Volume 1 No. 34 October 13, 2011 If the Journal is not displayed properly, please click on the link below (or copy and paste) to read from web
Table of Contents
Bible Readings for This Sunday (Oct 16)
Sermons for This Sunday (Oct 16)
The fights and bickering among the
different denominations in Christianity is a very relevant topic for
all of us. So, this week's focus article on Unity in Christian
Churches will be of interest to all of us.
Enjoy all the articles and features in this week's Journal. We thank you for your continued support.
This Sunday in Church
Fifth Sunday after the Feast of Sleebo/Holy Cross
The coming Sunday is the fifth Sunday following Sleebo Feast. Our Lectionary prescribes St. Matthew 23:1-12 as the Gospel reading for this Sunday. Jesus Christ warns both the multitudes and his disciples about the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. They talk one thing and do another. It is big show. There is no sincerity. You cannot fool God or hide from God. Whatever we do will be answerable to God in the final day.
We have several commentaries, gospel analyses, and sermons that
looks at various aspects of this week's Gospel. You can see all of
them in Malankara World at:
This Week's Features
|Inspiration for Today|
The Lord is compassionate and merciful.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.--The Lord is gracious and merciful. . . . He remembers his covenant forever.
He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.--Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.
His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.--[Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.--Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
"Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. . . . Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. . . . Fear not, therefore."
James 5:11; Ps. 103:13; Ps. 111:4, 5; Ps. 121:3, 4; Deut. 32:11, 12; Lam. 3:22, 23; Matt. 14:14; Heb. 13:8; Matt. 10:30, 29, 31
Source: Daily Light on Daily Path
by Dr. Joe McKeever
I have a strong suspicion that the Lord is almost the only One among us who truly knows the value of unity within His Body.
To put it another way: Even those who love the Lord with all their heart, who treasure His word and work to obey Him, seem not to place a high enough value on unity within the Body.
Mr. Burger King pulled into town one day and decided to check out his franchises. Driving up Route 45, the business district of the city, he spotted one of his fast-food restaurants. It seemed to be doing okay, so that pleased him.
Then, he spotted something that puzzled him.
Right beside that Burger King was another one, identical to the first. What in the world was going on, he wondered.
Then it got worse.
Across the highway in the next block was another one. Three Burger-Kings that close together? What kind of marketing is this?
Before he left town that day, Mr. Burger King had found fourteen of his franchise restaurants in that community, most of them within half a block of one another.
Something was badly wrong. Some district manager was in bad trouble.
One day, the Lord Jesus came to our town. He spotted the First Baptist on one corner, First United Methodist on the other corner, the Presbyterians across the way, and the Assembly of God down the block. In the next block was the Catholics, the Latter Day Saints, and the synagogue.
And of course, each one claimed to be using the original recipe.
The Apostle Paul saw the seeds of such a weirdness in I Corinthians chapter 1....
Now, I plead with you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.
Two kinds of division grieve the work of the Lord, and doubtless the heart of the Saviour: the denominationalism so ubiquitous in our world and the disunity within local churches.
As a longtime Southern Baptist pastor, I confess that the latter has been my major concern. Other than to try to know pastors in other denominations and to encourage them, I have done precious little to bring God's people together. In fact--another confession here--I would not know where to begin.
As I write, the National Council of Churches is having its annual meeting in my city. That organization represents an attempt by the Lord's people in generations past to do something about the splintering of the Lord's people. I'm not one to say how well they have done, but the attempt itself was a noble one.
So, what follows, I am directing to pastors and other church leaders and it will mostly be thinking in terms of congregational unity. Just so you'll know.
1. Unity is a command of Scripture. It's not optional.
I Corinthians 1:10 above is the text for that.
2. Unity is a work of God's people. It's not automatic and not a spiritual gift.
3. Unity is a multifeatured thing. It's not simple.
In the text (I Cor. 1:10), Paul urges the Lord's people to speak the same thing, to work that there be no divisions among them, and to "be made complete" in the same mind and judgment of Christ.
