the Sin of Familiarity… do you have it?

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Have you ever had a friend that can encourage someone and help the person be changed forever? Do you know someone who can pray over a complete stranger and healing happens immediately? Ever griped and moaned about your church while others envy your pastor? Do you have Biblically grounded friends, but seek Biblical counsel from unknown others?

Continue reading “the Sin of Familiarity… do you have it?”

Next Generation, What Will You Do?

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When I was growing up, the topic of “What will you do with your life?” included a strong emphasis on “You must make enough money to support yourself.” 

Our family didn’t have a lot growing up. I think my parents genuinely didn’t want me to spend my life struggling from paycheck to paycheck, in debt up to my eyeballs, or unable to vacation with my family.

 

I recently enjoyed a conversation with the next generation, a recent graduate of the Class of 2017, in fact.

 

I was stunned by the words she spoke:

 

“Money is a thing of this world, so spend it and give it away.
If you run out, make some more.”

 

Although she has lived a life of above-average wealth, she doesn’t value money the way my generation once did.

 

However, she does hope to become a millionaire in the next five years, but money is not the highest thing she values. She values life, time, people, and doing what she loves.

 

My generation is confused by this generation because we roll up our sleeves and do whatever is necessary to provide for our families.

 

Maybe this next generation understands money better than I did—or still do. Ahem.

 

I have spent the majority of my adulthood uncovering and healing from a “poverty mindset.” I am frugal to the extreme. It makes me reluctant to purchase, toss, give, etc. This is full-blown bondage.

 

I love that money isn’t her source. She said, “The thing you hold at the highest place is what you truly worship. I just don’t hold money in that place.”

 

While I believe her thoughts are biblical, how in the world does work ethic fit into this? The verse that comes to mind is Proverbs 6:6: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (NIV).

 

The next generation fully believes that when God is in His rightful place, you will fully live for Him and He will add everything unto you.

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
— Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

 

Could the hand of the Lord alone bring all the prosperity they’ll ever need? And do we have the faith in the next generation to let them try?

 

Take a look at these verses with me:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
— 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
— Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

 

“If you love me, keep my commands.”
— John 14:15 (NIV) 

 

If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
— Deuteronomy 28:1–14 (NIV)

 

I am curious about your thoughts on this subject. What books have you read on the next generation? Do share. Let’s pray together for our Next Gen.

 

Father, give them dreams and visions. Guide them. Let them know You more personally. Help them to know how much You love them! Father, reveal their identity and how special and unique they are to Your sacrificial love. In Jesus’ name.

 

Love,
Sheri

I Am Rich!

I am rich.

No, I don’t own the nicest home in the world. My car is fourteen years old. But I am one of the wealthiest people on the planet—not just financially, but in peace. Peace is a bank that you cannot accrue deposits in with the accumulation of things. The wealth that I have comes in my relationship with my husband and relationships with my kids. We have true, deep, meaningful, intimate relationships. It comes in the form of relationships with my closest siblings, my closest friends, and my long-term friends that I have been friends with for twenty to thirty years. Regardless of the time, the intimacy never waned and never shattered.

I am wealthy.

I am one of the wealthiest people I know because I walk in complete and utter understanding of the forgiveness that I have obtained. I don’t live in condemnation. I don’t live in guilt. I have no more shame. Sure, I used to live in shame, defined by what was done to me and defined by the sins that I committed and the people I have hurt. That was the poorest I have ever been.

I used to hide what I was to be approved by man. I am rich because I do not care. I’m no longer bound by the chains of the approval of people.

I am free. I am free to choose life. I’m free to choose death.

I am filled with the Holy Spirit, who comforts me, guides me, and loves me. He helps me love myself. It’s only when I began truly to love myself that I could truly begin to love others. Before that, I loved others because of what they could do for me. When you are filled with the richest love there is, you are able to love without strings attached and to give freely without expecting anything in return.

I am the richest person I know. How about you? Are you rich, or are you poor?

Love, 
Sheri 

Becoming the True You

The struggle is real, and it can be daily. 

What if you knew who you truly are and what you were called to do? Becoming My True Identity leads you through a study of the transforming power of knowing your authentic identity in Christ. When you know whose you are, then you know who you are. When you know who you are, you know what you were called to do. Join us as we learn how to become who we truly are in Christ.

Will you give only eight days to encourage you in your identity in Christ?

http://bit.ly/Identityreadingplan

Love, 
Sheri 

It Will Cost You Something … The Blessed Life

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
(Luke 9:23 NIV)

 

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It will cost you your comfort zone. It will cost you what the world defines as “balance.”

