I encourage you to set an alarm on your phone, and every time it goes off, no matter where you are and what you are doing, ask yourself, “Jesus, how do You feel about me right now?” You will be surprised by what He has to say at that very moment.
DATES WITH JESUS
- Encountering the Father, Hearing God's Voice
I am so undone by the goodness of Jesus. I was processing some deep things as my daughter was walking through one of her biggest breakthroughs. It was breathtaking to watch her walk this out on her own. While spending time with Jesus, I kept hearing the story about the woman caught in adultery. There are many thoughts about what Jesus was writing in the sand, so I asked Him to show me. He answered my question by showing me the position of His eyes. While the men of the day, who deemed themselves mighty important and superior to the rest, dragged a naked woman before the courts (the shame and humiliation must have been brutal), Jesus looked away. Could it be He knew His presence alone was convicting, and He didn’t want to stare at her nakedness? Then I heard Him say, “I didn’t defend her sin, but I did defend the JUDGMENTS against her.” I wept! Jesus isn’t about shaming you publicly for your weaknesses, sins, or messy places. He is there to defend the part of your heart that is in need of a Savior. Read John 8!
I came to my spiritual mentor crying over the choices of someone else. I was enduring suffering at the hands of their brokenness. I will never forget his response to me. He said, “Lisa, turn all that emotion into prayers that God would encounter them because one encounter with Jesus can heal their heart, align their mind and restore what is broken inside them.” At first, I couldn’t do it. I was too hurt to love them ‘that much.’ I then began to see that deep down, they weren’t trying to hurt me, but their brokenness was hurting not only me but them as well. It positioned me to intercede for them in a whole new way. Sometimes we get hurt because there is stuff in our hearts that God wants to heal and restore. Other times we get hurt because those around us need freedom.
Do you ponder God’s grace as much as you ponder your guilt? Is your list of blessings as long as your list of complaints? Is your mental file of hope as thick as your mental file of dread? Focus on the giants, and YOU stumble. Focus on GOD, and the giants tumble! You can rewrite the story for the next generation by teaching them how to build their mental file. Grab a piece of paper, and together as a family, begin answering these questions: Where have you seen God move this week? How did Jesus help you today?
“We were out shopping, and my son had his money in hand. He was on the hunt for something to buy in a store that he usually wouldn’t buy something in. He had money, and it was a lot to his standards, and he had the urge to spend it. He found this watch that he wanted. He showed it to me, and I said it was nice. He already has a watch, but I told him it was up to him. After a while of hanging onto the watch, he came up to me and said, ‘Mom, I asked God if I should spend my money on this watch, and He said I didn’t need it. So, I’m not going to buy it. He’s right.’ I didn’t even have to tell him to ask his Father about it. He turned to Him on his own. My heart was celebrating, and I told him I was proud of him for making the right choice and listening to God. Thank you. Thank you for your help, your words, and for showing us how to seek God in everything we do.”
We had ministry students who would come to our home once a week. Our sweet Laura walked in and told us about a friend of a friend who was staying at their house from London. She was telling them about school and that once a week they are with our family. He says, “OH, Lisa Max, doesn’t she have an Airbnb?” and grabs his Bible and pulls out a prophetic card from Ellie from years ago. Teaching and training our children to love those around us bears lasting fruit because it is GOD’S heart we are releasing over them.
I hear this all the time – “I believe God is good and loves people, but I don’t think of Him as this fun God. I grew up with a picture that God is always very serious. His Kingdom is serious in that it’s life-changing, but the idea of playing and engaging with Him seems foreign.”
If this is your view of God, I want to invite you to sit with Jesus, His Son. Ask Him, “Jesus, will You please give me a picture of the FUN side of Your Father?” You might want to set an alarm on your phone and ask Jesus to introduce you to this part of His Father every day until you can begin to see and experience this part of YOUR Father, too. Yes, God is Almighty and serious and powerful, but He is also the most fun-loving, tender, and engaged Father.
I love Communion Sunday. I take the forgiveness of my sins seriously and believe with my whole heart that Jesus is not only the Savior of the world but MY Friend. The price He paid for me to know Him and walk in that friendship is no small thing. While my children took communion on Sunday, I wanted to go deeper with them. I went to the store to buy gluten-free rice crackers and a bottle of grape juice. I already had communion cups (at any party store) and gathered the kids. We spent time going around telling Jesus what we were thankful for (because of Him). We broke the cracker and sat quietly as we each focused on His body being beaten, ripped, and torn for US! We recalled the countless times He has washed us clean from our messes and mistakes and never once turned His back on us. We thanked Him for ‘taking the spanking on our behalf’ and quietly consumed the juice. What struck me so profoundly about our pastor’s message is that communion is so much more than just eating and drinking over a history lesson. Just as being baptized is more than taking a swim, there is something more significant going on when we take communion. We take communion to RECEIVE His forgiveness and healing TODAY. We are committed as a family to taking communion every morning. We recall who needs the blood of Jesus in their life or circumstances, and we take it on their behalf. We focus on what Jesus has done for us TODAY and fill our hearts and minds with His goodness. Gather your kids and partake in one of the greatest gifts ever given to man!
What is your number one parenting question right now? Ask Jesus and learn how to partner with Him in parenting your child – together! He alone knows what they need more than 100 earthly wise men. So give it a try, and then spend the next 18 years strengthening your partnership with their Creator.
The number one thing I hear my children thank me for is teaching them how to hear God. We had a long season where they were learning and growing. We practiced and strengthened their spiritual muscle of hearing (just like reading the Word, worshiping, or praying). I was teaching them that He is safe, good, and trustworthy. In the beginning, it was never about the fruit; it was about building a relationship with Him so that they knew He was there in their time of need. They have repeatedly witnessed Him speaking, showing up, leading, guiding, correcting, healing, loving, encouraging, and helping them. With all of the parenting methods out there today, I am convinced the two greatest gifts I can give my children are knowing how to hear their Father and helping them resolve hurts, lies, and offenses.
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I was sitting with the Lord, processing something in my heart. He told me to go grab three crowns (each member of our family has a specific crown) and put them on the floor in a triangle shape. He began to show me how so often we come to Him in a line as if we are standing face to face. That is great, except it still requires a lot of us (to hear well, discern, plug in, etc.). He said to put my heart carrying that issue in the center of all three of them. I did just that and experienced an encounter so deep that it reduced me to tears. I have never felt so unbelievably insignificant in the best way possible. When God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit huddle together for a group hug with you in the middle, something is going to shift. I encourage you to allow Him to encounter your heart today in the same way.