RISE ABOVE

RISE ABOVE

Gather the family in the family room and share this story with them.

The only bird that dares to peck at an eagle is the crow. He sits on his back and bites his neck. However, the eagle does not respond or fight with the crow; it doesn’t waste time or energy on it! It simply opens its wings and begins to rise higher in the heavens. The higher the flight, the harder it is for the crow to breathe, and then the crow falls due to lack of oxygen. Stop wasting your time with the crows. Just take them to your heights, and they’ll fade. The enemy will sit behind your back and bite your neck… “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Discuss ways they have encountered a pestering crow. It may be through siblings, friends, a hurtful situation, or a lie they believe. Ask, “Why is going higher so important?” Talk through specific ways they can rise above and hold their head up high like an eagle.

In the days ahead, when they are dealing with pesky crows, remind them of this teaching and together ask Jesus how they can SOAR higher in that situation. In a world full of crows… be an eagle.

ANGRY PARENTING

Go beneath the yelling. What is happening inside of you at the time? Anger is a BIG emotion to cover up a softer emotion like being sad, scared, or lonely. If you can ask Holy Spirit to identify the softer emotion, it will help you with being able to address the true heart need. Anger is just a mask that protects your heart and afterward leaves you feeling worse. The sad part is that your real heart and need never get heard because of the mess anger creates. Your heart matters! Give it a voice (not a scream).

HOW TO WIN THE BATTLE

It seemed like my phone was constantly going off with messages from people in the battle. Many of my leader friends were posting to encourage those around them in their battle. A LOT is going on in the spiritual realm. Battle means a sustained fight between large organized armed forces and/or a fight or struggle tenaciously to achieve or resist something. There is a time and place to rest and surrender, and there is a time and place to rise up, stand in your place and engage. If you are feeling that battle, I want to lead you to an exercise on how to do just that. 

First, take what is causing your heart trouble – conflict, disconnection, being misunderstood, injustice, world affairs or current events, finances, etc. Whatever it is, hold it in your hand. Don’t just feel it; identify it. 

Second, you must align your heart with His. The whole purpose of a battle is to defeat something. You are feeling the battle because something has to be defeated. BUT we need to make sure we are on the right side. Sometimes our battle is because something inside of us needs to be defeated, such as partnering with a spirit of fear. I recently went through a massive battle, but there was something inside of me that God wanted to align for my health and increased capacity. So start by asking, “Jesus, what in me do You want to align in this present battle?” 

Third, your battle is the touchpoint where you are called and commissioned (an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people) to be an Ambassador of Christ. In Matthew 6:10, Jesus is teaching us how to pray. It says we are to declare, speak out and usher HEAVEN into a situation. I grew up with a version of the Bible that reads, “May Your Kingdom come soon,” so I was raised with the belief that He is good but that His Kingdom is for later, not now. But if you look at other translations, it says we are to pray, “Heaven COME!” We do not command, dictate, or direct God, but we pray as Jesus did and order His Kingdom to be infused in a situation. This matters deeply because this is where we battle. Perhaps so many people are weary and worn out from the battle because there are no ambassadors of Heaven ushering in His Kingdom into the circumstances. 

Fourth, put your hand on your heart and pray this prayer, “Jesus, thank You for laying down Your life so that I could have a relationship with Your Father and have access to all that is His. I speak to my spirit and say be aligned with His Holy Spirit. I take my eyes off of my battle and circumstances and will rise up as His ambassador on earth. I speak to my situation and say, ‘Heaven come now. May Your will and Kingdom be rulers in this situation.’ In Jesus’ name.” 

Whenever I heard of someone’s battle, I simply said with faith, “Heaven come now into that situation.” Rise up and do your part as His ambassador.

CLEANING UP OUR MESS

When the kids were really little, I would have them say, “I am sorry.” Once they understood that correction/discipline meant they did something to cause harm, I would have them ASK for forgiveness, such as, “I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?” And they had to wait for the reply of the other person. When they were around 4-8, I would have them say what they were sorry for, such as, “I am sorry for hitting your arm.” When they got older, I had them ask for forgiveness and state WHY what they did was not okay, such as, “I am sorry I hit your arm. It is not okay because I used my strength instead of my words.” Now that they are in their teen years, it is common for them to clean up their messes by asking forgiveness and releasing compassion and validation for how their choices have affected others. I am confident my grandchildren will reap the fruit of this because a successful marriage is not built upon perfection but on the ability to clean up one’s mess well.

WHO IS JESUS?

I called a family meeting and told the kids to act like Jesus was in the room and had the love language of words of affirmation. We popcorn-styled, going around and around, calling out the amazing things about Jesus. His character, goodness, faithfulness, the way He loves, is so smart, etc. It stirred up our faith in who He is and anchored us in His ability. So, give it a try today. Tell Jesus who He is.

LET’S ASK JESUS

Ask Jesus to show you a picture of how filled/dried out your heart sponge is right now. Ask Him to fill you to overflowing now.

