Is it Bad to Compare Myself?

Do you sometimes feel like you are less than enough? My dear friend, I hope this resonates with you today. You are God’s creation; He made you exactly how He wanted to. You are not lacking. You were dreamed up and made uniquely with characteristics all your own.

We always hear “comparison is the thief of joy.” But what if our perspective of comparison is skewed? We try so hard not to compare ourselves to others because all we come up with are negative ways in which we are lacking. Stop hating what you are NOT, and start loving what you ARE!

As humans, comparison is a natural thought process. It is how we relate ourselves and things to reality. If done in a healthy way, it is essential to growth and maturity. Telling ourselves to stop thinking will just result in shame and guilt.

Abandoning comparison would be disregarding the desire to be more like God. We are told to renew our minds to be more Christ-like. We can rewire HOW we think!

Guide your thought process. Abandon envy, jealousy, pride, and self-pity. Call out the godliness others have applied in their lives with humility and grace. Build them up! Thank God for how He made your brother or sister in Christ.  Then pray and apply God’s characteristics in your own life.

Ask Him to shepherd you in those areas in need of maturing and ask for peace in the season of life you are in, with the knowledge that it may differ from someone else. Relate everything not to a person and their differences from you but to God’s character, the truth of His Word and the foundation of what it says about your identity.

We are all different. However, sometimes this knowledge drains us of joy and replaces it with insecurity. Instead, let us allow it to fuel our growth!  We are beautifully and wonderfully made.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 

Pray this prayer with me today: “Dear ABBA Father, thank You for how you lovingly and intricately pieced me together.  When I am feeling worthless and unloved, help me to stand on Your promise that I am beautifully and wonderfully made.  I destroy all lies from the enemy that make me compare and envy others.  I pray that I would be an encouragement and bolster to others that calls out the godliness and identity in them.  Help me to renew my mind constantly and be more like You every day.  Please be my Shepherd, Lord, and help me to grow and mature.  Help me to love You, love others, and love myself as Your creation. Amen. 

Resurgence

Resurgence

 
 
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All who followed Him were healed. Matt. 12:15

It has been insightfully said: “What you do only proves what you believe in.” I encourage you to go ahead and read that sentence again until it speaks to you. Action makes the stuff of faith a reality. If I truly believe God to be good, then I will actively choose to see the goodness of the Lord in every area of my life. There’s an added benefit in this act of worship for when I do this, I become more aware of the things still left for the Lord to repair, uproot, build, reconcile, etc. It’s not a burdensome consequence that stems from choosing to see the good hand of the Lord but rather a motivator to keep pressing on in faith to see greater victories. If God has done such a great work in one particular area of your life then clearly He will continue the good work in you and bring revelation about how to attain the breakthrough in the other domains of your life.

Faith without action is dead. Action without faith is just optimism at work… A type of work that is mechanical, superficial, and short-lived. The enemy will continue to have his way with you without you even being consciously aware of it. Faith birthed by the Spirit is eternal and substantial because it carries the breath and life of Jesus. To allow faith to breathe and grow means you believe that the health of your faith is your main priority. Your faith is living, it’s active, and alive in you. Jesus’ ministry on earth was substantial because it came from the Father. He believed in His Father so much so that He only did that which His Father does… Jesus Christ could only do what He saw His Father doing. The two were One. Jesus’ faith while on earth was completely and utterly rooted in the love of the Father. His faith was alive, living through every Word of God and by the Spirit that energizes the very fabric of life into being.

The faith that Jesus imparts is a faith that brings us from death to life. The faith of Christ draws us into a new way of life. What was once impossible is no longer impossible. For with Christ all things are possible for those who believe. The more we press our faith into motion, the more we will discover the depth, the height, the width, and the length of God’s great love for us. The truest form of worshipping God is by walking out a life of faith in Him. He calls us out of the boat and unto the waters, He calls us to give Him the little it may seem we have while assuring us abundance in provision in all aspects of our lives. The key to abundant living is rooted in compassion and generosity just as Jesus taught His disciples to give and to nourish others even with limited means. In their act of surrender, Jesus literally fed thousands through the disciples’ offering of two small fish and a few loaves of bread.

