LET’S ASK JESUS

LET’S ASK JESUS

God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. “Jesus, will You show me a picture of how much YOU love me?”

Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or 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 hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.

SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT

I recently talked with a mom and her young adult daughter about sex and how she navigated through life, making solid choices in a world that screams otherwise. She credited it to this – she was taught sex isn’t something you *shouldn’t* do, but something you *should* protect and value. It wasn’t a ‘thou shall not,’ but rather an ‘I want to protect.’ It was a game changer for her. Sexual empowerment looks like choices and helping children see the value in making healthy choices to protect what is most sacred vs. dictating and demanding they follow a rule to govern themselves.

WHICH KINGDOM ARE YOU USHERING IN?

The Kingdom of GOD is righteousness, peace, and joy. I can still remember when the eyes of my heart first understood this verse, which was mind-blowing. 

Righteousness – the quality of being morally right or justifiable. Peace – freedom from disturbance; tranquility. Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. 

Here are the OPPOSITE meanings of the words. 

Righteousness – wickedness/lawlessness. Peace – noise/irritation/conflict. Joy – misery/tribulation/despair. 

Which kingdom are you ushering in? If others partner with lawlessness, noise, conflict, misery, and wickedness, the only way to bring the Kingdom of God is to partner with and release RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, AND JOY! 

Righteousness – doing what is right even when no one else is looking, walking in the fruit of the Spirit, and not repaying evil. 

Peace – being in His presence through worship, prayer, and soaking in His Word so that we release what is saturated inside of us – declaring peace to hostile situations. 

Joy – Coming out from under the orphan spirit and aligning our thoughts with the FAVOR He gives us. Having dance parties, singing in the rain, and choosing to be joyful. 

Deuteronomy 30:19 – “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Which kingdom are you ushering in? 

COURTS OF HEAVEN TESTIMONY (SIBLING CONFLICT)

Like most families, we have our share of sibling issues, but something about it has always sat funny with me. It was like I could feel something working against them but could never put my finger on it. Their tones and attitudes toward each other don’t reflect the gift that they have been given. I called a family meeting and had them close their eyes. I told them we were not asking Jesus this time, nor did I want the right answer. I wanted an answer that reflected their heart. I asked them to give me thumbs up or thumbs down if they would feel something in their heart if they walked into a room and saw me in it. Everyone gave thumbs up. I asked them how their heart would feel if they saw their sister, a few thumbs halfway and one thumb down. I asked about each person, and their answers broke my heart. I was thankful for their honesty, but it pierced my heart deeply. I had them close their eyes again and asked them to give me thumbs up or down if, when they walked into a room with their peers, they felt awkward and like they didn’t belong. Each of them sheepishly put their thumb halfway or all the way down, almost surprised they were exposed to this truth of their heart. I would say all my kids are popular in that they are well-known and liked by adults and peers, yet their sense of belonging was under attack because of how they were functioning as a family. Children get their sense of belonging from siblings, not Mom and Dad. If we tolerate negative sibling connections and bullies in the living room, we are setting them up to feel isolated even amongst a crowd. I brought out the whiteboard and began to draw out our family line and how each generation has been influenced and affected by rejection. To the best of my knowledge, it started with my illegitimate great, great, great aunt who was fed rejection daily by those who called themselves family. After that, each generation hosted profound rejection between mother and child with favoritism towards one another.

I mapped out that my children will get married and have kids roughly in 2030. Their children will have children in approximately 2060, and their grandchildren will be around in 2090. Just like our ancestors of 100 years ago have affected their generational bloodline, so will they until the year 3000 – what a sobering thought. Our choices today affect future generations. We have been given a gift of life, family, and knowing Christ’s redemptive work and are called to steward it well in our lifetime. It was time to break it once and for all! We began to work as a family on our court case regarding the lack of sibling love. We argued that it violated God’s command to love each other and did not glorify His name to have such disunity. We searched for verses that backed up our case and took time to stand before Jesus, asking for forgiveness for the way we have partnered with the generation curse and allowed it to bear bad fruit. I had the children move to the same side of the room as if it were a real courtroom and had them repeat after me the court case before the Judge who judges all things. It was super powerful for all of us. One of the children heard the Judge’s gavel hit the bench, and with that, we rested our case. We put on worship music and sat in His presence together as a family. I encountered a flood of emotions as I felt the release of the conflict and was filled with His redeeming grace. Instantly I noticed a difference in the way they treated each other.

DON’T/DO

This is a great way to teach and train young children. When you need to instruct/correct them, instead of staying where you are and calling out to them, STOP what you are doing, go to them, and get down on their level. Place your hands out and tell them to put their hands on yours. You are not forcing them, grabbing their hands, or controlling them. You are giving them the command (as many times as it takes) to put their hands on yours. Then you instruct them to look into your eyes. If they remove their hands or lose eye contact, in a gentle but firm voice, instruct them to put their hands/eyes back on you. When they have achieved that, you give them your short command of what you want. “Mommy wants you to come to the table,” “Mommy wants you to put your clothes away,” “Mommy wants you to pick up your toy.” It is important that they follow up with a “Yes/Okay, Mom.” The purpose for that is when kids come into agreement by verbally saying “Yes/Okay,” something happens in their brain where they accept ownership. The key to using this tool is to speak to them in a gentle but firm way. It does not work well when the parent is angry or controlling, nor does it work well when the parent caves if the child does not respond right away. Few people enjoy being disrespected, and it can feel very frustrating when children ignore us. If, as the parent, you feel frustrated at their lack of listening, I encourage you all the more to go after this. Good character does not come with age; it comes with intentional parenting. Stay in the game and help your child overcome their weakness. Give them tools to grow in their capacity. This requires extra effort from you upfront, but you will reap the JOY of a child who responds to your voice.

