Blog

One Tool to Get into Your Child’s Head

003.png

 

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

004.png
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

005.png

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

006.png

 

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

DESPERATE for God

007.png
Cassidy is a precious 14-year-old girl who loves Jesus. You know she is filled with the power and love of God after you are with her for only a few minutes. Wisdom just leaks out of her. I do not look down on her because of her age; therefore, I actually learn from her when she speaks. God uses her in my life. Although she lacks life experiences, she doesnt lack an all-power, consuming, wisdom-giving God. 
 
I asked her to guest blog for me so you could have a peek into the heart of a child who is recklessly abandoned to God. All of our children can have this, too. We should aspire to lead their hearts to KNOW God rather than just perform for God. 
 
Let’s hear from Cassidy ~
 
There was a time in my life when I lived in passive Christianity, a time when I cared deeply about what others thought about me, and it crippled me. 
 
Then the Holy Spirit came, and I was set free. I was changed. The filling of the Holy Spirit awakened my soul. It gave me a new desire to worship, a DESPERATE hunger for the presence of God.
 
The truth set me on fire. 
 
I still, to this day, walk in this freedom and will continue to walk in it the rest of my life. I am not going back. I do not want to go back. I do not want to go back to a life of self-consciousness and timidity. 
 
How silly popularity seems now that I see clearly what a prize I am in the eyes of the Lord. What’s the point of status when the blood of Jesus is our true security? 
 
People tell me that I’m different. They’re not sure what it is about me, but I’m just different. 
 
I can tell you what it is. It’s freedom, and it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit, and it is completely accessible to all believers. 
 
I could say so much about this but honestly can sum it down into this: the Holy Spirit is a free gift from God, generously available through the death and resurrection of Christ to all who believe. 
 
It is one of God’s special gifts to us because He loves us, and it is truly an amazing and wonderful thing.
 

Cassidy
~Psalm 91~

Love

I was twenty-four years old before I heard of agape. It was a time of trial in my life. I was driving in the car with a coworker when he started explaining to me the differences among three types of love: erosphilia, and agape.

 

008

 

I had been in church, on and off, for most of my nearly twenty-five years, yet I had never heard of agape. My coworker described agape as unconditional love. It is always there for you no matter how righteous or wicked you are. You cannot do anything to lessen it or increase it; it is the same, steady love day in and day out. This type of love does not keep track of your sins. It does not stifle you or imprison you. It is the kind of love that fills you and frees you. It is the kind of love that changes you.

 

I had spent the last fourteen years deprived of love. I had sought love in every corner. I had pursued passionate love, romantic love, and friendship. I had searched high and low for a love that would make me feel valuable. I yearned for love. I simply wanted to be worthy of someone’s love.

 

You can only be rejected so many times before you start to believe you deserve it. At that time of my life, I felt alone and unlovable. Then my coworker guided me to the truth of unconditional love. I did not fully comprehend the significance of this concept at the time, but I have since come to understand that I am loved. When I felt rejected and worthless, those feelings were not my true identity. In truth, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). God Himself “created my inmost being”; He “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV). God set me apart before I was born as one who was and is and always will be loved—by Him.

 

The church needs to wake up and stop constantly fixating on everyone’s flaws. We cannot afford to forget who God is and what He did out of His abundant love for every single one of us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). We did not and cannot deserve His sacrifice and love for us, yet they are ours to receive. How dare the church allow another child to endure a life of desperately searching for love because no one shared with her the blessing of God’s free gift!

 

Jesus Christ issued His disciples this command: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35 NIV). Will you rise to the challenge and share agape with someone every day this year? In one year, 365 days, I challenge you to convey this message of unconditional love to the people God brings into your life. Tell someone, “You are loved. It is part of your identity. It is etched into your being, and it can never be removed. It is in your very fingerprints—every indelible line testifies that you are loved.”

One Focus That Will Change Everything

009.png

 

There’s a movie theater at the gym where I work out. When I first get in there, I can’t hear the movie because all I can hear is the voice in my head that says, “I don’t want to be here. I can’t do this. I’m out of shape. I’m too fat. I would rather be sleeping.” Then I hear my feet hitting the treadmill, then the sound of the treadmill belt. The sound of everyone else’s feet pounding increasingly distracts me. The beeping noises, the feet pounding, the treadmill belt—I can barely take it! The desire to punch someone out at the front desk if they do not turn up the volume is overwhelming. 🙂

 

But if I take my focus off of all of those things and put it on the movie and listen very hard, eventually the movie volume grows louder and louder. Before I know it, all I can hear is the movie. Actually, believe it or not, sometimes I forget I am in the cardio room!

