Two Words Can Break Any Spell

The day before Halloween, October 30, 2022 …

The airport shuttle was going to be crowded, so I moved to the back and stood as more passengers got on.  Another man followed my lead and stood to let a lady have his seat.  The trend continued as men stood next to open seats, while more mom’s with children entered and sat down.  I smiled, the Holy Spirit was on the bus moving people to be kind.

A young family sat across the back of the bus.  The mom sat in the corner with the youngest brother.  Her husband sat next to her, and two more boys filled the bench.  I thought of how fun it was when my boys were young and full of wonder.  The parents were introducing them to life and different places.

The oldest brother was about eleven with blonde hair.  On his lap was a book poking out of a bag.  I could read the name of the author on the front cover, J.K. Rowling. Then I was sad.  These boys had a big future ahead of them, and Satan was luring them into his world of darkness through stories of a young boy exploring witchcraft.  Satan was tempting them with intriguing stories and hopes of special powers, if they learned to follow his ways.

I prayed to the True and Living God for help.  The Holy Spirit responded, “Two Words.”  Then I prayed for help to bridge the conversation to God in a positive way.

I asked the parents, “Is this a destination or are you home?”  The mother responded that they were returning from Boise.  I continued the pleasantries that I was returning from a wedding in Eugene. I looked at the window and said, “I was hoping to bring some rain home, but it hasn’t followed me.”

“Is that Harry Potter?” I asked turning my attention to the boys. The boy was glad to show me the book he was reading, so he pulled the book out of the bag to show the title.  I replied, “That is a big book.”  I could tell he was proud of the book he was reading.  His parents were probably glad he had found a book and was applying himself to the skill of reading.  So, I needed to be tactful.

“Did you know, there are two words that can break any spell?” I asked.  The brothers looked at me with interest.  “The two words are actually a name.”  I paused for drama and to let them get really excited to hear the answer.  “The name is Jesus Christ.  Have you heard that name before?”  The boys leaned forward to hear more and shook their heads.  They had not heard about the Lord Jesus before.  “Jesus Christ is King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Creator of all things.  Jesus Christ is the name that can break any spell.”

The Father tilted his head downward, but the mom looked on with some interest.  Because the Dad was sitting closer and signaled he wanted the conversation to end, I did not purse it.  If he had been a little open, then I was planning to give him a Bible.  I was hoping to share that “This is a book where you can learn more about Jesus Christ and His powerful name.”  But the Dad had inflated his chest and raised his closest shoulder. I did not want the boys to see his anger.  I had accomplished the goal of planting a seed in the young boy’s minds.  There is something more powerful than the book of spells.

I had also wanted to encourage them to read Acts 19 in the Bible.  There is the story of the face-off between the name of Jesus and the books of spells.  Paul was a missionary telling people about the True and Living God in Ephesus …

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. ~Acts 19:11-20

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Head Shot, Chest Shot, Stomach Punch

