Sabtu, 30 Mei 2015

The 10 Commandments of Clean Communication

The 10 Commandments of Clean Communication

Loving relationships are the most important factor in a man’s happiness, success, and ability to live a fully flourishing life.
And one of the most important factors in creating and sustaining these warm, intimate relationships is communication.
Unfortunately, how to communicate with one’s significant other in a healthy, positive way is something rarely taught to either men or women. As a result, many couples find that their discussions regularly turn into heated, unproductive arguments that ultimately damage their relationship. Angry fighting leads to distance and weakens intimacy. Yelling, sarcasm, insults, and name-calling undermine trust. This kind of pejorative communication creates defensiveness and alienation, which makes it nearly impossible for a couple to address their issues together. What starts as a conversation escalates into a fight in which the original issue gets forgotten, you lose track of what you’re even yelling about, and nothing gets resolved.
In contrast, couples who know how to discuss their disagreements in a healthy way are able to nip problems in the bud before they turn into big, relationship-ending issues. The key to this kind of positive interaction is what the authors of Couple Skills call “clean communication.” Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, and Kim Paleg (hereafter referred to as MFP) define clean communication as “taking responsibility for the impact of what you say.” By being more intentional about their communication techniques and leaving out rhetoric that wounds one’s partner and creates defensiveness, a couple creates a safe place in which to honestly and respectfully work through their differences.
What are the principles of clean communication? MFP lay out 10 “commandments” to follow when you’re talking with your significant other. While the focus of this post is communication in a romantic relationship, much of this also applies to personal interactions in all areas of your life.

The 10 Commandments of Clean Communication

1. Avoid judgment words and loaded terms.

  • “You’re acting so childish right now.”
  • “Oh boo-hoo. I’m tired of your perpetual ‘poor me’ attitude.”
  • “Maybe if you were more of a man, you’d be able to handle this.”
  • “You’d probably feel better if you got off your fat, lazy ass and finally did something about it.”
When you’re having a heated argument with your significant other, it can be very tempting to level a real zinger at them – to use words and putdowns you know will wound them and push their buttons. Such zingers aim to point our their flaws and tear down their worth. They accomplish this mission – but at the expense of trust and intimacy.

2. Avoid “global” labels.

There are two ways to criticize someone – you can critique their character or their behavior. In criticizing behavior, you’re calling out something specific and temporary – something the person can realistically change. But in assailing someone’s very identity, you’re issuing a global label – a blanket condemnation of who they are at the core; they don’t just do bad stuff, they are a bad person.
Global labels can feel highly satisfying to hurl at someone when you’re angry and can seem completely justifiable at the time. In writing the person off as incorrigible, you also essentially absolve yourself of any responsibility for your issues as a couple: “We wouldn’t have this problem if you weren’t so selfish.”
But blanket condemnations of your partner’s character are anathema to a loving relationship. They will make her feel hurt and defensive, greatly hindering any chance of communication. Global labels also make your partner feel helpless – if the problem is rooted in their very identity/personality, changing will seem impossible to them. They’re liable to answer: “I’m sorry, but this is the way I am!” Thus, in using global labels you wash your hands of any responsibility for the problem, while at the same time, your partner will feel unable and unwilling to do anything about it either…not a recipe for effective conflict resolution!
Here are some examples of global labels, and how they could be better rendered as specific critiques of behavior instead of character:
  • You’re so self-centered and only care about yourself.” → “In forgetting my birthday, I felt like you didn’t think about my feelings.”
  • You’re such a bitch.”→ “Questioning my masculinity is a low-blow. I’d like to try to talk to you without the name-calling.”
  • You’re always so helpless.” → “I know you’re having trouble figuring out how to download that app, but right now I need to finish this paper. If you still can’t get it, I promise to help you tonight.”

3. Avoid “you” messages of blame and accusation.

As MFP put it, “the essence of a ‘you’ message is simply this: ‘I’m in pain and you did it to me.’ And there’s usually this subtext: ‘You were bad and wrong for doing it to me.’” When people slight us, it may be true that they are entirely, or almost entirely, to blame. But when you lead with that blame, the instigator will instantly erect walls of defensiveness that will make working through the issue together impossible. This doesn’t mean you have to pretend your significant other is not at fault when they are, it just means you use language that says the same thing in a different way – couching your message so that it actually has a chance to surmount their psychological walls and reach their brain.
To do this, you want to swap out your you-centered accusations for statements that emphasize “I” – how you feel when your partner does certain things. Here are some examples:
  • You always leave the house such a mess.” → “When the house is so cluttered I end up feeling stressed out.”
  • Your moodiness is ruining our relationship.” → “When I can’t predict your moods, I’m not sure how to approach you, and I feel like that’s eroding the intimacy in our relationship.”
  • You’re always late and it’s driving me crazy.” → “I feel embarrassed when we arrive late to events.”

