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Daily Devo- New Year, New Beginnings

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The new year has finally arrived and many of us are hoping for a better year then 2020. The new year seems to be the time people choose to make an effort to change something in their life. New year resolutions for things like weight loss, to stop smoking, eating healthier, to exercise and so on.

However most of these new years resolutions do not make it passed a week or so. This is likely because people are trying to make these changes within their own will power; which rarely ever works. The Bible tells us that without God we can do nothing, but with God we will bear much fruit. With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

John 15:5-7 NKJV

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

This year I want to encourage each of you to make changes that will last. Make changes that will bear great fruit and lead you to a deeper connection with God.

The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior that we become new creations in Him. The old passes away and all things are made new. In God we get a fresh start, a blank slate, and new beginnings.

Are you ready for a new year– new you?

God is waiting for you. Change is inevitable; the changes could be bad or good. However, even the bad changes have purpose in our life; they help us to grow and mold us into who we are.

Change is meant to polish you to make you shine brighter

When we make the ultimate, radical change and choose life over death, committing our lives to God and His kingdom we are made new in His image. His word tells us to forget the old things and focus on what God is doing in our life currently. Explaining that He can make ways when there seems to be no way.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 NKJV

18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

Change can be scary and uncomfortable when we are going through it, however God reminds us that His plans are for us are good and prosperous; they are meant to give us hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Often times when we choose to hand our life over to God; to renew our minds and save ourselves from our own sinful destruction; we will notice we will lose things from our former self. Things such as friends, family members, habits, and more, but God promises that He will replace these things with something far better.

The story of Job is a perfect example of this. He lost his health, his wealth, and all of his children died, but he kept his faith in God. Guess what?!? When the trial was over God blessed Job with far more than he had before.

Job 42:12 NKJV

12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys.

This year make the ultimate change and commit your life to God. If you seek Him above all else, He will guide your path and bless your life.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

Matthew 6:33 NKJV

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your safety and protection throughout last year. Lord, although 2020 was full of uncertainties there is still a lot to be thankful for and I am truly blessed by Your mighty hand.

Lord a new year is upon us which means new obstacles, new trials, and many many new blessings. I pray that as we kick off the new year that as a nation we would dedicate our lives and future to You. That we would relay solely on Your guidance, direction, and protection. I pray as we walk through each day we would live a bold and courageous life for You.

I pray those that are lost would seek You and commit their lives to You; accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I pray that You would remind us that change is not always easy but it is necessary to live a fulfilling and prosperous life. I pray that Your will be done in each of our lives in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- Examine Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Our hearts are fragile and unfortunately pain is not something anyone can escape. At some point or another in your life, you will experience broken relationships. This is a direct effect from living in a broken world that is full of sin.

People who have been diagnosed with serious heart conditions need to change their unhealthy habits to help improve their overall heart health. Those that are diagnosed with ‘hardening or blockage or the arteries’ have recurring heart examinations with their doctors.

Just as a person with a heart problem diagnosed by a medical professional has to monitor their condition and identify any potential problematic areas, so should we on a spiritual level.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our heart that everything in life flows from it.

Think about that for a moment– EVERYTHING flows from it.

That means the good, the bad, the bitter, the joy, the pride and selfishness, and the love or hatred that comes out through our actions and words. To live a truly joyful and blessed life– we need to intentionally examine our hearts (with God’s help) to identify any areas in which we need to grow and change.

Lamentations 3:40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;

Examine your heart and pray– ask God to show you the areas in which need attention. Ask Him for discernment with your actions and words, that He would expose to you when you are reacting out of the flesh and not according to His will.

Psalm 26:2 NIV Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

Take a look at these 8 potentially problematic areas in our hearts when examining our spiritual health

  1. Pride: Do I focus on how much I’ve been wronged? Do I have a problem admitting my faults?
  2. Faultfinding: Do I rehearse the faults of others in my life?
  3. Avoidance: Do I avoid being around people with whom I have conflict?
  4. Silence: Do I shut down and refuse to speak about my problems or feelings in a healthy way?
  5. Isolation: Do I withdraw from those around me emotionally?
  6. Unfaithfulness: Do I worry and fret of circumstances outside of my control?
  7. Hopelessness: Do I lack faith that God can and will work out my situation?
  8. Resentment/Bitterness: Do I hold on to my anger and hurt until it turns into resentment or bitterness towards the one who the conflict is with?

The heart examination only works if you are truthful with yourself and God about your feelings and results from ‘your exam’. Finding problematic areas in your heart does not mean you are a bad person or even that God is displeased with you. The condition of our heart and circumstances never surprise God– nor change His love for us.

True freedom and happiness in Christ comes when we acknowledge our problematic areas and seek to change them. Pulling each bad habit, thought, or opposition to God’s Word and will out by its roots and planting new healthy habits; creating new root systems based on His word.

Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Father for giving Your direction and help throughout every day of our lives. Lord, it is because of You and You alone that I am able to share Your love and truth with others. These words are not mine but Yours and I pray that all the glory be brought to Your kingdom. Lord I confess that I have not put much thought into my heart health on a spiritual level, forgive me God, for I only want to please You. Help me to search my heart Lord and expose to me problematic areas. Show me where I am lacking and help me to seek and understand Your truth and will. Lord, I pray You will guard my heart and give me discernment and peace, so that I will not hold on to hurt or anger and allow it to take root in my life. I pray for Your strength to help me to change from the inside out; owning my faults, and seeking to make each right according to Your will. In Jesus mighty name I pray
Amen

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Breaking Chains and Healing Trauma

We all experience events in life that are less than ideal. However, some events that people experience the pain and hurt goes much deeper than just the surface. Likely, we have all known someone that has been through a horrible loss or survived a difficult situation. When an event is so terrible that the pain and hurt cuts deep into our souls this is what counselor’s call trauma. Those who have had traumatic events happen in their life need help healing the wounds it caused. When healing is not sought after or completed for those that experienced the trauma– they are likely to grow up and damage others, including their own families.

There are two types of trauma– invasion trauma and abandonment trauma.

Invasion trauma is something that did happen to a person and caused damage.

Abandonment trauma is when something did NOT happen to a person that creates damage. (feeling unloved, not protected, or nurtured)

Both affect the four aspects of people’s lives: emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual.

Invasion Trauma

  • Emotional Invasion- when people feel criticized, shamed, or blamed verbally or nonverbally. It occurs when people are talked out of their feelings–‘Big girls don’t cry’ or ‘Christians don’t feel that way’. It can also occur when an adult authority figure reverses roles leaving the child to be a caregiver instead of receiving.
  • Physical Invasion- when someone is abused physically. This type of invasion can cause permanent physical damage. The emotional affect of this can also be experienced if someone lives in a home in which someone else is being physically abused.
  • Sexual Invasion- is when a person is touched or penetrated in sexual areas outside of a mutual relationship or marriage. This is a broad description as a person having consensual sex outside of God’s Plan can have traumatizing effects as well. This type of invasion can also occur if someone is teased or criticized about their bodies..
  • Spiritual Invasion- when a person is led to believe they are unworthy of God’s love and grace, even if well intended it could result in shame that many people can’t seem to shake.

Abandonment Trauma

  • Emotional abandonment- occurs when love, attention, care, nurture, and affirmation are not given. Resulting in loneliness.
  • Physical abandonment- happens when a person’s needs for food, shelter, and clothing are not met. People who do not receive positive ‘touch’- cuddles and hugs- can form what is called ‘touch deprivation’ Another form can happen when people do not receive the needed information for healthy physical self- care.
  • Sexual abandonment- occurs when parents or other responsible adults do not teach their children about healthy sexuality, not having the correct information can lead to devastating results.
  • Spiritual abandonment- occurs when healthy spiritual teachings are not available to children.

Sometimes in life the above categories can overlap. Damage in one part of a persons life can carry over to other areas, depending on the situation that caused the damage.

Effects of Trauma

Unhealed trauma can lead to symptoms like anxiety, depression, panic disorders, anger, loneliness, attachment disorders, and addictions of all kinds. Panic, anxiety, flashbacks, and anger sometimes are classified as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Trauma survivors can cope in a variety of ways- regardless if the trauma is remembered or not. Some may subconsciously seek to repeat the trauma in their adult lives, in attempt to have a different outcome. Some will create relationships with people who treat them poorly or some go the opposite way, and avoid and person or group of people who trigger their past memories of the trauma.

Healing Trauma

Trauma survivors need a number of things to recover from the trauma experienced

  • to have an education on the nature of the trauma- sometimes denial will need to be faced
  • need to have someone to listen that is comforting, accepting, and non-judgmental- someone that believes them and offers them hope of healing
  • need help in expressing their anger about their trauma- anger with the perpetrator and possibly God too. Education on how a loving God would allow trauma to happen could be helpful.
  • assistance on how to grieve the losses that the trauma has caused in their life
  • to understand that they did not deserve what happened to them and that they certainly did NOT cause it
  • assistance on developing boundaries so that the will not be further harmed in old, new, or existing relationships
  • to see the positive strengths that resulted from the trauma endured and the healing process
  • to find a way to forgive (the ultimate spiritual victory)- forgive the perpetrator, forgive themselves, and ask God to forgive them both

What the Bible says about trauma

Being a Christian does not guarantee you a pain free life. Sometimes our faith exposes us to difficulties and struggles we would not otherwise have been through. Here are a few note worthy things to know about life’s traumas:

  • Suffering is not always a punishment. God does allow people to suffer the consequences for their sinful choices, but that does not mean that every time we suffer it is because we are being punished. God uses suffering to strengthen us– to give us knowledge and life experience so that we can empathize with others– to shake us up when we are stagnant or losing our way– and sometimes God uses suffering to build our trust in Him.

    Psalm 46:1-11

46 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge

  • The key is to realize God does NOT leave us when we are suffering.

    Psalm 34:18
    The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
  • God will reward us for the suffering that we endure for His sake

    Matthew 5:10
    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • God will heal you and bind up your wounds.

    Psalm 147:2-3
    The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
    He heals the brokenhearted
    And binds up their wounds.

    Psalm 107:20
    20 He sent His word and healed them,
    And delivered them from their destructions.
  • God adopts us into His family- we are never truly alone

    Psalm 27:10
    10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
    Then the Lord will take care of me.
  • God will direct our paths, if we trust in Him and not our own ways.

    Proverbs 3:5-8
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own understanding;
    In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He shall direct your paths.
    Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    Fear the Lord and depart from evil
    It will be health to your flesh,
    And strength to your bones.

True healing and trust in God comes when we can look at our trauma from a different perspective. Learning to ask what can I learn or how can I grow from this instead of asking why me.

God does not always remove us from the traumatic situation but He does always help us through. He is our strength, when we are weak; He is near to the brokenhearted; and He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we trust in Him, He will heal us and deliver us from our shame, our guilt, and all other fleshly feelings that bind us.

Seek His truth and a relationship with Him and He will set you free!

Notes from Mark Laaser on healing the wounds that bind you

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your safety and protection throughout all difficulties that we face in life. Lord I pray that each person who reads this and has experienced trauma and it has had a lasting effect on the their life, would find freedom and hope in this message. Forgive me for running from You and blaming You instead of trusting in You and seeking Your guidance. Lord I pray You would work in each of their lives and bring peace through You so that they will glorify Your kingdom. Touch each heart and be their strength to seek healing in You. Lord, I pray that each person would find forgiveness in their hearts for themselves and those who have hurt them. I pray that you would give them discernment in their thoughts and feelings, that they would know who they are in You and not fall prey to the lies of Satan. I pray every chain from the trauma in life that has bound us would be broke in the name of Jesus. Lord, teach us how to trust in You, guide our steps, and help us to not lean on our own understanding, but seek healing and answers through you. It is in Jesus name I pray

Amen

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Daily Devo- Trust Fall

When I was a child in elementary school our school had a program called, ‘Challenge Ed’. Challenge education is a complex synthesis of a variety of therapeutic, educational, recreational, rehabilitative, and enrichment strategies. It was one of the best parts of every year.

We would take a field trip to a place that was set up in an obstacle coarse style. Each station had a goal to achieve as a class or individually. Each station was designed to help strengthen different strategies for approaching and solving tough obstacles.

One of the main lessons I remember that was consistently practiced and a lot of emphasis was given to is the trust fall. For those of you who may not know what the trust fall exercise is– let me explain.

It was a safety exercise that each person had to complete before each station was attempted.

The students were broke into groups of two– one as a spotter– one as the ‘faller’. The idea was to build trust with our classmates and learn that we all need someone reliable to catch us if we fall. The exercise went like this:

Faller asks: Spotter ready?

Spotter says: Ready.

Faller asks: Ready to fall?

Spotter says: Fall.

Faller says: Falling.

Then the faller– with arms crossed on their chest– falls back. The spotter is behind and catches the faller as they begin to fall back and help them stand back up. After that, the faller and spotter switch positions and the challenge repeats.

Once the trust fall challenge was complete– each student took their turn at attempting to complete the obstacle. The one completing the obstacle was the ‘faller’ in the trust fall example. Each spotter than surrounded the obstacle and would encourage and assist the faller in navigating their way through the obstacle– warning before missteps, and nearby to catch them if they fall.

The trust fall we did in elementary school reminds me a lot about the reality of life and the need we have for a spotter (a Savior) on a daily basis.

We navigate our way through life’s obstacles daily– some are easy– while others are rather difficult. Navigating through day to day life is a lot like navigating through a new challenge on the obstacle course– we are going to misstep, slip, or even fall off and have to start over.

The importance lies in our safety net– who or what is your ‘spotter’. When you slip, misstep, or fall off the wagon completely in your daily life– who is there to catch you? It is called a ‘trust fall’ are you putting your trust into unreliable people or things?

The Call of Wisdom

Proverbs 1:20-21 NKJV

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:

The Excellence of Wisdom

Proverbs 8:1-4 NKJV

Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.

The Way of Folly

Proverbs 9:3-15 NKJV

13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.
14 For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
15 To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:

Hearts inclined to God hear wisdom. Hearts with little depth and no desire for God hear folly (lack of good sense; foolishness).

