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Category Archives: Faith at Home

Creative ideas for living out faith in the home.

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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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).

 

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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

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

 

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God’s Word…Life and Truth

“Unspoken Words”

Prayer-before-reading-the-Bible

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Spoken words are pleasing or unpleasing to God.

It’s relatively easy for me to speak kindly when “all is well.”

Not so easy, during stressful moments.

Yesterday was one of those moments. Thus, I hesitated to complete this post.

Prior to sinful words proceeding from the mouth, provoking thoughts loom.

Thoughts originating in the hidden places of the heart where only God can see.

18 “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:18-20 ESV).

Unspoken words identify the condition of one’s heart.

I have found that the only way to keep my thoughts pure is to meditate on the Word of God.

12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).

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

“1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. 10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. 11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19 NLT).

Faith at Home Moment:

Parents and grandparents, how is your Bible reading? Our children’s first impression of the Bible begins with us. When we exhibit a love for God’s Word through daily Scripture reading we are setting a holy precedence for our children to follow. Here are a few suggestions for reading the Bible.

– Set aside a specific time and place to read the Bible each day.

– Pray before reading the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to give you clear understanding.

– Use a journal/notebook to write down the thoughts God gives you while reading the Bible.

Suggested Resource:  How To Read the Bible (So it Changes Your Life.)  http://www.cometothefire.org/books/how-to-read-the-bible-so-it-changes-your-life

Select an age-appropriate Bible for children. There are many good ones to choose from. Visit a Christian bookstore or check out some online at:

http://www.christianbook.com/page/bibles/childrens-bibles

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2015 11: 44 am - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Faith at Home, Holy Living

 

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God’s Word…Life and Truth

 Joy in the Journey

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. (Psalm 16:11)”

joy in the journey

Anticipating beautiful fall foliage in Minnesota – JOY!

A professor once told me, “Don’t miss the joy in the journey.”

He was right!

Awaiting Jeff’s graduation from Bible College, we explored the

Colorado Mountains…cheered at volleyball games & homecoming courts…made new friendships…and experienced God’s presence.

By the saving grace of Jesus, I anticipate my eternal home with gladness, and thank God for granting me joy in the journey of life.

Facebook Friends, May the Psalms draw you close to God.

“Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. 10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. 11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalm 16, NLT).

Faith at Home Moment:

Living for Jesus brings great joy into our lives. Yes, at times we have sad and lonely days during our days on earth, but praise be to God, His presence is with us, filling us with hope, peace, and eternal joy in the journey of life. Our children need to see the joy we experience by living for Jesus. The Gospel is Good News! Take a few minutes each day reading through the Gospel of John with your children. Pray that God will fill you with His joy even in the midst of struggles. An oldie but goodie song to sing along with children: Joy, Joy Down In My Heart – http://www.psalty.com/track/687853/joy-joy-down-in-my-heart?feature_id=140418

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2015 11: 16 am - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Faith at Home

 

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