On a trip to Norway this summer I experienced something so beautiful. I wrote about it and it was published in Living Better 50 Magazine. I hope you have a moment to read this short article and I hope it encourages you to pray for those in your life that may have wandered.
What is the gift that will not fade?
My two daughters are grown and experiencing their very own adventure of life. While my wife and I are excited about being empty nesters and watching them blossom, it is kind of sad. We miss taking care of them and seeing them each and every day. But in the eternal scheme of things, not seeing them for days, weeks, or even months apart is really nothing. The day is coming when I who entered this world at one point will face eternity. That day is also coming for my kids…yours too. Our sons and daughters will hear from a just and holy, loving God about an eternal destiny. The thought of missing one of my kids in eternity is just unbearable for me.
So, if you’re a parent, I’m telling you, do whatever you need to do. Talk to your kids about their faith and about their futures and about God. And if it’s awkward or hard or embarrassing or you feel like you don’t have all the answers, talk to them anyway! You’re the parent. In addition to talking to them, allow them to see into your heart and your own walk with God. Teach them through your example. Be a great role model.
Role modeling is one of the best ways to reach our kids. What is the example that we are to use to have our kids model after? Here’s an idea from Ephesians 5:1-4. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.”
This is not an exhaustive list but what a powerful place to start. Paul is encouraging us to imitate God…in other words, let your kids see you acting like Jesus by walking in love! Model purity…they need to see this from us as parents because they are hard pressed to see it from anyone else. And our mouths…the words that come out of our mouth have immense power to give life or death. We should choose words wisely around our children.
Lastly, make the commitment to pray for your kids every day. We live in a world where parents think so much about parenting and work hard to give so many gifts to their kids that are going to fade. There’s only one gift we can give to our kids that will never fade, and that will last for all eternity, so give it. Give it the best you can!
For more posts by men you can go to Dirt, Trucks, and Faith
Guest post by Karli Reed, licensed minister with the Assemblies of God.
Parenting is one of the most honorable responsibilities given to us to discourage with grace and love. From the moment that they are born and take their first breath, we are scared out our wits – oh my word! What have we here!?! What am I doing and have I lost my mind? What do I do next? Next, we take a deep breath and say “Lord God, teach us each day every step we need to take to raise this one up for your Kingdom.
When each of my children were born, I would wait until everyone has left to go home for the night and then stand before the hospital window facing Spokane twinkling in the night. I would raise up each one and pray and give thanks for this promised child. “You gave me the vision of three children and you have kept your promise. Here is this one. Guide me to raise them for you and for the calling that You have destined to.” You would ask me if it was all piece of cake and I would say no it wasn’t. Each child you have is uniquely different and need to be raised according to who they are. As Parents, we will have moments we regret and wish we could do it over again but, we can’t. I just have to remind myself that parenting doesn’t end even after they’ve starting their family.
There is always an opportunity to change your parenting if necessary as long as we surrender it all into His hands. As we face the days ahead of us, it becomes necessary to teach your children how to walk and live the Godlike life. Teach them how to pray along side you so they learn how to communicate with the Lord.Teach them how to worship before God to learn intimacy with God.Teach them the word of God and how to read it, study it like a student with a Teacher beside you. Never underestimate your children. They can do it. Teach them ministry with you but be wise on how they can handle ministry and guard them from the harm done in ministry. Tell them about the hard stuff when they are ready. Let them see you walk it out and the teach them that it is ok to ask us about why things happen the way they do. Always keep Jesus in the center of everything you say and do.
The most important lesson to learn is this : “Can you trust Me with your children? Trust me enough to leave them in my hands so that I may do a work in their lives before I release them?”
Parenting goes through its different seasons and each season affects the next one. Each season has its sunrises and sunsets along with it changes. Parenting also goes through its storms such as bullying, suicides, death, rejection…..this list goes on. By trusting in God to carry us through the storms, we become seasoned parents ready to come along side with younger, new parents. Parenting is a life cycle with God walking beside you every step of the way.
