Category Archives: Holy Living
While reading my Bible this morning, I was reminded of how much God loves me. Interestingly enough, this early Valentine’s message came through a very unlikely passage of Scripture: Numbers 25 and 31 New International Version (NIV). The swiftness of God’s punishment came upon some of the Israelite men and the Midianites for their sexual immorality and idolatry. As I read the chronological events of this difficult portion of Scripture, the Holy Spirit helped me to correlate God’s divine love for His children with the severe penalty of sin. I concluded it is because of God’s amazing love, that He protects us from that which has the potential to not only rob us from our present blessings, but even worse, prevent us from entering the “Promised Land,” the eternal home God has prepared for those who love Him.
When the Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, they were seduced by the Moabite and Midianite women to participate in idolatrous practices (Numbers 25:1-18); thereby provoking a jealous God to anger, and resulting in the death of thousands because of their sin. Just like those who posed a threat to the Israelites’ entrance into Canaan, sin poses a threat to us and must be dealt with—to secure our entrance into Heaven.
I am thankful God takes every precaution to keep me from spending eternity apart from Him. He does this by demonstrating His amazing love and grace…daily in my life, and at times warns me of danger, and on occasion, delivers just discipline for my sin.
Because I want my children and grandchildren to enter the Promised Land (Heaven), I want them to know the love of God that is always demonstrated through His mercy and grace; and I also want them to understand the Holiness of God, which is often upheld through His protective and corrective hand of justice. God is the lover of our souls!
When teaching our children and grandchildren of God’s love and the beautiful plan of salvation, these verses come to mind. Help your children memorize them and take time to help them understand their meaning. Pray that God will prepare their hearts to receive Jesus as their Savior if they haven’t already done so.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Children enjoy making Valentine’s cards for their family and friends. Go to the Bible Parent website to print Valentine’s Cards based on 1 Corinthians 13: http://www.bibleparent.com/valentines.asp
Valentine’s Day is a great time to tell our children and grandchildren how much we love them, and it’s also a great time to tell them that Jesus loves them even more. And that’s a lot!
“For great is [God’s] love, higher than the heavens; [His] faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Psalm 108:4).
Faith @ Home Moment:
Our precious three-year old granddaughter spent the night with us Friday evening. During breakfast, she randomly posed this question. “Why did Jesus have to die?” I’m not sure what prompted her to ask this question since we hadn’t been talking about Jesus at this time. My heart welled up, realizing once again, God has placed eternity in the hearts of all people, including Julia Ann. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
The Ten Commandments – – Exodus 20:1-17 (NIV)
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
It dawned on me after becoming a grandmother for the first time, that I had not taught my children the Ten Commandments. As a young parent, and a young Christian, I suppose I assumed our three children would learn them at church. And as I recall, they did.
I was personally convicted to memorize the Ten Commandments, and soon after, displayed a Ten Commandments tapestry in our home. Looking closely at the Ten Commandments during this time in my life, I admitted to God, with a sorrowful spirit, that I had broken most of His laws. Within the next several years, I was led by the Holy Spirit to teach the children at our church the Ten Commandments, which included our first granddaughter.
Teaching the Ten Commandments is one thing, living them out in obedience to God in our daily lives is really where the ‘rubber meets the road’. Idiom Definitions for ‘Where the rubber meets the road’
Where the rubber meets the road is the most important point for something, the moment of truth. An athlete can train all day, but the race is where the rubber meets the road and they’ll know how good they really are.
Back to my original question: Are we training our children to keep or break the Ten Commandments?
I was tempted to make a list of questions to serve as a personal check list, but instead, I’d like to challenge every parent to read/study God’s commandments and then take their own personal inventory.
Okay, I can’t do it! Here are just a few questions that come to mind.
– Am I putting my personal pleasures/preferences/activities ahead of God? Do I encourage my kids to do the same? Does God get left-overs?
– Do my kids see me faithfully worshipping God with my time, talents, and treasures?
– Do I treat the Sabbath casually, like any other day? Do I allow my kids to miss our Sabbath worship observances to participate in sports or perform in their dance recitals?
– How’s my relationship with my parents and in-laws? Do my children see me treating them with love and respect, in word and deed?
I pray that the Holy Spirit will give parents/grandparents clear understanding of God’s commandments, and give them the desire and power to teach them diligently to their children/grandchildren; and with the power of the Holy Spirit, live them out in obedience in their daily lives.
