Category Archives: Holy Living
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.
Recalling Rev. Billy Graham’s message when he spoke at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, 2004. He had keen spiritual insight into the way our country was headed. And sadly, he was right.
Both Graham and his eldest son, fellow evangelist Franklin Graham, linked their religious messages to contemporary issues.
“There is a great move on in this country to take prayer out of the schools, take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, and take down the Ten Commandments,” Billy Graham said from the Arrowhead Stadium platform. “As a nation it seems we are turning away from God. But Jesus Christ is coming back, and that is the future of this world.”
Recalling how Rev. Billy Graham personally touched our lives:
Rev. Billy Graham’s message of the loving and saving grace of Christ touched our lives, especially through Decision Magazine.
I’ll always remember how my husband read Decision magazine following his salvation in 1981. Decision magazine was delivered to our home back then in the form of a newspaper. Not being a Christian at the time, I started reading Decision to see what Jeff was so interested in. After seeing such a miraculous change in Jeff’s life and reading the wonderful accounts of God’s amazing love and transformational power in the lives of thousands, I surrendered my life to Jesus about six months after Jeff.
While looking for earlier publications of Decision magazine, I came across an article that touched my heart this morning. The article is titled Spiritual Heart Disease, a sermon preached by Billy Graham in 1957. I was gripped with the thought that this is truly what America is suffering from. It’s not an issue of gun control, it’s an issue of a nation’s diseased heart. And the only cure is Jesus. Our nation, once established and founded on the One True God and his guiding Scriptural principles has lost its way, and our children and our children’s children are paying a horrible price for our negligence and compromise.
May God raise up a people who will once again humbly repent of their sins (individually and as a nation), who will turn from their/our wicked and stubborn/prideful ways, and who will fully surrender their hearts to Christ our Savior and King.
We desperately need revival, a revival of the heart in America. But if not, “Jesus is coming back, and that is the future of this world.”
Rev. Billy Graham’s message, Spiritual Heart Disease, sermon preached May 23, 1957, at the historic New York crusade. (From Decision Magazine, February 6, 2018)
And do you know the greatest stumbling block to the Kingdom of God? Murder? No. Drunkenness? No. Adultery? No, pride. More people stay out of the Kingdom of God because they’re proud than any other reason. We don’t like to humble ourselves and come to the cross of Christ, and say, “O God, I’m a sinner.”
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
While shopping for our youngest granddaughter’s birthday gift, I wandered around the toy store for over two hours. Why?
Living in the United States where our culture lends itself toward having more than enough, I couldn’t think of anything my granddaughter didn’t already have.
Texting back and forth with her mother: “yes, she has that, and yes, her big sister has that,” and so on. Finally, her mom thought of something. “She doesn’t have any Barbie dolls, and she likes playing with them at her other grandmother’s home.” Bingo!
While searching for deals and modestly-dressed Barbies, I was somewhat pleased with my find. Buy one, get one half price. Great! Now I could get two Barbies and stay within my budget.
Here’s a few of my thoughts, however, that ran through my mind during and following my lengthy shopping experience.
- Worship that doesn’t cost me something isn’t true worship. (I heard this statement the night prior, spoken by Dr. Ravi Zacharias.) I believe God’s Spirit was reminding me to refrain from frivolous spending when so many in the world have so little.
- Why am I spending so much time picking out a gift for my granddaughter? (Feeling a bit uneasy (convicted) while wasting so much time on material possession.)
- Shouldn’t I purchase a more meaningful gift, from a Christian bookstore?
- Little Anré probably doesn’t even have one doll, let alone two. I met Anré (about 3 years old), during a mission trip. I keep her photo in my living room as a reminder of how little some have compared to all that I have.
Most recently, someone shared a quote with me from John Wesley. “Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” Tweaking my interest, I did a little research, disclosing a bit of reasoning behind this quote. Here’s what I learned:
While at Oxford, an incident changed Charles Wesley’s perspective on money. He had just finished paying for some pictures for his room when one of the chambermaids came to his door. It was a cold winter day, and he noticed that she had nothing to protect her except a thin linen gown. He reached into his pocket to give her some money to buy a coat but found he had too little left. Immediately, the thought struck him that the Lord was not pleased with the way he had spent his money. He asked himself, Will thy Master say, “Well done, good and faithful steward?” Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money which might have screened this poor creature from the cold! O justice! O mercy! Are not these pictures the blood of this poor maid? Perhaps as a result of this incident, in 1731, Wesley began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor.
To read this article in its entirety:
About Money – John Wesley
An article written by Charles Edward White, assistant professor, Christian thought and history Spring Arbor (Michigan) College http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/what-wesley-practiced-and-preached-about-money
Another quote that helps me keep an eternal perspective:
“Little is much when God is in it.”
For further study: Jesus Feeds the 5000 (with a little boy’s sack lunch), John 6:1-14
Materialism: A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
Children’s values form early as they observe the daily choices/actions of their parents.
More from the article, About Money – Parenthesis added are mine.
Wesley especially warned against buying too much for children. People who would never waste money on themselves might be more indulgent with their children (and grandchildren). On the principle that gratifying a desire needlessly only tends to increase it, he asked these well-intentioned parents: “Why should you purchase for them more pride or lust, more vanity or foolish and hurtful desires? …Why should you be at further expense to increase their temptations and snares and to pierce them through with more sorrows?”
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.
“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.
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.”