Building a Godly Family

Building a godly family

 

 

Do you find yourself longing for more in the life of your family? More unity? More warmth? More peace? More of God?

If you build it they will come. Hee hee. Just kidding.

Actually, maybe I’m not.

We Christian mothers have one overriding desire. We want our family to be a godly family. But how can we go about building such a family? It’s more than a dream. We can make this a reality.

 

We need to lay a foundation for this godly family that we desire with all of our hearts. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Is this the declaration that you make in your heart?

If so, start here: Build a close, intimate relationship with God yourself. This involves more than just the spiritual disciplines that you may be familiar with, like reading your Bible and praying so that you can check these off of your to-do list. I’m talking about a relationship with God that is as real, as tangible as your relationship with your husband or your best friend. You need to get to know God. You need to go deep with him. Learn to hear His voice. When you pray, don’t just talk to Him. Listen for what He might be saying to you. This may take some time. And some effort. If you have never done this before and you’re not sure how to go about it, try this. Tell God that you love Him, and then pause and just listen to your spirit. You will probably hear a voice inside of you responding in kind. That is the voice of your Beloved telling you that He loves you, too.

 

Develop and cultivate a deep awe and reverence for God. Worship Him from the depths of your being. Imagine Him seated on the throne of the whole universe. Picture yourself bowing there before Him. Remind yourself of His goodness to you. WORSHIP Him in spirit and truth. Thank Him for His blessings. Let your heart fall in love with Him. Picture Him in all His majesty and splendor looking on you with eyes full of love, smiling on you as a good father smiles on his little girl that he delights in.

 

You have to make time for this and really do it. Sometimes you will hear the Lord call you away from something else to spend time with Him. When He does, make sure you do! You need it! You won’t be sorry. On the contrary, you will be very glad that you did. Spending time in His presence builds you up.

 

The second phase of this building project is to love your husband and honor him. On days when he walks in the door and rushes over to you and gives you a long kiss that melts you and makes you feel like the most loved and beautiful woman, the center of his universe. And on those other days when he doesn’t notice that you’re there. Or worse he complains about everything in the universe and asks what you did all day, why is the house a wreck, and what’s for supper. Even when you feel like screaming at him, telling him what an insensitive brute he is, how hard you’ve worked all day taking care of HIS kids, and how he has ruined the loving welcome you had planned for him by his rotten attitude. Yes, even on those days, honor and love him. I didn’t say this was going to be easy. Pray down blessings on his head. Not, “Lord, get him!”

 

His biggest need and desire is to be respected. Show your love for him by treating him with respect even when he deserves all the wrath you have stored up from all the times he hurt your feelings, ignored you, took you for granted, overlooked all of your hard work, and broke your heart. By praying blessings on him and treating him lovingly, you are giving God room to deal with him. Do your part with all your heart. Build him up. Treat him better than he deserves. Your relationship with him is the bedrock of this family you’re building. Your relationship with God is the foundation and cornerstone, but your house won’t stand if your relationship with your husband is filled with anger and resentment. Also remember that whatever happens to him happens to you. If you want to live a blessed life, you should desire that he be blessed and then do whatever you can to help make that happen.

 

You are a wise woman building your house. Not a foolish woman tearing it down with your own hands. Or your mouth.

 

Now on to the next phase. Love your kids in such a way that they feel loved. Not like they are an obligation or a burden or a pest. Your children need loving, patient discipline and instruction. They also need to know that they are greatly loved and highly valued. You love them more than anybody else in the whole world. Make sure they feel that. Show them affection and kindness in the middle of the messes and frustration that define toddler. Love those kids that seem like they’re only here to give you more work to do and a bad attitude. Love them as they grow up and start thinking they know more than you do and think they learned it on their own without any help from you. Show them you love them by listening to them, responding to them, treating them with dignity and respect, not like they are your property only here to carry out your wishes. Lead them to Jesus by modeling the same attitude he had toward children. Let the children come unto me for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Keep at the forefront of your mind that childlikeness is good, and maybe you need to take some lessons from them!

