Put the Phone Down and Dial Up Heaven

photo of person holding wet smartphone

Invest time in the things of the Lord.

Finally, brethren, let your minds be filled with whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent, whatever is worthy of praise.

Phillippians 4:8

You want to be biblically thinking – and that is done by staying in the presence of the Lord.

What is distracting you from God?

What is reigning in you life?

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord! No, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink.”

Romans 12:19

When the Holy Spirit reigns we will see peace, joy, love, grace, and mercy. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world because FAITH is the power of God’s Spirit at work through love.

Spend time with the Lord in HIS presence. Put the phone down, and dial up Heaven and you will see from the proper perspective – with grace.

How might the tone and aroma of our lives change if we responded to grace like God does?

Intentionality in parenting means making a purposeful decision to spend time connecting with your kids. 

As parents, we are bombarded on a daily basis with decisions, activities and tasks. Family time is valuable to God, and he wants us to manage it wisely.

Below is a video from The 7 Traits of Effective Parenting, you can learn more about it here, and take a quiz to learn how to grow God’s way in your parenting journey with Him.

Parenting with Boundaries

Check out this podcast, Raising Great Kids by Setting Boundaries. Author Joanne Kraft explains how and why parents should set healthy boundaries in the lives of their children in a discussion based on her book The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids

The following section is from Focus on the Family Website about Having and Growing Strong Boundaries.

If you are strong in the area of Boundaries​

Congratulations! This means you are friends with the word “no”. Your goal is not your children’s happiness, but rather their growth. You are willing to go through the difficulty of training your kids to respect boundaries and limits.  This takes consistency and intentionality. Two traits that are crucial for the long-term success of boundaries are love and respect. Keep in mind that if you are low on either or both of these traits it could lead to resentment, rebellion, and big-time confrontation in your home.

If you scored low on either of those, make sure you work really hard on those before you get too excited about throwing down and enforcing more boundaries!

If you’re providing your family with the wonderful trifecta of love, respect, and boundaries, you are a gem to your family! Even if there is conflict, your kids will gain security in your home. They will learn to love, respect, admire, and thank you someday. You are truly providing a great initial foundation for your kids to learn about what it means to be an adult.

We were created to thrive by obeying God, living with His truth in our hearts and minds and by listening to Him to gain much needed wisdom.  Psalm 119 provides a wonderful example of the benefits to loving God’s commandments.

There are many things in life that need boundaries – our time, our relationships, technology, media, our selfishness, our conversations, and everything around us – including our homes, communities, countries, world and universe. Boundaries are everywhere.

Technology use among children continues to rise and the average age of people using technology daily continues to skew younger. Technology requires boundaries and limits. You are more likely to place the necessary boundaries that will help your children use technology safely and with balance. This can take a lot of energy and effort on your part as a parent, but since you’re good at this, your family needs your skills.

Since there are many demands on time, you’re ability to say “no” is important to your sanity and to your family’s sanity. There are so many good things to get involved with; you help your family sift toward the “great” things to get involved in.

You also, most likely, help your family set clear limits on what media is consumed. This is important because of the impact of media on our children’s minds and souls. Media influences belief systems, beliefs influence thoughts, thoughts and emotions influence one another resulting in actions. In other words, media has the potential of influencing our children’s beliefs and actions. There may be necessary conflict in this area and just realize that you are investing your energy and time on a very important area of your children’s life. Plugged In helps sift through the barrage of media in our culture today to provide you with the best information possible as you develop boundaries in media for your home.

‘Since you scored high in boundaries, you are able to help your family by…

  • Modeling consistency of rules, limits, boundaries, and expectations. Your children learn that your “no” is “no” and your “yes” is “yes”. This helps decrease manipulation in your children. They learn to respect boundaries that are placed. It is interesting to watch coaches and players argue with referees. I have never seen a ref change a call because a coach or player complained about a call and thought it was the wrong call. The call is the call and you move on. You help children not get stuck on the call.
  • Teaching your kids responsibility. You can teach them that the words “no” and “yes” help set important boundaries in life. They learn how to tell if they have energy, time and resources to do certain things. They will also gain trust and respect from others by being able to say “no” when they need to. A lot is learned about people by what they say “yes” to. You can help your children see what they tend to say, “yes” to.
  • Modeling and teaching respect for rules, limits and boundaries. This will help your children more effectively navigate friendships, dating, marriage, work, parenting, and society.
  • Teaching what is right and wrong. Don’t be afraid to have conversations as to the reasoning for the boundary. This helps define the purpose of the boundary. It helps your children feel heard as they try to adjust to the boundary that they may not like or want.
  • Guarding your family time. This is important. It is very easy to get busy and scattered. Family time is essential. I don’t need to give you the statistics to back this one up. Your family needs quantity and quality time and your strength in boundaries helps your family guard this precious commodity.

