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!
My mom used to drive around in an old Chevy Monte Carlo with a bumper sticker that read, “Have you hugged your kid today?” I used to think it was awesome that she had a reminder each time she got in the car. I longed for her embrace as it made me feel wanted, safe and seen. Sadly, hugs were few and far between, but they still held a tremendous value. I want to ask YOU, “Have you hugged your kid today?”
Homework – Make it a goal to reach out and offer a hug to your child at least THREE times today. Set a reminder in your phone, do it before/after each meal, or when they ask for something. Be intentional and hug those kids today!
The Word says if you have EVERYTHING (money, fame, status, awards, a big house, a perfect-looking family, IG followers, Pinterest-worthy snacks, A+ students, fancy cars, leadership titles, etc.), but have no love, you have NOTHING! Love matters because God designed our heart, mind, and soul to need it. I have seen the messiest of situations, exasperated parents, and the most challenging children MELT with the ointment of love.
How many of you could use some increased peace in your homes? The enemy cannot create anything. He takes what God has already created and twists and perverts it into something that brings hardship and harm. Anything that comes from him is a counterfeit to the real and original design. But there is one thing he can not counterfeit: peace. Anytime we experience, embrace, acknowledge, or receive His presence, we feel peace because peace is His presence.
Teach the children – This is a super fun exercise with children that will help make the concept click for them. Take a sponge and tell them it represents their heart. There are lots of holes and they are somewhat hard, right? Now fill up a bowl of warm water and have them feel it. What does it feel like? Warm and comfortable? Could you take a bath and soak in it? Now put their ‘heart’ in the water bowl and watch what happens. Engage in the teaching by pretending the sponge is ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over the nice, comfortable, warm water. Hold the sponge up and let them see the water pouring out. Talk to them about the concept of the sponge dripping with what it was just soaking in. Lay the sponge on the counter overnight and check it in the morning. Ask the kids to feel it now and describe how it feels. This is the term ‘soaking.’ It simply means to be still and know He is God. God’s presence is like a warm blanket wrapped around us; He always wants to embrace us. You might even want to role-play using a big comfy blanket. Make it fun and enjoyable for the children to learn about Him. A young boy in my first mentoring class did this with his mom, and a week later, he was struggling with a bad attitude. When his mom addressed his attitude, his response was that his heart was drying out and he needed to spend time with Jesus, so he did just that. I encourage you to spend some intentional time doing this as a family. Gather around the family room, turn off the lights and be still.
Do you like the girl in the mirror? Do you wish you had a mentor who could cheer you on? Do you feel alone in a room full of people? Do you always feel this distance in your heart? Do you often feel like something is wrong? If yes, I invite you to join the two-week online adventure of being seen, heard, and valued.
You can register here: Moms & Dads – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly
Have you figured out yet there is a war raged against the next generation? The name of the war is IDENTITY. Matthew 4 outlines how Satan attempted to steal, kill and destroy Jesus’ focus, calling, and identity. I love Jesus’ response each time as He simply declared, “It is written…” The Word was the weapon that anchored Him in victory. Jesus didn’t have to ‘fight’ this battle. He simply declared, “Nope, Daddy said so,” and that was enough. We already know the enemy is defeated but we must do our part as parents to respond as Jesus did to protect the attack on our children’s identity. We learn from Matthew 4 HOW the enemy works to steal, kill and destroy identity. There are countless examples all around us of people who are losing or have lost the battle over their identity. But take heart, dear friends, because God, as always, provides us with strategy in the midst of the battle. He is looking for those willing to pick up the sword of the Word and claim victory in their family. The enemy came to Jesus when He was ISOLATED. God puts us in a family for a reason. The church is called to be a place where the parts of the Body come together as One with Him at the center. This is the epitome of being seen, covered and known. When we are connected in family and community it is like a pack of lions surrounding the young. When the enemy shows his head, the lionesses arise. However, when families do not offer children a “You matter” and “I see you” type of community, the child feels isolated, even in their own home. Parenting styles that operate out of legalism, control and continued anger isolate the child leaving them open to the temptation of the enemy. The enemy tempted Jesus with a WARPED VERSION of the very thing that He was hungry for. Jesus was hungry for His Father and denied Himself physical food so that He could spiritually feast on the intimate connection with His Father. The enemy attempted to feed Him with food that could not nourish His soul. There is a longing in the soul of man for his Creator, yet the enemy fills him with the tastes of the world that satisfy the flesh and leave the soul empty. The more one feasts on porn, addiction, drugs, phone addiction, alcohol, video games, anger, control, etc. the deeper the hunger for it grows. All of these things DO meet a need for connection and power, but it is a warped version of the real thing God has intended for us. People who are isolated (physically, mentally, or emotionally) have deep hunger pangs to be in community which is why they make easy targets for warped versions of the real thing. Have you heard of people in desperate situations where they are isolated and get so hungry, they drink their own urine? While it sounds extreme to us, it is survival to the one in isolation and lack. The enemy offers ‘urine’ and they are so thirsty they do not fully realize what they are consuming. God did not design our bodies to be nourished by urine. The enemy then whispers seeds of DOUBT by attempting to give ‘evidence’ that God can’t really be who He says He is. Doubt comes wrapped in lies that may even look, sound or feel true, but are still false. The nature of deception is to cause someone to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage. The enemy gains advantage when the lie is embraced because it gives him an invitation to influence that person. It is like going to the front door and welcoming him in our minds. This is also why it is pointless to shout at someone, “You can’t believe that” or “That is not true.” To them, it IS true. Children who have a big Daddy are less likely to get bullied. The bigger our faith, the less we are subjected to the temptation or ‘evidence’ to doubt.