The tongue contains the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21) A good ‘spotter’ in life will always speak life and wisdom with the power of their tongue. The Bible tells us wise words bring healing (Proverbs 12:18), and a soft answers turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up strife. (Proverbs 15:1)

Choosing the Ultimate Spotter

We can choose a spotter that is of the world– people like friends, family, spouses– and they may be a ‘good safety net’ 50 percent of the time. Meaning half of the time or more– when you misstep or fall– there will be no one there to catch you and stand you back upright.

People fail us because we are human. We make choices daily that have an affect on us one way or another. Having a solid, unfailing safety net that works 100 percent of the time is essential.

So, who is the ultimate spotter- who is the one that we can trust to catch us 100 percent of the time when we fall- and the only one who is perfect- full of wisdom and speaks no folly. Who is the one who will guide you’re every step if you are diligently practicing the trust fall challenge?

Jesus- our one and only true Savior in this world.

Seeking wisdom through His word and exercising your faith- diligently practicing the trust fall challenge.

We are the ‘faller’- He is the ‘spotter’.

We ask Jesus, are You ready?

Jesus says to us: He is always ready.

We ask: are you ready to catch me when I step out in faith?

Jesus says: Step- I will catch you when you fall.

We say: I have stepped out in faith- and I am falling.

Jesus calmly, not phased, or surprised by our misstep– simply set’s us back up and encourages us to step again.

I have heard it said like this before:

It does not matter how many times you fall or misstep- what matters is that you get back up again.

Having the ultimate spotter- Jesus- with each step you take will ensure you have the support and encouragement to rise again.

Fall down seven times- stand up eight.

Proverbs 24:16 NKJV

For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity
Note: (calamity is an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster)

I encourage you today to evaluate your trust fall. Where does your trust lie- with people or things-or with God?

If you are not consulting God or putting your trust into Him- you will likely face an obstacle in life that knocks you down and you will struggle to get back up again. Leaving you feeling hopeless, helpless, and stuck.

I am writing this to tell you that you do NOT have to stay stuck in a rut. God will be your rope of hope that lifts you out of deep trenches and calmly sets you back on your feet to try again.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being a God that we can trust. Thank you for being near to us and ready to catch us anytime we misstep or fall. I am thankful you are a God of encouragement and understanding- you take our missteps and use them for good for Your kingdom. Forgive me God, for putting my trust into the wrong things. Forgive me for not turning to you to lift me up and set my feet back upon Your rock of truth. I pray each person who reads this would hear the message You are trying to teach us. I pray each of us would evaluate who we have as our spotter for life’s daily trust fall challenge. I pray that each person’s eyes, ears, and hearts are opened and inclined to hear Your word. I pray that the voices of those who speak folly would be silenced as we seek to rise again in You. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- Imagination

Imagination is define as the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. There are three classifications of imagination– things we should not imagine– things we can not imagine– and things we should imagine.

Luke 1:51 NKJV
He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

Things we SHOULD NOT imagine:

  • Things evil in nature
  • Worrisome thoughts
  • Fearful thoughts
  • Lustful or perverted thoughts

Did you know?

Worry is a misuse of our imagination and it also activates fear.

Somethings we CANNOT imagine:

  • Heaven
  • Plans God has in store for us
  • Blessings
  • Miracles

Did you know?

Some people do not believe in Heaven, because they can not imagine it.

Things we SHOULD imagine:

To possess and exercise a healthy imagination makes the impossible things–possible.

Imagination is essential to living by faith. Hebrews 11:1 tell us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Great lives are built around great imagination God’s dreams are bigger than my dreams. Ephesians 3:20

Don’t plan your life and set goals around what you see or your circumstances. Let the size of your God, determine the size of your goals. Remember, God can make the impossible- possible. Let God’s spirit and His word guide you and fuel your imagination.

Satan comes to put doubt in our mind.

Mark 9:23-24 NKJV
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”


Doubt is meant to be doubted and beliefs are meant to be believed.

– Pastor Phil Willingham Sermon 2017

As believers we have a helper in life– someone who is trustworthy and loyal– someone the world does not have because they do now know Him, and cannot imagine His existence.

John 14:16-17 NKJV
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The key to a stronger and healthier imagination is spending daily quiet time with God. Read His word– listen for His voice– study in your areas of weakness– and trust in His promises.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being our helping hand and guiding as through Your word. Lord, forgive us for our times of doubt and for our misuse of our imagination. Open our eyes so that we can see the wonderful ways of Your law. Help us to understand so that we can meditate on Your works. I pray that you will stir up our spirits so that we will want to seek You more. I pray You will help us as we seek to have a stronger and healthier imagination. Guide our quiet time in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- Godly Parenting

As parents we have many responsibilities pertaining to raising our children. We literally have to teach our children everything- from eating- to walking/talking- to how to interact in the world as they grow. Our children rely on us to teach them life’s most basic needs and provide them with the tools and knowledge needed to survive and have a fulfilling, happy life.

