evangelism gifts by the Spirit, but we all have a role of evangelist when asked about our beliefs. We have the job to pray and bring those around us before the Lord, to bring the Gospel to them. How are they going to know about the new life God gives if we dont show it, live it and tell them the why and how? Don’t leave confusion of preaching christianity and then not living it. It brings words like hypocrisy into minds where there should be a wanting to know more. It is a sacrifice, it is laying down our lives to God. Its how we live for God. Its a change that happens inside when we truly understand what He has done for us and what He has saved us from.

Who I am

I know a lot of my failings, and there are many more that others can see in me or that God can see that I don’t recognise yet. They will be shown to me at the right time, or at Gods timing for my life. It amazes me that He uses me with all my failings, warts, sins and all. God loves me and uses me for His kingdom as I am right now, and not who I will be 10 years from now, because who I will be then will be a different person. I know I am on a journey, but if I stop learning and growing in God, then I won’t be any different, but will stand still. To be different, I have to grow, learn and change my attitudes and heart to be more like God, then I will change into a more Christ-like child of God.
When I look in the Old Testament at some of the old “heroes” of the faith like Samson, Solomon and perhaps David, they were never super spiritual. God used them as they were for His kingdom and His purposes. They didn’t change for God to use them, they didn’t change who they were in God. We have consequences of living a sinful life, but God made us because He loves us.
We need to pray and ask God what He wants us to do for Him; who He wants us to speak to; how He wants us to live for Him; how we follow Him.

God is Sovereign over all

God gives us a calling on our lives, and what we do for Him is a calling. No one can hold God back, He is sovereign. He is love and His grace is new every morning.
What better reasons do we need to praise and worship our Lord and Heavenly Father?
We fail every day. Our lives get in the way, our pride, our minds. He never fails, never lets us down. How much of what we do is an offence to God? Maybe we need to sit and think about how we do things or how we speak to ourselves or others. Our flesh is strong, and we seem to battle all the time. Gods sovereignty is being watered down within our churches and how we view Him. He is God, He is our Maker.
Nothing can surprise God or shock Him. He knows all and knew us before we were born. He knows what we go through and weeps with us. He feels what we feel. He is there, and never goes away.
Praise is what I can bring. I can worship because I have nothing else to bring sometimes. I can praise when I am in a place where I am low, happy, content or in despair. Praise lifts us out of the mire.
Faith is believing when we dont see God, or dont know what to do. Keep your faith in Him who created dust into His child. He created you because He loves you.

Which Heart?

There are so many ways of describing our hearts and attitudes towards God. Looking into it, I have seen four types of heart that I have seen or experienced.

A calloused heart, one that is hardened to God and His Word.

A shallow heart that has no roots and no depth spiritually and possibly in life.

A distracted heart that is pulled many ways or is torn about what to do.

An open heart that is receptive and responsive to God and His Word and Spirit.

We need to keep a daily intimacy with God, and base ourselves in His Word. If we live more in prayer and the Word, we have a better grounding when the trials and troubles come our way. We will be able to put on our spiritual armour and battle knowing from the Word that God is always there. We can fight with the Word and use our sword to cut through doubts and distractions.

God changes us if we let Him. He gives us a hunger for the Word and lets us live in a new way so we put ourselves under the ownership of our Father. We begin to see new habits forming that make us more like Jesus every day.

The Word of God is our direction. Use it. Change my heart Lord to an open heart for you and what you have to say to me.

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