Man sitting and thinking

Dealing with Personal Challenges

Stand Firm in Pursuing and Decreeing Truth

A personal challenge is a challenge that’s just for you; no other participants. It typically is geared around goals you set for yourself. Do you feel that things are out of control? It seems when one thing falls apart there is a series of other mishaps that keep happening. All of us need help from time to time. It could be a battle against fear and discouragement, struggles at home with discontentment or lack. Or, even an awareness we’re facing a worldwide crisis.

Where do you begin? Begin by identifying the challenge. For example, you may feel fear, stress, or even unhappiness and or dissatisfaction with life. You are ready for a change. When things aren’t working out and doors are closing, it’s time to find God’s promise to cancel the problem. For example, you when challenged with fear, stress and anxiety. A promise to claim and receive is, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7. Receive the promise, make a decree by declaring that promise out loud. Everything starts with prayer, and one of the power tools of prayer is our ability to “make a decree”. Making a decree causes the blessings of Heaven to be released from heavenly places into our natural realm. We decree our peace, we decree our health, we decree salvation to our families, our destiny, favor, wisdom, financial abundance and stability, etc. If He said it in His Word, then it’s ours and it’s “decree-able.”

A decree is defined as an official order issued by a legal authority. Naturally speaking, a decision made by order of the court supersedes the desire or opinion of the defendant, whether it’s a fine, a denial of driving privileges, or even a jail sentence. It instructs us saying, “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways,” Job 22:28.

We Make the Decree in Faith

When we make a decree, we say it out loud because the spiritual realm must hear it in order to obey it. A decree is not a passive, silent, done-only-in-our-own-minds type of effort. You make the decree, which is the wisdom of God, before the angels, as well as the powers and principalities. “Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands,” Psalm 103:20. Ephesians 3:10-11, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your decree sets the spiritual realm in motion, just like God’s Word had originally set creation into motion. By our words we can initiate life or death, and the decrees that we believe and speak aloud will be established Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof,” Proverbs 18:21.

Sometimes we feel like our decrees have failed because things haven’t happened instantly. Just like a plant needs time to grow before it bears fruit, our decrees are released in seed form into the spiritual realm requiring various amounts of time to grow. How do we water the seeds of our decrees? By reminding the spiritual realm of their orders.

Joshua demonstrates this during his battle with the Amorites. Joshua had a promise from God of victory. When an opportunity came to defeat them, he needed more daylight to accomplish it. In the presence of the Lord and in the presence of all Israel, Joshua boldly commands the sun and the moon to stand still and they did (see Joshua 10:12). The Lord listened to the voice of a man. Joshua went on to defeat the Amorites because he was given enough daylight to finish the job. Like Joshua, we can rest assured that our decrees from His Word will be stamped in the court of Heaven as, “Yes and Amen; For all the promises of God in him are yes and amen to the Glory of God,” 2 Corinthians 1:20.

Praying hands on bible

This is the posture we are to take as we seek truth and pray during any challenge, problem or global crisis. All of God’s promises turn any problem into a breakthrough of hope. Our prayers actually are calling heaven to come to earth. When we pray according to His will, His truth, He will use our prayers to establish “His Kingdom on earth,” Matthew 6:10.

In the Bible, when Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over,” Joshua 13:1. His example shows us that age, energy and time are not to interfere with what God wants us to do. We must ask ourselves: What excuses are we making because we’re afraid, it’s not convenient or we’re tired. Name the problem, which is a lie, then find the truth found in God’s Word. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.

Joshua is an example we can follow. He was obedient to change his focus from being too old, to staying the course. His legacy reads: “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed, Joshua 23:14-16.

Man with his arms raised

If we are going to overcome challenges, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all things will be added to us,” Matthew 6:33. Follow Joshua’s example of obedience by standing firm in pursing truth found in God’s Word, decreeing the promises and great will be your reward.

Signs-on-fence

September is Suicide Prevention Month

Know the Signs and Respond Effectively

A suicide attempt left 16-year-old varsity cheerleader, Emma Benoit, paralyzed, but propelled her on a mission to use her painful experience to help others find hope, and shine more light on the fact that 20 young people die every day by suicide in the United States.* Her story demands our attention for the need of awareness and the necessity of bringing hope to this generation.

The suicide rate for teenagers is climbing. “It is now the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15–24, and the second leading cause of death among college students. For every completed suicide, estimates assert that there are as many as 25 attempted suicides.” * As Christians, we want to be able to help those who consider or attempt suicide to choose a future and a hope instead. Why do so many of today’s teenagers consider death their only option? How can we help teenagers learn effective ways of dealing with their problems?