When you ask parents what they feel is their responsibility to teach their children- you get answers like: Feed them- Protect them- Prepare them for life. These things are all necessary but we also need to further break it down and think about what we are teaching our children.

Is it positive? Is it helpful? Will the things they are learning from us, help them or hurt them, in their futures?

How do we know what we should and should not teach our children?

This world has been grossly misinformed on how our children should be raised. They are confused by ‘lovely-sounding’ misconceptions that ultimately lead to destruction at some point in their lives.

One example is the rose theory. It alleges that children are like rose buds- if no one bothers them or interferes with them- they will naturally unfold into gorgeous roses.

Sounds nice! The problem is- children are not born with the same needs as a plant. Children need strong, loving parents- not a friend or an observer- to watch them ‘naturally unfold’.

I have heard many times in my life that having a child does not come with a how-to or instruction book on raising them. However, as I grew and had my own child- I realized this is not entirely true.

Although, when I gave birth and was ready to leave the hospital with my new little bundle of joy- no one handed me a book and said read this and you will have perfect children. The thought of thinking you can raise a perfect child without any outside interference is a bit laughable for me at this point in life. There is no way to control or predict and prevent negative life experience’s for our children- it is guaranteed going to happen- we live in a sinful, fallen world.

But we do need to be teaching our children how to be prepared and how to respond, when unexpected things happen.

The Bible is God’s handbook on life. It has a lot to say about how to raise our children and how we should and should not live our lives- furthermore it also explains why we should raise our children in a specific manner- as it leads to joy, fulfillment, love, peace, and eternal life- just to name a few.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it

Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

Let us take a look at seven functions of great parenting according to God’s Word.

  1. Nurturing-
    Besides the obvious nurturing in healthy foods- As parents we should be feeding them spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and socially. We teach them how to handle emotions like anger and sadness correctly. We teach them how to play and share- how to recover from grief or loss- how to laugh and how to pray. We should be teaching them how to think, listen, and learn and how to communicate effectively. Above all we should be teaching our children about God.
  2. Protection-
    All infants need protection from a loving parent to survive. Good parents seek to find a balance between protection and overprotection- especially in a world that is becoming increasingly violent.

    But we also need to provide protection over their mind and soul in an eternal sense. We should be leading by example and teaching our children about God. Protecting their minds against agnosticism (the belief that there is not enough proof to say that God does or does not exist), prejudice, hatred, and injustice.

    We must counter cultural trends that encourage superficiality (lack of thoroughness, depth of character, or serious thought) and materialism (a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values) to be the basis of their thinking. We need to equip our children with the truth and train them in the way they are to live, according to God’s will, in order to protect them from these ways of thinking.

    They may temporarily rebel but they are likely to return to those good teachings they learned early in life.
  3. Creativity
    Good parents are creative with how they teach their children- correct them- play with them- spend their money- prepare them for the future- and even on teaching their children about God.

    Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV- “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
  4. Education:
    Many parents seek out the best preschool for their toddlers in hopes the child will receive the best education and prep for elementary school. However, children need far more than just the text book basic academics. Children need to learn the foundation of trust.

    Trust comes from a consistent response to your child’s needs. Weather the response is tender love or tough love-likely a mixture of both, but either way the child knows you are there, you care, and will take charge for their well being.

    Preschoolers who learn how to respect boundaries and obey rules are more likely to be safer and more responsible teens. Proverbs 29:15,17 makes it clear that children respond to the rod of correction.

    One example I have seen is picturing the rod of correction as a shepherds hook- designed to prod wayward sheep away from danger. And at times, the hook is needed to rescue a sheep who has fell into real danger.

    Children can learn to know right from wrong- we simply must teach them. We need to teach them the qualities that later become the fruits of the Holy Spirit- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

    By teaching our children these values we are preparing them for a future in eternity.
  5. Motivation
    You set the tone of your child’s inner voice. We should be teaching our children that their life is no accident- that God has a plan and purpose for them- their only job is to seek it- find it- and follow it.

    Motivation to make one’s life count for God is taught at a young age. Parents who bless their children with this truth and help them to discover God’s best for them live a happier, more fulfilling life.

    Unfortunately, some parents choose a different route of motivation in their parenting- they declare things over their children that are negative predictions- usually done in bits of anger. These statements are detrimental to a child’s mental health and become the very curse that causes some children to fail. They believe the lies and curses their parents have said over them to be true and it robs them of the healthy motivation it takes to accomplish what they are called to do in life.

    Paul wrote in Colossians 3:20-21
    Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

    When parents bless their children- it is easier for children to be obedient. We as parents can not ignore, neglect, or abuse our children physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally and think that they would or even should be obedient to us.