The law cannot save us. The law cannot grant us salvation. The law does define sin and can condemn us, since we all are lawbreakers. (For all have sinned…Romans 3:23) God knew that no one could keep the law. God’s law does point us to Christ. The law cannot give us salvation, but it can help us see our need for salvation, and realize that righteousness must be a gift, not something we earn. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8).
Scripture also tells us that when we do sin, we have a loving and gracious Father who will forgive us.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Memory Cards: Write the Ten Commandments on index cards and laminate. Punch holes into the corners of each card and attach the cards to a key ring.
Ten Commandments Plaque: Purchase or make an unfinished wood plaque. Have child paint or stain the plaque (I used a light gray paint). Print each of the Ten Commandments on the plaque and then use Mod Podge clear sealer. You can also use Krylon Metallic Textured spray paint that will give it a stone-textured look.
Favorite Quote: The following quote from Dr. Woodie J. Stevens (Global Director for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, Church of the Nazarene) “Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t murder. Be true to your mate. It’s the only way to a civilized society.”
I Have No Greater Joy Website:
Bible Story Printables Website: http://www.biblestoryprintables.com/BiblePrintablesTenCommandments.html#.VElVpWd0yUk
Ten Commandments Jewelry: http://www.thefind.com/jewelry/info-ten-commandments-bracelet
God always shows up on time. I noticed a fellow blogger’s email in my inbox a few days ago. I try to limit who I follow, to those who have a genuine heart after God, and who share this passion through their unique writing styles. On occasion, for the sake of time or lack of interest in a blog title, I’ll either delete it or simply skip over it until I have time to read it. Oh, am I glad that I took the time to read this one! Not so much for the content of the blogger’s entry (although very insightful of a father child relationship), but rather, the reference to a video of Dr. Ravi Zacharias, author and Christian apologist.
After watching, please take time to evaluate the life you are spending while here on Earth. Then pray and seek God’s wisdom in helping you to live a life that will make an eternal difference for generations to come.
PLEASE TAKE TIME (ABOUT AN HOUR AND A HALF) TO WATCH/LISTEN TO THIS POWERFUL AND TIMELY MESSAGE. (Note: Skip over the introductory part of the video to 5:27)
Dr. Zacharias speaks on “Life’s Toughest Questions” at Highlands Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Recorded live 2011)
(Watch the video HERE, scrub to 5:27)
just hours after hearing a beautiful message of holiness, on Pentecost Sunday?
Initially, I tried to ignore the soft, yet undeniable promptings of the Holy Spirit. “Be truthful. Don’t lie! Be an example to your family.”
A little more bait dangled before me. “It’s not that big a deal. After all, you are hard-pressed to make this work out.”
Six hours later, my mind flashed back to the day before. I spent a leisurely afternoon walking around a community festival with my husband. Returning to our car, I observed a young couple walking on the sidewalk, along with their two small children. Within minutes, the little boy veered off the sidewalk and began to take a short-cut through a clearly marked “No Trespassing” grassy area. Immediately, the mother gently redirected her son’s steps back onto the sidewalk. Their conversation went something like this.
“Johnny, didn’t you see the No Trespassing sign?” He shrugged his shoulders and answered, “Yes, mom, but no one was looking.” Without skipping a beat, the mom then said, “So, this makes it okay to do something we know to be wrong, just because we don’t think we will be caught?” Her son quickly replied, “No, mom, we shouldn’t.”
The Holy Spirit had been preparing me for a simple test of heart purity through this timely faith talk between a mother and son. God is faithful and will always provide a way out when we are tempted to sin. (1 Corinthians 10:13) The choice is ours (mine).
The following quote from Dr. Woodie J. Stevens (Global Director for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, Church of the Nazarene), also crept into my mind.
“Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t murder. Be true to your mate. It’s the only way to a civilized society.”*
This Thursday, I will begin leading a women’s neighborhood Bible study, titled Becoming a Woman of Excellence. Yes, God has been preparing my heart.
In preparation for our Bible study, I came across some of the following thoughts from an additional resource.
Resource from: Mark # 11: The Pursuit of Excellence from the series: Marks of Maturity: Biblical Characteristics of a Christian Leader, by author J. Hampton Keathley, III.