Depressed-young-man

Our first concern should be to pray for sons/daughters and to enlist others to pray. At the same time, take steps to determine whether he/she’s clinically depressed. Behaviors such as painful introspection, negative self-concept, dramatic mood swings, episodes of moping and crying, withdrawal and isolation, fatigue and other unexplained physical ailments, poor academic performance, and outbursts of anger and overt acting out are common symptoms. If any of the following are present and persist for more than two weeks, you should seek appropriate help immediately. The following are steps one can take to identify and to support your child.

  1. Be Proactive. “Be sober-minded; be watchful,” I Peter 5:8. 
Focus on what you can control. Maybe your child is just having a bad day, but when signs of mental health troubles last for weeks, don’t assume it’s just a passing mood. Don’t wait for them to come to you. You might start by saying, “You seem sad. I’m open to talking about this, because I love you and I care what happens to you.”
  2. Listen even if they are not talking. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:19. 
Recognize and watch for major changes in your child’s sleep patterns, appetite, and social activities. Self-isolation, especially for kids who usually enjoy hanging out with friends or playing sports, can signal serious difficulties. If your child is struggling more than usual with schoolwork, chores and other responsibilities, these are additional signs you shouldn’t ignore.
  3. Build trust. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love,” Romans 12:10. Realize that your child might be facing suicide risks you haven’t considered. Here are some things that can cause young people to think about ending their lives: Loss of a loved one to death, divorce; bullying (in person or online); discrimination, rejection, racism, family history of suicide or mental health difficulties; stigma (the belief that it’s wrong or shameful to talk about mental health or suicide).
  4. Restore hope. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” Psalm 147:3. 
Define challenges, give unconditional love and set healthy goals to restore hope. Try not to dismiss what you’re seeing as “teenage drama.” Never assume your child is exaggerating or playing games if they say or write: “I want to die.” “Nothing matters.” “I wonder how many people would come to my funeral?” “Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep and never wake up.” “Everyone would be better off without me.” “You won’t have to worry about me much longer.”
  5. Respond with understanding. “Encourage one another and build one another up,” 1 Thessalonians 5:11. 
When your child talks or writes about suicide, you may feel shocked, hurt, or angry. You may even want to deny what you’re seeing or argue with your child. These feelings are natural and valid, but it’s essential to focus on your child’s needs first and foremost. Your goal is to create a safe space where your teen can trust you to listen and express concern, but without judgment or blame.
  6. Synergize. “We are laborers together with God,” 1 Corinthians 3:9. 
Get professional help right away. If your teen is self-harming, or you sense they’re at risk for attempting suicide, take them to the emergency department of your local hospital. Fast action is crucial when things have reached a crisis point.

If you see signs of suicidal thoughts but don’t sense an immediate crisis, you still need to take action. Reach out to your pediatrician or local mental health providers who treat children and teens. Explain what you’re seeing and hearing and schedule a mental health evaluation. Health care providers can help you and your teen create a safety plan that covers: Warning signs or triggers your teen feels will lead to suicidal thoughts; Possible steps to help them cope when they feel triggered; Sources of support: family, friends, teachers, mentors and others; Emergency contacts and steps to take if things get worse.

Remember:

If you are worried about your child, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255). This free lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the United States. Lifeline team members are there to listen and help you find the resources you need.

You can also learn more about Focus on the Family’s teen suicide prevention online training,

Alive to Thrive.

My Ascension

National Institute of Health

Girl sitting at gas pumps

Power Found in Hope

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one who is “stuck”? Your prayers aren’t being answered, you feel abandoned, life is out of control, you’re grieving a loss, you’ve been betrayed by a friend, harassed by fear, and/or defeated with no hope. In fact, the cycle continues to repeat, and every time it does, the hole turns into a bottomless pit.

It’s time to stop and look beyond your present circumstances into hope for the future. The fact is…life can be hard. The truth is… God’s Word has power over every challenge. In I Samuel 1:9-14, we see an example of power found in hope.

Hannah’s greatest desire was to have children, but God had closed her womb. Also, her husband, Elkanah, married another woman. And to add insult to injury, Penninah kept having children and would mock Hannah for barrenness. In those days, the value of a woman was enhanced by their child-bearing capacities. Penninah continually reminded her of her lesser worth. Instead of remaining “stuck”, Hannah decided to look beyond her present situation and find hope by going to the temple to pray. God heard her cry and answered her prayer. Due to her earnest prayer, Hannah was able to receive the hope of a son.”

Hands holding a flower

Jesus has prepared us for life’s challenges. John 16:33, “…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  When challenges come, any decision made will affect your future.

Those decisions are “stepping stones” with power in hope for your future. Below are purposeful steps for breaking the cycle of being “stuck.”

