This Is War

PROPHESY TO THE STORM

We got addicted to a fireman show during the quarantine season. Over and over, these brave men and women would run into the crisis while everyone else was running away, full of panic and fear. This concept in the spiritual realm has so struck me. If Jesus lives inside of me, I have the fire hose, ax, and respirator to run INTO the building (crisis), not away. A fire untamed turns into a wildfire. Firefighters have one goal: Containment (the action of keeping something harmful under control or within limits).

We are to be suited up with God’s armor and the tools of heaven to defeat the works of the enemy here on earth. Jesus gave His life for payment for that freedom. Ezekiel 37 – “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. … Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, `Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!’’” Prophecy is simply hearing God for others and declaring it.

I say PROPHESY TO THAT STORM! Your words have so much power, they hold either LIFE or DEATH (Proverbs 18:21). Model this concept for them by looking at the sky and lamenting, “Oh no, it’s sunny out. My flowers are going to wilt, and all the bugs are going to dry up. This is the worst thing ever that the sun is out.” Of course, you are being silly, but we can take something and begin to declare destruction, fear, and death over it.

Make a list of things that are affecting them right now and PROPHESY over them. “I speak to the fear and say _____,” “Sickness, you have no hold on me,” “I declare my city will be safe,” “I will have an amazing school year.”

FACT VS. TRUTH – A fact is something that is proven true. But the truth is unchangeable.

Example: Kids at school wouldn’t sit with me for lunch – FACT.

Something is wrong with me – LIE.

It hurts that kids wouldn’t sit with me, but I am still wanted and belong – TRUTH.

There are a lot of things being exposed right now in the world – FACT.

The enemy is winning, and we are going to suffer – LIE.

God is exposing that which has been in darkness, and He still sits on the throne – TRUTH.

Do not mix your facts with your truth. It is the TRUTH that sets you free, not facts. We do not live an evidence-based life but a truth-based life. Ask, “Jesus, what facts have I grabbed onto?” “Jesus, what is Your truth?” Break agreement with facts and align your mind and heart with truth.

DO NOT PRACTICE WITCHCRAFT. This is VITAL right now. Prophecy is declaring the future through the power of the Holy Spirit. Witchcraft is declaring the future through the power of Satan. John 10:10 shares that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, while Jesus came to overcome and bring life. Your WORDS decide which side you want to camp in. We all know what a lie is and how much havoc it can wreak on our minds, hearts, emotions, and relationships. We behave based on what we believe. But witchcraft is when we begin to SPEAK IT OUT in declarations. “They hate me,” “I don’t belong there,” “This is terrible,” “We are going to die, “This is the worst thing ever,” “This year is going to stink.”

Some of you have been practicing witchcraft by your words. What we declare in the atmosphere becomes our reality. With so much going on in the world today, we need to be extra careful of our words as we could be strengthening the wrong kingdom. This is not just about having happy thoughts during a real crisis but declaring the TRUTH in the midst of it. If my kids are upset and say something like, “This is so unfair,” I validate that it may indeed look and feel that way. But I help connect them to the truth by helping them see God cares deeply about unjust scales and is a God of justice and help them rewrite their prophecy to say, “This feels so wrong, but God is in control and can make it right on my behalf.” There are no victims when God is in control!

Facts serve as kindling for the fire. Witchcraft is gasoline poured on a fire. His truth is the fire extinguisher that defeats the enemy from consuming those in your home, city, country, and world!

“Jesus, I confess that I have partnered with FACTS and allowed them to turn into words of witchcraft. Jesus, Do You forgive me?” (and then wait to receive His forgiveness).

When I see a fire starting, I will run into the burning building (storm) and prophesy the TRUTH over the situation.

TEACH THE CHILDREN – Take a piece of paper and draw a heart in the center. Share that the heart represents them and things that affect them, both good and bad. On the left side, draw a gasoline container (like the one Dad uses to fill the lawnmower), and on the right side, draw a picture of a firefighter. Take an example, such as not being allowed to see their friends. Point to the gasoline and begin using words of witchcraft and doom. “I will never get to see them,” “This is awful,” etc. Now point to the firefighter and declare words like, “I will get through this even though it is hard,” “This is not for forever,” and “God will give me a creative way to connect.” Help them to see the difference in what side they are partnering with.

In the days to come, when you see your child (or yourself) pour gasoline on the problem, be mindful that your words contain life or death, and YOU PICK which one you want to declare.

STRATEGY FOR CHANGING THE WORLD

James 5:16 (MSG) gives us an important strategy – “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t – not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came, and everything started growing again.

