Raising warriors a culture apart, Part 1

Whether you’re homeschooling your children, raising them overseas, or even just teaching them to love God in your own home, it can be a bit terrifying knowing they will soon have to step out into that scary world out there and fight who-knows-what evil. We shelter them from it as long as we can, work hard to give them good values, limit their time on social media, make them memorize verses, take them with us on our ministry trips, teach them “Jesus loves me” (sometimes even in English!).

Secretly, we’re hoping this little human God placed in our care will one day grow up to save the world. Or at least make it a better place. 

But this isn’t a movie. And we don’t yet know the evils they will face out there or what choices they will make.

How can we prepare our children to fulfill the purposes their Father God formed them for?

Arm them well. 

Ephesians 6:10-20.

When our kids were still preschoolers, the Lord told me, “These children are Mine, placed in your care for a time. You think you have 18 years to train them up in My ways, but you don’t. Right now they lean on you like you lean on Me. But by the time they reach age 10 or 11, they will lean on something or someone else. That Someone must be Me.”

1.  SWORD TRAINING.

Ephesians 6:17, Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

That was a definite fear-of-the-Lord moment for me. I scurried as fast as I could to put into effect some kind of daily Bible reading.

Because they were still toddlers, we used hand motions or songs to memorize Scripture. But once they started first grade, we began reading through the Bible every morning, using the New International Reader’s Version (third grade reading level). The format God led us to use took about 10-15 minutes to do together, but we read and talked while they ate breakfast, so it didn’t add any more time to their busy morning.

At first, the kids were highly distracted and it was difficult to stay on track, until we talked about it together, and then began starting that precious Bible time each morning with a prayer like, “Lord, please block out all distractions and guard this time together in Your Word. Take Your truth and plant it deep in our hearts so we will believe it, stand on it, and walk out in it all the days of our lives.”

Beginning each day with a feast on the Word not only edified, but empower us.  Often, God brought into the children’s paths situations to practice what He had just taught them that morning.  To this day, our now-grown children tell us that daily Bible reading together was the most powerful way God drew them to Himself.

By the time they graduated from high school, we had read the whole Bible nearly twice through together. This was the method God led us to:

  • Ask God to block out all distractions and speak to us from His Word. 
  • Read aloud a portion of Scripture (usually a few verses, sometimes a chapter).
  • Talk about it together as God led, asking questions, etc.
  • Memorize any verses God highlighted for us.
  • Pray the passage back to Him together. 

 

At around age 10-12, both our kids wanted their own personal quiet times with GodDepending on their schedule, they did this before breakfast, as soon as they finished school, or before they went to bed. So, I gave them journals and encouraged them to write, and even draw, what God was showing them each day from His Word.

They wanted to use a devotional book in their quiet times, but because they had grown up overseas in a home filled with Jesus, not many devotional Bible studies for their age were deep enough or covered issues TCKs face (like finding where home is), so the Lord led me to write Dare to Become a Man of God and Delight to Become a Woman of God, for ages 10 or 11 and above, from a mother’s heart, filled with deep truths from Scripture the Lord was telling me they needed to know for those tender pre-teen years and beyond.

I thought to study each of the books separately with the kids, as one is for boys and one for girls, but they wanted to study them both together. As my son said, “I need to know what my wife needs to know.” So they studied them in their quiet times, one chapter a week, and we got together on Saturday mornings to talk about what God was teaching us.

Soon after, several of their friends also began studying together with their parents the lessons on walking in the Word, listening to God’s voice, overcoming conflict, finding freedom from lies and strongholds, and loving well. Then youth Bible study groups began forming throughout the city, and even in other parts of the country. God taught those young people and their parents, to wield their “swords.” And now that this “army” has graduated and returned to their passport countries for college and beyond, their passion for Him has grown all the more, and they’ve stepped out on their own mission adventures throughout the world.

I realize that not ever child is as hungry for the Lord as ours were, and every situation is  different. I can share with you in my next blog some things God led us to do to help foster that hunger, but a good God-breathed Bible study plan to do with your children daily, an easy-to-read version of the Bible, some instruction on journaling so they can write what God’s teaching them in their quiet times, and a deep devotional Bible study workbook were all keys the Lord used to keep our children wanting more of His Word.