It will mess you up, change the way you shop, and stop you in the street to pray for the hurting.

It will cause you to talk with strangers and “outcasts” when before you would have walked on by.

It will cost you harder work than you’ve ever known—for no pay.

It will cost you sleep because you will go to the hospital in the middle of the night to pray for a complete stranger.

It will cost you time because it will drive you to your knees to know the author of this ridiculous love. It will drive you crazy if you can’t stay up all night, reading the words He has written out for you, because you are so hungry to know Him more.

It will cause you to move to a new town to change the atmosphere because you know that the atmosphere changer goes with you. You may go to 7-Eleven to pray for strangers because you aren’t satisfied with living in your comfort zone anymore.

It might cost you the comfort of your hometown because you move to Africa or Peru or become the mom of many orphans or mentor a woman being restored.

It will cause you to stop speaking your mind so you can encourage when you see nothing to encourage because you know how God sees people and you know His vision is better than yours.

It will cost you all of your money because you will want to give it all away.

It will cause you to plant churches (or prayer rooms).

It will cause you to believe in miracles when no one else has any hope. You will use your words to bring life because you know that at the very word “Jesus” spoken out of your mouth, sickness, darkness, depression, and demons will flee.

It will cause you to worship Him publicly even when you can’t even sing and speak to a group of 1,000 when you didn’t prepare and don’t know what to say.

It will drive you to stay up late working on homework because you have tasted the fruit of your hard labor.

It may cost you your own dreams and sleep so you can help your sisters meet the dreams God has laid on their hearts.

It will cause you to have ZERO tolerance for slavery, debt, and anything that steals, kills, or destroys, and it will cause you to war day and night over these things.

It will cause you to be sick at what’s going on in this world, and you will refuse to be passive in the pathway of sin.

It will cause you to shine your light from the hilltop. You will never sink into the valley because your God is worthy!

It will cost you time to encourage yourself in the Lord when everyone else is coming against you.

It will cost you ALL of your time because you will seek the Lord so regularly that you don’t know of a moment when you are not in His presence.

It will cause you to overlook mere offenses and see through people to know the motives of their hearts because the author of this great love gives you His eyes.

It will wreck you and change you.
You will never see the same way again.
It will cost you something—really, it will cost you everything.
But what a trade!

What a life! What a blessed life! I wouldn’t trade it!

Love,
~ Sheri

Trying to Reach Perfect

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In the past year of dance, I’ve learned that you cannot—I mean cannot—reach perfection. If you knew how many times I have tried, but I only make it 80% of the time.

My dance teacher is the best teacher I’ve ever had. She has taught me so much. She has taught my class to do our best, no matter what. Maybe you’re tired, shut down, sweaty, or hungry. That’s okay. She doesn’t mean for us to push our hardest and then pass out. She says,

“Don’t stop because you have failed a couple of times. 
Keep trying. Don’t quit.”

I’m not saying I’m very good at dance, but this lesson can apply to anything, like trying to make a friend or going to a gymnastics meet. “Don’t stop because you have failed a couple of times. Keep trying. Don’t quit.” This applies to everyday life.

I have a confession for you:

I’ve almost cried about the other 20% of my time in dance. I can’t even squeeze my core for more than two combinations. Hey, if I ever get on pointe, I would be shocked. I don’t plan on it. I’m only eleven, so I’ve got time.

I’m just saying, “perfect” isn’t even a word for human beings. The only person who can use the word “perfect” is Jesus.

 

Love,

KK Grace

 

One Tool to Get into Your Child’s Head

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Pillow talk.

Did you know that our children’s minds review their day’s events every night? Every night in their beds, they review and contemplate everything that happened that day. Now, you have one of two options as a parent: you can stay up late as your child is processing and talk to him or her, or you can choose a tool called pillow talk.

Pillow talk is a journal passed between the parent and the child. At night, when children are processing the day, they can open up their journals and write down the greatest thing that happened to them, what part of the day was most disappointing, and that sort of thing. Children remember the good, but they also have regrets at the end of the day that they process at night—regrets about poor performance on a test or disappointing behavior or the way they treated someone. They also consider their wounds.

Actually, your children can end up monopolizing your time until the wee hours of the morning if you let them. I have many friends who stay up all night long with their children because that’s when their hearts are most vulnerable and open.