 4. Avoid old history.

  • “You’re just being ungrateful like always. Remember when I spent all weekend cleaning the house before your folks arrived and you never even said thank you?”
  • “You don’t trust me? At least I’m not the one who cheated last year.”
  • “It’s always the same damned thing with you. You’re sorry about spending too much on the couch, just like you were sorry for going over budget on the kitchen remodel, and sorry for spending so much on the dress for our wedding…”
When you’re addressing a certain problem, stick with the issue at hand instead of slinging mud, or engaging in what my friend calls “closet-fighting” — i.e., reaching back into the closet of your past for old grievances to buttress your current accusations. When we closet-fight, MFP write, “The message is: ‘You’re bad, you’re bad, you’re bad. You’ve always had this flaw, and it’s not getting any better.'” While talking about your history together may be useful when you’re both calm, MFP recommend sticking to the present when things are heated, as “anger turns references to the past into a club rather than a source of enlightenment.”
Resurrecting old beefs will ratchet up the intensity of your discussion, and will invariably send it off in a different direction and away from resolving the original issue. Plus, your partner will likely be hurt that you’re still holding onto something she thought you’d forgiven her for, and you both will feel like your relationship isn’t progressing. It’s hard to move forward if you keep rehashing the past; instead, let sleeping dogs lie.

5. Avoid negative comparisons.

  • “You’re so irrational, just like your mom.”
  • “None of my exes were ever as clingy as you are.”
  • “Why can’t you be more fun like Derek’s girlfriend is?”
Being compared negatively to someone else sure can sting. We oftentimes want to think we’ve evolved past the flaws of our parents, so to hear “you’re just like your dad” feels like a punch to the gut. So too, our identities are very much based on comparing ourselves to our peers, and to have the person we love say we don’t stack up to them cuts at our sense of worth. Making negative comparisons also tells your partner that you’ve been thinking about someone else, and how that other person measures up to her, which can provoke hurt feelings and jealously.

6. Avoid threats.

  • “If you’re going to act like that, then I’m not going with you to your parents’ house this weekend.”
  • “If you can’t get your act together, then maybe we should get a divorce.”
  • “If you don’t want to be more adventurous in bed, I can find plenty of other women who are willing to be.”
MFP write that “the basic message of a threat is: you’re bad and I’m going to punish you.” It’s a way of trying to compel desired behavior, but since it shuts down the whole discussion, even if it works in the short term, the underlying issue will remain unresolved. If your partner complies, she’ll only be doing it to avoid the consequences of your threat, and if she doesn’t, the argument is going to escalate and/or keep reoccurring.
There is a place for quasi-ultimatums in a relationship, but they come after you’ve completely exhausted every attempt to communicate and compromise about the problem in a positive way. Too often people resort to a threat as an easy way to resolve things, and will even drop the D word to scare their spouse into compliance.
An “or else” statement shouldn’t be thrown around, and it shouldn’t be punitive. That is, if your partner is unwilling to meet your needs, create a plan to meet those needs yourself, but don’t do so in a way that’s specifically designed to punish your partner. So for example, if you want to spend more time with friends, but your significant other won’t budge on giving her blessing, you might say, “I’m going to start spending every Saturday morning with them,” and then follow through on that action. A punitive ultimatum, on the other hand, would be something like deciding to skip out on a concert you agreed to attend with her, in order to do something with your buddies.
Your partner may come to accept the implementation of your ultimatum or it may drive a wedge in your relationship. If the latter, it may spell the end; clean communication offers the best possible chance of relationship success, but doesn’t guarantee it if you just aren’t right for each other.

7. Describe your feelings rather than attack with them.

Your demeanor can truly be wielded like a weapon. When we raise our voice, withdraw into cold hostility, adopt a sneering tone, or employ biting sarcasm, we can wound those we love. Especially when it comes to communicating with women, you would be surprised how a cutting tone of voice can make them feel almost physically hurt. Instead, do your best to keep your voice level and calm.
As you discuss what’s bothering you, describe your emotions as specifically as possible. “In so doing,” MFP write, “your partner can hear what you’re feeling without being overwhelmed or bludgeoned by it.” Here are some examples:
  • “I feel disrespected when you make jokes at my expense when we’re out with your friends.”
  • “I feel jealous when I see you texting your ex.”
  • “I feel hurt when you ignore me when I come home from work.”

8. Keep body language open and receptive.

Even more than what we say, our body language conveys how we’re actually feeling. You may tell your significant other that you’re not angry and are willing to talk things through, but if your posture and facial expressions say otherwise, they will assuredly pick up on it. They’ll also likely match your defensive stance, and the discussion will get off to a rocky start.
To keep things amicable, adopt an open, rather than closed posture. Folding your arms, tensing your jaw, squinting, looking disgusted, balling up your fists, fidgeting in an irritated way, and rolling your eyes are all behaviors that make you seem closed off, hostile, and unwilling to communicate. Create sincere, inviting body language by relaxing your face, making warm eye contact, leaning forward, keeping your arms uncrossed, and nodding to show you’re listening.