TEACHING CHILDREN HOW TO PRAY – When the children were little, I had a sign on the wall that said, “Dear Jesus, thank You for _____. Would You please help me with _____?” Each day they would pray to fill in the blanks. I was modeling how to be thankful and come to Jesus with what was important to their heart. At the end of the day, we would play the High/Low game, where they would share the highs and lows of their day. Their answers revealed how their heart was doing, and their highs almost always reflected the very thing they asked Jesus for. One day, my daughter asked Jesus to help her get a sweet treat. It felt rather insignificant to me, but hours later, we were at a store, and a clerk said she had made one too many ice cream cones and offered it to my daughter. I immediately reminded her of her prayer that morning.

DOT CONNECTION – I saw my role as a dot connector. Teaching them to pray, then helping them see the way God was responding and speaking to them. Their faith grew each time, leaving them hungry for more. To this day, they can tell you testimonies of things they prayed for as they experienced His answer.

NOT ON MY WATCH!

Rejection means to dismiss. Dismiss means to push or send away.

A spirit of rejection is at play against this generation like never before through abortion, sexual exploitation, and gender identity. But there is a subtle form of this same spirit in operation in many homes, including Christians, that I want to expose. Scores of parents are dealing with profound feelings of disgust toward their children. They repel them and long to ‘get away from them.’ This is a very vulnerable thing for a parent to admit, yet I want to suggest something. I do not believe this is always coming from WITHIN the parent but rather ON them. It is the same spirit of rejection seducing parents to turn on their children at this hour. Why? Because parents are gatekeepers over their children both physically and spiritually. When they forgo their post, children are vulnerable. When parents are alert, awake, and active, they are like a lion with their eyes locked on the predator.

If this is you, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to GO LOW and repent for partnering with this demonic spirit. Command the spirit of rejection to GO in Jesus’ name. Invite the Holy Spirit to come and rebuild your heart connection with your child and fill you both with power, love, and peace. This spirit aims to break the connection and covering over your child and lead them into emotional and mental isolation. No to hell on my watch!  I declare my children are wanted, loved, and seen. I declare I have what it takes to parent them well in this season. I declare my children are a joy (if not, I will train them to be honoring and respectful). I declare the blood of Jesus covers my children. I declare my love for my child is unconditional and secure. I declare _____ (add your own)! 

WE ARE AT WAR – CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Are you aware we are not battling flesh and blood but something in the spirit realm? If you are a born-again believer, then you are enlisted to fight. But like any battle, the weapons you use are vital to your success. The wrong weapon in battle makes you vulnerable. The right weapon not only protects and covers you but aids in advancement.

YOU ARE THE HEAD, NOT THE TAIL

Moms and Dads, YOU ARE POSITIONED AS THE HEAD, NOT THE TAIL! “We are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath” (Deuteronomy 28:13). Read Ephesians 2:6 to see where you are positioned. This is not the kind of trump or victory you can do of your own strength. God’s power and faithfulness to His word positions you as the head and not the tail; HOWEVER, there is a TWO-LETTER contingency on this promise. IF – if you keep my commands, you will be the head, not the tail. 

FAMILY MEETING – Gather the kids and together read the 10 Commandments. While it would be easy to assume murder does not apply to your family, hate is a form of murder. So is unforgiveness because it kills the life-giving connection. Walk through each commandment and discuss the specific ways they apply to your family. HOWEVER, there is one we need to camp out in and get a grasp on this hour. In Matthew 22:36-39 (MSG), “’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

SECOND GREATEST – Jesus gives us the second greatest commandment. Talk about what it looks like in this hour to love others. Look up 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Explore this deeply as a family.

PROPHETIC ACTS – This is where parenting becomes FUN! A prophetic act is simply acting out a Biblical principle, Scripture, or character of God to help people grasp His truth. You could all fold your hands, close your eyes, bow your heads, pray, or do a prophetic act to align your heart with His.

PUPPY LOVEPlay a game and have everyone act like a dog. Joy breaks out when Mom begins to bark, and Dad sticks out his tongue, wagging his tail. Ask everyone to act out being excited when the owners come home. Act out the dog being hungry and getting his food. How about playing with other dogs? Then have them act out a dog being scared and nervous. The joy and confidence in the room moves to quiet and timidness. Sometimes when dogs are scared or stressed, they bite. Gather the kids and explain that dogs are designed to be playful and joyful, but when put in situations that make them overwhelmed, they can become very intimidated or aggressive. What does the dog need at that moment? An owner who loves them enough to protect them. Explain that we can be like the dog at times and how we ‘bite’ those we love when we feel overwhelmed and stressed. But we have a God who is like the owner who loves, protects, and leads us. In the days ahead, when your child is acting like a stressed dog, remind them of this teaching and help usher them to God’s truth that they are okay and this will work out, He cares about their heart, and it will be okay. Remind them that their job is to be full of joy and love while God handles the details.