Now that they and their friends are older and facing many of the pressures singles face today, the Lord led me to write these Bible study workbooks for ages 14 and above: Dare to be a Man of God and Delight to be a Woman of God, with accompanying prayer journals

What helps have you found to arm your children with the Word while they’re young?

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Finding Home in the Heart of a TCK

I’m a TCK. I don’t normally like labels, but if the shoe fits, might as well wear it, right?

TCKs are people who, when you ask us, “Where are you from?” we just sort of stare.

And then we fumble out some dumb answer that is nothing like what we feel. Because if I truly answered that question, then you‘d be the one staring at me!

Why can’t I just give a quick, one-word answer, like, “Tulsa,” or some other tangible point on earth that has a house and picket fence, or however the locals live there?

Locals? Do they even say that in America? Sigh. Can you tell I’m not “American”?

Most TCKs have no idea where on earth to call “home.” We’ll never look like, sound like or “be” a native of the country we grew up in. And we’ll never feel like, talk like, think like, or act just like the people from the country our passport says is ours.

Those two cultures have blended inside us to form a “third” culture. Which I guess is what earned us the label Third Culture Kid.

I’ve lived in so many countries now, they’re going to need a new label for me.

Or maybe I already know who I truly am. Because, you see, my home isn’t on this earth. It’s in Heaven. Or, more specifically, Christ is my Home. Wherever He is, that’s where I’m at home. His arms around me, His voice in my ear, laughing at my stupid jokes and loving me just as I am. Just the way He created me and raised me up to be, with all the heavenly qualities of all my many cultures blended together.

I guess you can call me a KCK — Kingdom Culture Kid. Because I don’t do things the way everyone else expects me to in their many, boxed-in ways.

I’m free. I want to do things the way my King does, not the world, no matter how great some cultures think they are. Oh, there are sweet, heavenly things in each of my earthly cultures, and those I think I’ll keep. But the rest of the expectations people have of me … well, I’m just not going to dance to those tunes anymore.

I was never going to please all those people anyway.

No, I dance to a different tune. I know it. They may not like it, but that’s okay. Because I’m free! Here, with my head pressed against the chest of the One I love, I can hear His heart beat, and dance to His rhythm!

Yes, Jesus, You are my Home. Wherever You are, that’s where I want to be. Whatever You’re doing, that’s what I want to do. John 5:19.

When people look in my eyes, when they hear me speak, when they see my life, I want them to know Who my King is and desire to belong to the Kingdom I call Home.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (NIV)

Delight cover for amazon jpg

Delight to Become a Woman of God, by Mikaela Vincent

Moms, whether your daughter is a TCK or not, you’ll love studying together with her author Mikaela Vincent’s Delight to Become a Woman of God, a Bible study workbook for young women ages 11 and up on listening to God’s voice, drawing near to Christ, unlocking her beauty, and loving well, so she can become the woman of God He created her to be.

And here’s the version for young men, Dare to Become a Man of God:

Createspace Dare Cover NOW Front

Dare to Become a Man of God, by Mikaela Vincent

With so many difficulties today’s singles face, Delight to Be a Woman of God and Dare to Become a Man of God, by author Mikaela Vincent of MoreThanAConquerorBooks.com, are two Bible study workbooks for ages 14 and up you won’t want to miss! Packed full with tips for listening to God’s voice, knowing His will, finding the spouse God has prepared for you, and breaking free from sin habits and strongholds that keep you from the sweetest things in life, these deep dives into the Word of God just might change your life:

 

 

 

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Do you have a we-evil problem?

I found weevils in our oats. Lots of them. How did they get there? One crawled in and hatched a whole lot more.

If I’d been paying attention, I could have taken care of the problem early on with a lot less damage. But by the time I looked in the bag, it was already crawling with the ugly black critters.

Of course, good TCK (“Third Culture Kid,” a fancy way of saying my passport country is not the country I grew up in) that I am, there is NO WAY I was going to throw out all those oats I’d paid for and had plans for! 

So, I froze the bag, live beasts and all.

Now, for those of you who have lived in Third World countries and are used to weevils in your oats or rice, you know that with a bit of water, those black critters float to the top. Then you can skim them off or pour them down the drain.

