Friday, September 24, 2021

How to Use The Sandwich Approach

 



BySarah Geringer 


Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Colossians 4:6 ESV



Have you heard of the sandwich approach? It's a way to deliver constructive criticism with greater effectiveness.

This week I taught my 13-year-old daughter about this approach. As teens tend to do, she let some words fly out of her mouth without thinking. They were honest, but they weren't very sweet. Though I needed to hear them, I wished her delivery was different.

Later, I taught her about this sandwich approach. I said her honest words would have been easier for me to hear if they had first been wrapped in affirmation and lovingkindness, then finished with more of that good stuff. I didn't resent her honesty, but I longed for a more gracious approach.

In a real sandwich, the best stuff is on the inside. When we need to confront someone, we still can put the best stuff inside - the constructive criticism that builds up instead of tearing down. It can be received as the good stuff ONLY if we first wrap it in lovingkindness and finish it with grace.

When you use the sandwich approach, you can mix grace with savory salt. It's like offering a sweet-salty combination to your loved one, like a barbecue sandwich - YUM! Most people appreciate this combination, because it's not too sweet or too salty. It's all in the delivery.

One of the best gifts you can give someone is truth spoken in love. Just make sure you wrap the meaty truth inside the bread of love, so it's more palatable to your loved one.

Here's a prayer to encourage you too:

Father God,

Thank you for the gifts of truth and love.

I confess that I often don't speak the truth in love as you instruct.

Sometimes I shrink back from offering constructive criticism.

Other times I deliver the truth without much love.

I need your help and guidance, Lord.

Teach me to use the sandwich approach for greater effectiveness.

May my speech be seasoned with salt and grace for your glory.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.


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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Power of the Word

 By: Rebekah Hargraves


Photo Courtesy Of: Andrik Langfield




“For just as rain and snow fall from heaven

and do not return there

without saturating the earth

and making it germinate and sprout,

and providing seed to sow

and food to eat,

so my word that comes from my mouth

will not return to me empty,

but it will accomplish what I please

and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

~Isaiah 55:10-11




We all know how it feels- that sense of despair and frustration that washes over us when our quiet time is interrupted yet again. Our dream of music playing, birds singing, silence otherwise abounding, and coffee warming us while we read the Word is dashed again when it is interfered with by a child, a phone call, or a need. 


But may I offer a word of encouragement to you today, friend?


We don't have to feel this way! In fact, we have no reason at all to feel this way if we understand where the power of time in the Word comes from!


The problem is that, all along, we have been viewing the power of our Bible study time as being found in the "perfect" atmosphere - as if the birds singing, music playing, and uninterrupted nature of our quiet time is where the power of God's Word is to be found. 


But it isn't!


That beautiful and encouraging passage above shows us that the power of our time in the Word comes from the Word itself - not from the atmosphere surrounding it. 


Which means, then, that you can get just as much out of your time in the Word if children are making noise, the coffee is cold, and there is no music playing as you do when your quiet time is truly quiet.


So, take heart, my friend! Rest in the knowledge that, as Hebrews 4:12 tells us, the Word is alive, active, and powerful and, as Isaiah writes, will not return void. 


What's important is that you are simply in the Word - not what the extenuating circumstances look like when you're in the Word!




Monday, September 20, 2021

At All Times & For All

By: Joanne Viola 


 

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
(Ephesians 6:18, NASB)

When we pray time and time again regarding the same need, our faith becomes sorely tried. So let’s talk about this problem.

Let’s first look at what we know to be absolute truth about prayer:

  1. God hears our prayers.
  2. We can pray any times, in any place, and for any and all of our needs.
  3. God cares about everything that concerns us.

In his book, The Path of Prayer, Samuel Chadwick mentions three important men in Scripture who prayed and whose request was refused. It would be good for us to look at these three men, and their prayer requests, to see what we can glean from their experience.

Moses. The man God chose to lead His people out of Egypt, and from slavery, into the land He had promised to them. Forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Forty years of dealing with a stubborn and complaining people. Yet he was refused his request to go over into Canaan.

“So is many heart set with a yearning that prays and aches for a work that is withheld.”

(from A Path of Prayer by Samuel Chadwick, page 88)

Elijah a mighty man of prayer. Sitting under a juniper tree, feeling depressed and in mental anguish, he prayed for the Lord to just take him home.

“Juniper trees make poor sanctuaries.”

(from A Path of Prayer by Samuel Chadwick, page 89)

Paul, an apostle, had an unidentified thorn in the flesh which he prayed three times for God to remove and was refused.

“He had to learn that affliction may be God’s messenger, as well as the messenger of Satan.”

(from A Path of Prayer by Samuel Chadwick, page 89)

What are the lessons we are to learn about prayers which are seemingly unanswered?

  • Delays do not always mean a denial.
  • Sometimes we just need to wait for God’s time.
  • A refusal may mean God knows a better way, or has something better in store.
  • Sometimes we may be called to endure and glory in adversity.

“In Glory shall we find out prayers have been interpreted according to the infinite wisdom and eternal love of God our Father who bids us pray.”

(from A Path of Prayer by Samuel Chadwick, page 90)

Pray at all times,
and petition for all the saints.

 

Photo taken by: David Tommasino


 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Hope When You're Waiting

 



BySarah Geringer 


Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!

Psalm 31:24 ESV



What are you waiting for? All of us are waiting for something. It can be difficult to wait, especially when you feel afraid, or if you’ve been waiting for a long time.

As I look back on times of waiting, I can see when I lost hope. It's usually when I gave up praying - not because I thought God wouldn't answer, but when I thought the situation couldn't change. But I wish I would have kept on praying. The prayers themselves tethered me to hope and made me stronger in my faith.


When we choose to hope in the Lord while we wait, we can feel more secure. Hope helps us keep our eyes fixed on God rather than our fears. It strengthens us to wait for a few more hours, days, weeks, months or even years, knowing the Lord is at our side.

Relying on God’s strength rather than your own can help you wait with courage. To gain more courage while you wait today, reflect on a time when you waited with hope in the Lord and how that helped you before. 

May your heart find new hope each moment you are waiting, and may your trust grow in God’s faithfulness.

Here's a prayer to encourage you too:

Father God,

You know what I'm waiting for today.

You know how hard it is for me to keep waiting.

I confess that sometimes I let go of hope in my wait. 

But I want to be strong in your strength, Lord.

Give me courage to keep waiting and keep choosing hope.

Show me glimpses of hope even in my wait today.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.


My new book is now available for preorder. Please head HERE to get your preorder bonuses!


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Have a blessed weekend!


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NOTE: I am an Amazon Influencer, and if you purchase items on Amazon from any of the links I've shared above, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you in advance for supporting my writing ministry with your purchases!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Praying for Healing

 By: Joanne Viola


Praying for healing will always be challenging. It demands our trust – no matter the outcome.

Without a doubt, there is healing which can be received through prayer.

The problem occurs that not every prayer results in healing. The decision lies in the hands, wisdom, and purposes of our sovereign God.

There are times we pray and God responds with a quick and miraculous healing. Other times, He permits us to go through the guidance of the medical profession, directing through doctors and medicine. It may be a journey which takes time and results in health.

And other times, the answer is not on this side of eternity.
But it is an answer, none the less.

When praying for healing, or other answers from God, I often think of the three Hebrew boys whose faith was tested in the fires of a furnace.

When facing the decision to bow down before the golden image and worship, they refused to do so even though they knew they faced death. Their response was:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NASB)

They knew without a shadow of doubt that God is able to deliver, but chose to be faithful to Him even if He should not.

Scripture tells us:

If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”
(Matthew 17:20, NASB)

There are times that little seed of faith is all we have and we hold onto that small measure of faith. Should the mountain remain, we can still choose to hold onto the little faith we have and trust Him to bring us through.

We trust Him.

We believe Him.

We hold onto Him.

For He has been faithful.

He alone is our hope.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
(Psalm 27:13-14, NASB)

“The teaching of the Bible is for me the last word. I accept it whether I can understand or not … When evolution and revelation seem to be at variance, faith banks with revelation.”

(from The Path of Prayer, Samuel Chadwick, page 81)

 

Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash