Speak to Your Mountains, Don’t Pray about Them

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There’s a song that says, “I will climb this mountain with my arms wide open.” One day we were singing it in the prayer room, and the Lord said, “I never asked anyone to climb a mountain. I asked them to speak to their mountain. I also told them that I would give them a new threshing tool so they could thresh their mountain into chaff. I also told them that mountains of human obstacles would be made into mere molehills.” God never asked us to climb a mountain, yet we are striving to overcome and become overcomers. We think it’s our religious duty and sacrifice to suffer and climb a mountain.

We say, “Oh, we’ll do it with our arms wide open in worship to You, God. As I worship You and give You everything, I will lay down my life in sacrifice and climb this mountain for You because You are worthy.” That is really what the song is saying. The song is really not about God. It’s about them and what they will do for God.

But what did God ask you to do? He asked you to love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and then love your neighbor as yourself. He never said, “I want you to suffer for Me. “I want you to struggle for Me every day.” No. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide and comforter, to help us get out of our comfort zone, and to be our teacher so we can learn all the ways of God. We can learn that through the Holy Spirit and His leading in our lives.

Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.
— Isaiah 41:15 (KJV)

Jesus replied, “Have faith in God [constantly]. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and does not doubt in his heart [in God’s unlimited power], but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him [in accordance with God’s will]. For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you. Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others].”
— Mark 11:22–25 (AMP)

Then he said to me, “This [continuous supply of oil] is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel [prince of Judah], saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of whom the oil is a symbol],’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain [of obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who will rebuild the temple] you will become a plain (insignificant)! And he will bring out the capstone [of the new temple] with loud shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”‘”
— Zechariah 4:6–7 (AMP)

It’s not through our efforts. It’s not by our sheer will. We have the power and are empowered to do anything because of God’s Spirit. It’s from that close, intimate relationship and knowing Him, knowing He has it covered and His promises are true.

The answer to every single one of His promises is yes and amen. It doesn’t matter what you see with your eyes. His answer is still yes and amen. But our understanding can become a roadblock and a stumbling place where we think, “Oh, it hasn’t left yet. This hasn’t been healed yet. The struggle hasn’t left me. Maybe I’m supposed to be sick. Maybe I’m supposed to be poor. Maybe this is the banner I’m supposed to carry. This is a mountain I am supposed to climb, and I will climb it, Lord. With everything in me and every striving humanly possible in my body, I will climb it with my arms wide open and worship You.”

This is a bold statement that I am making to you. I am saying there is a mountain you are climbing and you weren’t designed to climb it. You were designed to thresh it, to speak to it, to command it to leave. God moves mountains. He is a mountain mover.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
— John 16:33 (AMP)

We will face trouble, but take heart; the Lord has overcome the world. This doesn’t mean that when you are troubled, you should suffer, struggle, and have pity on yourself. It means that in your trouble, you can look through it almost as if it’s a glass to the other side and see the promises of God. The answer is yes and amen. There is a way out. There is freedom. There is a miracle coming.

Jesus died for you to have life and life abundantly, and only deception can keep you from having that. Our deceived mind, not fully understanding what Jesus Christ has paid for us, can keep us from receiving what Jesus has already provided. What? Yes. It is true. It’s for lack of knowledge and understanding that we perish (see Hosea 4:6). Yet in 2 Peter 1:3, it says we have been given “everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him” (NIV). That knowledge is relational knowledge.

We can be misled by the teaching. We can be taught by believers—people like me or your pastors—who are teaching through their personal filters. Maybe they were hurt. Maybe they were let down. Maybe they didn’t get their miracle. So they teach through that. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes God’s word doesn’t come to pass. Sometimes God doesn’t do that. Sometimes, God intends to put these things on you.

The truth is that we cannot filter God’s word through our own circumstances. We cannot filter it through what we see, what we know, or our own reasoning. These things cannot be a strainer for the word of God in our lives.

If something does not come to pass, if we don’t see the miracle, if we don’t see God’s hand at work in our lives, we cannot question if the promise is true. It is, regardless of whether we see it or not. It is truth beyond truth. It is unchanging. It is black and white. I will tell you: You can stand on it.

