Discerning the spirit or atmosphere is not the same as being judgemental. However, someone immature in that gift will feel like they are being judgemental. The enemy will attempt to shut it down through condemnation and whispers of accusation. “You are sooooo judgemental.” When you have eyes that see something, ask Jesus, “Jesus, is this from within me or around me?” If it is within you, deal with it as a character issue of judgment or a critical spirit. If it is around you, then you are operating in the GIFT of discerning things, and that is something God wants you to grow in learning how to use that gift. He doesn’t allow you to see or feel something to crush you. He is inviting you to partner with what He wants to do through you in the world around you.
GIFT OF DISCERNMENT
A great tool for teaching children their authority is to take a spray bottle and catch them off guard by spraying them. Teach them that, like a sneeze, we are always releasing something into the atmosphere. When we throw a tantrum at the store, we aren’t just doing that to Mom but to everyone around us. When we hit our siblings, we are releasing that into the atmosphere. When you are kind, that gets released, too. As you teach, keep surprising them with sudden sprays that fall onto their skin. We release those things into the atmosphere when we release God’s love, respect, honor, kindness, joy, etc. Which one do they want to release? Since my kids have a grid for this now, all I have to say is, “Hey guys, what do you think just got released into the atmosphere?”
Now practice it in the days to come. Before going into a store, ask everyone how they are feeling. I call it “check your gut.” After being in the store for ten minutes, ask the kids how their gut feels now. Oftentimes a child will say, “uncomfortable,” “afraid,” or “not okay.” This is their way of saying something is going on in the atmosphere around them. Teach them it is not coming from IN them, but around them. Someone else ‘sprayed’ that into the atmosphere. We can grow in asking God what He wants us to do.
We can teach children to take the spiritual temperature of a room and then release the opposite. There is power in the name of Jesus that shifts things in the atmosphere everywhere we go!!
As my children wrote their Christmas lists, I began to think of the gifts I wanted to give them. God had been highlighting to me that the gift of discernment is going to be essential in the days to come. It is just that – a gift. We don’t earn it, but we can ask for it. The Word says many will fall away because they could not discern (tell the difference between) what is not of the Lord. They will embrace what feels or sounds right, even though it is from the wrong kingdom. They will fail to walk in discernment. God does not look at the outward but rather at the heart. The gift of discernment is the pair of eyeglasses that helps us to see what He sees. The antichrist spirit will, at times, look, sound, and feel so close to the real thing but must be discerned as a counterfeit. Parents, go after asking for an increased measure of discernment for each of your family members.
HOW TO TEACH DISCERNMENT – Go to the local craft store and purchase a fake apple, lemon, or banana. Then purchase from the grocery store one that looks similar. Call a family meeting and blindfold the kids. Make it fun and silly. Set before them each fruit and ask them to feel them. Which one should they eat? Move the fruit away from them across the room and have them take off their blindfold. Now ask them which one will nourish their bodies. Bring them to your children and liken the gift of discernment to that game. God will tell us deep inside of us what is true and what is fake. What is holy and what is unholy. What is right and what is wrong. What is from our Father and what is from the father of lies. Spend some time praying for an increased gift of discernment for each family member.
In the days ahead, practice discerning things as a family. **Increase exercises in “Let’s ask Jesus.” **Ask, “What is Holy Spirit showing you about that?” **Check your gut – how are you feeling? Then walk into a store or new atmosphere and check your gut again – how are you feeling? We can discern the atmosphere by paying attention to what it feels like. I was fine in the car, but I felt afraid and worried as soon as we walked into this store. Discernment lets you know it isn’t you but the atmosphere.
If you are having waves of stress from all the uncertainties in the world, can you imagine how children feel? JOY is essential in this hour!!!!!
I believe this statement includes our children on the playground, in the classroom and with friends!
“As Christians we should be the best atmosphere shifters on the planet.”