9. Use whole messages.

Oftentimes, you may think you’re getting your message across to your significant other, but the result is a big miscommunication. They hear something much different than you intended. What we say makes total sense to us, because we have the entire context of it in our heads. But what actually comes out of our mouths may only be a slice of that bigger picture – a partial fragment that is then misconstrued by our partner.
To avoid this, strive to deliver “whole messages” when speaking with your significant other. Whole messages consist of 4 parts:
  • Observations: “Observations are statements of fact that are neutral, without judgments or inferences,” write MFP. “The house is a mess,” vs. “I’ve noticed you’re a slob.”
  • Thoughts: MFP describe this component as “your beliefs, opinions, theories, and interpretations of a situation. Thoughts are not conveyed as absolute truth but as your personal hypothesis or understanding of a situation. ‘My idea was…I wondered if…I suspected that…I worried that…The way I saw it was…’”
  • Feelings: Describe your feelings in a specific way that doesn’t blame your partner. “I’m concerned about our budget,” vs. “Your spending is out of control and really stressing me out.”
  • Needs/Wants: Too often we expect our partner to be mind readers, but as MFP note, “No one can know what you want unless you tell them.” For an in-depth guide to expressing your needs in a relationship, check out this post.
Here’s an example of a whole message:
“We haven’t been spending as much time together [Observation]. It seems like you’ve been busier, and I don’t know if that’s just because your classes are hard this semester or you just haven’t been as interested in hanging out [Thoughts]. I’ve been feeling distant from you and confused about the status of our relationship [Feelings]. I’d like for us to be more committed as a couple and to know what you think about the future of our relationship [Needs].”

10. Use clear messages.

Just as a partial message can be misconstrued, so too can a “contaminated” message. This occurs when you mix some of the 4 elements together or “mislabel” them in order to disguise your real intent. Your partner might say, “Hmmm, that’s an interesting way to do it,” when they really mean, “You’re doing it wrong.” Or for example, you might say to your wife, “And here you are finally, late as usual.” You’re pretending to make a straightforward observation, but you’re really mixing in your judgments, thoughts, and feelings. It would be better to say, “I’ve been waiting here for 20 minutes. It seems like you struggle to be on time. When I’m left waiting I end up feeling frustrated and disrespected. Do you think you could make more of an effort to be on time?”
MFP note that one “effective way to contaminate your message is to disguise it as a question”:
  • “Why didn’t you take out the trash last night?”
  • “Is there a reason all the dishes have been left in the sink?”
  • “Why don’t you take our finances more seriously?
  • “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
The questioner adopts the posture of soliciting information from their partner, but they already know the answer and their feelings about it; they’re really just making an accusation and showing their disapproval for their partner’s choice. To be honest, it seems like women do this more than men (sorry ladies), perhaps because they’re often less comfortable being assertive.
Muddy messages create distance and contention in a relationship. Your partner either will not be sure what you’re driving at, or will take umbrage at your not simply saying what you mean. Give it to ‘em straight, and give it to ‘em cleanly.
Couple Skills by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, and Kim Paleg. I read through a bunch of relationship advice books recently looking for some good bits that might be helpful to pass along to readers. This was definitely the best in the bunch. It’s written by men (one of which runs a men’s support group) and includes lots of concrete, useful, practical tips.