Faith is activated and mobilized into tangible results when we actually do what we believe in. Let us humble our hearts and begin to see a new side of ourselves. Walk in love and impart your faith unto your beloved, your friends, those in authority over you, and your enemies for the Word of the Lord says:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the one believing in Me, the works that I do, also he will do. And he will do greater thanthese, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12

The quality of our faith is determined by our ability to surrender our character, personality, and even our temperament. We are to let go of our faulty thinking and ask God to deliver us from both the pride and the shame that holds us back from receiving every good gift from our Father. There is now no condemnation for those who are in a Christ Jesus. We have been set free from the power of sin and the bondage of the sin-legacy from past generations. We are a new creation that is now able to freely follow Jesus, able to follow Him well because we have our Father on our side. He has called us by name.

We are  God’s forever family and we have access to a faith that is living and breathing inside of us waiting to be unleashed so that we may live out the type of life only the Good Father can give. It’s a life worth living for and it’s a life worth dying for. Step out of the boat, out of your comfort zone, take your name off of the platform of your life, work, ministry, etc. and let the light of His Glory overtake your identity! For it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

All who are continually pursuing and following after Jesus are made whole because Jesus heals holistically, it’s a completed work. Receive all the benefits from the Cross. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Yearn for His will to be your faith walk today and everyday. Then you can test for yourself and prove that His will is and forever will be better than yours… And all of God’s people say: Amen!

Additional Verses: Philippians 4:8; Philippians 1:6; James 2: 14-17; John 5:19; Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 3:18; Matthew 14: 13-21; Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 12:2

A Different (and hope-full) Take on Life’s Difficult Seasons

A Different (and hope-full) Take on Life’s Difficult Seasons

 
 
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We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

The Christian faith walk can be likened to the life of a grape. Let me explain. I once heard a pastor begin her sermon with this statement: “We are all grapes”. Her words seemed a bit comical but little did I know that I was about to hear one of the most profound sermons in what was one of my most pressing seasons. The Holy Spirit began to pierce my heart with truth and revelation, and that is my prayer for you today.

Grapes and wine are referenced several times throughout scripture, and Jesus himself used this staple of Jewish life and tradition to illustrate who he was and who we are. Once the grapes are ready on the vine, they are picked and piled into a large winepress. In ancient times this was done with their feet in shallow limestone presses. The moment the juices touch the skin of the grapes, fermentation begins. Often the presses were on a hill and the fermentation pit would be at the bottom, so all the juices would run down, where they would bubble and ferment. Let me stop and say that fermenting smells really bad.

Have you ever experienced a “crushing” in your life? A time when you felt persecution, alienation or inadequacy? Nobody likes to feel that way but the Bible says that what the enemy meant for evil, God turns it for good (Gen 50:20). In Psalm 37:25, it says that the righteous have never been abandoned nor their children begging for bread. No matter what life is throwing at you, God sees you and he WILL turn it around. Just cling to him.

Continuing, a separation of the sediments and the wine take place and then the wine would be poured into clay jars or into wineskins and would be set out of the sun for several days. Even in winemaking today, its best when the wine is placed in a sealed container in a dark room without light because of the lactic-acid bacteria, which flourishes in the dark. This can affect flavor of the wine too. In some cases, the longer the wine is stored in the dark on a shelf the better it becomes.

There have been really long seasons in my life where I was that wine and let me just say that lactic acid bacteria was flourishing hundred-fold. I felt so alone, so forgotten, so abandoned, so overlooked. It was extremely painful but by the grace of God and a community that prayed for me, I persevered and the Lord brought me out of that seven-year season. Maybe you are walking in that wilderness, maybe you sense God bringing you out of that time, or maybe you’ve never experienced a season like this before- at some point we will all experience a wilderness season BUT being on the other side of it, I would say don’t waste it. I had some profound cherished moments with the Lord in the wilderness. I wouldn’t ever want to repeat it but I know that if God so leads me, he’ll be with me.

Jesus bring new wine out of me.

In light of the wine-making process, the request for Jesus to bring new wine out of us seems a whole lot less appealing. You see part of being a disciple of Jesus is becoming like Jesus, it is picking up our cross and following after him in every area of our lives.

Being a disciple of Jesus is about loving the Lord, seeking first his Kingdom, loving our neighbor, making disciples AND as we do all these things, God, through the power of the Holy Spirit is working on making us righteous; he’s refining us. Our mindsets change, our behaviors change, our speech changes; we begin to transform from the inside out!

Maybe you are going through a hard time in this season. You’re facing some big challenges, you have some giants ahead of you, some mountains that you seem to circle, and you’re feeling like that crushed grape; you’re feeling alone and in darkness, but be encouraged. The Lord’s presence is not determined by your feelings or your ability to sense him. God is omnipresent and he is with you, you just have to call out to him. He will not turn his eyes from you, for those who are seeking him or who need him will find him.

