RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2015

God’s Word…Life and Truth – “No Complaining” Thanksgiving Challenge

gas sign

On my commute to work this morning, $1.88 per gallon caught my eye.

Rarely pumping my own gas, I don’t take too much notice of gas prices.

I do recall, however, complaining about the nearing $4.00 per gallon.

So, I am thankful for lower gas prices

and a thoughtful husband who fills up my gas tank. smiley 2

I’d like to propose a “No Complaining” challenge this Thanksgiving.

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s more common to complain about something/anything, than it is to be grateful.

If you’re up for it, “like” on Facebook for “No Complaining” Thanksgiving challenge.

Facebook friends: May the Psalms draw you near to God.

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,  or he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today! The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did. 10 For forty years I was angry with them, and I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ 11 So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest’” (Psalm 95 NLT).

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 25, 2015 10: 37 am - in Psalms, Seasonal Celebrations

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

God’s Word…Life and Truth

Do you know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday?

Lord, out of the mouth of children___This week I asked my grandchildren what they wanted for Christmas. Before they had time to answer, Max, our 4-year-old grandson, looked up at me and said, “Do you know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday?” Touching my heart deeply, I responded, “Yes.” Then I asked Max what kind of gift(s) he would like to give Jesus. He instantly replied, “A heart box.” I said, “Oh that sounds very nice; I think Jesus will like that.” Pausing for a moment, Max continued, “How do we get our gifts to Jesus?” “And does Jesus have a cell phone?”

I believe Max’s question requires some introspection.

As we busy ourselves with gift-buying and endless holiday gatherings, let’s remember to intentionally celebrate the birth of our dear Savior, Jesus.

Max’s Heart Box for Jesus

Nana’s Instructions

Help children make a Heart Box. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fill the box with special “gifts” for Jesus. Place the box under the tree and open on Christmas morning. Family members take turns reading or sharing the gifts given to Jesus.

Suggested prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to our world. These gifts are for You, in honor of Your Birthday. For You taught us, whatever we do for those in need, we do for You.

For similar ideas, see the “Sparkle Box” story at: http://www.thesparklebox.com/

Gift Ideas for Jesus:

  • Showing love to others.

  • Sharing.

  • Obeying parents. (Picking up toys, not fighting with siblings, etc.)

  • Helping others in need. (Purchase a gift for a needy child.)

  • Give canned goods to a local homeless shelter. / Serve at a homeless shelter.

  • Donate new or gently used toys to the Salvation Army, etc. / Volunteer ringing bells for S.A.

  • Pray for the special needs of others.

  • Visit a nursing home or shut-ins, taking homemade cookies.

  • Tangible items (Younger children: rocks, colored pictures, birthday cards, etc.)

  • Make a card for Sunday school/school teachers, etc.

  • Be creative! And let your child come up with his/her own gift ideas.

Store the heart box in a handy place, so that you can get it out every Thanksgiving.

HEART BOX FOR JESUS

Materials Needed:
Wood box with latch (Michael’s or Hobby Lobby), or make own.
Wooden heart
Paint (Various colors, including red for heart.)
Picture of child
Shellac or Mod Podge
Glue
Typed label or handwritten (FOR JESUS) under the heart.

 – Paint the wooden hearts and the wood boxes.  Let dry.

– May choose to decorate boxes with markers, etc.

– Glue picture of child on hearts.

– Shellac (Mod Podge) pictures / and if desired, the entire box. Let dry.

May the Psalms draw you near to God.

“LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants…” (Psalm 8:1-2 NIV).

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

God’s Word…Life and Truth

“Give Thanks”

 “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1).

Thanksgiving is a time to remember all the blessings in our lives.

Let’s begin now…and continue all year long.

Our daughter started a new Thanksgiving tradition last year. Their family makes a Thankful Tree. The children find a tree branch and place it in a homemade container and then cut out leaves made from construction paper. Each day the children and their parents write something they want to thank God for on a leaf and then hang the leaves on the tree branch.  — Adapted from Changing Seasons In Me, article originally written Nov. 13, 2014.

 

Jack and Julia

I’m not fond of the winter months. In fact, my wardrobe is indicative of this, having many more summer clothes than winter. My hands shiver when walking down the freezer aisle at the grocery store…in the summer!

A thankful spirit often requires a different or new perspective on life’s familiarities. Otherwise, we may find ourselves taking for granted the blessings right in front of us….our family, the changing colors of autumn, a red bird perched on a snow-covered branch, and so on. While driving home from work the other day, my husband called and told me to look outside at the beautiful sunset. I ran out on our deck, only to be disappointed I had missed the window of opportunity.

To keep our children from missing the windows of opportunity, we (parents and grandparents) have the awesome responsibility to train our children to have watchful eyes, for the many blessings we receive each day. This takes intentionality! Children and adults not fully surrendered to Christ, are naturally self-absorbed and can easily miss the joy God intends. Looking at the world through eternal lenses portrays true and lasting blessings. The following story depicts two diverse perspectives from ten men who received the same blessing.

Jesus Heals Ten Men with Leprosy – Luke 17:11-19

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

After reading and contemplating the two varying responses to the lepers’ healing, ask yourself how you may have responded? Would it be more like the nine, or the one?  I’d like to propose two diverse perspectives—the temporal and the eternal.

The temporal perspective:

“The nine” cleansed lepers missed their window of opportunity to receive an even greater blessing, far beyond their physical healing. Here are a few possible reasons “the nine” didn’t go back to thank Jesus.