    1. God prepares us. It’s inevitable; you will have challenges. Romans 5:3,4, “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
    2. Accept the challenge as an assignment for a greater reward. In God’s Sovereignty, He’s permitting the challenge to build enduring faith. Instead of asking God how to get out of this mess, ask him what he wants you to learn while your there. Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God… he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
    3. Resolve to guard every spoken thought and word. Your thoughts become words, and words define your future. Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
    4. Make a choice to forgive any who have offended or hurt you. Matthew 10:14, “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you”.
    5. Choose to seek God, to pray, and to believe God’s promises. 2 Peter 1: 4, “He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world….”

Mother and son

If you choose to respond like Hannah, great will be your reward. She chose to cast her care on Him and trust the One who gives us the desires of our heart. By looking forward in hope, the day came when she would hold her child. Psalm 25:5, “Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Keep looking beyond the situation and see power in hope for the future, and great will be your reward.”

Theatre sign

Dealing with Uncertainty in a Changing World

Wall Street just posted, “Investors brace for pivotal July after dismal first half!” As we read signs and hear news, our brain starts to process angry, fear, injustice, hopelessness, lack, etc. When we’re bombarded with these negative thoughts, the battle is in the mind. Our minds run rampant, thinking in a damaging direction. We can feel as though we are stuck, locked down negatively and can’t move forward.

The Bible says, “In a world of tribulation, be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33. You may wonder, how?? When life is filled with uncertainty, stress, worries or many things you have no control over, your mind starts receiving, processing, and agreeing with turmoil. Therefore, unknowingly, you have formed a negative mindset. That seems so unfair. But unconsciously by meditating on the disappointments and challenges, you opened the door in the mind and formed a set of attitudes, social or cultural values, philosophy, frame of mind, and/or disposition of hopelessness. The result is a vicious cycle because of the way you’ve learned to cope with difficulty. You can’t move forward; therefore, you are forced to live a in a world of frustration, depression and unproductivity.

Let’s consider the big picture. A mindset is also formed with global pandemic, failing economy, decreasing income, declining health, and/or future uncertainty due to what lies ahead. We all desire security, safety, and want a sense of control over our well-being. Uncertainty opens the door for fear and can leave one feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless over the future. It can also drain anyone emotionally and trap a person in a downward spiral of endless “what-ifs” and worst-case scenarios about what tomorrow may bring. There’s a way to better deal with uncontrollable circumstances, alleviate anxiety, and face the unknown with more confidence.

How to Respond to Uncertainty in a Changing World

Confused person

To live free and in peace, remove the present mindset and respond with God’s authority found in His Word. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,” Romans 12:2. To transform our mind, we declare a promise over negative thoughts or problems. God’s Word cancels the lie of the enemy tempting us to give up. The promises in the Bible are our truth that stops any negative hold. Below is an example of how to renew you mind and to restore your future by decreeing the promises of God:

    1. Global pandemic, I choose to resist and cancel in Jesus’ Name the result of fear by decreeing the truth in God’s Word, – “I will not fear, for God is with me; I will not be dismayed, for I belong to my God. He will strengthen me and help me; God will uphold me with His righteous right hand,” Isaiah 41:10.
    2. Failing economy, I renounce the effect of hopelessness and receive God’s promise to deliver me – “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been, but at that time, we are God’s people and we shall be delivered…” Daniel 12:1.
    3. Decreasing income – I reject and cancel any lack I’ve knowingly or unknowing agreed with and receive God’s provision. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:19.
    4. Declining health – I renounce and reject any agreement I’ve made knowingly or unknowingly that I will not get well. “I pray and receive that all is well with me and that I am in good health and all is well with your soul,” 3 John 1:2.
    5. Future uncertainty – I break the agreement with fear, anxiety and stress in Jesus Name. I choose to receive the promise, “I will not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I present my requests to God,” Philippians 4:6.

When these promises are prayed, the lie of the enemy is cancelled and one’s mind is renewed with hope for the future. It changes the way we think to create a better life for ourselves and also, allow us to live a life that honors God. There is no power over us that God’s Word does not have power over. “For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword..,” Hebrews 12:4. When we define the wrong pattern of thinking, cancel it by decreeing a promise over the negative mindset, then our reality of hope in an uncertain world is, “I am of good cheer. I have overcome the world!”!!