Please don’t give up. I’ve been there before; I’ve had the mental and emotional breakdown and I know you may feel like you’re losing yourself. Seek counsel if you need to AND know that God is for you no matter what anybody says or thinks-including what you say and think over yourself.

God is at work in your life. Real change is the transformational power of his love and presence. What a witness to the world of the power of the Lord!

Jesus bring new wine out of us!

 

Father God,

Thank you for your loving kindness towards me. Before the formation of the earth, you were thinking of me. Lord, you know my thoughts, you know my desires; I choose to fix my eyes on you alone.

As difficult as it may be, I will choose to walk with you because your word says that even when I walk through the waters, you will be with me. You will make a way where there is no way, and you will deliver me. My inheritance is secure, I need not worry because I am your child, a co-heir with Christ.

Jesus would you teach me how to live like you did. Would you teach me how to walk through the wilderness? No matter the cost, I want to be so rooted in the truth of your word that I will not be shaken by the things of this world. Refine me. Transform me. I will not be crushed because you are standing at my side. The victory has been won; I need only stand and endure.

Today, I dispel the lies of the enemy and the temptation to take the easy way back to comfort that is not of God. I will not give up on you Lord because you have not given up on me. I will finish the race set before me.  I adorn my head with the helmet of salvation, and take on the mind of Christ as a son/daughter who is being sanctified daily for the glory of the Lord.

 I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ! AMEN

God’s Light in Us

God’s Light in Us

 
 
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Written by Kat W.

We have free will and live in a fallen and broken world. That is why we have temptations, sin, sickness, death, heartbreak, etc. I’ve been in a season of struggle, a struggle of belief and focus on what’s the truth. I felt lost in the sense if what I’m doing and if the direction I’m heading in is truly my calling. Anxiety had been overwhelming me in waves where I couldn’t even look up anymore. The word failure kept repeating in my thoughts.

This is what the enemy loves to do. He keeps picking at the same weakness and wound. He does it until it captivates your complete focus on that sin, on that problem, feeling, drama, on that mistake you made. The devils main purpose and goal is to make you believe in a lie, something entirely opposite from God’s truth.

The enemy will attack your identity because you were created in the image of God. He will attack your life calling with distractions so that you cannot do the will of God. He will attack your joy with selfishness and pride so that you cannot have the gifts God has given you. He will attack your thoughts with lies and so that you cannot live out in God’s truth.

It is very easy to let darkness in and consume us. As  Christians we need to say no to darkness and walk in the light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) If God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, then He should be and is our source of light. He is the deliverer from all darkness and obstacles to joy.

Yesterday, I was encouraged at the thought of being a light to someone in darkness. I believe that is a huge part of our calling as believers in Christ Jesus. God is light, therefore we are the children of light. God is with us and in us, His light should shine out of us each and everyday.

Today I want to encourage you in your struggle and whatever darkness might be surrounding you. YOU ARE LIGHT BECAUSE IN YOU IS THE LIGHT. Remember to keep your focus on God and His truth. Today start thinking of how you can show God’s light in another persons darkness. It might even be as simple as giving someone a compliment or even praying for that person.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light”-Ephesians 5:8

Keys to Your Divine Promotion

God’s plan for us is that we move from glory to glory, according to 2 Corinthians 3:18. As we grow and mature, God will move us into new assignments, or promote us. There are keys to divine promotion.

David is an example of a man who was promoted. David was the youngest child to Jesse, who tended the sheep for his family. His father did not even summon him when Samuel came looking for the son who would be king. David learned many lessons during his life. He learned to protect the sheep from wild animals. In his days of shepherding he learned how to abide in God’s presence. In time, he moved to the palace where he played his harp to soothe King Saul. He learned how to minister to the king even during fits of rage. When Goliath began to threaten the Israelites, David refused to listen to the taunts of the enemy and went out to defy him. David defeated Goliath with the 5 smooth stones and the power of God. He ended up in the wilderness running for his life as Saul tried to kill him. Even during this wilderness time, David refused to retaliate when he had the opportunity.

Eventually, David became King, just as Samuel prophesied. But in every season of his life, David overcame many obstacles and matured and grew in God. Even when David sinned against God, he repented and came back into right standing with God. God called David a man after His own heart. We can see from David’s life that as he overcame in each season, God promoted him to his next season.

