Preparing Young Warriors for Spiritual Battle

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in PARENTING | Never Ending Story, The Blog | 4 comments

Children are our most precious resource. When they learn hatred and bigotry, they become hateful. When they learn kindness, they become kind. When little ones learn faith, they learn to withstand challenges with grace. But there is a spiritual war going on and an enemy that would love to eradicate our future leaders. We all have a stake in helping them learn to fight. Check out the post below and comment to win a book from Angelique La Fon-Cox’s Huggabear series. Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Preparing Young Warriors for Battle

by Angelique La Fon-Cox

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

You may think your child is too young to be a warrior of God, but the Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:12 ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’ I can testify that children are some of the most powerful warriors of God this world has to offer. To face the world today we need to train our children to be strong in spiritual warfare; to be warriors of God. But where do you start? How is this training done? Churches and their programs are excellent and important, still, the most consistent training for spiritual strength is done at home by you.

  • Teach your children daily by example.
  • Plan devotionals.
  • Read Bible stories.
  • Play worship music in your home and car.
  • Sing His praise together.

Most importantly: pray with your children. Teaching them prayer is the most supernatural, powerful weapon of spiritual warfare they will ever have. Teach them to speak scriptures to their trials, for the Sword of the Spirit, the Bible, is truth unchanging and the same weapon that Christ Himself used when battling Satan. There is power in speaking God’s Word and there is power in prayer! Teach them to claim the victory of God’s promises, for every promise written is for them—and you! Let them watch you develop your relationship with the Lord and I can say from experience, they will follow you. Here is an example of how this investment can bring great riches in return.

My husband has been laid off for the past eight months. He applies for jobs daily and we both do all we can to support our family during this test.  One day I was struggling and could hardly pray. My children had on their “Armor of God” (Eph. 6:10-17) and were ready to assist me in battle. My son, Samuel (8), wrote a note that said, “God will help you.” My daughter Aven (12), wrote in my prayer book, “You will be alright, just keep praying. Hebrews 6:5 ‘After waiting patiently, he received what was promised’. MaCaedyn (9) my youngest girl came and prayed for me with all her heart.

Your children can truly be powerful warriors of God. Do not underestimate the child God has given you, for He has created them for mighty things! It’s never too early to start showing them the way.

*A special gift! For a free ebook of Exordium the first mystery in The Intercessors series (by Angelique La Fon-Cox), simply send an email request to: theintercessors@hotmail.com. Don’t forget to comment on this post to win one of her Huggabears books for little ones.

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Your Next Big Purpose

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 3 comments

Tent-Maker is an Honorable Profession

The Apostle Paul knew he couldn’t get by on his looks and preaching the Gospel to poor people, so he made tents to earn a living.  Do you think he asked, “Is making tents my calling?” or “Should I starve because I’m not willing to do anything except share the good news about Jesus?”

Most of us have spent at least a modicum of time trying to figure out what we were meant to do.  Additionally, the majority of us aren’t spending all our time doing it…even if we have figured it out.

You might know that you were called by God to be a nurse, an artist, a writer or a missionary but your day job is banking or grooming dogs or coloring hair. Is this wrong? Are you wasting your time or dishonoring God? I say absolutely not.

When my kids were young I really wanted them to discover what the Lord was calling them to do and be. My hope was that they would discover their purpose, take steps toward getting an education and experience, and finally land a job doing what they loved and that God had designed them to do.

Even if you have a parent with that kind of foresight and intention, life and human nature complicate things. While some folks have a certainty from childhood about what they are supposed to do with their lives, most flounder around searching for the answer.

Searching and wandering is often part of the journey of discovery and usually equips us to step into the role we’re meant to fill. I talk to women all the time who tell me they don’t know there purpose. They feel lost and a bit embarrassed at this confession.

The truth is that for those who are close to God there is no wasted time. He has us where He wants us for “such a time as this.” Caring for children, maintaining a home and marriage, working in a job they don’t love to feed the family… these are all honorable callings. But things change and when we find that those seasons have passed we get a yearning to hear from God about what’s next.

Whether you’ve spent many years as a tent-maker and are longing to fulfill your greater purpose, or if you’re realizing a need to make a few tents, you are completing your mission of the moment. Each moment adds up to a lifetime.

As you look back, do you see how your moments have led you to this place? When you ask God, “What do you have next for me?” what is His response?

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Bold Move on the Dance Floor

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, The Blog | 0 comments

I was at a high school dance (Do they even have high school dances anymore?) and noticed Brad standing alone. Why was this cute, popular guy not dancing? Like a lioness I took that moment to go after the isolated prey. (Sounds sinister, huh?)

Me: “You wanna dance?”

Him: “Well I came with someone so I guess not.”

Me: “Where is she?”

Him: “Not sure. With her friends I think.”

Me: “This isn’t a marriage proposal, just a dance.”

Him: “It’s probably not cool, so no thanks.”

Me: “OK. Your loss.”

On the inside I was jello. I flitted around like approaching him was no big deal, but it took all I could muster. The funny thing was that the rejection didn’t hurt. I could tell that he genuinely wanted to spend more time with me but was being the gentleman his parents had raised him to be. (He confirmed this later- sometime between our first date and our wedding.)

This was one of my youthful memories of being bold. Back then it wasn’t polite for girls to ask boys to dance. I was wearing my cutest short skirt (not sure how I got away with that) and looked like every other girl in the room, but that daring move made me stand out in the mind of this boy that a lot of other girls wanted. I danced all night (to Deep Purple and Steely Dan songs) and never looked in his direction again. We went on our first date a week later.

The rest is history.

I’m sure God meant for us to be together and it would have happened eventually no matter what, but if I had been too fearful to make that move my high school and college years might have looked very different.

It’s fabulous to have bold moments to recall when you’re feeling timid or uncertain. Drawing on those feelings of empowerment and the outcomes can be intense fuel to propel you forward when you want to stay put or run in the opposite direction, or worse, let someone else make a move.

It may be cliché but it is also solid truth to say that you won’t get unless you ask and you can’t succeed unless you try.

What bold move have you been pondering? Why not just make it now? A small rejection or a little failure is a blip on the screen compared to what your potential gain may be.

 

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Personal Freedom and Grace

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, The Blog | 7 comments

Parking 101- Stay Between the Lines

It was 115 degrees outside and I was looking for the closest possible parking spot to the movie theater. Ah, one up ahead. But on either side the cars were hanging over the middle. I tried to squeeze my vehicle in between but after wedging in I couldn’t open my door wide enough to allow a departure. I eeked my way back out and moved to the far end of the lot, noticing numerous other offending cars in spots along the way.

Why don’t people park between the white lines? It might sound silly and not worth making a fuss over but it ticks me off. And, I believe it’s an indicator of much bigger issues.

In general human beings have a tough time following rules…especially when there aren’t any likely consequences. If you park catty-wampous in a public lot you won’t get a ticket, you won’t get towed away and most people won’t even confront you to tell you what a jerk you are. So you get away with breaking the rule.

We are born and bred to prize freedom and rules interfere. Our “rights” and preferences tend to supersede rules.

Sadly, in seizing your personal freedom you don’t only break the park-between-the-lines rule, you break many of God’s rules too. When we are only basing decisions on our comfort we lose sight of the rights of others.

Jesus taught us to put others ahead of ourselves. He taught us to be compassionate and to act with grace. Often when we break the rules our motives are based in pride and arrogance. “Me first!” (I’m not a patient person, so I’m guilty… just ask my kids.)

We just celebrated Independence Day. I hope you’ll continue to value freedom throughout the year. But instead of grabbing for personal gain, look for ways to add value to the lives of other people.

Take an extra pass to line up your car and park in your own spot so someone else can park a little closer to the front too. Don’t insist on getting in the “8 items or less” line if you have 10. Remember that you aren’t the only diner your server is trying to please when you go out to eat. Allow a driver to move into your lane freely… it will only cost you a couple seconds.

Or maybe I’m wrong and there are just a lot of good-natured people who are simply lousy at parking. Your thoughts?

 

 

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Therapy Dogs are “Jesus In Furs”

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), FRIENDSHIP Done Well, The Blog | 1 comment

Based on the report that Americans spent $55.7 billion on their pets last year, it’s fair to say we love our animals. But what if our pets could be giving back? Check out the post below about a little rescue dog that does. What could be more patriotic as we celebrate Independence Day?

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Jesus in Fur

Molly was a rescue dog we adopted at six weeks old. Who knew that cute little puppy that chewed up our shoes and messed on the floor would turn into someone’s champion…even hero?

When Molly turned two we took her through Petco’s basic obedience school. Then I started training her as a therapy dog through “Canines For Christ” under the leadership of Chaplain Larry Randolph. Molly received her basic certification in early 2012 as a therapy dog. Over the last two years Molly has brought joy and comfort to Donaldson’s Assisted living facility where she was honored recently as volunteer of the year!

She also has been a frequent guest at Provision Assisted Living and Memory Care. Molly and I also visit MEPS to be with the men and women entering military service and their families in cooperation with the USO.

Molly and I have begun visiting the VA Hospital in the Nashville, TN area to bring joy and comfort to veterans. We are also assisting Vets that struggle with PTSD find a furever friend. Molly makes a bigger impact than any form of counseling or medicine. Here are just a few things people have said about her:

 “She is beautiful, gentle and patient and has a lot of lessons to offer children.” Rebecca
“Molly helps me when I can not help myself!” Sherry (disabled adult)
“Molly always shows unconditional love every time she visits.” Mary
“Molly helped us durning the loss of our school in a tornado.” Billy, 4th grade

Last summer Molly was involved with Camp Progress and was a hit among the mentally challenged children. Fox 17 featured her in this segment.   Recently Molly accomplished a milestone by going over her 300 visit and will receive advanced certification from the American Kennel Club. Molly has also assisted the North Precinct (Police) in community events. She may not be a show dog, but to many people Molly is a blue ribbon champion.

To learn more about therapy dogs check out Canines for Christ.

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Celebrate Your Uncommon Beauty

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Identity, The Blog, YOUR TEMPLE | Health, Fitness, Beauty, Self-Love | 2 comments

I was captivated and delighted when my rose bush produced a pink bud and a yellow bud on the same stem. All the other flowers were pink- where did that yellow one come from? They are both roses from the same stock but they each had their own unique appearance and fragrance.

This applies to women as well. We are all female but each of us possesses distinct traits that separate us from all the others. Stop for a minute to do a little inventory and then a quick celebration in your mind about what this means.

As a speaker and writer it’s easy to fall into the trap of, “that message has been given a million times.” Or “that book has already been written.” But it hasn’t been written or spoken by you. Your experiences, your stories, your humor, your way of communicating, your passion… will make it something new that hasn’t been done before.

Moms, sisters, friends and coworkers; you have something special to offer others with your voice and your particular gifts.

Sadly, we learn to follow a pattern and are taught to fit into a mold when we’re young. We believe that to be accepted we must wear the right clothes, hairstyles and makeup. We need to say the things people want to hear.

Teen girls go out together looking like they were made in a factory. They feel insecure and uncertain unless there is a cookie-cutter image by their side. I’m not condemning, I’m remembering! I was one of those girls.

Even as we “mature” (eh hem, get old), women compare themselves to their friends and it’s not usually favorable. The internal monologue is saying, “She looks younger, thinner and prettier…she’s accomplished so much more…her kids are so successful…her marriage is just perfect.” We want to look more like her because she seems to fit in so well.

The funny thing is, she’s likely running that same thought pattern in her head about you.

If each of us would simply see ourselves the way God sees us we’d know that we are all lovely roses. We are different shapes and colors and the scent we offer as our gift will not be meant for everyone. But for those who recognize our spectacular, uncommon brand of awesomeness, we will make an impact and bless them richly.

Boldy embrace yourself because when you do, your colors will shine brighter.

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Advice from Dads in the Trenches

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in PARENTING | Never Ending Story, The Blog | 2 comments

In honor of Father’s Day I asked for input from young dads who are currently “in the trenches” of parenting. Like armchair quarterbacks, it’s easy for older dads with grown kids to offer sage advice, but it’s also easy to forget some of the day-to-day struggles. And, culture changes what some of those struggles look like.

The hardest part of writing the post was whittling it down because I got a massive amount of great stuff from several savvy dads (whom I will share  for resources at the end because they are all worth connecting with).

So (drumroll) the top six things dads are dealing with today (in no particular order) are:

  1. Balancing work and family life.
  2. Effective co-parenting (especially as regards to disciplining kids).
  3. Teaching kids lasting, significant values and goals.
  4. Living out God’s model as a dad.
  5. Maintaining healthy relationship with kids’ mom.
  6. Financial future of family.

Some of these are age-old issues, but some are fresher problems. Finding balance between work and family has been a top concern of women for the past few decades but dads didn’t express this as a big problem in the past. Not sure why…either they didn’t have as much responsibility/ time at home or they could compartmentalize it better.

There are also many exciting, fun things pulling all of us (moms, dads and kids) in different directions: volunteering, church, sports, crafts, kids’ activities… Someone has to be the voice of reason and stop the madness.

Young dads are helping around the house in bigger measure and are eager to engage in teaching, nurturing and relating to kids more than in the past (perhaps?). They feel the pull to be home internally as opposed to external pressure.

Being able to get and remain on the same page where discipline is concerned is the source of many marital battles. Mine included. My husband was much tougher and I (especially in the rear view) was much too lenient. There are no easy answers but the key is to talk often (out of kids’ earshot) and present a united front. Even if you have to flip a coin, or alternate who gets to decide the consequence in each instance. Don’t let this divide you and try to listen respectfully to your spouse’s perspectives.

Teaching kids strong values can be challenging. It’s easier to make a preschooler’s bed than to wait for her to get it done. Saying no and letting it stand can result in a lot of unpleasantness. Watching the glee on your child’s face when you buy that special toy is tremendous… but they come to expect to get what they want when they want it without working for it. Saving for something is a wild idea. Teaching values is not for wimps and requires manning up!

Walking the Walk

It’s a fact that kids believe what they see. If dads don’t live out what they are teaching, kids aren’t likely to adopt  values taught. Those little eyes and ears are on you all the time and when you drop an fbomb, skip church, yell at their mom or have a few too many cervesas they are storing it away in their data base-brains for later use. Being a man who truly wants to live a Godly life all the time is a tall order.

Kids will fare so much better when parents love and respect each other. Maintaining a good marriage takes work, sacrifice, humility and desire. Compromise is an absolute. Intimacy may need to be scheduled. (ugh) When parents are divorced it can be much harder to have a friendly/functioning relationship with the mother of your kids. It really should be a priority. You can only control your behavior, but you can certainly do that, and hope she will follow your lead. It will be so worth it over the long haul. (Think graduations, weddings and grandchildren!)

Almighty Buck

Money. Is it the root of evil? The bane of your existence? Or is it the ticket to freedom and happiness? None of the above. People around the globe live with little and with abundance. Some on each end of the wealth spectrum are very content and some will always be dissatisfied- seeking more. If money is the thing that drives you, that you talk and think most about or even worry about, you are not living the peaceful life God wants for you and your tribe.

Giving things up, living in smaller homes, taking public transportation and eating off the 99 cent menu don’t hold high appeal, but those things may be necessary for financial peace and freedom. Don’t be a slave to cash or the material things in life and you’ll teach your kids to be free as well.

A few last tidbits from the guys:

*Make playing with kids a priority. Fun speaks and teaches volumes.

*Don’t let peers or popular culture influence your parenting decisions.

*Stay calm in the midst of chaos.

*Look for unique ways to influence your kids (this takes double effort for part-time dads).

I hope to hear from some other dads in comments as well as perspectives from moms in the trenches.

A huge debt of gratitude to the following dads. I know you’ll want to see more of what they are up to and even say thanks.

K C Procter “You can be productive and present with your kids without losing your mind.”

Jeff Pennypacker  www.underdogministries.org The value of masculine mentors.

Kyle Benoit-  kbenoit@ggwo.org

Joshua Zarzana Book: “The Son Who Chases the Father”

Adam Harvey

Ryan Bilello Twitter @Ryan_Bilello

Justin Farrell Book:  God and Grandpa: Lessons Learned on the Road Trip of a Lifetime

 

 

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