HIS KINGDOM

The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy, yet one of the biggest reasons why Sunday school leaders have a hard time finding volunteers is because adults are uncomfortable with JOY. Teach parents how to be restored to joy, and they will be drawn to those who carry child-like joy!

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Parents often feel pressure to lead their children spiritually. While there is a mandate to train and raise our children, I think sometimes we put too much focus on the HOW. My greatest tool for leading my children is to simply stay hungry myself and share with them what God is doing in my life. Every morning we would meet in the family room at 7 to check in, talk about our day, evening schedule, and it is my time to feed their spirits before they go out in the world. I was camped out in John 10 and came across this line, “My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one shall snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else, so no one can kidnap them from me. I and the Father are one.” I highlighted to them that they could never be kidnapped from Jesus. They can never be taken away from Him. That simple line and 2-minute family devotion taught them a lot about who their Father is and placed a wall of security around them as they went out the door.

ORPHAN VS. SON/DAUGHTER

Nothing causes more hurt in families and the church than believers operating as spiritual orphans.

#1. The orphan spirit operates out of insecurity and jealousy. The spirit of sonship functions out of love and acceptance.

#2. The orphan spirit is jealous of the success of his brothers. The mature son is committed to the success of his brothers.

#3. The orphan spirit serves God to earn the Father’s love. The mature son serves God out of a sense of divine acceptance and favor.

#4. The orphan spirit tries to medicate its deep, internal alienation through physical stimulation. The mature son walks in the joy and presence of the Lord for comfort.

#5. The orphan spirit is driven by the need for success. The Spirit leads the mature son into his calling and mission.

#6. The orphan spirit uses people as objects to fulfill goals. Mature sons serve people to bless the Kingdom.

#7. The orphan spirit repels children. The spirit of sonship attracts children.

#8. The orphan spirit has anger and fits of rage. The spirit of sonship rests in the Father’s ability to control and guide the future.

#9. The orphan spirit is always in competition with others. The spirit of sonship is always blessing others.

#10. The orphan spirit lacks self-esteem. The spirit of sonship walks in the love and acceptance of Father God.

#11. The orphan spirit receives its primary identity through material possessions, physical appearance, and activities. The spirit of sonship is grounded in sonship and the Father’s affirmation.

For the areas you see the orphan spirit still at work, ask Father God to encounter you with His love and truth! For the areas you have experienced someone else’s orphanness, pray for them to receive God’s love.

EASTER STORY

I was asked to put on an Easter event at our church long before I had my own children. We wrote out a little booklet telling the Easter story and had the kids find a colored egg that went with the page of the story. They had to open the egg and see how the object inside correlated with the story. We hosted over 1,000 families that day, which was a huge hit. I have since hosted many Easter parties telling children of the GOOD NEWS.

May your family enjoy this interactive story of our RISEN KING! Gather the following items, put them in a designated colored egg, and hide them around the house (I have added some additional suggestions that you may have on hand). The child has to find that colored egg, bring it to you to read the Scripture relating to that part of the Easter story.

EASTER STORY PIECES:

Light green – Palm branch (small leaf, pine tree branch).

Dark Pink – Communion cup (insert note inside that says ‘see table’ and put grape juice on the table). 

Dark orange – Nickel.

Light Blue – Crown (twig, rose thorn).

Light purple – Dice.

Dark blue – Nail. 

Light yellow – something black (felt, construction paper, or drawing with a black marker). 

Dark green – Gauze (cotton ball, cloth). 

Light Orange – Stone (rock). 

Dark Yellow – Empty.

Light pink – Keys (car/house key).

Dark purple – Cross.

LET’S ASK JESUS

Call to your mind when your firstborn baby was born, and you held them in your arms for the first time. Visit that memory for a bit.

Then ask, “Jesus, will You show me a picture of how BIG Your Father is in relation to the baby?Now picture YOU as that little newborn baby.

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

PEACEKEEPER

Do you have a child who is a PEACEKEEPER? Those that avoid conflict at all costs and run into the other room when tensions mount? While peacekeepers are made in His image, it is super important to help them learn how to process the conflict other than just dislike it and pretend it is not there. Ignoring is not the tool of Heaven. Many kiddos are having a hard time in this season of so much chaos in the atmosphere. They have felt the conflict and yet don’t fully understand it. I encourage you to praise them for their desire for peace and validate that the presence of God is PEACE, but that sometimes we feel the opposite and can be used as agents of peace. Give them some additional tools: they can talk about their feelings, draw them out, act them out, release peace, dance, write a letter, journal, and go do sports. We want to empower their natural bent for peace without forcing them to bury their heads in the sand and walk in fake peace.