Friends—God’s Special Gifts

Power filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 16 B

Throughout this book we have been looking at the wondrous power filled gifts that are ours in Christ. Our position in Christ is forever sealed by the Holy Spirit who is our constant companion, reminding us in the midst of every trial of this life that “all is well with our soul.” We are the redeemed, beloved, chosen children of God—heirs of royalty, and servants bound with the chains of love. In God’s magnificent wisdom, He then bestowed special motivational gifts in such a manner that we would need each other. God so desired that we understand that in Him we have all the joy, the love, and the glory we would ever need; however, we cannot fully comprehend the marvel of that until we are able to share that with each other.

love of a friend

Friends are those who come along side us when we are in our deepest trials standing like shields of faith, they hold our hand and listen. They are there in our darkest valleys shining their light of love to lead our way out. They rejoice when we rejoice and comfort us in our tears. They are our prayer warriors, always lifting us up before a mighty God.

Interwoven throughout my life, God has always placed such special friends to be there at the exact moment I needed them. Each with their own unique spiritual gifts that when harmoniously intertwined with mine lead to each of us blossoming into the persons God had created us to be.

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Hands Joined In Faith In the Midst of Life’s Trials


This pilgrimage journey that we who know Christ must walk upon this earth is filled with sorrows, pains, pitfalls, and moments of such brokenness that our faith seems such a fragile thread that we can hardly cling to. We know that the scripture tells us that we have joy in Christ, that God is Sovereign, and that all things work together for good. At my age I have witnessed it over and over again in my own life; still, my heart bleeds when I see one of my children hurting or in pain. Though they may be grown, I long to run to them, to scoop them into my arms and to hold them until the pain goes away. I so wish that I could just kiss “the boo-boo” and make it all better.

Faith is

So, where is my faith? It is right there in the midst of my greatest fears as God’s mighty arms are still holding me, even when my heart is bleeding. It is right there in my river of tears as I lay before God, humble, helpless, broken, and with a contrite heart. Faith is that moment of peace; however brief, that occurs as you look up to see a glimpse of glory and feel the presence of God wrap around your trembling soul. Faith is that smile that emerges from the pain or the song that gently rises from the depth of your broken heart, reminding you that you are God’s Child—chosen, redeemed and beloved.

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Out of the Darkness

By Effie Darlene Barba

Out of the darkness, Light shone within

Bringing His Glory, covering my sin

Along with His Glory, gifts did out pour

Bringing new hope and joy evermore


He breathed forth His love, the Spirit descend

Into my heart to heal and to mend

All of the brokenness-the dark crimson stain

All of the tears and all of the pain


This pathway to truth, so laden with stone

He knew there’d be times I’d stumble and moan

Because He did know my heart was so prone

To try to stand tall and to walk it alone


Then what He did at first seemed so strange

A group of great gifts he has so arranged

That I must family and friends truly need

In order to stand and then to succeed


So Sovereign and Wise is God’s perfect plan

That guides me along this pilgrimage land

Teaching to love and be more like His Son

Showing me that my victory’s been won


One day, I’ll come to understand all

As before His throne, prostrate I fall

Filled with His Glory, His Joy I will see

Because He, true light had come to save me


So, come now dear friend, and take now my hand

Together we’ll walk through this pilgrimage land

We’ll laugh and rejoice though trials present

Sharing God’s love is our spirits ascent

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Leading Mercy

Remember when I told you that in 2008 I had a great epiphany? I had suddenly realized that it had been I breaking God’s heart and that He had not been the one breaking mine. Actually that had been me breaking my heart as well. It was that same year that I heard the most incredible series of messages by Dr. Charles Stanley called God’s Children Gifted for the Ministry. That series opened my eyes and my understanding, which proved to be life changing for me.

leadership for mercy

Why didn’t God reveal these truths to me earlier and save me from the years of heartache and failed relationships? He knew I wasn’t ready to hear the truth until then. He knew my greatest asset was my greatest weakness at times. He also knew that it would be a humbled and broken heart that would lead me to my greatest contentment and joy. What an awesome, patient and gentle God He is. He has guided my life with such precision and grace.

So how did a sermon series change my life?