 

Scrabble with the word hope

Person holding pronoun sign

Christian Response to Gender Dysphoria

On September 9, 2016, Time magazine featured an essay telling the story of a man giving birth to a son. That might catch you off guard, especially since human biology does not allow for biological men to give birth. “This was designed to document the brave new frontier transgender individuals are promising to bring to America. A frontier that requires accepting the supposed reality that men can give birth and other gender dysphoria.” *Andrew Walker

We might be tempted to respond with shock and dismissal or judge someone disparagingly by reducing someone’s psychological experiences of gender dysphoria to derangement. But how are Christians to respond to a person experiencing gender dysphoria? Our approach to these individuals is to be with “grace and truth”, John 1:14. They are victims of a fallen world and the enemy “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” I Peter 5:8. Somehow a door was opened that allowed a deceiving, lying spirit to enter a person. It may be a generational curse, abandonment, rejection, fear, confusion, etc. When these demonic spirits enter, the victim will experience distress, anguish, and conflict over their perceived gender identity. In most cases, their experience cannot be reduced to simply “living a lie” since most don’t feel they’re lying to themselves. In fact, just the opposite is true. People with genuine cases of dysphoria believe it’s their biological body that is lying. A person in this situation truly believes he or she is a member of the opposite sex.

Path to Freedom and Joy

Girl with outstretched arms looking out over the ocean

Understanding how and when the enemy deceived an individual helps us recognize and get to the root of why they perceive themselves the way they do. Biblical counsel, that doesn’t simply repeat what political correctness demands, offers an opportunity for genuine counsel and compassion. It begins by helping a person accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Then it addresses and embraces, however difficult it may seem, that their birth sex is a testimony to their true nature, and that perceptions of a different gender identity, while sincere, do not constitute an actual identity change. This truth, spoken in love, sets people free, John 8:32.

We do not want the stories like the one in Time Magazine to become the new normal in America. If not addressed, the pace of acceleration and the implications will be enormous, touching almost every area of life. Christians must have an understanding of compassion and sympathy—as well as love and hope—that goes deeper than simply affirming another’s experiences as normative and praiseworthy. We are called to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Mark 16:15. There are ways we can support and connect with those who are struggling with their gender identity:

  1. Get acquainted with individuals and have open conversation. Don’t assume you ‘know’ what their authentic gender is or you know what they are going through. Don’t assume anything.
  2. Listen attentively. Open yourself. Every person’s gender journey is distinctly theirs; there are no cookie-cutter ten steps to success. Who is this person? What matters to them? How do they talk about their gender? Their passions? Their needs? Listen.
  3. Ask questions about how to help or how to be there. Don’t ask questions about their body or money or therapy or how this will impact their family or their job or their relationship.
  4. Offer prayer and support. Listen to what their central worries are and consider if there is a way to fortify them as they take steps toward authenticity and self-affirmation.
  5. Look for opportunities to share the love of God. Don’t give advice about anything unless you are asked. If you are worried about self-harm, call a hotline and get confidential advice.
  6. Keep their confidences. They are your support and prayer assignment.
  7. When they are ready, lead them in the following prayer.

Group of guys praying

Dear Heavenly Father, You are present in this room and in my life. You alone are all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present. I declare my dependency upon You. I ask in Jesus Name that you forgive me for opening the door for gender confusion, fear, rejection, anguish and conflict. I repent and renounce any agreement I made knowingly or unknowingly. I command all evil spirits to release their hold on me. I believe the Word of God. The Bible says when Jesus sets me free, I am free indeed. I decree, I am free and chose to live the life you chose for me before the foundation of the world. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.

Young girl worried

Recognize and Conquer Self-Pity and Depression

The spirit of self-pity is a spirit that will bind you to your past and not allow you to move into your future. When self-pity is a focus, then depression follows. The persistence of that spirit is to keep you from fulfilling your God-ordained purpose. Another way of looking at it is you are living in the land of hopelessness, regret, and defeat. Self-pity has made its home in negative thinking and keeps you feeling sorry for yourself; therefore, your purpose will not be fulfilled.

The enemy was there when bad events happened in your life and keeps reminding you of all the injustice and hurt. Why!?! He wants to build strongholds in your mind; such as rejection, fear, insecurity, unforgiveness, and self-unforgiveness. Those negative thoughts will manifest as self-hatred, hopelessness, being hard on self, and/or not allowing you to forgive yourself from past mistakes. Or negative thoughts will replay what others have done to you to keep you from forgiving those who hurt you. This creates a spirit of self-pity, depression of heaviness, and oppression. You’re under attack of the enemy who does not want you free and will keep you locked in your past pains and misery.

What is Self-Pity

Young girl depressed

It is a demon or familiar spirit that knows what has happened to you and projects fiery darts in your mind. “The devil is a liar and the father of lies,” John 8:44. The more that demon gets you to replay the hurt the stronger the stronghold becomes. You are in bondage to your deep emotional pain. When you are stuck in the past, it is hard for you to grateful to the Lord for the smallest of things. You are in misery and have a demonic oppressive spirit. It’s a spirit of heaviness leading to depression and sadness and a broken heart. The demonic spirits are speaking and reminding you what others did to you. Not only that, if you are sick, it will not allow you to be well mentally. When your mind is sick, then your body can start to decay – the mind, body and soul connection is joined together. Every negative thought will release negative chemicals producing illness or disease.

