Are you aware we are not battling flesh and blood but something in the spirit realm? If you are a born-again believer, then you are enlisted to fight. But like any battle, the weapons you use are vital to your success. The wrong weapon in battle makes you vulnerable. The right weapon not only protects and covers you but aids in advancement.
WE ARE AT WAR – CAN YOU FEEL IT?
- Atmospheres, This Is War
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.
Caught with your hands in the cookie jar. This phrase means being unable to resist forbidden temptations. You are told not to take any more cookies from the jar, but you can’t resist and help yourself. Crawl into this story with me. Let’s say your brother was caught stealing, and your parents were dealing with it. Their response was firm and strong because this wasn’t his first time stealing. A first-time offense is always handled differently than someone who is a repeat offender. It is hard to witness someone being dealt with for their sin. When this happens in your house, you do not want to be found holding onto your sin of stealing. Imagine what it would feel like to hear your parents discipline your brother, knowing you were guilty of the same thing. The parent’s heart is not to PUNISH their son, but to help correct him as his sin will not go well with him, lead to a fruitful life or attract favor and blessings. No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11.
GOD IS EXPOSING SEXUAL SIN. Not only is He exposing it, but He is also moving powerfully, and no one can hide behind their bank account, fame, popularity, or power. When God deals with sin, we want to make sure we are not caught with our hands in the cookie jar. There are many in the body of Christ struggling with sexual sin. This is for men, women, and children. I firmly believe these issues are rooted in a greater unmet need or unresolved heart splinter, and just like the woman caught in adultery, Jesus cares deeply about the root (the why), not just the behavior. However, this is a wake-up call for those in the body – do not be caught with your hand in the cookie jar of sexual sin. God is bringing into the light what has been kept in the dark about sexual sin. We see this on a global, corporate, and high-end level. While many of us are shocked at the stories coming out, God knew about them all along. Nothing has been hidden from Him. He is allowing the covers to be pulled back and for the nakedness of sin to be revealed. Not because He is an angry Father on the warpath to punish, but because sin will not profit you, allow you to become the full expression of who you were meant to be, and enjoy the relationships around you the way He designed. Sin steals, kills, and destroys; that is not His heart for you. When God decides it is time to respond to a certain sin, we do not want to be found on the side of unrighteousness.
If this is you, I encourage you to repent and get the help you need to overcome this sin that entangles many believers. If you have participated in or are engaging in any of the following: **emotional affair, **pornography, **adultery, **R-rated movies that are explicit, **allowing children to view sexual scenes in movies, **fantasizing, **sex outside of marriage, **unbroken soul ties from previous sexual sin, **repeat images on your mind from sexual sin, it is time to make this right and confess this to the Lord. You do not need to be beaten down by this sin anymore. Christ gave His life with you in mind, and there is nothing that isn’t covered by His blood.
Confess – tell Him what you did wrong.
Repent – turn from it and move in the opposite direction.
Restore – ask Him to restore what was lost, stolen, or broken because of sin.
For adults, we want to make sure we SHUT THE DOOR to sexual sin, but for children, we want to teach them how NOT TO OPEN THE DOOR in the first place. We do this by: teaching them about their body – including proper names, revealing the truth about God-designed sex and relationships (in layers and stages based on age appropriateness), not allowing R-rated movies to ‘educate’ them, putting boundaries around their sexuality (no man, woman, or child is allowed to look, touch, or take pictures – nor are they to look, touch, or take pictures of others), empowering them with the word NO when it comes to sexual safety, teaching them that secrets are not acceptable (surprises are, secrets are not), having connection be a core value of your home.
The power of pornography is removed in intentional healthy relationships and is often a root of a vacancy in relationships. For those entangled, I want you to know there IS freedom and hope. I have seen men get free from addiction. I have seen God reveal demonic sexual spirits behind the addiction stemming from sexual abuse in the family. I have seen women get free from the inability to engage in sexual relations with their husbands stemming from sexual legalism. I have seen secrets kept from entire generations come into the light. I have seen affairs end. I have seen countless people living twisted sexual lifestyles become sons and daughters. I have seen people in such sexual bondage they thought suicide was their only ticket to freedom become unchained. I have seen it all and give testimony that whatever you are battling, there is freedom waiting for YOU! It is time to clean the house of sexual sin.