  • Being in isolation for so long, their minds were solely focused on returning to their former lifestyle.

  • They may have thought Jesus was simply doing what He was “supposed” to do…heal people. Therefore, they took their healing for granted.

  • Some may have said something like, “I’m sure God wants me to get busy fulfilling the plans He purposed for my life.”

The eternal perspective:

“The one” leper who came back to thank Jesus not only recognized the miraculous healing in his life, he experienced the greater blessing—the presence of a loving and merciful Savior. His perspective was filled with overflowing gratefulness, a direct result of being Christ-focused rather than self-absorbed.

The following quotes are from the book, Love Made Perfect—Foundations for the Holy Life (1997), authored by Dr. William M. Greathouse (April 29, 1919 – March 24, 2011), minister and emeritus general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene.

“Self-love is the disease of original sin.”  “Idolatrous self-love is our sickness, but it is a sickness God wants to cure.”

To help our children develop a grateful heart like the “one leper,” I believe we must first explain that everyone is born with a sinful nature. The sinful nature will naturally dispose every human heart toward being self-absorbed. The only cure for a self-absorbed life is full surrender to Christ. I recommend reading Dr. Greathouse’s book, Love Made Perfect, for a fuller understanding of loving God with one’s whole heart, strength, and mind—a love perfected in us through Christ alone.

Secondly, we need to stop and “smell the roses.” I love this definition for the idiom “smell the roses.”

To take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.

Parent Challenge

Take time to thank God throughout your day. Don’t let the busyness of your schedule or life’s distractions keep you from missing out on the blessings of life. Begin by thanking God for your precious children, spouse, friends, church family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Practice pointing out the blessings of life to your children, as you drive along the road. The changing seasons exude with God’s blessings.

My new perspective of winter:  I love sitting by a fire on a cold wintry day with my husband. Building snowmen with our grandchildren imparts cherished memories of innocent smiles and silly giggles into my heart. Christmas brings the greatest blessing of all, as our family gathers together to sing happy birthday to Jesus. God warms my heart throughout the winter.

More Traditions

Thanksgiving tablecloth. Using the same tablecloth every year, each family member writes what they are thankful for on the tablecloth. The little ones love to make turkeys as they trace around their hands. Use permanent fabric markers or pens.

Indian Corn: Our grandchildren help me place several kernels of Indian corn by each table setting. Before eating our meal everyone shares something they are thankful for and then they place a kernel of corn into a decorative basket. Our basket goes around the table several times because the children have such thankful hearts.

 wreathThe first Sunday of Advent is November 29 this year (2015). There are limitless resources available to help families prepare their hearts to celebrate Christ’s birth. The Advent wreath is one of my favorites.

Check out Christian Book.com at:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=Advent+devotionals+for+families&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

God’s Word…Life and Truth

ben-zobrist“Victory Belongs to the LORD”

“Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people”(Psalm 3:8 NLT).

Everyone loves to cheer their team on to victory.

The Kansas City Royals overcame “several” losing seasons and are now 2015 World Series champions.

It was exciting watching the ballgames, especially clincher game 5. Raised a St. Louis Cardinal fan, I had hoped for a matchup with the Redbirds. Maybe next year!

One Met’s player stood out to me during the World Series: Daniel Murphy.

Knowing nothing about this second baseman prior to the World Series,

I thought to myself, “There’s something different about this guy.”

No anger after striking out multiple times and missing some key plays?

I later learned Daniel Murphy is a Christian.

“Oh, that’s the reason he seemed different.”

I’m sure he’s not perfect. In fact, he alludes to this in one of his interviews.

We tend to glamorize “star” sports figures/teams and Hollywood celebrities and the like.

I think by doing so we set ourselves and our children up for idol worship.

How can we guard against idol worship?

By pointing to the One who deserves all our praise and glory.

Ben Zobrist, second baseman for the Kansas City Royals and Daniel Murphy did just that.

Zobrist’s verbal acknowledgement after the World Series clinching 7-2 victory:

 “This is incredible, a very prepared team, everybody is prepared but, you know, you prepare the horse for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord,” Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/world-series-champ-ben-zobrist-victory-belongs-to-the-lord-royals-149083/#cRj1WoFJV7gfDPQI.99

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

Facebook friends: May the Psalms draw you near to God.

Psalm 3https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+3

Dayton Moore, General Manager, Kansas City Royals. Mr. Moore is a follower of Jesus Christ and readily accredits the success of the KC Royals team to emphasizing moral character within the organization. To read more about Dayton Moore, Ben Zobrist, and Daniel Murphy, click-on the following links.

http://www.bpnews.net/45231/royals-gm-character-key-to-teams-turnaround

http://www1.cbn.com/video/daniel-murphy-a-light-in-the-outfield

http://www.christianpost.com/news/world-series-champ-ben-zobrist-victory-belongs-to-the-lord-royals-149083/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VPowsOl_Ug

Faith at Home

Shape the moral character traits in your children. Helpful resources:

* Character Crew: Develop Moral Character http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/spiritual-growth-for-kids/character-crew/character-crew-developing-moral-character

* Character Matters! Raising Kids With Values That Last http://www.christianbook.com/character-matters-raising-values-that-last/john-yates/9780801064104/pd/64102

For Parents & Baseball Fans: More Than a Season: Building a Championship Culture, Dayton Moore, Author   http://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Season-Building-Championship/dp/1629371556

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 6, 2015 11: 50 am - in Faith At Home, Holy Living, Morality, Psalms

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,