But if you wash the oats when the weevils are still alive rather than killing them in the freezer first, they have a tendency to crawl back out of the drain and find more places to hatch eggs.

This time, there were so many weevils that it took several washings and a whole lot of lost oats that went down the drain with their enemy before I could make granola.

So, here’s the spiritual application, in case you hadn’t guessed it yet:

If we allow the enemy with his cunning lies and sin into our hearts, our lives, our marriages, our work, our relationships, our thought lives, or even our theology, and don’t take care of the infestation straight away, but allow him to stay and make himself comfortable, devouring our lives and our relationship with God and others … he’s going to bring in a lot more of his friends and we’re going to lose A LOT.

So many blessings God wanted to give us, so many opportunities to make Him taste good to those around us, so many ways He wanted to use us for His glory, so many relationships He meant us to join with to worship and do work together… all down the drain because we didn’t take care of our sin problem early on.

But praise God, He doesn’t just throw us all away. He loves us and washes us with His grace and His love, allowing circumstances into our lives that bring the sin and lies and wrong thought processes to the surface so He can skim them off.

As we purpose to open ourselves up to His touch, He cleanses us, renews our minds and eventually makes us into something tasty and sweet with His fragrance. (I can smell the granola cooking in my oven even as I write this.)

So, if you have a “we-evil” problem in your life, Jesus is calling you to FREEZE. Now! Stop everything you’re doing and carve out that time you need alone with Him, so He can show you your sin and kill it. Then give Him time over the next few days, weeks, months and years every day in your quiet times to wash out all those wrong processes you’ve gotten used to over the years.

May He make you into something new and inviting today! And may all around you taste and see that the Lord is good!

For tips on freedom from lies and sin, visit MoreThanAConquerorBooks.com for devotionals, Bible studies, and other books by Mikaela Vincent on recognizing God’s voice and walking in His power. 

Bring us back to what matters

So, yesterday, I was joking with the Lord that I should post a photo of food on Facebook or Instagram, because that’s what so many people do that all their friends “like” on social media. I could totally take a picture of my supper, and more people will probably “like” that than any post about His beauty, His love, the joys of hearing His voice and walking as one with Him… I may still do it. Just for fun.
 
But… oh, my … He woke me up with a dream this morning that totally ATE MY SUPPER WHOLE, so to speak!
 
O, Lord, forgive us, please … We are throwing away true treasures and grabbing hold of the fleeting pleasures of this world, the things that make us happy for a moment, as what matters most to us. I am guilty, too, Lord. … Come near to us, even while we’re busy with other things that have distracted us. Call to us. Draw us back. Remind us that You alone are our One Desire. That You alone satisfy. Restore us to intimacy with You. We’ve wandered so far we’ve forgotten what it’s like. Touch us today, so directly, so intimately, so intentionally, that YOU distract us from the world and remind us of what we left behind back there when we pushed You away, … when we shut out the voices of those in our lives who walk close to You, … when we turned out all the lights that exposed our sin, … hiding so we could continue on without distraction…. Forgive us, Lord. We need You.
“They (we have) exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25 (NIV)

The Way It Is … Or Is It?

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in this world–trying to make it to the next paycheck, pass this test, get the kids off to all their soccer matches and still make supper….

Every day is so filled with hecticity. I know, I made up that word. But you know what it means. In fact, you can probably explain it in detail with your daily to-do list.

But this world isn’t all there is. And probably half those things on your list really won’t matter in the scheme of world and time if they get done or not. No one’s going to remember or care tomorrow or next week if you did all that busywork. But I guarantee your kids WILL remember you lying on the front lawn with them counting the stars before you get them ready for bed. They WILL remember that special book you read them at night. And all the times you stopped your busywork to listen. Twenty years from now all those busy things won’t matter. Only love.

Each time you love someone, not just in words–although words are SO important (I hope you husbands who mostly grunt rather than make intelligible sounds hear me on this one!)–but in deeds, in actuality.

So take a look at your hecticity today. Lay down what you can, even if you never pick it up again. And pick up a child instead. Pick up the phone and call your mother. Pick up groceries for your elderly neighbor. Pick up something of value.

Every act of love today counts for all eternity. 1 Corinthians 13.