    God calls children to be obedient to their parents and show respect but He also tells parents NOT to provoke (stimulate or incite (someone) to do or feel something, especially by arousing anger in them.) their children.

    Bless your children with the love of Christ and they will grow to do the same.
  6. Relinquishment
    The goal of Godly parenting and training our children up in the way they should go is to raise happy, healthy, and God-fearing adults whose lives will make a positive impact in the world.

    Teaching our children responsibility through giving them chores or tasks to complete- showing them how to complete them well- and than expressing approval and appreciation will prepare them to become independent, motivated adults.

    Letting our children go out on their own into the world is a scary process. However, this process can be easier when parents have the reassurance that they are transferring them from the shelter of their parental wings to the perfect care of God.
  7. A place to return
    Teaching our children the foundational truths in God’s word will prepare them for times of struggle in life. Having a solid foundation is important for our children to successfully navigate through life’s storms.

    Sometimes children stray away from God, but they almost always find their way back. This is because they have the solid foundation in which their childhood formative years were built upon.

    This will also help bring comfort as we grow older and eventually pass away. Our children will know they are never alone- that they are a child of God and can fully rely on Him for every need.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being a Father of love- for being patient with each of us- and for giving us Your Word so we may study it and learn more about who You are and who we are in You. Lord, I thank you for giving us this message and showing us through scripture how we should be parenting our children. I pray parents all across the nation will open their hearts to You and seek Your guidance. Lord, the world is so lost and many are chasing what they desire without giving any thought to their eternal destiny and they are falling into the traps of Satan and choosing the ways of the world. Lord, many do not even know who You really are and have never tried to know You. Many were never taught about Your love, mercy, and power and Lord I pray they would have an undeniable encounter with You. That they would feel Your love and presence and be moved to seek You more. I pray parents everywhere, including myself, would remember to teach our children about You and to live by example. I pray for Your protection over each of us and our nation as a whole. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo-Compromising Peace

Are you a people pleaser? Do you often put your own wants, beliefs, and needs to the side to keep peace among friends, family, or co-workers? Maybe you feel your worth comes from what others think, say, or feel about you. Who do you live your life striving to please- God or others?

I am a people pleaser. I know this is not what God has called me to be and I am working hard on learning to stand up for myself and God.

For many years I was living my life under the control of my father. Day after day I willfully gave him all the power over my life. Allowing him to control every decision I made- from when I do yard work to how I raised my child.

It was totally unhealthy!

The worst part was it went on for many years and I didn’t even realize it was happening. I was 30 years old when God showed me CLEARLY what He was doing in my life.

I was going through a period of trials and heartache lasting about four years that finally ended when I became FULLY obedient to God. When crying out to Him about the situations going on at the time God asked me, “Are you going to serve Gary your earthly father, or Me, God THE father? You can’t do both!”

I wept. I knew EXACTLY what God was saying to me.

There were countless times that I did the opposite of what God was telling me to do to please my father and avoid any verbal abuse, physical abuse, or confrontation of any kind.

I longed for my father to be loving, positively involved, and simply proud of who I was- not who he wanted me to be.

The mentioning of God would make his skin crawl. Unfortunately, my father had many demons that he carried throughout his life starting in his own childhood. This made it very difficult when trying to serve God- yet please him.

God wants us to be fully obedient to Him- He doesn’t want sacrifice’s or partial obedience- He wants us ALL IN. I would pray and ask for direction and wisdom- God would show me something and tell me to take action- then I would try to compromise with Him to be obedient yet not upset anyone else.

We can NOT only do a small part of what God tells us to do. When we know He is leading us we have to be bold in Him. Stepping out and standing up in love and not compromising our own morals or relationship with God so others won’t be upset.

Living in a compromised peace is not what God wants for us. We are not to me conformed to this world but TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our mind through Jesus.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 NKJV

The world is becoming harder and harder to be a Christian in but we need to be sure we are making our own decisions and not allowing others to influence them. The Bible tells us to stand FIRM on His word and put on the whole armor of God. Our only responsibility is do what God wants us to do.

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11 NKJV

When we spend time studying God’s word and seeking Him- He lights a fire within our heart that can not be put out. You should know however, when you are on fire for God, people in the world will reject you- BUT He has overcome the world and we should not fear.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NKJV

We are not created to blend in with the world. In fact, it is quite the opposite- we are created to standout- to be bold and courageous- and to lean NOT on our own understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;

Proverbs 3:5 NKJV

God promises if we stand firm in our faith-seek Him above all else- and love with all our heart, mind, and soul- than we will have a peace that surpasses all understanding.

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 NKJV

God is with you wherever you go! We do not have to live a life in compromised peace. It is time to stand-up, stand-out, and stand-frim on the truth.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 NKJV

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this beautiful day and for offering us peace that surpasses all understanding. Lord, the world can be such a sinful and misleading representation of You and our destiny, help us to have discernment and knowledge. Let us not lean on our own understanding but trust in You with all our hearts. It is election day Lord, and the stress and tension is very tight. I pray each person would be lead by Your Holy Spirit and remember regardless of the outcome, You are still in control.