Blended Families: Planning Extracurricular Activities for the Kids

Blended Families: Planning Extracurricular Activities for the Kids

Mother with daughter and son is holding a soccer ball.
Michael and Sara had been married for just over a year when they realized that something needed to change. Sara’s three children from a previous marriage combined with Michael’s two resulted in five-child, hectic schedules of ballet, karate, tutoring, baseball, teacher conferences, church, homework, court-ordered time with noncustodial parents and the occasional detention. Sara and Michael needed to find a solution that would work with their schedules, but legally, they couldn't do it on their own. They had to include Sara’s ex-husband and Michael’s ex-wife and her husband, which made the situation even more complicated.
Though Michael was hesitant to set up a meeting with all the biological and stepparents, not wanting it to turn into a yelling match, they were desperate. So they set the meeting at a local fast-food restaurant where the kids could take advantage of the play area while the adults talked. As they planned, being in a public place helped reduce everyone's tendency to become upset.
The parents started their meeting by setting rules. They agreed to place the interests of the children first, not raise their voices, listen and not interrupt, be flexible and try to offer each other grace (as Sara needed to do when her ex-husband was late to the meeting). They also agreed to give each other the space for self-imposed three- to five-minute “time outs” if the conversation grew heated. Setting the rules in advance helped Sara feel heard, even when she didn't get her way.
The group chose to only discuss their children's activities at that meeting. Nothing more. Still, the discussion quickly moved into a heated debate: What one parent thought was important was different from what another parent felt was essential. For example, Sara’s ex-husband thought sports were the most important activity in the children’s lives, whereas Sara thought academics should be the main focus.
Michael suggested they start with the activities that were mandatory, such as school meetings and doctors’ appointments. Once those items were put in the schedule, the group called each child over and asked for his or her input. The kids were allowed to choose one extracurricular activity each — a sport, club or lesson. Those activities were added to the schedule.
Then each set of parents considered their finances. They decided what they could afford and how much they would be able to or were willing to contribute. Sara and her ex-husband had their budgetary guidelines outlined in their court papers. Michael and his ex-wife had to decide how they would divide the activity fees. His ex-wife wanted to pay for one child while Michael paid for the other, but after going back and forth, they decided to divide the costs evenly since their older son's activities would be much more expensive.
From there, the parents focused on the mechanics of the schedule, where each needed to be and at what time. Previously Sara had felt like a taxi service because the bulk of the kids' transportation needs had fallen on her. The schedule was passed around, and each parent chose the times he or she would be available to transport children.
For the times when everyone was unavailable, the group had to come up with a plan. One family chose to change their schedule, while another volunteered a trusted friend who could help out. Sara still had more transportation duties than the others, but she felt relieved that she didn't have to do all of it herself. Some help was better than no help.
In the past, Sara's ex-husband had made promises to her children and then hadn't followed through and even sometimes hadn't shown up. Sara didn’t want to cause a fight, but she also didn’t want her children to be left somewhere, waiting for a father who wasn't coming. Her ex said that he wanted to be involved, so the group came up with a list of trusted people that he, they or the children could call in case of an emergency.
To keep the plan on track, all the biological and stepparents began using an electronic calendar app so they could share the children’s schedule. Through the use of the app, each adult knew which kids needed to be where and at what time. The app included notes so parents could jot down the children's chores, note if a child was on restriction, and even tell what they had for lunch.
During the meeting, each set of parents entered their pick-up and drop-off schedule on the calendar. Even when transportation was not their responsibility, they could look at the calendar and know who was supposed to transport the children that day. It also allowed everyone to stay connected when there was a last-minute change. Each adult was responsible for checking the calendar for these details. The parents decided that as the children grew older and used cellphones, they would be given access to the calendar.
The initial meeting hadn't been easy for any of the adults. They had talked, argued and debated about the activities and schedules, and everyone had to compromise. Still, Michael, Sara and their ex-spouses chose to meet again in a month to review their plan and make adjustments. Eventually, they chose to continue meeting monthly to discuss new activities — before their kids signed up for them — so they could plan their time and transportation obligations.
Michael and Sara acknowledge that there are still bumps in the road regarding their children's activities, but they know they are headed in the right direction.
Copyright © 2015 by Focus on the Family. First published on

Can You Be Totally Honest With Your Wife?

Can You Be Totally Honest With Your Wife?

by Phil Callaway

When I agreed to write a book documenting my attempt to live without a lie for an entire year, my wife just grinned and asked, "How's the soup?"
"Very good," I lied.
"No, it isn't," she said. "You've hardly touched it." Then she had the nerve to ask, "You wanna go to Mom's for dinner tomorrow night?"
I paused and said, "Nope."
It would be a long year. Did I manage to make it without a lie? Not even close. But here are some lessons I learned that made it one of the most enlightening years of my life:
Consider your response. James 1:19 instructs us to be "slow to speak." Pausing to think before talking gives you a chance to choose words carefully or choose not to speak at all. But sometimes, a delayed response is dangerous. For example, when our wives subject us to the world's most unfair question: "Do the horizontal stripes on this outfit make me look . . . um . . . fat?"
Gentle diversionary tactics prepared in advance are a lifesaver. This response can work wonders: "You look fantastic, babe! Let's go out for cheesecake."
Keep it positive. Early in our marriage, I gave little thought to the effect my words might have. Out for a walk, we spotted some cows. Remembering an old joke, I asked, "Relatives of yours?"
"Yup," she replied. "In-laws."
With time, we learned that words can make or break a marriage. I now employ roughly 73 positive comments for every mild critique. And when a concern or need to confront arises, I use the acrostic THINK. Is it true? Is it helpful? Will it inspire her? Is it necessary? Am I kind about it?
Be the real deal. In a Hong Kong market, a vendor tried to sell us a "copy watch" by yelling, "I have fake, fake fake and genuine fake." My wife is most receptive to criticism when I'm genuine, humble and gracious — not any kind of fake. And if I withhold the truth, it's not because I'm doing something underhanded.
On the afternoon that my year of living honestly ended, my wife said something startling: "I like the more honest you." Perhaps she meant that I'm a little further down the road of walking with integrity. I've learned that truth without love is cruel; love without truth is cowardly.

Humorist Phil Callaway is the author of To Be Perfectly Honest.

This article appeared in the August/September 2013 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2013 by Phil Callaway. Used by permission.