Picture walking into a friend’s house who just had a big fight with her husband. Now picture walking into a friend’s house who just got engaged. Both homes would carry an atmosphere – one would be uptight and anxious and the other full of joy. You would FEEL it before you knew the circumstances. In both situations, the atmosphere you feel is NOT YOU, but the events that just occurred. Many are feeling the ATMOSPHERE of dread, worry, anxiety, fear, and frustration, but that does not mean it is YOU. I often say to my children, “That is coming ON you. It is not coming from WITHIN you.” Why is this important? Because we can allow the atmosphere of the world to become ours when we partner with it, OR you can choose not to. Yes, we are in very uncertain times, but the weight of the world is not on you to carry. You can keep your peace, joy, and clarity even in the midst of the storm. Take a deep breath. You are going to be okay. You have what it takes to overcome. You can do this. Peace is a choice.
How many of you have had some unpretty moments of your mouth releasing things that you later regretted? YEP! I know because many parents have confessed this to me. I want to share something if this is you. There is so much gossip, hatred, wickedness, strife, offense, and slander being released IN the atmosphere.
Picture it like a spray bottle or someone sneezing. If you were to walk by as the water droplets were being released, the water would get on you, and you would now be wet. The water is not coming from WITHIN you; it is coming ON you.
In this hour, there is a real temptation to partner with the venting and releasing. Sadly, children often get the brunt of it. I need not tell many of you how powerful the atmosphere has been. You are called by your Father to use that tongue of yours to declare LIFE, PEACE, TRUTH, and FREEDOM. If the kingdom of darkness is felt, I can assure you how much more powerful the Kingdom of God is to change the atmosphere.
As God was showing this to me, I sensed Him reveal that many have used such sharp words that have caused you to move behind guilt and shame. This is the strategy of the enemy to cripple and render you powerless in this hour. If this is you and you have sinned with your speech and anger, REPENT – go low – confess it to God – make it right with the hearts you have hurt, and then use that tongue of yours to speak life, peace, truth, and freedom. Open your mouth again, and do not allow yourself to be sidelined because you came UNDER something that is not you.
Oh my goodness. I went to Walmart with my daughter, and we laughed and smiled as we walked inside. I had a mental note of how much joy I was feeling at that moment. We grabbed a cart and took off for our items. I began to feel something, and it was starting to affect me physically, like a deep pit in my stomach. I noticed the empty shelves where cleaning supplies and wipes were supposed to be stocked. It was an eerie feeling. I walked away and felt gripped with a strong feeling. I finally stopped and asked my daughter to check her gut and tell me what she was sensing, and she said, “Oh, Mom. It feels scary, like we aren’t going to be okay.” I asked her if she believed that, and she said NO but was feeling it strongly. We realized it was not us but the atmosphere. We left and renounced the feeling of dread and fear and released peace.
Parents, please be sensitive to your child. It may not be a character issue if they have random outbursts, but simply feeling the atmosphere of fear around them. Ask Holy Spirit if it is time for correction or to pull them in close and assure them Jesus is in control.
If you have a child who can ‘flip like a switch’ out of nowhere, it could be that they are very sensitive to the atmospheres around them. I was this way as a child, and it brought about a lot of conflict because no one, including myself, understood why I could be perfectly fine one moment and angry or filled with anxiety the next. In my mind, nothing was bothering me, but it was like something had come over me. Once I realized I was coming into an atmosphere of ‘stuff,’ I began to learn how to take authority over it and flip it.
There is the natural realm – all things on earth. There is the heavenly realm – all things in heaven. There is also the unseen spiritual realm that operates between the two. Have you ever walked into a room or house and felt so much love? Have you ever gone somewhere, and fear met you at the door? Someone is releasing that into the atmosphere, and you are coming into that presence. Sometimes children walk into an atmosphere and react as if it is coming from them. Those most sensitive to feeling atmospheres are often described as ‘flip of a switch’ since they can be fine one moment and a ball of emotions the next. Chances are, they walked into the atmosphere. The sensitivity to atmospheres is generally a sign they have the gift of discernment, but until one understands how to use it, they often feel like they are tossed against the waves of atmospheres all around them. I often stop and ask, “What are you feeling in the atmosphere right now?” They never cease to amaze me at how strongly they feel JUNK! We simply take authority over it. We do this with certain people, in a new situation, over their classrooms, at Wal-Mart, after an interaction with a rude person, at a restaurant, etc. I am training them to first discern the atmosphere and then second to use their authority over it.
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!