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Category Archives: Building a Legacy of Faith

It’s Easy to Envision A Worldwide Flood

I’ve been thinking of all the rain and flooding the Midwest is presently experiencing, which is extremely devastating to so many people, especially those living in the heaviest hit areas. I recall crossing the Mississippi River in 1993 when its banks were overflowing. Sadly, experts are predicting the flood of 2019 could surpass the historic flood of 1993. Yet, there is another flood that surpasses these two floods and all others in history. It was a global flood that wiped out all living creatures on the earth, except for one righteous man, Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives, and pairs (male and female) of every living creature according to its kind. (Genesis 6-8)

It’s easy to envision a worldwide flood, one where God intentionally flooded the entire earth in forty days and nights with nonstop rain. Thankfully, God promised never to destroy the entire earth again in this manner. “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11).find-rainbow-day

As tragic as it is for people to experience the horrific effects of floods (especially the loss of life, homes, and livelihoods), an even worse tragedy is to go through all of life without acknowledging God as the Creator and Sustainer of eternal life, which is found only through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus.

This Scripture keeps creeping into my mind: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24-28a). The apostle Paul being distressed over the idols in the city of Athens, preached the good news of Jesus and His resurrection. Some of them “sneered” while others “wanted to hear more” and some became believers.

The evidence is clear, not only of the worldwide flood that occurred during the day of Noah, but most importantly, the evidence of the One True God and His one and only Son, who died for the sins of all humankind, and was resurrected on the third day, and is now preparing a place (in Heaven), for all who will call upon His holy name. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

My heartfelt prayers go out to all the flood victims across our country.

Suggested Resources for parents and grandparents who are intentionally discipling their children and grandchildren in the LORD:

Answers in Genesis – https://answersingenesis.org/

The Ark Encounter:  https://arkencounter.com/

Creation Museum: https://creationmuseum.org/

https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/

https://answersingenesis.org/kids/videos/science/mount-st-helens/

 

 

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Biggest Regret as a Mom

I recently shared with my family that my biggest regret as a mom was not helping our children learn to read and study the Bible. As a rather young mom and new Christian, it took me awhile before I realized the importance of daily Bible reading in my own life. This happened several years after receiving Jesus as my Savior.

I look back and recall the first time the Bible became a focal point in our home. Shortly after my husband surrendered his life to Jesus, he began reading the Bible every night after returning home from working the 3 – 11 pm shift. I immediately witnessed the transformation that was taking place in Jeff’s new life. Tweaking my curiosity, I began reading parts of the Bible and other resources which led me to understand my sinfulness apart from the loving and saving grace of Christ.

Our family 81After Jeff and I received Jesus as our Savior, we immediately started attending church together as a family. So many beautiful memories flood my heart as I look back on this time of growing in the wisdom and knowledge of the LORD while raising our children.

Some researchers say there’s a definite decline in church attendance by young families; probably for multiple reasons. Stop it! Parents, please beware of the devil’s scheme to dethrone Christ in your life and home. Believers need one another and Christ’s Church, to grow in faith through the Word and prayer, enjoying sweet fellowship, and to worship the One True God corporately.  No regrets from this mom for taking our children to church (every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and all the other special services).

Every human being has a natural inclination toward worship. If our world isn’t rightly ordered, we will end up worshiping and serving things besides God. It isn’t until we’re able to rightly prioritize God above everything else in our world that we can begin to worship in spirit and truth.

Spurgeon quote

Thankfully, our children were learning the basic Bible stories at church from their Sunday school teachers and becoming familiar with Scripture through programs like Bible quizzing, Vacation Bible school, and from holiness pastors who unashamedly preached God’s Word faithfully.

Back to my biggest regret. I missed the opportunity to nurture our children’s faith in Christ by helping them learn to read and study the Bible in our home. Yes, we read and even memorized some Bible verses together, especially when preparing the kids for a Bible quiz, and we had family devotions that taught biblical principles. Regretfully though, we never specifically trained our children to build an intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father by diligently reading the Bible with them or teaching them to seek God and His wisdom by reading their Bibles. Yes, they all had their own Bibles with nice covers, and they carried them to church. And thankfully, I know their teachers taught them to read their Bibles while at church. So, you see, the Church is vital in partnering with parents to effectively disciple our children and youth. The primary responsibility of training children in the ways of the LORD, however, remains the role of the parents. The reason: To produce Godly offspring. (Malachi 2:15):

Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.”

A primary purpose of marriage is the production of Godly offspring—that is, offspring trained in the ways of the Lord. Notice how the Scripture says “Godly offspring”—

If parents fail to transmit knowledge to the next generation, then that generation will not have the knowledge to transmit to generations after. Consider (Psalm 78:1-7):

family Bible reading“My people hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”

 (Excerpts above provided from the following article.)

Where Are All The Godly Offspring?

BY KENNETH HAM  | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 01, 1989

https://www.icr.org/article/where-are-all-godly-offspring/

And from the Word of God through Moses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9):

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

As I draw near to God every morning through His infallible Holy Word, I can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to miss out on this amazing love story of God for His creation. The apostle Paul reminded young pastor Timothy of this when mentoring him for the ministry of Jesus Christ.  (2 Timothy 3:14-17):

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,  and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Learning of my God-given responsibility a little later than I would have liked, I am now using every opportunity I have to encourage our grandchildren to read and study the Bible. I keep several age-appropriate Bibles on hand to read with them, and as they begin reading, to read to me.  

If your children or grandchildren are not learning to read and study their Bibles in your home, possibly you could begin by instructing them. First, be sure that you are being intentional with your personal Bible reading. Kids often will model what they see their parents doing (at least when they are young). Prayer is the key. Ask God to give your children a desirous heart for knowing God and for digesting His holy Word. Challenges and resistance will arise. Expect it and prepare for them. Don’t back away from raising Godly offspring. The world and the evil one would like nothing better than for you to raise children who are living their lives by the varied opinions of others rather than truth from their Creator and Heavenly Father, the God of our universe and caretaker of our eternal souls.

I hope that you will not have the same regret I have. It truly could mean the difference between your children living a life of eternal significance for the glory of God or simply living a self-centered life that leads to destruction and eternal Hell. Don’t take the risk that your children will learn all about God and His plan for their salvation in Christ through church (they may), but they may not.

 

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The Sparkle Box

sparkle box picWith the busyness of the Christmas season, I was determined to read The Sparkle Box book to two of our grandchildren last night. I’ve read it to all our grands the past few years and each time it helps me to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Christ and sharing the love of Jesus with others.

The story depicts a little boy, Sam, who anxiously wants to open the sparkle box that sits on the fireplace mantle. His mother tells him that they must first fill the box up before opening it on Christmas day.

Unknowingly to Sam, his mom begins writing down acts of love their family offers throughout the Christmas season and puts the slips of paper into the sparkle box. There are several, but not to give the whole story away, here’s the one that touches my heart (and the heart of our grandchildren) the most.

“Mittens and candy bar given to a man in need.”

While driving back home from dropping off some blankets and other items at the homeless shelter, Sam noticed a man curled up and lying on a park bench. Sam’s mom said, “That’s someone who might get one of our blankets.” A few days later, while shopping with his mother, Sam bought some mittens for the “mitten tree” at his school and a candy bar for himself. But as they were leaving the store, the man they had seen lying on the park bench entered the store. Immediately drawn to the tired-looking man, Sam ran by him sticking the gloves and the candy bar into the man’s hands as he and his mom left the store.

To read The Sparkle book online, you may go to this website https://www.thesparklebox.com/ It is free to read through December 31. 2018.