Praying is such an important part of our growth as Christians and it is our best defense when life throws a sucker punch at us. It is very important to have place we call our own to pray. I have a favorite chair in my living room where I do my study but there is a window by the chair and when it comes to my prayer time, that doesn’t work for me. I see one thing out of the corner of my eye and “Squirrel!!” I am off track. If I see the dishes in my sink, I feel like I need to get up and wash them. So many things in my home can easily distract me. After watching the movie, War Room, I knew I needed to make a place to pray.
Not everyone has a closet big enough to turn into a prayer closet. I understand how valuable closet space is but even more valuable is your time with God. Every one of us needs to find some uninterrupted time where we can be open and truly honest with God. I encourage you to find a place in your house where you can do that.
Being empty nesters our son no longer needs his closet. My husband and I moved in and set up shop. Your prayer closet doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You may not even have room to put a chair in there but a pillow and a blanket on the floor can make your closet feel cozy.
Be creative. Do you have a spare bedroom that you could go in, close the door, and step away from everything? Do you have a storage room that has room for a chair? Maybe there’s an empty shelf to put your Bible and your prayer journals. If you have a little light and an extension cord, put the light in there. Turning off the overhead light keeps your eyes from being distracted by what you are storing in that room. We keep post-it notes in our prayer room. We can write short prayers or a scripture that really speak to us and stick them on the wall. Using the blue sticky material for hanging posters keeps our post-it notes on the wall.
Maybe your laundry room has no windows but has room to put a chair. Put a little light near the chair and turn the overhead light OFF so you’re not distracted by any laundry that needs to be done. Don’t run your laundry while you’re there either. You don’t need to be distracted by the sound of the washer and dryer. For that matter, turn your chair away from any laundry that needs to be done. If that means looking at the wall, so be it. Use the wall in front of you for a few pictures of your family and sticky notes with prayers and scriptures. Do you remember the lesson about Mary and Martha?
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-42 (NIV)
Be a Mary, not a Martha. Your laundry can be started after you spend time with God. God is not asking for anything fancy. Uninterrupted time is what he’s seeking. Find a place in your home where you can step away from everything and spend a little time with God. I have found that when I step away from all the distractions I really feel the peace of God. I’m excited to step into my prayer closet. Every day I step in with the expectation that God will give me just what I need. He has blown my mind with what He has shown me during our quiet time together and I believe He will do the same for you.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 (NIV)
By: Erin Bishop
The world seems to be getting darker with each new generation. Kids are engaging in reckless behaviors and are becoming entangled in the enemy’s snares at an alarming rate.
None of our daughters are immune to peer pressure and temptations.
It can be daunting.
As a result, mothers can feel hopeless and weary. Exactly where the enemy wants them.
I know what hopeless and weary feel like.
I know what not wanting to pray feels like, too.
But a mother plagued by hopelessness and weariness is a distracted and ineffective warrior.
When we keep our eyes on God, not the storm, we have hope.
And hope is the birthplace of victory.
How do we get there?
On our knees.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
Last summer, when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenges were all over social media I found myself wondering:
“What if moms prayed for their daughters? Not just the quick ‘help her_________, Lord’ type of prayers, or the afterthought prayers I feel so guilty about praying, but really prayed? If all these people are willing to throw ice water on themselves to raise awareness for a horrible disease, surely there must be some moms out there who would be up for a prayer challenge.”
And I was right. Hundreds of moms from around the world joined us and prayed for their daughters every day of the school year.
As I was organizing the prayer challenge last year, I came across a verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans (1:8) that I could not stop thinking about. I still can’t.
“…your faith is being reported all over the world.” There is such significance in these nine words.
This letter is said to have been written around A.D. 57, and was likely transported by ship to Rome by someone Paul knew. This was long before mail, phones, email, YouTube, texting, Twitter and Facebook.
Yet, he wrote:
“…your faith is being reported all-over-the-world.”
I just took a quick writing break to comment on a friend’s video that she took today in Israel and posted on Facebook. She replied to my comment within minutes. From Washington State to Israel and back. It’s astounding how much communication methods have transformed since Paul wrote to the Romans.
