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Dozen of articles. Improve your lifestyle now!

Walking in Love and Enjoying the Benefits

There is a three step process for a happier, more loving, and fulfilled life with your family, friends, and church. The first step is getting rid of the offense/strife. The second step is finding a common cause to move forward in together.   Where there is purpose and unity we can accomplish anything together. The third step is honor, seeing and calling out the good in others.

 

Let’s start with overcoming offense and strife.   That is only possible if you CHOOSE to live free from these things. We need to make an all out war on offense and strife in our homes, and churches.  War meaning, the battle you must commit to, inside yourself.  We can not make others be non offensive.  But we can release them to the Lord, and surrender our own hearts to Him.  Choose today, to say no to offense and strife.  Choose to be quick to forgive, and unoffendable.  Titus 2:12 says God’s Word teaches us to say no to ungodliness.  Therefore we know where to get truth that will drive out the lies that lead us into offense and strife.  You may say,” how is it lies.  That person really did act mean?”.   Yes, I am sure they did, and many more to come may as well.  But their meanness has no control over you, that you don’t give them.  Jesus Himself determined to walk in love, yet many around him were offensive towards Him.  Jesus is our model, and He also lives in us through His Spirit to empower us to walk the way He did.   Your offense, is a defense mechanism, to protect your sense of value and identity. When you go to the Word, and develop an intimate relationship with the loving God revealed in the Word, you will begin to receive your value and identity from Him, not from others.  When you meditate on scriptures telling you who you are to God, and who you are in Him, you can retrieve those truths right at the moment you feel that offense rising up.  Stop, drop, and roll.  Yep, it works here too.  Stop those thoughts, drop to your knees (surrender to God), and roll in the truth of how much God loves you and how full of His love you are, and let those truths consume your heart.  Quickly your emotions will be at peace and whatever you say will put out the fire, rather than stir up.    One of the best books I have read on offense is The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere, Check it out. Literally, from the library.  J

 

Second step to loving and unified relationships is finding a common cause. We see several examples In the Word of God of the power of unity in purpose. In the book of John, Jesus prays to the Father that the body of Christ would be one with each other, and with Him even as Jesus is one with God.  Why? So that we can reveal God to this earth.   Which means we will not complete our mission without love and unity, in our families and body of Christ.  We see at the Tower of Babel, God Himself said, because they had unified in purpose that nothing they put their hearts to do would fail. Wow!!! That is powerful!!  Unity works for good and bad. Therefore the enemy uses it as well.  If you and your husband are in agreement daily that you will continue to accept the strife in your home, guess what?  Nothing strife wants to do will be impossible.  Kick it out now, and agree with God!  Agree with love, and nothing Love wants to do in your family will be impossible. In the book of Nehemiah, we see another story of what unity can accomplish.  Actually it is a good story for all three of these points.  We see repentance of offenses, we see favor come to him, then a common cause, and honor that he continues to give.   You too can rebuild the walls of your family, your church, or even of the larger body of Christ, even as Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

 

The third step is honor.  You will only become consistently unoffendable, if you on purpose become the one who brings honor to each situation.  Honor is an outpouring of love and humility in your own heart.  Ugh, did I say humility?  Yes, humility is a stronghold for our Christlikeness.  Everything that we are, we are in Christ.  We are presented holy and blameless in Him, we are the righteousness of God in Christ, we are seated in heavenly places in Christ.  We are only fallible human beings, apart from Christ.  The greatest step of humility we can take is to come to God each day, to His Word, to worship Him, and lay ourselves before Him to honor, praise and allow Him to do what He wants in us.  When you do this, it creates greater humility in you towards others. Because you know where your strength comes from, and without Him you would be a much different person.  Stop coming to God praising yourself, wanting yourself built up.  Come to Him to worship Him, and your flesh will die and your spirit will be built up. Then when something comes to your mind that is negative about someone else, choose on purpose to think and speak a positive thing about them, behind their back and in front of them.  Sometimes we think if we praise someone who is screwing up, then we are enabling them to keep screwing up. Those of us who have experienced that, have a real issue with control. Yep, we think we are somehow in control of this person’s destiny.  Let them go,  to God, and start doing what God does towards them, and you will really affect their destiny. Let your love be revealed to them, and honor them.  Love never fails, but control, manipulation, fear, and criticism always fails.  If you walk a life of honor, then God may at times have you speak something to someone, in love.  Do you know how to know if that is what Is happening?  A good way to tell if God is really telling you to do that, is to check your heart.  Is it gushing with compassion for that person?  Are you hurting for the place they are in? Is that really your first thought, or the one you bring up to excuse your judgment?  Take that issue to God, saying “God do you see what they are doing?”  I remember something God told an author Francis Frangipaine.   “Yes, Francis I see that, and I gave my life for them.  Now go do the same”.  That is honor at it’s best.

