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What Relationship Means

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Because I was a homeschool mom, I had a lot of time with my children. I was with them for hours every single day of their lives, but just because I was with them doesn’t mean I was actually engaging with them in their hearts. I can be commanding them to do things, issuing orders, telling them what to do with school, giving them tasks and challenges, but all the while, not truly connecting with them and their hearts.

The question is what is the most important, quantity time or quality time with our children? I would argue that it’s neither. Greg Gunn of Family-ID first introduced me to this concept that it’s not about quantity time or quality time; it’s about quality of relationship. When you have a quality relationship with someone, it doesn’t matter if you spend five minutes together or an hour. When you connect with each other with your hearts, that is what makes the relationship continue to be woven together and glued together thickly.

How can we relate that to God? In my own home, I have a choice with God. I can choose to spend a lot of time with Him and acknowledge Him. I can choose to have a quality relationship with Him. That’s a very different thing. Having a quality relationship with God involves listening.

I think sometimes we feel guilty about going to God and asking Him for something and telling Him what our needs are because we think, “Oh, I haven’t spent enough time with You. I haven’t read the Bible enough. I haven’t prayed enough. I don’t feel worthy to ask You this.” But it’s not really about the time; it’s about the quality of your relationship with God.

I think it’s important for your heart to bow down in thanksgiving to Him continually, like when you see the sky and the beautiful sunset or the puffy, beautiful clouds and you acknowledge the Creator. I mean, that’s quality relationship right there. It’s not a work. It’s recognition. It’s honoring God. I want to encourage you to seek a quality relationship with God and your spouse and your children.

Cell Phone—The Urgent Distraction

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Lately, I have felt so much pressure from many people trying to reach me, but I just can’t get back at the moment. I am doing a good work, and I cannot come down. I stopped and asked God to help me with this pressure. His words encouraged me, and I hope they help you, too.

Just because it rings doesn’t mean it’s urgent. The phone and texts can momentarily distract you from the calling on your life often enough that you never get it done.

Don’t come down from what God has asked you to do for the sake of other people’s urgent need for your attention.

Just because people don’t understand what you do with your time doesn’t mean you owe them any explanation. Don’t take the time to convince others that you are busy doing God’s work. Just do it! Keep doing it! Don’t be distracted by the little daily interruptions.

Add up the time you have lost with me in the trenches due to these distractions because you allowed yourself to be diverted to other people’s agendas when you had not even completed the last thing God told you to do.

God is saying to all of us, “Who is your God? Am I or are people? You are only accountable to Me. Do you not see how you are people-pleasing in this on-demand society? See it for what it is and let it steal from Me no more! I am the living God. I am worthy of your full attention.”

Whew. I had to share this. It overwhelmed me. What’s distracting you?

Go back and do the last thing God told you to do.

Emotions — 3 Practical Steps to Change

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CHANGE is COMING!

Today, we are going to look at the Word, God’s word. It is sharp; it will penetrate your heart and change you!

The Bible gives us truths and tools to train our soul (our mind, will, and emotions) to agree with the Spirit of God.

Read one or all of these passages:
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
2 Corinthians 10:5
Matthew 6:33
1 Samuel 16:1
1 Samuel 30:6
1 Samuel 31:13 
Galatians 5:24-26
Colossians 3 
Isaiah 26:3
Isaiah 54:17
1 Peter 1:8
Proverbs 23:7
Deuteronomy 30:19
Romans 8:6
Romans 10:17
Zechariah 4:6

1. From these verses, make a list of practical things the Bible teaches that you can do to make your emotions submit to the Spirit.

2. Take time to write down any emotions and thoughts that spiral you down into places that are set against God’s truth. For example:

  • “I’m insecure”
  • “I’m unlovable”
  • “I’m alone”

3. Take these lies captive and make them obedient to God’s truth. Write down the truth next to your negative thoughts. For example:

  • “I’m secure!”
  • “I’m loved!”
  • “I’m in Christ, and Christ is in me!”

Work on your list all week. What lies did you identify? What truths did you replace them with? What questions do you have?

One Thing

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We have a real enemy. He will poke, prod, use people, sickness, etc. to try to find a way that he can pull you down to steal, kill and destroy you. He looks for open doors of sin, past hurts, fears, control, and tries to wedge into those doors with more sin, more past hurt, more things to fear, and offenses.

What must we do?