Take a tiny pinch of coffee grounds and spread them over the kitchen floor. Invite your children to join you in the kitchen and ask them to help you find the coffee grounds on the floor. “Hey guys, I dropped my coffee grounds. Can you help me find them?” It won’t be easy to find them all spread out. Then ask them to close their eyes and quickly dump a visual amount on the ground. This time ask them to pick up the coffee grounds… but one little grain at a time. Spend a few moments attempting to do this impossible task. You might want to lie down on your tummy and get serious, “One, two, three. Sarah, how many did you get? Four, five?” When they lament that it is impossible, take a broom and sweep up the coffee. Sit the kids down and talk about the kitchen floor representing the whole wide world – there are no separate regions or countries – just one big piece of land. Explain that the tiny grain of coffee represents sin in the world. What is sin? Sin is anything we do that goes against what God has planned for us. Sin is when we break God’s household rules. He isn’t mad at us when we sin, but it makes Him sad because He designed us to be loved, blessed, protected, and full of joy, and sin robs us of that. Help them see that God knows every grain of coffee, even those they couldn’t find or see with their eyes. Explain to them that there are many coffee grounds (sin) in the world right now for others to see. Every family will have a different grid regarding what your children know about the world’s affairs, but you can filter it through the coffee grounds analogy when they see, hear or feel things.
Example: You are driving and see vandalism, graffiti, or broken windows. Mom – “That is sad that someone broke that window.” Child – “Who broke it?” Mom – “I don’t know.” Child – “If you don’t know who broke it, how can the police arrest them?” Mom – “Remember the grains of coffee on the kitchen floor? Breaking things is a sin; even if he gets away with it and never gets caught by the police, God saw it, and God knows.”
Example: The kids see or hear something on the news and ask you about it. You can give them human wisdom and intellectual understanding or anchor them to the truth that God sees, knows, and is aware. A GREAT response is, “Wow, that is a great question. I have some thoughts, but let’s ask Jesus what He thinks.” I did this once about something I was so assured of the response, and He showed me something different, which created a powerful family discussion.
The God who sees, hears, and knows all has made Himself available to us through Jesus to come and talk to Him – ASK HIM! Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Bitter Cup – We want to help our children understand that we ALL sin. Each of us has a grain of coffee (sin) with our name on it. Make some strong coffee and let your children take a sip. None of us are blameless before Him. Share something you did recently that was a sin. Ask them to remember something they did. Explain that sin is like strong coffee that tastes bitter. HERE IS THE KEY: While we ALL sin, God has given us provision for how to clean it up. How? By confessing (whoops – Jesus, I blew it) and by asking for HIS forgiveness (He took the spanking for us on the Cross). When we do that, He removes the grain of coffee with our name on it.
In the days ahead, when they violate your household rules, you can lovingly remind them of the bitter coffee and say, “Sweetheart, when you _____, it was a sin. Do you want to hold onto that bitter cup or come give it to Jesus?”
Cream & Sugar – He does not want us to pour some cream and sugar on the coffee (sin) to make it taste better. Sin is bitter, and He wants to remove it from us. Teach your children that when they sin and cover it up, keep it a secret, blame someone else or deny it; it is like pouring a pound of sugar in the coffee cup. You can do this as a visual for the children. Instead, He wants us to offer up the coffee cup to Him and hand it over, never to drink from it again.
Injustice of No Discipline – Organically speaking, sin does not feel good. When we fail to discipline our children, we rob them of a way out of their sins, which only teaches them to ignore the guilt. By addressing sin, even at a young age, we allow them to make it right and remove the guilt. Guilt that is piled up can lead to shame. God knows we have flesh and live in a fallen world and has not left us in condemnation. Confessing sin is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and the opportunity to make it right with God and others.
