Do you play Candy Crush? Everyone (and their mama) kept sending me requests. It got so bad I ended up blocking Candy Crush from my computer. Well… while on the road, I picked up my child’s tablet and discovered the world of Candy Crush. It is more addicting than sugar, and I love it. Ha. One morning God showed me something, and I think it is quite brilliant. He said any time we pray or declare something that is in alignment with heaven, it is like the Candy Crush pieces that gush down and fall into new places. Come on! Having that visual makes me want to increase my prayer life. Let heaven gush down into our lives, hearts, finances, situations, dreams, and passions. If your child plays the game, use it as a visual to teach them that their words and prayers are powerful!
Gather the family in the family room and have the children read 2 Timothy 2:1-7. The more you allow them to participate in things like reading, the more engaged they will be in the lesson. Then, on a piece of paper or whiteboard, write out the different attributes of the soldier, athlete, and farmer. What types of character or skill sets does each of them require? What makes them unique? Think about how tired the soldier must get at times, how the athlete does what it takes regardless of how they feel, or how the farmer labors hard, not knowing if the sun or rain will appear. Read verse 7 and spend some time responding. Think over these three illustrations, and may the Lord help you to understand how they apply to you.
I vividly recall the day I put great effort and energy into making a special dinner for my family. I eagerly called them to the table to reveal my effort. I got less-than-sweet comments from each of the children, and they just got up and went off to play. I sat there with a huge mess to clean up and felt somewhat offended. I wanted to go on a cooking strike, vowing never to feed them again, but I realized that wasn’t a good option. I pictured them doing that in someone else’s home, and I didn’t like the thought. I knew I had to figure out a way to TEACH them what honor and gratefulness looked like in that situation. The following morning, they came to the table and I had them draw me a picture. Before they finished, I picked up and said, “Ick. I don’t like purple.” To another one, I said, “Gross. This is nasty”, and another I said, “I hate this.” They were mortified and in complete shock. I asked them how it made them feel. Awful! I explained that when someone makes a meal, it is like their artwork made with love for them. I never forced my kids to eat anything, but I set the bar for them to be grateful, gracious, and kind. After every meal, they are required to thank the person who made the meal and ask to be excused. I am not their maid, slave, or chef; I am their mother worthy of honor and respect.
Lauren greeted me one Sunday morning in her brand new (adorable) outfit, along with a scowling face. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “I feel UGLY!” It was intense, and she was really feeling it. I simply hugged her and said, “Catch and release, sweetheart.” I have taught them they can catch those sneaky little lies that wreak havoc on our emotions and release them. I didn’t have to tell her it was a lie as her agitated heart was proof enough that it wasn’t of God. I have empowered her to RELEASE those pesky lies and not massage, embrace or feast on them. By the time we walked out the door, she was at peace again. I asked her later how she was doing, and she said, “Man, that lie hit me hard out of nowhere.”
Let’s face it – as adults, we don’t always catch and release this fast, but this is what the next generation looks like when they are intentionally taught from an early age that they can catch the lie and release it. Teach your child how to catch and release!
One word from God can flip an entire situation. Ask Him to lead you to Scripture and meditate on it. Sometimes I get one line or even one word and chew on it all day. It may not feel true. It may not look true. It may not look possible. But it IS true! Camp out on HIS truth until it becomes your truth.
Have you ever had those days when you feel like you are constantly butting heads with a child, or they seem to be going out of their way to be a bully to their siblings, yet nothing you do seems to work? Try intentionally meeting their love language, and I bet you will see a sudden change. Children with empty tanks, even with siblings, will often fight to get it filled (obviously, in the wrong way), Love languages matter!
We were away from home, and the kids were all getting in a funk; lots of small conflicts, attitudes, and agitations. Having to correct them constantly gets old, so I flipped the situation by turning it into a game. I gathered them together in a circle and asked them to keep their mouths closed, but they had to have eye contact with someone else at all times. I wanted them to SEE the people around them. Then I held up a mirror and said, “This is who you have been focused on, but I want you to keep your eyes on someone else.” When we went to breakfast, they tried to outdo each other by showing kindness and love to others. They were opening doors, putting garbage away, smiling, saying “thank you,” letting others go first, etc. The Kingdom is JOY, and sometimes partnering with the Holy Spirit to devise creative ways to get to their heart impacts them more than reaping the spirit of religious rules over their head!
Shalom isn’t the absence of conflict. It is peace in the midst of it. Declare it over your situation. “I speak shalom to ____.”
The biggest war the next generation will face in their lifetime is the battle over their identity! Parents, teaching your child who they are – who God says they are – the parts that cannot be changed – the areas that aren’t moved or reduced based on circumstances – is a LIFELINE in today’s culture.
There is only one beginning and one end. And the chapters in between unfold in the Word. Doctors, scientists, pastors, and leaders may carry profound wisdom, but in the end, it must be in alignment with His Word. The world wants to use human wisdom and education to contradict or change God’s Word, but true human wisdom supports the Word.
With much excitement, say to the children, “Guys, Jesus is in New York! Many people are going to see Him. Do you want to go too?!” Test their responses. Many will become excited at the thought of seeing Jesus in person, which is a good thing. But some should feel a check in their spirit. Lead them to the Word to discover what it has to say about seeing Him again. Does it say He is coming to New York? That we will see Him on earth? No, it does not. Therefore, anyone making this claim, no matter how exciting the thought may be, is false.
Explore these verses as a family: 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Matthew 24. Teach your children that many will say things that may sound true or even make us really excited but that we need to discern what is really His truth and that can be found in His Word. Get in the habit of training your children to be fact-checkers according to the Word. Teach them how to look up a verse, use a concordance and cross-references, and search the Word for His truth.
A few years back, we took a mini trip down to Sacramento to recharge as a family and do some shopping. I got the idea to stop at the $1 store and have the kids pick out a pack of sticky notes. They didn’t know why but when we got in the car, I told them to think of people they love (family, friends, teachers) and to think of things they might want to hear. Things like: “You are loved,” “You are powerful,” “You are seen,” “There is hope,” “It is going to be okay,” etc. For part of the drive down, they wrote those words on a sticky note. When we parked in the first parking lot, I told them to run around and put the sticky notes on the driver’s side window of the parked cars. They had a blast and giggled the entire time. When they were done, I assumed we would go shopping, but they asked to sit in the car and spy on the people coming out and seeing their notes. We saw smiles, sighs, and even tears as people read these TRUTH BOMBS!
Go on a mission to teach your children what it looks like to love others.