We must stay submitted to God for He alone is good. He is our Source, our Guide, our Friend, our Family, our Rock, our Healer, our Comfort, our Counselor, our Savior, our Shield, our Defender, our All in All. We must be thankful, stay close to our God in every breath, choose life, and be alert to recognize the enemies’ fiery darts so we don’t fall it!

It’s not hard work, but it is hard to resist your own emotions and not let them be your guide. All we must do is rest in what our Father has already done.

Father, help me rest in you. Put aside my selfish desires and lay down my life this day so my life will reflect you in me. I welcome you here. May your presence overshadow all the fiery darts and quench them out. Thank you for allowing me to rest in your Shelter! In Jesus name.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! Psalm 91:1-2

Broken Fathers

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Have you ever seen the movie Sybil? She had like 17 personalities. Well, I grew up with 2. I had the outward me and the inward me. I lived behind layers of attitude that protected me from being hurt by others.

The layers smothered me, they smothered my dreams and limited me in every areas of my life… relationally, financially, happily.

I learned at an early age to fight for myself – that if anyone was going to protect and take care of me, it was up to ME.

Today, I am going to through down one layer, unzip my heart and let you into the deepest part of my pain.

When I was 3 years old, my dad left our family to pursue a 22 year life of alcohol and drugs. Although he loved me, this little 3 year old couldn’t understand why her daddy left. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it scarred me with feeling rejected.

I felt rejected, unloved, and especially unwanted. I deeply longed for my daddy. I deeply grieved the loss of this man. Every day.

I actually remember spending days, nights, weeks, and years asking where my dad was. I asked about him until I was about 6 or 7 years old. My mom always told me that he was never coming back, he wasn’t a good dad to have and I was better off.

I appreciate her trying to help me understand, but what my mom didn’t comprehend that I was too young to reason. I had been left – rejected and she had NO understanding of the deep wound that it left.

No one did.

This rejection that started at such a young age impacted me for YEARS.
But, thankfully, I am healed of this because I know how to press in to my True Father. My adopted Daddy – who actually CHOSE me before I was born. I wasn’t an accident. I was planned for and cared for all these years. I know how to press into Him and trust Him with my security.

Even still today, I can feel the fear of rejection creep up in me. When I do, I have to remember that it is buried and it no longer has a hold on me. I have to stand firm and dig my heels into the throat of the accuser until he stops speaking! I have to stand firm, resisting the thoughts, words, and actions that are bullets sent out to hurt me, because my God has delivered me! I am safe when I STAY in Him!

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. Psalm 91:1 AMP

You see  ALL men are broken. Broken men break their children. These men were broken by their fathers and their fathers, etc.

________________________________________________

Some time ago, I found myself planted in a seat at IHOP… no, not pancakes, but International House of Prayer. One of my favorite worship leaders, Misty Edwards, started singing an unfamiliar song. It was about our earthly fathers.

By the middle of it, I was in full tears.

Overwhelmed.

Thankful.

Moved.

The line that BLEW me over was this: “Your babies will be my babies.

When I heard Misty sing that line, it was if God spoke it directly to my heart.

“It’s really over Sheri. I got your back. I have you. I have your babies. I care about them – just like I always cared for you. I chose them before they were born. They are mine. You are all safe with me. You can let down your guard now daughter. I am safe. ”

Whew.

Whatever it was in your past, whoever hurt you, they are just broken men. God’s got you. He’s your Daddy. He’s trustworthy and kind. He wants you to know that if you are holding onto any remnant – lay it down today. He’s trustworthy.

I hope this song ministers to you.