Parents, it is vital to teach children that not every thought that crosses their mind is to be considered their thoughts or truth. We grab a hold of those thoughts that create arguments against God and toss them out. Oh, I long for you to see this. The war for our children looks like this: Isolate them in their own homes, feed them with the world that feds the flesh but empties the soul, cause doubt through lies that may sound true but are still lies, become their own god rejecting all others. God’s plan for our child’s identity looks like this: Put them in families where they are seen, heard, and valued, feed them with the Word of God, anchor them in His Truth and hold them accountable for living in a way that is pleasing to God, speak truth over them OFTEN, teach them to submit to God’s authority. This is an active, intentional strategy that requires parents to be engaged, plugged in and alert.
HeartWork – Which area is being highlighted that needs to be increased in your family? Increasing connection? Speaking truth over them? Teaching them about His Word? Learning how to submit to God? Take some time and process this with God.
Kids feel what is going on in the atmosphere even when they don’t have words for it. I actually think they feel it more because they have not yet built coping mechanisms and walls to shut it out like many adults. God doesn’t want us to manage it, nor does He want us to ignore it. He wants us to overcome it with the authority given to us through Jesus. If you feel an increase of unrest in your home, overcome it by pulling your family in closer. Home should be the safest place on earth. Have a family meeting and forgive hurts and offenses. Intentionally have a family night to connect and laugh together. Increase worship or soaking music. Pray about what is going on as a family. Remind your children how big God is by telling them stories of His incredible power in other challenging stories in the Bible. He always comes through and always knows what He is doing (always). Hug them and then hug them some more (yes, even teenagers who act like they don’t care). Remind them of who they are (not performance). Ask Jesus to show you what your children need today. Your children need to know they are covered, safe and secure, and our job as parents is to be that verb!
It is very difficult for a child to release the Kingdom at the store if they are on the floor pitching a fit because you did not buy them a toy. They will have a harder time hearing God’s voice if they haven’t been taught to listen to yours first. You will have a greater challenge getting them to be ‘others’ focused if they have been taught that they are the only ones that matter. Character matters!
Character, like a stake on a young tree, is what supports the fruit the Father wants to bear through each of us. Simply put, character matters because it matters to God! I’m often asked, “At what age should one start teaching about character?” My response is – character is for all ages, but the younger you start, the easier it will be to set the standard. It is much easier to teach a two-year-old about self-control than a teenager who has lived without it their entire life. If your child is able to use the word “NO!” and mean it, they are ready for character training. Often parents give young children all the freedom in the world in fear of stifling their child’s exploration and creativity, but as they get older, they begin to clamp down on their freedom. This creates a power struggle that results in a frustrated parent and a relentless child resolved to keep the unrestricted freedom they’ve already tasted. Perhaps a better approach is to empower a child with freedom as they relate to their ability to walk in self-control to manage the freedom well. The Bible says in Romans 14:17, “The Kingdom of God is… righteousness, peace, and joy…” I don’t think it was an accident that righteousness was listed first. It is hard to walk in peace and joy when unrighteous ways like selfishness, rudeness, and a lack of self-control are present. If you want to release the Kingdom of God through your children as a family lifestyle, then here is your parenting job description: Cultivate a home where righteousness, peace, and joy are plentiful because this is where the Kingdom of God is. This isn’t a one-time teaching but a lifetime of cultivating righteousness, peace, and joy in your home. Your child will have a harder time hearing God’s voice if they haven’t been taught to listen to yours first. You will have a greater challenge getting them to care about others if they have been taught that they are the only ones that matter. Parents want the fruit of well-behaved joyful children but often do little in times of peace to sow into that. No child is born with the character to change the world around them. They need to be influenced, shaped, molded, corrected, and taught intentionally.
We have a popular eBooklet called CHARACTER COUNTS that empowers parents in the area of character training by defining what it is, why it is important and how to create a family lifestyle around it. We also provide parents with easy, fun, hands-on activities to do with their children to go after healthy character traits. Going after this TODAY will reap fruit for a LIFETIME. Nothing opens doors of favor more for our children than good character. You can get your instant download copy here: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly
Someone needs to ask this question. Ask, “Jesus, how are You defending me in this season?”
Psalm 62:5-8 – “I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. He alone protects and saves me; he is my defender, and I shall never be defeated. My salvation and honor depend on God; he is my strong protector and shelter. So trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for He is our refuge.”
When my children were younger and formulating what Christmas was all about, it was important to me that they got a grasp on the true meaning and not just the presents, food, tree, Santa, etc. I took a Cabbage Patch baby doll, wrapped him in a blue blanket, bought a wooden box and straw from Michael’s, and put together ‘Baby Jesus.’ After we decked the house and trimmed the tree, I sat them down and explained the true meaning of what we are celebrating. I brought out ‘Baby Jesus’ and told the kids that we treat Him with the utmost respect. He is indeed a gift that should be received with thanks, gratitude, appreciation, honor, and respect. They would ask to hold Him, take turns caring for Him, and would often leave their toys and notes by His manger. One year, I even heard one of them go to ‘Baby Jesus’ and ask for forgiveness for being mean. I had no idea that years later this would be their most memorable part. He is still under our tree today!