By Erin Bishop
My daughter and I have been butting heads since she started her senior year of high school two days ago. (I know. Two days? It’s been a long two days.)
Her countenance was different when she came home from school than when she left in the morning. She was downcast, snarky, and I could tell she was ready to get into an argument with me.
Today when she came home from school we talked about her day. Somehow we got onto the topic of spiritual warfare and I told her that I have the gift of discernment, which means I pick up on certain things that may not be obvious to others. The more we talked about discernment, something clicked in me, and the Holy Spirit imparted some timely wisdom.
“Grace, how many kids would you say attend your school?”
“About two thousand” she answered.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
“Grace, you share space with 2,000 other kids, all of whom, whether they know it or not, are in a battle. The enemy is waging war against these kids and their families. Most of them are walking around in spiritual oppression and don’t even know it. Darkness dwells where there is no light. You can’t see them, but spirits of depression, deception, eating disorders, suicide, anger, addictions, pornography, sexual sins, and many more, are like a thick, but invisible fog in the hallways of your school and if you don’t outfit yourself in the full armor of God, you’re going to get pinged, weighed down and feel defeated. The same thing happens to me if I don’t have a full tank of Jesus in me before I go to Wal-Mart.” I told her.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:7-9
Before soldiers go to battle, they have a plan. They do reconnaissance, collect intelligence and plan accordingly. Going into a battle without these tools is planned defeat.
So as it is with soldiers, we, too, must know our enemy, how he attacks, and develop a strategy to defeat him. So it is with prayer and our Christian walk. We must arm ourselves with God’s Word and plan for victory.
Scripture References: Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:7-9
5 Battle Readiness Tips: Be sober (serious), be vigilant (watchful/attentive), resist the enemy (ignore/be wise to his antics), be steadfast in your faith, and know you are not alone.
Related Resources: It’s not too late to join us for #WhenMomsPray, our 2015-2016 prayer challenge. Click HERE for more information and to join us on the spiritual battlefield.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can be really hard for me to pray. I have trouble with just sitting down and thinking of things to pray for without becoming bored.
The reality is, God intended for prayer to be an intimate and personal thing between Him and His children.
I would like to share some ways that I have discovered that makes this possible.
Joy is a key word my mom taught me concerning prayer, It stands for Jesus, others, then yourself. When you pray, you are supposed to put Jesus first, others second, and yourself last. So you would thank God for all He has done for you, then pray for others needs, then pray for your own needs.
God wants us to talk with Him like we would talk with a friend. Some people are appalled by this because in their minds, God should not be made so personal. God thinks differently, though. He wants us to draw near to Him so that He can do the same with us. The following is a list of a few ideas I have about making prayer personal. Try a couple and see what works for you.
1. Have a prayer journal
You can either buy a journal or make your own. My journal is just a 1″ 3-ring-binder with notebook paper. You would then journal your prayers. A variation of this is a sketchbook, if your would rather draw than write.
2. Make a prayer list
Make a list if people to pray for. Leave room to write down requests for each person. Then tape it somewhere where you will see it everyday. This is a great visual reminder to pray.
3. Write letters
Writing letters has the same concept of a prayer journal, except you write your prayers individually and keep them in a safe place. Later, you can read them to see how God has blessed you.
4. Nature walk/ride
Going on a walk or riding a bike is a great way to clear your mind to pray. Just make sure you are not with or by too many distractions.
5. Secret Place
Find a quiet, hidden spot either outside or in the house to pray at. This way, you have a secret meeting place between you and God.
What ways have you found that help make your prayer life unique? Please take a moment to share them in the comments below.
All for Him,
By Emily Miller
There is a lot of trash out there on TV and the radio these days. I can remember flipping through the channels one time and I came across a show where a teen girl was meeting her friends at a café and boasting to them about how she lost her virginity to her boyfriend. Needless to say, I quickly turned the channel, but that one little scene got me thinking.
I started to wonder if Christian teens should be taking in any secular media at all.
The Bible says in Philippians 4:8 that,
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
Satan enjoys taking something that is good and pure and twisting things around for his own evil gain. We have to be careful as Christians to not fall into his trap. Before we start watching or listening to any form of media, we need to dig down deep to make sure that what we expose ourselves to is not something that Satan intends to harm us with.
When it comes to secular media, there are a wide variety of things that we can listen to, watch, or read. Some are appropriate and some are not. They could range from watching your favorite team play baseball all the way down to the other end of the line by exposing ourselves to porn. It is important to keep in mind what your own moral values are, as well as the moral values of friends. If something crosses the moral line of you or a friend, don’t watch or listen to it!
In 1 Corinthians 10:32, Paul says, “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.”
The meaning of this verse to me, is that, if you do something that causes a friend to stumble in their walk with the Lord, then you both have sinned. This means that if you have a friend who is against watching the Hunger Games sequel and you make them go see the movie with you, then you have sinned by making your friend go against her convictions.