Lord I pray that each of us would have the courage to stand strong on Your word and stand up for what is right and true in You. Lord, help us to remember that we are all children of God and You want the world to choose love over hate- peace over strife, and truth over deceit.

Guide our steps and show us the way as we move forward through the election process. I pray Your will be done and the hearts of people all over the world would be open to see You.

Lord I pray for both candidates that each would hold themselves with grace and dignity. That you would protect each of them and their families. Lord I pray people would find love in their hearts and choose to support and uplift regardless of the outcome. I pray for the safety of America, guidance moving forward, and that love would fill the hearts of Your people all across the world. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo: Peace Over Strife

It’s no secret that the world is full of hatred, strife, and down right ugliness. Friends are turning against one another- families are being torn apart- and the country has never been more divided than it is today.

It is nearly impossible to turn on the television, log in to social media, or read the news without seeing story after story about the hatred, violence, and anger that is sweeping our nation.

This is a heart problem above all else. People are lashing out toward one another due to the hatred, pride, and self-serving attitudes within their hearts.

What happened to the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, than don’t say anything at all.”

It seems as if that is an outdated or moot teaching point with the new generations. Today’s culture is over sensitive, entitled, and hateful towards those who do not believe or live the same way they do.

It’s very much a MY WAY or NO WAY type of society.

God and the Bible have slowly been being phased out of schools and communities for years. This leaves one to wonder where the moral basis of life, love, and liberty are coming from.

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?

James 4:1 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+4%3A1&version=NKJV

The Bible tell us in James 4:1 where our fighting and troubles come from. They come from within ourselves- our desires for pleasure can quickly run our life, especially if we aren’t on guard and seeking God’s guidance above all else.

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.

Proverbs 10:12 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+10%3A12&version=NKJV

Hatred and pride are roots causes of strife.

Currently we are seeing hatred for our president that is so strong it has divided our nation to the core. People are attacking each other because they think different- vote different- believe different- and live or look differently than themselves.

It is heartbreaking to see- I can’t imagine how our Father in Heaven feels!

God tells us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER- that love covers all sins.

Behind strife is pride- behind peace is humility.

By pride comes nothing but strife,
But with the well-advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+13%3A9-10&version=NKJV

Pride leads to strife- strife leads to destruction

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+16%3A18&version=NKJV

Nothing good comes from holding on to hatred- we need to humble ourselves before God. Begin to look within ourselves and get our own hearts right.

We are to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Just as we want God to forgive us when we fall short- we are to forgive others in the same way.

Humility comes from a place of self-reflection and self-growth. Learning to accept people’s differences and still show love knowing we ourselves are not perfect. God knew there would be trouble in the world due to our sinful nature and provided us with His Word (the Bible) as instruction on how to have a fulfilling life of peace, joy, and salvation.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+16%3A33&version=NKJV

There is power in peace.

To gain peace we must humble our selves in the Word of God. Accept our own short-comings and seek God above all else. When we learn to be at peace with ourselves, accept our own faults, and live only to please God- we unlock a power that can’t be reckoned with.

Living in peace is giving God all your worries, fears, troubles, and your whole heart. Trusting in Him to provide all your needs and to guide your paths. Knowing no matter your circumstances God is with you and He works on your behalf.

The Lord wants to help us and be our guiding light but when we are living in strife our focus is quickly shifted from Him resulting in a downward spiral that robs our peace and joy.

The Bible tells us we are to do all we can to be at peace with everyone.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Hebrew 12:14 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+12%3A14&version=NKJV

not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 

10 For “He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.

1 Peter 3:9-11 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+3%3A9-11&version=NKJV

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:18 NKJV
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12%3A18&version=NKJV

We are not designed to live in such a high stress, violent, and hateful world. The Lord wants us to live a peaceful and prosperous life in Him. Like anything else in life- change starts with ourselves.

It is time for the country to stand together in peace and prayer. Each of us making the decision to change our focus and attitude- to diligently seek Him above all else- and learn to LOVE THY NEIGHBOR.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being a forgiving and patient God. A God who is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Lord the world is full of hatred and strife and it is very difficult not to be sucked in. The negativity, lies, and personal attacks on one another are at an all time high. Lord I ask that you help me search deep within myself- expose to me the condition of my own heart. Help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to forgive. I pray that each person would open their hearts to You- so that you may expose Your truth to them. I pray that each person who comes to You and truly seeks You with all their heart will find You and Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Father, I pray for our broken world- I pray that each would repent from their sins, so that you may heal the land. I pray Your guidance, protection, and mercy over our nation and world as a whole. Let us all shift our focus to You and strive to live peaceably above all men. I declare no weapon formed against our nation shall prosper- God You are in Control- Let Your Will be done in Jesus might name I pray

Amen

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Pain comes with a lesson to be learned.

