Every Teen’s Guide to a Powerful Life

Learning Time

Did you know that you can radically power-up your life with prayer and fasting?  

If you want the kind of existence that amazes God and blesses others, keep reading.

Your youthfulness does not need to be a hindrance to you.  In fact, the Word of God mentions that it is the opposite!  1 Timothy 4:12 says this: “Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

Really, though, how can you be an example to your peers and to others without trying too hard (and failing), over and over again?  You doubtless can recall a time where you tried to be “good enough” and it didn’t work out.  It’s far more stressful than it is beneficial.

The kind of breakthrough you need to live a power-filled, peaceful, fulfilling life can only come in relationship with the One who gives these good gifts.  Jesus promises that He is the One to hang out with, spend time with, talk to, and follow in order to have an awesome, God-honoring existence.  When you hear His voice and begin to grow stronger in discerning it, and then you what He shows you to do, then you’re “living the dream”!

So, as a believer in Jesus, how do you start on this exciting, not-to-be-traded-for-anything journey?

  1.  READ the Word of God.  Spend a scheduled time in the Bible EVERY DAY, even more than once a day.  Set an alarm to remind yourself to do this.  You can download Bible Apps, like the Bible by YouVersion, or She Reads Truth.  Both iPhone and Android support each of these apps.  The main take-away point here is: read consistently.  For example, you could plan to read 3 chapters a day.  There are “Read the Bible in a Year” (or less!) plans included in the Bible apps mentioned, and also online.
  2.  TALK to God, and listen for His replies (He is SO looking forward to sharing His secrets with you.)  This is also known as prayer!  Make sure that you have a notebook or journal nearby to jot down what He tells you.  If His words are powerful and valuable, you’re going to want to record them!  Sometimes He will give you instructions.  Sometimes He will just download revelation to you.  And, all the time, He just wants to spend time with you, because you are His beautiful one, His mighty one of valor.  He has incredible, mind-blowing plans for your life!  I’m not over-exaggerating!  If you want more tips on how to hear God’s voice, check out this Holy Clubs.
  3. Add FASTING to your prayer life. First, I want to mention that, if you struggle with an eating disorder or any other food-related issue, please seek help from a trusted friend or qualified counselor or minister before you attempt fasting.  It is ok to take things “one step at a time” as you grow spiritually.  Eating disorders are serious and deserve your prompt attention.  Get help here if you need to talk to someone right away, confidentially.

    According to the Bible, fasting isn’t an option.  Do you hear others talking about it as part of the normal lifestyle for a follower of Jesus?  Because it is. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says, “When you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”  Notice that Jesus says “when” and not “if” you fast.  The context of this verse is Jesus talking with Jewish people.  But the apostle Paul brings it up, too, and it is repeated many times in Scripture!

    You’re going to want to keep a log of what happens when you fast and pray, because I guarantee your eyes are going to “bug out” with surprise and appreciation for who God IS and what He’s doing!

    Check out this awesome resource on fasting – all of the juicy details, and the REWARDS of fasting.  Let this free e-book, The Rewards of Fasting – by Mike Bickle, with Dana Candler – set your heart on fire for Jesus.  It’s going to change everything.


    ~ Your life is a valuable currency!  Let it inspire others by how you spend it! ~

Give to HOHVa on #GivingTuesday 2017

Support us on #GivingTuesday.jpgThis Tuesday, November 28th is #GivingTuesday! This is where you have a chance to give to an organization or charity, and the gift can be doubled!
Everyone has a part to play in giving. We can all give something. What will you be led to do??
If you’re among the first to donate to an organization or charity, know that the first 2 million donated as a whole on Facebook will be matched. That means, they will be DOUBLED. So, if you give $100, you’re really giving $200. That’s significant.
There are so many worthy causes to support. (And I know we sometimes feel bombarded with requests to give.) But I want to highlight one ministry in particular, and I hope it is on your top 3 organizations to give to. House Hope Virginia is there when hurting teens and their families are going through a tough time. So many of the shooting sprees we read about on the news or are personally touched by were perpetrated by troubled young people. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of making these tragedies stop?  If you would, pray – and put your time, money and talents where your heart is!
House Hope Virginia provides immediate intervention:
*A hotline for Help
*Counsel for both the teen and their family
…and plans are unfolding for 2 Residential Group Homes for teens right here in Central Virginia! The houses and land are ALREADY SECURED and the annual funding to house teens is what is now needed! THIS is how you can support our local teens! And our families!
On #GivingTuesday, would you join me in supporting House Hope Virginia?

Are you Angry for this Reason?

