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

Children Model After Christ

Jesus and a childChildren that model their lives after Christ, their Father in Heaven, are strong warriors. Do you recall being able to single out a few students that you respected at school, or in your neighborhood? These students championed their God-given purpose, though they may not have understood it at that time. They fixed their thoughts on truth, honesty, respect, love for others, and moral excellence. The children you respected as a child, stood out as if they were a beacon. Many were the class leaders, and others were the quiet, respectful children sitting in the middle of the room almost invisible, but both types possessed something others recognized in them but did not know how to acquire themselves, it was elusive.

Our purpose as parents is to nourish our children’s desire to become Young Christian Warriors. Christ provides a clear way to meet this goal. The world also offers a way, though the moral compass may not always point north, and is not ‘the way’. Teaching our children is the core of what Christian parents should do to help their children become Young Christian Warriors, and receive the respect they deserve. Our children must spend time daily learning the Word and practicing the characteristics and virtues identified in the Bible.Girls Helping

This study focuses on two scriptures that our children should learn to become the leaders God has defined them to become. These two scriptures also explain why adults should treat children with the respect God expects them to receive.  Teaching our children Christ-like behavior will build them up to become respectful leaders.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

God stores treasures in us before we are born. Some are able to use them with little instruction or effort, others need guidance; all children deserve to be respected for who they are in Christ, regardless of age, we are all under construction and strive to do better, none is perfect, except Christ.

Paul wrote:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

My granddaughter often queries why adults do not listen to children as if they are non-persons until they reach adulthood. She believes that God speaks to children just like he speaks to adults and, children can discern just like adults. I believe there is truth to her thought. I have held conversations with children the caused me to query, who is inside this child. Children are thinkers, and children that are believers think like God. They demonstrate Philippians 4:8 and 1 Timothy 4:12 through their walk and interactions with others. Some, like my granddaughter, refuse to cut corners to complete an assignment, they will not skim the story when the instructions clearly stated to read the entire story before answering the questions, they stand by the child that is feeling sad or hurt, hold the door for adults, turn in items found on the playground, watch how they communicate with others, act in faith, and love their neighbor.Three boys

Are my granddaughter and other children perfect? No. They are children and will mature as they travel the developmental stages of childhood. The difference is their moral compass points to the north, so while they may veer from the path of righteousness, they know the difference between right and wrong. When they join friends (see September 25th Post, Ask Your Children, Who is a Friend?) or try things that are questionable, they will feel the tugging and hear the quiet voice that says STOP, this is not the path I have chosen for you.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
        Two little boys doing school work         Clip Art fallen groceries     Young boy serving an elder
Steps
    1. Teach them the two scriptures, one at a time
    2. Discuss the scriptures throughout the week and how they relate to your child’s day-to-day activities
    3. Every day ask them how they applied these scriptures throughout the day and to give examples
    4. Celebrate that they are becoming Young Christian Warriors

“Sound doctrine is not only right believing, but is right behavior.” The Complete Companion for Spirit-Filled Bible Study by Jack Hayford, General Editor, 1995. Our youth should not be looked down upon because they are young, they deserve respect as children of God, growing in his likeness.

two girls      Father, Mother and Children         A boy on crutches       Children working together

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. 

Continue reading “Children Navigate Difficult Times”

Children – Protected By Angels

Angel standing over two children

Angels protect our children. They keep them from harm’s way. Guardian angels belong to God and he assigned them to us. Our children have guardian angels to look over them and so do we. They exist to help us. We are in a time when we must acknowledge their presence and learn to communicate with them. http://angels-angelology.com/what-angels-do-for-us

“For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”  Luke 4:10-11 NIV

Angels are messengers of God’s grace and have special characteristics and abilities that enable them to communicate with humans. Angels can see the face of God and they bring to us and share with us the richness of their understanding of the beauties, perfections, and remarkable attributes of God. These gifts are shared with us in our daily lives. http://angels-angelology.com/what-angels-do-for-us

Winter Angel scene

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;” Psalm 91:11 NIV

While there are many different angles in heaven, this post focuses on Guardian Angels. Why Guardian Angels, because these are the angels that protect our children from harm. Imagine your children are now wearing the whole armor of God, and are also protected by guardian angels and Archangels like Michael who are at their side in time of trouble. Angels help us in critical times in our life. God commands them to protect our children.

So, here we are today, we’ve taught our children how to dress in the Whole Armor of God every morning during family prayer time. They leave the house knowing that they have their armor on. If you did not see this lesson, look in the September Archives section at the bottom of the page.  They are learning practical applications of scripture and are becoming aware of who they are in Christ. Their awareness becomes established as a daily process over time. But God has so much more to offer us. We have and must teach them to acknowledge their angels as part of their armor and peace of God.

““See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”Matthew 18:10 NIV

Guardian Angels protect us in during our daily activities. They guard us against harm.  Our angels are another level of protection.  While the angels communicate with God, they look over us. 

“He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Matthew 4:6 NIV

As we continue to empower our children through the word of God which are his scriptures, we must reinforce who to call on God, how to apply his word in their daily lives and how to acknowledge that they were assigned an angel at birth and the angel will stay with them through their life on earth.  The angels protect our children and are a gift from God.

Share the importance of memorizing these scriptures with your children. Let them know that God provides them with gifts to help them navigate through life as Young Christian Warriors. Their angels have a purpose and that purpose is to protect them and guide them through challenging times.

There is comfort in knowing that their angels will remain with them and will never leave them. They can visualize their armor on and their angel by their side as they go through their daily activities.

Prayer for Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

St. Francis Assisi

Our children look to us for guidance and direction. We are their template for adulthood. We should all try to become a template for peace. When times are difficult, they should see the resilience of God present in all that we do and say.

The previous posts provide lessons to help our children become Young Christian Warriors. This post serves to strengthen us as God’s children. We live in a chaotic time. Our nation is going through a traumatic period, and the outcome will define who we are as a Nation. This poem speaks to the virtues we need to embrace to overcome. We are God’s people and should not be swayed by the violent rhetoric that decimates our ears. St. Francis of Assisi lived in the fifteen century. The words he penned are as valid today as five centuries ago.

This lesson is as much for us as it is for our children. We are their template.