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

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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

Ask God: “How are you with me?”

This Sunday begins the first Sunday in Advent
and I have a gift for you below…

Ask God:

“How are you with me?”

Emmanuel means, “God with us.” 

I love taking God’s promises, His character, and His names and pray into them.

It looks like this:

This Advent and Christmas season, take time to

ask Him: “God, how are you with me this season?”

Journal what comes to you…

This is one of the richest experiences with Jesus
I have every year!

Take some time to step away from the noise.
He waits to sit with you, smile at you, speak with you!

Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning, “coming”.

I put together something for you below which I too am using this year as I reflect on who Jesus is…

Feel free to share your reflections in our Sacred Space group!

Note: A New Year Reflection & Gathering
is coming for January 2022!

Subscribe here & Watch for details…

What does God do when we repent?

Notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!

I loved that Jesus began to teach several stories including this one to show the religious leaders their arrogance…

Parable of the Lost Son (Part 1)
from Luke 15 (NLT)

11 …Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

 

What do you notice about the father?

Once the son came to his senses, the father welcomed him with mercy, love and compassion. There wasn’t any shaming or lecturing. He didn’t require him to work as a slave to pay back the money. He gave his son the best and threw him a party!

What does this tell you about the true nature of God?

Once we repent, and turn to God, He immediately welcomes us with open arms and throws a party – giving us only the best!

Is there something in your life that holds you back from going to God?

Do you feel guilt or shame? Take it all to Him. He will only welcome you with open arms.

God is that good! It is religious arrogance that would shame you and guilt you. Run far from that. Run to God instead.

If you need help for inner healing, I’m happy to help…

Persuasive Words of Men?

jesus heals

If your faith is based on the persuasive words of men, your faith will not go deep. 
When life difficulty comes, your faith will fall.
 But, if your faith is based on the power of Holy Spirit, 
the kingdom of God in your life will be unshakable.

Jesus didn’t merely share information, nor motivational speaking. Jesus always brought the power of His kingdom. He is relational, not informational. Jesus does not rely on the persuasive words of men to reveal Himself to the world. Instead, He invites us to declare and show the world who He is. Yes, there is power in Jesus’ words. But, He calls us to live out His words and demonstrate His power.

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith would not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 2

First, be with Jesus.
Hear His voice.
What He invites you to do, go and do.
Not by your own strength, but in His.
AND, do it according to His timing.
Show the world, Jesus is very real and alive. 🙂 Like this…

Just over a month ago, I led 3 neighbour kids to pray for their sister with juvenile arthritis… well, this past weekend I ran into the mom and kids. Mom said that the next day, her 6 year old daughter had no pain!! They went for an MRI and it’s completely gone!! Jesus is our healer!

We had her siblings all put their hand on her ankle and we prayed for Jesus to heal. Beautiful. Absolutely precious.

She said she saw Jesus as we were praying – and everything was filled with a flood of light.

Again, she is 6, and now enjoying being a 6 year old including being in gymnastics!
Her siblings are 8, 4, and 2! 😄💗🎉

Another amazing thing happened this past weekend in my city… 2 pastors from 2 different churches confessed to their congregations that the way they have been doing church is all off. That followers of Jesus are ALL called to be pastors and should be going out as Jesus taught, not bringing people to church programs and relying on a human to feed them, but rather Holy Spirit to teach and lead them out. Wow! Sounds like a great shift is going to happen in institutional churches in our city!

Countdown to the Cross and Open Grave! (Lent 2019)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love the Lenten season! 🙂

Passover (some call it ‘Easter’) is the most important event in our world history, and yet it can sneak up on us. We often spend so much time focusing on Christmas, that we forget Part 2, …the dying to self-part and receiving new life in Christ! Christmas is receiving God’s gift under the tree and Passover / Easter is opening it!

It is a season, not just a week or a day, and it all starts on a Wednesday. The countdown to Easter Sunday is called “Lent” referring to a lengthening of days as the days get longer with Springtime! Lent is a time that we remember to die to our selfishness, and to choose to live free in Christ!

This year I look forward to using the daily verses (see Year C below) and the Divine Reading template. Come and allow Jesus to bring you new life through these daily readings…

1. List of Scriptures – Year C – Lent : Revised Common Lectionary

2. Your Guide – Reflective Reading Template (Lectio Divina) 

Do Leaders Need to Repent?

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Do leaders need to repent …or can they sweep things under the carpet?

When leaders fail to repent for idolatry and do not make heart change, not only do they cut off blessing in their own lives, but also in the lives of the people that they lead.

When a person walks in idolatry (bowing down to money, to other people out of fear, intimidation, lust, etc), they can expect the opposite of a blessing – a curse onto their children to the third and fourth generations. Idolatry in the lives of parents, grandparents, great, and great-great grandparents opens the door for this.