In Paul's message to the Ephesian leadership (Acts 20:28ff), he cautions them to be on guard for wolves from outside the flock and false teachers from within.
And, in Ephesians 4:3, he instructs leaders of that same church "to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." The unity we seek is of the Holy Spirit, not something we work up in the flesh.
4. This unity occurs with great diversity. It is not mindless conformity.
In I Corinthians 12:12, 14-20, we are told that this "one body" which is the Lord's church has many members.
In 12:25-26, the members of the body are to work in full sympathy and harmony with one another. When one part suffers, they all hurt.
In 12:28-30, each member is to value the contribution of the others. All do not have the same gifts.
5. This unity is a Treasure. A blessing. It is not minor, something to be neglected.
In fact, a unified congregation accounts for so many blessings on many levels. Here are some, you'll think of others.
--Unity honors Christ.
See Acts 6:1-6 where all of these things are present.
6. Unity is a daily challenge. It is not a one-time thing that we do once and check it off the list.
Congregational harmony will be constantly challenged. Unity must be earned again and again.
Satan loves to divide God's people. He's always seeking it.
Never let your guard down.
7. Unity is a test for the church's leadership. It is not just for the preacher to handle.
Lay leadership should always be on the lookout for anything that threatens the peace and harmony of the congregation. This is not to imply they should stifle dissent and shush anyone with a question. It means they are constantly on the lookout for troublemakers.
When troublemakers are spotted--or when something containing the seeds of division is identified--let the leadership go into action. My recommendation is that two or three of the key leaders should pay a visit to the individual. They go the first time for information.
These visitors will be loving and respectful. They must be godly people of courage. Sweet and humble, but confrontive and faithful.
If they determine that the individual is out of line or doing something detrimental to the church, they should say so and try to end the matter there. If a conference with the pastor is required, they can arrange that.
My strong conviction is that faithful and courageous lay leaders in any church can head off rebellion and division a long time before it gathers speed and begins to split a congregation.
Now, all we need are faithful and courageous lay leaders.
That's another subject.
About the Author:
Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and retired Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.
Lesson 8: 'Because of His Importunity' Or The Boldness of God's Friends
|[Editor's Note: Here is this week's lesson from the book, 'With Christ in the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray. This book is a very important reference book on intercessional prayer, something Orthodox Church believes in greatly. Murray skillfully describes the role of the Holy Spirit within the church and exhorts Christians to use the blessings God has given us. This book is a guide to living a life as a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you have missed the earlier lessons, please read them in Malankara World.]|
...he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
The first teaching to His disciples was given by our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. It was near a year later that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. In answer He gave them a second time the Lord's Prayer, so teaching them what to pray. He then speaks of how they ought to pray, and repeats what he formerly said of God's Fatherliness and the certainty of an answer. But in between He adds the beautiful parable of the friend at midnight, to teach them the two fold lesson, that God does not only want us to pray for ourselves, but for the perishing around us, and that in such intercession great boldness of entreaty is often needful, and always lawful, yea, pleasing to God.
...the perseverance that takes no refusal...
The parable is a perfect storehouse of instruction in regard to true intercession. There is, first, the love which seeks to help the needy around us: my friend is come to me. Then the need which urges to the cry I have nothing to set before him. Then follows the confidence that help is to be had: which of you shall have a friend, and say, Friend, lend me three loaves. Then comes the unexpected refusal: I cannot rise and give thee. Then again the perseverance that takes no refusal: because of his importunity. And lastly, the reward of such prayer: he will give him as many as he needeth. A wonderful setting forth of the way of prayer and faith in which the blessing of God has so often been sought and found.
Let us confine ourselves to the chief thought: prayer as an appeal to the friendship of God; and we shall find that two lessons are specially suggested. The one, that if we are God's friends, and come as such to Him, we must prove ourselves the friends of the needy; God's friendship to us and ours to others go hand in hand. The other, that when we come thus we may use the utmost liberty in claiming an answer.
