When you think of persecution, what words come to mind? Fear? Intimidation? Worry? Lack? The apostle Paul was no stranger to the world of being persecuted, and yet he describes it with words like joy, honor, growth, and opportunity. This generation has been introduced to an anti-bullying campaign. While I fully agree, no child should have to endure bullying. My concern is that it has taught this generation to simply raise their hand every time someone so much as bumps into them, expecting someone will come to their rescue and stop their discomfort. This generation needs to have the skill sets to deal with bullying, pressure, and real persecution.

What skill sets are needed?

Identity – You can’t fight a battle properly if you don’t know who you are (or you will be fighting the wrong battle). When words, slander, accusation, and misunderstandings happen, they become events, not defining moments that cripple your worth and value. We say OUCH and respond appropriately without cowering or retaliation. In the days to come, when your child endures challenging moments, and reacts, help them process the truth about who they are despite the events. I have empowered my children to ask, “Jesus, will You please shine Your flashlight in my heart and show me what LIE am I believing right now?” Much of the time, their above-average reaction to the situation was because they believed a lie about who they were. Break up with the lie by declaring, “I confess I have partnered with the lie that _____. I break up with that lie and renounce it (I taught my children that renouncing it was like breaking it over your leg like you would a stick).” Follow up by asking, “Jesus, what is Your truth?” The more you can help them walk through this, the faster they will be to run to Him in their moment of distress. As the kids got used to this, I would begin saying, “Why don’t you go to your room and grab your journal and talk to Jesus,” and they would ask these questions on their own. Now I don’t have to coach them because they WANT to process this with Him of their own accord. Pray for an increased understanding of who you are as a Son and Daughter.

Authority – When we learn our powerful authority in Christ, we learn how to use it in battle to fight the right enemy. We do not have authority over other humans whom God has given a free will to make their own choices, but we do have authority over the spirit realm that operates through a person. If someone makes accusations or slander against you, you can bind the spirit from using your name. If someone attempts to control you through words, you can take authority over the spirit of intimidation. I say something like, “Spirit of intimidation. I see you and do not partner with you. I break any agreement associated with my name.” Moms and dads, you have got to know your own spiritual authority so that you can empower and equip your children. Pursue understanding authority as a family.

Suffering – Yes, I said children need to learn how to suffer well. If we teach our children a life with Christ is all about the platform, fame, and blessings, we are setting them up for real failure. Following Christ means denying ourselves and picking up our Cross. Suffering to a child means not getting the cookie before dinner, having to go to bed when you tell them, or not being able to get that new toy while grocery shopping. To a child, this is a big deal. Our response should be to offer comfort and validation in their suffering, not to relieve them from the pain of suffering. Children who have never had to endure suffering, learn how to manage it and will have an incredibly hard time when real pressure and hardship come down the road. Suffering allows us to have fellowship with a Savior that understands. Talk about this with your family and how Jesus suffered, and when we walk through hard things, Jesus not only understands but we can walk with Him in it.


God seems to be highlighting a particular area, and I want to camp out and create some conversation on the topic of parents’ concern over keeping their children sexually safe. I have ministered to a handful of parents as God is setting them free from fear and moving them to rise up in their God-given authority. We welcome what we FEAR. It is like opening the front door and saying, “Oh, I see you. Come on in.” While that is not our heart, it is the nature of what fear does in the spiritual realm. Fear is not a tool of heaven and will not produce the Kingdom fruit you desire. YES! There are real dangers in today’s world, and there is a full-on demonic assault against our children’s identity and sexual purity. BUT God has answers and solutions to help us equip and protect them. You are on the front lines, and now is not the time to shrink back, surrender or admit defeat. It is time to rise up, get your armor on, and declare that your house will be passed over with the schemes of the enemy.


As I have focused on the Cross over the years, I have been continually struck with not just the physical torment Jesus endured but the emotional. He laid down His life of His own accord so that people do not need to endure hell and could have an intimate relationship with His Father, yet they mock, ridicule, slander, taunt, misjudge and reject Him to His face. My God, my God, how is it that You can be so full of self-control? To watch people treat Your gift, Your beloved Son, like that and not rise to anger and smite them all will forever be beyond me. And yet it is the thing that captivates me the most about who You are. So loving, kind, and patient, and all the while fully aware of what is going on. The story of the Cross is who God is today – full of tender mercy and self-control, yet fully aware of all that is going on.


I am encouraging every parent to STAND IN THE GAP for the voiceless children in our nation who are being used and abused and read out loud Psalms 10. God is not sleeping. His eyes do not close. It is time to take the mask off our mouths and declare that the scales will be tipped. I am on my face weeping on their behalf. Cry out on behalf of the children. Be their voice. Stand in the gap on their behalf. This is God’s battle. We will do our part on our knees. Children, we are battling for you. Heaven, send the angels. God is the God who judges all things.


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.”