Angry catWhat is anger at the heart of it all?

We know that it results from desires that wage war in our flesh (James 4:1-2).  It is also described in many places in the Word as foolishness (Proverbs 14:17, Ecclesiastes 7:9, etc.).  Anger is a flag that injustice has occurred.  It is also an indicator that a person’s personal preferences have been challenged.

If you want to know what anger is, and why it happens, you’ll discover many angles from which to study it.

Recently a good friend announced a definition of anger that struck the dead center of what the experience has been for so many of us.

He said, “Anger equals blocked goals.”


He nailed it, in one succinct sentence.

Anger is usually paired with frustration.  We experience a blocked goal, and we get frustrated.  The frustration triggers anger, and anger (if not rightfully dealt with), leads to rage and violence.  Look at the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4.  A root of bitterness defiled Cain and he allowed anger to fester.  Eventually, it lead to the demise of his younger brother.

It’s not to say that all (selfish) anger will lead to this level of destruction.  But we can see that anger, at least in Cain’s case, loomed large because his goal of impressing God with his offering was dashed.  He doubtless had other goals, as well: receive belonging from God, gain a sense of acceptance spiritually and/or within his family, and more.

Blocked goals.  What happens to you when a goal of yours is blocked?  What runs through your mind?  How do you start feeling?

Take a moment…think about what has frustrated you lately.

Grab a hot cup of something wonderful, and get out a pen and paper.  Reach out to Jesus and ask Him to show you what blocked goals have been causing you to feel angry.  Let Him reveal where the issues have been.  He will share life-giving truths and speak right to your heart.  Whatever He needs to correct, He does in love and without an ounce of condemnation (if you hear condemnation, it’s the enemy!).

As God reveals the inner workings of your heart, you will be in a better position to do two things:

  1. See where you’ve gotten off track and where sin has taken a foothold.  Armed with this revelation, you can begin to repent (turn from) and renounce the snares.   Forgive whoever has been a part of tempting you to be angry, including yourself.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what goals (expectations) are good ones and can stay.  The ones which are not good or helpful or leading you to become more godly–either adjust them to reflect truth, or get rid of them altogether. For example, if one of your frustrations is with your kids because you feel they don’t listen to you, be aware that the lie underlying the situation is that your kids, at some level, are the problem.  If they are the problem, there’s no good solution.  However, if you replace the lie with the truth, that there is a problem BETWEEN you and your kids – now you have something constructive to work with that will keep anger from gushing like Old Faithful.

Anger can often feel so volatile.  When a person gets caught up into the whirlwind of anger, it’s easy to see what normally results – loss of control, and loss of understanding of our identity as the beautiful one whom the Lord passionately loves.  When you can begin to understand what is causing the anger, you can make a few powerful adjustments that will keep you riding high on His peace.