I hear Him singing over you
And some of you I hear him saying your name
Saying your name
He says to you
I’m not like your father
Listen my beloved one
I’m not like your father
‘Cause, even the best of them are just broken brothers
Listen my child
Listen to me
I am not like your father
Why are you putting that on me?
Listen, listen
I’m not like your father
I’m not like your father
‘Cause, even the best of them are just broken brother
Listen
For all men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But I’m bigger than that
Listen
I’m bigger than that
All men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But I’m bigger than that
Come to Me
I’m bigger than that
I am not like your father
And some of you have been so afraid of
Repeating the same mistakes that fear has your frozen
But listen, listen
I have the power to change things
And I have the power to make you new
And I have power to rearrange the same old chain
And listen
You’re not like your father
It’s a new day
It’s a new day
You’re not like your father
And the sins of your fathers
And their fathers
And their fathers
And their fathers fathers will not be on you
Just keep on
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Keep on coming
Listen my beloved one
All men are broken
And broken men break their children
Who grow up to be broken men
But listen
I’m bigger than that
You’ve got to let your fathers go
Your fathers were broken by their fathers
Who were broken by their fathers
Their fathers and their fathers
On and on and on and on
We’re all in this together
There’s only one good Father
There’s only one good Father
He’s the father of all of creation
He’s the father of lights
The father of glory
And He loves us so well
And all he says is
Everything is in My hands
It’s gonna to be alright
It’s gonna to be alright
You’re gonna to be ok
No regrets
Everything is in My hands
It’s gonna to be alright
You’re gonna to be ok
And some of you have been so full of regret
But your babies are my babies
Listen, Your babies are My babies
And I will be the Father
‘Cause, Your babies are My babies
I’m gonna to turn it all around
just wait and see
I’m gonna to make everything beautiful
just in time
I am gonna to turn it all around
Just wait and see
No regrets
I am gonna to make everything beautiful
Just in time

Mediate on His Word to Grow

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My daughter, even from when she was 11 year old, is always processing. She asked, “How is the truth suppressed mom?” Now we are all chewing on her questions! 🙂 We invite you to chew on this too!

We pulled out the Bible to read Romans 1:18. Go ahead, pull it out and go ahead-read it now. You’re going to remember it more if you just click the link and dig into it yourself. 🙂

We talked about how a little tiny bit of sin can begin to suppress the truth, but it can quickly overtake the truth in us. A little bit of unrighteous choices can quickly blur the lines of what’s okay and what’s not. What we don’t realize is just a tiny bit of filth can actually drown out the Truth that has been planted in our hearts. If you read on in Romans, you will see that what started out as tiny landed these people in really awful situations.

Have you allowed a little bit of poison into your life? It’s like yeast… a little bit can take over the entire body.

Here’s what is amazing though, when you allow sin or wickedness in your life, it only suppress the truth in your life – the truth that you know. God’s overall GIANT, big picture Truth can never be suppressed! We only limiting ourselves when we submit to anyone or anything other than God.

We grow when we spend much time meditating on the Word of God. How much you are meditating will determine whether you reap 30, 60, or 100 fold.

What have you allowed a little bit of in your life that you are ready to KICK out today?

Jesus’ Name and the Authority to Use It

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In 2003, I didn’t have a clue that Jesus’ name was literally above every other name that could be named on earth. I had no clue that it was a name that had power in it or that it was for my use in my life to speak over mountains so they would be cast into the sea. I had no idea that I could use it in my family’s life while praying over them or for them. I had no idea I could share it with strangers at the grocery store and see them be healed.

In 2003, I was blind. I knew there was a God who loved me, but I wasn’t convinced that He was for me. I had no idea that He had left me with the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

From August of 2003 until about November of 2005, I dug into the word of God daily, searching and striving, hungrily devouring every page and every word. I would be in awe of who God is, who Jesus is. Hebrew says that Jesus is the exact representation of God.

I had an idea of who God was from the Old Testament and what I had been told by my church. I had an idea of who God was. I thought He was a God who was on a throne, dictating and controlling. He was kind of our puppeteer, if you will. Yet how could He be controlling a stepdad who was abusing his daughter? How could He be controlling my behavior? How could He be willing to put me through all of that? I’ll tell you how. He wasn’t. He was not.

He is a God who is sitting on a throne and sent His Son, who loves me so much, to bail me out. He sent His Son through every temptation that I would ever walk through. He left His Son on the cross to die. When Jesus ascended to be with God, He sent His Holy Spirit to come and live inside of me. He sent a piece of Himself to live with me, inside of me. It is a deposit guaranteeing my inheritance. Once He puts it in, He is not taking it back until He returns. It’s fully mine. I have full ownership of it. It’s part of who I am. I am in Him, and He is in me.

When you look at the attributes of what comes with the Holy Spirit, you see power. It is delegated power from God. It is like the alien mother ship sent me down as an alien, part of His kingdom, to take back this world. Hello? Yes.

He didn’t do it so I could spend every single day suffering and worrying about myself and taking care of myself. He gave me the same power that raised Christ from the dead and the name of Jesus Christ, which is a name above every other name, and the authority to use that name so that I could live life to the full and share it with others. How do people know we are His disciples? They know by our love. Amazing! Oh my goodness. I had no idea.