“Whatever ground is gained for Christianity in one generation can be totally lost in the next if the former generation fails to impart passion for the things of God to their children. So parenthood is a great blessing-not only to us but to God as well-because through our children the hope of God’s people taking dominion and advancing His kingdom in the earth can live on, growing with each generation. “ –Mike Shreve
Will you join me, and hundreds of moms across the world in praying over and activating God’s promises for our daughters? May news of our faith and intentional prayers for our daughters be reported all over the world.
“Once promises are known, believers do not need to beg God to
do those things He has already pledged to do.” – Mike Shreve
This year’s prayer challenge will be launched on September 1 and go through June 17.
How it Works:
We make it easy to participate by providing you with daily, guided prayers for the duration of the prayer challenge. You can sign up to receive the daily prayer challenges emailed to you, by clicking “HERE”, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to view these prayers daily. You can also join our private prayer group community where you will receive encouragement and prayer.
Will You Share and Invite?
Please invite all the moms of daughters you know to join us in this sacred place. Let’s pray that the words Paul wrote to the Romans will be used to describe our prayer movement. The our faith would be heard of all over the world, and that Jesus’s name would be glorified for generations to come.
Erin Bishop is the founder and president of the Whatever Girls Ministry. The Whatever Girls mission is
“intentional moms and intentional daughters”. They strive to empower teen girls to choose God’s best for their lives by exemplifying the pillars of Philippians 4:8. Erin lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and their two children.
Can you hear me now? How about now? Those words are spoken from time to time by anyone who has ever used a cell phone. Even with more and more cell towers going up and the latest coverage offered, there are still many dead zones.
At our family lake cabin, there is a clear difference between which carrier has the better coverage. I have watched many people holding their phones with an outstretched arm on our patio looking for a bar of coverage to make a call or send a text. It’s entertaining to watch.
When I have not been able to get service, I have been bothered about it. How about you? In reality, is having no phone coverage for a little bit really a bad thing? We are so worried about checking our text messages, our Instagram, Facebook, and emails that the idea of being stuck in a dead zone seems to be cause for alarm.
In our desire to be connected to the world with our phones, we have become slaves to technology. Just before I started writing this, I was working on my Bible study and I got a text. I was going to reach for my phone to tell my husband, yes, I can talk now, and then it hit me… I was in my quiet time with God. There was not an emergency and my husband would understand if I finished my study before I called him. I almost chose to set God aside to answer a text.
That knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone and forget about my time with God was a reality check. How many times a day do I reach for my phone to check social media? Am I more concerned about how many bars I have, who is posting what, and what is trending than I am with God? What about you? Are you more concerned with those things than your relationship with God?
Finding the best coverage when it comes to our cell phone seems to be an important thing. However, shouldn’t we be more concerned about finding the best coverage for ourselves? It should be much more alarming to be in a dead zone that applies to our salvation rather than our phone, and sadly for many, that is not the case. At the end of our lives, the number of bars we had, the number of texts, tweets, and posts will mean nothing. What will matter is, are you covered in the saving blood of Jesus?
He offers the best coverage for us in the long run and His coverage is free to all who seek Him. There is unlimited coverage and you will never experience a dropped prayer like you do a dropped call. With Jesus we all become sons and daughters of God, which means as far as plans go, there is no other family plan like His. Okay, maybe that is a bit cheesy, but it’s true… Jesus is the only way to avoid the dead zone. In John 14:6-7, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” (NIV)
I challenge you to put your phone down for a while each day and spend time with the Lord. Dig into your Bible, take time to pray, go to church, and fellowship with other believers. Get to really know Jesus so that you will know the Father as well. Being covered in the saving blood of Jesus Christ is the best coverage there is. It is the only way to avoid a dead zone. Put God first! I am not saying to avoid your phone and social media just that God should be our first priority. And, by all means, share that coverage with others. Don’t let those you know and love be lost in a dead zone when they could have eternal life.