Sweeping sin under the carpet only makes your kids and grandkids pay more for it later. Is that really the inheritance you want to leave behind? The reason why your children, your flock are suffering, or walking away from you, cutting off all ties with you, etc…could be …you. And you could be a parent, a church leader, a business leader, a city leader…

And if you are calling your people to repent first, this is not love. This is control and manipulation. Leaders must repent first. (Otherwise, they are not leading. Leadership requires example, not hiding.)

Thankfully, repentance breaks this.

Jesus’ shed blood covers our sin when we repent.

God is a faithful God, who keeps his promise and is merciful to thousands of generations of those who love him and obey his commands.

Ask the Lord:

What is blocking me from receiving blessing for me and my children, my church, my business, my city etc? Whatever He brings to mind, repent of, and be set free! 🙂 This in turn will set your family line, your church, your city …free! 🙂 

Read: Exodus 20:5,6; Deuteronomy 7:9,10; Romans 8
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What’s next Papa?!

daddyholdinghand“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:15-25‬ ‭paraphrase by Eugene Peterson

http://bible.com/97/rom.8.15-25.msg

Has God’s Glory Left?

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Where has His Glory gone…?

My adventures in 1 Samuel continue…

I read Chapter 4 today…

19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband (priests) were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
(1 Samuel 4:19-22 ESV)

Why did God’s glory depart?

I went back and read Chapter 3 again…

10 The Lord came and stood there. He called as he did before, saying, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel said, “Speak. I am your servant, and I am listening.”
11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I will soon do things in Israel that will shock anyone who hears about them. 12 I will do everything I said I would do against Eli and his family (priests), everything from the beginning to the end. 13 I told Eli I would punish his family forever. I will do this because Eli knew his sons were saying and doing bad things against God. But he failed to control them. 14 That is why I swore an oath that sacrifices and offerings will never take away the sins of the people in Eli’s family.”
(1 Samuel 3:10-14 ERV)

Questions to reflect on:

What grabbed you?

Why did God refuse sacrifices and offerings?

Why did God’s glory leave the people?

Who did God speak through in Chapter 3 because the priest and his sons were not listening and obeying God?

Have you been seeking God’s voice in your situation?

Has God been silent?

Would you recognize His voice if you heard it?

What could be blocking His voice and favour?

Prayer:

Dear Father,
What is in the way of me hearing your voice and receiving your glory?!
(Listen… Name it.)

Father, forgive me of  _______.

God, the power to completely overcome the sin of _________________is in You, the One Who lives in me. It is all about You, Lord, and Your power at work in me. I turn away from my self-effort to overcome this sin, and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit Who flows within me.

Jesus, I release the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit out through me, to overcome completely the sin of ______________. I receive Your forgiveness and cleansing now, on the basis of Your promise to me in I John 1:9. Thank you, Jesus, that Your blood covers this sin. Jesus, open my heart, my ears to hear your voice! Amen.

My Vision on Women

One morning I woke up with a vision of a family who is well known and loved within their community caring for orphans and widows and the homeless, but behind closed doors the daughters are mistreated. Several older daughters left the family to find freedom. The next daughter in line spoke up against the mistreatment, but the mistreatment simply shifted to the next youngest daughter, a leader in the making. The remaining oldest daughter’s heart broke at the betrayal and the expectation to remain and endure watching the mistreatment of another sister. She left for the sake of her own health.

But her heart breaks for those remaining sisters, some of whom know the mistreatment deeply and some who have yet to experience it for themselves. They have not yet come of age, or they quietly serve ‘in the kitchen, out of sight’, and some sisters feel the heaviness deeply and are praying like warriors trying to hold on.

My heart breaks when families become places of hurt and slavery for children, any gender.

What breaks my heart further is although some families finally recognize what they’ve lost in the mistreatment of their own, their apologies come not because of the hurt they have caused, but because of what they’ve lost themselves. Their wounds come not from what they have done wrong, but from what they have lost. They are only concerned that they are without wine because the women working the vineyard have fled.

True apology is found in behaviour, not mere words… 

Have you mistreated someone within your own family?

Weep and wail for you have put grief and burden deeply in their hearts. Beyond this, your betrayal brings generational bondage. Your family suffers like a person with an auto-immune disease, their body attacking itself.

Choose repentance.

Choose freedom.

You Let Me Rest

lover of your soul

I’ve been meditating on this old familiar Psalm quite a bit lately… May you too turn it into a prayer for yourself…

“You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, Lord.”‭ – Psalms‬ ‭23:2-6‬ ‭CEV

Let this musical rendition warm your soul…