...the higher, the true glory of prayer, for which Christ has taken us into His fellowship and teaching, is intercession...
There is a twofold use of prayer: the one, to obtain strength and blessing for our own life; the other, the higher, the true glory of prayer, for which Christ has taken us into His fellowship and teaching, is intercession, where prayer is the royal power a child of God exercises in heaven on behalf of others and even of the kingdom. We see it in Scripture, how it was in intercession for others that Abraham and Moses, Samuel and Elijah, with all the holy men of old, proved that they had power with God and prevailed.
It is when we give ourselves to be a blessing that we can specially count on the blessing of God. It is when we draw near to God as the friend of the poor and the perishing that we may count on His friendliness; the righteous man who is the friend of the poor is very specially the friend of God. This gives wonderful liberty in prayer. Lord! I have a needy friend whom I must help. As a friend I have undertaken to help him. In Thee I have a Friend, whose kindness and riches I know to be infinite: I am sure Thou wilt give me what I ask. If I, being evil, am ready to do for my friend what I can, how much more wilt Thou, O my heavenly Friend, now do for Thy friend what he asks?
Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.
The question might suggest itself, whether the Fatherhood of God does not give such confidence in prayer, that the thought of His Friendship can hardly teach us anything more: a father is more than a friend. And yet, if we consider it, this pleading the friendship of God opens new wonders to us. That a child obtains what he asks of his father looks so perfectly natural, we almost count it the father's duty to give. But with a friend it is as if the kindness is more free, dependent, not on nature, but on sympathy and character. And then the relation of a child is more that of perfect dependence; two friends are more nearly on a level. And so our Lord, in seeking to unfold to us the spiritual mystery of prayer, would fain have us approach God in this relation too, as those whom He has acknowledged as His friends, whose mind and life are in sympathy with His.
But then we must be living as His friends. I am still a child even when a wanderer; but friendship depends upon the conduct. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and he was called the friend of God.
It is a life as the friend of God that gives the wonderful liberty to say: I have a friend to whom I can go even at midnight.
It is the Spirit, the same Spirit, that leads us that also bears witness to our acceptance with God; likewise, also, the same Spirit helpeth us in prayer. It is a life as the friend of God that gives the wonderful liberty to say: I have a friend to whom I can go even at midnight. And how much more when I go in the very spirit of that friendliness, manifesting myself the very kindness I look for in God, seeking to help my friend as I want God to help me. When I come to God in prayer, He always looks to what the aim is of my petition. If it be merely for my own comfort or joy I seek His grace, I do not receive. But if I can say that it is that He may be glorified in my dispensing His blessings to others, I shall not ask in vain.
Or if I ask for others, but want to wait until God has made me so rich, that it is no sacrifice or act of faith to aid them, I shall not obtain. But if I can say that I have already undertaken for my needy friend, that in my poverty I have already begun the work of love, because I know I had a friend Who would help me, my prayer will be heard. Oh, we know not how much the plea avails: the friendship of earth looking in its need to the friendship of heaven: He will give him as much as he needeth. But not always at once. The one thing by which man can honour and enjoy his God is faith.
by Greg Laurie
Sometimes our prayers are not answered in the affirmative because we simply do not believe. Jesus could do no mighty works in His hometown because of unbelief (see Matthew 13:58). Scripture tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Unbelief can hinder our prayers. When we think, Well, I don't really believe this can happen, then we have essentially canceled our own prayer. To not believe what God's Word says is true is to effectively call God a liar. James tells us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:5–7).
We must pray with faith. And if we lack faith, then we are to follow the example of the man who said to Jesus, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). That prayer works. We don't need to have super faith, but we do need to have some faith—and we need to apply that faith in prayer.
Faith sees what could be. Faith is not just intellectual assent; it is action. It is a consent of the will to the assent of the understanding. Faith sees what could be, and a believer sees invisible things.
Summary sentence: Can you see what could be right now? Then start praying about it—and use a little faith.
