Parents: How to Surf the Waves of the Current Storm with your Children? 

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

How do we help our kids navigate through a world where leaders are falling in sin like hotcakes, and churches are arguing over divisive topics? 

We need two major things.

We need to know the Scriptures and rely on Holy Spirit.

As parents, we need to worship God in both Spirit and Truth and invite our kids to walk in this too. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is true freedom (2 Cor 3:17) – no matter what is happening in the news today.

Now more than ever, we truly need to have a relationship with God rather than merely rely on a doctrine, a church, or a human pastor.

Helping You and Your Kids Hear From God 

Children hear the Lord easier than others. The most common block that children face is the unbelief of their parents and leaders. Our greatest responsibility as parents and leaders is to lead the children into an intimate friendship with God, which includes teaching children how to recognize and respond to the voice of God. 

We CAN learn to hear God’s voice. 
John 10:27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

The earlier you expect a child to sense God’s presence and voice, the less likely you are to shut down their spiritual eyes and ears. (Don’t be discouraged if you are late in the game to hearing God’s voice. God knows your kids and will lead you!)

Why Teach Kids to Hear God’s Voice? 

  • They can have friendship with God (the most important thing!) 
  • God can help them make decisions (imagine if kids could avoid the mistakes YOU made!) 
  • They can be led by God to minister to others (the supernatural, including hearing God, is for demonstrating God’s power in the world. For children to move in a pure, undiluted gospel of power, they must learn to hear God’s voice.) 

How Does God Speak?

His Word, dreams, through others, through parents, a still small voice, spontaneous thoughts, impressions, feelings, inner-knowing, pictures, and circumstances. 

Start Practicing Hearing God with Journaling

A “Hearing God Journal” is the best way to practice hearing God’s voice. Dr Mark Virkler taught me this from Scripture. In journaling, you simply ask God and question and then record what you sense God is saying to you. Then, you test it out according to God’s Word, His nature, His Holy Spirit and with others who know Him. Here are some steps for using a hearing God journal: 

1. I Quiet Myself.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Our minds can be so busy and noisy that we can’t hear God’s gentle whisper. It’s impossible to empty our minds of racing thoughts. What we need to do is focus on Jesus. Express your love for Him – you can tell him with words, or more with feelings and desire and less with actual words. It’s like sitting quietly with your best friend. Just being together is enough. Listening to a worship playlist may be a great way for you to quiet your heart. 

2. I Picture Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says “…Let us run the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.” Imagine your heart is like a movie screen. Ask God to fill this screen with His words and pictures. Pray, “Lord, I give the eyes of my heart to you. Fill them with your pictures and good ideas from heaven.” Just as our physical eyes see into the natural world around us, our spirit sees into the supernatural world when we ask God to open them. Picturing ourselves with Jesus in a Bible story is a good way to “prime the pump.” In the beginning we may need to “prime the pump” with a little help from the ‘eyes of our heart’ (our imagination), but when we exercise faith, it quickly turns into a pure flow of the Spirit. The water we prime the pump with may be warm and stale, but it is followed by a fresh flow of pure water. 

3. I tune to the words and pictures that gently light upon my heart. 
John 7:38 says, “Rivers of Living Water will flow from the heart of anyone who believes in Me.” God’s voice is like a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-12). Usually it is not a whisper that we can hear with our ears, but the Holy Spirit speaks directly to our spirit through spontaneous thoughts. “Spontaneous” means that these thoughts seem to just appear in our hearts. They are not just something we were already thinking about. When God puts His thoughts in our heart, we often feel peace, or faith, or conviction, or a special excitement. God can put a thought, a word, an idea, a feeling, an impression, or even a vision in our heart. 

4. I write down.
Revelation 1:11 says, “Write in a book what you see.” We call this ‘journaling’. In Habakkuk 2:2-3 God says, “Record the vision…for the vision is yet for the appointed time…though it tarries, wait for it…it will surely come.” Journaling is writing out our questions and God’s answers. Simply ask a question and then write down the spontaneous thoughts that come to your heart. Don’t try to figure out if your writing is God or not until AFTER you are done writing. Nothing stops the voice of God speaking to you more than doubt. After you are done writing you can go back and compare what you wrote with the Bible, ask your parents or pastor if they think it sounds like it’s from God. You can also write down what God speaks to you from the Bible and any other lessons God is teaching you. 