Another key to promotion is humility. James 4:10 says that if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will exalt us. That means that even as we have successes in life, it is important to stay humble and let God will promote us. Trying to promote ourselves is ineffective. If we manage to manipulate circumstances to promote ourselves, we will have to continue to use the same tactics to keep ourselves there. It is important to trust that God will promote us at the right time, when we’re ready. Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “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.”

Promotion comes when God determines that we are ready. As we are faithful to do what He has given to us each day, He is ever molding and creating us into the image of Christ. It is our Christ-likeness that He is looking for in us. Psalms 1:1-3 illustrates this well. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Our prosperity and promotion are connected to the way we conduct our lives. When our hearts are pleasing to God, He can trust us with more. Psalm 20:4 says, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire and fulfill all your purpose.”  As we walk through his process of preparation, our hearts are changed and made ready for promotion. And as we wait upon Him, He promises to renew our strength so that we will be ready for the next season.

Are you ready to unlock your promotion? Check out Isik’s guide for additional scriptures and prayer points!

Alignment

By Keiko Chibana-Shinn | Rediscovering Prayer

There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows. Ezekiel 47:9

We all live by faith. We wake up every morning with some level of faith that takes us out of bed and makes us believe that we will make it through another day. It’s as if we each have our own well, where we draw out the source of energy, hope, and love we need to make life happen. For some, the well is half empty, for others half full, for some the well is overflowing and to others, their elected cisterns are so dried up that the well itself is found crumbling from excessive drought.

The question of faith is not whether it exists or not. For everyone believes in something. Even the faithless have faith in their faithlessness. The question is, How does one qualify faith? Faith feeds identity. Therefore your faith has the ability to define your identity and the quality of your character.

The Word of God defines faith in saying:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Anyone who holds this definition of faith will see successes in this life. It’s a truth that can affect the trajectory of our lives in the natural plane as well as in the supernatural. To have faith is to have confidence. Faith is meant to be unleashed without any limitations. However, it can be a safe feeling to remain confident in your own strength and abilities rather than trusting Jesus to be your true source of faith and confidence. It’s easier to set limits on your faith. But faith has a completely different look and feel when you truly believe that Jesus has called you out of the boat to walk on water.

Jesus says:

…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jn. 4:14

Streams of living water belong to Jesus. He is not only the source of strength in our lives but He himself is the well of salvation. The faith He imparts saves us from every demonic power and all influence of evil desires. The power that makes abundant life possible is eternally sustained by His Spirit. We are made in the image of God and therefore have the capacity to sustain everlasting water, meaning we can behold His grace and Spirit. It is by faith that we draw out His grace and move in step with His Spirit for the journey ahead of us.

For this very reason, we are to align our perspective to that of Jesus’ knowing that every trial is an opportunity to build our character through His abundant grace imparted to us. This is what ultimately builds a character of faith that unleashes the promises God has made in the here and now. For we are a new creation in Christ. The old is done away with, the new has come. Let the everlasting waters continually flow in and through your identity as a child of God. For there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. His grace is more than sufficient for us. For whoever activates faith in Christ for daily living, wears His splendor for all to see.

Jesus has the power and authority to examine the health of your character. If willing, He can transform our character by the strength of His Spirit to support the type of faith that can raise the dead to life, heal the sick, resurrect dreams, and restore the brokenhearted. To have faith in Christ is to also have the character to withstand the effects of disillusionment, cynicism, and setbacks. Let us add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and a faith characterized by love that covers a multitude of sin. The evil one will not prevail because your character has no entry point for his schemes to succeed. Jesus will always have the final Word.

We are called to be confident in that He who began a good work in us will complete it. He wants us to add to our character a fierce determination to persevere, to commit, and maintain a spirit of constancy in the plans, giftedness, and purposes God has placed in our hearts to execute. Let renewed passion, the eternal waters surge up from within so that the character of your faith says “Yes!” and “Amen!” in response to what Jesus has already promised you. Let the  prayer of our hearts be:

In times of hardship, in times of momentary drought, fatigue, and uncertainty may You, Lord, instill in me an unbreakable character to say “I stand with You til the end. Make my heart to be faithful as yours. So come. I receive You as my fountain. I release my man-made cistern that cannot hold your eternal waters. I renounce the wanderer spirit within me, the idols, excuses, and distracted living. I take hold of your passion for life and choose to keep my focus on you. Let your everlasting waters flow through me. For wherever the river flows, everything will flourish. Everything will flourish within me. For Your glory in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Additional Verses: Jer. 2:13; 2 Cor. 3:17–18; Matt. 14:29; Jn. 10:10; 1 Jn. 5:4; Gen. 1:27; 1 Thess. 5:15; 2 Cor. 5:17; Ro. 8:1; 2 Pe. 1:5-7; 1 Pe. 4:8; 2 Pe. 1:4; 2 Cor. 12:9