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Enter the Bold, Valiant Defenders of Truth

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 15b—Enter the bold, valiant defenders of Truth

In Christ, we as believers are the chosen, beloved, redeemed, blessed children of God-heirs of royalty who have been declared as saints and who are compelled by love to be the servants of the most High God. All of these attributes are shared by all who know Christ as their Savior. The Holy Spirit indwelling the hearts of every believer is the conformational seal of this truth. As we have been studying, the more we understand these truths and write them on our hearts with indelible ink; the more we grow in hope, faith, love and joy. These truths guide us to a life of true positive thinking. All these gifts in Christ are shared commonly; yet, there are the seven primary spiritual motivational gifts of ministry which God chose to divide amongst the saints in such a manner so as to ascertain that we would each other.

Boldly Stand for Truthoriginal artwork courtesy of Ronald Barba and is protected under copyright laws

No one is to stand alone in this Christian Journey.  God has designed it so that we need each other to be able to stand firm in faith.

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Understanding those with the Gift of Service

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 15A-Understanding those with the Gift of Service

It was late September 2000 when I was finally heading to St. Louis for a total colectomy. It had been a long road of high dose steroids and medical management of my ulcerative colitis with no relief of symptoms in sight. Indeed, now I had all the side effects of the steroids from the moon face, the buffalo hump, a full beard, and severe weakness from the muscle wasting in the legs. I had waited until fall when both my sons would be gone away to school—Ron in New Jersey and Alberto at Missouri University. They had watched me through the chemotherapy and as I battled the ulcerative colitis; although, I tried to shelter them as much as I could from the truth of what I was experiencing. I knew I would have an ileostomy for 6 to 8 weeks and wasn’t looking forward to it. I parked my car and carefully wrote down the exact location. The tickets were bought and in 6 days, Melissa would fly in and take a taxi to the hospital. She was going to arrive as precisely as I could determine the day I should be released to go home. She was coming to drive me home and to be my companion over the first two weeks after I was discharged. Which brings me to the motivational gift of service which is definitely the primary motivational gift that my daughter has.

Serve with love

Those who have the gift of service as their primary motivational gift are very sensitive to the desires, likes and dislikes of those around them. They desire to give of themselves tirelessly in an attempt to help meet the needs of others, even to the extent of disregarding their own personal health and personal comfort. They gain great pleasure in seeing that they have made someone else’s life easier.

It is important for them to receive gratitude and positive feedback in return, because they very much need to realize that what they are doing has made a difference. They are always looking for ways to serve and love to be around people. There are times when they can be easily side tracked because they may suddenly see another need which appears to be more urgent so they run off to the greater need before completing the first task.


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3 Keys to Unlock the Fullest Potential of Your Spiritual Gifts

Power filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 14- 3 Keys to Unlock the Fullest Potential of Your Spiritual Gifts

We have been provided in Christ, spiritual gifts to be used in our journey on this earth and to be shared with those we meet along this journey. Look at Romans 12: “3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.9 Let love be without dissimulation.” As I illustrated within my own small family, these motivational gifts have been given by God in such a manner as to ascertain that we would need to rely on each other. The same is true in the church and in the body of believers. We were never meant to live our lives isolated emotionally, physically, nor spiritually. We need each other. Note that these are spiritual motivational gifts which are guided by the inward working of the Holy Spirit in us.


The Holy Spirit is the essence and embodiment of God’s perfect love and delight in the Son; therefore, the Holy Spirit is that outflowing love which fills our hearts with an agape like love. As the Holy Spirit’s perfect love works through these motivational gifts, there is perfect harmony within the body of the church, family, or unit of believers. Hence that which allows these uniquely different gifts to work harmoniously is genuine selfless love.

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United we Stand-One Body in Christ

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 14b-United we Stand-One Body in Christ

In Christ, we are bestowed with spiritual gifts. Christ having been the complete embodiment of all the gifts; yet, God in His wisdom divided the 7 major gifts so that we would need each other. He never meant for us to be an island within ourselves. The 7 major gifts are Leadership (Organization), Prophecy (Justice), Service, Teaching, Exhortation, Mercy, and Giving (Financial Savvy). There may be moments in which we may be given any of the gifts in a crisis moment; however, for the most part each believer is given one primary motivational gift with one secondary motivational gift. Within the family of Christ (the body of all believers) as well as within our earthly family it is very important to know and understand this principle. By gaining a thorough understanding of the various motivational gifts, we gain an understanding of how to harmoniously work together. When we combine the various gifts harmoniously, we develop a strong defensive line against attack by outside forces of any kind, including from satanic attack.

united in love

The key to harmoniously working together is understanding each motivational gift,  its primary purpose within the body, celebrating the differences, and allowing God’s love to flow through us as the glue that holds it all together.