The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men

Hasil gambar untuk boring men

The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men

My wife and her girlfriends have been swearing by Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand GIfts, for awhile now. I recently followed a link to one of her blog posts called The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men — and the Women who Live with Them: Redefining Boring. 
Though I’ve always thought of Voskamp’s blog and her book as being written for women I really enjoyed her post. In it, she writes in the form of a letter to her sons. Voskamp provides some serious challenges and encouragement for men who want to romance their wives in a Christlike way. Her main premise: the world pushes us to pursue flashy, shallow demonstrations of romance but our call as Christian men is to romance our wives day in and out–through the boring and the ecstatic.
Here’s a quote from her post but you should read the whole thing, it’s really good:
Sure, go ahead, have fun, make a ridiculously good memory and we’ll cheer loud: propose creatively — but never forget that what wows a woman and woos her is you how you purpose to live your life.
I’m praying, boys — be Men. Be one of the ‘boring” men – and let your heart be bore into. And know there are women who love that kind of man.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t flashy – because love is gritty.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t about cameras — because it’s about Christ.
The kind of man whose romance doesn’t have to go viral — because it’s going eternal.
  1. Bearded Gospel Men I love the Tumblr blog, Bearded Gospel Men, because he says...
  2. Discovering the Mind of a Woman: a Book Review Several years ago I stole a book from my parents...
  3. The Paradoxical Commandments I recently reviewed a book called, You’re Stronger Than You Think...

End Daily Disagreements About Money

End Daily Disagreements About Money

by Bethany Palmer with Scott Palmer

To read more on money and marriage from Bethany and Scott Palmer, read "Reasons for Financial Infidelity."
We hadn't been married long when friends asked Scott to join them rock climbing. He was all in. And, unbeknownst to me, so was our bank account. He bought new shoes, the best harness, a backpack, anchors, cams, a helmet and several kinds of high-impact rope.
When he brought it all home, I was the one who needed to be talked off the ledge. I thought, Seriously, you bought all this stuff without mentioning it to me? You don't even know if you will like it! What if you never use this stuff again? Conflict over money — it's in every marriage. Even ours. But it's not merely our money that's at stake; it's our relationship.
Gratefully, we've found a way to talk about money to make our relationship closer, stronger and more God-honoring. You, too, can strengthen your marriage by changing how you and your spouse discuss money issues.
Separate your finances from your daily money talk

A good first step is to separate your discussions about finances from those about day-to-day money matters. There's a big difference.
Finances include those big issues such as retirement, investments, insurance, taxes and your budget. Daily money matters include day-to-day decisions that involve routine spending, like what temperature to set the thermostat, dining out or eating in, premium brands or generic. It's amazing that every day poses at least one money decision.
When discussing those daily decisions, it's helpful to avoid bringing up larger financial issues. Instead, designate a time each month to talk about finances. As you do, you'll find that you and your spouse end up arguing about money less often. You both know you have set aside time to deal with issues, so you won't need to discuss them during dinner, in irritated text messages or while getting ready for bed.
Establish a positive pattern of communication

A practical way to communicate about your finances is to create something we call the "money huddle." This is a time set aside once a month to build trust, work together, assess the present and dream about the future. It's not a budget-planning session; it's a time to address the emotional side of money — the side that trips up couples most often.
To start your money huddle, set aside 45 minutes and divide the time into 15-minute sessions. You can remember the purpose of each 15-minute session with the acronym END (evaluate, needs, dream).
Evaluate. Use the first 15 minutes to evaluate your current financial situation — a general overview of where you are now. Address just two things: your debt and your savings. Those two figures give you a high-level state of the union.
Saving is difficult for most people. Do you have an emergency account? Extra money in the checking account? Retirement accounts? College funds? Talk generally about where you would like to see more savings and if you might be missing out on making memories by saving too much.
Then look at car payments, your mortgage, loans and personal debt such as credit cards. Don't get bogged down in shame and blame. That won't help anything. Instead of looking back, work on solutions to help you move forward. You can get out of debt.
It's OK if this first part of your money huddle feels a little painful or messy. It will get better. Be proud of your willingness to address the issues head-on.
Needs. Take the next 15 minutes to tell your spouse what you need regarding your money. Do you need to know a vacation is on the horizon? Would you sleep better if you canceled cable and put that money in savings? Do you need to be able to trust the other person to only spend what he or she says he or she will spend? Do you need to know you can say "no" when a relative calls again to borrow money?
When you are honest, you show your spouse you trust him or her with your future, you value his or her insight and you believe the two of you can solve any problem life throws your way.
Dream. You've done it before. You walked down the aisle with a million dreams, but life has a way of shaking the dreams right out of you. So take 15 minutes and dream together. Talk about short-term dreams and long-term dreams. No dream is too big or too small.
Do you want to go back to school eventually? Desire to go on long-term mission trips? Hope to start a nonprofit? Want to stay home with the kids? Want to travel the world?
Whatever your dreams might be, discuss them and start planning for them together. Brainstorm, pray and encourage each other to keep dreaming.
Whether they've just walked down the aisle or they've done life together for decades, couples tend to dread discussions about money. But we've found that couples who talk about money actually experience a much closer marriage. The time they invest in learning to communicate will return a great dividend by eliminating destructive lies and tabling incessant, daily conversations about money.
God will send many forms of provision in this life, but He's placed an even greater significance on your marriage relationship. So, rethink the way you talk about money, stop any dishonesty and use the money huddle to END daily disagreements about money.