Sin is bitter. Forgiveness is sweet. It’s time to brew some coffee!
The Cross is the answer to EVERYTHING! One would never go before a judge and ask for leniency, favor, or judgments against an offending party if they had $1,000 of unpaid parking tickets. You get your affairs in order FIRST before asking for help, favor, and intervention. Approaching God with a pure heart is much more effective than coming to Him offended, full of bitterness and anger.
LITTLE FOXES – Sometimes, amidst our daily routines, we pick up little foxes along the way. They are subtle but evident. You know, the little things like getting easily annoyed, a sharp tone, not lending a hand, quick tempers, and a lack of basic respect. I saw it in my family too, so I grabbed the kids, and we read about the unforgiving slave in Matthew 18:21-35 and talked about the Father’s heart for forgiveness. We then took out our journals and asked Jesus to highlight any (and all) offenses we were holding onto for each person, myself included. An hour later, we found ourselves wanting to hear how we have hurt each other’s hearts. We canceled the debts the person owed us, handed each person over to Jesus to deal with any character or heart issue (that was powerful), and then we declared the truth over each family member! It was a major spiritual detox, and each of us felt like the heaviness lifted.
SPIRITUAL DETOX – Detoxing our body helps flush out the bad build-up that bogs down our health. Sometimes we need to do a spiritual detox to rid ourselves of the things we have been holding onto that affect our spiritual health, connections, and joy. Does your family need a spiritual detox?
Video – Family Detox – YouTube
In the days leading up to the day I wrote this lesson, I was attacked endlessly. At the eleventh hour, I took some time in my room. All I could do was lie on my bed feeling all alone, completely consumed, and like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a pit. Ever been there? I eventually reached a dangerously low place in the pit and realized if I did not fight my way out, I might not get out. I knew from experience that this was never a good place to be. So, I texted a handful of prayer warriors I knew who would bombard the heavenlies on my behalf. I called a friend with whom I could be real and messy. I talked to my mentor and bared it all to her. Then, the revelation breakthrough came: I HAVE AUTHORITY OVER THIS! That which kills, steals, and destroys will always be around me, but within me is the ability to release that which brings life, joy, and blessings!
However, the key to releasing it is a VERB! We must ‘do’ something about the situations around us, not in the natural but in the spiritual realm. Old, religious, spiritual mindsets disempower us by saying we can only allow ourselves to be in ‘clean environments.’ Things that are spiritually unclean, messy, or different aren’t fit for the godly. To believe these lies is to deny Jesus’ ministry on earth. The true sons of the Kingdom of God know who they are and aren’t afraid to release heaven in the areas that need Him the most. Another spiritual mindset that renders us powerless believes that God isn’t big enough, and if He wanted something done or changed, He would do it Himself. To believe this is to deny Jesus’ words on earth! He said He has all the authority and then commissioned US to go out and do ‘greater works’ than He did. Jesus never sat by passively saying, “I guess Daddy doesn’t feel like raising you, Lazarus. Sorry.” No, Jesus got His Father’s perspective, and then Jesus DID IT! He then passed that baton onto us. This is where the Kingdom gets exciting!
We were on a ministry trip and my son could not shake his attitude. After days of it wearing us all down, I sent him to retire early that night. I heard him crying in his bed and went to him. He began to say, “Mom, I am so angry, but I don’t know why.” At that moment, I knew what was going on. A well-known Christian leader said earlier that day that they could barely sleep at night because of all of the anger in the church (over a particular issue). I led him through a prayer to take authority over the anger and to release the opposite (peace, unity, clarity), and instantly his little body shifted. 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 conflicts 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.
When the virus broke out, people freaked emotionally, and it was confusing to so many people why they ‘couldn’t handle it.’ Their minds told them it was not that big of a deal, but their emotions told them otherwise. I kept telling people, “The reason why this is affecting you so much is not because of the virus but because you are FEELING THE SPIRIT BEHIND IT.” So many things have come out in the past months, and I just want to zoom in on the fact many of you were feeling in the spirit but did not know it. It was overwhelming to you because, yes, you were feeling it, but it was NOT you. It was the atmosphere. This is a spiritual muscle to be strengthened. For those of you who felt ‘something’ intensely, take a moment and thank God for allowing you to feel in the spirit realm. Second, ask Him to increase the gift of DISCERNING what you are feeling. God does not allow us to feel things just to overwhelm us. He allows us to feel it SO THAT we can partner with Him and be agents of heaven on earth in the midst of it. More than ever, this is the hour to walk in discernment.