How to Overcome Self-Pity and Depression:

The spirit of self-pity is a spiritual stronghold of thinking. Jesus came to set the captives free by renewing the mind. The first step is to make a list of all the negative thoughts you have. As you begin, God may bring to your mind painful memories that you’ve totally forgotten. Let God do this, even if it hurts. God is surfacing those painful memories so that you can face them once and for all time and then let them go forever. For every memory, pray the following:

Dear Father, I choose not to hold on to self-pity and the memories _____________(fill in the blank). I surrender my right to agree with self-pity and ask You to heal my damaged emotions. I choose to stop playing the past and take responsibility and cast down negative thoughts or replay my past hurts according to 2 Cor. 10:14-16. I choose to live in the present and not in the past. I choose to not walk as a victim but as a victor in you.

For example: I repent and renounce the spirit of self-pity depression, victimization spirits, heaviness, oppression, depression, rebellion, unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, anger, wrath, hatred and violence. I repent and renounce self-unforgiveness, self-resentment, self-retaliation, self-anger, self-wrath, self-hatred, self-violence, self-murder, self-accusation, self-rejection, a spirit of fear, anxiety, stress, worry.

I bind and loose these spirits from their assignment and break its power off of my life in Jesus’ Name, Matthew 16:19. I command all known and unknown demonic spirits out of my life now in Jesus’ Name, Luke 10:19. I receive the Holy Spirit to wash me clean with Jesus shed blood, Revelation 12:11. Holy Spirit fill me with your spirit and your love to remove all barriers that have separated me from you, in Jesus Name, Romans 8:35-37. Thank you, Father, I receive your freedom, love and forgiveness. Amen.

 

Girl sitting on a mountain with hands raised

How to Train Children
 in a Woke Culture

“We have the responsibility to stand for the truth, for what is right,” Governor DeSantis said, adding that taxpayer dollars would not “be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other.” He added: “We also have to protect our people and our kids from some very pernicious ideologies that are trying to be forced upon them all across the country.”

You may wonder, “What is Woke and how does it affect our children?” Merriam-Webster defines as “chiefly US slang”, the dictionary defines the word as: “Aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” You will notice, if you read the articles, that in order to be “woke,” you must believe two things:

  1. That gender is a social construct
  2. That being white is bad

It’s ironic, because these are both things you are born with, but the woke crowd would tell you that one is fluid and the other is just wrong.

PEOPLE AT BEACH

Parent’s Responsibility in a Woke Culture:

Children are gifts that are under parent’s authority for eighteen years. As they grow into maturity, parents release them back to God. The Bible gives an example to follow: 1 Samuel 1:27-28, states “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” God is requiring the same of parents today. When they become adults, your relationship has changed. They now answer to God and their future success; therefore, parents are to train and lay a foundation that will sustain them during future life’s challenges.

Three Keys to Successful Training:

    1. Keep your child’s heart: Your child is trusting you to guard and nourish his/her heart. The key is to build a meaningful relationship by spending time and talking about their day. You are the most important person in their life, the primary educator, the spiritual guide, and influence. Quality time invests meaning into their life and builds healthy relationship. Treat each child as an individual. Your children have different temperaments, giftings and personalities. Study their uniqueness and honor how God has created them.
    2. Train your child’s heart: Training a heart simply means to instill morals, values and character traits. In other words, impart a moral code of right and wrong. Talk about racism in America. What are the results? What has resulted in shame, injustice, and, at some points in history, terrible violence. What does God think about this? We are all created by God in his own image, male and female,” Genesis 1:27. God loves everyone the same. “For God shows no partiality,” Romans 2:11. Train a child’s conscience to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Second, help them to understand that, while laws and legislation guard the principle of equal rights for all Americans legally, no law can change the heart. Someone who is filled with prejudice and racial hatred will not suddenly be filled with love simply because a new law is passed. Only when we are saved can we live out the mandate “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” Mark 12:31. Jesus addressed racial divides, among other things, “in the parable of the good Samaritan,” Luke 10:25–37.
    3. Guard your child’s heart: Be their protector. Have them share with you who speaks into their life, the books they read, and what they are watching. Solomon said, “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” Proverbs 4:23. A heart is shaped by what they think about all day long. Parents can help them to make wise choices. A Christian must realize that real racial reconciliation in the Church occurs when we prioritize our identity in Christ over our belonging to a racial category or ethnicity. Members of the body of Christ should feel more at home in their Christian family than even in their own ethnicity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Galatians 3:28.