After finishing the book, our grandkids said that they would like to go by and visit their friends at the nursing care facility and take them some Christmas gifts. Emy recalled that her friend enjoys ceramics, so she said she’d like to buy her a paint set. And Max said he’d like to take his friend some sugar packets because his friend loves lots of sugar in his coffee.

lights shine brightOur grandchildren’s ministry, Lights Shine Bright, makes routine visits to a local nursing care facility. Each grandchild has been assigned a special friend who doesn’t receive many visitors. They (Lights Shine Bright) will present the Tale of Three Trees at the nursing care facility during the Christmas season.

I am thankful for the time God gifts to me, to intentionally spend time with our grandchildren, as we live out a love for Jesus and others.

Reading books to children and grandchildren can be a cherished memory. Our daughter started a Christmas tradition of reading 25 Christmas books with her children throughout the Advent season. One-a-day!

 

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Trust in the LORD

sf_trustinthelord_02

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).

me-and-girls.jpgIf I had only one passage of Scripture to share with my children and grandchildren, I believe Proverbs 3:5-7 would rank very close to the top.

Having years of life experiences behind me now at age sixty-one, trusting in the LORD or on my own understanding has definitely been a teeter-totter ride for me.

As with most people, it’s easy for me to trust in the LORD when all is at rest or there’s little to worry about. I’ve learned, however, that this is actually the best time to build up a reserve of trust in the LORD. For we all know that the storms of life often arrive with little or no warning.

Building a reserve of trust in the LORD

  • Set aside a specific time and place to meet with God daily.
  • Read God’s Word daily. Choose a reading plan that works best for you in the varied seasons of life.
  • Spend quality and quantity time simply being in God’s presence without any distractions.
  • Prayer is always a two-way conversation. God desires us to share our hearts openly with him, which is usually the easiest part of prayer. Then, be sure to wait in the quietness of your mind to listen for God’s gentle and loving voice to speak to you.
  • Share your prayer requests with those who love you.
  • Use a journal to write down your thoughts as God speaks to you through his word and through prayer. Record all the significant joy-filled blessings in your life, as well as the difficult circumstances that come your way. Be sure to date these, because as you look back over the years, you will see how God has faithfully been watching over you and caring for your every need. It always amazes me and strengthens my faith to see how God works out His best for me especially when the circumstances seem so overwhelming at the time.
  • Share your testimony of God’s faithfulness in your life with others.
  • “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
 

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Creation Vacation

While on vacation with our daughters and their families, we took the opportunity to reinforce some Bible truths during a creation trail.

Creation BagArriving near the top of Hot Springs Mountain (Arkansas), everyone hopped out of their cars and quickly located a shady spot with some large rocks to sit on. I quickly handed out small brown bags with these words written on them: Creation Vacation, “In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1).

After sharing a brief devotion about creation and the significance of Sabbath, I asked everyone to look for special finds along the trail that remind them of God’s creation. They later amazed me with all the unique items that filled their bags.

Their remarks:

“The red berry reminds me of the blood of Jesus.”   Butterfly wings

“Butterfly wings, an awesome find!”

“This fern sprig will remind me of our special trail with our grandchildren.”

It is extremely important to teach our children and grandchildren God’s Word, beginning at an early age.

In Old Testament times, the primary purpose of education among the Jews was the learning of and obedience to the law of God, the Torah. The word Torah can refer to all Jewish beliefs, however, it commonly refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The home was considered the first and most effective environment in the education process, and parents were considered the first and most effective teachers of their children.

The trailDeuteronomy 6:5-7 gives clear instruction into how parents are to teach their children about God:Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Parents are instructed to use various ordinary activities of life as avenues to teach about God. All of life permeated by spiritual meaning and teaching about God can flow naturally from life’s everyday activities as parents choose to be intentional in training their children.

Basic means of imparting spiritual knowledge to children is by example, imitation, conversation and stories. Parents can utilize the interest aroused in their children by actual life observances (birth of a child, holidays, illness, death, marriage, Sabbath, vacations, and so on).

