Liberation Through Action

While growing up we always wanted to make our parents proud of us. Do you think Christ is pleased when listening to us speak, holding conversations (with others or internally), or observing our actions? Accomplishing Colossians 3:17 is more difficult than it sounds.

How many times have you caught yourself getting ready to say something that flies in the face of God, or actually said it? Far too often if you’re like me.

Sometimes age engenders degrees of wisdom in various parts of our life. When we are younger, this tends to be an on again, off again process. We get busy running from one thing to the next, trying to meet deadlines, spending time with friends, and raising children. We lose sight of our relationship with God and say and things we later regret.

To this end, I’m practicing eliminating this type of talk with some success and find it liberating.

I’m also practicing weighing my actions before taking action. Not easy, but when accomplished, it is definitely satisfying.

Care to join me? It’s more than an exercise. It’s establishing your life in Christ.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Image and Scripture – youVersion, Bible.com

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The Power of Thanksgiving and Prayer

The last post focused on Prayer, Praise, and Worship. We learned that giving thanks is part of prayer. This Post is an elaboration on the Power of Prayer and Thanksgiving.

Paul wrote Philippians 4:6 to let us know that our requests are made known to God. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Paul also shared

If praying was easy, everyone would be doing it. It is important to understand that the war between God and the evil one often takes place in our minds. When I was younger, I thought the battle was in the physical realm, and often it is, but the center of anything that happens in this world originates in the mind of world leaders, governmental officials, family members, friends, associates, bosses, villains, and you. We find ourselves at war in our minds. As believer’s we initially stand fast in pray, unwavering in the Word when our lives are going well, and at odds with ourselves when the prayer is not answered as quickly as we wanted. We begin to question God, we entered the war where the voice of doubt speaks out. This doubt, this darkness, is the stronghold of the evil one. His weapons are the attitudes of wrong thinking, of pride, and carnal thinking in general. They are designed to strip us of our blessings and throw us into sin.

So, what does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Everything! When we pray in faith, we stay in faith. God sends down blessings when we pray. If we pray and doubt, they cancel each other out.  Have you ever prayed and believed, and saw your blessing only to see it deferred? Think back, when did you begin doubting that God has control and started questioning yourself saying (self-talk) maybe God is not going to answer, maybe He did not give me direction, maybe it was just me. It was not you, it was the evil one that is speaking doubt to rob you of your blessings. The key is distinguishing between the Lord’s voice and that of the evil one. One of my favorite scriptures reads –

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27. We must learn His voice, and His voice is the Word which is the sword of the Spirit and part of the Armor of God to protect us against the evil one.

Yesterday we learned that praising the Lord as a way of thanking Him for all He has and will do for us. It is how we petition in praise and acknowledge that He is our Father and will answer us. Giving praise or thanks is how we express acknowledgment and appreciation of Him, His grace, blessings and sovereign work in our lives, and the world. But it is not easy, in fact, it is a battle. 

Most of us have experienced difficulty when praying and giving thanks, especially in times of anxiety. But, as we pray through, we become less anxious because we are letting our requests be made known to God so that He is glorified when answering them.  After our blessing, we should give Him more praise and thanksgiving for answering our prayer.

Now back to our children. We often read Bible Stories with young children and share the Word with older ones, but how often do we dissect the scripture to explain how to apply it in their lives? Young people are smart. If we explain to our youth that praise and thanksgiving are a way to acknowledge our Lord, and through praise and thanksgiving a relationship and bond is established between the Lord and them, most would become avid practitioners of praise and thanksgiving. They would begin to understand the formula we have been given to pray and receive God’s blessings. 

In general, people do not understand their relationship with God in real-time. They feel that the Bible was about people during its time of writing and does not pertain to us today. How wrong can we be? Our children deserve training to become Young Christian Warriors. His Words are our sword, part of the Armor of God.  Praying back His Word to Him and thanking Him for all He has done provides a sense of calm, diminishes anxiety, and protects from the world.

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I just listened to John Hagee, Scriptures on Healing at https://youtu.be/9qxfyyYDF58.

Take a listen, he is one of the worlds most dynamic healers. John is the founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas. Website – www.jhm.org

God Urges the ‘Why’ in Children

It seems children continuously ask ‘why’ and are always questioning life. Asking questions like, why should I do it, why shouldn’t I do that, why is the earth round, why is this the only way to solve the problem and on and on and on. Have you ever asked why them they always ask, why? I believe children were not born believing that there are limitations to what they can do. God gives children the ‘why.’ Gods inspiration is designed to ask for the impossible. I recently saw a poster which read, God’s Power Takes Us BEYOND our impossibilities.Picture of girl holding a sign that says why?

Imagine, ‘beyond’ our impossibilities. Ephesian 3:20 (NET) translate the scripture as, “Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think…” The NLT translation reads, Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Our children may not know the scripture, but they intrinsically are aware that we place limitations on our lives. They see the possibility, and we see the impossible. We limit their imagination by confining them to think within the realm of what we feel is reasonable.

This type of thinking worked in the world of 19th-century widgets, but in the 20th -century of virtual worlds, the ‘why’ has become all important. To usher in the brave new world educators have advanced a new national curriculum called the Common Core. The primary purpose of this strategy is to create an environment of questioning, postulating the ‘what if,’ and the ‘why’ of a thing. They want to capture the ‘why’ children pose every day and formulate learning around their adventurous minds.

