Monday, January 23, 2017

Can God See Your Faith

An angel told Peter in Acts 5:20 to "go stand and speak in the temple to the people "All" the words of this life". The words of this life? What did the angel mean?

Perhaps the Angel referred to the Christian's call to "live by faith". The disciples and the saints of old demonstrated "the fact of faith"  in their daily lives and ministries. In a previous post I noted "faith" can be seen. God saw Abraham had faith in Him when he offered his son Isaac on the altar.

Paul saw that the man of Lystra had faith to be healed. What did Paul see? Some say Paul could tell by his countenance-his facial expressions that the man had faith to be healed. Paul could see hope in his face. Although crippled from his mother's womb, his attitude was not sour or full of self-pity. Nor was he docked or anchored to his condition. He did not cynically accept the condition as a part of life but was quietly expecting and hoping that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would show up and change his situation.

What can we tell by your countenance? Can we see hope and faith on your face!

Your countenance is a reflection of what's going on in your heart/thoughts (Daniel 5:10).

Solomon said, A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance and by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

How do we make our hearts merry? What do we do when our circumstances and thoughts are negative and our spirits are low or as David said "cast down."

David gives us the answer in Psalm 42:5, by reminding us to "trust/have hope in God". Some of us have experienced failure in our lives and our souls are cast down. In "Lord of the Marketplace", Myron Rush says, "When we fail God wants us to trust Him so that He can save us from our troubles. He then wants us to tell people that He was responsible for the rescue. Yet in the same situation, Satan wants us bitter, resentful, fearful, and angry toward God for our problems."

Some of us have experienced failure because we have trusted in ourselves instead of trusting God. Regarding the Israelites, David said they received not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them but God's right hand and arm, and the light of His countenance, because He had favor on them (Psalm 44:3)

If you have accepted Christ as your savior, and have become a citizen of heaven you cannot obtain success as the world does. Kingdom of heaven citizens operate under a different set of rules. And rule number one is "the just shall live by faith" (Hebrews 10:38). You must trust the Lord to make your way prosperous. He will have it no other way.

The only way you will possess the land you've spied out is to trust God to make a way for you. The Israelites spied out the land but only God could tear down the walls of their enemies. Are you going to possess the land/your land this year? Then trust in God!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Four Dysfunctional Family Characteristics That You Can Change 

by Karla Downing 

Dysfunctional families have similar characteristics regardless of the individual problems. Here are four dysfunctional family characteristics that you can change:

Unpredictability - Life has twists and turns, but healthy relationships are pretty predictable compared to unhealthy ones because people are reliable. In unhealthy relationships, people can't be trusted to do what they promise. Plans are changed and promises are broken due to irresponsibility, addictions, moods, and conflict. People don't do what they are supposed to do because these problems make them undependable. Change this characteristic by keeping the promises you make even when things are falling apart and other people around you don't. You can bring predictability to unpredictability. You can make sure your yes's mean yes and your no's mean no.

Generational Effects - The children of dysfunctional families grow up to be adult children of dysfunctional families and carry the pain into their own relationships. The effects of the sins of the previous generations are passed down to the next generation because family members are affected by the problems and learn dysfunctional ways of interacting and acting in their own relationships. The most important thing you can do is to get healthy by facing how you have been affected and by learning new ways of relating to others and life. This is what redemption is all about. You can't change what happened to you in the past, but you can change how you respond to it and what you do with it.

Denial - Dysfunctional families don't want to face the truth about what is happening, so they deny it. They do this by minimizing what is bad or pretending things are different than they really are. A family that is in denial will rally against a family member who is speaking the truth by trying to get the person to doubt his/her own perceptions. You don't have to allow yourself to be invalidated. Hold fast to your truth even when others don't want to and make decisions based on reality instead of fantasy. God wants us to live in truth and Jesus promised you that the truth will set you free.