“Holy Spirit, I invite You to come and fill me with Your peace, presence, and love. Fill my eyes, ears, words I speak to others, words I speak to myself, my nervous system, my muscles, my gut and my emotions. Fill me with Your presence in a tangible way.”

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.

SCREEN SAFETY

Protecting our children from online activity is an important part of raising kids today. There is a calculated and intentional mission to seduce and desensitize children. It is crafty in the way it entices a child. It can also happen by pure innocence. A child confesses to their mom that something really bad popped up on their screen. Mom checks it out and deals with the issue with the child. Mom knows it can’t be there unless something else was clicked on, and Mom discovers in the history that said child got really cold at night, so they typed in “how to be hot in bed”, seeking answers and solutions to her temperature issue. Well, let’s just say she got what she asked for in today’s world. It’s funny, but it’s also a sad and true testimony. Stay ALERT! Know what they are doing on their computers, check them often, keep connection strong and check in!

BLACK & WHITE – PART ONE

I want to share a perspective with you. People often ask me what my highlight of being a part of Azusa Now in LA was. My answer is easy. It was when they showed the video of all the awful things people have done to other humans (school shootings, Holocaust, 9/11, American Indians, etc.) and we began to declare louder and louder, “Father, forgive them! Father, forgive them!” I saw an older African American couple a few rows in front of me, and all I could say was, “I am sorry. I am so so sorry.” They received those healing words with gratitude. It still creates tears in my eyes. It was a highlight for me because the Father was highlighting something to me. I believe God was releasing an anointing to make things right with those who have been hurt.

Fast forward to our first hotel stay when we began our 2-month journey on the road. Every single channel the kids wanted to watch had to do with slavery. As we feasted on this ‘entertainment’ my stomach became sick. I could feel the control, the madness, the loss, the betrayal, the paralyzing fear, the lack of safety, the lack of belonging, the condemnation, and the anger. Humans were treated like animals, only worth their labor and performance, and their hearts were ripped out over and over. Tears poured down my cheeks as I told the kids to turn off the TV. I believe God was awakening this part of our history in me. God has been speaking to me a lot about the spirit of control. We are not wired to be controlled by anyone or anything; rather, we were created to operate out of our free will. It is how He designed us. When we are controlled, especially when it is ongoing, we respond by partnering with a spirit of rejection or a spirit of rebellion. Here we are with the great divide between whites and blacks being highlighted… once again. Could it be that the Lord is allowing pressure so that the heart splinter could be removed once and for all? Could it be that all those years of being controlled by the color of their skin have produced a generational line of rebellion or rejection? Could it be that here we are 100 some years later with a mess we didn’t create but still reaping the fruit of? Could it be that there are strongholds in the atmosphere who enjoy watching humans quarrel based on their skin color? Could it be that while we all have choices, there is a lot more going on in the spiritual realm than we are giving credit to? Could it be that the issue isn’t the color of our skin but more so the doors that have been opened for the enemy to continue to influence? Could it be that the answer isn’t just outward ‘unity’ but more so breaking agreements with the spirit of control, rebellion, and rejection? Could it be that those acting out the rebellion or rejection are actually crying out to be free from the spirit of control that has been in operation in their family line for so long? Could it be that we, white Americans, haven’t yet cleaned up our mess in the spiritual realm our ancestors have made? Could it be that the involvement of police officers is a prophetic statement of the authority we have been given and need to be using, not over humans, but the spiritual realm? 

Could we be a generation that changes the world of so many lives that matter by releasing freedom, acceptance, and belonging over them? I think so!

Be sure to check out PART TWO which will give you steps to take in your own home.

CHARACTER COUNTS

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

PROVE THEM WRONG

Having three teenagers so close in age has created some competition for crossing milestones, such as who will get their driver’s license first. One child came to me in tears, saying they wanted to get theirs first to “prove them wrong.” I asked what she meant, and she shared that the others were poking fun at her, saying she would be a terrible driver and would probably be the first to crash. That did not sit well with me, so I called a family meeting to talk about it. I asked if anyone had made jokes along those lines, and 3 of them raised their hand. I told them that for their ‘joke’ to come true, my car would be damaged, and if my car went out of commission, not only would they lose a chance to drive it, but their world would change significantly without a family car. I began to list all of the ways my car blessed them. I told them that they were prophesying that their sister would not only hurt my car, but chances are another car or, worse, another human being would also be affected. I shared with them the amount of the loan on my car and that I am required to pay for it whether the vehicle is operable or not, and it would be a significant financial hardship to me if that happened. I asked, “Why in the world would you want to ‘prophesy’ hardship, financial ruin, heartbreak, and loss over your family?” They started to catch on. It isn’t funny to make fun of someone else failing so that you can be the first. That is not being a success; that is being a bully. A truly successful person celebrates those around them and champions them to greatness, which goes for siblings.