Copyright © 2011 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
"In 1988, Greg Simmons, a brilliant young businessman whose ideas helped revolutionize American life insurance, flew to New York to make a presentation to Board members of AT&T. It was a deal with a commission potential worth more than one million dollars. At the last minute, the AT&T CEO was delayed. He requested that Greg make his proposal the following day. Greg politely explained that was not possible. 'Tomorrow,' he said, 'is my daughter's fifth birthday. I promised her I'd be at her party.'
"For Greg Simmons, his daughter's birthday party was more important than a million dollar deal. I wonder how many big-time CEOs have played second fiddle to a little girl's birthday party. I also wonder if Greg had any idea he would die in a mountain fall a few months later.
"Priorities! At the time, some people said Greg's priorities were all out of whack. But when you stop and think about it, none of us knows when we might attend the last birthday party for someone whose love we value beyond price. I was Greg's pastor. He was my best friend. His example of well-placed priorities taught me a lesson I hope I never forget!" (R. Leslie Holmes)
by G.K. Chesterton
Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning,
When the world cracked because of a sneer in heaven,
Down through the universe the vast night falling
When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
The U.K Chapter of St. Ephrem Universal Syrian Orthodox Medical
Mission, a Charitable Social
Ministry of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, was formally inaugurated in Bristol during the third Family
Conference of the U. K. region.
Holy Bull of the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East to this
effect was read out by Dr. Coorilos Geevarghese, former Patriarchal
Vicar of U.K.
Mor Aphrem Mathews, Patriarchal Vicar of U. K. and the Vice president of SEUSOMM, U.K. chapter presided over the function and Mor Osthathios Isaac, Patriarchal Vicar of Kuwait and Metropolitan of Delhi and Mylapore dioceses delivered blessing speech.
The message of Greetings from His Eminence Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan was also read out. Fr. Babu Peringol, the Secretary General of SEUSOMM welcomed the gathering and introduced the work of the Mission.
Fr. Raju Cheruvillil, Fr. Geevarghese Thandayathu, Fr. Thomas puthiyamadathil, Fr. Peter Kuriakose, Fr. Sibi Adimaly, Fr. Gibi Ichikottil, and Fr. Prince Mannathoor brought felicitations. About 700 people attended the inaugural function.
Read all the messages, Patriarchal bulls and other information about SEUSOMM in Malankara World SEUSOMM Infocenter.
by Jean Carper
UCLA on Alzheimer's Disease - young or old should Read. Food for Thought
"The idea that Alzheimer's is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the greatest misconception about the disease," says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Center on Aging. Researchers now know that Alzheimer's, like heart disease and cancer, develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, nutrition, sleep and mental, physical and social activity.
The big news: Mountains of research reveals that simple things you do every day might cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer's. In search of scientific ways to delay and outlive Alzheimer's and other dementias, I tracked down thousands of studies and interviewed dozens of experts. The results are in a new book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss Here are 10 strategies I found most surprising.
1. Have coffee.
In an amazing flip-flop, coffee is the new brain tonic. A large European study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife cut Alzheimer's risk 65% in late life. University of South Florida researcher Gary Arendash credits caffeine: He says it reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee's antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn't.
Oddly, the health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research found that having periodontal disease before age 35 quadrupled the odds of dementia years later. Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show. Experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.
Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA's Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it. The biggest surprise: Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of Web surfing for an hour a day.
4. Grow new brain cells.
Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it's believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency.
5. Drink apple juice.
Apple juice can push production of the "memory chemical" acetylcholine; that's the way the popular Alzheimer's drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts. He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.
6. Protect your head.
Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Alzheimer's is four times more common in elderly who suffer a head injury, Columbia University finds. Accidental falls doubled an older person's odds of dementia five years later in another study. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don't take risks.
Brain scans show that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage - a classic sign of Alzheimer's - as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.
8. Take Vitamin D.
A "severe deficiency" of vitamin D boosts older Americans' risk of cognitive impairment 394%, an alarming study by England's University of Exeter finds. And most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommend a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.
9. Fill your brain.
It's called "cognitive reserve." A rich accumulation of life experiences - education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities - makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer's pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.
10 Avoid infection.
Astonishing new evidence ties Alzheimer's to cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia and the flu. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in England estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer's cases. The theory: Infections trigger excessive beta amyloid "gunk" that kills brain cells. Proof is still lacking, but why not avoid common infections and take appropriate vaccines, antibiotics and antiviral agents?
What to Drink for Good Memory
A great way to keep your aging memory sharp and avoid Alzheimer's is to drink the right stuff.
a. Tops: Juice
A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer's odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Especially protective: blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies.
Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer's Association. Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.
c. Caffeine beverages
Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer's, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources: coffee (one Alzheimer's researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate. Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.
d. Red wine
If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It's high in antioxidants. Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer's.
e. Two to avoid
Sugary soft drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer's. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.
5 Ways to Save Your Kids from Alzheimer's Now
Alzheimer's isn't just a disease that starts in old age. What happens to your child's brain seems to have a dramatic impact on his or her likelihood of Alzheimer's many decades later. Here are five things you can do now to help save your child from Alzheimer's and memory loss later in life, according to the latest research.
1. Prevent head blows
Insist your child wear a helmet during biking, skating, skiing, baseball, football, hockey, and all contact sports. A major blow as well as tiny repetitive unnoticed concussions can cause damage, leading to memory loss and Alzheimer's years later.
2 Encourage language skills
A teenage girl who is a superior writer is eight times more likely to escape Alzheimer's in late life than a teen with poor linguistic skills. Teaching young children to be fluent in two or more languages makes them less vulnerable to Alzheimer's.
3. Insist your child go to college
Education is a powerful Alzheimer's deterrent . The more years of formal schooling, the lower the odds. Most Alzheimer's prone: teenage drop outs. For each year of education, your risk of dementia drops 11%, says a recent University of Cambridge study.
4. Provide stimulation
Keep your child's brain busy with physical, mental and social activities and novel experiences. All these contribute to a bigger, better functioning brain with more so-called 'cognitive reserve.' High cognitive reserve protects against memory decline and Alzheimer's.
5. Spare the junk food
Lab animals raised on berries, spinach and high omega-3 fish have great memories in old age. Those overfed sugar, especially high fructose in soft drinks, saturated fat and trans fats become overweight and diabetic, with smaller brains and impaired memories as they age, a prelude to Alzheimer's.
Excerpted from Jean Carper's newest book: "100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's"
By Rev. David Holwick, Ledgewood, New Jersey
Scripture: Proverbs 18:21; 21:9; 25:11; Ephesians 4:29
Not long ago there was a television miniseries about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Since they lived in the White House for twelve years I wouldn’t call them a typical American family but they still had some things in common with the rest of us.
The scene I remember has the two of them sitting at the breakfast table. Franklin had a cup of coffee in one hand while the other held the morning paper which he was carefully reading. Eleanor proceeded to chat with him – “Franklin, did you know the Smiths have built a new home in Arlington?” Without moving a twitch he responded – “Uh huh.” [No] “Well, isn’t that marvelous? Now they’ll be so much closer.” “Uh huh.” [Yes] “Some other news I heard is that Sarah Jones is marrying a British diplomat.” “Oh really.”
At this point Mrs. Roosevelt was obviously perturbed, because President Roosevelt was obviously oblivious. So she added one more bit of news. “Aunt Gertrude is very upset. She lost her head two days ago and hasn’t been able to find it.” “Uh huh.” [Yes] “Franklin! Put down that newspaper this instant! You haven’t listened to a word I’ve said!” Franklin calmly put down the paper and responded, “On the contrary, Babs. The Smiths have moved to Arlington, Sarah Jones is now the wife of a British diplomat and Aunt Gertrude misplaced her head two days ago. What a pity, but knowing her it’s not much of an inconvenience. A refill for my coffee, please.”
Wives, does that sound like your husband, except for the final comment?
Husbands, don’t you wish you could come back like that?
Right up there with money and in-laws, communication is a major problem in many marriages. Everyone talks but no one listens. Everyone talks but it is at the top of their lungs. Or even worse, no one talks.
Human beings spend billions of dollars every year on satellites, microwave relays, computers and telephones so we can communicate better. It’s ironic that the most important communication doesn’t require any expensive technology. This is communication within a home and all this requires is consideration and time.
According to the Bible, the family is the most important human institution. If the lines of communication are kept open, each person will be able to grow emotionally in that close atmosphere of love. If they are not kept open, you can be more miserable than you ever thought possible.
The Bible describes at least three ways communication can break down. The first is by nagging. Proverbs 21:9 says: "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife."
Go to verse 19: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”
Proverbs 27:15 is also good: “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day.”
You may have noticed that the Bible always portrays a nag as being a woman. I won’t go into anymore detail on that. But according to a national survey conducted by a well-known magazine, the thing that irritates most men more than anything else is the wife’s nagging.
People who nag usually do so because nothing else seems to work. But if you have to repeat everything a half-dozen times, your spouse and kids are either; #1 not paying attention, or #2 don’t believe you mean anything the first time you speak.
Another way communication can break down is because of angry quarrels. Every family fights now and then. Some families fight all the time, as if it’s the only way they can relate to each other. Proverbs 17:14 says in the NIV: “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
Some people have the idea that in an argument at least true feelings will come out. You’ll know what they really think. Maybe. But usually the heated atmosphere exaggerates our true feelings instead of making them clear. Besides all this, the Bible explicitly tells us to avoid anger.
A third breakdown is the opposite of a loud fight – the silent treatment. Celeste is a sucker for the silent treatment. Deliberately ignore her for fifteen minutes and she goes into hysterics. The silent treatment is a very immature way to get back at someone. If you are to frustrated or angry to speak, tell them so but don’t use it as a weapon because Christians must be aboveboard in their dealings with others.
These are ways to destroy communication. The Bible also talks about ways to strengthen it and make it work. Effective communication doesn’t just happen – you have to work at it.
One of the most important elements in communicating is to learn to listen. Proverbs 18:13 tells us: “He who answers before listening -- that is his folly and his shame”
James 1:19 is especially appropriate: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
There are two ways to listen. The first is very popular – the words go in one ear and out the other. My mother trained me in this art. I am not al all like Franklin Roosevelt – if I am reading something, I can’t recall a word someone says to me. Once I was leaving home on a long trip. My mother was chattering away about my preparations when she noticed I wasn’t giving my undivided attention. I decided I would really make an effort to listen. Two hours later I knew the route I was supposed to take, each sight I was supposed to see, the restaurants to stop at and what to order, and the special place to put my dirty socks in my suitcase. Mom didn’t want to plan my trip – she wanted to plan my life. And yet she really appreciated it when I made an effort to listen to her.
Genuine listening is not an easy thing to do. It is not passive, either. A listener asks questions so they can clarify what the other person is saying, without throwing their own opinions in. Many people will share deeply held feelings with others who are prepared to listen carefully. This will reveal what the real issues are, instead of what you may think they are.
The reason many parents don’t understand their children is because they have never learned to listen to them. It’s not enough to demand – “Hey kid – what’s your problem?” Young people tend to drop subtle hints about their problems. If you are perceptive then they will open up to you.
Listening has one more advantage – it makes you look good. Proverbs 17:28 says: “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”
Another way to enhance communication is to follow Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
A successful conversation isn’t where you win. It’s where you both win. Taking a positive attitude toward the other person and wanting the best for them are duties of every Christian.
Finally, always seek to understand the other person and everything they are saying, even if you are involved in an argument. Proverbs 20:5 says – “The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.”
The goal of communication is to discover what the other person is all about. Author John Powell has identified five levels of communication:
The five levels have a spiritual dimension as well....
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