It sounds great in theory, but if you work or homeschool and need to be productive during the day, you cannot function properly without sleep. If you’re married, your husband may want some of your time, too. I believe if you stay up all night, every night, with your kids and make yourself available to them at every beck and call, two things happen: one, you lose intimate time with your spouse; and two, your kids don’t learn to process for themselves and communicate in a healthy way at an appropriate time. Plus, if you’re OCD, you need the time when your children are in bed to reorganize and cleanup for your own sanity the next day.

Rest is an important part of healing, but I also don’t want to miss out on my time with my kiddos. I don’t want to miss out on their sweet, vulnerable hearts at the time when they’re processing. So what do you do? Do you clean and sleep or have late-night talks with your kids?

I personally cannot live without sleep. I’m exhausted by the end of the day. I’m ready for everyone to go to bed. I want to be horizontal. I don’t need to close my eyes, but I need to be horizontal. I found a tool that lets me into my children’s hearts and allows me to sleep: pillow talk. It’s a journal for the kids and me, and it’s a fun game.

I write a note to my child. I write what’s on my heart. I may write about something I’m disappointed about or an apology for some way I behaved towards her. I write about my life, being vulnerable and transparent. It may not even have to do with my child. Then I write some questions, such as, “Is there anything that has been bothering you lately? Is there an area in which I can encourage you more or an area where you’re feeling discouraged?” The answers don’t have to be long; they are meant to help us have useful, quality conversations the next day when we’re awake and alert.

I slip this under my child’s pillow for her to read at night. It gives her something productive to think on and helps steer her thoughts. I may even put in a positive message of encouragement, a Bible verse, or a picture. Sometimes I draw pictures. I’m a horrible artist, but I draw pictures for my children’s entertainment. We sneak the journal beneath each other’s pillows and see if we can get in there without getting caught. It’s a lot of fun.

When it’s under my pillow, I read it and am able to see inside my children’s hearts. The next day, I pull them aside and make sure I have some one-on-one time to discuss what I read. It’s an open door to have healthy conversations with them at a time when we’re all rested.

4 Ways to Increase Your Faith

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Help, I’ve lost my faith, and I can’t find it!

I remember a day when it seemed as though God was silent. Nothing I prayed for happened.

Crickets.

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
— Mark 4:35–40 (NIV)

Their faith problem was their problem, not Jesus’ problem!

You and I don’t have a faith problem; we just aren’t using what we already have!

So let’s look at the Word to find out how we can get our faith back.

 

1) Listen to the Word.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
— Romans 10:17 (NIV)

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
— Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)

Listening to negative words, recurring tapes of hurt and death, and other painful things will keep you from standing in faith. I believe that is why Isaiah 43:18 says, “Forget the former things” (NIV). Whatever you listen to the most will be what you believe. What do you listen to? Where do you spend your time? It’s virtually impossible (not impossible, just really hard) to believe for healing when all you have done is listen to awful doctor’s reports, worldly music, and R-rated movies because that is what your mind will focus on. You think about what you have put into your mind. To truly allow the faith that God gave you to surface in a crucial time of need, you need to have the Word deeply planted within you!

Listening to or reading the Word stirs it up in you.

How much time do you spend listening to the Word now? What could you do to increase it?

 

2) Fasting and Prayer

And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
— Mark 9:29 (KJV)

If you really study these verses, you can see that fasting and prayer deal with unbelief, which opposes faith and makes it ineffectual. We need to fast regularly to make our bodies submit to us rather than always having their way. Think about it: Your body says, “I’m tired.” You take a nap. Your body says, “I’m sick.” You rest or see the doctor. By the end of day one of a total food fast, your body is screaming, “Help! Feed me or I will die!” Yet, by the end of the third day, you feel like you could never eat again. This is training your body and soul to stop whining and believing every pain that creeps in. It’s denying your flesh so that your faith can flourish!

Give it a try sometime. Here’s one of many ideas for a three-day fast.

 

3) Keep Your Hope Up!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
— Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) 

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. You must have hope! When you get outside of hope, you lose your ability to see.

 

4) Use Your Imagination 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…
— Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…
— 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

The imagination is a powerful tool. It can work for you or against you. Only one time in Scripture is the imagination a good thing—here in Ephesians 3:20. He will do more than we can imagine! What are you imagining? Turn your imagination, the incubator of your hope, into a positive one!

When you are praying for someone, don’t think about all the things that could go wrong. Think on all the things that could go right! Imagine them walking, talking, being completely and wholly healed!

What is one thing you can do today to activate the faith God has already given you?