Scott and Bethany Palmer, The Money Couple, are the authors of The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the same love and money language.

This article appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2015 by Bethany Palmer and Scott Palmer. Used by permission.

Elijah, Jehu, and the War Against Jezebel

The Ministries of Francis Frangipane
Elijah, Jehu, and the War
Against Jezebel

(En Español)
There is a war, a very ancient war, between the spirit of Elijah and the spirit of Jezebel. In this age-old battle, Elijah represents the interests of Heaven: the call to repentance and the return to God. Jezebel, on the other hand, represents that unique principality whose purpose is to hinder and defeat the return of the church to God.
To the Victor Goes Our Nation
To understand the conflict between the Elijah spirit and the spirit of Jezebel, we must understand these two adversaries as they are seen in the Scriptures. Each is the spiritual counterpart of the other. Is Elijah bold? Jezebel is brazen. Is Elijah ruthless toward evil? Jezebel is vicious toward righteousness. Does Elijah speak of the ways and words of God? Jezebel is full of systems of witchcraft and words of deceit. The war between Elijah and Jezebel continues today. The chief warriors on either side are the prophets of both foes; to the victor goes the soul of our nation.

In the tradition of Samuel, Elijah was the head of the school of prophets. Under him were the sons of the prophets -- literally hundreds of seers and prophetic minstrels -- who proclaimed the Word of the Lord. In this war, however, Jezebel had viciously and systematically murdered nearly all of God's servants until only Elijah remained (see 1 Kings 18:22). Elijah, as the last of the prophets, then challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the Asherah to a demonstration of power: their gods against the power of the Lord.
These 850 men were the false prophets, the satanic priests "who [ate] at Jezebel's table" (1 Kings 18:19). They were the most powerful, demonized individuals that the hosts of darkness could produce. King Ahab, Jezebel's husband, sent a message out to "all the sons of Israel" (v. 20), and the nation came to witness the war between the God of Elijah and the demons of Jezebel.
The terms of the challenge were simple: each was to place an ox upon an altar. Elijah then said, "You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God" (v. 24). Six hours later the cult priests still could produce no fire; twelve hours passed and Elijah began to mock them: "Call out [to Baal] with a loud voice . . . perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened" (v. 27). Then, just before evening, Elijah prayed over his sacrifice and "the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering" (v.38). The Scriptures continue: "When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God'" (v. 39). Immediately after this powerful witness of the Lord, Elijah had the Hebrews secure the prophets of Baal and all of them were put to death.
We would suppose that, at this point, Elijah would have gone into Jezreel and asked God to finish off Jezebel, but he did not. In fact -- and this may surprise you -- Elijah came under spiritual warfare. When Jezebel heard what had happened to her servants, in a fit of rage she released a flood of witchcraft and demonic power against Elijah that put fear into his heart, and Elijah fled.
You may ask, "How could such a mighty prophet turn and run?" The answer is not simple. In fact, the situation worsened. We then see Elijah sitting under a juniper tree, bewailing that he is no better than his fathers -- actually praying that he might die! (See 1 Kings 19:4.) What pressure overwhelmed this great man of God that he would fall prey to fear and discouragement? He succumbed to the witchcraft of Jezebel.
And now, let the reader understand: When you stand against the principality of Jezebel, even though you resist her lusts and witchcrafts, you must guard against the power-demons of fear and discouragement, for these she will send against you to distract you from your warfare and your victory!
The Drama Continues . . .
It is a mystery, yet biblically true, that under certain conditions the Holy Spirit will transfer a leader's anointing to one or more uniquely prepared people. This occurred when the Lord took the "Spirit who was upon [Moses], and placed the same upon the seventy elders" (Num. 11:24–25 NKJV). Again, we see the effect of this principle with Joshua who "was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him" (Deut. 34:9). Of course, our very salvation reaps the reward of this precept, for Christ is not just a religion, but His actual Spirit and virtue have been imparted to us.

With this concept in mind, we can better accept how the spirit of Elijah was sent to minister through the person of John the Baptist. Once before, Elijah's spirit had been placed upon another individual. You will remember that Elisha, the prophet who succeeded Elijah, received a double portion of Elijah's spirit (see 2 Kings 2:9–11). Now, again, the spirit of Elijah was ministering, activating, inspiring and creating in John the Baptist that same kind of intensity that dwelt in Elijah himself. John was to go "as a forerunner before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17).

Jesus said of the Baptist, "John himself is Elijah who was to come" (Matt. 11:14, see also 17:11–13). John even looked like Elijah. The spiritual influence of Elijah had returned to the world in the person of John the Baptist. Like Elijah, John proclaimed the need for repentance wherever he saw sin. One such area was in the adulterous lives of King Herod and his wife Herodias. When John confronted them, Herodias had him imprisoned (Mark 6:17–18).