Boundaries help things work well, even if our emotions don’t always like them. You know, it’s a good thing that emotions don’t always run society because it would be constant chaos, fluctuation, and conflict. Wait! That sounds too familiar. You are thankfully able to let emotions do what they need to do while you set necessary boundaries with wisdom, love and respect. Your family and society will thank you. 

How to GROW in the area of Boundaries​

Scoring low on boundaries could mean that you are exhausted, disorganized, a conflict avoider, and/or you may have a more playful and aloof personality. There may be various other reasons why you scored low, the fact is your family and society need your growth in this area.

Boundaries take a lot of energy, time, focus, relationship, balance and communication. It is not easy to face conflict and uncomfortable emotions when kids don’t like your boundaries or when people don’t like your “no”.

In a study from the University College London, researchers discovered that we tend to pursue the path of least resistance. We tend to go toward the option that requires the least amount of effort, which reinforces two things: the need for intentionality and the need for focused attention. Intentionality requires planning and energy and helps with setting, defining and reinforcing boundaries. Focus requires disciplined attention and helps with establishing and pursuing goals no matter what.

I’m sure you already know this, but other people’s love and approval are for them to give when and how they want to. Also, other people’s happiness is up to them, including your kids’ happiness. I, like I’m sure most parents have, had at least a momentary lapse into the whirlwind of trying to make my children happy. That is a never ending road that will be exhausting and a losing proposition. We all love approval and love; it’s just how we get them that makes a difference. Boundaries provide freedom when done right. David through his writing of the Psalms shows his love of God’s commandments and rules. He says they keep him safe.

A lack of boundaries on others many times means a lack of boundaries on our selves. Many parents struggle with boundaries on themselves when it comes to technology. I was counseling a father and his son. The father worked in the computer industry and loved video games. We were working on helping his teen son resolve his addiction playing online video games. It was difficult, because the boy’s father was unwilling to let go of video games. It took some time, but his father worked on mustering up enough energy to put limits on himself and on his son. It was transformative to both of them.

Learning to consistently model limits on yourself with technology, food, media, time or anything else where your child may ask why you get to do it and they don’t, will help improve your relationships with your children.  What limits can you place on your phone or computer use? Time watching TV, junk food, work, and video games?

A lack of boundaries can create exhaustion, confusion, frustration, and a loss of respect. Jesus led a life of balance and still faced persecution, tiredness, betrayal, and suffering. He held strong to His boundaries even if people were unhappy. He displayed this well when dealing with the Pharisees and any opposition he faced. He was not concerned about making people happy. He was concerned about their souls and relationship. 

You can work on boundaries by…

  • Resting enough to have energy for limits. What is the purpose of sleep? To prepare our brains for the next day. Our brains are hard at work while we sleep. There is physical repair and mental repair happening in our bodies while we sleep. Make sure you make time to stop and reenergize, so you will have enough energy to set limits on yourself and your children. Limit setting takes a lot of mental and physical energy.
  • Learning to be friendly with the word “no”. “No” can provide breathing room and respect. It is ok to say “no” to others when you need to. It doesn’t make you a bad person, friend, spouse or parent. When you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something or someone else. When I say “yes” to another extra task at work, being out with friends, or another project around the house, I am saying “no” to time with my wife, kids or myself for recharge. It is important for me to keep my focus on balance as I engage as a employee, therapist, friend, father, son, and servant of Christ.
  • Establishing rules and consistently reinforcing them. Our homes have fences around them that show the boundaries of our land. They don’t move depending on how people feel. The boundaries are there and people learn to respect them. In a study out of Penn State, researchers discovered that it is important to teach children about good moral decision-making online at an early age (intentionality) so that they are able to more easily understand and follow the limits on technology. They are also more willing and skilled at placing limits on themselves. 
  • Learning from other people you respect who are able to provide boundaries with love and respect. Watch what people with boundaries tend to do. They fill their emotional tank in order to most effectively and genuinely engage with others. Learn from these people and don’t be afraid to take notes. Pay attention to what disciplines and/or skills you are missing to actually follow through on boundaries.
  • Establishing what is most valuable to you. What is it that you make time for? What do you spend your money on? Where do you give most of your energy? Rearrange your priorities to make what you want to be valuable in your life truly valuable.