(Photo above is from Out You Go, Fear!, a Pure-As-Gold children’s book by Mikaela Vincent. To see all her books, visit MoreThanAConquerorBooks.com.)

Something of Value…

What is the most difficult thing you struggle with these days? Relationships? Emotions? Success at work, or in school, or in parenting?

The heart of every issue we face in this life is spiritual. We are not physical beings having temporary spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having a temporary physical experience.

Treat every moment as if it counts for all eternity.  And that means, do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14. Because love is eternal. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Pride, selfishness, judgment, feeling you’re right all the time … will gain you nothing but arguments and empty dissatisfaction. But love triumphs over all. Romans 8:31-39. Even if you “lose” that earthly fight, it’s worth it to win the heavenly rewards that come from choosing to love.

And the rewards are all the greater when that person you are loving is persecuting you. Revelation 2:10, Matthew 5:9-12. Interesting, isn’t it? When people insult us, mock us, or do evil things against us for our love for God and for others, they are actually helping to pile up a mound of eternal treasure for us in heaven.

So, rejoice next time someone repays your loving acts with evil attacks. Forgive them. And love them all the more. For great is your reward. 2 Corinthians 4. Not only in heaven, but here on earth. Romans 12:9-21. For a heart full of love and grace is a heart full of joy and freedom. Romans 12:9-21.

And when you get to heaven, you will have something of value to lay at your Savior’s feet. Dare to Become a Kingdom Culture Leader

In training for reigning-MoreThanAConquerorBooks-Mikaela Vincent

 

Taking Our Thoughts Captive

Take your thoughts captive-Mikaela Vincent-MoreThanAConquerorBooks

Make sure the voice you’re listening to is God’s

Do you find it difficult to wake up for a quiet time? Have you felt busy? Weary? Dry? Angry? Discouraged? Bitter? Lonely? Worthless?

We were created for oneness with Christ and with each other, listening to and obeying the Head together as one body, and using all our gifts to build each other up and bring forth His kingdom here on earth. Matthew 22:37-40, John 14:15-15:17, Ephesians 3:16-5:21.

So it comes as no surprise that our enemy wants to block that from happening. John 10:10, Ephesians 6:10-20. And the place where he wages war is in our minds. To not give in to his schemes, we must take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

  • Stand on the Truth. Just because you believe something doesn’t mean it’s true. Only what God says is true. John 8:31-32, 42-47. To test your thoughts for enemy lies, run them through this sieve:
  1. Does it agree with the Word—not just one or two passages, but all of it? The Word is best interpreted by the Word. Luke 4:9-12.
  2. Does it agree with God’s character—especially His love? Matthew 22:37-40, 1 John 3:16b.
  3. Does it draw us closer to Christ? John 14:15-15:17, James 4:7-8.
  • Don’t mind-read; stick to the facts. The Accuser sets us against our brothers and against God’s purposes. So, be quick to surrender your opinions over to Jesus and ask Him how He sees that person or situation. Don’t imagine hidden actions or motives behind people’s words. Instead, listen. James 1:19. If the meaning is unclear, ask, “When you said…, did you mean…?” Only God is omniscient; only He can read a mind. James 4:11-12, Matthew 7:1-5, 1 Peter 5:5-6.
  • Look for what God’s doing and follow Him there. Don’t just act on your thoughts. Seek the Lord’s. Proverbs 3:5-7, Isaiah 55:6-9. Talk with Him, not only in your quiet times, but all day long. Get in the habit of surrendering your every moment to become His. Ephesians 6:18. Pray with those you work with, live with, mentor, or lead before making a decision. Together, ask God what He wants to do, and then share with each other what He’s saying to your hearts. John 10:1-5, 27.
  • Purpose to do the opposite of what the enemy is doing. Sometimes the enemy’s plans are more visible than God’s. Is he keeping you from your quiet times? Then set aside an even longer time to be with Jesus. Is he discouraging? Then worship. Is he causing dissension? Then forgive, ask forgiveness, and pray for those who persecute you.

Visit www.MoreThanAConquerorBooks.com for more encouragement, Bible studies and books to help you draw closer to Christ.

 Some … think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? … For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”2 Corinthians 10:2-12