    As Christian parents, we should be “woke” to the love of God for our family in Christ: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them”, 1 John 2:11. We should be “woke” to the light of the gospel, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers,” 2 Corinthians 4:4. We should be “woke” to the fact of temptation in the world, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit is willing but he flesh is weak,” Matthew 26:41. “We are reconciled with God and united to Christ”, 2 Corinthians 5:18. God is allowing us to be truly reconciled with one another. Real change and real answers to the problems of racism, injustice, other societal evils are found in God’s Word and in the peace He gives to all who love and seek Him first, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33.

Girl praying over Bible

Couple hugging

Breaking Unhealthy Soul Ties


Building Godly Relationships

What does it mean to be soul ties?

The definition is a spiritual connection or bond between two people. People who come into your life affect you on a spiritual, emotional, physical, and social level. A physical tie is the most common bond that people experience in their lifetime.

Healthy soul ties improve one’s life and overall well-being because they vibrate love, strength, and positivity. Ungodly soul ties, on the other hand, negatively affect one or both of the people that share the bond. Unhealthy soul ties are usually a product of sinful acts such as harassment or rape. In the demonic world, unholy soul ties can serve as bridges between two people to pass demonic garbage through one person to another. Sarah was able to break free of visitations from demons from an ungodly soul tie after an intimate relationship with her boyfriend. Even though she was a Christian, unknowingly, the enemy had permission to send demonic torment because a door had been opened through a physical relationship that formed an unhealthy soul tie.

In the Bible, it doesn’t use the word soul tie, but it talks about souls being knit together becoming one flesh. A soul tie can serve many functions, but in its simplest form, it ties two souls together in the spiritual realm. Soul ties between married couples draw them together like magnets, while soul ties between fornicators can draw a beaten and abused woman to the man which in the natural realm she would hate and run from, but instead, she runs to him even though he doesn’t love her, and treats her like dirt. Also, soul ties can allow one person to manipulate and control another person, and the other person is unaware to what is going on, or knows what is going on, but for no real reason, allows it to continue.

Signs of an Unhealthy Soul Tie:

    1. Irrational thinking – how they act and what they do does not make sense. For example, the family is saved, the wife’s classmates show up, go party, they sow seeds in her life of discontentment. A soul tie is formed; ie, she feels unappreciated, husband doesn’t show love, children are weighing her down. Irrational thinking has put a spell on her. She believes she is a Madonna and that other men will appreciate her more. Everyone else can see it won’t work.
    2. Evaluate self and others according to a previous context – a remarried couple tells his wife he has to work late; her thoughts go back to first marriage which she later found out he was cheating on her. She waits at the door with a frying pan thinking her husband might be doing the same. Any flashbacks of previous hurts reveal unhealthy soul tie. You cannot judge past by present.
    3. Shut down emotionally – you cannot give what you do not have. You must be in charge of your own soul. If not, you won’t talk and tell how you feel. Husbands will sit down in front of TV and turn wife off. Any wife would feel isolated and lonely. Husband cannot release his soul if he does not possess his soul. To feel a void, wives become shop-o-holics, they seek another source of happiness. They have no time for each other.
    4. Unhealthy desire attracted to like people, places and events – these result in an individual’s detriment. The goal of the enemy is to bring havoc in your life. People demonically influenced will be attracted to things that hurt them. Friends always hurt them. They are bound on the inside and needy. There is nothing on the inside to give them self-authority and determination.
    5. Lack of judgment and discernment – confusion on person causes one to make irrational decisions. They will say, “He hits me but I know he loves me.” Others will be able to see, but confused individual will not be able to see truth.
    6. Inability to establish and keep proper adult relationships – These people are like a large child in their development. All goofy and giddy, insecure and needy. “Do you still love me; answer yes or no”. Dining with a friend, “Are you mad at me? Circle yes or no”. They will wear you out.

Unhealthy Soul Tie is a counterfeit covenant relationship:

    1. Birth everyone is linked in their soul to those in their family. Unhealthy ones will cause you to dread family reunions; ie, Aunt Martha’s attitude, Uncle Barry’s boastfulness. Don’t allow their attitudes to influence you, pray for them, love them but don’t compromise.
    2. Marriage – Ge. 2:23,24 “Bone of my bone…cleave as one flesh.” In-laws are not to control. If divorced, legally bound in the soulish realm and it must be broken. People who have many past relationships find it very difficult to ‘bond’ or be joined to anybody, because their soul is fragmented.
    3. Sexual activity – I Cor. 6:15,” Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid.” Ge. 34:2,3 Dinah was raped and her soul cleaved to him. There was transference of spirits, a swapping of demons and you can’t get the victory until freedom.
    4. Listening to wrong people – You can hear, but do not open your spirit up. College students in philosophy class must keep the voice on the outside of them. Don’t allow the wrong voice to change your thinking or identify with it.
    5. Allegiance – gang network pledges their allegiances. They think the gang will take care of them, but there’s no future; there’s no life. You never see old gangs taking care of each other.
    6. Idolization – The American culture can cause us to look to others to fulfill a need. Hollywood has projected desires on people and bind their life even if they never met anyone. It affects the emotions and leave room in the soul.
    7. Vows, commitments and agreements:  Vows are known to bind the soul (Numbers 30:2), marriage itself consists of vows and binds the two people together (Ephesians 5:31), there is little reason to overlook the concept of vows or commitments as being a means to create a soul tie.

How to break a Soul Tie:

    1. If any sins were committed to cause this soul tie, repent of them! Fornication is perhaps one of the most common ways to create nasty soul ties.
    2. If gifts were given to you by the other person in connection with the sin or unholy relationship, such as rings, flowers, cards, bras, etc. get rid of them! Such things symbolize the ungodly relationship, and can hold a soul tie in place. Don’t hang on to such things that symbolize sin or that are wrong to give each other before marriage.
    3. Any rash vows or commitments made that played a part in forming the soul tie should be renounced and repented of, and broken in Jesus’ name. Even things like “I will love you forever”, or “I could never love another man!” need to be renounced. They are spoken commitments that need to be undone verbally.
    4. Forgive that person if you have anything against them. Do this verbally, and in Jesus’ name. Example, “Father, I ask that you forgive me for any unholy soul tie. In Jesus’ name, I now repent for any ungodly soul ties formed between myself and ______ as a result of _______________ (fornication, etc.).”
    5. Break and reject the soul tie in Jesus’ name. Renounce the ungodly soul tie and command it to go in Jesus Name! Do this verbally using your authority in Jesus Name. Example, “I now break and sever any ungodly soul ties formed between myself and _________ as a result of ______________ (fornication, etc.) in Jesus’ name.”
    6. Call your soul back to wholeness! Father, according to Ps. 23:4 “I call restoration in my emotions, intellect, will and desire & decree wholeness in my soul. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. My desire is to have healthy relationships and to serve you wholeheartedly in Jesus Name.”

Woman looking up and praying

Woman looking confusd

The Enneagram

A Christian Perspective

The growing popularity of the Enneagram has caused Christians to start asking whether it’s a helpful tool or whether it’s too conflicted in its origins. Before we dismiss the Enneagram because of the origin or the symbol that reminds us of a pentagram, let’s see if we can come up with some helpful answers to the most critical questions some people are asking.

We need a “knowledge of God and of ourselves.” But this pursuit must be balanced. Self-awareness is not the end but the means to cultivating a deeper union with God our Father and others. Your temperament and personality influences everything you do—from sleep habits to study habits to eating style to the way you get along with other people. Humanly speaking, there is no other influence in your life more powerful than your personality or combination of temperaments. That is why it is so essential to know you and to be able to analyze other people’s personality and temperaments, not to condemn them, but so you can maximize your potential and enable others to maximize theirs.

Unlike other personality tests that seek to describe only our characteristics, the Enneagram’s aim is to reveal our core fears and needs. It reveals the God-substitutes in our lives. As Tim Keller points out, “The most profound kind of self-knowledge you can know is the particular strategies you have for running and hiding from God.”

As listed on the Enneagram Institute’s website, the nine types include:

    • Enneagram 1: The Reformer is principled, purposeful, self-controlled and perfectionistic.
    • Enneagram 2: The Helper is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing and possessive.
    • Enneagram 3: The Achiever is adaptable, excelling, driven and image-conscious.
    • Enneagram 4: The Individualist is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed and temperamental.
    • Enneagram 5: The Investigator is perceptive, innovative, secretive and isolated.
    • Enneagram 6: The Loyalist is engaging, responsible, anxious and suspicious.
    • Enneagram 7: The Enthusiast is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive and scattered.
    • Enneagram 8: The Challenger is self-confident, decisive, willful and confrontational.
    • Enneagram 9: The Peacemaker is receptive, reassuring, complacent and resigned.