Releasing the Power of God

God has mandated that we walk in the power and authority that He gave us when we became His ambassadors in Christ.  Genesis describes how God created man in His image, and tasked him with stewarding the earth realm. Genesis 1:28 says, “God blessed them and told them, ‘Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.’” When Jesus paid the price for our freedom from sin and death, He charged us to continue His work on the earth. Matthew 10:1 describes this charge. “Jesus called His twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.” Jesus gave believers a mandate to continue to establish His kingdom here on earth, and He gave us His authority to do so.

How do we come into agreement with this mandate? We must become a conduit of the power of God through Holy Spirit. Paul spoke about this in Romans 15. “I have won them over by the miracles done through me as signs from God- all by the power of God’s Spirit.” Paul was able to convince the gentiles of the Good News of Jesus Christ by the signs and wonders that followed him.

Read, pray and declare scriptures in Isik’s Prayer Guide!

Jesus began to speak of this mandate before He went to the cross. He spoke over His disciples, releasing His authority to them. We see this in Luke 9:1. “One day, Jesus called together His twelve apostles and gave them power and authority to cast out demons and to heal all diseases. Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the coming of the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Matthew 10:8 said, “heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received.”  It is clear that Jesus’ power did not cease when He returned to heaven, but He gave the command to continue the work that He began and equipped us with His authority and power to do so.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we can access all that He paid for us to walk in. As we extend our faith, we can connect with the power of God to see deliverance, healing and miracles. In Ephesians 1:19, Paul urges us to embrace this truth. “I pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” This is resurrection power! As we believe, it will be done according to His word. In Mark 16:20, we see that the disciples believed Jesus and began to fulfill His mandate. “And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.” It is God’s plan that we walk in His power and authority and bring His kingdom to manifest on earth as it is in heaven.

How do I know God’s Will for My Life?

Knowing the will of God for our lives is a huge priority for many of us. We may be able to avoid many pitfalls and struggles if we can walk in God’s will. How are we to know what this is?

Knowing God is key to knowing how He operates. It is vital that we read His word to know His character and His ways. Satan would like us to believe that God is not good and that He is not present, or that He doesn’t notice us. But the truth is, God is a very present Father. Deuteronomy 3:16 tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. His word also tells us in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change. He is present and He is good.

God also tells us in His word that He has good plans for us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He has good plans for our future, plans to prosper us. He has made a way for us to have a life of hope and not evil. Knowing this can keep us aligned with truth, which defeats the lies of the enemy over us. We must guard our hearts and thoughts so that we will stay in this agreement.

As we pray and declare in alignment with these truths, we begin to have the heart of God for our lives. In Daniel 9, we see that Daniel was praying God’s will for his life and for the people. First, Daniel approached God by acknowledging God’s character. In verse 4 Daniel declares, “Oh Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and extends lovingkindness toward those who love Him and keep His commandments.”  Daniel knew the power and character of God.  Daniel then repents for the sins of the people, who had been rebellious and wicked. This is an important key. If we are in sin, it hinders are ability to hear God clearly. Daniel knew it was important to be in right standing with God when asking for Him to move. Once Daniel repented on their behalf, he began to petition (request) God for favor and help. He appealed to God’s great mercy and love, and asked God for what was on his heart. 

As we read the word of God, we can use it as a plumb line to determine if our desires align with His will and character. Once we do this, we can pray that not our will be done, but God’s will be done. Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:10. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We must pray and believe that we are aligned with His Kingdom and His will, and then stand in faith to see it come to pass. As we align with Him, God will partner with us to accomplish His will in us and in the earth realm.

 

Raise Children of Character

You are Your Child’s Personal Trainer: Raising Children of Character

A personal trainer is a fitness professional who instructs and suggests an exercise program to meet the goals of clients.  A trainer critiques a client’s strengths and weaknesses, develops a plan with the client for improvement, provides feedback, and holds the client accountable to his/her fitness goals.

Make a list of character qualities that you would like your child to develop.

The Bible describes our parental role of training our child by recounting the story of Abraham in Genesis 18:19.

I have singled him (Abraham) out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.  Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.

Your goal is to train your child to do what is right and just, based on God’s principles.

It is important to have a plan and be intentional in helping your child develop good character.  Your child will be blessed if you teach him/her to follow the Lord’s paths.