There are times when we don’t see it come to pass, but we cannot change our belief in God’s word when we don’t see the miracle happen. You believe it every time. Every time I pray for someone, I believe that God wants them well. Not every person is healed, but I know it’s a desire of His heart. If I begin to compromise and think, “Well, sometimes He heals, and sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He wants people well, and sometimes He doesn’t,” then I become an ineffective vessel of God because I am doubting His word, and that is idolatry. I am putting my own understanding above God’s word, and that is unacceptable.

Have you done that in your life? Have you faced your own reasoning and reasoned God’s word into a package you can swallow, tolerate, or deal with? That is unacceptable. God’s word is true every time. Scripture says that “by His stripes (wounds) we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 AMP). What does that mean? Jesus, when He died, took stripes on His back. He was marred beyond human likeness, not only for our sins but also for our physical health. That was two thousand years ago. That was all provided for.

Sometimes I don’t see that come to pass, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. It doesn’t mean it’s God’s will for that person to die. It doesn’t. We are in a true spiritual battle with an enemy who wants to steal our lives. He wants to kill us, destroy us, and infect us with his STDs (spiritually transmitted diseases). He wants to twist the truth, suppress the truth, make us doubt the truth, and then sidetrack us from God. He wants to fix our eyes on circumstances and put our understanding on our own analytical reasoning. He wants us to have a filter that processes our understanding of God through what has happened to us. This is the greatest way we can be deceived.

There is no mountain that can stand in the name of Jesus Christ because His name is above every other name. Either it’s above every other name or it’s not. In Mark 11:23, it says we can speak to our mountains and they will be cast into the sea. When you speak to your mountains, do they move or do they stay? Many times you speak to them and they stay. Does that mean God’s word is not true? Absolutely not. It is truth. You can stand on it. You can bank on it. If you speak to your mountain and it doesn’t move, then you need to ask yourself, “Why do I doubt? What is causing doubt?”

Mark 9:29 and Matthew 17:21 both say, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” I believe, with everything in me, that doubt is eradicated in prayer and fasting. Many people pray and fast to move God, but prayer and fasting move us. It moves our hearts closer to God. It removes doubt because we are focused on the kingdom. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (KJV).

As you fast and starve your body, your body no longer gets to control you or rule you. Suddenly your body learns, “Hey, I need to listen up. I am being retrained here.” Your flesh is no longer your ruler, and instead, you’re fasting and starving it. You’re saying to it, “Feast on the word of God.” The more you do this, the closer you draw yourself to the Lord and the more doubt is weeded out. Therefore, faith can be effective. Your faith can become effective in two ways: by hearing the word of God and by praying and fasting.

Many times, people think, “I’m going to pray and fast this mountain out of here!” They’re really saying, “I’m going to give my sacrifice to God so He will have pity on me and see my great works, and then He will move.” I can tell you right now, God does not move based on you. He moves based on His will and who He is. He is just that good. His love and His grace are irrational. He is uncontrollably generous. It is the kindest love you will ever know. It is so fruitful and so radically true that you can bank on it every time. He moves because of who He is and His great love for you. He does not move based on your behavior. He moves because that’s who He is.

The name of Jesus has been granted to you, for you to use the authority to speak to your mountain so it can be cast into the sea. If you are not seeing that happen, check out those other verses because God did not call us to climb our mountains with our arms wide open. He called us to speak to our mountains. He called us to tear them down using His name and His authority. It’s His power that is behind it. It’s His life. It’s Jesus’ blood. It’s Him being marred beyond human likeness that gives you great authority to use His name.

God has already done it. He has already provided. But will you reach out and grab it and take possession of it? Will you use it in faith, knowing that God’s promises come to pass because His answer to them is always yes and amen?

Defending Yourself

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Believer, why are you so defensive? When someone points out an error you made, a mistake, a failure, why do you feel the need to argue and defend yourself and explain why you made a mistake and screwed up? Why do you feel the need to throw others under the bus instead of taking responsibility and bearing the burden on your shoulders, whether you did it or not? Are you counting yourself as more valuable than others or vice versa?

Are you so insecure that you need to be right every time? Are you so insecure that you can’t fail because if you mess up and fail, then you are a failure? Do you label yourself? Do you think, “If I just prevent myself from failing, I’m going to be good enough”? Don’t you realize that we all fail and if we are not failing, we are not trying? Are you struggling with your own identity so much that you have to be defensive and in the defensive position every time?

Listen to your words. Check if you are constantly saying:

  • “Well, I didn’t do that.”
  • “That’s not me. That was someone else.”
  • “I didn’t mean to.”
  • “Here’s what I meant by that …”
  • “That’s not really a failure. I didn’t really miss that.”
  • “I didn’t really make that mistake. Here’s what truly happened. Let me make sure you know that it wasn’t my intention.”

Do you hear yourself saying that type of thing every day, day in and day out? Instead of accepting responsibility for what you have done, you defend yourself, trying to redeem your own reputation. You weren’t called to redeem your own reputation. You are called to lay it down and hold up the reputation of Christ. He doesn’t need any defending.

Ask people around you if you are constantly defending yourself or throwing others under the bus to save yourself. I dare you to have the courage to ask that question. Now, asking your spouse is one thing. Your spouse will probably tell you, “No, you’re not,” to try to keep the peace and the unity. Ask some other people—your closest friend, your coworkers, your children.

One time, my kids said, “Hey, mom. We’d like to talk to you. We don’t really want to hear an argument about your perspective. We just want you to hear us.” They wanted to be heard. They didn’t want to hear my perspective on why I chose to do what I did. They wanted me to hear their frustration.

Do you have a reputation of being defensive and not easy to talk to? Maybe you said you were going to do something, but you didn’t keep your word. Instead of admitting you messed up, you try to defend yourself. You tell people why and make excuses, failing to count the cost of how you have lost credibility in the eyes of others.

You may not think this applies to you, but trust me, I am pretty sure it applies to most people. Look at your behavior and stop defending yourself. 

Heart vs. Outward Appearance

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Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

It’s incredible how a woman can look when she rolls out of bed and slams on her clothes to travel versus when she spends time fixing her hair to wear it down, applying a little bit of makeup, and putting on a cute outfit. Some women are actually not recognizable because they look significantly different.

I recently saw a video of a girl who posted pictures of herself on Facebook without any makeup. People made awful comments: “You’re disgusting.” “How gross.” “No one should ever date you.” She took time and applied gorgeous makeup, and she started to get these sorts of comments: “You’re so beautiful.” “You’re perfect.” Then she started getting comments that said: “You’re wearing too much makeup.” “You’re nasty.”

This recently happened to me. My cousin was getting married, and I had the opportunity to meet her groomsmen and ushers—new people I hadn’t met before. I showed up with my jeans on, a T-shirt, and my hair in a crazy bun. I barely had any makeup on. Honestly, probably none. I met a bunch of different people, helped her pack for her trip, ate some junk food, and left.

The next day, I showed up at the wedding. I took the time to look presentable for her on her wedding day. By the way, when the bride is taking the time to get all dolled up for her wedding day, honor her by dressing up. So I washed my hair and blow-dried it. My cousin flat-ironed it. It looked really good. It looks so much better when someone else flat-irons your hair, so I do that sometimes. I put on a darling jumpsuit I got from Fabletics, which I love. It is so cute. It just shows my muscles so well. It’s so comfortable. It feels like you’re wearing your PJs. You’re dressed up with your pajama-feeling outfit on. It is the bomb dot-com!

I fixed my makeup, threw on a long, awesome statement sweater, flew into the wedding, and saw some of the gentlemen I had met the night before. I said to them by name, “Hi , how are you today?” Literally, two of them stopped in their tracks and followed me. One of them said, “Hey, what’s your name again?” I said, “I met you last night. My name is .” It was literally as if he had never seen me before. But I could tell there was a difference between the way I looked the day before and the way I looked that day because his response was jaw-dropping.

At my age, I don’t have that effect very often anymore at all. The majority of the time, I have my hair in a big, gigantic mess of a bun anyway, so no one even knows what I actually look like outside of my gym clothes, sweaty body, and crazy hair. But it was pretty incredible to see the difference a little bit of time spent can do and how differently people can react to you. I wondered if I should set my own example, spend the day and go around in my crazies and then go around dressed up to note how differently people treat me.