The pursuit of excellence is the matter of the heart, of the inner person. By itself, the heart is not a safe haven. It needs guarding or protection from invasion by the world system around us and from the sinful nature that dwells within us.
The biblical view of the pursuit of excellence refers to pursuing and doing the best we can with the gifts and abilities God gives, giving our best to the glory of God.
“ May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).
Praise be to God, for the infilling and renewing power of His Holy Spirit, who cleanses us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
I thank God for His grace, which truly leads to confession of sin, and repentance.
Faith at Home Lessons:
The young mother clearly demonstrated the importance of living out Deuteronomy 6 – to teach her children God’s truth while walking along the roadside of life.
The Holy Spirit helps us recognize our own weaknesses, which can lead to sin.
Christ, through His power, will help us resist the desires of the flesh; and He instructs us to flee from the Evil One.
Guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus is a daily commitment.
I believe that being transparent with our children/grandchildren as they begin to formulate their own spiritual beliefs will help our kids develop a viable realistic faith. Let them know that you struggle with temptations from time to time, and on occasion, sin. Yes, it’s okay to use the word sin! (It seems to me that some church leaders have gotten away from using the word sin, and have replaced it with words like mistake, error in judgment, or wrong choice.)
Teach children the biblical truths about: sin and the sinful nature, repentance that leads to forgiveness, and teach our children who the Holy Spirit is and the work He does in a believer’s yielded heart (the sanctifying and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit).
I am thankful for the Church of the Nazarene, for upholding the doctrine of entire sanctification (heart holiness, Christian love, or whatever you choose to call living a life that pleases God).
Resource Recommendations (From Nazarene Publishing House)
The Young Believer’s Discipleship Series (WordAction Publishing)
Raising Kids To Extraordinary Faith – by Debbie Salter Goodwin
*Pursuing the Mission – Booklet written by Dr. Woodie J. Stevens
Take a moment to reflect upon this phrase: If it’s the Lord’s will…
Now ask yourself, when was the last time you included God in your decision-making, or plans?
Are we, as parents and grandparents, setting the example of praying for and discerning God’s will in our daily lives? If not, why not?
Teaching our children to diligently seek God’s will in their lives will take more than casually adding the phrase, “if it’s the Lord’s will” to our prayers.
Many of us (me included) can run around aimlessly if we are not intentional in seeking God’s will. Instead of saying: we are going to do this, or buy that, or go there, etc., we need to be sure that we are prayerfully asking God for His wisdom, His leadership, and His direction in our lives. This doesn’t come naturally, especially for those of us who are extremely independent and like to do things our own way, and in our timing.
Eight months ago we listed our house for sale by owner. Now, in my finite way of thinking, I certainly can’t understand why our house hasn’t sold, yet. After all, I prayed for it to sell. And it makes perfect sense to me for this to happen (yesterday!). And in my prayers, I did include “if it’s your will, Lord…,” but did I really mean it?
I know in my heart that God truly knows what’s best for us and I also know that His timing is often not the same as ours. God is all-knowing and all-loving.
When praying for God’s will to be done, we need to remind ourselves and our children that the outcome of our personal desires and prayers is always for His glory and for our good, no matter what the outcome.
Amazingly, I read the following Scripture this morning during my devotional time.
“In him we were made heirs, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory”(Ephesians 1:11-13).
We rarely know God’s will ahead of time, nor fully understand it later. However, I’m so thankful that God does give us some absolute principles in His Word, which express His perfect will. Here are just a few (to share with your kids/grandkids).
God’s will is…
…for none to perish, but for all who believe in His one and only Son, to receive eternal life (John 3:16)
…to be set apart for His glory, by living a life that pleases Him
Living to Please God
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 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 12:1-2).
…to confess and repent
“ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
…to forgive as we have been forgiven
“Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation’”(Luke 11:4).
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
This is just a starting point for knowing God’s will for our lives. Dig into Scripture with your kids/grandkids—to know and live out God’s will. This summer set a goal as a family, to read through the entire New Testament. Take time to discuss the many ways Jesus and His disciples sought after and lived out God’s will in their lives. The Bible mini series is also available to watch through Netflix.
Living an intentional life that pleases God is what we desire. Jeff and I offer a faith-at-home ministry called Covenant Heirs to churches and their families. The ministry’s goal is to encourage and help equip parents and grandparents to intentionally pass down their faith in Christ to their children and grandchildren.