WHO IS FIRST? – Gather the family and write down all of the things that are ‘BIG’ in their world including school, making friends, etc. After the list is complete, draw a line under it (it is okay that the list takes up most of the paper). Under the line, write out John 3:16. And then flip the paper upside down. Explain how the things that are BIG in their world can feel heavy and can sometimes make us feel like God’s truth is small or even shrinking, but the truth is (flipping the paper upside down) that God’s character, promises, and faithfulness are unchanging despite circumstances, and we can filter every single thing written on the list through the lens of His perfect love.

FOCUS ON YOUR POSITION

How many of you could say you are feeling: overwhelmed, like you are sinking, paralyzed, in survival mode, panic rising at times, all alone? 

Tail Between Your Legs – If you say that you have your tail between your legs, you emphasize feeling defeated and ashamed. 

Defeated – having been beaten in a battle. 

Ashamed – something is wrong with me. 

A dog has his tail between his legs when feeling frightened, anxious, stressed, or uncomfortable. IF PUSHED WHEN IN THIS POSITION, THE DOG WILL BITE!!! The goal isn’t to focus on the biting issue but on the dog’s position. Change the position, and he no longer needs to bite.

Can we be honest? Many parents are feeling like biting dogs backed into a corner. Scores of parents have wept in my presence this season over their responses to their children. Nothing burdens a parent more than realizing their child didn’t deserve the treatment given. Let’s not focus on your bite but on your POSITION. 

PICKING UP AUTHORITY

A mom in our parenting class shared this powerful testimony, but she isn’t the only one who has experienced this, as I hear it often. As she drove home from class the previous week, the tears began to fall. She started to worship, and then laugh, and then cry harder. Words began to fall out of her mouth as she told Satan she was done with the battle and taking back her authority. She cried and worshiped some more. She walked into the house, and instead of finding the unusual defiance and chaos, she found peace – a peace that remained all week long. I had chills as she shared the story because GOD was moving in this mom to bring her back into alignment with Him. 

Hear this – it isn’t that she took back what the enemy stole. She picked up what SHE LAID DOWN – her God-given authority. Kids can tucker you out day in and day out. The conflict, endless need for training, and demanding that their needs are met can wear heavily on a parent. And inch by inch, we begin to lay down our authority feeling defeated and tuckered out. If there was ever a time parents must find their authority again, it is today, as there is an all-out war against this generation. God designed for your family to have a wall around it. Not all walls are negative. Walls protect, cover, and give assurance of peace. Picture a front door on a home that is the gateway to letting things come and go inside the home. Authority is the homeowner who confidently opens the doors and has the power to decide what comes in, what stays in, and what must get out of your home. If the door remains open all the time, bad things will wander in simply because nothing stops it. If the door is locked shut, nothing will be able to enter or leave. Authority is the God-given role of overseer, helping direct the traffic of what comes and what goes. When parents shrink back from their position of authority, it is like a disc being out in their spine. It will affect the rest of the body, causing great hardship. When a parent lays down their authority, children feel insecure and unsafe. I don’t need to tell you that they will act out their worry and anxiety, causing you greater hardship and the family more chaos. Not walking in your authority does NOT bring peace to your heart, children, or family. Imagine your family on a boat ride off the coast, enjoying the salty water and warm breeze. Peace and joy flow naturally with ease because all is well. As any waterman knows, the weather can turn quickly, making the sky dark and the waters choppy. Everyone feels the storm as the boat is tossed from side to side. How would you feel if the captain began to pace the deck, spewing his anxiety and fear? What if he called his friends and spoke words of death and doom? How would you feel about the storm? What if the captain saw the rain clouds and immediately jumped up to steer the boat in the opposite direction, whizzing past other boats headed towards the storm? How would you feel if he assured you of who he is and that he is well-equipped and trained to keep his passengers safe and out of the storm? In the first scene, it would not take long for you to partner and come under his fear and anxiety. With the second, you may still feel some uncertainty, but you are anchored to the one with the authority to steer the boat to safety. 

At The Helm – At the helm means the position or place of command or leadership. Who is at the helm of your family? Oh yes, we know God is, but having your hands positioned off the wheel and putting the entire responsibility on God denies your role and responsibility. Passive parenting isn’t going to produce the fruit God has called you and your children to bear. You will stand before Him at the end of your life and give an account for the children He has entrusted you to steward and won’t be able to say, “We just trusted You to do it all.” 