Woman on latop thinking

Therefore, the Enneagram can be a window into understanding the triggers and difficult behaviors of yourself and of others. Also, how you may be projecting your own shadow onto someone else. It is also helpful because it makes general sins specific to us. God can use the Enneagram to place crosshairs on some of the root sins and strategies in our lives. Therefore, the Enneagram is meant to be a tool that frees us from the false self and opens us up more deeply to the transforming work of God’s Spirit. And, from there, it becomes a tool that allows us to love others more effectively, with more compassion, understanding, and intention. Our blind spots are powerful deterrents to our spiritual growth. To the extent that we remain unaware of what is motivating us, we are not free. “If I am hiding behind a blind spot, I am unconsciously trying to keep God, others, and myself from the love that God offers. Knowledge of the Enneagram has led me into a self-awareness that has drawn me closer to the heart of God.”

Lisa Rieck

We must remember the Holy Spirit, not self-awareness, fuels sanctification. As the Apostle Paul said, even the most self-aware person in the world has “the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out,” Romans 7:18. Self-awareness is not enough; we need the power of the gospel. Pastor John Fooshee teaches that a Christian does not live for their perfection, acceptance, success, significance, wisdom, security, joy, strength, and peace but from Christ and His Kingdom.

The Enneagram is not a one-stop-shop or a quick-fix tool. It is simply a tool for growth, that, like other discipleship resources can lead to deep insights about ourselves, our relationships, and God by opening our hearts in new ways to the Spirit’s work of moving us from the “old self” to the “new self”, Paul wrote, “in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self that is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth,” Ephesians 4:22-24.

The Enneagram is a framework that helps us see ourselves as we are and as we could be if we allow God to continually renew us and form us into people who are healthy and whole, and who reflect their Maker in glorious ways. There are benefits; such as: awareness at the level of motivation, increase consciousness and confidence, compassion for self and others and increase productivity and motivation. Our goal or purpose in life is to become Christ-like and to be equipped to fulfill Jesus’ commandment: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing then in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching then to observe all that I have commanded you” Matthew 28:18-20. The Enneagram is a tool that God can use to prepare us for life’s journey to fulfill His Commission.

 

MOTHER & DAUGHTER

New Year’s Goal for 2022

Keeping Home a Sanctuary

The start of each new year is a time to reflect on the year just past and make plans for the future. It holds a special blessing, with a promise of new opportunities and the possibility to change our lives for the better. A rewarding goal in 2022 is to make your home a place of rest and peace after a stressful year. Many of us protect our homes with security systems, lock the doors and take measures to protect our homes and families. But, what about spiritually protecting our homes?

A successful way to receive supernatural protection is to pray and anoint your home with oil. Anointing your home involves taking a small portion of olive oil, which represents the Holy Spirit’s anointing, and applying it with your finger to the posts of your door, both outside and inside your home while you pray God’s blessing to be released over and in your home. While the oil itself does not have any intrinsic value, in Scripture the act of anointing was seen as a consecration of a person or thing to God.

By praying and anointing your home, it releases the Presence of God and home becomes a sanctuary marked for safety, health, and peace. Praying Psalm 91 declares angels will come to provide and to protect from every danger—sickness, disease, attack, fire, and any other threat to your safety, health, and well-being.

How to Anoint your home:

Holy Oil

Follow these steps:

  • Remove anything that has a negative emotion from your home. This can be books, movies, clothing with certain pictures or symbols, or objects that have a connection to hurtful past memories or wrong spirits.
  • Command the power of darkness to go in Jesus’ Name. Any attempt of the enemy against your home or family must bow its knee at the name of Jesus. Philippians 2:9-10.
  • Plead the blood of Jesus over each room and your family. There is great power in the blood of the Lamb, Colossians 1:20.
  • Pray in every room the promises of God. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill every inch of your home. Pray that only His will be done and that everything that is said and done in your home will be pleasing to Him. This is a way of consecrating, or dedicating, your home to Him.
  • Welcome the Presence of the Lord. You are dedicating your home to the Kingdom of God where love, joy and peace will rule and reign, Matthew 6:10.

As you pray and place oil on the door frame in your home, do this by faith. God has given you the power and the authority, Luke 10:19. The oil marks your home for God’s supernatural protection, “The yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil,” Isaiah 10:27.

Sweet home sign

Declare your home is a sanctuary and His Presence is welcome! Proclaim the blessings:

Psalm 91, “Our home dwells in the shelter of the Most High and rests in the shadow of the Almighty. He is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust.”

Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord will bless us and keep us; the Lord makes his face to shine upon us and is gracious to us; the Lord lift up his countenance upon us and gives us peace.”

1 Samuel 25:6, “We greet you Lord and decree: ‘Peace be to us, and peace be to this house, and peace be to all that we have.”

Thank God for His abiding love and for keeping your home a sanctuary that is set apart to meet the needs of anyone who lives and enters into your home. It’s a reminder to those living in the home that the house has been dedicated to God and committed to walk in accordance with God’s Word.

FAMILY ON BED