Pain comes in all forms, emotional, physical, mental and relational– all of these are equally difficult to deal with when they arise in our own life. Pain is a powerful teacher, we must be careful that we are learning the right lesson and not falling into Satan’s trap of lies and deceit.

Throughout our life we go through many storms, each of which comes with it’s own destruction path of hurt and lessons to be learned. We must be very careful and aware what “life lessons” we are learning through each of these experiences and carrying with us throughout our life.

As we go through these storms, often starting at a young age, it begins to form lies in our mind about ourselves and our love from God. No matter how big or small these storms may seem to those around you, they do impact our life in ways beyond our understanding. Often times this is happening without us even noticing the hold these experience’s are forming in our life.

Proverbs 23:7 says For as he (she) thinks in his (her) heart, so is he (she).

This is a battle I have fought for myself throughout my entire life due to the amount of abuse (of all kinds) that I have endured from the time I was a very young child until about a year ago.

I had many lies form against my character, things I am sure many can relate to. My life experience’s, mixed with the influence of those in my life, I quickly began believing the lies that I was not worthy- not lovable- not wanted- not good enough, just to name a few.

I also began learning “life lessons” from these experience’s, later discovering it was all the wrong lessons to be learned. From the surface and perspective I was looking at my life I learned you can’t trust anyone- you depend on no one but yourself- everyone is out to hurt others- God must hate me to make me go through all of this, again just to name a few. Y’all I was a hot mess!

As life went on and I continued to go through massive storm after massive storm these lies began to subconsciously replace the truth’s about what God says about who I am. I was one that truly believed good things don’t happen to me.

To be clear, I was going to church I knew what God said about me, but unknowingly allowed Satan to replace what I knew was true, with lies he formed to destroy my life, faith, and future.

Our thoughts typically derive from our circumstances regardless if they are recent or distant past. You see we were all designed in the image of God, we are all perfectly and wonderfully made with a great purpose in His kingdom but our adversary, our enemy, Satan, plots against us and our life from the time we are born, he does not want us to live the life God has planned for us.

John 10:10 says The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

So I ask you today how many lies do you believe? Prior to reading this article had you ever thought about your thoughts? Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and more are all related to our brain chemistry and thought life, these along with many other mental health issues derive from our life experience’s and the lessons we learned from them.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common lies we believe and the absolute truth from God.

Lies we believeTruth’s about who we are in God
I am unlovable.I was designed for love and God loves me.
– 1 John 4:19
I am not good enough.I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ.
I am good enough.
– Psalm 139:13-16
I am unwanted.I am chosen by God.
– 1 Peter 2:9
I am a bad person.I am created by God to do good works.
– Ephesians 2:10
I am a failure or will fail.I will succeed. I can do all things through Christ.
– Philippians 4:13
I have to be perfect.EVERYONE sins and falls short of the glory of God.
– Romans 3:23
God is mad at me.God is NOT mad at you! Nothing can separate you from the love of Jesus.
– Romans 8:38-39
I am permantely damaged.God will renew your mind.
– Romans 12:2
I am discouraged, fearful, and alone.God is with you wherever you go, you do not have to be afraid.
– Joshua 1:9
I am weak.I am strong.
– 2 Corinthians 12:10
I am defeated.I am an overcomer!
– 1 John 5:4
I am powerless.I have all the power over the enemy, I am Powerful.
– Luke 10:19
I have no value.You are valuable- established, anointed, and sealed by God.
– 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

It is important to be aware of what we are thinking about and pondering on. Just as the Bible says in Proverbs- what you think in your heart is what you are or become. So I encourage you today to take inventory of the feelings and emotions you are holding in. Are they negative or toxic? Is it time for you to ask God to help you let go of what’s holding you back? Let’s pray and ask God to expose our hearts to ourselves and replace the lies we have been believing with His truth.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

You are an amazing father of love, patience and forgiveness and I am so thankful for the freedom I have in You. Lord, forgive me for falling trap to the devils lies and holding them as truths in my life. Lord, I pray you examine my heart and bring to my attention the areas in which I am believing lies and may not even know it. Expose my heart to myself so that I may see where I need to begin searching Your word to renew my mind in Your truth. Lord I ask that you give me clarity and understanding of this message from you. God help me to see Your hand working in my life. Protect me and guide me in the way you want me to go. Lift me up and shelter me under your wings of refuge. Show me Your love and how to live and love according to Your plan. Thank you Lord for your never ending patience, love, and understanding. Thank you Lord for working in my life even when I don’t see You or feel it. Thank you Lord for the blessings you shower upon me each and every day. I pray you continue to help me grow and become more like You and who you designed me to be in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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You are NOT a failure!