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

MOM BABY LOOKING AT CHRISTMAS TREE

The Christmas Blessing


Creating A Culture for Spiritual Inheritance

Our words have a great influence in the lives of those around us. Speaking blessings can bring hope, encouragement, and direction to our families, friends, and others. Many can experience deepening relationships and spiritual encouragement as they receive the power of a spoken blessings over them.

A spoken blessing is a positive, Biblical statement that invokes the blessing of God in the life a family member or friend. The power of spoken blessings comes from the heart of God, Who Himself “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3. Jesus has asked us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” Matthew 6:10. We have the honor of finding a promise and decreeing it over individuals to invoke a blessing. “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee; and the light shall shine upon thy ways,” Job 22:28.

Speaking a blessing over your family or friends is to decree with authority God’s promises over a need, a desire or over a circumstance and releasing faith into someone’s future: “God has given His promise, His oath, those two things are unchangeable for it is impossible for God to lie,” Hebrews 6:17-19. Therefore, a spoken blessing from God’s Word can become a tradition and a valuable way to strengthen anyone and create a lasting memory. Blessings lend a certain spirit that nurtures family connection, giving everyone a sense of belonging and helping all to celebrate generations of family. More importantly, traditions create positive memories for children in knowing that God’s Word is powerful and will sustain them and give them hope for the future.

With a desire to make meaningful family connections, God gave me a desire to start a family tradition called, “The Christmas Blessing”. The purpose was to create a culture for spiritual inheritance and to build an atmosphere of expectancy from my family when they asked, “What is the blessing God has for me this Christmas?” The Christmas Blessing is spoken over each family member from the youngest to the oldest. To find the right blessing, I would pray while reading the Word and ask God to give me a promise for each individual. When I found the right promise, it was an “Aha” moment. Each promise was written as a blessing and recorded on Christmas stationery. At the family gathering, while huddling around the tree, “The Christmas Blessing” was shared for all to hear. Those promises become prophetic words that were declared under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I became God’s messenger. The desire for “The Christmas Blessing” was presented with the purpose to build a culture of faith, give hope and encourage each one to trust in God’s Word and to know it was a personal message that came directly from His heart.

It often takes time and effort to search out appropriate blessings. Ask the Lord to make you attentive to His Spirit as you read Scripture, discerning which words, phrases, and concepts He wants you to share with someone. As you learn what God wants to accomplish, the Holy Spirit will instruct you (see John 16:13) affirming God’s will by declaring Biblical promises.

This family tradition reinforces values such as belief in God’s faithfulness, integrity in decisions, personal responsibility, and the value of forgiveness and love. The blessing also provides a forum to showcase role models and to celebrate the things that really matter in one’s life as we continue to watch the blessings unfold from year to year.

My hope is you will find a family tradition and make memories that will last for generations. God is wanting to encourage, give hope and renew vision over every family member. May your family receive the greatest breakthrough of all as you speak these words directly to each person. The Christmas Blessing will create a culture that leaves a spiritual inheritance as family connects in love and unity.

GIRL WRITING UNDER CHRISTMAS TREE

The Truth about Pokémon


Behind the Fascination

Truth is a universal topic that we all seek to know and understand. Whether it’s knowing the truth or speaking the truth both are found in a growing relationship with God. When we spend time in God’s Word and in prayer, the truth is revealed to us. The question is, what is the right way and how do we know if something is right for our children or even us personally? In the case of Pokémon, let us look at the “roots and fruits” of this game. The Bible tells us that we can recognize the tree by the fruit that it bears; Matthew 7:17-20: “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

The Roots and Fruit of Pokémon

1. Pokémon is described as “Pocket Monsters”. This game makes some of its monsters out as friendly; thus, causing children to embrace certain evil spirits as friends instead of resisting them.

2. The game was created in Japan and the concepts of the game and trading cards reflect the principles of Eastern Religions and the philosophies that influenced them. Pokémon is the result of influences that are completely mystical and that embrace warrior religions. These belief systems are not compatible with Christianity.
One of the typical examples of the dark side of Pokémon is a character named Haunter; an evolved spirit that can hypnotize and has “dream eater” power (powered by the purple Pokémon energy cards which is psychic energy). His demonic power lets him drain the energy from his opponents.

Gremlin 
*

In Pokémon, the monsters actually die to their old self and evolve into the new, more powerful Pokémon. This is the teaching of eastern mystery religions and is spelled out in the Egyptian book of the dead and other occult religions. Through these children are subtly being indoctrinated into the theory of evolution and mysticism of the eastern religions.

3. Other philosophies are also evident and the influences of New Age Cults, Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism and Satanism in this game. In the practice of witchcraft, spirits are summoned and called to stay in a circle until needed to fight off bad spirits. In these practices, they develop relationships with the so-called “good spirits” to fight the bad ones. This is totally against scripture as the only spirit we are to call on is the Holy Spirit to combat evil spirits with His Holy Angels.

4. The trading feature has become addictive in many children. It is also creating bad feelings among friends. When a child doesn’t get the card they want, they feel bad; when they do get the card they want, they feel superior. This trading game is not fostering good Christian traits but rather greed, combativeness, extreme competitiveness, and obsessiveness. Family relationships have deteriorated and children no longer talk about themselves or others but rather about when they can make another trade.

5. Some parents are concerned about disturbing behavior changes. Their children fight and display anti-social skills instead of the proper ones. Instead of this game just being one of imaginative fun, it has become addictive and changed the emotional disposition of children. Since it is a role-playing game, some of the characters are not good and this opens the door for children to receive evil influences and even demonic invasion. Children can receive demon spirits by opening themselves up to the spirits behind Pokémon.

Now, what can we do about it and what are our responsibilities? First of all, we should pray and ask the Lord for the truth about this game so He can reveal it to us. Many parents just buy the toys their children ask for it. Parents must take a more active role in praying over and researching the toys, books, and games before buying them.

Parents praying with kids*

Determine if the game, video, or book involves supernatural power. There are only two sources of supernatural power — God or the devil. When it is beyond the natural, it either comes from God or the devil. If it is not from God then we should not be partaking of it.

If children have been involved for some time in these satanic games, they may need a prayer of freedom prayed over them as sometimes the devil can have a stronghold in their lives. Finally, any games, books, or cards must be disposed of due to the addictive nature of these things. Remember we are in a battle and we must stand on God’s Word to see our children protected and delivered from the influence of the wicked one. Their hearts, as well as our own, need to be guarded from all evil influences.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23. We encourage you not to let the seemingly little things, like helping choose your children’s toys wisely, be a door for unwanted evil influences in their lives. Don’t let this “little fox” destroy the minds and hearts of our children.*

 

A boy and girl
*
End Notes:

¹New Wine Online Website, July Posting, Pastor Brett Peterson

*Unsplash

*Betty Miller – Note: There is an excellent book entitled, Turmoil in the Toy Box, that will help parents to understand the evil influences that have influenced toymakers and thus passed this on to our children. Remember unless the toymakers have character and a godly influence they are usually making and selling toys with just a profit in mind.

Crowd of people with masks on. COVID-19

Comfort in Uncertain Times

Comfort in Uncertain Times

A Positive Response to Covid

Covid has put many into a spin of hopelessness, fear, and despair. As we listen to the news, watch those who are masked, not masked, those who do not stay six feet apart or wash their hands…many thoughts run through our minds. We are trying to protect ourselves from getting sick but if someone does not follow your rule, you form a judgment and unknowingly agree with fear.

It is human nature to avoid emotions that scare or annoy us and then to respond negatively. Who wants to walk directly into what promises to be a harmful experience? But by continually avoiding truth and ignoring the ‘fear’ within, anyone can be held captive that leads to an isolated, judgmental life. Therefore, fearfulness causes us to distrust others or even ourselves to do the right thing. We sacrifice our sense of community and togetherness. We stop listening or only listen to what we want to hear.

Typically, this involves hiding from any potentially stressful situation that might cause upset. This decision leads to isolation. Unfortunately, one is also hiding from potential challenges that can lead to growth and joy. No one can hide forever from fear. It’s going to strike, despite your best efforts to suppress it. And it is likely that it will strike at a time when you most need emotional composure. The good news is that once you understand and face your fear, rather than shove it into a distant compartment of your brain, it begins losing the ability to rule you and dictate your decisions.

Lady praying over Bible

Tips to Work Through Your Fear and Live Your Life

  1. Guard your thoughts. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life,” Proverbs 4:23. Whatever is focused on, one’s power is given to that thought. When fear is the focus, it will dictate life decisions and well-being. Fear is restricting and projects hopelessness into the future as to what could happen. For example, a son who lives in Texas, due to fear of Covid, does not want his parents from Georgia to visit their child. He had been listening to the news, watching others, forming judgments, and now his thoughts went to fear for the baby. The course of his life, due to fear, is isolation and preventing his parents to celebrate the joy of a new child.
  2. Seek Truth. Fear is a spirit that projects into the future whatever you are meditating on that it will come to pass. Fear has torment and makes you form judgments that lock you into discontentment, anger, and resentment. God’s Word cancels every fear. There is no power over you that God’s Word does not have power over. To break fear, repent, and renounce the agreement with fear and decree, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7.
  3. Maintain your faith. Take time to schedule prayer and bible reading. Ask for wisdom to look at the situations through God’s eyes and to be able to walk with His Heart. A young wife suffered a stroke after going on the wrong pills. The doctor told her she may never fully recover physically and that she would not be able to have children. Through prayer, the Lord told her to “paint a new picture on the canvas of her imagination.” The negative report from the doctor put fear that was binding and restricting her vision for the future. Her prayer was, “Father, I want to see my future through your eyes. You said you would give me the desires of my heart; I choose to erase the negative words spoken over me and to paint a new picture in my heart of the future. I receive your promises of having children and walking in health.” Her mother drew a picture on a canvas, placed at the foot of her hospital bed. When she woke up, she saw her new future. Today she is healed and a mother of three beautiful children.
  4. Use God’s Word as a weapon against the enemy. Every day, our minds are bombarded with thousands of thoughts. Do those thoughts agree with what God says in the Bible? Or are they lies from the enemy? God commands us to take our thoughts captive and He gave us the Bible as our best weapon to defeat the enemy. Fear of Covid does not have to control you when you know you have the right standing with Jesus to overcome any challenge. We are to challenge our thoughts to come into alignment with the truth in God’s Word. If you have a problem, find a promise. God’s promises decreed and proclaimed cancel every lie of the enemy. How does God want us to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic…by the power in His Word, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper,” Isaiah 54:17.

AFRICAN AMERICAN READING BIBLE

WOMAN PRAYING WITH MASK ON

Don’t Let Fear Control You

Don’t Let Fear Control You

Let Truth Conquer Fear

We all struggle with our inner thoughts and emotions. Sometimes we can get trapped in them. It can feel like there is a dark cloud hanging over our heads. Fear can be paralyzing and can stop you from becoming the person you were designed to be. Your life is so much more than the fear you are experiencing. To experience freedom in Christ, and to grow in the grace of God, requires repentance, which literally means a change of mind. You can learn how to conquer your fears and be fearless. The following steps are truths that will set you free to live the abundant life Jesus has promised to every believer.

First of all, God creates within us a protective fear that is temporary and circumstantial for the purpose of keeping us safe. But God doesn’t put into us chronic, debilitating fear. That fear comes from the devil and is demonically inspired. The only answer for this type of fear is to take authority over it, bind it, and cast it from our lives as Jesus taught us.

Therefore, if fear is a God-given natural response when our physical or psychological safety is threatened. Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is living by faith and doing what is right in the face of illegitimate fear objects. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and the only fear that can overcome all other fears. Irrational fears compel us to live irresponsible lives or prevent us from doing that which is responsible and from being good witnesses. Behind every irrational fear is a lie that must be identified. Our purpose is to identify when fear entered and to break the stronghold. This prayer will allow the Lord to identify any controlling fear and to root out the mind-binding lies:

Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I have allowed fear to control me and that lack of faith is sin. I confess I’ve agreed with fear, and ask that you forgive me. Thank you for Your forgiveness. I recognize that You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and discipline. I renounce any spirit of fear operating in my life and ask You to reveal any and all-controlling fears in my life and the lies behind them. I desire to live by faith in You and in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Renewing your mind is a process, but the process begins with acknowledging strongholds of fear that have legal rights. Identify any deceptions you were knowingly or unknowingly believing and agreeing with; such as fear of death, of never loving or being loved, fear of Satan, fear of embarrassment, rejection by other people, failure, victimized, becoming/being homosexual, controlling marriage, going crazy, financial problems, pain/illness, the future, never being married, confrontation, being hopeless, specific individuals, losing salvation, not loved by God, having committed the unpardonable sin. Other_____

Analyze Your Fear:

YOUNG MAN PRAYING*

When did you first experience the fear, and what events preceded the first experience? What lies have you been believing that are the basis for the fear? How has the fear kept you from living a responsible life or compromised your witness? Confess any active or passive way that you have allowed fear to control you. Work out a plan of responsible behavior and be determined in advance what your response will be to any fear or object.*

Father, in Jesus’ Name, I renounce the fear of (name the fear and associated lies) because God has not given me a spirit of fear. I choose to live by faith in You and I acknowledge You as the only legitimate fear object in my life. I receive the promise in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Thank you, Father, I receive and thank you for Your love, power, and a sound mind,” in Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

WOMAN RAISING ARMS ON MONTAIN

*The Steps to Freedom in Christ by Neil T. Anderson
*Pictures by Unsplash

Overcoming Strongholds

Overcoming Strongholds

Fear, Stress and Anxiety

Have you ever had someone you trusted, who should have played a friendship role in your life, deeply betrayed your trust, and hurt you? As a result, the enemy lied to you that no one could be trusted and you are on your own. You in turn then become fiercely independent, so much so that you have trust issues, which has then resulted in you struggling to trust God’s promises in your life!

Any wound we experience, hurt or disappointment makes our heart fertile ground for seeds of lies to be planted. On this foundation, the enemy then begins to build brick by brick, a wall of lies, inaccurate ideas about the person of God, erroneous interpretations of Scripture, prideful thoughts, and distorted perceptions of how God sees us and feels about us when we sin. Sometimes the enemy is so subtle in your thoughts, you have a tough time figuring out which is which. You just have to be careful to guard your thought life. Whatever you agree with, you give your power to that thought and it forms a stronghold.

What exactly is a stronghold?

Man stressed

A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that has molded itself into our way of thinking. These strongholds have the capability to affect our feelings, how we respond to various situations in life, and they play a large role in our spiritual freedom.

Strongholds are built upon deception and error. These errors and deceptions which form strongholds can come from a wide variety of sources, including our environment, those around us, our parents, or even demon spirits. A person who has a demon behind their stronghold(s) may find it nearly impossible to tear them down and keep them down. This is because the demon will be working hard at rebuilding and holding those strongholds in place. They will be countering that person’s efforts to tear them down. It will seem as if they are hitting a brick wall, and even if they seem to make progress, it seems like their efforts are in vain because it keeps coming back.

How do you tear down strongholds?

We know that strongholds and imaginations must be cast down, but how? By being transformed through the renewing of our minds: Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

As our minds are renewed, we may prove (discern) what is good, acceptable, and perfect, and the will of God. These things are some of the very things that strongholds rise themselves against! Many people who are caught up in shame-based thinking do not realize that it’s God’s will and it is good for them to disassociate themselves from their past. Their minds need to be renewed, and as those strongholds come down, they will be able to see God’s will and respond.

Our minds are renewed and cleansed through the Word of God. Spending time and meditating on the Word of God washes our minds and corrects our false thinking patterns (strongholds). Ephesians 5:26-27, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

As we meditate and wash our minds with God’s Word, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we will come to know the will of God and discern what is right, perfect, and good. Our strongholds, which are based upon error and deception will not stand a chance as the light of God’s Word (truth) is shed upon those areas of our minds.

PRAYING HANDS ON BIBLE

Prayer to break strongholds:

Father, I ask in Jesus’ Name that you forgive me for agreeing with any strongholds of fear, stress, and anxiety. I renounce the agreement and break the lies that formed a stronghold. I agree with the Word of God, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed,” John 8:36. I receive freedom and forgiveness from all strongholds. I bless myself with the mind of Christ and decree, “I have defeated strongholds by the blood of the Lamb and by my testimony,”  Revelation 12:11. Thank you, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. Amen.

Soldiers rasing the US flag

United We Stand

United We Stand

One Nation Under God

President Harry S. Truman once said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” We do not have to look very far to realize there are many things which need prayer in our nation today. Fear is widespread. Anxiety has gripped many. Uncertainty has touched us all. Yet, none of those things are to move us as we stand together in unity and pray for our country.

There is a place where God commands a blessing. That place is unity. Our country is called the UNITED States of America. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word united is defined as: Joined; made to agree; cemented; mixed; attached by growth. The enemy has fought the most in our nation at the place of unity. He is doing everything he can to create division. Division in race. In politics. In gender. His plan is to divide. There is no commanded blessing from God where there is division, and he knows that. While we know it is not possible for us to agree on all things – We can agree on some things.
We can agree we desire the plan of God for our nation. We can agree we want the best for the people of this nation. We desire one nation under God. We can agree we want to please God with our faith and prayer life. Then let’s unify and pray for unity in our nation.

Together let’s pray that first of all, truth be revealed all across America. Then pray for unity. Unity in your home. Unity between man and wife. Unity with your children and grandchildren. Unity in your city. Unity in our government, and unity in our great nation.

Let’s lay hold of the promise in Psalm 133, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity…there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” Let’s stand together and bring unity back to our nation! For with God all things are possible, and nothing is impossible to him who believes.

Men praying

The following prayers for our nation are from Intercessors of America. This organization publishes prayer resources and unites Christians in prayer for our nation since 1973. Their mission is to inform, connect, and mobilize a network of those who pray and fast for America.

PRAY for these leaders to recognize their own inadequacy and seek the will of God. (Prv 3:5-8)
PRAY that they would fear God and that God would be glorified through their actions. (Prv 9:10)
PRAY that the idols of Washington, D.C. would be struck down, and only the one true God would be honored. (Is 42:8-9)
PRAY for God’s will to be done in our nation, and that our leaders would honor biblical values in their rulings, laws, and decisions. (Mt 6:10)
PRAY that any hidden agenda, deception, or subversive action would be brought to light and not profit. (Jer 7:8)
PRAY for God’s glory and presence to affect Washington, D.C. and our government in greater measure, that light will displace the darkness. (Is 60:1-2)
PRAY that any spiritual battle that wages in the Administration and its offices would result in a victory against any plans of the Enemy. (Eph 6:12)
PRAY that these leaders would encourage religious freedom so that our nation may be free to follow the Lord as it says in Scripture, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Ps 33:12)
PRAY that these leaders would have humility as they recognize that God has given them any ability they have, and that their lives should be lived in honor to the Lord. (Jas 4:10)
PRAY for protection from temptations to seek power, follow evil, and empower ungodly principles through the overcoming power of Christ. (Prv 16:25)
PRAY for strength to do what is right even if they see that it is not popular. (2 Tim 1:7)
PRAY that they would seek a community of believers to uphold them in prayer, encouragement, and accountability (Is 33:6)
PRAY that any ungodly plans put forth would encounter a spirit of confusion in its planning and would not come to fruition. (Mt 6:33)
PRAY that those hidden servants of God, Christ-followers within our nation’s government, would be protected, elevated, and guided as they serve our nation and the Lord. (Ps 91)

Boy saluting US flag

Wicca girl

Keep the Hearts of this Generation

Keep the Hearts of this Generation

Understand the Hidden Traps of Wicca

What would you do if you found your teen was being trained to: “Practice the Down-Low”: “keep it secret from your parents…We don’t recommend keeping secrets from your parents but sometimes practicing on the down-low is necessary because of religious differences, or you may feel your parents will think it’s silly. Understand…You will be out on your own soon enough—it won’t hurt you to follow your parents’ rules a little bit longer. Until then, hopefully, these tips will make living under your parents’ roof a little bit easier.”

Wicca is the fastest-growing religion today among high school and college students. The influence of pop culture has made witches and witchcraft appealing to today’s teens. Growing up on Harry Potter books and movies has further opened doors for teens to experience both a curiosity and a familiarity with witchcraft. Increasingly, towns in the heartland of America, once known for their strong Christian heritage, are becoming hotbeds for Wicca, a pagan religion that emphasizes the worship of nature.

Why does it appeal to teens?
Four key words – freedom, control, power, and experience. It’s the “whatever” religion that works perfectly in our relative truth culture. Teens like the freedom that Wicca offers to worship whomever they choose. They also like the idea of being able to control everything about their life – including their destiny. Then comes the issue of power – a lot of teens are looking for it. They want the power to help them feel special, power over their circumstances, and sometimes power to get vengeance over those who’ve hurt them. Wicca is also a very experiential religion.

There is much information out there but it’s good to have a starting point. Their rule contradicts the Golden Rule in Luke 6:31. Wicca Rule: “Do as you will and harm none.” So basically, you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone else or yourself.

 

Wicca girls dancing

 

*Suggested ways parents can respond when their teens express curiosity?

1. Understand the key differences between Wicca and Christianity?

If you start closely examining the beliefs you will see that their essential concepts – God, truth, reality, the basic problem of humanity and the solution – are very different. By looking at the following brief comparison, you will see why this type of spirituality is so dangerous to believers. That’s why God warns us in His Word to stay away from Wicca and witchcraft.

• Most Wiccans believe in some form of reincarnation. Instead of an endless ‘karma’ witches view reincarnation as something positive that takes the soul upward in its advancement towards godhood. The Bible is very clear when it says we die only once and then we are judged (Hebrews 9:26-28; 2 Peter 2:9).

• The Wiccan view of salvation can be summed up with this statement: “We can open new eyes and see that there is nothing to be saved from; no struggle of life against the universe, no God outside the world to be feared and obeyed.” Christians believe that we are all born with a spiritual terminal disease called sin that causes us to disobey God and go our own willful way. The remedy was Christ’s death on the cross (Romans 3:23, 6:23; Isaiah 59:2; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 3:18).

• Wiccans believe that experience is a more important revelation than any code of belief. Christians believe that the most important revelation of truth is the Bible (Psalm 119:47, 72, 97; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12).

• Wiccans worship the Earth and creation. Christians believe in worshipping the Creator, not the creation (Deuteronomy 4:39; Romans 1:25; Jude 25).

• Wiccans do not believe that Jesus was God in the flesh or creator of the universe. They view Jesus as “a great white witch who knew the Coven of Thirteen.” The key principle that sets Christianity apart from any other religion is the belief that Jesus is God. (Matthew 1:21-23; John 1:1, 14, 18, 8:24; Philippians 2:5,6).

2. Engage in the conversation

Christian parents may have a limited understanding concerning the world of witchcraft. But a growing familiarity among teenagers begs for parents to engage in the conversation and to study and research to understand.

3. Listen, really listen

Don’t be afraid of questions that need answers. Answer your teen’s questions without condemning her curiosity. When you don’t know the answer to a question, help her search for it.

4. Engage culture

Some parents have no clue what’s on their kids’ iPods or iPhones. Carefully research the books, movies, music and religions, such as Wicca, that define your teen’s generation.

5. Talk about the why

Ask your teen why he’s interested in certain books, movies, music, and so on. Have him write out a list of the possible benefits and harmful effects. Encourage him to find Scripture that supports his point of view. Many teens will figure things out on their own if you show them how to reason.

An ongoing line of communication will also help you gauge the influence of peers and social gatherings. Watch to see which friends and activities may encourage your teen to play with a Ouija board or participate in a séance. Talk with your teen to determine how others are influencing her. Keeping the dialogue open is important. It’s equally important not to downplay the serious consequences of dabbling with witchcraft, Alupoaicei says. “If parents see warning signs or discover that their child possesses witchcraft-related paraphernalia (such as Wicca books, spell books, tarot cards, crystals, etc.), they need to discuss the matter with their son or daughter right away.”

Christian parents need to talk with their teens about witchcraft and culture. But they don’t need to fear it. The Bible reminds us, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”,1 John 4:4. As the parent, you still have the privilege and responsibility of praying for protection and understanding in your teen’s life.

*Focus on the Family, “Why Teens are Attracted to Wicca”

Woman walking down a dirt road

Understanding Mental Health

Understanding Mental Health

And the Path to Restoration

To really face mental health issues, you have to dig deep into what’s causing pain, fear, or anxiety. For example, anxiety isn’t a thing. It’s the symptom of a thing and so we have to go a little deeper and ask a question, ‘What is making you anxious?” Many times, too much credit is given just to anxiety. What was happening is something or someone was making you anxious. We must go beneath the surface to ask, ‘What is it that you’re afraid of? Who is it that you’re afraid of? What was said that you wish you could now manage the way it was said? You cannot manage every outcome all the time but you can take steps to healing and freedom.

Signs on a fence

1. Love and value who God made you to be:
To value is to love. Loving yourself is being thankful for being who God created you to be, “I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made,” Psalm 139:14. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons. Do plant a garden, take tennis lessons, learn to play an instrument, volunteer at church, or join a club.

2.Take care of your body, it belongs to God:
Caring for your body glorifies God, it demonstrates a good testimony to others and it gives you the energy that you need to do God’s will. We are told, “Whatever we do, we do to the glory of God,I Corinthians 10:31. Our primary purpose in life is to glorify God. Taking care of yourself physically can also improve your mental health. For example, by:

    • Eating nutritious meals
    • Avoiding bad habits
    • Drinking plenty of water
    • Exercising regularly
    • Getting enough sleep
    • Praying and reading the Bible

 

3. Surround yourself with good people:
People with strong family or social connections can inspire you to work toward your goals. “Continuing with one mind and breaking bread from house to house they were taking meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,” Acts 2:46. Make plans with family members and friends, or seek out activities where you can meet new people; such as in church, a class or support group.

4. Give of yourself to serve others:
We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. “Every Believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another,” I Peter 4:10. Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it’s a great way to meet new people.

5. Learn how to deal with stress:
The best part about having God on your side is that He is always guiding you. “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight,” Psalm 119:143. Practice good coping skills: pray, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet or journal Bible promises. Also, remember to smile and to see the goodness of God. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.

6. Quiet your mind:
Try meditating and praying God’s Word. “Keep the Word always on your lips; meditate on it day and night…then you will be prosperous and successful,” Joshua 1:8. Take time to relax in His Presence. Meditation and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of healing.

7. Set realistic goals:
Decide what you want to achieve spiritually, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don’t over-schedule. You’ll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goal. “Write the revelation and make it plain on tablets so you can run with it. The revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false,” Habakkuk 2:2-3. Goals should be specific and concrete so you have a clear idea of what actions you need to take.

8. Break up the monotony:
Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can be energizing and exciting. Alter your walking route, plan a road-trip, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant. Those physical changes can bring spiritual changes. You grow and learn new things every time something changes. “I’ve done the former, a new thing will I do..,” Isaiah 42:9 God wants to grow your spiritual realm. As you become flexible and adapt to change in the physical realm, your spiritual realm will also increase.

9. Avoid overeating, alcohol and other drugs:
Keep all things to a minimum and avoid bad habits. Sometimes people use food, alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate” but in reality, these only aggravate problems. One must admit that it is a bad habit and you need to stop. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery, instead, be filled with the Spirt,“ Ephesians 5:18. Bad habits will continue if one tries to justify in their minds, “It’s okay if I don’t hurt anyone else.” If one feels they can justify, their sin nature will take that opportunity and keep them stuck.

10. Get help when you need it:
Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. And it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives. “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life,” Proverbs 19:20-NLT

Walking on a log in the forrest

*Adapted from the National Mental Health Association/National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

Lady on mobile phone

How to Overcome Temptation

How to Overcome Temptation

Resist what’s restricting you!

People give in to temptations for many reasons. The research from Barna Group shows nearly half of Americans say they are tempted to spend too much time with media, including the Internet, television, and video games. Another form of temptation is to express anger or “go off” on someone by text or email, to escape or get away from “real life” for a while, to feel less pain or loneliness, to satisfy people’s expectations, to take a shortcut to success, for personal pleasure or because “I enjoy it”.

Temptation can be a serious issue when its long-term consequences lead to loss of job, home, health, livelihood, or relationship. If you experience a strong desire to act in a way you know isn’t good for your health, there are steps to resist what’s restricting you from leading a long, satisfied life.

All temptation is linked to what you think on.

You can’t be tempted unless you have first thought about it. Therefore, whatever you agree with, you give your power to that thought. A simple formula is to control your thoughts, and you will control temptation. It’s like a woman who doesn’t want to get overweight but continues to eat to fill a void. Sooner or later, she will be overweight. Maybe you sometimes look in the mirror and think, I wish I was a better person. Are you sometimes disappointed with yourself? Maybe you get angry or selfish or have some bad habits, maybe you let yourself down and you let other people down. You’re not really the person you had hoped you were. I think all of us feel like that from time to time. If anyone thinks on the wrong things long enough, and sooner or later they will give into sin when tempted.

Lady holding Bible

The Bible helps you resist what’s restricting you.

The Bible has a special ability to change people for the better. It doesn’t happen immediately. It’s not like reading one verse, and whoa, you are now a perfect Superman or Superwoman. But it happens over time. The more you read the Bible, the more you absorb it, the more the Bible will change you into a better person.

What is that source of temptation? “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire,” James 1:14. Let’s get to the root! Temptation draws its strength from desire. This explains why not everyone is faced with the same temptations. The lure of internet pornography is a serious temptation for one person, while for another it is not. Both have the same access, only one is tempted. What is the difference? The difference is desire. The opportunity to gossip exists for all, yet some gossip and others do not. Why is this? Some want to, others do not.

By seeking truth found in the Bible, words read will speak to you and suggest things you can improve. As you read day after day, week after week, month after month, your mind will be shaped into the values of God Himself, who inspired the Bible. You are shaped into God’s values in a supernatural way. We can’t explain it other than that this book is supernatural.

Those who resist temptation are those who love God.

God’s love thinks the eternal perspective. James 1:12 reminds us that the crown of life is given to those who resist temptation. The root of the issue is guarding our desires and thoughts by focusing on our love for God. The Scriptures are clear that a choice must be made, for one cannot love God and sin at the same time: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” 1 John 2:15.

How do we love God? By knowing who He is, and who He is for us. It is a call to establish our hearts by remembering the character of God. He is compassionate and merciful, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…,” Exodus 34:6. It’s the same description used of Jesus, the one “full of grace and truth,” John 1:14.

The Word of God is powerful—use it when tempted. Jesus countered every temptation of the devil with the Word. Think about it, Jesus was the Word, and everything He said would have been Scripture and more than sufficient to rebuke the devil. Yet He would say, “It is written” then He quoted God’s Word. It’s important for us to do the same. We must know God’s Word to effectively overcome temptation. That goes back to being prepared; you can’t quote scripture you haven’t learned, and there isn’t any power in what you don’t know or understand.

Temptation will come, but it’s hard for the devil to deceive you when your mind is stayed on the promises of God. Satan can only work with what you give him, so don’t give him any space in your mind. You’ll be able to avoid many of the temptations you face if you will put this into practice, “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” Galatians 5:16.

Woman with her hands outstretched over water