Once a week my husband rolls the garbage can to the end of the driveway to be picked up by the garbage truck. Some weeks we have so much garbage that my husband can be seen climbing up on top of the garbage and jumping to smash it down so we can get one more load of trash into the can.
Why is it so easy to let go of that kind of trash and yet the personal trash in our lives we choose to hang on to? In a sense, we fight to push it down into ourselves like my husband stomps our trash down in the can. By pushing down our trash (our past sins that we can’t let go of), we can never really be free and clean from our sin.
My pastor talked one night in church about how when we repent from our sins Jesus forgets about them.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NIV)
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12 (ESV)
He puts them in the garbage and puts a lid on it. So why can’t we do the same? We often repent and then we take it back. I know I wouldn’t want to dig through my garbage can to pick some gross garbage out so I can stick it in the back of my closet. And yet it is so easy for us to go and dig our sins back out and hang onto them.
I love knowing that Jesus never holds our trash over our heads. He won’t bring up our sin to cause us shame. Jesus knows how to take out the trash if we would just let Him. If you have been carrying around a sin, let it go. Hang on to Jesus and not the trash that Satan loves to pile on us. There is freedom in Jesus, you just need to get on your knees and give up your sin. He paid the price; we don’t pay anything to dump our trash. Any day can be garbage day, so what is stopping you?
There is no right or wrong prayer in asking God to help you dump your trash, but if you are not sure how to start, let me help you.
Dear Lord, I am tired of dragging around with me the hurt from my past mistakes. I want to live in freedom and I want to know Your forgiveness. Please help me to let go of the trash that is holding me back from really living the life you want for me. Today I give you ______________________ (name it. Whatever it is, you need to give it to God). God, help me overcome the urge to drag that trash back into my life. Quicken my heart any time I try to drag the trash back in with the truth from Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He (You) removed our (my) transgressions from us (me).” Thank you so much, Lord, for forgiving me. Today I believe with all my heart that what Your word says is true and that I am forgiven. Amen
Originally posted on The Whatever Girls.
In November, while in New Zealand, I toured a place of geothermal activity known as Hells Gate. There were warning signs everywhere telling people to stay on the trails. To step off them, you would be stepping onto unstable ground; it’s a molten substance that could burn you to death.
Two of the features that stood out to me were called Devil’s Cauldron and Sodom and Gomorrah. Stepping off the path and dangling a toe into Sodom and Gomorrah or Devil’s Cauldron would cause excruciating pain and leave your toe badly burned. The hazards were very clear to anyone who was in the park.
While in the park, it got me to thinking about what happens when we step off the path God has laid out for us. Sometimes we choose to dangle our foot, here and there, in the world which is a huge gamble. The world offers some very dark things.
Pornography is a multimillon-dollar industry that feeds prostitution and sex trafficking. Personal ads asking for explicit sexual things are a huge part of Craigslist. Sexting is not just an adult activity, it’s ugly and sinks its dangerous claws into our children. Social media sites have taken bullying to a whole new level of evil. Cyber bullying continues to rise and with it comes the deaths of those who cannot take the pain of what is done to them.
As parents, we need to talk to our kids about the risks of what is out there. We need to give them the tools to stay on the path. Prayer for our children is huge but it can’t be all we do. We need to talk openly with them about the dangers of the internet. We need to talk with them about sex. It may be embarrassing but if we don’t talk to them, someone else is going to.
When we don’t keep communication open and give our children the important tools of prayer and scripture along with a relationship with Jesus, we are like a parent who sets their toddler on the path at Hells Gate and lets them run wherever they want with no guidance. Your toddler could be burned alive right in front of you if they fell into Devil’s Cauldron, Sodom and Gomorrah, or one of the other pools along the path.
As parents we should also be horrified by what our teens can fall into if we let them run through their teen years without guidance. Press into God and give your children what they need to stay on solid ground. Keep communication open no matter how awkward the conversations may feel.