Decode Your Cravings

chocolate frosting
Have you ever gone to the moon and back just to satisfy a craving?
High schoolers, college kids – your late night snacking – you people know what I’m talking about.
Those of you who have experienced pregnancy – you people know what I’m talking about.
Speaking of, during my first pregnancy, there was a span of about 3 months where I could not get enough of melons.  Honeydew.  Watermelon.  Cantaloupe.  Strange-looking, foreign varieties.  And I would tear into the package on my drive from the market, shamelessly scarfing pre-sliced fruit as I drove the return trip home.  There’s nothing like that moment of raw hilarity where you glance out your driver’s side window as you wipe away sugary juice dribbles from your chin.
Cravings…are they really so bad?
Well, cravings aren’t really bad or good.  Basically, they’re just the voice of your inner physiology, shouting out a hidden need (and mesmerizing your tastebuds while doing it).  Cravings could be “essentially a habit you’ve ensconced in the brain pathway,” in other words, just a familiar behavior that has become a part of your life, according to Cleveland Clinic Chief Wellness Officer, Dr. Michael Roizen.
What you do with these cravings is where it starts getting interesting.  Armed with the info I am about to share, you can make better decisions about how to navigate (and master) those moments of desire.
Common Cravings, Decoded:
(Please note that cravings and suggestions are not an exhaustive list.)
Craving: SUGAR & Sweets
What it may mean:  Addiction to sugar (joking, but, really rather serious on this one; sugar is 8 times more addictive than crack cocaine) (1).
Solution: A sugar addiction normally takes about 4-6 weeks to kick.  People with faith have experienced an instant deliverance from addictions just by standing on the Word of God and being set free by the power of Holy Spirit.  If you’re looking at it from a purely physical standpoint, it will take a little time.  It may feel super tough, but get off sugar “cold turkey”.  In 2 weeks’ time, it is said that your tastebuds begin to change, which is a real act of mercy.  What you can do is begin to substitute natural sugars for processed ones, like indulging in organic maple syrup, raw honey, or fruit.  Go for up to 2 fruits (or about 24 grams) of natural sweet things a day.  Then, switch your culinary attentions to savory dishes, and begin to collect a list of your favorites.  One dish which always satisfies me is homemade guacamole.  Or, I go for finely-chopped cabbage salad with Annie’s Sesame Shiitake Salad dressing.  Absolutely droolingly scrumptious.  Maybe you’d prefer a hot bowl of rice noodle soup with some toasted sesame oil, frozen mixed veggies, a little raw white miso, and some chopped jalapenos.  Whatever the go-to, make it a powerhouse go-to.
Craving:  Salty foods
What it may mean:  Your body could be signaling you that it is dehydrated, or perhaps lacking in electrolytes.  By urging you to eat salt, your body knows that thirst is likely to follow, and that you’re going to want to slake that thirst.  Hydration begins: check.  It could also be that you are lacking in an essential mineral or electrolyte.  There are 4 basic electrolytes that are utilized by the human body: sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  And there are scores of minerals and trace minerals that we need.  It could also be that you have adrenal fatigue, as a sodium craving can be a signal that your endocrine system has a deficit (2).  One additional explanation is that you might need to beef up your microbiome.
Solution: Adding salt to your diet, even sea salt won’t necessarily solve the problem.  In fact, it could create the environment for which high blood pressure can occur.  Yes, you can supplement with a low-to-moderate amount of Himalayan pink sea salt, purportedly the best kind of culinary salt.  However, if you can get the salt within a food, so much the better.  Zucchini squash, celery, and pasture-raised eggs are 3 examples of foods containing salt in wonderful organic form, which your liver utilizes with pleasure.  You can nosh on dehydrated zucchini chips, savory soups, celery sticks with nut or seed butters, etc.  You can also enjoy condiments like coconut aminos (or even Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, though they are is [non-GMO] soy-based).  My clients have stated that eating fermented foods really helps satisfy unusual salt cravings.
Craving:  Chocolate, snacks, or extra food that are PMS-related
What it may mean: You are low in a necessary nutrient.  During a woman’s menstrual cycle, levels of estrogen and progesterone are increased, and can affect food cravings.
Solution: Supplement with a good quality B-vitamin, including a sublingual B-12 vitamin.  Also use a magnesium spray at night-time before bed, or try a quality calcium-magnesium supplement.  Chocolate cravings are usually indications that you need magnesium and/or calcium.  Evening Primrose Oil capsultes and Red Clover tea are great for helping to balance out menstrual cycle issues.  Stop sugar if you currently eat it.  If you must have chocolate (but without the sugar), try the decadent treats made by SkinnyMe Chocolates.  They contain zero sugar, and the taste is to CRY for!
Craving:  Red meat/hamburgers
What it may mean: You need iron, zinc, or protein.
Solution: You can try indulging in an organic, grassfed (pastured) hamburger meat.  Try mixing it with a little miso and chopped onions, then cooking it stove top in patties.  Enjoy it without a bun and with plenty of fresh sides, if you like.
Craving:  Cheese
What it may mean:  You could be a mouse.  Actually, cheese is highly addictive because it contains natural opiates.  (Yes, this is true!  Does it make sense now why you love it so much?)  Baby animals are given extra incentive to nurse when their mother’s milk is…slightly addictive.  God created it this way.  Cheese is also a very fatty food.  Our cells require good fats in order to function properly – every cell in the body!  However, cheese is not the greatest source of fat, as it is believed by many to be too acidic (vs. alkaline), loaded with sodium, generally pasteurized, and it contains enzymes which health experts have considered to be toxic (3).  Cheese is a dairy product, and pastured organic dairy products contain vitamins D and A (largely missing in conventional dairy, so they try to fortify it), so you may be needing one of those key vitamins.  Remember that you need to take vitamins A, D, and K2 (grassfed butter, etc.) together in order for them to be properly metabolized.
Solution:  Enjoy good fats – raw milk, organic, un-processed coconut oil, cold-pressed organic olive oil, grassfed butter, nuts & seeds, grapeseed oil, and more.
Craving:  Late-night snacking
What it may mean:  You need more sleep, or more rest in your life.
Solution: Eat dinner by no later than 6:30 or 7:00pm.  Have a very small snack, consisting of something like a fruit and a good fat around 9pm.  Try to be in bed with the lights out by 10pm.  Take 1-3mg of Melatonin each evening at around 9:30pm for a couple of weeks to help with a new sleep rhythm.
Craving: Non-food items, like ice, clay, dirt, or chalk.
What it may mean:  You may very well have a mineral deficiency.
Solution: Fill up on greens, try nuts and grains (although you need to pre-soak, and skim off foam that settles on the water as grains boil in order to remove nutrient-robbing phytates), and also go for supplements that re-mineralize you, like Restore – Gut Health Mineral Supplement.
1.  http://abc13.com/health/study-sugar-is-as-addictive-as-cocaine/533979/
2.  Wilson, James L., N.D., D.C., PhD.  Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.  Smart Publications: Petaluma, CA.  2001, 2011.  Pg. 137.
3.  http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/5-alarming-facts-about-cheese-and-your-health/