Journaling through the New Testament is key to discerning God’s voice. *Don’t attempt to teach your children to hear God without Scriptural foundation. Simply walk through the Gospels to start with alongside your children. Teach them how to journal through Scripture. Read a passage. Ask Holy Spirit to highlight a word/phrase, then how He’s inviting you to apply it. Write out a dialogue with Him. Write out an Action Step from the Scriptures. Go and do it! This is powerful!

Is it God?

How to Test What you Hear:

A big question is whether we are really hearing from God. Explore these questions AFTER you are finished journaling. 

  • Does it agree with the Word? 
  • What do others say about it? God especially speaks through parents. 
  • Do we feel peace about it? 
  • Does it glorify God? 
  • Would it bring the fruit of Holy Spirit?

How to Identify Who is Speaking: 

  • God’s voice – kind, peaceful, truthful, sweet, it always lines up with His Word 
  • My voice – selfish, self-centered, self-protecting, self-serving 
  • The enemy’s voice – condemning, manipulative, persuasive, deceiving, threatening, accusing. 

To learn how to hear God and teach your kids, join us for one of our upcoming events!
Merri Ellen Giesbrecht, Life Coach & Spiritual Director

Events: www.merriellen.com/events

Resources: www.merriellen.com/resources

Private or group Coaching:  www.merriellen.com

Are you wondering what your dreams or nightmares mean?

Are you wondering what your dreams or nightmares mean?

Do you have dreams the leave you feel unsettled?

Do you have reoccurring dreams?

Do your children have nightmares?

Invite your friends…

We are taking women through the Biblical basics in prayer with the Lord, testing it according to what we read in Scripture and fruit of Holy Spirit. It’s been a recent game changer for many of my students and clients.

Learn how to let Jesus be your dream coach!

Learn more / reserve your spot TODAY:
https://merriellen.com/5daydreamevent

Radical Prayer Walking

I’ve been coaching a group now for many months and recently we have been focusing on radical prayer walking. Here’s a glimpse…

The format of church has been shifting for a very long time and 2020 put it into high gear. A bunch of us have gathered and scattered for prayer walking and gathering for Disciplemaking including over zoom. I recently gathered this week with 35 people all over the world. INTERACTIVELY that is.

*To me, online church is not watching some guy talk for 45 minutes. Church is family and interactive.

We’ve even enjoyed communion over zoom when we gather. And then, we scatter!

Back to prayer walking…

Just the other day, there were 10 moms with strollers going out through their neighborhood locally!

Radical Prayer Walking (Shifting Atmospheres)

What is prayer-walking?

One simple definition: “Praying on-site with insight.”

The purpose of prayer-walking is to seek God’s guidance, mercy, and transforming power—both for the community and for ourselves as God’s servants in the community.

Remember, first…

The key to shifting atmospheres through prayer:

We must first invite Jesus to shift the atmosphere inside of us.

Example: “Search my heart God… Is there anything in my heart you’d like to heal?” (We did a teaching on this in one of my courses.)

When I call for prayer walking and deliverance buddies, I tell them: “Come prayed up, cleaned up, confessed up, and ready to go!”

When we attempt to shift atmospheres, this is key!

Once you have enjoyed time with Jesus – praising Him, thanking Him and then allowing Him to shift the atmosphere within you, you are ready to take His glory to the street!

Here’s another important key I’ve noticed in prayer walking: Do not engage in territorial spiritual warfare lightly. (Without seeking the Lord, it’s just asking for trouble on you and your family.)

Instead, repent for the sins committed in the area (yes – even if they were committed by others. Think of Nehemiah or to be more NT – you can pray: “Lord, have mercy! Forgive.”), and then pray a blessing of the fruit of Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

So, it could look like this…

1. Worship and Delight in the Lord, and Listen to Him…

2. Repentance (or pray: “Lord, have mercy! Forgive.”)

3. Blessing (of Holy Spirit)

These things have shifted atmospheres, neighbourhoods and families in a powerful way! Then, pray for anyone you run into! I have seen people healed of cancer, arthritis, kidney failure, etc. Jesus heals! (We will learn about praying for physical healing in an upcoming session.)

As you walk your neighbourhood or an assigned neighbourhood, you can Ask Jesus the questions we’ve learned to ask Him (week 3 of our foundational course).

“Jesus, what’s on your heart for this neighbourhood? Why?”
“Jesus, what’s the look on your face as you look at them? Why?” 
“Jesus, how are you praying for them? Why?”
“Jesus, how are you inviting ME to pray for them? Why?”
“Jesus, what promise and Scripture do you have for them? Why?”
“Jesus, if they embraced this promise, what gift would you pour out for them? Why?”

“Jesus, is there anything blocking them from your presence that you’re willing to show me?” (And if He shows you sin, etc – ask Him how He’s inviting you to pray.)

Caution: This discipline of prayer walking is to be entered carefully and especially if you are a burden bearer. (Do not take home burdens. Remember, you are to release the burdens back to Jesus.)

4. ‘Wash off’ after you walk through a neighbourhood. You can simply pray: “Jesus, I pray your shed blood over me to wash me off of all things I’ve come into contact with. Father God, pour your love over me. Holy Spirit, rinse me clean, and fill me up to overflowing! I declare that nothing can come home with me that is not of you Almighty God!”

For more of the teaching and helps, visit: www.freedomcoachingcircle.com

Provided by Merri Ellen Giesbrecht, Certified Life Coach & Spiritual Director
www.merriellen.com

Kelly Shares What Happened…

It was a delight to interview Kelly Young from Teen Challenge on what happened for her recently in learning to encounter Jesus in a whole new way. We discussed compassion fatigue​ and church​ and pastoral ministry​ and what has shifted. May you be encouraged too…

Learn more about the 5 week FOUNDATIONAL course here: https://www.merriellen.com/intro-course
Learn more about private coaching here: https://www.merriellen.com

#transformation#lifecoaching#spiritualdirection#hearingGod#teenchallenge

We are Tired of Listening to Men

worshiphands

“Mr Moody, there must be more prayer. The speaking here is excellent but there is too much of it in proportion to prayer. We do not have time to pray. We get tired when going to meetings, listening to men. We must have more time to speak to God and to listen to Him.” – Andrew Murray to D.L. Moody (founder of Moody Bible Institute)

I just came across this quote above written in a book on prayer in 1915.

I love seeing this shift over and over with more people hungry to hear God and less what others say about God or on behalf of God. This is why I love teaching people how to hear God’s voice.

People ask me, “What do you think? What should I do?”

My reply?

Let’s ask Jesus.

After we pray together listening to God, we always test it…

Does it line up with Scripture?

Does it line up with the fruit of Holy Spirit? (If I did what He told me, would it produce love, joy, peace…)

More of Him.

Less of me!

(There is a time for a sermon, but when a sermon is your main course meal and only meal, you lack knowing how to go to God to be fed. You miss out on a direct relationship with God and you have put your pastor in His place. Oops. That is idolatry.)

Jesus wants to be in fellowship with us and that is one reason He gives us His Holy Spirit—so we would never have to be alone. One of the things Jesus promised us is that the Holy Spirit would speak to us, so that we could maintain our intimate relationship with Him. (1 John 14:16-21).

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27 (NIV)

The Prayer of St Patrick

shamrockThis morning on St Paddy’s day, my family and I gathered for communion and then reflected on a portion of his famously penned prayer…

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.


Then, we did a little reflection together…

What follows is a reflection based on the second half of St Patrick’s Breastplate (Prayer). Some of us may not wear combat gear in our daily lives but this prayer/reflection on St. Patrick’s Breastplate may function as divine armour to protect against the difficulties we may face in life.

Silently, become aware of what is going on around you. Close your eyes and sit in a comfortable upright position in their chair. Become aware of your breathing. Once you are in a prayerful state, keep your eyes closed and listen openly to the reflection.

Christ with me – Invite Christ quietly into your heart.

Christ before me – Think about events or things coming up over the next few days/weeks that you may be worried about. Ask Christ to help you face these challenges that lie ahead.

Christ behind me – Consider moments in your past that you may have found difficult. Spend a few minutes thinking about how Christ was present in these moments.

Christ in me – Spend now some quiet time deepening your relationship with Christ.  Talk with Him and listen to God who is always with you.

Christ beneath me – All of us need help at points in our lives. It is at the lowest points that Christ is there carrying us through. Ask God now if there is anything you need help with.

Christ above me – Just as an umbrella protects us from the rain, Christ protects all of us. Think about somebody close to you that needs God’s protective care at this moment. Ask God to help them.

Christ on my right hand – Christ uses your hands to help and comfort others in today’s world. How can you use your hands to further God’s kingdom here on earth?

Christ on my left hand – God is always by your side even though you might not realise it. Thank God for never giving up on you even during those moments when you have turned away from him.