Unhealthy Connections - Dysfunctional families are either enmeshed (overly connected) or unattached (under connected). Enmeshed families don't respect the right of each individual member to say no and to choose how he/she wants to live. Pressure is put on each person to conform to the family rules and identity. Unattached disconnected families have members that live their own lives so separate from others that each member feels alone and abandoned. There is no family identity. You can change either of these patterns by learning to be your own person while seeking a connection with your family as a whole and with each individual in it. God made each of us as individuals who have to answer for our own choices, but he placed us in families to be a part of a larger unit.

Change comes slowly in the midst of dysfunction, but it has to start somewhere. Let it start with you.
Next, if you need more practical tips and Biblical truths to help you change your relationships, get my FREE "15-Day Relationship Challenge" designed to give you back the power over your life.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

3 Things to Know About Faith
by S.E .Miller

Faith  can be seen

The friends of the Paralytic showed they had faith in Jesus when they pulled their friend up a steep roof and tore off  the shingles to get him to Jesus. Their actions proved they believed Jesus could and would heal him. (Mark 2:3-5)

Peter showed he had faith by walking on water. (Matthew 14:18).

The disciples showed they had no faith by panicking in the storm. (Matthew 8:23-26).

Faith isn't perfect. Sometimes we are skeptical or cynical about Gods' ability to do something but He continues to be faithful.

Sara laughed at the thought of being able to have a child at 90 years old. (Genesis 8:12)

A father with a demon possessed son needed help to believe Jesus could deliver him. (Mark 9:24)

Faith works although the answer may not come immediately. We may have to pray or be anointed about something more than once before we get an answer.

The Lord told Elijah it would rain. However, although Elijah heard the abundance of rain via thunder and lightning it did not rain immediately. He had to send his servant to look for the rain cloud 7 times. (1 Kings 18:1-44).

Jesus laid  hands on a blind man twice before he was able to see. (Mark 8:23-25)

Don't give up your faith it will be rewarded if you faint not.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Why You Should Take Communion
By S.E. Miller


Renowned commentator, Matthew Henry said, when we take communion “We feast on the sacrificed body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And to eat of the feast is to partake of the sacrifice, and so to be his guests to whom the sacrifice was offered, and this in token of friendship with him. To partake of the Lord's table is to profess ourselves his guests and covenant people. This is the very purpose and intention of this symbolical eating and drinking; it is holding communion with God, and partaking of those privileges, and professing ourselves under those obligations, which result from the death and sacrifice of Christ.”

Henry's insight encourages me to compare the Lord's table with King David's table as noted in 2 Samuel chapter 9. In this chapter we see David symbolic of God, Johnathan a type of Christ and Mephibosheth a picture of the saints of God.

In the chapter David asked if there was someone of Saul's house he could show kindness to for Johnathan's sake. And they found Mephibosheth (Johnathan's son), David the king invited Mephibosheth to eat at his table as one of his own sons, continually. Not only did the king provide daily sustenance but restored unto him Saul's estate. Saul's estate included his palace in Gibeah and the surrounding land.

Because of Jesus Christ, God accepts us and provides our daily needs (continually). The inheritance and privileges Adam and Eve lost have been restored unto us. It is during our time of communion with God (partaking of the bread and wine) that we continually ratify the blessings of the New Covenant. Google says, ratify means "to sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid. synonyms: confirm, approve, sanction, endorse, agree to, accept, uphold, authorize, formalize, validate, recognize; sign "

Yes, it is during communion whether alone with God or in a service with others that we agree, accept, uphold,authorize and give formal consent to the radical benefits of Christ's death on the cross for us! In Luke 22:19-20, Christ said, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."

Paul said in, 1 Corinthians 11:26  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Note he said, “as oft as ye drink,” that is, we have permission to take communion/proclaim the Lords death (1 Corinthians 11:26) as often as we want or need to!
This ceremony is for our benefit. Participating in the ceremony will increase our faith as we recognize our position and relationship with God. Because, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32
Are you experiencing the benefits of Salvation as you desire? Taking communion on a regular basis will help you draw near God and realize the benefits of Salvation as you've never seen them before.

Will you join me now  as I Proclaim the Lord’s death by taking communion? 