 

Listen to those who inspire you to grow spiritually. If you can find a group of Christians that gathers regularly and love the Lord and their only purpose is to know Jesus and make Him known, then you are truly blessed. If they have good teachers and prophetic teaching and ministry, even better. If they follow the first two commandments – to love God and to love people – then you have found a gold mine.

We find good Spirit-filled teachers and worship leaders online and listen to them together and individually. We read the Bible together as a family and individually. I would encourage couples to pray together. We pray for our kids and just doing that takes us quite a while!

 

Some of my favorite teachers are Lance Wallnau, Todd White (lots of videos on YouTube),  Rick Joyner, and Kim Clement. I have recently started listening to Shawn Bolz, who teaches a lot about giving words of knowledge. One of the best things I do for myself spiritually is worshiping the Lord with good worship music. I love to  worship with Bethel Music. They have a lot of great worship leaders. I especially like to listen to Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, Kim Walker-Smith, and Jenn Johnson. I get touched and ushered into the throne room while worshiping with Cory Asbury, Matt Gilman, and Kari Jobe. I play videos on YouTube and worship along with them.

 

Love God’s word. Use examples in everyday life. Let it flow naturally in your conversations with your children. In situations that come up, especially relationship challenges, ask yourself and your children, “What does the Bible say about this?”. When the little ones argue about a toy and one snatches it away from the other and then they start chasing and hitting, kicking, and crying, sit with them and talk calmly with them about how Jesus wants them to handle situations like that. Ask them what the Bible says. We are to love each other, be kind to each other and put the other person’s happiness before our own. We are to do everything out of love for the other person. There are so many verses about walking in love and dying to yourself. Read a verse to them and remind them that they want to please Jesus. Live what you read about in the Word of God. Speak the Word all the time. Stay in the Word and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to read and meditate on for that day. Keep meditating and thinking about what you’ve read throughout the day. Tell your kids about what the Lord is saying to you right now and what you are reading. Ask them what the Lord is saying to them. Ask them if they have had any dreams or any specific words that the Lord is saying to them.

Look for analogies in nature. You can teach the way Jesus did! He told stories about farming: sowing and reaping, seed time and harvest, and looking for signs in nature of the seasons and what is coming next. He used poetic words like the trees clapping their hands, the seas roaring, the mountains shaking, the animals frolicking with joy and many other similes and metaphors, such as the heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Point out how God made intricate, delicate flowers for us to enjoy and marked many animals and plants with beautiful designs. Remark to your children about how our bodies are so amazing and self-healing because of the way God made them. Notice and call attention to little ordinary things that are marks of a loving Creator who made all things good.

Apply the parables of Jesus to daily life. Make connections between what is happening in your life and the life of your family with the parables that Jesus told. If someone needs help, if you are able to help them, you should, just like the Good Samaritan. If someone doesn’t want to forgive, there are many parables about the power of forgiveness, like The Prodigal Son and The Unmerciful Servant, and Jesus spoke about it in The Lord’s Prayer. I like to let life present the problem and become a teachable moment that you can use to apply the spiritual principle or story from the Bible.

 

 

Pray together. Our family tries to do this on a regular basis. We make sure that we all gather at least once a week. The goal is to do it every evening, but it doesn’t happen when life gets too busy. Sometimes we have to just go ahead and pray with whoever happens to be home. Try to find out what works best for your family as far as time and method. We have a pattern now of saying a blessing over the new day, putting our spiritual armor on and saying The Lord’s Prayer in unison. Then we take turns praying. We have at least 4 people pray each time. You can experiment with different methods and times and see what works best for your family.

 

Worship together. When children are younger, listen to worship songs for children. Or let them hear what you are listening to, and they might like some of those songs, too. Then play often the songs they like throughout the day.

 

Minister to others in your home. Demonstrate to your children hospitality and helping others in need. Invite people to eat with you. Teach them how to be good hosts when someone comes to visit. Pray for friends when they come over. Lay hands on them and pray if the situation warrants it.