Christ when I lie down – Even when we sleep God is there watching over us and protecting us. Thank God quietly for his loving protective presence in your life.

Christ when I arise – When you wake up in the morning do you notice the beauty of the world around you? Thank God for his beautiful gift of creation.

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me – Recall a kind act that someone has done. How have they been the light of Christ to you?

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me – If someone who knows you really well were to give an honest answer to the question – What is the best thing about your friend? What do you think their answer would be? Would others say the same about you? Ask Jesus what He says about you.

Christ in every eye that sees me – Imagine that somebody took a photograph of you this morning interacting with your family/friends without you realising it. Do you think you would be happy with what the image captured? Did you speak kind or harsh words to a loved one? Did you help your family member/friend or were you angry with them? Talk with the Lord about this. Ask Jesus what He sees when He looks at you.

Christ in every ear that hears me – Think back over the conversations you have had with others this week. Have you been kind and thoughtful in what you have said or have your words been hurtful or damaging to others? Talk with the Lord about this. Ask Jesus how He hears your heart.

Dear God,

St. Patrick came to Ireland to help people discover your loving presence. May I take comfort from the fact that whatever challenges I may face in life you will always be there at my side to help and guide me through. Help me to be your witness in the world, showing others your loving presence through my words and actions.

Amen

Source, adapted from: https://decandsusan.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/st-patricks-breastplate.pdf

Locating God’s presence this past year.

reflection

image source: Biblicalleadership.com

Locating God’s presence this past year.
(The Grand Prayer of Examen)

  1. Look Back
    – Look over the past 6 – 12 months.
    – Where has the Lord been present and at work in my life?
    – What significant changes have come my way?
    – When have I been the most stressed? the most blessed, and full of joy?
    – What can I give thanks to God for?
    – Where have I been?
    – Where am I now?
  2. Look through
    – Identify any patterns, connections or themes that have characterized the past 6-12 months.
    – If you can, summarize the past year in a sentence or two.
    – Do you notice anything or patterns? specific thought patterns or emotions?
    – Ask the Lord about these patterns. How do they line up with the fruit of Holy Spirit?
  3. Look forward
    – Where do you sense God leading you forward?
    – What do you sense your spirit needs in this season?
    – What are your hopes and dreams for this coming year? Ask the Lord what His hopes and dream are for you!
    – Paint a picture of what you envision over the next six months.
    – What are you asking the Lord for in the new year? for your community, your family?
  4. Look around
    – What does your community need? How can you pray for them, help them?
    – Consider a prayer walk through your neighbourhood to help you see.
    – Who are the people you can intentionally walk with?
    – What community support do you need in this season of your life?
    – Who are the people you need to invite to walk alongside you?
    – Who are the people you can intentionally walk with?
    – How can others best support you?

Prayer prompts:

God, still my heart and mind. 

I am silent in your presence. 

You are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are fully here with me. 

Father, I look back on my year. 

Thank you for… (list off people, provision…)

God, help me to see where you were present and working in and around me… 

 …I bend my heart to you. Show me where I need to ask for your forgiveness and receive your grace. (If He brings things to mind, take time to do so.)

In humility, and renewed vision, faith and courage, I look toward the new year coming. I commit what I know and not know to you Lord. I ask for your discernment. Help me through your Holy Spirit to know you more deeply, to better love, serve, and lead others with your guidance and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

Scriptures for Reflection:

Psalm 103:2-5 (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

Psalm 139:1-7 (NLT)

O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!

 

Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit[a] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.

 

I bless you with a new year of greater intimacy with your loving Heavenly Father, rich in Holy Spirit fruit, in the name of Christ Jesus! Amen!

Sources:

The Prayer Of Examen, Ignatian Spirituality

The Psalms, NLT

The Grand Examen – Locating God’s Presence in 2017 : New Life Fellowship Church – New York

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZAauF3laXQ

 

How to Walk in Freedom!

Recently, I had the honour of leading another person to freedom from addiction and depression. (I am a Life Coach and Spiritual Director which often entails an inner healing session.) Then, we talked about what abundant life really is. Full life in Christ doesn’t start when you die and go to heaven. It starts now when you die to self, and live in Christ.

This video from Graham Cooke below is TOTALLY what we discussed. My clients do this powerful exercise which he describes in the video….

There are 2 battles…
One to get free.
One to stay free!

If you’d like to enjoy some life coaching with this perspective, I’d be honoured to journey with you.

You can even get started and download a similar resource that Graham describes.