In I Corinthians 12, we read Paul illustrate this for us by saying it is similar to our human body which works together. The ears cannot do what the eyes do, nor can the heart do what the brain does; yet, they all work together. For an athlete to run a race, it requires the brain, lung, heart, muscle, skeletal system, sensory system and metabolic system all working in harmony. Although, each system has its unique function in the body which is very different; to accomplish any task the separate parts must harmoniously function together. When any one part fails, the task becomes essentially impossible.

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Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

Along this pilgrimage journey, so often I have stumbled and fallen. How often have my dreams been shattered? All too often, when I look at the failures; I find a dark crevice in my own heart. The more I know of Grace, Mercy and God’s Glorious Righteousness; the more amazed I am that He would have ever chosen me. The more I know of His magnificent light, the more I recognize the darkness of my own heart. Oh, how that draws me to love Him even more and to seek Him with all my heart, body and soul. For any of you who feels shattered or broken, remember this: It is God’s mercy and grace that is reaching His light into your darkness that He might bring you true joy. He desires to cover you with His blanket of righteousness and to fill your heart with His love. “12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4)

Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

By Effie Darlene Barba

Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

When your dreams are broken and shattered

Your tears flowing forth-no hope in sight

Now knowing what really had mattered.


Fragments of love in a heart that is broken

Searching to find its way through

Silently mourns all that was spoken

Longing that mercy is true


Into that darkness a light shines within

The deepest parts of the soul

Revealing the evil, the hearts prideful sin

For which you are paying this toll


Into the silence a whisper is heard

A gentle love song, a soft lullaby

Forgiveness was God’s only word

“My Child, I have heard your heart cry


My mercy is greater than all you have done

It is I who can show you the way

For this I did send forth my precious dear son

On a cross your penalty pay


Come my dear child, I long for your voice

My desire is you trust in my love

Remember, my child; I give you this choice

I have all that your life is void of”


Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

When your dreams are broken and shattered

Turn the eyes of your heart to God’s Glorious light

You will find He is all that has mattered


The darkness you found was hidden within

The crevices of your  own heart

The scars and the guilt of your darkest sin

His love will force to depart


You’ll rise from the ashes of who you once were

To fly with wings of a dove

With His Word He has spoken and made your heart pure

You are held by the strength of His love

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Gifted with a Purpose

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 14A—Gifted with a Purpose

It was February 4, 2010. My mind was in a spiraling whirlwind of emotions. Helplessness, sorrow, anger, guilt, fatigue, fear and even love were all jumbled in my brain as I wrote a blog that day called, “What do I do when I am lost in a sea of craziness?” Mom was in the hospital with a psychotic breakdown. It wasn’t the first; but, it did seem the worst she had experienced over the course of the time I had been taking care of her. Beyond that, I myself was tired. I had spent beyond my means to provide private sitters for mom to avoid this breakdown; yet, it came anyway. As all the mixed emotions were whirling in my head, I began to wonder “where is the fine line between sanity and insanity?” It felt that I had carried the torch for Christ, for my family, and for work alone. That day, I wondered; “was I really all that different than mom? Didn’t I too have fears, sorrows, worries, and moments of depression as well? The only difference I could see between mom and me that day was that I held mine tightly hidden deep within; where, she wore her emotions like a banner. It was as though the diagnosis gave her the freedom to do or say whatever she pleased. I, on the other hand must get up to go to work, strive to say the right things, struggle to pay all the bills for us both, clean the house, be always responsible, cling tight to the final shred of hope, and forgive myself when I failed to get it all done. Ah, yes and the self-loathing for even allowing such a thought to enter my brain—after all, there was mom completely lost into a psychotic world and I should be more empathetic. Yet, the pain ran so deep; I only wanted to run. I prayed fervently, even though I had no idea what to pray.

stand aloneoriginal artwork by Ronald Barba and can be found at  This artwork is protected under copyright laws and cannot be reproduced without permission. 

I felt so lost and all alone. I knew God was with me and that certainly was all I needed, right? I learned a valuable lesson the next day when I received a call from Alberto, my son.

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