I don’t want to be that kind of friend, do you?
In deciding whether it’s ok to watch any form of secular media you need to….
- Take it to the Lord in prayer and seek His direction and guidance.
- Make sure it does not go against the wisdom found in Philippians 4:8.
- Make sure you are not causing a Christian brother or sister to stumble by what you are exposing yourself to.
If you have taken these steps, and your heart is in the right place about it, I personally think it’s ok to have a moderate consumption of secular media. There are also some great TV shows out there that are clean and family friendly like, Duck Dynasty. There are also many bands out there that appeal to the Christian teen audience, like Superchick and Skillet. If you look hard enough and do some research you are bound to find something you like. The website, Plugged In, is a great place for both teens and parents to get Christian reviews on all the latest movies, music, and television shows.
Overall, we all need to be careful of what we see and listen to. Satan can plant the smallest things in our mind through secular media. That little seed can grow and fester into something huge, leaving us powerless to stop it without God’s help. Fortunately, God will help you if you happen to be stuck in the pull of secular media, all you have to do is get on your knees and ask.
Are you easily drawn to inappropriate secular media? What helps you to turn away from things that could be harmful and stay on the path God want you on?
All for Him,
Teens can have a very busy life.
Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in several different directions at once? We have school, jobs, homework and extra curricular activities. It can even be hard to find time to,” just think” when we have so many responsibilities.
Through all this it is important to remember one thing….
No matter how busy we can get as teens, the MOST important thing we need to do is put Christ first in our lives.
During my senior year in high school, we went on a retreat in the fall. At the retreat, there was a high ropes course which included several obstacles to “test our faith”. Part of the course included walking across a log. When we were are up high like that, the first instinct we had was to look down, we really had to focus and keep our eyes on a cross, that was on the other side. This is so similar to real life, we have to focus to keep our eyes on the cross and ignore the “distractions” of the world.
We should never be too busy with the distractions of the world to spend time with God. If we are to busy to spend time with God, then we are just too busy.
If you are a morning person, you can get up a few minutes earlier than you normally do to spend time in the Word and in prayer. If you are a night person, you can stay up a little later to have your quiet time. Spending time with God has to be your first priority.
Another way you could look at it is, since God woke us up and granted us another day, we owe Him this time.
Ultimately, our quiet time with God should be spent seeking him in all areas of our life and in any decision we may have.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) says that we should “Trust in the Lord with all (our) heart, and lean not on (our) own understanding. In all (our) ways acknowledge Him, and He will make (our) paths straight”. You may hear this verse a lot in church and youth group, but let’s dissect it piece by piece.
- When we “Trust in the Lord with all (our) heart”, we are trusting that He knows what He is doing in our lives. This means that when you have an issue in your life, you should give it to God and trust that He will handle it.
- “Leaning not on (our) own understanding” also ties into trusting God. We have to trust that God has a plan for our lives. This verse relates back to the ropes course I mentioned earlier. When we look down, we rely on our own understanding and fall. When we look up at the cross, we rely on God’s understanding in our lives. This is a really hard thing to do, especially for me. We are all intelligent human beings who tend to think that we can solve everything for ourselves. It takes a lot to rely on God’s understanding and not our own.
- “In all (our) ways acknowledge Him, and He will make (our) paths straight.” This goes back to spending time with God each and every single day. When you do this and consult the Creator in everything, He will show you the way to go.
Spending time with God may seem like a difficult at first, but you will start to look forward to it and yearn for it as the Word of God starts to grow in and take root in your heart. In the end, you will be glad you took time out of your day to spend with the One who knows best.
All for Him,
“How was your day, sweetie?” I asked Grace, as she got in the car after school.
“Well, it wasn’t that great” she answered. She looked a bit broken down.
Normally if she’s had a difficult day she doesn’t tell me right away. She processes it and tells me if she wants to talk it out. So, I knew it wasn’t good.
She told me what happened. Something so shocking and appalling had happened that I was calling her school counselor just moments after we got out of the school parking lot.
When I got home the first thing I did was reach for my copy of Constitution of the United States. Yes.I.Did.
This was serious business and I was going to make darn sure that I knew what the law said because there was no way on God’s green earth that I was going to let my daughter be treated that way or have her Constitutional rights trampled on.
That same morning, I was lied to and drug through the mud.
Not good enough. Will never measure up. Not like her. You can’t do it and you’ll never make it. Those words echoed through my mind as I put work into one of my goals.
My response? Did I reach for my copy of Constitution of the United States? Did I call someone for back up support? I didn’t do anything. I took it.
I shrunk back. I thought about letting another day, another year pass by without victory.
Thinking back on my day, I compared my situation to Grace’s. We were both attacked. Our Truth was challenged. I rose to her defense. I would stop at nothing to defend my children. Yet, I rarely defend myself.