  • Plan a set time to teach your child God’s principles; during mealtimes, before bed, or first thing in the morning.  If you are separated from your child, teach him/her through e-mail, phone calls, text messages, or letters.
  • Listen to your child’s questions.
  • Understand what your child knows and understands about a topic.
  • Use the principles of Scripture as your guide in helping your child choose the correct thinking or right path.
  • Help your child understand how to apply the Scriptures to his/her life.
  • Instill in your child a habit of turning to the Bible for answers to life’s questions.
  • Use teachable moments throughout the day.
  • Follow the example of Deuteronomy 6:6-7.  Talk about God’s ways throughout your day.

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.   Repeat them again and again to your children.   Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

  • Use experiences that you and your child encounter to reinforce an idea that you have previously taught him/her.

From the family archives: 

When our daughter was 5 years old,  we went into a small store to do some shopping.  Upon returning home, my daughter proudly showed me a pretty bracelet.  I was horrified!!  She had taken it without our paying for it.  We had been talking about honesty and right here was a “teachable moment!” Even though it was inconvenient and embarrassing for me, we returned to the store in order for her to return the bracelet.  My daughter explained to the cashier that she had taken it without our paying.  The sales lady was very kind, took the bracelet back, and thanked our daughter for her honesty.  That day, my daughter had an experience which reinforced our discussions about the need to be honest and live according to God’s principles.

  • Find the right time.
  • If you see an opportunity to teach, but don’t have time at the moment, postpone the discussion until later.
  • If you or your child are too emotionally upset, delay the discussion until you are both calm.
  • If you need to correct your child, but are in the presence of many people, take your child to a quiet place and talk about the misbehavior.

Use Media as a teaching tool.

  • Negative and corrupted values are constantly presented to your child.
  • Talk with your child about TV shows, advertising, movies, the Internet, music, video games, magazines, and signage.  Discuss how media lines up with Christian values.

Use conflicts between family and friends to show your child what to do in a   particular situation.

  • Use travel time to talk with your child.
  • Talk about something you see “out your window”, such as litter, inconsiderate drivers, or the homeless.
  • Talk about school-related topics or other topics that concern your child.
  • Reinforce positive behavior that you notice in your child.
  • Compliment specifically on your child’s honesty, kindness, or good habits.  Your child will tend to repeat those things that please you.
  • Remember that it takes 6 positive comments to cancel 1 negative comment.
  • Pray with your child about the things that concern him/her.
  • Your child is most receptive to your teaching at bedtime.  Use this relaxed time to pray with your child about things that worry him/her.

Plan family activities that teach good character.

  • Do community service.
  • Perform an act of kindness.  Write a note or make a picture to thank someone.
  • Read books on character.
  • Play  “What Should You Do? Make a set of cards describing real-life situations and ask your child what he/she would do. Talk about your child’s response to the situation.  Lead your child in discovering God’s path.
  • Play  “How Does It Feel?  Have conversations about how characters feel in real-life situations, movies or books.

Your turn!  List more family activities that would develop good character in your child.

You need to live your own life with godly character as an example to your child. You are your child’s most important role model and a powerful influence.  Be clear about what your values and beliefs are and pass them onto your child.

As a parent:

  • Read God’s Word.  The book of Proverbs is a practical guide and provides wisdom in daily living.
  • Guard your heart and look at your motivations carefully.
  • Confess your sins to God and others.
  • Pray with a friend about your spiritual and emotional needs.
  • Find someone or a community group who will hold you accountable.
  • Pray for wisdom.
  • Pray with a friend for each other’s children.
  • Attend church.

Try Something New

Ask the Lord to give you opportunities and wisdom to teach your child to do what is right.  In your own life, model the habit of turning to God’s Word for answers to life’s questions and commit yourself to obeying God.

Verses for Encouragement

Ask the Lord for wisdom in teaching your child.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  (James 1:5)

Be determined to live according to God’s Word.

How can a young man (young woman) keep his/her way pure?  By living according to your word.  (Psalms 119:9)

The Power of Self Control

Self-control is a fruit of the spirit talked about in the Bible. Self-control refers to the ability to govern one’s own actions, words, and decisions. Being able to choose wisdom over wants or desires shows self-discipline and maturity. Proverbs 25:28 says that a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Having no walls leaves a city unprotected and defenseless. A life without self-control is one that invites potential trouble or difficulties.

