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Category Archives: God’s Creation

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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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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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

 

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God’s Word…Life and Truth

SAM_1167“Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us” (Psalm 67:5-6).
Praise to God
A follow-up from my blog post last week.

God often places a song of praise on my lips. The song is often from days gone by; while other times, a fresh new song pops into my mind. Most recently, To God be the glory, great things He hath done (https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/39), keeps playing. Amazing! Every time I sing a song of praise to my Father in heaven, He fills me to overflowing…with joy, tears of gratefulness.
Join me today in giving praise to God. You will be blessed.

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

“1 May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favor on us. Interlude
2 May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
3 May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
4 Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world. Interlude
5 May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
6 Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.
7 Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him” (Psalm 67).

Faith at Home Moment:
Teaching children and grandchildren to offer praise to God blesses them and honors God.
While taking a walk around the block or hiking in a park, stop and take special notice of all God has created for our enjoyment. After talking about the intricate detail and beauty of a butterfly, autumn leaf, or sun rays illuminating a waterfall, take your child’s hand and give praise to God for His amazing creation. During a worship service, sing to the Lord with all that is within you! God is an audience of One and we are the participants (worshipers).

 

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Building a Legacy of Faith ~ Autumn Leaves — Jesus Never Does!

The purpose of this weekly blog entry, titled: Building a Legacy of Faith, is to share practical and biblical ideas with parents/grandparents who are passionate about intentionally passing down their faith in Christ to their children/grandchildren. I would also like to receive other tried and true spiritual formation ideas from parents and grandparents. These may be sent to my email address at: covenantheirs@gmail.com, and from time to time, I will publish some. Please mention in your email, consent to publish (with potential edits) of your submission.

Volume 1, Issue 2 (October 3, 2013)

Building a Legacy of Faith

2 Timothy 1:5

For parents who are passionate about passing down their faith in Christ to their children.

Autumn Leaves — Jesus Never Does!

falling leaves   Summer has come to an end, but thankfully, here in the Mid-West, we are continuing to enjoy picture-perfect warm sunny days. The cooling off at dusk as daylight quickly dwindles, tells me that autumn has arrived. Even though I am more of a summer person, there’s something very captivating about fall. For me, it’s the changing colors of the leaves and bright orange pumpkins arriving on neighbors’ doorsteps, that draws me into the pleasantry of the season. Whether you have toddlers or teens, this is a great time of year to experience God’s amazing creation together as a family. Here are few suggestions:

♦  Take a Sunday afternoon drive into the country. Have everyone point out the “colors of fall” ranging from freshly cut cornstalks to blazing burnt-orange leaves. End up at a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard.

♦  Choose a day that offers a little breeze. Provide small containers for each family member. Find a location (a park, backyard), where there are plenty of trees. And as the breeze blows, chase the falling leaves, catching as many as possible. Award a small prize to the one who catches the most leaves. (Little ones can simply collect leaves from the ground.)

♦  Bake pumpkin pies or cookies and deliver them to someone who could use a sweet treat (a lonely neighbor, your pastor, a friend, a shut-in). Make a leaf-shaped card from construction paper and attach it to the treat.

After experiencing these intentional family fall moments, build in some extra time to discuss the process of dying and new life. Begin by talking about the changing seasons. For instance, summer is a time of vibrancy and life, which then surrenders itself to fall, when leaves on the trees die and fall away and many plants appear to die. Winter arrives and with it the frost and chill seem to halt all growth and life. Following winter, when it seemed as if everything had died away, spring comes forth. New life surrounds us. Daffodils, crocuses, and tulips begin to push through the once-frozen ground. The bare tree branches begin to show signs of new leaves. Talk about the New Life that is found in Jesus alone. Use these Scriptures, along with others to describe our new life in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 3:18; (Romans 3:23 & Romans 6:23); John 12:24; John 14:6

Recommended book for toddlers and preschoolers:  The Pumpkin Patch Parable, by Liz Curtis Higgs

Covenant Heirs 10/03/2013

 

 

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Beauty in the Moment

I recently received a warning from my doctor that my “bad” cholesterol was getting a little high, considering my heart disease. Not wanting to go back on medicine with painful side effects, I made a commitment to begin exercising again.

Lone Tree Typically, I run (well, walk fast) on my treadmill, but this morning I decided to walk fast outside in our neighborhood. Great choice, since I truly enjoy the outdoors in the summer. While making my last turn before heading back, I spotted the “lone tree.” I first noticed this tree while driving to get somewhere in a hurry over the past several months. This day I actually took the time to thoroughly enjoy the beauty in the moment. One dainty tree, set aside by God, for all to observe. A little further along, I noticed several yellow finches fluttering about in a God-made garden of wildflowers. Awesome! And then, arriving at my driveway, a vibrant bloom on a hibiscus plant caught my eye.

Over fifteen years ago, a college professor wisely spoke these words to me. “Be sure not to miss the journey.” At the time, all I could think about was my husband finishing Bible college so we could take our first church as pastor and wife. Thankfully, I heeded the professor’s instruction, then and now. Jeff and I took time to enjoy our journey by exploring the majestic Rocky Mountains while finishing Bible college. And now I find myself experiencing a new journey ofHibiscus transitioning from full-time ministry to the next chapter in our lives.

It is my prayer and hope that my adult children and their families, and other parents and families, will take the time to enjoy the beauty in the moment. Even though there’s a lot of bad “stuff” going on in our world, I am so thankful that our Living God continues to bless us daily with so much beauty!

 

Speaking From Experience from One Parent to Another:  Take the time to enjoy the beauty in the moment with your kids.                                                                                                                                                           +  Don’t overload your kids with too many activities, where you find yourself running from one to the next.
+   Schedule times to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Take bike rides or walks together, pointing out all the beauty God has created. It’s amazing how kids are so delighted when they spot a frog and a mud puddle, both placed in just the right spot–if you know what I mean.
+  Camp out and rediscover the names of the constellations with your kids. Remember the “Big Dipper”?

We are expecting our sixth grandchild in October. This 9-month journey is a reminder to me, of the greatest of God’s creations, the miracle of life. Nothing really compares to this moment, when a mother holds her child for the first time.

Prayer for the Journey:

Dear God, help me to enjoy each moment of every day. Help me not to miss the journey, by being too busy, or too loaded down with temporal concerns or selfish desires. Thank you, Lord, for the beauty in the moment of this new day.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 12: 38 pm - in Faith At Home, Family Time, God's Creation

 

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