Depressed? Check Your Gut.

Are you feeling depressed?

Depression can be such a funky thing, especially because of its complexity.  Most people inherently “get” that we are creatures with body, mind, and spirit.  So, it should not be too surprising that issues like depression can be healed by addressing heart issues and also giving the body some TLC.

Up until recently, depression has popularly been treated with prescriptions for SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which address the deficiency in the “happy” neurotransmitters like serotonin).  There also may be a few sessions of counseling, followed by a talk about coping skills.

But healing depression is much more holistic in nature.  It is important to address the spiritual roots, like feeling disconnected from God or facing bitterness, or finally forgiving yourself and those who have wounded you in the past.  Ministries like House of Hope are equipped and ready to meet with you, and to talk with you and your family as you heal from a painful season in your life.  When we have strongholds and enemy oppression working in our souls, depression has all the fertilizer it needs to take over your mood.

Depression is also linked to our emotions, which are rooted in what we believe.  If we have negative strongholds, thoughts, belief patterns, our feelings will follow.  Proverbs 23:7 says this: “For as [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he….”  And the Word urges us to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” – Proverbs 4:23.  Bitterness and being ungrateful are open doors for negative thinking and depression to come soaring in.

Entire articles could be written on any one angle of healing from depression.  Here I will focus on one area that is not well understood by many: the physical connection.  Make no mistake, if any one of the 3 pillars to health is neglected, ill health creeps in.  We are super wise to take care of ourselves in all areas.

So, how exactly can we help to heal depression in our bodies?

Our moods are linked to the amount of “feel good” neurotransmitters produced by our gut.  70% of our immune system or more resides in our gut, as well.  The gut is comprised of every organ and part from our mouth, to the esophagus, stomach, and down to the intestines, and ends with the rectum and anus.  The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are the solid organs of our digestive tract.  Our guts absorb nutrients and is the home to our microbiome, which describes the billions upon billions of helpful microbes that live in our GI tract.  The intestinal walls of our gut are where our nutrition is absorbed.  These walls must deal with the presence of foreign invaders as well as usable nutrition.  When there is a threat (like a virus, bacteria, or large particle of food that slipped through a tear in the intestinal lining (known as Leaky Gut), inflammation occurs.  This inflammation is wide-spread and can travel all the way to your brain (1).  It does this by way of the vagus nerve.

Stay with me, here!  The vagus nerve is the two-way “highway” that connects our intestines and our brains.  It features 600 million nerve cells!  These cells are highly sensitive and transmit powerful information from the body to our brain.  Thus, if you feel anxious or stressed, your mind and gut are communicating!  In fact, the stress doesn’t just stay in your head, as you know – it affects your body, and it creates a very real and damaging inflammation (2, 3).

This resulting inflammation then can go crazy with your microbiome, extinguishing much or nearly all of your beneficial gut microorganisms.  When this happens, you’re not efficient at creating the necessary neurotransmitters and immune responses.  Translation?  You can get sick, and, you can feel symptoms of depression.

We’ve discussed the connection between stress and gut health; now let’s talk a little bit about food.  What we eat and what we absorb into our bodies by way of air, water, and skin, greatly affects health.  Poor nutrition activates inflammation, too!  Some of these “kryptonite” foods include sugar, processed flours and foods, artificial or chemical sweeteners/colors/flavorings, preservatives, conventional dairy, gluten/non-organic, non-GMO gluten, soy, etc.  You know the culprits: fast foods, sugary lattes, donuts, standard potato chips, and many more.  Other substances we ingest that are harmful to our gut microbiome are prescription drugs, tap water, heavy metals, pesticides, and harmful microorganisms.