I was not taught in church that Jesus’ name was above every other name and God had given me the authority to use it. It’s not my name. It’s the name of Jesus. It’s what He did for us. It’s the finished work He already completed. I have it. I have the opportunity to exercise it. I can have a trial come into my face—a sickness, a doctor’s report, bills, strife, teenage rebellion—but it cannot contain me. It cannot take me.

If I pull out the weapon of Jesus, whose name is above every other name, the giant must fall. The mountain will be reduced to dust because it is just a molehill under the name of Jesus Christ. I have the power to use that. It’s true that I have the power to complain. I have the power to agree with all the turmoil and all the trials that come in my direction. I also have the power to choose to stand in the name of Jesus Christ, in His name and His authority and His finished work.

I once was blind, but now I see. Scripture says that it’s for lack of knowledge that we perish. I once didn’t know, but now I do know. I have the knowledge. I have the relational knowledge of knowing God intimately and deeply. I know that I have access to the name of Jesus Christ, a name above every other name.

Let Us Not Be the Block That Limits God

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I have two kinds of knives in my drawer: butter knives and slicing knives. The butter knives are used for gentle purposes like spreading butter. But the slicing knives I use to slice through everything else. They’re so strong they’ll slice through cans. I don’t like the children to use these for obvious reasons.

In my spiritual walk, most often I am like a slicing knife. I am armed with the truth in Jesus’ name and ready not to tolerate any weapon formed against me, my friends, or my family. I know my position and the power that God has delegated to me in Jesus’ name. I think I’m a slicing knife, but in a trial I found out that I’ve become dull like my butter knives. It’s hard to notice when your sharpness isn’t as sharp as it used to be until it’s put to the test.

I fell on my head doing some wild and crazy dance moves one Saturday night. Side note: No alcohol was involved. My neck has either been in pain or I’ve been busy since it occurred. 

While I know my position in Christ and who I am, I warred over this. I confess that fear crept in and tried to steal my sound mind and ability to take every thought captive. I also confess that I have allowed the symptoms to put me into bondage. 

My God is good. This is not His good, perfect, and pleasing will for me. He is tremendously glorified in the miraculous healing of His people. Yet, I can get in His way and prevent His power from flowing in my life. Admittedly, I have done that. We cannot limit the God of the universe—He is in charge—but we can limit His work in our lives like they did in Psalm 78:41. 

Ephesians 3:20 says that He can “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (NIV). He moves according to His power that is at work in us. But we can stop His power when we agree with death or the enemy and keep His power from operating in and through us.

I am the block here. My God is willing, but I have been unable completely to receive.  

Regardless of my unbelief, every good and perfect gift is still from God. He is for me and not against me. I choose to believe Him and His promises. The answer to His promises is always, “Yes and amen.” Today, I reject fear and unbelief as I step into the fullness of the power of my Father, God in heaven, and Jesus’ name. I’m preparing my heart to receive. I am aligning my words with His words. I refuse to speak anything but life over myself in Jesus’ name because I am never blinder than when I see with my eyes.

I would love to pray for you because I know what it’s like to walk in fear and in pain. I will pray that you will know your God is for you. He sent Jesus to intercede for you. He is trustworthy, and He will come through. 

Love, 
Sheri

Better A Neighbor Nearby

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I’m a mom of three. I love to watch my kids in their activities. I frequent dance and vocal recitals, as well as music and worship nights. I do have a sense of pride and joy in my heart when I see them express their love for God through their gifts. When I watch Jaden Stanley lead worship, I feel the same way. When I see a friend’s kid dance and lead across the stage with joy in their heart—and I know their heart—I feel the same way. Yet I know so many mothers that do not have that same kind of love for anyone else’s kids or grandkids but their own. I don’t understand it.

I think that having the same love for other people that you have for your own natural-born children is the love found in the spirit of adoption. How can you not celebrate every life? God does. I think that we sometimes elevate the bloodline family so high that we miss the bloodline of Jesus’ family. We don’t step into roles that we need to because there might be a missing link. We don’t step into the roles where we truly love each other. John 13:35 says, “And the world will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It’s by the way we love each other in the body of Christ. Not the way we love our own family. Not the way we love strangers. Not the way we love lost people. Not the way we serve the homeless. Not the way we love whatever else. It’s the way we take care of the body of Christ.