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.   ~2 Corinthians 10:3-5

HEAD SHOT – Attacking the Helmet of Salvation
What is Salvation?
God loves you – John 3:16All Have Sinned – Romans 3:23
All deserve death – Romans 6:23
God is pursuing us – Romans 5:8
God forgives those who repent – Acts 2:38, I John 1:9
Those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Romans 10:9-10
God saves by grace and mercy – Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:4-7
God can rescue you and set you free from addictions – John 8:31-36, Isaiah 1: 16-18    
God doesn’t love you.
God won’t forgive you
You aren’t saved.
You aren’t good enough.
God has left you.
God can’t rescue you.
God can’t make you clean.
I’m not a bad person.
CHEST SHOT – Attacking the Breastplate of Righteousness
What is Righteousness?
Ten Commandments – Exodus 20
Love God, parents and neighbors
Don’t lie, steal, murder or be jealous
Love God and People – Matthew 22:37-39, John 15:12
Obey God’s Commands – I John 2:3-6
Make Disciples that obey God’s Commands – Matthew 28:18-20
Visiting widows and orphans – James 1:26-27    
Love yourself.
You deserve what you want.
Other people are not as important as you.
Follow your heart to determine what is right and wrong.
Everyone else is doing it.
You are missing out.
Do what you want. 
Do what makes you feel good.
Studying the Bible is good enough, you don’t have to stand for righteousness.
STOMACH PUNCH – Attacking the Belt of Truth
What is Truth?
God created the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 3:4
We are accountable to God – Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 21:6-8, Revelation 20:11-12, Revelation 20:14-15
God determines what is right and wrong – Matthew 25:31, John 3:19-21
Jesus is the only way to God – John 14:6, Acts 4:12
Jesus came in the flesh – 1 John 4:2-3
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom – Proverbs 9:10.
Heaven is full of rewards – 1 Corinthians 2:9, John 14:2-3, Hebrews 11:6    
The earth evolved from evolution. 
There is no God.
There are many gods. 
All roads lead to heaven.
Jesus was an angel.
The Bible is just stories. 
We are smarter now.
FOOT SWEEP – Attacking the Gospel of Peace
What is peace?
Forgiveness is the start of peace with God – Romans 5:1
Peace (Shalom) is things flowing as they should – Psalm 1:2-3, Joshua 1:8, 1 Peter 3:8-12
Parents loving their children – Malachi 4:6, Titus 2:4-5
Children obeying their parents – Ephesians 6:1
Godliness and contentment are great gain – I Timothy 6:6
There is no peace for the wicked – Isaiah 57:20-21
The way of the upright is a highway – Proverbs 15:19
A prayerful and thankful heart is blessed with peace – Philippians 4:4-9  
Discord and destruction against Peace
Foolishness against Wisdom
Curses against Blessings
Divorce turns a child’s world upside down.
False teachers lead people away from God.
Evil people trying to shut down church, evangelism and Bible study.
Addiction and laziness
BULLETS AND DARTS – Attacking the Shield of Faith
What is faith?
Faith is building a legacy of walking with God – Hebrews 11:1-3
Faith without works is dead – James 2:19-20, James 2:26
We were made for good works – Ephesians 2:10
Hold firm the foundations of truth and God will fight for you – Psalm 11: 2-7  

Studying the Bible is enough, you don’t have to do it.
Tell God what you want him to do for you.
Don’t witness, because people might get upset.
Don’t tell people about what God is doing in your life.
Don’t thank God in front of other people for helping you.
FIGHTING BACK – Using the Sword of the Spirit
What is the Sword?
The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God – Hebrews 4:12
Jesus quoted scripture when attacked – Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus proclaimed the Word of the Lord – Luke 4:18-19
Jesus used God’s Word to chase away evil – Mark 11:15-18
Be a light that chases away darkness – Matthew 5:16
Love your enemies and bless those who curse you – Matthew 5:44-45
Live boldly for God – Titus 2:11-15, 2 Timothy 1:8-12, 2 Timothy 4:1-2
Jesus will judge and rule the nations with the Sword of His Mouth – Revelation 1:16-18, Revelation 19:15-16  
People can believe what they want. 
Don’t talk about God and make them upset.
God wants us to be happy.
I was born this way.
You are making a mess by stirring people up.
Don’t say that, people will get upset.
Don’t quote scripture.
The Bible is not clear.
God doesn’t care, he just wants to make us happy.
Just be a good person, don’t talk about the Bible.
Hell is where the party is at.
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The Pebble in My Shoe

Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”  ~Matthew 4:10

The pebble in my shoe is a little stone that rubs my foot, when I walk.  Over time the pebble makes a sore on my foot.  My foot may become callous to the pebble, if the pebble stays in one spot.  But, then the pebble shifts a little and I start getting irritated again.  The simple answer is to take off my shoe, take out the pebble and then have a happy life.  Unfortunately, the pebble in my shoe keeps getting replaced.

The pebble in my shoe is a question … If giving honor to the names of other gods offends the Creator God, why does my calendar come pre-printed with the names of seven false gods? 

For example, if I want to set an appointment on Creation Day 5 of this week, people don’t understand what I am talking about.  I have to give honor to Thor, the god of Thunder, for people to understand I am setting an appointment on Thursday.  When I get ready to set an appointment, the pebble in my shoe gets irritated.  The fifth day of the week does not belong to the false god, Thor. 

God is offended that I would take the day that He created and dedicate it to a false god. 
This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
   ~Psalm 118:24

When God looks at us, He does not want any false gods in His presence.
God said, “You shall have no other God’s before me.”  
~Exodus 20:3

I am not working hard in honor of the Sun, Moon, Thunder or any false god. 
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the LORD and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  ~Colossians 3:23-24

Can you help me with the pebble in my shoe?

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How to Talk to Kids about Pornography: 3 Painless Steps

July 11, 2019

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Parents, what conversation is dreaded more than the first one about pornography? I’m not sure there is one! Teaching kids about where babies come from seems simple in comparison. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you think. I’ve broken it down into three relatively painless steps: start early, empower kids with the basics, and keep on learning and talking!