 

Love,

Sheri

Medicine verses Miracles

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When you have a headache, it’s easy to run to a bottle of Advil. When you have a sore throat, it’s easy to take a throat lozenge. When you are sick, it’s easy to run to a doctor.

 

But you know what, if you start practicing the use of the name of Jesus when you have a headache, it’s easy to get rid of the headache by speaking to your head and saying, “Headache, I command you to leave in the name of Jesus.” It begins to become easier to speak to your body until your sore throat goes in the name of Jesus. It begins to be easier to tell your body, “Hey, cramps—I know you may have come when you have come, but I am under a new covenant and I command you to leave in the name of Jesus.” I don’t have to live any longer at the beck and call of my body as it cries out and tells me how it feels and what medicine it needs. I command my body and speak to it and tell it what to do because it is my slave. I am no longer a slave to it, but it is my slave.

 

In medicine, who gets the glory? In miracles, it’s clear who gets the glory. It’s not you. It’s not your power. It’s the power of the name of Jesus Christ, which is above every name and has been delegated for you to use.

 

It doesn’t cost anything. You don’t keep it on the shelf in stock and then breathe easy because you are covered. You don’t have to risk someone opening it and getting into it and getting poisoned. You don’t have to run and see a doctor to get a prescription for it. You don’t have to risk becoming addicted to it. You get to take it everywhere. The name of Jesus doesn’t take up any space on your trips. The name of Jesus can be called upon anywhere you go, with anyone.

 

You can use His name, but it is like a muscle. It has to be practiced and used in the little situations so you can use it in the big situations. These big things seem scarier, but the name of Jesus works alike on the small and the big.

 

For some reason, in the mind, sickness becomes a huge mountain rather than a molehill. The name of Jesus, the blood that was shed 2,000 years ago, paid for sicknesses and diseases that weren’t even discovered yet. His blood cleanses all things from the beginning to the end, from the past into the future.

 
When you know that you know Him, when you are 100 percent sure of who He is and that He left you His name and delegated it for you to use to bring glory to Himself so people would know Him, then you will use it. You will catch yourself before you reach for a bottle of medicine. You will say, “Wait a second, there is something else I can look for first: a miracle. I can speak to this ache or sickness in the name of Jesus so that God gets the glory—not man and not medicine, with no bottle, no money, no brand name—only Jesus.”

 

I encourage you to pray and ask God about the difference between medicine and miracles. I pray that He will flood the eyes of your heart so you will know for yourself what you have in Him. I pray that you know you are a co-heir. An heir doesn’t receive based on performance but based on relationship. You have received an inheritance of the name of Jesus, which is above every name (Ephesians 1:17–21). That is the full measure; it lives in you, and you can access it at any time.

 

His name is stronger than any medicine, any heart shocker, and any chemotherapy. It is above every name. There is nothing on this earth that is above the name and the power of Jesus Christ.

 

Father, just open our eyes and show us who You are more deeply and intimately. Help us get rid of lies we believe, facts we have heard, naysayers who surround us, and the chains of our own understanding so that we can simply step into Your power and You will receive the glory. In Jesus’ name.

Faith

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How many times have you prayed and begged for God to move but you see nothing?
I have. I begged God to heal my mom. I begged for more faith. I begged for anything!
“Father, please, please, please, please, please increase my faith.” (Like the more times I said “please,” the more likely He was to do it.) “I will do anything if You will just give it to me. Let’s go. Send me. Okay, I am waiting…”
I’m not the only one who has begged for more faith. The disciples did this, too:

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’” (Luke 17:5 NIV).

Look at Jesus’ response:

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6 NIV)

 

He was saying that you do not need more faith. The tiniest amount of faith is more than enough for you to speak to a mountain and it will move (see Matthew 17:20). You have all the faith you need. If we can truly understand this, it changes everything!
We don’t need more faith. We need our faith to be pure and not tainted or diluted by the hurts, bitterness, and unforgiveness we can have in our hearts. Many times when you fail to see the thing you are hoping for come to pass, a little bit of doubt creeps in and dilutes your ability to believe God.

 

You don’t need more faith! Clean up your broken heart so you can trust fully in Jesus and the Word of God!

 

How?

 

Jesus said, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21 NIV). (Also see Mark 9:29.) Many people pray and fast to get God to move, but prayer and fasting are meant to get your heart to move into alignment with God’s heart and help you to weed out the old hurt, unbelief, and bitterness.

Let’s study this and talk about it. It’s a big subject.

 

Love,

Sheri

 

 

Tool Highlight: Check out these healing scriptures at http://www.ikanministries.com/healing.html