Ever have those days where you feel hit from all sides and yet do not know why? Ever feel like a python squeezes you to the point you can’t breathe? Or feel like you are in a war without a name? There is the natural realm with our flesh – all things on earth. There is the heavenly realm which is all things in heaven. But there is the spiritual realm that operates between the two. Satan is the ruler of the spiritual realm. (Adam was, but he gave the keys to Satan in the garden). There is more to what we see and hear. There is an atmosphere of things unseen all around us. Have you ever felt so much love in a room or house? Someone is releasing that into the atmosphere, and you are coming into that presence. Have you ever gone somewhere and fear met you at the door? Again, it is an atmosphere that has been released. Jesus has authority over everything (Matt 28:18), and we can change the atmosphere in His name. How do we do this? By discerning what is being released (and not assuming it is just you) and releasing the opposite spirit. Let me say it this way: tell hell to go in Jesus’ name. Invite heaven to come. In today’s age, much fear and doom are being released by people’s words, the news, social media, etc. I have been on active alert to loosen the spirit of fear that is behind it and command it to go. I have been aware that my declarations of hope, life, and peace are crucial in this hour for my own spiritual health and those around me.
Years ago, I felt attacked relentlessly, and it was intense. All I could do was lie on my bed feeling all alone, completely consumed, and like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a pit. Ever been there? I eventually reached a dangerously low place in the pit and realized if I did not fight my way out, I might not get out. I knew from experience that this was never a good place to be. I texted a handful of prayer warriors who I knew would bombard the heavenlies on my behalf. I called a friend with whom I could be real and messy. I talked to my mentor and bared all with her. Then, the revelation breakthrough came: I HAVE AUTHORITY OVER THIS! A few days later, I was watching the news and heard of a major story that confirmed what I was feeling/sensing that day. I realized at that moment that I was feeling it for a reason. I became hungry not only to discern what I was sensing in the atmosphere but to be an active participant in releasing heaven in those situations. What you speak, declare, and pray is powerful and has the power to change situations, circumstances, and outcomes. Proverbs 18:21, James 5:16, Matthew 28:18.
HeartWork – Let’s walk this out. Sit quietly for a moment and take a few breaths. What are you feeling/sensing? Fear? Peace? Joy? Strife? Confusion? Comfort? Love? Discern whether what you are feeling is in heaven. Will we experience that in heaven? If not, then you have authority over it. Searching for a Scripture that backs up His truth can be helpful. Say you were feeling anxious and are led to Philippians 4:6. You can declare, “Anxiety, I loosen you to go now in Jesus’ name. You may not speak to my emotions. I invite Holy Spirit to fill me with His power and love.”
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.”
How many of your children, especially younger ones, are having unusual meltdowns and not wanting to be away from you? While this can be rooted in many things, including normal development, I am hearing so many parents reporting this issue, and I think it has more to do with the effects of C-19. First, there is so much in the atmosphere. While we are getting stronger and more resilient, I sometimes walk into a store and feel so gripped with anxiety (which is not coming from me). I leave and feel better. This is being released from others. Those in charge of your children (teachers, friends, in-laws, sitters, church, etc.) are releasing their emotions, and children can pick up on it. Keep going after walking in authority over the fear and releasing peace. Second, children hear that C-19 causes death and their minds naturally worry if that will happen to them or their parents. When you have to leave, assure them you are okay, that you will return, and they are safe. When a child has a meltdown, they only need TWO things – compassion and validation. CV medicine, as I like to call it. Then after they feel safe again and are calmed back down, talk about ways to empower them and increase their capacity to handle it differently the next time.