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Monday, January 2, 2017

'You Make Me Sick' and other things Parents Say in Anger
by Patricia Gatto

Maryann is so focused she's blind. She's slipped over the edge of responsibility and forgot the real reason she is working so hard. It's for her daughter.

Being a single parent isn't easy. Between working, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and homework, there isn't much time left in the day. It's a heavy burden to be the sole supporter of a young child. But when pressures and tensions are so great that harmful words spill out like bitter pills, isn't it time to stop and take inventory?

"Clean your room or I'm gonna kill you!" "If you don't do your homework right now, I'll break your neck!" "Just leave me alone, I've had a rough day."

These statements came from a woman who loves her daughter and she's working hard to provide for her. If you asked Maryann, she'd say she would do anything in the world for her child. But why can't she see that respectful communication conveys love more than a new pair of shoes ever will? And why does she have to be reminded to treat her child with respect?

Maryann isn't alone. Life is frustrating. We've all heard parents, married, single or otherwise, speak to their children in anger. As adults, we've all rolled our eyes at the dramatic threats, knowing full well they have no intention of being carried out. But does a child know these are simply dumb words spoken in frustration? Does a child know that the violent threats of bodily harm are hollow?

Whether over the top displays of drama are blurted in anger, or merely used to snap a child to attention, the results are unhealthy and damaging.

When little Billy tells a classmate he is going to kill him over a broken crayon, where do you think he learned that response from? And in today's climate, do you think anyone would consider it just an innocent statement from an innocent child? Billy would be sent to the principal's office on the spot. And if not, he would certainty be called down after the victim of his harsh words went home and told his parents and they reported it to the school.

What happens when your child gets a little older and has a real problem? What if he needs to talk about drugs or alcohol? Or she has a problem in school, or a question about boys? Repeatedly belittling your child with angry words and intimidation will break down the barriers of communication long before you even reach this point. If you threaten to "kill" your child over a messy room, what would you do if she told you she was having sex?

Anger has a way of creating very colorful and exaggerated statements. Parents and caregivers need to make a concerted effort to remove these damaging phrases from their vocabulary by controlling anger. Save the drama for a time when it is really needed. On occasion, shocking statements do have a place in parenting, but used on a daily basis, they will only sever to create fear or simply numb your child to your words.

Search your vocabulary; are you unintentionally damaging the relationship you have with your child? Here are some steps to help you take control when you feel frustration and anger rise.

  • Take a deep breath, not from your chest, but pulling from your diaphragm. Slowly exhale. As you do this, picture your words evaporate into the air.
  • Lift your hand, palm out, in a stopping motion. This will indicate to your child that you need a moment and serve to remind you that you are stopping yourself from anger.
  • Calmly tell yourself to relax as you continue to breathe deeply.
  • Wait until you feel in control. When you speak, intentionally bring your voice down, not to a whisper, but to a soft, paced level.
  • Then logically explain the reason for your anger to your child, voiding threats and harsh criticism.
  • t's okay to say you are disappointed or upset about a messy room or a bad grade, but focus on the problem and offer a solution or deliver a fair ultimatum.
  • If punishment is necessary, make it realistic. I don't know of a single parent that took away television privileges from their child for the rest of their life.
  • Follow through on your words.
  • If you do get angry, offer your child an apology, not an excuse. Take blame for your actions.
  • Closely examine the situation that triggered your anger. Was it really your child? Is there an underlying factor? If so, what can you do to correct the situation or avoid it in the future?
Anger is a natural emotion. It can't be completely controlled or removed from our lives, but you can change the way you handle things. In doing so, you gain an invaluable gift, a respectful relationship with your child. Healthy communication is a parent's weapon against the outside world. A child should turn to his parent in times of trouble, not run away in fear.                                                                     
Patricia Gatto and John De Angelis are the authors of MILTON'S DILEMMA, the tale of a lonely boy's magical journey to friendship and self-acceptance. As advocates for literacy and children's rights, the authors speak at schools and community events to foster awareness and provide children with a safe and healthy learning environment. For more information, please visit Joyful Productions at