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  • “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1 KJV)

    God used visions and dreams in the Bible to reveal His plan, to further His plan, to put His people in places of influence, and to provide information that was unavailable elsewhere. In fact, the Book of Acts tells us that the Holy Spirit induces dreams.  Acts 2:17-18 describes entire households who prophesy, see visions and dream.

    Our families were designed to dream! Taking time to evaluate, plan and develop a vision for our family will help us prioritize so we can design our home with purpose.

    What do we want to be focused on right now as a family? What do we want to do in the future? What legacy do we want to continue and leave behind?

    The Bible is filled with principles like these that provide us with a blueprint for designing our dream home:

    • Designed to Surrender.

      God is the Master Architect of the family. In our homes, Jesus Christ must not only be present, but He must be preeminent. We want our children to understand that God is the greatest reality of life, not just in church on Sunday, but that we value His presence and His purpose every day, in every way (Deuteronomy 6:5).

    As a family, explore ways to invest the talent and treasure God has entrusted to you – volunteering; going on a missions trip; sponsoring a project; or developing your skills to honor God.
    • Designed to Support.

      God commands us to build our homes on Godly character and sound doctrine (Proverbs 4:1–2, Deuteronomy 6:4-9)The Bible instructs parents concerning children that we are to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Spiritual nurturing maintains the environment where our children learn to understand the ways and the Word of God. This is how “the Lord builds the house.”

    What special qualities or talents do you see in your children that you want to nurture? Are there some character traits you would like to see your children develop or strengthen?  What needs do you see in your children’s behavior, faith, or education that you can help cultivate?
    • Designed to Serve.

      Families were designed to represent Jesus Christ. The Bible says, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV).

    When God gives us a dream for our family, it will always be connected to His master plan – the building of His family “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9 AMP). God will not give us a self-serving dream separate from what He wants to do in the world. His plan is to use our family for His dream!

    Does your family have a vision that will affect the present AND the eternal? Are you teaching your children that they have a God-ordained destiny (Jeremiah 29:11)? Are you adding fuel to their dreams or snuffing them out (Genesis 37:10)?

    Ask God to give you His vision for your family so that you can be part of the most important dream of all.  Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3 KJV). This is our ultimate dream home “whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10)!

    Reposted with permission from Reflections.

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  • It was a beautiful afternoon. The breeze was just right as I stood in my backyard and began communing with my wonderful Savior. I felt the urgency to pray specifically for protection for my heart, so I did. I remember asking the Lord to keep hatred and any other feeling that was not aligned with His Word or will from living in my heart. Proverbs 4:23 admonishes, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

    Little did I know, the worst storm of my life was crashing its way towards me, promising all kinds of destroying winds for me and my family. The storm I am referring to was not physical. It was a spiritual battle, and it was a dark season for us.

    If you are a mother I’m sure you would agree with me that we prefer something to hurt us and not our children. My trial involved pain and sorrow for the fruit of my womb, and for me it was very hard to deal with. According to how the world judges, I had every right to hate, despise, and scorn those who hurt my children; but because my heart was protected by God, I was unable to hate them. My heart was unchained, free to pray and praise. I was able to see clear in the middle of a dark night and cry out to the One that could help my family and me to survive the storm. He came to our rescue. He responded to our prayers. We came through victorious!

    “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31).

    I don’t know what you might be facing or about to face, but I encourage you to protect your heart. Fill it with the Word of life, with prayer and praises to the Lord, and nourish it with church attendance. When it makes sense for you to speak bitterness because you have been hurt, you will instead speak mercy, forgiveness, and love, because that’s what your heart is full of!

    “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).

    BY TERE DE LA ROSA

    Reposted with permission from Ladies Prayer International.

    When the Lord says something once, we typically listen. When He says something twice, we start to get the hint and search for meaning in the words. But when God says something three times, we need to learn the lesson and apply it to our lives, because He’s trying to show us a vital life lesson.

    That’s what happened in Joshua 1. Joshua had just been given a new leadership position. His mentor Moses had died, and Joshua was suddenly the leader of millions of people who had been wandering around a desert for forty years, complaining almost the whole time. Not daunting at all.

    But God understood how Joshua must have felt, so He gave him a pep talk.

    “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9 NLT)

    Joshua was familiar with God’s presence. He had been one of the first Israelite spies to explore and witness the Promised Land. He had believed in God’s ability to give them that land. He had joined Moses for part of the climb up Mount Sinai, when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. He was the first one to see Moses’ radiating face that reflected God’s glory. He was handpicked by God and Moses to be the next leader of Israel.

    But when God spoke to Joshua directly for the first time, He had to repeat the same thing three times in that one conversation.

    “Be strong and courageous.”

    Maybe Joshua was afraid of letting everybody down. Maybe he doubted his own ability to guide these people. Maybe he was worried about what the Israelites would say about him. Maybe, after forty years of waiting, he was starting to question God’s promises.

    So, God spoke through all those debilitating thoughts and doubts and replaced them with four words of encouragement: Be strong and courageous.

    Joshua would need to be strong and courageous as he led the Israelites to the land God had promised their ancestors years before. He had to be strong and courageous as he followed odd instructions to walk around a huge fortressed city for seven days, while its people jeered and mocked. This required not only physical strength and courage, but mental and spiritual, as well.

    Joshua had to obey God, fight for God and trust in God. He had to study God’s Word and meditate on it, because those instructions would give him wisdom and encouragement (Joshua 1:8). When he and, subsequently, the Israelites obeyed, God enabled them to succeed. God didn’t abandon them; He guided them and blessed them.

    What I love about Joshua’s story is that he learned the lesson God gave him in the beginning of his ministry and applied it throughout his life. One example of this occurred when he spoke to his people after he and his warriors had defeated the Amorite kings. Joshua used the same words with which God had once encouraged him:

    “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” (Joshua 1:25 NIV)

    Joshua had learned the lesson: God would not fail him. His strength and courage came from the Lord.

    But how can these words apply to us? We’re not Joshua, chosen by God to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. We didn’t see the Jordan River miraculously part or watch the walls of Jericho crumble. Yet, these words still hold a life lesson for us.

    • Be strong and courageous. Why? Because you have been chosen by God to lead people to their promise of hope, love and eternal life through Jesus.
    • Be strong and courageous. Why? Because when you obey the Lord, you will be successful in His eyes, even when others laugh at you, gossip about you or tear you down.
    • Be strong and courageous. Why? Because the Lord is with you wherever you go, even when you’re facing a barren wasteland that has sucked out the joy and hope you once carried about God’s promises for you.
    • Be strong and courageous. Why? “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of life, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)
    BY JENNIFER ENGLISH
    You can follow Jennifer English on her personal blog https://jensrandommusings.wordpress.com/