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Category Archives: Holy Living

It’s not an issue of gun control, it’s an issue of a nation’s diseased heart.

Graham at Arrowhead StadiumRecalling 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.

Decision MagazineI’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)

https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/february-2018/spiritual-heart-disease/

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.”

Billy Graham

“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).

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2018 3: 01 pm - in Holy Living

 

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Two Hours, Two Barbies, Too Little Left

anreWhile 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?”

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2016 2: 52 pm - in Holy Living

 

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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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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

“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).

stock-photo-4036655-lonely-woman-praying-in-churchI fondly recall my grandmother’s reverent posture as we entered the church sanctuary every Sunday morning. During my young impressionable years, I took notice. Soon after sitting on the pew, my grandmother quietly bowed her head in prayer. No one told her to do this, I thought. This simple act of worship remains in my heart and mind today.

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

“1 Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. 10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. 13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. 14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. 15 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. 16 The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here. 17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children 18 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. 21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! 22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord” (Psalm 103 NLT).

Faith At Home Moment

Reverence: Honor or respect that is shown to someone. A gesture of respect is to bow. (Webster Dictionary)

I sense a decline of reverence toward our Heavenly Father in our society. This saddens me. According to the Bible, “The fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” (Psalm 111:10).

I know I fall short many times when it comes to honoring my Heavenly Father, through self-centered words, thoughts, and actions. My desire, however, is to please God by revering Him for who He is.

Teaching our children to honor and respect God should be a high priority. We honor God by making Him number one in our lives (at home, church, work, and play); secondly, we honor God by respecting others.  Jesus summed it up this way: 37 “Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:36-40 NLT).

Help your children memorize the Ten Commandments, and discuss how each commandment honors God and respects others. (Read Exodus 20:1-17) 

The Children’s Version of the Ten Commandments

1. Have no other gods.
2. Have no idols.
3. Honor God’s name.
4. Honor the Sabbath day.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not lie.
10. Do not covet.

Family Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, help me to honor you in all that I say and do. I can’t do this without your help. Please forgive me when I fall short of honoring you and respecting others. I ask this in your precious Son’s name, Jesus. Amen.


 

 

 

 
 

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No more Stinkin’ Thinkin’!

 no stinkin thinkin 1No more Stinkin’ thinkin’…impossible?  Depends on what you tend to think about.

What consumes your thoughts on a daily basis? Take a few moments to answer this question (it won’t take long), then reflect upon the following.

If your thoughts are continually focused on this world and all the “things” promising satisfaction, you are no doubt miserable! Take it from a person who has from time to time walked this dead-end path. Fortunately, I’ve learned a better way of thinking….that leads to a life that fully satisfies, and at times, splashes hope, joy, peace, and love onto those who happen across my path.

Note to self and friends:  Learning and living this out is a daily surrender and dependence upon God.

Most recently, I found myself consumed with worry. Yes, the big W. Although I memorized Philippians 4:6 many years ago, I hadn’t been living it out, nor had I replaced my stinkin’ thinkin’ with thoughts that lead to hope, joy, peace, and love.

First, let’s look at one of my favorite passages of Scripture:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

– Worry about NOTHING

– Pray about EVERYTHING

– Thank God for ALL THINGS

Often we try to avoid or rid ourselves of thoughts that are unhealthy and or unholy with our own will power. This is not the best method. In fact, we will find ourselves powerless over thoughts that originate from the flesh, the world, and Satan, unless God’s power, through His Holy Spirit is at work in our lives.

Paul instructed the Church of Philippi, and future Christians, to fill their minds with the following:

Whatever...“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

I believe this is a great plan! Instead of going around with stinkin’ thinkin’, I’d much rather think upon such things that lead to peace.

Parents and grandparents, take this challenge.

No more Stinkin’ Thinkin’!

Discover the meaning of such things and then help your children/grandchildren catch you living out a thoughtful life in Christ, setting an example for them to follow.

Brief definitions (paraphrased from Webster Dictionary, etc.):

True — Agreeing with the facts, not with anything false.  And I will go a little further than Webster: Not only agreeing with the facts, but living a life that substantiates all that is true. Qualities: steadfast, faithful, honest, just, truthful

Jesus said, “I am the true vine…” (John 15:1).

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Noble — Having, showing, or coming from personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.)

The Scripture that comes to mind:  Proverbs 31:10 – The Wife of Noble Character

Right — Morally correct or acceptable; agreeing with the facts or truth; accurate or correct; speaking, acting, or judging in a way that agrees with the facts or truth. Sounds somewhat similar to the definition of True.

Pure — Not mixed with anything else; clean and not harmful in any way; being free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes; being free from everything that might make dirty, change, or lower the quality

Synonyms: spotless, stainless

“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.  They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:3-6).

Lovely – That what is attractive or beautiful especially in a graceful way; very good or likable; very pleasing; having a beautiful character

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Admirable — Deserving to be admired; deserving the highest esteem

Excellent — Very good; extremely good; that what is superior or first-class

“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question–if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17 NLT).

Praiseworthy — Deserving praise; worthy of praise

God is worthy of all our praise.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11).

Daily Challenge: Read and meditate on God’s Word (Holy Scripture).

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (Joshua 1:8).

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).

All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2015 12: 43 pm - in Holy Living

 

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