But who was this manipulating and working through the dark, psychic side of Herodias? As Elijah's spirit ministered through John, so Jezebel had resurfaced through the rebellion of the seductress, Herodius. Remember, through Jezebel's many witchcrafts (2 Kings 9:22), she attacked Elijah, causing fear and discouragement, which led to Elijah's time of self-doubt and confusion. Now Herodius had come forcibly against the Baptist. This is the prophet who had visibly seen the Spirit descend upon Christ; he heard the Father's audible voice announcing His beloved Son; he gazed with awe upon the purity of Israel's Messiah. Now, fear and discouragement are weighing upon the prophet's shoulders. Doubt floods his soul about Christ: "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" (Matt. 11:3).

"A strategic day came when Herod . . . gave a banquet" (Mark 6:21). "Strategic" is the perfect word to describe the timing of this event. For in this war between the spirits of Elijah and Jezebel, Herodias had her daughter dance before Herod, enticing out of him a promise to give whatever she asked. At her mother's request -- more truly, at Jezebel's request -- she demanded and received the head of the Baptist. And temporarily, the confrontation between the spirits of these two eternal enemies subsided.
Elijah Is Coming!
Two thousand years ago, Jesus stated that the ministry of Elijah was not over. He promised, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things" (Matt. 17:11). Also, Malachi the prophet wrote, "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore . . ." (Mal. 4:5–6). Elijah is coming to war and restore. He came before the great day and he is returning before the terrible day of the Lord.

Indeed, before the Lord's return, God is raising up an Elijah company of prophets, Spirit-filled men and women sent forth to prepare the way for the return of Christ!
Let it also be known that if Elijah is coming before Jesus returns, so also is Jezebel. Do you not discerbn her in our land in the abundance of witchcraft and harlotries? Do you not hear her brazen voice rejecting God's authority and exalting her rebellion in radical feminism? Have you not, with shame, beheld her as she caused God's "bond-servants" to "commit acts of immorality" (Rev. 2:20)? Seeing Jezebel so blatantly manifest herself only confirms that the spirit of Elijah is also here bringing repentance and raising up warring prophets throughout our land. In fact, if you are going to serve God during the reign of a "Jezebel," the warfare itself will thrust you into a prophetic anointing simply that you may survive!
In the Old Testament we see how God destroyed Jezebel. Jehu, the newly crowned king of Israel, was sent by the word of the Lord through Elijah's successor, Elisha, to fulfill God's promise. As Jehu and his men furiously drove their chariots toward Jezreel, the kings of Israel and Judah came out to meet him. They asked, "Is it peace, Jehu?" And he answered, "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?" (2 Kings 9:22) And Jehu slew the two kings. Immediately afterward, he rode into Jezreel to confront Jezebel.
The Word tells us that when she saw him, "she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head," and looking out an upper window, she called to him, "‘Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?' And he looked up at the window and said, ‘Who is on my side? Who?' So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. Then he said, ‘Throw her down.' So they threw her down, and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot" (2 Kings 9:30–33 NKJV).
There was something in Jehu's spirit that we must possess today. While we must be compassionate toward those captured by her influence (see Rev. 2:21), we must show no mercy to the Jezebel spirit itself. Jehu offered Jezebel no hope for reform, no compromise whatsoever. So we must offer this demon no opportunity to probe our soul and unlock vulnerabilities to her "many witchcrafts." She must be cast down from her high place of influence in our minds, that we my truly follow Christ (see Luke 10:19; Rom. 16:20).
So also with us, we must have no tolerance whatsoever for this spirit. There can be no peace, no relaxing under our "fig tree" until the spirit of Jezebel is conquered! We must stop living for comfort as long as her harlotries and witchcrafts are so many in our land. We must refuse to settle for a false peace based on compromise and fear, especially when the Spirit of God is calling for war!
It is significant that the eunuchs cast her down. Some who are reading this have become slaves to this evil spirit. Today, right now, God is giving you the privilege of participating in the eternal judgment against Jezebel. You cast her down from your imagination! Side with God and let the deliverance of God come forth!
Let's pray: Heavenly Father, I submit my heart to You. In the name and authority of Jesus Christ, I resist the spirit of Jezebel. As a servant of Jesus Christ, I release those who have been Jezebel's captives, even those who have become open to immorality through the Internet or illicit relationships. I speak to Jezebel's slaves: if you are truly on the Lord's side, then cast down your sympathetic thoughts toward this evil, cruel master, Jezebel! Renounce her evil imaginations from your mind! In the power of Jesus' name, I release you from her psychic grip upon your soul. In the authority of the living Christ! Amen.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds, available either through Arrow Bookstore or Amazon.