I want to invite you to encounter God by telling Him how you feel: “I am tired, I need help, I am scared, I am overwhelmed, I am exhausted, I feel burned out, I feel like quitting. I didn’t sign up for this, I feel ill-equipped…” Tell Him what you need: “I need Your help, I need tools, I need grace, I need a reboot, I need Your power, I need to hear from You, I need to know my children are going to be okay, I need to know I have not ruined them…” 

Watch this clip from the movie War Room and let Holy Spirit lead you in TAKING BACK YOUR AUTHORITY IN YOUR HOME. WAR ROOM | Elizabeth Jordan sends the devil out of her house – YouTube

BEARING GOOD FRUIT

Serve the children banana or apple slices and then leave some out on the counter for a few hours. Gather the children in the family room and have them bring their journals and Bible. Ask them to read to themselves Galatians 5:22-23 outlining the fruit of the Spirit. See if they can remember the fruit listed (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). Talk about each one and give an example of kindness, self-control, joy, etc. Share what kindness looks like at the dinner table. What does joy look like when Mom says no? Ask them if they enjoyed the banana or apple you served earlier. Wasn’t it delicious and tasty? Bring out the plate of food you set out hours earlier and attempt to give them a bite. A wilted mushy brown banana. YUM… NOT! Talk about the opposite of love, joy, peace, etc. Help them to see specific examples of peace vs. chaos, love vs. rejection, etc. We do not just ‘obey’ to behave like the fruit of the Spirit. We are helping them understand that choosing not to is partnering with the enemy to bring his kingdom into our homes, relationships, and cities. We choose to partner with God and His Kingdom because we believe in Him and want the fruit of His Kingdom for ourselves and those around us. There is a real war in the spirit realm to bring about chaos, isolation, hurt, lawlessness, and offense. How do we counter this? By going after the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.

Not In My Home – Explain to your children that there is a real rebellion in the world today against being kind and loving to others and that while it may be what ‘everyone else is doing,’ our home honors and obeys the Lord. Ask each child to draw a picture of each of the fruits of the Spirit. When all of them are illustrated, put them on the side of the room and have them sit in a circle. Ask them if they WANT a house of love or rejection. If they say love, pick one person to get the ‘love fruit’ and carry it back to the family circle, placing it in the middle. After each fruit has been brought to the center of the family, tell them they can either bring LOVE to the family circle or throw it out. 

In the days ahead, I would be extra aware of the hours and days ahead to call out and make a big deal when you see someone displaying the fruit of the Spirit. “Johnny, that was SO loving,” “Susie, that was so kind of you to _____.” “Sarah, look at the self-control you had in that store.” You are empowering them that their choices make a difference, and they are significant contributors to the Kingdom of God. When you see your child choosing the opposite fruit, ask if they remember the banana slices. Ask them, “Which fruit do you think you are partnering with right now?” After kids have a grid for this, all you have to say is, “I am not sure that is a very tasty fruit,” which helps them see how they can choose different fruit. 

On A Mission – I encourage you to gather the children, remind them of this lesson, and pick ONE of the fruits together. Let’s say you choose KINDNESS. Come up with a list of ways you can show kindness to others as a family. Maybe it is buying someone coffee, bringing a warm meal to a homeless person, babysitting to give the parents a date, sending notes to friends, or dropping off a balloon at someone’s door. Go on a MISSION to release that fruit. This will help build your child’s muscles in the joy of His ways. Often before we walk into a store, I will pick one and say, “Okay, let’s all be on the lookout for ways we can practice SELF-CONTROL in this store.” or “When you go to Ms. Johnson’s house, I want you to all look for ways you can be LOVING,” and then we talk about it afterward.

When I stand before Him, I want to be able to say, “Lord, I cared about the fruit of Your Spirit and did my best to teach my children to know, understand, partner with, and display the fruit of Your Spirit.” TAKE BACK GROUND BY GRABBING AHOLD OF HIS FRUIT!

THE CROSS IS THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING!

The Cross is the answer to EVERYTHING! One would never go before a judge and ask for leniency, favor, or judgments against an offending party if they had $1,000 of unpaid parking tickets. You get your affairs in order FIRST before asking for help, favor, and intervention. Approaching God with a pure heart is much more effective than coming to Him offended, full of bitterness and anger. 