My kids have been without a grandma for almost twenty years. One year, a friend’s mom stepped in and blessed them with the voice of a grandma in their life. She met once a week with a little group of girls just to pour the Word into them. It was so precious. I loved her so much for doing that. I have also had an aunt step in who never forgets a birthday. She always remembers them. They feel dearly loved by her.

Sometimes I have so many friends who could step in and I just ask the Lord why someone hasn’t. Why hasn’t someone nearby stepped in?

“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away,“ says Proverbs 27:10. I believe that our family is supposed to be nearby, but it’s the family of God who fills those shoes while our family is away. When our family is together, we can take on the roles that we were naturally born into. When we are far apart, it seems we should fill those places with spiritual roles. I should be a spiritual mother to somebody when their natural mother is not present. Someone should be a spiritual grandmother to my children because their natural grandmother is not present.

I think life is just too busy. We’re too busy. It’s too easy to travel and fill those roles on a periodic basis rather than filling them where you are. I went through a season where I really grieved that loss for my family. It has made me realize that if something ever happened to me, I would pray to God that someone would fill that spiritual role of mother in my kids’ lives.

I wonder today if you have in your heart that love—that spirit of adoption—you need to give away to someone. Do you need to step into a spiritual family role and be a love-bug to someone in your life?

When I was a little girl, I had a home with a mom and a stepdad. But I went to church all by myself for years. I went alone from the time I was ten until I was seventeen. I just wonder why no one ever really adopted me and had the spirit of adoption to bring me into their family. Why didn’t anyone ever pick me up and take me to dinner? Or get me off of the church bus and start inviting me over for lunch? Why didn’t they start investing in me and teaching me the word of God? The only conclusion that I can draw is that they didn’t have the love in their heart to give away.

That is why we don’t step into that role. We don’t have the love in our heart or we don’t have the time. The enemy will do anything to keep us busy, to keep us from demonstrating the love Christ put in us to show the world, “Hey, look how the family of God takes care of one another. Isn’t it awesome how this family cares for these children?” 

As long as the enemy can keep us busy—too busy to love—the love of God will not be on display. It’s easy to love your own family, but it’s hard to find time to love others. I encourage you to look around in your life and see how you can truly love others this day.

My Sickness

I want to talk about ownership.

Many times you will hear kids say, “That’s my toy!” “That’s my house!” “That’s my mommy!” They are very selfish. They know they own it. They want to keep it. They don’t want to share it with anyone. No one else has any legal rights to it. It’s “theirs.”

We need to talk about ownership of sickness, illness, and disease. Many times, when I am talking to people, they will say, “my cancer,” “my tumor,” “my asthma,” “my allergies.” They have already decided, subconsciously or not, they own it. Maybe they did not make the outward decision, but they think it’s “my headache,” “my cancer,” or “my sickness.”

As for me, I don’t want to own them. They are not mine. They are straight from the pit of hell. I need to change my view of the darts of the pit of hell coming at me through sickness and disease. Instead of claiming them as mine, I need to reject ownership and not associate them with something I own. Once you proclaim it’s yours, it becomes a part of your identity. It’s harder to stand up against it and realize it’s an outward force working against you rather than an inward force stuck to you.

So, rather than saying, “my headache,” you could say, “the headache.” Rather than saying, “my cancer,” you can say, “the cancer.”
John 10:10 says, “The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy. I, Jesus, came to bring life and life abundantly.” We cannot take up ownership of anything that comes from the thief. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to stand in the life promise that Jesus died to give us. Once you own it, it’s hard to deal with it. But if it’s an outward force and you view it as an enemy trying to come against you, take possession, and prosper as a weapon against you, then you don’t own it. Instead you say, “No, you’re not welcome here.”  

Would you ever allow a burglar inside and say “my burglar,” “my robber,” or “my murderer”? No. I don’t own it. It’s the burglar. The thief. The stealer. I stand firm against it. I am not going to take ownership of it.

Watch yourself. Pay attention to your language and see what you have taken possession of but need to drop and change. For example, changing your usage from the pronoun “my” to the indefinite article “the.” Make it generic: the headache, the sickness, the disease.

I challenge you this week to jot down notes if you catch yourself saying those ugly things. Pray and ask God for a new revelation, a new heart, and a new tongue not to receive those things as your own.