 

I have an excitement that those  who set themselves on this track, will be tremendous ambassadors for Christ, revealing God’s great love to those around them and shifting the attitude, moods, and atmospheres around them.  This is when the Kingdom of God will spread to every nook and cranny of this earth, and we will see even greater works of God on this earth.              by Lisa Winchell

Identity Struggles

So what are God’s thoughts about identity struggles?  I am sure we would all agree we don’t know all of God’s thoughts, but we would equally agree that He has laid out most of his thoughts about mankind in His Word.  In his Word, identity is a big thing to Him. So much so, that He started out this whole world with making us in His Image!

So what is your identity? Is it where you live, what you wear, where you work, what you look like, who you hang out with, or how well you succeed?  If your answer to any of these is yes, then you may have just found the reason why your sense of self value is ever-changing, and you may be trying to be someone you are not.  Because each of these potential sources for identity, and your perspective of them, are ever-changing.

How important do you think your identity is, to your life and your sense of fulfillment, happiness, and success?   If God started the existence of the human race off with creating us in His Image, making our identity in Him, than that tells us that identity is a powerful force in our lives. The Word of God says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7.  Interestingly, neuroscience is discovering more every day about how much our thoughts of ourselves control our life.  How you see yourself, will be who you act like in life, how you feel, and where your perspectives come from.  The more you follow this truth, in the Word of God, you will find His Word chock full of who He created us to be.  You will also find in there who mankind decided to become as we listened to lies and not His truth.  But His answer to our slipping way, was to restore our identity, through Christ Jesus. At least 50% of the New Testament is about who we now are in Christ Jesus.  He restored us to our original image, through Christ!!!

God created us to live from our identity, and gave us the identity that would make us most fulfilled, happy, and successful. That identity is His image, in us.   He knows our happiness can only come when we get back to that core identity, being created in His Image. Then all other parts of our identity will come into balance and peace.

It takes being transformed by the renewing of our mind, to these truths, to begin to walk in the freedom this identity brings us.  It never changes, it is always who we are, we are forever valued as God’s chosen race, to be created in His Image.  His Image is love, peace, joy, and holiness.

In the press lately we have all seen much about Bruce Jenner and his identity struggles. I would like to say first, that we have all had identity struggles.  They may not always be in sexuality, but we all have dealt with or do deal with a lack of value, insecurity, uncertainly of who we are, and many more value issues.  Many in this world reject themselves every day, by never being able to say no, or by being prideful, and unwilling to change for their own success, or by not loving on those around them and thus producing an environment where people give them a hard time, or by never forgiving, and by putting themselves down, condemning themselves, people pleasing, being someone for someone else, and many more ways.

Could it be that Bruce Jenner moved into the ultimate self-rejection?  That He never accepted himself, his own identity? Therefore, convinced himself he wasn’t supposed to be who he was, and turned away from his masculinity, and male gender?  The unfortunate thing is that when any of us turn away from who we really are, we never find peace until we deal with our core identity issues, rather than our sexual identity, or financial identity, or social identity, etc.

I have spent my career helping people find freedom in life, through their true identities in Christ.  Which always leads them to loving themselves and building stronger, more loving relationships.  It is a glorious transformation!!  It is what God intended, for transformation.  Our path to being happy with ourselves, is not to reject who God created us to be. But it is to embrace who we are in Him, and be transformed by His love, peace, and joy in every other area of our life and identities!