If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.

emy new cross heart

 

 

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When you love your Lord less, you love the world more…,

If-we-dont-teach-our-children-to-follow-Christ-the-world-will-teach-them-not-to

While driving home from our church’s Vacation Bible School last night I heard a stirring message on the radio. These words pierced my heart: “When you love your Lord less, you love the world more, and it infiltrates your life and you tolerate sin.”

As a Christian mom and grandmother, it is my desire to help reverse this trend, that is sadly reflected in our world today. I want to love the Lord more and thereby love the world less. How can I do this? Only by the divine presence of a Holy God who permeates my mind, body, and spirit.

A while back, Jeff and I led a parenting series called “Faith At Home.” A large part of the training sessions deal with developing a spiritual plan for the family, and making a family covenant with God.

Here’s a sampling of what I feel lays the foundation for mapping out a family’s spiritual plan. It all begins with valuing the things that honor God in our daily lives.

STEP #2 — VALUES

What do we really believe?

Values are the non-negotiable truths you hold that direct your family’s behavior. They are motivational. They provide an answer for the “why” of every circumstance in life, and they place boundaries around behavior.

The values we teach and model for our children (& grandchildren) have a major impact on their lives. Our values teach them who they’re meant to be and how to be that way. Passing a clear set of core values to your children is the thing that most clearly defines the uniqueness of your family.

Values aren’t taught just by bringing children to church or having a little talk. Children learn values through daily interaction with their parents. They learn them in everyday, ordinary encounters with Mom and Dad. They learn by listening to what we say and watching what we do.   “…when you sit at home and when you walk along the road.” (Living out Deut. 6:4-9)

So it’s important that parents model what they teach and teach what they model. When parents have integrity—that is, when their teaching and example are consistent—the communication of their core values becomes compelling to children. (Most children will grow up and live what has been modeled to them by their parents/grandparents.) Proverbs 22:6

Children become confused when Mom and Dad don’t teach (or model) the same values. Parents can find unity in their values by finding out what God has to say. Discussions about values can often lead Mom and Dad to a richer understanding and refinement of their core beliefs. Parents also learn to appreciate the perspective of their spouses when they see how some differences can be useful.

** Becoming a Christ-centered family begins by defining your family’s core values, and determining that these core values are in line with God’s core values found in Scripture.

“Discipling children is about sharing with them the model of the life you live in Christ, on a daily basis.” – Debbie Salter Goodwin

To learn more about making a spiritual plan for your family, go to my blog site: www.covenantheirs.org and click on the tab at the top of the page: Making a Family Covenant.

 

 

 

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Teachable Moments

Jack & Julia at batWhile at our grandchildren’s ballgame the other night, I observed my son-in-law seize a teachable moment. My husband and I had front row lawn chairs, as we watched Jack, who is seven, play against his sister, Julia, who is five. It was the “big game”and Jack had already set the stage for a win against his sister’s team. Funny, at this level, they don’t even keep score.

We watched and cheered, along with other family members, as Jack and Julia both hit the ball at their at-bats. Jack slugged the ball deep into the outfield twice, and boy was he excited, and so were we.

As Jack slid into home plate, he proudly paraded by the fence as his fans applauded. As one grandpa put it, “He’s show-boating.” We later found out from his mother that Jack was just imitating his favorite ball team, the KC Royals.

Jack’s dad took this moment to quickly pull Jack aside and explain to him about having a humble spirit, and not to draw so much attention to himself. I’m not sure what all was said, but I can tell you one thing, our grandson loves and respects his earthly father, who is teaching Jack and his other two children to respect their Heavenly Father.

In the parent study, Effective Parenting In A Defective World, the author, Chip Ingram, instructs parents to keep their focus clearly on the bulls-eye (Jesus and God’s principles), rather than carelessly missing the target by following the world’s standards.

I am thankful that my son-in-law is training his children to become like Jesus; in this instance, humble.

Philippians 2 (NIV)

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

 

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