Little Foxes – Sometimes, amidst our daily routines, we pick up little foxes along the way. They are subtle but evident. You know, the little things like getting easily annoyed, a sharp tone, not lending a hand, quick tempers, and a lack of basic respect. I saw it in my family too, so I grabbed the kids, and we read about the unforgiving slave in Matthew 18:21-35 and talked about the Father’s heart for forgiveness. We then took out our journals and asked Jesus to highlight any (and all) offenses we were holding onto for each person, myself included. An hour later, we found ourselves wanting to hear how we have hurt each other’s hearts. We canceled the debts the person owed us, handed each person over to Jesus to deal with any character or heart issue (that was powerful), and then we declared the truth over each family member! It was a major spiritual detox, and each of us felt like the heaviness lifted. 

Spiritual Detox – Detoxing our body helps flush out the bad build-up that bogs down our health. Sometimes we need to do a spiritual detox to rid ourselves of the things we have been holding onto that affect our spiritual health, connections, and joy. Does your family need a spiritual detox?

Video – Family Detox – YouTube 

Podcast – Family Detox by Lisa Max – Let the Children Fly! (anchor.fm) 

THE BITTER TASTE OF SIN

Take a tiny pinch of coffee grounds and spread them over the kitchen floor. Invite your children to join you in the kitchen and ask them to help you find the coffee grounds on the floor. “Hey guys, I dropped my coffee grounds. Can you help me find them?” It won’t be easy to find them all spread out. Then ask them to close their eyes and quickly dump a visual amount on the ground. This time ask them to pick up the coffee grounds… but one little grain at a time. Spend a few moments attempting to do this impossible task. You might want to lie down on your tummy and get serious, “One, two, three. Sarah, how many did you get? Four, five?” When they lament that it is impossible, take a broom and sweep up the coffee. Sit the kids down and talk about the kitchen floor representing the whole wide world – there are no separate regions or countries – just one big piece of land. Explain that the tiny grain of coffee represents sin in the world. What is sin? Sin is anything we do that goes against what God has planned for us. Sin is when we break God’s household rules. He isn’t mad at us when we sin, but it makes Him sad because He designed us to be loved, blessed, protected, and full of joy, and sin robs us of that. Help them see that God knows every grain of coffee, even those they couldn’t find or see with their eyes. Explain to them that there are many coffee grounds (sin) in the world right now for others to see. Every family will have a different grid regarding what your children know about the world’s affairs, but you can filter it through the coffee grounds analogy when they see, hear or feel things.

Example: You are driving and see vandalism, graffiti, or broken windows. Mom – “That is sad that someone broke that window.” Child – “Who broke it?” Mom – “I don’t know.” Child – “If you don’t know who broke it, how can the police arrest them?” Mom – “Remember the grains of coffee on the kitchen floor? Breaking things is a sin; even if he gets away with it and never gets caught by the police, God saw it, and God knows.”

Example: The kids see or hear something on the news and ask you about it. You can give them human wisdom and intellectual understanding or anchor them to the truth that God sees, knows, and is aware. A GREAT response is, “Wow, that is a great question. I have some thoughts, but let’s ask Jesus what He thinks.” I did this once about something I was so assured of the response, and He showed me something different, which created a powerful family discussion. 

The God who sees, hears, and knows all has made Himself available to us through Jesus to come and talk to Him – ASK HIM! Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” 

Bitter Cup – We want to help our children understand that we ALL sin. Each of us has a grain of coffee (sin) with our name on it. Make some strong coffee and let your children take a sip. None of us are blameless before Him. Share something you did recently that was a sin. Ask them to remember something they did. Explain that sin is like strong coffee that tastes bitter. HERE IS THE KEY: While we ALL sin, God has given us provision for how to clean it up. How? By confessing (whoops – Jesus, I blew it) and by asking for HIS forgiveness (He took the spanking for us on the Cross). When we do that, He removes the grain of coffee with our name on it. 

In the days ahead, when they violate your household rules, you can lovingly remind them of the bitter coffee and say, “Sweetheart, when you _____, it was a sin. Do you want to hold onto that bitter cup or come give it to Jesus?” 

Cream & Sugar – He does not want us to pour some cream and sugar on the coffee (sin) to make it taste better. Sin is bitter, and He wants to remove it from us. Teach your children that when they sin and cover it up, keep it a secret, blame someone else or deny it; it is like pouring a pound of sugar in the coffee cup. You can do this as a visual for the children. Instead, He wants us to offer up the coffee cup to Him and hand it over, never to drink from it again. 

Injustice of No Discipline – Organically speaking, sin does not feel good. When we fail to discipline our children, we rob them of a way out of their sins, which only teaches them to ignore the guilt. By addressing sin, even at a young age, we allow them to make it right and remove the guilt. Guilt that is piled up can lead to shame. God knows we have flesh and live in a fallen world and has not left us in condemnation. Confessing sin is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and the opportunity to make it right with God and others. 

Sin is bitter. Forgiveness is sweet. It’s time to brew some coffee!