How does one get more self-control? One way is to set long-term goals. Once we can see a long-term goal, the small temptations do not seem to have the same strength as they did without a goal. 1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but to get a crown that will last forever.”

Another way to develop self-control is to do everything as unto the Lord. Knowing that what we choose will be pleasing to God will give us inner strength to do the right thing. Romans 12:1 say, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship.”

Choosing to set our minds on noble and pure things can help us focus on the bigger picture. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Refusing to dwell on negative things can help us keep our focus.

As we yield ourselves to the Spirit of God, we open ourselves up to the power of God. In 1 Corinthians 2:5 Paul says, “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” We need the power of God to overcome temptation, battles, and distractions.

The Bible commands us to walk in the power of God. Ephesians 6:10 says “finally be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” We cannot walk in the power of God and not have self-control. They go hand in hand. Living a victorious life means that we live surrendered to God, choosing to be self-controlled, and living in His power. Only then will we overcome.

 

Download Isik’s Prayer Guide to self-control and the power of God here!

 

 

Majesty

By Keiko Chibana-Shinn | Rediscovering Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name… Matthew 6:9

Jesus says to us: I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. To many, this is an offensive concept. Once upon a time, it offended me. I would think, Why should there be just one way? There are so many paths, many beliefs, and many cultures. Can’t we all celebrate each other’s differences in belief? There is a certain truth to these thoughts, for God does celebrate our diversity for He is the Grand Maker of our individual identities and rejoices in the collective identity found within culture, language, and ethnicity. Learning about world religions and varied perspectives continually adds to our understanding and evolves us into a more integral people. For we are all unique but it’s clear that we all derive from the same foundational quest to find meaningful purpose in life.

Jesus struck me as truly unique in my personal quest to discover who I truly am. Jesus welcomes you to accept any perspective, worldview, mindset or religion. However, He assures us that there is no other who has the authority to reestablish the very fabric of your identity; to seamlessly graft you into the image of God through His paternal glory. He alone awakens your perspective on faith, love, and hope by fully reinforcing your identity through the fatherhood of God in Christ Jesus. You are sons and daughters of the Most High God. This is not a mere religion, worldview, or a 10-step program to become a better you. No, it’s holistic relationship that orients us not only to the Godhead-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but it’s a reunification and restoration of the forever Family of God. Jesus imparts to us the greatest gift humankind could ever receive. Jesus’ Words reveal it to us:

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me… Jn. 17:22-23.

Jesus knows what we are in need of and our greatest need is the presence and love of Our Father. That’s why His greatest mission on Earth was not to condemn us but to reveal the love of our Father to us. Jesus responded to His disciples when asked about how to pray: “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven” He didn’t address the Father as His own but addressed God as Our. Father. Prayer is about rediscovering your identity as a child of God. Jesus makes it simple, when we enter into a time of conversation with God, we are to embrace Him in the confidence that God is as much our Father as He is Father to Jesus. Jesus affirms this by ultimately saying, My Father is your Father. What is Mine is also yours. We are to receive the love of the Father and come to know what His love imparts to us for our daily living.

Jesus’ initial teaching about prayer begins with a familial tone of belonging, a loving relationship, and of divine protection and possession. The Father’s love is ours. What more could we need? He loved us so much that our Father delivered up the centerpiece of His love, His Son for us that we could enjoy the richness of His loving devotion and splendor.

Everything God creates is meant to be filled with purpose and identity. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He comes to keep you in void and in a perpetual state of lack. But God, for His children, He endures in faithfulness to all generations. The Lord’s heartbeat is for none to perish but for all to gain abundant living under the protection of His will so that life can continue to prosper as we lay down our lives for the good of others.

A little bit of Jesus can go a long way in our lives. The vastness of our God is too great to comprehend for all of heaven’s power is found in the supremacy of Christ. Who can measure the greatness of our God? For is it not He, God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it? With all His omnipotence, Jesus chooses to magnify the majesty of the Godhead through the fatherly attributes in humility and loving kindness. Jesus’ primary mission while on Earth was to lead us to the Father. Therefore, we cannot live the Christian life without the love of the Father.

The Fatherhood of God prospers us. Every area of our lives is to be influenced by His fatherly love. There is a well-known theory in the field of psychology that asserts all human beings have an inherent basic hierarchy of physical and emotional needs that are to be met in order to reach one’s full potential. Our Father fulfills each and exceeds our expectations by far. The Majesty of our God touches our physical life as much as our spiritual one. In His love there is safety, belonging, purpose, meaning, creativity to thrive, to innovate, and to empower one’s life to motivate another. If that were not enough He lavishes His love by instilling in us everlasting life to flow through us by His power for today and for eternity.