God is the original adventurous thinker, he is the source; He created the world and introduced the ability to go beyond through the power and might of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. He is the one who is at work in our lives, He is the one who plants ideas in our minds, and He is the one who has given us the ability to ask, ‘why.’ God works beyond what we might ‘ask’ or ‘think’ about new possibilities. It is God who has this ability, not us. He will do ‘above’ what we ask or think. The principle is that God can do more for us than we can conceive. He offers us the ‘power’ to live beyond what we can imagine or believe. Raising our children to become Young Christian Warriors allows the to imagine and expend the impossible.

Boy pondering 'why'He gives us the power to live beyond our perceived limitations. The fact is children do not sublimate the worldview adults adopted. As a principal, I was the head of a school where hundreds of young people spent much of their day learning. I found looking out of their eyes was refreshing and cast an HTML brilliance on the world. Positing ‘why’ is not a sarcastic response but a query. God has given them the gift of questioning, and God himself goes beyond their questioning to formulate an answer and result.

We should not discourage our children, but instead, teach them the scriptures and let them know that the Holy Spirit, who lives in each of us, is speaking and acting through us. He is operating beyond our capacity to question and understand. He is making the impossible available, and through our relationship with him, will speak through them and make them the ‘apple of his eye.’

(Scriptures from the Holy Bible app)

Children Expect God’s Blessings and Favor

Jesus with children of the World

As a former principal, I found that our children did not expect God’s blessings and favor in their lives. They were victims of self-talk. Early on in life, they became what their self-talk said they were. They were defined by what others told them they were. It was during this time that I discovered and tested my theory. When children reported to my office, I would ask them why they were acting the way they did. Most would start verbalizing the negative self-talk. I would hold several meetings with them to change their negative self-talk into positive self-talk. I’d use the Fruit of the Spirit as the essence of who they are. Over time the children would begin to see themselves differently, and their self-talk would change, which led to a change in behavior.

Diverse Children

When I spoke with the children doing well scholastically  and socially, about their self-narrative, I found their parents reinforced a positive self-narrative from birth. To be clear, not all of the students were Christians, so their self-talk may have differed a bit, but none-the-less, it created a positive self-talk narrative for the children. Their self-talk would say, I am smart, I am strong, I am kind, I am honest, I am trustworthy, I make good grades, I am friendly and so on.

Since the world helps define us, we must counter it by instilling the Word of God in our children’s lives. Our self-talk defines our expectations; our children should expect God’s blessings and favor.

Jesus said, bring the little children to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them as much as you (adults). (Mark 10:14 NIV) We self-talk as many as 30,000 times a day. Self-talk is a type of meditation. Joshua 1:8 says, keep the words of the Bible on your lips, meditate on it day and night.It is important that we learn to fill ourselves with the right thoughts of blessings and favor and meditate on what the Word says about us. The thoughts that work for the good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). Right thoughts are the messages we tell ourselves every day. Our children should tell themselves that they are children of God and are important and valuable to him. Their self-talk should reiterate the Fruit of the Spirit (see September posts), stating that they are good, kind, loving, strong, honest, trustworthy, patient, gentle, have self-control, are at peace, joyful, smart, thoughtful, have integrity, and are successful, If we do not edify our children, the world will reinforce self-talk that focuses on worrying thoughts, putting themselves down, saying they are stupid, clumsy, ugly, dumb, unloved, not worthy, less than, second best, and worthless.

Christ in the midst of people

Self-talk helps build our self-esteem, something so many children do not have in these times of bullying, alienation, and doubt. Negative self-talk can lead to low self-esteem, lack of confidence and perhaps depression.  Positive self-talk of blessings and favor is a form of encouragement. Biblically, we can say that positive self-talk is from the Lord, and negative self-talk is from the evil one, who is here to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). What we hear about ourselves from others is what we internalize and therefore what we create as our self-talk narrative.

Internal conversations can go on forever. Negative self-talk is very destructive and can derail a person from their God-given purpose in life. It is during the early years of life that the self-narrative begins. We can create our children’s self-narrative defined by God or allow the evil one to define our children’s self-narrative and allow him to destroy who they are in Christ.

“from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 3:14-15)

Expecting Gods blessings and favor are gifts that we acquire through an understanding of the word and how God defines who we are in Christ. As we read the scriptures to our children and teach them how to apply the word to their daily lives they begin to self-talk using the words God uses to describe them. When someone tells our children they are stupid, ignorant or dumb, their self-talk will say, I am of sound mind. When someone tells them they are babies because they are afraid to steal the candy in the store, their self-talk will say, I am honest and trustworthy. When someone says you are slow, they will say, I am patient. When they say you are worthless, their self-talk will say, I am thoughtful, I am confident, I have self-control.

We self-talk at least 30,000 times a day, what do you want your children’s self-talk to say? Our children should have a Godly self-narrative to lead them through life. They should expect blessings and favor.art work of children

 

 

 

 

Children Navigate Difficult Times

Looking back on your childhood did you ever wish your parents shared how God’s word helps navigate through life’s difficulties as a child, a tween, a teen, a young adult and today?

Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV says, You shall teach them (commandments) to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Did your parents share the commandments as practical steps to govern your life? The Bible is a overcomes guide. It teaches how to overcome difficulties, obstacles, hurt, bitterness and strife. We begin to encounter challenges during our childhood, and the way we respond to them begins to take form in our early years. If you teach your children the word, it will live in their heart.

Psalm 119:11 says – I have hidden your word in my heart.

Think, if Gods word is hidden in our hearts, how did it get there? We received them through study and application. When should we begin studying and applying the word as part of daily living? If we do not help our children hold the word in their hearts, when they are tested they will often find that they have no resources to navigate through the dangers of life. 

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