CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Take a moment and introduce your child to Psalms 100:4-5. Children of this generation understand the language of needing a ‘password’ to enter. I love how we get to write His word on their hearts!

Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV) – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

HOW DO WE BREAK AGREEMENT WITH FEAR?

Face the fear and put it in its proper place. Ask, “Jesus, will You please show me what the fear is about?” Break agreement with the fear. “Fear, I see you, and you are a liar. I no longer partner with you and allow you to speak and influence me. Ask, “Jesus, what is your truth?” Declare His truth (write it down, put it on your mirror, on a sticky note, in your Bible, post it to your fridge, etc. and declare it until it becomes your truth). THEN when you go out in public and feel the heavy oppression around you, STOP and declare, “Fear, I see you. I do not partner with you. I declare (insert the truth Jesus showed up),” and release THAT into the atmosphere everywhere you go. If our hope, peace, and comfort come from anything else other than HIM, it will be sinking sand. He alone is our source, anchor, and rock. 

AFFIRMATION

The opposite of judgment is not acceptance; it is affirmation. Affirm – af·firm – Verb. 1. state as a fact; assert strongly and publicly. 2. offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement. “There are five common ways parents fail to affirm their children.”

When was the last time you intentionally affirmed those around you in their identity, value, or destiny? It is Kingdom to do so.

HOW MUCH OIL DO YOU HAVE?

Picture a Little House on the Prairie scene where a powerful Minnesota blizzard dumps mounds of snow covering everything in sight. Imagine the family huddled in bed, keeping warm in their mud roof home. How much oil would you want to keep the lamp going? While the storm is still present, how much oil has changed their experience? Sitting in the dark in the middle of a storm is not the same as sitting next to light in the middle of a storm. In Matthew 25:1-13, we are told of the story of the ten virgins who went out to wait for their groom. Five were wise, and five were foolish. When the groom appeared, the five that didn’t have oil in their lamps asked to borrow some from the five that were prepared, and they were told NO – GET YOUR OWN! Oil represents our own personal relationship with Him. You can’t borrow oil at this hour. Many have enjoyed the oil of other people’s lamps but are now realizing they have little to no oil of their own. You can’t stand on the oil of your pastor, worship leader, or neighbor. It has to be your own. There are some things no one can give you except God. We are in a season of intense squeezing, and it is revealing how much oil one has. While His love and grace are free for all, it is obtained by exercising it. Those who have received, embraced, lived from, leaned on, experienced, and acknowledged Him have oil in their lamps. We are not meant to live in darkness but to be consumed by the light that burns within us. 

We are in an hour where oil is essential, and there is still time to get your own. HOW?

**By receiving Him.

**Surrendering not just your life, but circumstances to Him.

**Reading the Word, not as a religious duty but sincerely embracing His daily food.

**Worshiping Him.

**Giving Him thanks.

**Confessing your sin.

**Getting alone with Him.

**Telling Him what you want, need, think and feel.

**Acknowledging Him in specific situations.

**Declaring His word out loud.

**Walking by faith, not sight.

**Crying out for help.

**Believing.

**Hearing Him.

**Being in an interactive relationship with Him.

**Embracing Him as your Father.

**Walking as a loved and covered child. 

This isn’t about doing more FOR Him. It is about having an interactive relationship WITH Him.

CURSING MOMS

Mamas, are you cursing your body? It is hard to raise daughters with healthy self-esteem when you model cursing your own body. My mom had four kids close in age and didn’t like the way it affected her body. I was secure and confident growing up with my body; however, the moment I had kids (also four close in age, including twins), I immediately turned against my body and felt like it was ‘ruined.’ I was intentional about building up my daughters and their self-image. God began to show me that what my mom taught me, by cursing her own body, is that motherhood ‘ruins’ your body. I was simply modeling that belief onto my children. I entered a season of greater self-love and acceptance for my body, which has miraculously produced life. I want my daughters to feel beautiful now AND after they become a mom. It isn’t about praising them but modeling acceptance for myself.

**This isn’t just for daughters. When moms curse their own bodies in front of their sons, they are teaching them that there is something wrong with a woman’s body, which we surely don’t want him to transfer to his wife someday.

LET’S ASK JESUS

Be still for a moment and ask, “Jesus, will You please show me a picture of what makes Your heart happy?”

Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or at bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they get to witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual healing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.

WILL YOU HELP ME?

How many of you have to do things in life that require a sacrifice for your child? Selling a house? Long car rides? Going grocery shopping? Look at what this real estate agent did to EMPOWER the kids to be on the team rather than set it up for conflict and chaos.

“At my listing appointment tonight, I had the smallest residents sign their own contracts promising to keep their rooms clean, and toys picked up while the house is on the market. If they hold up their end of the deal, they each get a gift card from a store of their choice.”

1ST RESPONDER

We can teach our children that Jesus is a 1st Responder who we can go to with our highs, lows, and everything in between.

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Cultivate means to: cul·ti·vate verb 1. prepare for crops or gardening. 2. to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill). Gratefulness is a SKILL that is taught, learned, and strengthened. Kids are not born with it. It is something that needs to be tilled, plowed, dug, worked, fertilized, mulched, and weeded SO THAT it reaps a harvest of fruit in their lives. Nothing increases the favor and fruit in our lives more than a grateful heart.

PSALM 5

Psalms 5 reflects how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering but to allow himself to serve God without distraction. This is an excellent passage in the midst of all the turmoil in our government. Read this chapter as a family and talk about the reality of how one person’s choices affect those around them. But God has keys and a strategy for overcoming and thriving in the midst. 

Prayer for Help – Psalms 5:1-12 – “Hear my words, O Lord. Think about my crying. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God. For I pray to you. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my prayers before You and will look up. You are not a God Who is pleased with what is bad. The sinful cannot be with You. The proud cannot stand before You. You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies. The Lord hates liars and men who kill other people. But as for me, by Your great loving-kindness, I will come into Your house. At Your holy house I will put my face to the ground before You in love and fear. O Lord, lead me in what is right and good, because of the ones who hate me. Make Your way straight in front of me. For in their talk there is no truth. Their hearts destroy. Their mouths are like an open grave. With their tongues, they say sweet-sounding words that are not true. Hold them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own plans. Throw them out because of their many sins. For they have fought against You. But let all who put their trust in You be glad. Let them sing with joy forever. You make a covering for them, that all who love Your name may be glad in You. For You will make those happy who do what is right, O Lord. You will cover them all around with Your favor.” 

GET UP AND FIGHT – AUTHORITY

God has given us authority over anything that is out of alignment with the heavens, such as fear, strife, unbelief, anger, anxiety, or doubt. If it is not in heaven, you have authority over it. Rise up, speak to the anger, fear, and unbelief, and say, “NO MORE.” Break up with those nagging thoughts that are like flies swarming around us when we are worn out, tired, or weary. You don’t have to put up with them – deal with them. My bathroom mirror reads, “Stop the nonsense,” meaning I do not cross the mental line and partner with those words. I live by faith, not circumstances.