Holiday Blues

The Holiday Blues!  Many around the country know what these blues are.  Some have no idea.  All the glitter, and fun, and smiles and presents, and family getting together.   Why would anyone have the blues? It is the happiest time of the year!  Isn’t it?

For some, it sure is. In fact, for many it was at one time.  But for others it truly is the saddest time of the year.  Those of us who have lost someone whom we spent every Christmas with for years, feel grief and the pain of the loss more during this season than any other.  Those who take on the stress of having to get the “perfect” gift for someone, or even for everyone, tend to dread this holiday.   We cannot forget to mention those who feel “forced” to spend the holidays with some unsavory character in their family, or many unsavory characters.   Just mentioning each of these things, I can hear many of you calling out, or even crying out, “please Lord, let the holiday pass by fast”.   You may even be setting your mind on the New Year, as a way to avoid thinking about this month, at all.

So is there an answer, or a hope for this month to be more than what we presently experience?  What do you think?  If there was, would you want to know what it is?  If your answer is yes to the last question, then I propose an answer.  As soon as I say the answer, you may think, “I know, I know”.  But do you really KNOW?

So what is the answer? Who is the answer, is the real question.  JESUS, He is yours and my answer!  Now WAIT a minute, don’t go anywhere.  I have more for you.  No not more than Jesus.  There is no one or nothing more than Jesus.  But there are empowering ways to receive the Answer.  What do I mean by that?  I am glad you asked.  LOL.

Well, if I were to tell you that Mr. Grace, down the street was your answer to a joyful holiday, would you need to do something to receive that answer?  Yes, you would need to go talk to Mr. Grace, right?    Now when you get there, Mr. Grace is going to tell you how he is your answer.  He starts out with, how amazing you are!  He goes on to say, “I am thinking every day, how I can bless you with my peace, love and presence and make your wonderful smile shine”.   He goes on.  “You are the apple of my eye.  Did you know that I designed you perfectly for the world you would live in?”  He says, “You are my son, my daughter for eternity, and I can’t wait to walk with you in my gardens one day.  But now we can walk together on this earth, as I watch you open each new “package” I have for you along the way.  Remember, every good and perfect gift comes from Me, and you have many more of those to open here on earth.  You have this twinkle in your eye that reminds me of the day I created you and all the amazing things I put in you that day.  Your eyes, your nose, your heart for that passion you have, and so much more.  I knew how much you would need me close to you, so I came down here on earth, and put on an earth suit just like yours.  I lived, I felt the pain you feel now, I died for you, and I broke the chains of the enemy from off of you when I rose from the grave.  I took the sting of death, of fear, and of sin so you would not have to.  I ripped the veil, so you could talk to me freely, and receive great truths from me that remind you how valuable you are to me, and who you are in me.  My son, my daughter I am right here, and you need my comfort more now than any other time of the year.  Come to me, come close to me. Hear my voice, and I will tell you new things.  I will give you greater revelation of my love for you, and for those around you.   I am holding your dear loved one right now, the ones who died and the ones who expect so much out of you this season.  Now, I want to hold you.  Cozy up on the couch with me, get a warm blanket, some tea and let’s make some special times together this season.  I know you miss your loved one, I know that pain well.  So how about this?   I am going to bring someone or a group of someones to your mind this week. When I do, I want you to call them up and open your heart and your doors (doors of your life) to them.  I am going to share life with you this season, and I am opening the door for you to do the same with others, as we make new memories for the Christmas season, together.  Honey, you can do this, I am with you now and always”.

Do you feel better?  I do!!  Because the answer is Jesus!  But He only becomes our answer when we sit down and hear His voice and spend time with Him.  That is the place we have relationship.  Relationship that far surpasses any on this earth, and fulfills to the depth of our soul.  So I don’t ask you to forget your love one.  But I do ask you, instead turn your focus to Jesus, on purpose, use this season to pursue a new and fresh relationship with Him,  and that one, or more that He sends your way.   Then when the season is over, email me and tell me about how Jesus helped you create new Christmas memories, with Him!

In Christ’s Love,

Lisa Winchell

www.inhisimagecounseling.org

Pursuing My Options for Training

So you know that God has called you to counsel, and it is time to consider your options.   Where do you see yourself in 3 years?   Is it in a private practice, for a church or ministry, or do you see yourself working in state programs and institutions?

If you know that you will be setting up your own practice or ministry, or working for someone else’s  ministry, then receiving training, degrees, and licensure through In His Image Counseling and Training would be an excellent choice.   Your cost will be less than 1/4 the cost of a college program, you will have a governing institution in which to be accountable (National Christian Counselors Association), you will learn a counseling model that is 96% successful, and you can be done with your licensure work in 2 years or less.  This allows you to go onto your Masters and Advanced Board Certification in the area of your choice (e.g. Marriage and Family Therapy, Adolescent Therapy, Crisis intervention, etc.).

Also, during Phase 1  you will begin your practicum by administering and interpreting the Arno Profile System (APS) to ten individuals.  This is the most in depth and Christ centered temperament analysis available, providing greater insight into the root of issues that could otherwise take 5-10 sessions to identify.  This will allow you to touch peoples lives through the interperting of their APS, until you are licensed and able to counsel and set up a fee schedule.

If you believe you may have to or want to work in a secular setting, or in a setting that is going to require a degree from a state accredited college,  than a program like In His Image Counseling and Training will not work for you.   You would need to look into a Christian Liberal Arts College.   If you want distance learning you still may be able to do that, because there are many colleges now that offer that option in their counseling departments.   Some of those Christian Liberal Arts Colleges are  Liberty University, Regent University, and Bethany College to name a few.  The cost is greater, the time is longer, but you will finish with a degree from a state accredited college, and be able to sit for a state license.   There is also government financial aid, which will consist of grants and loans.  Most people have to get loans which have to be figured into your future debt.  Many are looking for the fun of the “college experience”.   You want to consider how important that is to you, as well.

One other consideration is that if you are considering working for a church, you want to know that some look for only Counselors trained in the Word, not secular psychology, like our program.  But, some also look for state degreed and licensed counselors.  With the program at In His Image Counseling and Training, you will recieve your BA degree through Calvary Theological Seminary, and your MA and PhD through one of the colleges, of your choice, affiliated  with our program.

These colleges are accredited by the top Christian accreditation agencies as Bible Colleges and Seminaries, not Liberal Arts colleges.  You will be a Christian Counselor, agent of the Church not of the state.  Your training will give you a deep understanding of human behavior, insight on how to be led by the Spirit of God while counseling the hurting, and wisdom in applying the Word of God in ways that lead your clients to victory.

Your licensure and credentials as an “agent of the church” allow you to legally  counsel and set up a fee schedule even as your secular counterparts do.   Also, there is lobbying going on in legislation to initiate the recognition of the insurance companies for the work of Pastoral and Christian Counselors.  Success in this area would allow insurance reimbursements for our clients all the time.  Presently, there are still options available that allow reimbursement for Pastoral Counseling.

This article is meant to give you a clear picture of your options, and the wisdom to make a great choice.   If you want to know more about the program at In His Image Counseling,  please feel free to call or write us at 813-684-7927, or info@inhisimagecounseling.org

Sit and Walk

Years ago a man named Watchman Nee wrote a book called Sit, Walk, Stand. I have not read it personally, but recently I heard that statement come up again in someone else’s message.  I was refreshed to hear that the whole body of Christ has not moved from walking (doing) to only sitting (believing).  I am one of the first to teach on believing to enter your rest. Hebrews chapter 3 and 4 are very clear that the Israelites did not enter their rest because of their unbelief, and neither will we. It says disobedience than clarifies what the disobedience is, unbelief.   Disobedience always starts with unbelief.  That is why we must “sit” first.  The Word of God  tells us that the “just shall live by faith”, and “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. He spent a large portion of the New Testament telling us who we are as a New Creation. This is so we will meditate on it, think upon it and see ourselves seated in heavenly places with Christ.  That is us learning to sit, in our identity in Christ.  From that place we then walk. Walking according to His ways is very hard unless you first see yourself as righteous in Christ, presented holy and blameless in Christ, totally forgiven and accepted and deeply loved by God. Wow! From that place Christ’s power and love flow through you so much easier and walking in obedience becomes a longing in your heart.  So you read and study and ask God to change you and make you more like Him.  When you get back out in the flesh, you repent and get back in the Spirit.

You see, we labor, as Paul tells us, to enter our rest.  The labor is learning to believe that what God says is true, and being determined to keep all doubt out. But, then the New and Old testament are full of how to live (walking).  There is a part we play in walking out who we are.  There is a dying to the flesh in the believing and in the doing. James is very clear that faith and works go together. Jesus is very clear in the gospels. I heard last year that the gospels are part of the Old Testament and what Jesus had to say was to be considered law.  LOL! I must laugh at that concept.  Let’s think about it for a minute. The King of kings, God of gods, spends 3 years teaching people information that will be obsolete as soon as he dies and rises again.  Really??  I am believing God is so much wiser than that. We have to be careful to not get on the bandwagon of what itching ears want to hear.

The grace and glory of God is amazing and I love living in the center of them both!  But living there is work. God says, “seek me and you will find me”, “Love me and love your neighbor”. etc.  When He created us He said we are created in God’s image, that is what we “sit in”, rest in, believe in.  Then He said “till the land”, work!  I always say if you want to check out a theology go back to Genesis in the garden of Eden. That is where God created His perfect plan, and in Jesus’ death and resurrection He gave us back God’s perfect plan. He did not erase it for some sloppy grace, and image of God as our candy machine. We already have it all in Christ, But, you and I will not experience it on this earth unless we are willing to walk it out.

As most of you know I could add over a thousand scriptures to this article to make the point that we are to believe and to do.  But, I encourage you to get in the Word and read it for yourself, not just through the messages of those you listen to. My first pastor always said, “don’t just listen to me, go back home and study it out in the Word”  I think among many other things that is one the best things he taught me as I ventured into the world from underneath his pastoring.

Remember,  from Genesis to Revelation there is a message of grace and work. Grace is actually the empowerment to work, not the eraser of work.

Power of Imaginations Surrendered to God

Testimony of God’s faithfulness!! A client has been struggling with her identity, and value to God, after some sin issues. As we were praying, God showed her, her before His throne; Jesus presenting her to the Father blameless. He covered her in a white veil and the angels were all around her rejoicing!! if you have not opened the eyes of your heart to allow God to give you new imaginations and visions, I encourage you to do so. This gift from God has become a powerful tool in bringing freedom to many, in my counseling sessions and my own walk with the Lord. God told me, “there is too much going on in the heads of my people, just changing their thoughts is not enough for many. But they must allow me to change their imaginations by giving them new ones. I want to replace all the old pictures full of pain, anger, offense or fear, with pictures of my love for them, and pictures of how I am seeing the issue they are dealing with”. I encourage you to do as Habakkuk says, “look and see what He will say to you”. Look and see, what He speaks. Interesting huh? I am writing a curriculum that includes this model of healing as well. So stay tuned. Oh, and no worries, in spite of the fact that religion has told us in the past that visualization is ungodly, remember God gave you an imagination and gave you 66 books in the bible with prophecies and parables that ignite your imagination. Also, we use that component of our brain, all day long for negative thinking, without thinking anything of it. LOL. It is time to own our imaginations and lay them before the Lord, to be fill up with all that He wants in us, truth!!!

Understanding Your Child’s Needs

Have you ever wished that parenting came with a manual?  Imagine that glorious day in the hospital when you had your first baby.  You name her Rachel Jones, After baby arrives you rest for awhile.  The next day you and baby are anxiously awaiting to be released to go home.  The doctor comes in, while thumbing through some books in his arms he says “Let me see here, Robert, Julie, James,  oh, here we go, Rachel”.  He hands it to you and says, ” Mrs. Jones, here is your parenting manual made up specifically for Rachel Jones.  It will guide you through her whole life, informing you of God’s great plan for her life, and all the needs she will have and how to meet them”.   Wow, it sounds so wonderful!

But, God HAS given us many tools to become part of our manual.  Number one is His Word.   The Bible is clear about the need for every human being to receive love, affection and affirmation.   We see this in the Baptism of Jesus.  God said to His Son, “You are my Son (acceptance), whom I love (affection), in whom I am well pleased” (affirmation).   If Jesus needed to hear this, how much more do each of us.

His Word also says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”.  This tells us much.  If we want our children to grow up thinking of others first, being successful in career and family, and serving God with all their heart, then parents must model these things in their own home.   Remember that children are “trained” more from what they see than what they hear.

We also see promises in the Word of God over our children, so we pray daily for them and trust God that He will accomplish His will for them.  Trusting God, means dealing with the fears that we sometimes have.   Get rid of them by replacing them with faith, love, and hope (time in God’s Word and His presence will produce these things).   There are instructions in Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3 for parents to teach their children to honor and obey them.  Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and the “love of Christ compels us to serve Him”.  So it is with the husbands love for his wife and children.  The servant type love of Christ, displayed by a husband and father, compels the family to follow his leadership.  Wives are told to respect/prefer their husbands.  Each are called to submit one to another.  These are all very important if you want your children to obey and respect you as parents.  (Single parents: God is your helper, receive His love. honor Him in your home, and prefer His ways over the worlds)

There must be love in the house between parents for the children to be secure in their love.  Also, it says for fathers not to exasperate their children.  Exasperation happens when parent is expecting more out of child than they understand, or not spending time with them in relationship but scolding them consistently, or speaking down to them or the other parent, or by living inconsistent with what they teach, or by not being consistent with rules and discipline, or most of all by never showing acceptance, love, or affection.   Rules without relationship will create rebellion. Structure and consistency, not legalism and domination.  Parents make a note to yourself “my peace comes from the Lord in me, not from everyone around me agreeing or obeying”, then hold your peace so you can respond to each moment in love and not offense.  “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”.

Another great tool to add to that manual is the understanding of each child’s unique temperament.   They each have different needs in the areas of socialization, intellect, taking on responsibility, decision making, and giving and recieving love and affection.  Thankfully we can test children at age 7 or 8, depending on the child’s level of understanding.   We use the Arno Profile System, which is the most in-depth analysis available, and the only one that identifies the fifth temperament.

From this analysis you can make a chart on your child’s needs that looks something like this:

Joey needs lots of socialization and attention – two way conversation with family and others.

Johnny needs quiet time alone each day  –  but may need encouragement to not isolate for long periods of time

Gail is motivated by rewards and punishment.

Joey is not, more self motivated.

Joey needs to learn how to trust God when making decisions – teach him to trust the leading of God at an early age to avoid the confusion and dependency on the wrong people which is common to this temperament.

Gail needs lots of physical affection and quality time spent with her by family members and close friendships – (this will decrease her chance of going out into the world looking for affection in the wrong places).

Johnny receives love from things being done for him or given to him.   He also gives love that way, so be sure to receive it with enthusiasm.  (He still needs affection, but not as constant as Gail needs)

As you can see having this understanding can be a great help in accepting each child for who they are, and increasing both parents ability to step out in sacrificial love to be used by God to meet the needs of their child.   Remember:  Each parent has their own temperament, as well.  This means you will tend to do with your child according to what your needs are,  and possibly miss for years why you and your child are not connecting.  That is not God’s plan.   His plan is to give you all the wisdom you and your children need.

If you have further interest in temperament analysis for you and your family please contact   Lisa Winchell, M.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling at:

info@inhisimagecounseling.org

817-337-8977

813-684-7927

Suggested Reading:

Parenting at It’s Best   by Fred A. Hartley III

The Key to your Child’s Heart  by  Gary Smalley

Is God Calling You to be a Christian Counselor?

There is much to consider when pursuing a career or ministry in Christian Counseling.   First and foremost, is asking the Lord if this is His plan for your life.  One way to confirm that is in the mouth of two or three witnesses.   Most counselors have been told all their life they have a gift for helping others, or listening to others.  Although, we do not take man’s word over God’s will,  we understand that God has placed His plan in our heart since before we were born.  Therefore, we can recognize the signs and evidence of that plan working out all through our life. The plan becomes very apparent to us and others as we tune in to what the Holy Spirit has been revealing through the years.

The Holy Spirit will reveal gifts, tendencies, a passion, strengths and weaknesses.   This will happen from a very young age.  As we get older there are several tests that confirm to us what those gifts are.   One of those tests is the APS (Arno Profile System) that we use at In His Image Counseling.   It will reveal the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies, as well as bring clarity to the gifts resident in you.  There are also spiritual gift tests used in churches and several online that pinpoint the specific gift God has place in you to be used in the Kingdom of God.   I would suggest that you do both of these first if you do not have a clear picture of God’s will for you in this area.

Prayer and listening to God is the most important way to confirm His will for you.  We often talk alot and do not listen to the Lord.  Make sure you are taking 5-15 minutes after prayer or Bible Study to just let the Lord know you are there and ready to be still and listen.   If you do not know how to do this refer to the article “Listening to the Lord”.    Pray over your  passion for a period of time, asking God to guide you and show you what doors are open to you, and confirming that open door with a peace in your spirit.    Then step out in faith knowing that God will complete that which He has started in you.  That means he will provide the finances, the time, and the mental strength to complete your studies.

Be blessed in all that He has called you to!

To have your personal temperament analysis run, contact us at 813-684-7927, or 817-337-8977.

Reaching Your Children

Children go to the arms of love, with utmost freedom.  If you want to reach them, love them.  Never scold.  Don’t criticize. Don’t show frustration, or discouragement.  Don’t tell them how bad they are. Tell them how good they may be.  Never preach sin, preach it’s cure.  They want to obey, just like you want to obey God.  Consider the mercy given to you, and receive it.  Then show them mercy, revealing Jesus.

Extreme actions never get it, but consistency will. Be consistent with love, and with loving discipline.

Settle in for the long haul, walk in love, and trust God.  Teach them, train them, and watch them grow. They are awesome! They are your great reward!

Resources:  A New Kind of Love,  EW Kenyon;   The Bible

Listening to God

We hear much about praying and talking to God these days.   But, how much do we hear about listening to God.   What does that mean?  How does that look?   Does He really talk to us?

As I write this I must grin.   Because, I know so well that He sure does talk to us.  Not only does He, but He wants to even more.   He wants to talk with us, and share His heart, His thoughts, and His love with us.

So how do I hear from God?   It is great you asked.   A good way to start hearing from the Lord is to spend time reading His Word first, in a quiet place.  Then set 5-15 minutes aside to listen to Him.  Have a notebook and pen in front of you, and start with letting God (and yourself) know that you want to be still and wait on Him. Thank Him that you will hear His voice only.   I often say, “speak to me Lord”, and wait, knowing that He will answer.

At first you may hear “I love you..”   “You are doing great”, or “I have been waiting for you”.  Yes, God has been waiting for you.  He loves to communicate with us.   Keep your mind on a visual of Him, or on the Word you just read and let Him give you deeper insight as you ponder it.

Do not just sit with your mind blank and accept anything that comes in.  Remember, you have an enemy.  His name is Satan, and his demons.   They are certainly able to speak to us as well.  But, you have the witness of the Holy Spirit and the Word to help you be sure of God’s voice.  Also, if you ask to hear from  God and His Holy Spirit, you can trust that God will protect you from any other spirit.   If what you hear does not line up with the Word, than it is not God.  It could just be your flesh, also.   Cast it down, do not be alarmed or moved by it in any way.   Then put your mind back on Him, or even say verbally again, “thank you Lord that I hear your voice only”.  Sometimes it takes time for your flesh to learn to be still in God’s presence.

An important point to remember is that, as Christians,  we have God’s Spirit living in us.  It is through Him, the Holy Spirit, that God speaks to us.   The Spirit talks to our spirit, which feeds the information to our minds.  When you hear God you can often sense it coming from inside.  Although, there are times you just look around and are sure you just heard an audible voice.  Therefore, when making a decision about something, do not depend on words you hear in your mind only.  Confirm that those words are from Him, by making sure it lines up with the Word and then by making sure you have peace in your spirit about it.

You are practicing His presence.   It takes time, commitment, and patience.  Just as it does when you have to give yourself to someone else, to listen to them and really understand what they are saying rather than just wanting to say what you want to say.  This is even more awesome, because He is God, the Almighty God and He loves you so much.  One word from God can change your whole life!    Enjoy your time with Him!

Helpful Resources

Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

The Master is Calling by Lynn Hammond

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