Like any good parent, God wants us to live a life of blessed assurance that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. He wants every area of our lives to prosper, for us to be in good health, and for our very souls to prosper. Why? Because He is a Good Father and He believes in His children. Let us then reclaim our position as children of Our Father in heaven.

The Spirit of the Lord says to us today: The search is over. I Am here- always have been and will always be, for you. That is My promise. Receive a willing spirit to surrender your doubts and fears to Me. The love of the Father is being poured out upon you to break the orphan spirit that oppresses you through constant feelings of abandonment and rejection. Though your earthly mother and father reject you, I receive you as my own. My hands have made you, not by mere human decision or by human descent but by My will. I unleash My Spirit to restore your identity and I break the yoke of fear and doubt off you that you may receive my love, my power to live and to think with a sound mind in Jesus’ name. Receive the revelation of My love as your Father, today!

Additional Verses: Jn. 14:6; Acts 17:26; Gen. 1:27; Eph. 1:4; Jn. 3:16; Ps. 63:3; Jn. 10:10-11; Ps. 100:5; 2 Pe. 3:9; Jn. 15:13; Is. 42:5; Col. 1:15-23; Jn. 5:19; Ph. 4:13; 3 Jn. 1:2; Rev. 22:13; Ps. 27:10; Jn. 1:13; 2 Ti. 1:7

What is your mission?

Written by: Dr. Kim Jessie, DMin 

Mission Defined 

A Mission is an assignment, a calling, or a purpose that God gives you to help you accomplish the vision He has revealed (or is revealing) to you.  Mission and vision go together.  Vision offers the big picture of what could be, and mission identifies how to accomplish the vision.  It explains how you move forward to achieve the vision by providing the means, the methods, and/or the manners in which the work will be done to accomplish the preferred future. 

Importance of Identifying a Mission 

Identifying a mission from God focuses our work and frees us from unnecessary exertion.  Frequently, we involve ourselves in needless activity without thinking about why we are doing what we are doing.  Once we have a vision and a mission, we can evaluate what is important to vision accomplishment and what will hinder mission success.  This analysis allows us to say yes to the right things and no to the unessential activities.   

My vision is courageous leaders fully living out their destinies, and my mission is to encourage, equip, and empower leaders to be who God created and called them to be.  My role is to work in the areas of encouraging, equipping and empowering.  When an opportunity comes my way, I can immediately determine if it fits within my mission.  If I am asked to serve on a team to train new leaders, I can see how this fits within my God-given mission.  If someone invites me to organize materials in a storage unit, I can easily determine that this is not in my mission.  However, before saying yes to the first opportunity and no to the second one, I must first ask God if either is a part of His bigger plan for my life.  God’s permission supersedes a good mission opportunity.    

 A Simple Process for Identifying Your Mission 

God will never leave you nor forsake you.  When He provides you with a vision, He provides you with a mission to accomplish that vision.  Frequently, recognizing the vision takes prayer and time.  Other times, God reveals it immediately.  Likewise, the mission may take a process of prayer and time, or it can be revealed in a spiritual moment.  Normally, God allows us to have Jacob moments where we wrestle with what He is calling us to do.  This helps us identify what is from God and what is coming from our own personal wishes.  His way will be better every time. 

  1. Pray, ask God for verb words that are based on your gifts, talents and abilities 
  2. Narrow your verb words to 2, 3, or 4 key words 

(My words:  Encourage, Equip, and Empower) 

  1. Pray, ask God who/what you should work with  
  2. Make a list and clearly define it 

(My “who”: leaders) 

  1. Pray, ask God for the result you are working toward 
  2. Make this as concise as possible 

(My hoped-for result: leaders living into who they were called and created to be) 

  1. Write these up into an easy to remember statement 
  2. Be prepared to adjust as God reveals more possibilities to you 

 

Remember, this process takes prayer and time.  The statement can be adjusted until you are confident that you have identified what God created and called you to do.  Additionally, this first step may be the beginning of an adventure that will surprise and fulfill you.  Watch as God reveals your true potential. 

Questions for thought: 

  1. What are your God-given gifts, talents and abilities? 
  2. How are you using these gifts, talents and abilities to fulfill God’s mission for your life? 
  3. How can you help others discover their mission? 

More information on Mission Statements can be found in The Path by Laurie Beth Jones. 

Download entire worksheet here: https://goo.gl/XWvmB5