A sweet friend who I have known and loved for over 20 years sent me a private message telling me that one of my posts did not bring her peace. My first thought was that I should remove the post out of love for her, as I would never want to be responsible for increasing someone’s fear. But it didn’t sit right with me. I held onto it for a few hours waiting for direction from the Lord. Finally, I heard Him say, “Peace is an inside job,” and I marinated in that truth all day. While we are to test all things according to His Word, the truth is someone’s post, the news, circumstances, and hard trials do not have to rob us of our peace. This is a spiritual muscle that many have been tested in lately. Are you keeping your peace, guarding it at all costs? Flex your muscle that says, “I am unmoved by anything other than the hand of God and remain anchored to His perfect peace!”
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.
God is looking for families who will take Him at His word. He says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Who are the people willing to march forth with this command?! If God commands us to do something, all of heaven backs us up. I challenge you today to equip your children and together take back ground in your home, community, city, and nation over the spirit of fear. We say NO to the fear that binds, robs, steals, kills, destroys, and the lie that says God is not in control or able. How do we do that? First, ask, “Jesus, will You please highlight any area where I have allowed fear to speak, rule, or influence me?” Deal with it by breaking up with it and declaring His truth. Second, release His power and love everywhere you go. Have you ever experienced walking by someone who just exhaled their cigarette, and the smoke goes into the atmosphere? That is what fear is in the spiritual realm. Someone partnered with it and released it. When others walk by, they are affected by the spirit. That is why so many people report feeling uneasy at the store, watching the news, or on social media. Way too many people are exhaling fear. I am not a victim to fear or someone else’s choices. I am a child of God with a calling on my life to release His Kingdom everywhere I go (and if you are a born-again believer, this is your calling too). When I pass someone who I sense is bound up emotionally or spiritually, I utter a prayer under my breath for them to encounter the love of the Father. When I sense fear, I say, “Fear, I see you, and you are exposed. I release you to go and invite peace to come in Jesus’ name.” When I walk into an atmosphere of anxiety, I say, “Peace come now.” When the kids get swirly out of nowhere, I ask them, “What are you feeling in your tummy right now?” They can call it out quickly when I ask that question. Oftentimes it is a feeling of not being safe. So we then release protection in Jesus’ name. When we witness someone having an angry outburst, we pray under our breath that they feel seen, secure, and loved.
Jesus says GO! Go forth in confidence that He has called you to be the change to the world around you. Say NO to fear and YES to exhaling His power and love everywhere you go. Who are the people willing to take God at His word?
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
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.
Some other great options for soaking are:
As you listen, let His peace wash over you.
How many of you could use some increased peace in your homes? The enemy cannot create anything. He takes what God has already created and twists and perverts it into something that brings hardship and harm. Anything that comes from him is a counterfeit to the real and original design. But there is one thing he can not counterfeit: peace. Anytime we experience, embrace, acknowledge, or receive His presence, we feel peace because peace is His presence.
Teach the children – This is a super fun exercise with children that will help make the concept click for them. Take a sponge and tell them it represents their heart. There are lots of holes and they are somewhat hard, right? Now fill up a bowl of warm water and have them feel it. What does it feel like? Warm and comfortable? Could you 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. Talk to them about the concept of the sponge dripping with what it was just soaking in. Lay the sponge on the counter overnight and check it in the morning. Ask the kids to feel it now and describe how it feels. This is the term ‘soaking.’ It simply means to be still and know He is God. God’s presence is like a warm blanket wrapped around us; He always wants to embrace us. You might even want to role-play using a big comfy blanket. Make it fun and enjoyable for the children to learn about Him. A young boy in my first mentoring class did this with his mom, and a week later, he was struggling with a bad attitude. When his mom addressed his attitude, his response was that his heart was drying out and he needed to spend time with Jesus, so he did just that. I encourage you to spend some intentional time doing this as a family. Gather around the family room, turn off the lights and be still.
Rest is not being inactive. Rest is the position of our heart after we have released something over to God and left it in His care. We cease taking matters into our own hands and operating in self-sufficiency. We hand over the transaction to Him, and at that moment, we are in restful confidence He can act on our behalf. We rest in the assurance that He is able, capable, mighty, willing, powerful, and active in our lives. Simply put, spiritual orphans can NOT find rest because the world’s weight is on them to self-provide, self-protect, self-defend, and self-secure. But as Sons and Daughters, we have a Father who is alive and well and wants to help us. Have you ever sat on an aircraft and watched people attempt to put their luggage in the overhead compartment? They struggle to lift the weight of their carry-on above their head while juggling their coffee, trying hard not to hit the person in front of them. Along comes a flight attendant in full confidence in their ability to help lighten the load and get them situated. Have you ever watched a child struggle to tie their shoes or fasten their pant button? They get frustrated easily with their lack of ability. A loving parent comes alongside them and, with ease, eagerly helps them. The Father is like the flight attendant wanting to carry your load. The Father is like a loving parent wanting to help in your time of need. Rest is not simply doing nothing. Rest is releasing your burdens for Him to do something.
HeartWork: “Jesus, I surrender and hand to You my burden of _____.”
God speaks to us in various ways, but one powerful way He speaks to His children is through peace.
Peace – a sense of liquid peace comes over you like a warm blanket. Do you know that God is peace? Pure, 100% peace that doesn’t match your physical, on-earth circumstances. When we sit quietly and invite His presence, we can often feel it in the form of peace washing over us. What does a loving Father do when His children are upset? Begin giving instruction? NO! A loving Father would scoop them up, hold them close to His chest, and embrace their tiny bodies. He is communicating love, protection, safety, and security in His embrace. Sometimes we want God to tell us this and that, and sometimes He just wants to wrap us in His presence, and out of that, He leads us where we need to be. This is truly ‘entering the place of rest’ that so few believers learn to enjoy. We want to squirm or ‘do’ instead of just resting while He holds us.
Think about what life would be like if you went mute and had to try to teach, train, and love your children without words. Seriously, think about how many times a day you use your words to guide your children, teach and train them, encourage them, cheer them on, and help them. How often do you use your words to lavish love all over them and tell them how precious and beautiful they are to you? Now ponder how often you let your Father speak to you a day.