Your family will love the results of you working on this trait. It will have long lasting impacts on you and your family. In fact, it will increase your level of self-confidence as a parent and will increase the level of trust from your spouse and children.  

God is a good FATHER, and we as His Children should want to spend time on what matters to HIM!

He has boundaries set in place for us, His children! He is the perfect parenting model, and we should LOOK to HIM.

What does God think about? What does Jesus love? What can we do about it by the power of the Holy Spirit?

How are you serving the kingdom for HIS GLORY right where he planted you?

What is hindering you from hearing the voice of God?

These are things we should be asking ourselves. What do you need to lay down and give to HIM today? Are you spending time resting at the feet of Jesus, or are you staying busy with the cares and things of this WORLD?

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 6:33

Love is spelled T.I.M.E

Sometimes we all need reminding that, “the most important things in life aren’t things.” Parents work very hard to give their children what they desire. Whether it be the newest video game or the latest fashion, they strive to make their children’s lives better.  In a beautiful audiobook titled Love is Spelled T-I-M-E: What a Child Really Needs from You reveals the one thing children need the most is often in the shortest supply – their parents’ time. The book encourages parents to make time for the things that are truly important.

Is God our first priority?

What are the priorities of God? How does that apply to my life?

Christ set the perfect example… “Your [the Father’s] will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). He said He came to earth to accomplish and carry out His Father’s will (John 6:38).

God our Father wants us to draw near to Him, He wants to spend that time with us … not only when we need something, but to bask in His presence – His Glory. As you do – spirit and life will begin to fill, heal, and restore you! In His presence, you behold Him in His beauty. His face shines upon you, and you see Him as He really is— a Father so in love with His precious child that He desires to do miraculous healing work inside you.

In your presence is fullness of joy…

Psalms 16:11

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Psalm 8:4

You are always on His mind. (Isaiah 49:14-16, John 20:27, Hebrews 13:5-6) In fact, He wants nothing more than to visit with you heart-to-heart in the person with the Holy Spirit — in that secret place healing water will flow and deep wounds are healed.

Our Father God is an Awesome God and He reigns from Heaven above – with wisdom, power and love.

Perhaps you’re carrying deep wounds, so deep no man could ever heal them, or maybe you’re desperate for deliverance. You need bondages to break and chains to be shattered by the power of the Spirit. Or perhaps you have soul ties that only God can break once and for all. His healing presence is the place of release and freedom, where you fall at His feet and He comes to stand beside you.

LORD, come and spend time with me and call my name. I give you my ears, open them that I may listen to what is in Your heart. I thank You for the secret place that is overflowing with love and compassion for me. I THANK YOU that we can come to you as children when we are weary and broken and can find healing through Your presence. You are eager to heal shattered lives and restore all to you. – In Jesus Name AMEN

Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh provides no benefit; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit, and are life.” John 6:63

Sometimes it feels like the rain won’t stop. And then you realize that a perspective shift can make all the difference.

Let it rain, let it pour

Lord, I need You more and more

Jesus is the source of our faith because Jesus is the son of God.  Jesus gives the living water by which we can be saved through GRACE. 

Come to the Father, worship in spirit and truth. “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people”. Joel 2:28. Just as the sunflower basks in the sun, so my spirit will warm and comfort you with my life-giving presence “living water”. You will bask in my Glory as spirit and life begin to fill, heal and restore you, and you will never be the same again because all things have suddenly become new!

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.

Psalm 51

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My name is Elizabeth. I'm a single mom raising my 2 daughters Althea and Cordelia in Kansas

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