Let’s be people who look at the heart and not the body or the hair. Let’s not judge each other, thinking we are lazy, inconsiderate, or rude just because we are not all fixed up. Have you ever had this happen to you before? Did people treat you differently? I would love to hear your story.

Sheri

My Faith Is Weak—I Need More Faith

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We all have the faith of Jesus Christ. That’s what Scripture says. You cannot come to God without Him. He actually gives you the faith to believe in Him. The faith you have isn’t your own. You didn’t muster it up. You’re not some great person of faith. Yes, sometimes He gives people a spiritual gift of faith, but it’s still from Him. He is the author of it.

If you and I have the same faith because God gave it to us so we could know Him and love Him, then how do we make our faith work more effectually? Some people have more effective faith than I do. I look at them and think, “How is that? How is that possible?” I believe it comes from their relationship with God. They’re seeking Him and pursuing Him. They’re reading His Word, chomping it up, ingesting it, and believing what it says with childlike faith. It stirs them up.

I received a gift from a friend of mine. It’s a candle. I don’t burn candles in my home. I haven’t burned them since I had kids. I don’t want to risk the accidental knocking over and fire or wax in the carpet. It was a gift my friend gave to me, but it’s never really been used. It just sits there. I think that’s what faith is like. God gives it to you, and you either light it and use it, or you don’t and it just sits there.

So how do we light the candle of our faith? I believe the answer is in Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). I believe hope is the fire for your faith. Hope is your part, and faith is God’s part. God gave you the faith; now, can you keep up your hope? Can you keep yourself focused on the promises of God? Can you keep yourself focused on this amazing promise: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV)?

Jesus also said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1 NIV). He wouldn’t give you a command you could not keep. I believe that when you let your heart be troubled, you lose your hope, and it’s not there to spark your faith. We need to learn, remember, and put our hope in the promises of God. 

“Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP)

I keep my eyes on this truth. It keeps stirring me up. It builds up my hope. It makes my hope grow and become active and alive so it can light the candle of my faith—the faith that God has deposited in me. It’s not really my faith, so I cannot boast in it! I refer to it as my faith, but it’s really not. It was a gift given to me by God. It’s His. He deposited it. When I place my hope in Him, it lights and connects. The faith He has given me ignites, and sparks fly!

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Jump into your Bible. As you read, your hope in the Lord will grow and SOAR! 

Love, 
Sheri 

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.

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

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?

Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

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“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”

What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun

 

F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.

Is this really the question we should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether he or she had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this.

We are giving them the impression that 
life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest that children—or adults for that matter—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 
 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him.

It will not be fun, but there is GOOD in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable.

Why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain them, either.

If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. I want my children to be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship. 

When we emphasize the value of fun, 
we are sowing in our children 
the need to be entertained continuously. 

We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships that don’t seem fun.

Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next.

Listen to them tell each other that what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”

As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is that kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy. Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.

I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other that they hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sound odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid that children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. 

The desire for stimulation can distract us from 
the values and purposes of God.

Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?

I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: 

Whom did you encourage today?
How were you encouraged today?
Did you share your beautiful smile with someone?
Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile?
Did you see someone do something kind today?
Did you share with a friend today?
Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? 
Did you leave their place better than you found it?
When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer?
Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?

We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and their friends. How can we believe this when we know that children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. 

If we raise our children to pursue fun, we can’t expect them 
suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate 
human beings when they reach adulthood.

We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective, how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.

It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun and be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seem overstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. 

How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?

Two Ways

There are two ways we can minister:

One is out of compassion in response to someone who’s hurting or something that we see.

The second is out of the Spirit’s leading.
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All too often, we minister out of compassion and not out of His leading. When the Spirit leads us, we will always see His power flow. 


What I love about the Original Design Youth Group is that they have been ministering out of the Holy Spirit’s leading. The week before they go out to minister, they ask the Lord to whom He wants them to give love. They write down clues and pictures that the Lord gives them. The following week, we worship and then go out to look for the people God described the previous week. 

These young students have learned the power of sitting and listening to the Lord and allowing His Spirit to lead them to minister and bring amazing encouragement, freedom, and healing!

Do you primarily minister out of compassion as a response to people, or are you leading from the Spirit’s prompting?


-Sheri