Tag Archives: Christian Parenting
“Yes, may all the nations praise you.
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.
“1 May God be merciful and bless us.
Faith at Home Moment:
“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).
I 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. 2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. 3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. 5 He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6 The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7 He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 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.
Passion (from the Latin verb patere meaning to suffer) is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling enthusiasm or desire for anything. (Wikipedia)
1 often capitalized : the sufferings of Jesus between the night of the Last Supper and his death 2 a plural : the emotions in general b : strong feeling or emotion 3 a : great affection : LOVE b : a strong liking c : an object of desire or deep interest (Merriam-Webster Student Dictionary)
People have a great passion for many things. Just to name a few:
Football – On September 29, 2014, the Kansas City Chiefs fans reclaimed the record for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium. Chiefs’ fans made enough noise to register a 142.2 dbA reading at Arrowhead Stadium while playing against the New England Patriots.
Vacations & Fitness – (Online Advertisement) Take Your Passion For Fitness on Luxury Adventure Vacations With Reebok Fitness Vacations by Austin Adventures – Two leading brands in the active lifestyle and fitness worlds are teaming up to offer Reebok Fitness Vacations by Austin Adventures. This partnership seems to offer a series of vacations that promote fitness as a way of life. Now you can combine two passions at the same time!
Food – (Quote from chef blogger): “I have a passion for preparing and serving great food. I have a goal of getting a great meal on the table every evening in around 45 minutes.”
Attempting to trick Jesus, a religious “expert” posed the following question.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38).
I believe this is the greatest passion.
There’s no room to be lukewarm as a Christian. In fact, being lukewarm makes God nauseous.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16).
From the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promises the following:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”(Matthew 5:6).
My life passion (mission): To intentionally pass down my faith in Christ to my children and grandchildren. 2 Timothy 1:5
So, what’s your greatest passion?
In 2015, why not cultivate a great passion for loving God, in your children and grandchildren.
Break the record for loving God.
Pray fervently and often.
Give up a favorite beverage (Starbuck’s, soda, etc.) for a month, and set aside this money for a work and witness trip or other service project.
Skip the family vacation one year (or more), and instead, spend this allotted time and money towards serving at a local or global mission.
Rather than wasting endless hours on social media / T.V., etc., use this time for personal and family Bible study.
Purposefully reach out to your neighbors with kindness and the love of Christ.
Intentionally share your faith in Christ with unsaved friends, relatives, coworkers, etc.
Use your gifts and talents at your local church. Serve together as a family when applicable.
Have a Happy and Fulfilling New Year….
by living a life of passion for Christ.
“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life?
It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
“It certainly adds weight to the scripture’s characterization, life is like a vapor.” This is the response I received from a friend after notifying him of a mutual friend’s tragic death. It made me pause, then reflect upon my life. Have I been wasting much precious time with things that don’t really matter? Yes, I’ll be honest, I have spent way too many moments with worry, over thinking, harboring ill-thoughts toward others, spending money I don’t have on things I don’t need (or at times, even like), trying to figure out the end results, and so on.
Our most recent losses:
A friend, who was a loving father, grandfather, and faithful Christian.
Our friend’s son who died from cancer this past year. At the same time, she made the difficult decision to place her husband* into a nursing home.
* Charlie, a dear man, who led many souls to Jesus, including my husband. Charlie selflessly visited the lonely and forgotten at nursing care facilities and homes for the disabled. Now, as his life draws near, he is the one in need of love and care. His dear wife Marilyn provides this for him, during her daily and tiring visits.
These most recent losses fill me with deep sorrow and thoughtfulness, as I ponder my own impending death; when God chooses to take me to my “forever” home.
Our oldest daughter and her husband recently moved into their new home, which took nearly a year to build. Jennifer recently told me that she didn’t mind all the extra effort and resources they poured into their new house, because it will be their “forever” home. I like that! We, who call ourselves Christians, should have the same outlook, as we plan and co-labor with Christ, building the Kingdom of God, our forever home.
I recommit my life to wholly living for Christ and His Church. Help me, God, to prioritize my life according to Your will and purpose in my life.
TRAINING CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO EMBRACE LIFE WITH A SENSE OF GRATITUDE, THANKFULNESS, AND AS FAITHFUL STEWARDS, MAY BE CHALLENGING TO MOST AMERICAN CHRISTIANS.
Let’s not only prepare our children for academic excellence, playing sports, and securing a good-paying job, but let’s help them realize their life’s purpose: To use their gifts and talents for the glory of God.
I recently spent a day volunteering at a homeless shelter with our oldest granddaughter. It was a very rewarding experience. My prayer is to have more of these kinds of opportunities with all my grandchildren…to serve others in the name of Jesus.
It’s important to teach our children (age-appropriate) about death. I’ll never forget when our now 10-year-old granddaughter began asking me this question, “How does Jesus take people to heaven when they die?” After trying to explain, Ella profoundly stated, “I know, Jesus carries people to heaven with balloons.” Since then, when a loved one passes away, we release balloons. When Jesus takes me home to heaven, I hope to have a large bouquet of rainbow-colored balloons released on a warm summer day.
Similarly, our 5-year-old grandson recently said goodbye to one of his pet ducks that was born with a birth defect. Jack named him Donald and was quite attached to this little white-feathered creation. Jack is beginning to realize there is a time to be born and a time to die. His parents took this opportunity to explain death and eternity to Jack. They also had a burial for Donald and placed a little wooden cross on his grave.
Having experienced the death of both of my parents by age 7, I fully understand the importance of talking to children about death, and eternal life.
I came across this article from Scripture Union: Talking with your children about Death… Issues to think about.