More powerful than any authority on earth, including the United States Constitution, is God’s Word. It’s “…alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
How quickly I forget that the greatest Defender is on my side.
And He goes to battle for me. Every time.
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord. -Isaiah 54:17
Have any of your Truths been challenged?
What verse do you hold tight to when you’re preparing for battle?
I’m so excited to welcome a post from my dear friend, Jen, today. Last week Jen texted me saying something happened to her daughter that day and that she had material for a guest post at the Whatever Girls site and she’d send it over. My mama kitty claws came out and I asked if I needed to fly down to Austin to teach someone a lesson. Turns out our adversary in Jen’s story is “THE ADVERSARY”, so some praying solved the issue.
Before we dive in, can I just say I’m grateful for friends like Jen who text me to say they are sending me something for my web site? That’s the equivalent of the friend who walks into your house without knocking and grabs whatever they want from the fridge. I love friends like that. It shows a certain level of confidence in the relationship, don’t you think?
Jen has something to share that I think we as moms and teens can all relate to. Here’s Jen:
If I hadn’t just experienced it, I would have missed it. Missed the root, I mean.
You, my oldest daughter, eight years of age, began protesting about going to swim practice. Full-blown melt down, I tell you, filled with words like this:
“You’re a mean mommy! If you were a nice mommy you’d let me stay home.”
(Tears) “Why can’t you let me miss just one class?”
“I’m not good enough. Coach Steve said “perfect” to me only once. I am so bad at swimming. Everyone else is better!”
“I’m not going. Ever. Again.”
And my personal favorite: “You don’t understand how I’m feeling!”
Oh, sweet child of mine. I understand all too well. And if I hadn’t been under the thumb of the enemy just yesterday, I would have just chalked all of this up to disobedience. But God is faithful and He doesn’t waste anything, even the bad stuff. He used my own war with the liar to help me spot the lies coursing through your mind. You see, I know that:
You think if you can’t do something perfectly, there is no reason for doing it at all.
You think that if someone else is better at it, you might as well quit because being the best is all there is.
If you hear one comment that you interpret to be negative, that’s all that really matters. Positive comments mean almost nothing when you throw in something that you did wrong, or could have done better.
You see, sweet daughter, I was the first born, too. And I know what it’s like to try to live up to expectations that you will never meet. And that’s why I want differently for you. I wanted you to go to swim practice because you needed to confront the lie that you aren’t good enough and that you’ll never be good enough.
If I had let you skip, that would be like giving into your truth, which is not The Truth.
I want you to know Truth — that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I want you to know that not your earthly father, not your earthly mother, nor your Heavenly Father expect perfection. I’ve learned that one the hard way and it’s a battle you really don’t want to have to fight if you can win it now by knowing real Truth.
I want you to know that it’s a constant struggle for this mother to find the balance between nurturing and pushing you beyond what you see your limitations to be. I’ll naturally push before I’ll nurture and sometimes that will be a mistake, but today, today, I was right. That will happen every now and again.
I want you to know that you are more than what you think you are, not because I am your mother, but because God tells me so. Because God tells you so. It took me decades to realize that I am more than what I do, what I say, and what I look like. A lot of women much older than me still don’t know that. (And to be honest, there are still tons of days that I have to remind myself over and over and over again.)
But I get that you need outside perspective, that you need more than just your mother’s words. So I drag you to swim practice and you stomp your feet and pull your swim cap over your eyes for the third time and I tell you “fine. If you want to quit, you have to tell your coach why.”
And this stops you in your tracks. But we make our way to the coach, who thank God was accessible at that very moment, even though we were late to practice. He sees your tear-stained cheeks and your red eyes and asks to know what’s wrong. I look at you and I know that, momentarily, you are unable to speak. And so I give voice to those ugly lies you told me, knowing (and praying) that Coach Steve will speak the same Truth that I did.
He sits you down on the bench and he takes the floor. “You know,” he says, “I never expect perfection because if you expect yourself to be perfect, you’ll just be letting yourself down. Nobody can be perfect, especially all of the time.”
You nod your head. You know what he means.
“And if you are always comparing yourself to the person in the lane next to you, you’ll find yourself disappointed then, too.”
You’re still nodding. You’re still listening and I see your heart turn to this light.
“This team is about getting better and having fun. Let’s partner you up with a friend and give it another try. What do you say?”
You look at me and I see the Truth has seeped in. When I watch your strong arms complete lap after lap, I smile. When I see you smile and laugh with your friends, I feel the lies losing their grip. Oh, I’m sure they’ll be back another day, but it’s always good to have a victory under your belt, eh?
This I assure you, sweet daughter: I’ve lost too many battles and I’ve wasted so much time, but it can be different for you, just like it’s different for me now.
Let’s link arms and march to victory, shall we?