 

When I’m really focused on the movie, it sounds loud and very clear. I forget about all my complaints. In our everyday lives, the busyness, texts, social media, TV, coworkers, children, and friends can all be very noisy. Discouragement, loss of a job, inability to have a baby—those things are really loud. Sometimes all we can hear is our own negative thinking, our hurt feelings, discouragement beating in our hearts, self-loathing.

 

BUT if we will just focus on listening for God’s voice, eventually it will be louder than all of the other things that are happening around us, inside of us, and to us. When we hear His voice above everything else, we can actually, believe it or not, sometimes forget we are in the middle of hurt and chaos!

 

Greater Works

Have you ever made a list of the miracles Jesus did in the Bible? It is amazing. Jesus was for the people. He was caring and so willing to heal—when it was met with faith.

After all of these incredible miracles, Jesus made this bold statement:

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 NIV)


You will do even GREATER THINGS…”

At the time I saw this verse, I had hardly seen any miracles, much less greater things. My mom was sick, and I wanted her to be well. I prayed. I asked. I begged God to heal my mom.

Its really hard to have faith for God to heal cancer when you havent even begun to trust Him with a headache or a cold. There is all this fear that creeps in when you hear the word cancer. Fear and faith dont make great companions.

How do we see even greater things than the works Jesus did in the Bible?

Start with the little things:

  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Cramps
  • Earache

Stop trusting in medicine and home remedies and start putting your full trust in the name of Jesus. I am not telling you to get off your medicines. I am challenging you to ask yourself, What tradition am I putting before God?

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition… (Mark 7:13 KJV)

One tradition can be running to medicine for a headache before you seek God.

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians. (2 Chronicles 16:12 NIV)

God wants us to seek Him first, not when He is the last chance for survival.


The greater things begin with trusting God for the little things. As we trust God, not methods or traditions, we will begin to have faith for bigger and bigger things.


What are your methods or traditions that you run to before you go to God? Coffee to wake up in the morning? Food when you have a bad day? The phone to talk to a friend about something thats bothering you? Medicine when you have a headache?


Make a commitment to run to your Father God first in all things.



Out of the Pit: What to Do When You Are Discouraged


When I am super discouraged or my hope is deferred, I am very careful of whom I talk to. I don’t want anyone speaking death over me or agreeing with what is going on or giving me advice that is in contradiction to the truth of the Word of God. Every time, I am very careful of whom I speak to and whom I lock arms with.

Everyone’s steadfastness in the Lord can have highs and lows—with moments of really strong commitment and, other times, feelings of weakness. If I focus on my circumstances, I can easily become discouraged. When I focus on the face of Jesus, everything He paid for on the cross, and the truth of God’s Word, my hope can be revived. He has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful today. He is faithful today, and He will be faithful tomorrow. My God is good, but sometimes I have to ask myself, “Do I really believe who God says He is? Do I believe it?”
What I do to get myself out of a pit—because I seem to be in one this morning—is start praying. I tell God how I really feel. I don’t hold back. I give Him all my ugly thoughts and all my ugly words. I give Him all my doubt and disappointment. I confess it all.

The next thing I do is start asking Him whom I could talk to, who could encourage me. I don’t need anybody to crawl into a pit with me because then we would both be stuck down low. I need someone who is up high and will encourage me with mercy, love, and truth. I need someone who will say, “That sucks, but God is really the only person or thing we can put our hope in.” I ask the Lord to bring someone to mind, or I simply listen and wait for peace. He will direct my steps if I ask Him. “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2 NIV). But if you seek Him, you will find Him.

Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone else. I let the Holy Spirit be my comforter. Today what came to mind was that I needed to call into a prayer line with beliefs similar to mine. I know without a doubt, 100% of the time, they will strongly encourage me. They will agree with me in the truth and renew my hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and it is certain. It is absolutely resolved. It is believing for things that aren’t seen; it’s not visible. It’s impossible for man’s eye to see, but I am sure it is there.

I am reminded of the testimony of a man named Allen Moore. He had a stroke. He is not supposed to be able to walk or talk. His MRI to this date reveals that the part of his brain related to these abilities does not work. With man’s eye, it appears he should not be talking or walking, yet he does. I have met him personally, and he is walking and talking—living the unseen.

I start reminding myself of all the things God has done for me in my life and my family. I start reminding myself of the miracles and the power of God that have been on display in my life for years. As I do that, it encourages me. I am encouraging and sharpening myself in the Lord and in the truth. It awakens me and gives me hope. It gets rid of doubt. It doesn’t increase my faith, but it begins to smash out any doubt so my hope can be renewed. When my hope is renewed, faith is restored. Faith is present.

I can use my imagination in faith to see a part of my body completely healed and whole again. I imagine what it would look like the next time I am able to see it. I’m not going to look at it again until I have done this for a while and I feel it is time.

When I fall into a pit, this is what I do to get out of it. How about you?