Not only can what we eat harm us, but it’s what we’re NOT eating that is also a problem!  We need to be taking in good probiotics, plenty of food-based minerals and vitamins, and eating nutrition that is rich in living enzymes.  You are probably getting the point!

Our water is also another contributor to our health (or ill-health).  Make sure it is of the best quality you can attain and afford, and is free from chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, prescription drugs, pesticide residue, and more.  Look into a water distiller and supplement with liquid minerals, if you want the cleanest drinking water possible.  These units are available in countertop (pitcher-like) models or can be systems that are directly installed into your plumbing system.  Yes, getting serious about your H2O makes you somewhat of a water nerd, but could it be worth it?

If you want to get rid of depression, please have your gut health checked.  You can purchase a gut-microbiome test from uBiome that you can take in the comfort of your home:.  Armed with the results from this test, you can know how to better proceed.  Even without taking the test, you can begin to bless your gut!

First step: eliminate inflammatory foods and stressors.  Get to bed by 10 or 10:30pm, lights out, and cut out artificial lights from electronics by 8pm, unless you have an app like f.lux light.  Inflammatory foods are those that are described above.  For very sensitive people, this list may include more foods – please consult with a certified health coach or functional medicine practitioner to help determine what else you may need.

Second step: eliminate the bad gut bacteria and/or parasites that take up residence in your GI tract.  Two of my favorite aids for this process are diatomaceous earth and Nutribiotic grapefruit seed extract (GSE).  Both are natural, generally considered to be quite safe, cheap, and easy to take.  If you are on other medications or therapies, you will want to check with your practitioner before taking these supplements.  GSE especially can interact with medications and change their effect.

Third step: Re-introduce the good microbes by taking (or making) quality pro-biotics.  You can easily make your own probiotic fermented foods, though these are too acidic for some people.  You can also purchase high-quality probiotics, like those made by Garden of Life.

Also consider organic foods and supplements that love to heal your insides.  Foods like greens, wheatgrass powder, berries, pomegranates, zucchini, cruciferous vegetables, grass-fed animal products, pastured eggs, raw milk, etc.  A note about milk – raw milk affects the body differently than pasteurized milk.  Often times those who are lactose-intolerant can handle raw goat or cow’s milk!  Also, try cooking with ghee, since 99% or more of the irritating casein protein has been removed.  You may need to eliminate dairy altogether for a period of time if you are reacting negatively even to raw, organic, grassfed dairy products.  Consider taking supplements like turmeric (a great anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer food), zinc, ginger, quercetin, L-glutamine, Slippery Elm bark, magnesium citrate, vitamin C, digestive enzymes, and fermented cod liver oil. I use them with great results with clients, and they have been highly touted by integrative medical experts like Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Mercola, and others.

Fourth step: Consider going on a GAPS diet or healing nutritional plan, and get help from a health professional like a health coach or integrative or functional medicine doctor!  It can make all the difference in your health results to have someone supportive walking the journey with you.  It’s so worth it.  Check out http://www.supernaturalhealthinstitute.com/health-coaching to get started with a free consultation.

Fifth step:  Always keep learning about what makes you healthy.  The more beneficial practices and nutrition that you weave into your life, the better your life will be.  And, if you need healing for your heart and spirit, don’t hesitate to reach out.  CALL or TEXT 434.234.4673 in Central Virginia to be connected with someone who can meet with you.  Ministry is based on need, and there is funding available to help those who cannot afford the cost of counsel sessions.

Don’t hold back – take the next step.  You can feel surprisingly better faster than you think!



1.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28242200

2.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28209543

3.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28089638

It’s Not About The Guns!


Posted By Brenda Lawson – House of Hope Va

Hello friends,

Some have suggested that I write a blog, and up until now I haven’t felt that I had anything important enough to say, or that people would want to read.  But now I really need an outlet.  The lastest mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg Oregon has once again ripped a hole in my heart.  My prayers and thoughts go out to all of those who lost a loved one…a father, a son, a brother, a friend.  But my prayers also go out to the family of the shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer.  I can’t help but wonder what went wrong in this young man’s life? Why was he so angry? Why did he feel so unloved? Didn’t anyone tell him how much Jesus loves him?

Then the media begins to talk about the guns, the guns, the guns.  I just want to shout “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE GUNS!  IT’S ABOUT HEARTS AND SOULS!!!”

Even President Obama said “Well, if you talk to people who study this problem, it is true that the majority of these mass shooters are angry young men...”

So why aren’t we talking about the problem? This is a generation in crisis and it’s time to start turning our time and resources into leadership to help.  Will you join us?