Sabtu, 23 Mei 2015

Army of Worshipers

Army of Worshipers
(En Español)
When the Scriptures refer to the "heavenly host," we usually think of "choirs of angels." The word "host" in the Bible meant "army" (Josh. 5:13–14). It is an important truth: the hosts of Heaven are worshiping armies. Indeed, no one can do warfare who is not first a worshiper of God.
The Central Issue in Tribulation: Worship
One does not have to penetrate deeply into the Revelation of John to discover that both God and the devil are seeking worshipers (see Rev. 7:11; 13:4; 14:7, 11). Time and time again the line is drawn between those who "worship the beast and his image" and those who worship God.

In the last great battle before Jesus returns, the outcome of every man's life shall be weighed upon a scale of worship: In the midst of warfare and conflict to whom will we bow, God or Satan?
Yet, while this warfare shall culminate in the establishment of the Lord's kingdom on earth (see Rev. 11:15), we must realize the essence of this battle is the central issue in our warfare today. Will we faithfully worship God during satanic assault and temptation? True worship must emerge in the context of our lives now. For no man will worship through the great battles of tomorrow who complains in the mere skirmishes of today.
You will remember that the Lord's call to the Israelites was a call to worship and serve Him in the wilderness (see Exod. 7:16). Indeed, when Moses first spoke of God's loving concern, we read that the Hebrews "bowed low and worshiped" (Exod. 4:31). But when trials and pressures came, they fell quickly into murmuring, complaining and blatant rebellion. Their worship was superficial, self-serving and conditional -- an outer form without an inner heart of worship.
This same condition of shallow worship prevails in much of Christianity today. If a message is given that speaks of the Lord's great care for His people, with eagerness do we bow low and worship. But as soon as the pressures of daily living arise or temptations come, how quickly we rebel against God and resist His dealings! The enemy has easy access to the soul that is not protected by true worship of the Almighty! Indeed, the Lord's purpose with Israel in the wilderness was to perfect true worship, which is based upon the reality of God, not circumstances. The Lord knows that the heart that will worship Him in the wilderness of affliction will continue to worship in the promised land of plenty.
Without true worship of God, there can be no victory in warfare. For what we bleed when we are wounded by satanic assault or difficult circumstances is the true measure of our worship. You see, what comes out of our hearts during times of pressure is in us, but it is hidden during times of ease. If you are a true worshiper, your spirit will exude worship to God no matter what battle you are fighting. In warfare, worship creates a wall of fire around the soul.
Worship: the Purpose of Creation
We were created for God's pleasure. We were not created to live for ourselves but for Him. And while the Lord desires that we enjoy His gifts and His people, He would have us know we were created first for His pleasure. In these closing moments of this age, the Lord will have a people whose purpose for living is to please God with their lives. In them, God finds His own reward for creating man. They are His worshipers. They are on earth only to please God, and when He is pleased, they also are pleased.

The Lord takes them further and through more pain and conflicts than other men. Outwardly, they often seem "smitten of God, and afflicted" (Isa. 53:4). Yet to God, they are His beloved. When they are crushed, like the petals of a flower, they exude a worship, the fragrance of which is so beautiful and rare that angels weep in quiet awe at their surrender. They are the Lord's purpose for creation.
One would think that God would protect them, guarding them in such a way that they would not be marred. Instead, they are marred more than others. Indeed, the Lord seems pleased to crush them, putting them to grief. For in the midst of their physical and emotional pain, their loyalty to Christ grows pure and perfect. And in the face of persecutions, their love and worship toward God become all-consuming.
Would that all Christ's servants were so perfectly surrendered. Yet God finds His pleasure in us all. But as the days of the Kingdom draw near and the warfare at the end of this age increases, those who have been created solely for the worship of God will come forth in the power and glory of the Son. With the high praises of God in their mouth, they will execute upon His enemies the judgment written (see Ps. 149). They will lead as generals in the Lord's army of worshipers.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds on sale this week at
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Save up to 53% this week
Limited time offer
The Three Battlegrounds

Great for a Bible study, home group,
Sunday School class or
intercessor training.
Five copies, just $29.25 (Retail $62.25)
One to four copies, $7.85 each (Retail $12.45)

Limited time offer!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
To comment or send this message to a friend or print this message, use our Printer-friendly version.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
If you are financially unable to purchase a product by Pastor Frangipane, he would love to give you your choice of one of his ebooks for free (*see exceptions). One free ebook per household please. (Visit our *FAQ page for more information.)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our website (and publisher) would be kindly appreciated.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
What did you think about this message?
Tell us on Facebook or Twitter
Facebook  Twitter

A service of Frangipane Ministries, Inc.
Copyright (c) 2015
All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations were taken from the NASB.

May 22, 2015
Facebook  Twitter
Free Email from Francis Frangipane
Subscribe to receive
FREE email messages and
bookstore specials


In Christ's Image Training

Ask about our free
online course!

Accepting registrations for the July 3, 2015
Level I class

Available also in
Spanish / Español

Online Bookstore
Be sure and visit our Specials page
Arrow Publications Inc.

Ministry Support
 • Send monthly support

 • Place an order with Arrow Publications


Website Resources

Comments and Questions
If you wish to contact us with comments or questions about this email, you may do so by writing us at