 

Give to those in need. Model generosity to your children. And don’t forget to tie it to the Word of God: Give and it shall be given unto you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to give to the poor and to orphans and widows and ministries that you feel are really doing a great work in the earth. Make sure your kids know that you are giving in obedience to what God has told us to do and because you have compassion in your heart. Let them experience the joy of giving themselves. Don’t hinder them when they want to give of their own money or possessions. Encourage a giving heart. I believe that is extremely precious to God and blesses His heart. Help others all around you and give any time you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit. Don’t hold back. God will bless you when you bless others.

 

 

Prophetic Declaration For This New Season: Take Your Mountain

An important part of my spiritual growth has always been listening to prophetic, biblical teachers.

Recently, the Lord has led me to listen to Lance Wallnau.

He does a Periscope broadcast almost every night and has acquired a big following because he is very prophetic and also very personable and funny. He takes us with him into meetings he attends, and he even lets someone hold his phone and broadcast to us what he is teaching sometimes. It feels like we’re right there with him! We are his bosom friends. That’s how he treats us anyway.

He is energized by his audience and loves to entertain us as well as give us the word of the Lord and pray for us and make prophetic declarations. I can feel the anointing when he speaks and especially when he prays.

He did a 3-day conference and let us join him on a livestream.

During the meeting he made this prophetic declaration and had us write it down:

“I am just beginning the greatest chapter of my life. I am stepping out of an old season. I have divine appointments set up and scheduled for my life. They are happening now. The dreams and desires and even the disappointments of the past are being woven into the fulfillment of prophecies I’m about to walk into. But there are new dreams, new aspirations, new assignments that will require great COURAGE. And that boldness will come by being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

I have been feeling the Lord speaking to me personally that I am to do more in this next phase of my life. I still have little ones at home, and they are still my priority, but I feel that my message, my calling, my assignment has become more clear and crystallized into one main message.

Lance teaches that we are to identify the mountain that God wants us to work in. Mine is Family.

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Lance teaches that there are 7 major mountains that shape culture. And I see family as the foundation for all the rest. The other mountains are education, government, media, arts and entertainment, religion and business.

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Most of what I do in life has to do with taking care of my family and trying to encourage others to make family their main priority in life. I believe we can change the culture and build happier, healthier people if we do family right.

So my main message is to make your family your priority, make sure God is at the center of your family, build strong, healthy relationships within your family, and let the Holy Spirit lead you in the way that your whole family should go.

You will find that discipling your children and seeing them grow in the Lord is the most rewarding job a mother could ever have.

This is really not a change in my message.

But there is a new dimension to what I feel like the Lord is telling me to challenge mothers and fathers to do. There is a specific group that I feel I am to speak to now.

Spirit-filled parents.

If you want to learn more about what the Lord’s message is for Spirit-filled parents, read my next post.

 

And I encourage you to do some soul-searching and praying and find out what the Lord has for you to do in this new season. Which mountain are you called to conquer?

Love One Another

Abby in hat and coral dress poster

Love is the answer to every problem. Remember – God is love. He is definitely the answer to every problem.

He often uses His people to answer needs that others have.

We are His hands and feet – His agents – in this world.

If you are feeling down, useless, purposeless, then try reaching out to someone with your love. Better yet, pray and ask the Lord to fill you with His love, and then find out what they need. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and lead you to give them what they really need.

One time when we were living in Kansas City after what felt like a major letdown (we had lost our house in Ohio and traveled to Arizona and nothing seemed to work for us), Gary was suffering from major depression. He couldn’t get a job in Kansas City. Not even blue collar jobs like grocery stores, warehouse jobs, etc. would open up for him. He felt useless, worthless and hopeless. I tried to build him up. I prayed for him, with him, over him and told him how the Lord was still with us, in spite of how things looked. But he would not be comforted.

I prayed for him in the Prayer Room at IHOP-KC. I could see in the spirit that the enemy was attacking him like a dragon. I could also see that I was using the Word and my faith to defend him from the enemy. Gary was in no condition or position to defend himself at that moment.