1. Start Early

How early should you begin warning your child about pornography? The short answer is as soon as they have any access to the internet (or apps that lead to the internet). #SoonerIsSafer! No conscientious parent allows a child access to a busy street without teaching them about the dangers of oncoming cars. It just makes sense to give young kids a gentle warning about harmful content as soon as they are allowed to play on the byways of the internet.

Susan is a very protective mom, and very wise, too. She told me about the time when her 7-year-old son was exposed to pornography by a neighbor. A few days earlier, she had re-read Good Pictures Bad Pictures to her son and reminded him of what to do if he ever saw a bad picture. Although it was distressing, everything worked according to plan! He turned away and went home and told his mom what he had seen. Thankfully, he was prepared!

Children who are caught off guard by pornography are not safe. They are more vulnerable than children who have been warned and given a plan for responding to exposure.

When a parent begins early, it’s not awkward for the child. As the adult, you create the context. Parents continue to tell me that their kids take it well, and that broaching the topic creates an even stronger, more trusting bond with their child.

Don’t be scared—be prepared!

2. Empower Kids with Three Basics

Children need to know three things about pornography:

  • What it is—they need an appropriate definition of pornography.
  • Why it’s harmful—so many kids grow up without a clue that pornography can hurt their young minds—they need good information!
  • How to reject it—a simple plan so they know exactly what to do when they see pornography.

An age-appropriate definition of pornography for a young child gives them just enough information so they can recognize it. In my Good Pictures Bad Pictures series of read-aloud books, I use the following simple definition. “Pornography means pictures, videos or even cartoons of people with little or no clothes on…that focus on the private parts of the body we keep covered with a swimsuit.”

Some critics argue that pornography should not be equated with nudity or else it will cause “body shame.” I take great pains to assure kids that “every part of your body is good, including your private parts. But taking pictures of them and sharing them with others is not good.” Kids are very literal, and nuance is lost on them. Just teach them to come and tell you if they see nudity or near nudity and you can enlighten them if they need additional understanding. For simple tips on how to explain the difference between porn and art to a child, read this blog post.

Explain why it’s harmful. For young children, I use the “picture poison” analogy in my Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. book. You’ve already taught them about poison and harmful substances. Pictures can poison the mind, too. Again, reassurance is critical: “There’s something good you can do if you see a bad picture.”

Older children can learn how pornography can become a bad habit or even an addiction. Once kids understand the process of addiction, they have a real opportunity to protect their own brains. Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids describes how the “thinking brain” and the “feeling brain” can work together to stay safe from addiction. This article from my website contains a simplified explanation of how addictions develop.

3. Give Kids a Plan

It’s common wisdom to teach kids to respond to a fire or active shooter. They need the same “fire drill” for pornography. Thankfully, most children won’t deal with a fire or a shooter, but all of them will need to escape from pornography.

The “escape” plan from Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. is simply “Turn, Run and Tell!” Turn away from the bad picture, hurry and get away, and go tell a trusted adult what you saw. The CAN DO Plan from Good Pictures Bad Pictures helps kids not only turn away from it, but to label it by saying “That’s pornography!” This allows kids to have more control over their thoughts by engaging their thinking brain.

Make sure your kids know who they can talk to about pornography exposure wherever they are. Talk to their teachers at school and find out what their plan is for students reporting pornography exposure.  

Finally, help your kids to know how to minimize or “forget” any shocking images they are exposed to by learning to redirect their thoughts to something they get excited about. For example, if they love horses, have them think about saddling up and galloping away! And encourage them to keep practicing—it takes several times, but every time a bad image pops up, just keep thinking about something else. Pretty soon, that memory will begin to fade.

No Child Deserves to Face the Porn Industry Alone

Kids who interface with screens need to know what pornography is, why it’s harmful and what to do when they see it. And they also need constant mentoring. Some families use #TalkTechTuesdays to address all kinds of digital age issues. Whatever day you choose, make sure you keep talking with your kids and listening to their experiences.

I am grateful for caring adults who choose to confront pornography head on so kids won’t have to face it alone. And once you begin the conversation, it gets easier and more comfortable. You CAN DO it.

To get started, check out the free Quick Start Guide for Proactive Parents on

Kristen A. Jenson, MA is the founder of Protect Young Minds and best-selling author of the Good Pictures Bad Pictures series of read-aloud books. She serves on the Safeguard Alliance founded by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Additional Resources:

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