The world is beckoning our children to step off the path into Devil’s Cauldron or Sodom and Gomorrah. We need to be guiding our children to do what it says in Philippians 4:8-9.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (NLT)
Teach your children to fix their thoughts on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” When they are faced with peer pressure, we need to teach them to take it to God. If it is not something that is excellent or worthy of praise, step away from it. It is our job to teach our children to put into practice everything they have learned and received from God and from us. Our children learn from what they hear and see us doing. Be sure you are a godly example. When you teach your children to walk with God, He will be with them and help them stay on solid ground.
Originally posted on Living Better 50 magazine
Fear is not from God, but there should be a reverent fear of the Lord. There is also the fear that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. That kind of fear is a warning telling us we should not be where we are.
The kind of fear I am talking about is fear the enemy sends our way. Once we let that kind of fear take root, it can become the mode in which we operate from. My fear from a childhood trauma caused me to parent out of a “mode of fear” more often than once. With God, I have been able to overcome it and you can overcome your fears, too.
The enemy wants to see God’s plan for our lives fail. He loads up a big flaming arrow of fear and fires it into our camp. All it takes is one little spark to start a raging fire of fear in our hearts. If you have a hurt from your childhood, shame from a past mistake, or fear of rejection, the enemy is going to look for a crack in your armor and he is going to fire right at it. God, however, has given us the ability to extinguish all those flaming arrows. He has given us the most powerful weapon, “faith”. Ephesians 6:16 says, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”(NIV)
Fear is one of the most powerful weapons he tries to use against us, but with faith, we can overcome fear. If you are operating out of a mode of fear, you don’t have to any more. Go to the Lord, tell Him your fears and ask Him to take them away. Claim the truth of God’s word over your life. Fear that cripples us, that takes us away from living life victoriously, is not from God. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)
You can claim scripture for yourself in a prayer. Not sure what I mean? Deuteronomy 31:6 can be put into a prayer like this:
Lord, Your word tells us to be strong and of good courage. I need You to give me that strength and courage. I no longer want to be afraid, and Lord, I believe You are the one who goes with me. I believe You will not leave me or forsake me. I give You my fear, Lord, because with You, I do not need to fear. Thank you, God, for being here for me always. Amen.
When you raise your shield of faith, you can extinguish the flaming arrows. There may be times when you feel you need help to hold up your shield of faith. If you find yourself in a place where you feel too worn out to fight, you can ask others to pray, too. Don’t ever think you are weak because you ask for prayer. To call in reinforcements that can raise their shields of faith around you is a strategic move. A good soldier never goes into battle alone and you don’t have to either. When the arrows come flying at you, raise your shield and call in reinforcements. Stand strong with your feet planted on the word of God and you will extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy.
When life gets hard go shopping… No, that is not it. New clothes can’t make your troubles better, sure you may look nice in your new outfit but you are still the same hurting person underneath your new look.
Oh I got it…
There are so many self-help books out there with the authors answer to what to do to over come this or that. On Facebook someone posted when life gets hard punch it in the face? Um not sure how to do that exactly? Or how about this, I saw a sign that said when life knocks you down roll over and look at the stars. Okay the stars are great and it I do love to lay on the dock at the lake and look at the stars but how is that going to help me face my troubles.
When life gets hard we need to pray!
In other words don’t stop praying! We don’t need to wait for life to get hard before we pray.
Philippians 4:6-7 teaches us to: be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
There is power in prayer. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. What have you got to lose?
It is simple, Just say…Jesus I need you to help me right now. I am hurting, life is hard and I don’t know what to do. Jesus help me, Jesus give me strength, Jesus give me peace. Amen.
Today I want to encourage you to pray, to pray often, to pray big prayers and little prayers. To pray with the faith that God is hearing every word of your prayer. Hold on to the truth that there is not a prayer that is prayed in faith that God doesn’t hear.
If you can’t find the words just say, “ Jesus”. Sometimes just saying his name a few time with a true and open heart is all it takes to feel peace.
It is written in Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.
What are you waiting for? Call on Him…Pray without ceasing.