He was sitting at my side. At least he was reaching out to God, trying to get the help he needed.

But it was a very, very dark time for him.

The next day, we were in the Prayer Room again. A young man near me asked what they were talking about, and I told him that they were praying into a revival that was happening right then at Asbury College in Kentucky. We talked some more and really enjoyed talking to each other. We had to leave the Prayer Room, because they really don’t want people to have whole conversations in there. He told me he was from St. Louis and that his parents’ marriage was not very strong. He told me some of their issues and struggles, and that he was concerned about them. I brought Gary over and just gave him a short synopsis of what this young man had told me. Gary talked to him and then started praying for his parents. He prayed a powerful, heartfelt prayer for them. He really showed love and concern for them.

When he got done, the young man looked at him in shock and amazement. He said that he had never heard anyone pray like that before, and he didn’t think anyone had ever prayed for his parents like that before. He was beyond grateful.

And Gary started making a comeback. He came out from under that black cloud of depression. He felt so good about being able to help someone else and being able to speak love and life and hope into someone else’s life that he had a sense of purpose again.

He still struggled some after that, but I believe that was a major turning point for him.

I have seen that happen for him many times. When he is able to minister to others, it ministers to him, too, and takes his eyes off of his own situation.

When we show love to one another, even when we are not doing too great ourselves, there is a double blessing. We get blessed, and so do they!

Like “Oxygen that breathes satisfaction and happiness into our souls”. I like that comparison.

Don’t you?

For more wonderful nuggets of wisdom, might I suggest that you read Sally Clarkson’s book, “Own Your Life”. She has many words of wisdom that come from years of experience of walking with the Lord through homeschooling and raising four children and ministering to women for many years. She is well-seasoned.

I highly recommend all of her books. Her blog at SallyClarkson.com is also very good, and she has recently started a podcast that is just wonderful! You can find the podcast on her blog once a week.

And remember to do everything that you do out of love.

Please tell me about a time that God has used you to breathe life into someone who needed to feel God’s love for them.

Did you feel the breath come back into your own soul when you did it?

Inhale God’s love for you, and exhale His love upon someone else.

What a beautiful cycle.

You Be You, I’ll Be Me

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I am me. You are you. She is she.

And the converse is true.

I am not you. You are not me. And she is not you or me.

What am I saying?

God has made each of us unique.

So why do we compare ourselves to each other?

I will not do things the way you do them. I don’t want to do them the way you do them.

I do not see things the way you see them.

It’s okay. I am me. And you are you.

I discovered something while teaching my kids how to drive. I noticed things that they didn’t notice as I was looking in the same direction that they were. In some cases, I saw things that I wished they had been paying attention to, like the brake lights on the car ahead of us!

But in other cases, they noticed things that I didn’t see that helped us get to where we needed to go.

At first, some of them noticed nice cars that they liked all around us. That drove me bananas! I couldn’t believe they were paying attention to such insignificant, unimportant things when they should be paying attention to the road ahead of them, the traffic, and making sure they were in the right lane to get to where we needed to go.

As they got more experience, they started to learn about what they really needed to be paying attention to. Some near misses, some exclamations from me, some honks from other drivers, missing exits that we should have taken, and getting lost helped them to realize that they needed to pay more attention to their driving than to the nice cars around them.

They learned how to drive safely. But they don’t do it exactly the way I would.

They learned the most important skills and what really deserved their attention while they were driving. They still don’t notice the same things I do as we’re driving along. But they take care of the important things now.

There are some things that we all need to pay attention to. You and me and she all have to do some of the same basic things, like take care of ourselves, our families and our houses.

But the way we do these things will vary with our priorities, our interests, our goals, and our personalities.

My way is not the right way.

Neither is yours!

OK, I’ll be me – you be you.

I’ll take ideas and inspiration from the things you do and the way you do them.

And you can see if there’s anything I’m doing that you may want to try.

But do it your way. The way that works for you and your family.

Deal???

Deal.