The term ‘soaking’ means to simply be still and know that He is God. It means to be still and quiet and focus on Him. Some people like to sit quietly as a family and put on some instrumental music. But it can also be done during bath time, as they fall asleep, or while driving in the car. I love doing it with the kids because it teaches them to go to Him in their time of worry, anxiety, and need because they have experienced His tangible goodness and peace.

Want to introduce soaking to your children? This is a super fun exercise that will help make the concept of soaking in His presence ‘come alive.’ Take a sponge and tell them it represents their heart. Let them touch it and talk about how it feels. There are lots of holes, and it is rather hard, right? Now fill up a bowl of nice, warm water and have them feel it. What does it feel like? Warm and comfortable? Could you just 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 of it. Talk to them about the concept of the sponge dripping with what it was just soaking in. Now lay the sponge on the counter overnight and then check it in the morning. Ask the kids to feel and describe how it feels. What happened to the sponge? Why did it change? What does it need? When we soak in God’s love, we can’t help but drip it onto others. Your children will need to learn how to go to Jesus in their time of stress, need, or trial. Introducing them to Jesus in a tangible way to encounter His peace will be significant in the days to come.


Jesus says in Mark 12:30-31 – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

I once heard someone say, “When you read the Word of God, you should see dark spots in your life.” What they meant is God’s Word is perfect – Jesus was perfect – we are still in a process of being sanctified. It is a maturing process, but the measuring stick should always be His Word. Take an honest assessment of this verse. How are you doing with it? How are each of your children doing? Call a family meeting and share the Word. Talk about ways each person has done a good job of loving God and others, and then talk about ways you can all improve and obey this commandment.


 Many parents ask me what the best resources for raising children in the faith are. While there are a lot of things we can do to nurture their relationship with God, I firmly believe one of the most significant ways to impact them is merely sharing your own journey with them. I often tell the kids what God is doing in my heart, revealing the things He has spoken to me, or how verses have come alive for me. I am taking what is inside of me and getting it out for them to see, hear, and feel. It is one thing to talk about it; it is another to witness and experience it. This is one of the glorious things about family and living with such a deep connection to those around us. If we get hit with something hard, I make sure the children aren’t just seeing the struggle but also the journey of God showing up in the process. Have you shared your childhood stories about life with/without Jesus and how it has impacted you? Have you told them when and how you first met Jesus? Do they know about your recent revelations and encounters? Your journey with Jesus is powerful – share it!


Moms, does your husband work hard at providing for his family? It has been a scary season for many men with the threat of loss of income, changes at work, and business adjustments.

Why not take a moment and teach your children how to celebrate and honor him?

First, gather the kids and talk about how hard Dad works to provide (make a list of how his provision blesses you – heat, food, house, car, treats, toys, clothes). Then, together, come up with a way to throw Dad a ‘thank you for providing’ party. Maybe you want to make him KING for the day? Have a special dinner? Write out cards? Show up at work with lunch? Let the kids contribute to the planning and show honor, gratitude, and appreciation for the man who works hard to provide for his family.


CHARACTER TRAIT: Put other people first.

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IF NOT TAUGHT: Selfishness, disappointment when others don’t meet their demands.

WAYS TO INSTILL THIS INTO A CHILD’S HEART: Look for people to serve at stores, going on an adventure to find someone to help/serve. Have boys open doors for people in public (praise them for being gentlemen). Play a fun game of “No, you go first,” and for the entire time, the child says to others – about who gets the toys, to get in the car, to go through the door, etc. It’s silly, but they have fun learning about putting others first, even in small ways. Play a game of “who wants to be last?” – the last piece of pie is the biggest one, the last one in the car gets a piece of gum, and the last one with the toys gets it the longest (Matthew 20:16).


Do you have an issue with hurtful words (and tones) in your family? Try this teaching exercise.

Teach Proverbs 15:1. Get a really fancy plate at the thrift store. Speak in a soft, gentle tone and explain to the children the dish is like a person’s heart and how careful we need to be with it. When they least expect it say something hurtful in a sharp tone and smash the plate to the ground (this works great in the garage on a tarp). They will be shocked that you just did that. Begin to put the pieces back together again but show them that you can’t. Share with them that once our words are spoken, we can’t take them back, and sometimes we say things in a way that hurts their heart. Another great way to do it is with a tube of toothpaste. Have the kids squeeze it out on wax paper. After a few moments of fun, ask them in a serious tone to put the toothpaste back in the tube. No matter how hard they try, they won’t be able to. Explain that the tube is like their mouth, and we have to be careful what comes out because we can’t put it back in. 

**Obviously, there is always forgiveness, and God is faithful to clean up our mistakes and messes when we ask for help, but this teaching focuses on teaching children to be wise with their words.  In the days ahead, when you hear them speaking to one another in a harsh tone, ask them if they want to deal with the mess their tone will create if they continue. Chances are, if they aren’t able to change, it could be that their tone is revealing a deeper hurt between siblings that need to be addressed.

This lesson was taken from our Character Counts SOAR parenting magazine. If you are interested in more activities, you can purchase your digital copy here: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly