How to Protect your Family from Bullying

“Love your enemies. Pray for those who torment and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44 Voice Paraphrase)

Why would Jesus tell us to pray for someone that has snuck past our radar and hurt our family? The “bully” is a beloved child of God, too. The pain in their life is fueling their wrath towards us.

In a society where the hate is palpable, we have to slow down and sit with our Savior before we launch into our defensive attack. Through our actions and reactions towards bullying, we can lead the way for others who find themselves in similar situations. Even though it feels personal, it’s not. 

“The devil has come to kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). He wants us to fight each other like plastic foosball players, but Jesus has already crushed His agenda. If we refuse to play into it, we will experience what He came to give us: life to the full. (John 10:10 b). 

How to Protect Your Family from Bullying: 

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A Powerful Prayer for Firefighters

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

David, the author of this psalm, knew the power of prayer and the unmistakable evidence of God’s hand of protective power in dire situations. Firefighters accept the daily pursuit of walking into fires. They are heroes among us that face the shadow of death and great peril, voluntarily.

What hope do the shepherd’s tools in Psalm 23:4 grant? “The rod was a club worn at the belt, an instrument of authority, and also for counting, guiding, rescuing and protecting sheep” (NIV Study Bible/NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible).God is sovereign over all. He is in control and knows where we are and what we face. His protective hand never waivers. Our faithful and loving Father encourages us to lean into and on Him when our strength fails us. His power and His love embolden us to conquer impossible tasks. “The staff was a walking implement that doubled as a weapon in a time of need and guided and controlled the sheep; it was an instrument of support” (NIV Study Bible/NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible).This is the protective power of God’s Word we pray over firefighters, today.

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Who Were Jesus’ Friends

“You are my friends.” (John 15:14)

Jesus had a close circle of 12 on this earth, but He calls us friends, too. The NKJV Chronological Bible Notes for this verse explain,“While He was not implying that His friends were His equals, He was offering to share with them what belonged to Him.” And the second half of John 15:14, “You are my friends, if you do what I command,” gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ perspective of friendship. 

It’s important to consider what friendship meant in Bible times. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible states that “the language of friendship was applied to patron-client relationships, in which patrons supplied some needs of clients.” NKJV Chronological Study Bible Notes says, “In the Roman world, a ‘friend’ was often a political ally who owed one a favor, or a more powerful patron on whom one could depend.”

But we don’t often think of the friends of Jesus as political allies or business acquaintances. Jesus took a concept familiar to those that surrounded Him at the time, and redefined what it meant to be a friend. “Jesus is our model for love… If believers obey His command to love, they enjoy the intimacy of His friendship. Friendship… is not a once-for-all gift, but develops as the result of obeying Jesus’ command to love” (NKJV Study Bible).

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A Prayer for Broken Moments

“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” –1 John 5:5

One soft rug finally pulled the weight out from under me. After an hour-long state of frozen emotion, a stream of hopelessness fell beside the beautiful claw-foot tub. The hand on my shoulder felt familiar and firm, present now as in other periodic breakdowns. Even honest efforts to walk in our calling can leave us vulnerable to the cling of control.

“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” –1 John 5:5

Overcome,“nikao” in the Greek context of this verse, means “to conquer: to carry off the victory, come off victorious.” John wrote his letter during an era in which believers faced death and persecution. The strength to conquer the impossible adversity they faced came from Christ.

When we stand with Jesus, He links arms with us in victory. The release of broken emotions allows us to relinquish control. A lack of forgiveness, extended or accepted, can strangle our efforts to walk in peace. A burden to be strong for others can suffocate our own ability to breathe. Un-illuminated disobedience can leave us feeling as if no effort is good enough.

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10 Ways Parents Can Engage Kids with God’s Word for Life

Parents and guardians cannot claim to know how God is going to bloom the seeds of His faithfully planted and watered Word. Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it,”(NASB). The word “train” in the original Hebrew means, “to train,” but also, “to dedicate, inaugurate.” (Strong’s Concordance #2596) Inaugurate means to make a formal beginning of, and this is where parenting plays an important role.

Parents have a responsibility to teach children the way of God. Despite our best efforts to immerse them in the Word, there is a lot we don’t know, and cannot predict, about who our children will become. We don’t know how they will rebel or what adversity they will face. But we can make sure they have access to the Truth in His Word. The living and breathing Word of God begins to impact our children from the moment we begin read it to them, pray it over them, and declare it over their lives. Even though we often don’t know how, introducing our children to the Word of God is one of the best ways to train them up.

Here are 10 ways parents can engage kids with God’s Word for life.

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