I’m His Secret Garden

I went through a time a couple months ago when I knew that the Lord was trying to take me to a new level in my relationship with Him.

It felt similar to the time He was trying to tell me that He delights in me. Trying to discern His voice and what He’s saying can be difficult at times.

For instance, one evening a long time ago, I was alone in my van driving home from a teaching workshop, and I knew that God was trying to speak something specific to me. I could hear Him in my spirit saying, “I d_______ you.” I knew the middle part of the sentence started with a “D”, but I didn’t know what the word was! So I kept trying to hear or guess or understand or whatever. It took me a long time. My spiritual ears were very young, and my hearing was not acute at all. I had only recently begun to try to hear God’s voice clearly and to listen for His voice. This was when we still lived in Ohio. It must have been the year 2001 or so. I kept thinking “desire”, no that’s not it, hmmm, what other word starts with a “D” that God might be saying about me. I was trying to think of Bible verses. Finally, I knew that He was saying that He DELIGHTS in me. Then I was faced with trying to wrap my mind around what He meant by that, and why the God of the universe would delight in me?!!! It was more than I could take in. That is obviously true, because He is still trying to show me what it means.

He has been working on me for the last 13 years or so trying to convince me and show me the fullness of that revelation that He delights in me.

Well, fast forward to 5 months ago. Anna and I have been going to noon prayer almost every day Tuesday through Friday at our church. During the prayer time, I saw a waterfall. I knew that God was telling me to go to a place that had a waterfall. We have only lived here for two years, so I don’t know the area very well. I asked the Youth leaders if there was a park nearby that had a waterfall, or if they knew where a waterfall was. They told me about the parks they knew that had a river flowing through them. Anna and I went to the park and walked, and we had a nice, peaceful time, but I knew there was somewhere else that I was supposed to go.

A few days later, Anna had a Youth meeting at church, and I took her and just decided to wait there in the car. I noticed the church’s prayer garden and decided I should go check it out. I had never been inside it. It is surrounded by trees and a wrought-iron fence, so I couldn’t see exactly what was in there.

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I walked over to it and checked the gate. It was unlocked. So I went in.

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Guess what was in there?

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A waterfall! The waterfall I needed to go to was right there on the church property.

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I sat on a bench inside and gazed at the waterfall and the trees and talked to the Lord. I asked Him what He wanted to say to me.

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I had been hearing two songs lately that mentioned gardens, based on Song of Solomon. One was “Where I Belong” by Cory Asbury, and the other was “Garden” by Misty Edwards.

Specific words from these songs came to me as I sat meditating and praying. From Misty’s song, I kept hearing the words, “I am a garden enclosed, a locked garden. You hedge me in with skin all around me, a garden enclosed, a locked garden. Life takes place behind the face. Here it’s You and me alone, God.” And from Cory’s song I kept hearing, “Come into Your garden, take delight in me, take delight in me.”

It suddenly struck me that I am God’s garden and He comes to me and rests in me and takes delight in me. I have always thought about going into the garden to meet with God, but I never realized that I, myself, am that garden! I pictured myself resting in Him, but I didn’t realize that God actually rests in me, too, as I spend time with Him and meditate and pray. It was a humbling revelation. It was almost as dramatic as the night He spoke to me that He delights in me. It has made a difference in the way I see myself and my relationship with God. I knew that He delighted in watching me serve Him, but I really did not understand that He delights in just spending time with me. He finds rest and refreshing to His soul from our times together. Blows. My. Mind.

When I’m spending time worshiping Him now, I invite Him into His garden and tell Him to take delight in me. It’s still new, and I still feel funny and rather presumptuous when I utter these words, but I know that He is pleased, and it’s a new level of worship and experiencing His presence.

You may want to seek the Lord for yourself about this and see if He wants to bring you up and closer to Him through this kind of experience.

He loves you so much, and is seeking intimate union with each one of us.

I hope this may help someone to draw closer to God and get to know Him better.

These are the songs that helped me reach this new understanding. I hope you enjoy them and receive the revelation that you need from them.