Based on and adapted from: Children and Grieving (SU) J Goodall 1995
Celebration Ideas for Grandparents Day, Sept. 7.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
Praise and gratitude lead to joy.
I originally wrote and shared this devotional/study while working at Focus on the Family (about 20 years ago now). I think it may be useful in teaching our children/grandchildren to depend fully upon Jesus in all circumstances.
For the Apostle Paul, rejoicing was not a periodic exercise but a perpetual attitude of the heart. His penned words recorded in Philippians 3:1 and 4:4 call Christians to “keep on rejoicing in the Lord.”
Q. Who wants to prevent us from rejoicing in the Lord?
A. Satan, who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5: 8.
But praise be to God, Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10.
Q. How does Satan try to accomplish his plan, to rob us from joy and abundant life?
A. By creating unhappy circumstances to occur in our lives.
Note: Sometimes we are responsible for our own unhappy circumstances, other times we are not. Either way, it is our choice on how we will respond to these circumstances.
I love the true story of Joni Earekson Tada. Joni was paralyzed from the shoulders down at the tender age of 17, resulting from a diving accident while swimming with some friends. After a lengthy journey of rehabilitation, which included overcoming thoughts of suicide, Joni chose to trust God to fill her and use her fully for His glory, in spite of her disability.
See Joni’s website: http://www.joniearecksontadastory.com/ for inspiration and help for those who suffer from paralyzation. Not just physical paralysis, but emotional and mental. For you see, Satan also attempts to paralyze people through fear.
1. To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic.
2. To make unable to move or act: paralyzed by fear.
3. To impair the progress or functioning of; make inoperative or powerless: strict regulations that paralyze economic activity
Our circumstances are sometimes joyful and other times they are disappointing, discouraging, and sometimes extremely painful.
If we gauge our rejoicing on the ups and downs of our circumstances, we will never fulfill Paul’s command to rejoice continually.
Paul declares that in order to be joyful there is a prerequisite: being or having a thankful heart and attitude, toward God and for others. (Phil. 1:3, 4)
Thankfulness produces joyfulness and joyfulness produces thankfulness.
These two qualities are interdependent or interchangeable. They go hand in hand.
Q. Can we be joyful when our focus is on “grumbling” about our unfortunate circumstance(s)?
In the book, How to Be a Christian and Still Enjoy Life, the author, Fritz Ridenour states:
“We aren’t made happy by what we have but by what we are thankful for.”
Paul learned how to experience thankfulness and joy in all circumstances…and then was able to share this unexplainable joy to others. His letter to the Philippians was written while imprisoned in a Roman jail, with the threat of execution facing him.
Q. How can Paul’s letter to the Philippians encourage us today?
A. First and foremost, I believe:
1. We must all come to terms with the fact that we are all going to face many trials and sufferings throughout our lives.
2. If we enter the trap (of Satan or the world): that our joy is based on our circumstances, we will live sad defeated lives, with little or no hope.
3. But,…if we, like Paul, learn (through God’s Word) that our joy/thanksgiving is based on our relationship with the Lord and His purpose for our lives, and not by the ups and downs of life, then we will experience true and meaningful joy, and an everlasting hope that no one or any circumstance can rob us from.
Passing on the joy of salvation to others even in the midst of our sufferings
Paul and Silas responded to their imprisonment with praise, rejoicing, and thankfulness.
Results: They drew attention from the other prisoners. A miracle took place:
1. An earthquake occurred…opening the cell door and unlocking the shackles.
2. The conversion of the jailer and his entire family.
3. Fellow prisoners became charter members of the Philippian Church.
Share personal testimonies of how you have allowed God to use your sufferings for the glory of God and the witness to others.
Pathway to Joy and Thankfulness
Q. How can we (as Christians) develop a pattern in our lives, which emulates Paul’s positive attitude in the midst of negative circumstances?
1. Stay close to other believers. (Phil. 1:4, 5) Paul was not a spiritual lone ranger. He relied on his involvement with other believers to help maintain his joy. He was in partnership with other believers. The Greek word Koinonia – means “to have in common”). I.E.: fellowship through Bible studies, small groups, corporate worship, mentorship
Joy results committing ourselves to others–even at a cost. (Outreach to others!)
2. Be confident in God’s faithfulness. (Phil. 1:6)
It’s easy to have joy when things are going well, but when the bottom falls out, we (the flesh) can feel that God has deserted us, thereby shutting off our joyful praise.
Paul reminds us that God always finishes what He starts. Circumstances are not a barometer to qualify our response to God. We rejoice in the Lord…because no matter what the circumstances look like, God has promised to complete a good work in and through us. (Phil. 1:3-6)
3. Practice forbearance. (Phil. 4:5) “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” “Love does not demand its own way!”
Gentleness means being more content to let another win than to selfishly fight for our own rights. (See Corinthians 6:1-7)
I won’t ask how many of us need growth in this area. Being first to raise my hand!
Paul was so full of praise and gratitude, his life was one big experience of reaching out to others.
4. Pray instead of worrying. (Phil. 4:6-7) A life Scripture for me.
When we learn to let go of our anxieties and thank God for what He will do, we reap the peace of God which transcends all understanding. Endless joy!
5. Think positively.
Q. How often do we miss out on inner joy because we direct all our focus on our problems?
Paul instructs believers to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. (Phil. 4:8)
6. Put your faith into practice. (Phil. 4:9)
Believers marked by rejoicing and thanksgiving are busy doing God things—growing, serving, and working out their faith in everyday life or circumstances.
The more involved we become with those around us and in God’s “program” (rather than our own program), the more we will enjoy life.
Conclusion: Pray for God’s help to remove any hindrances that prevent you from receiving His everlasting joy. Be mindful when praying this prayer that God may or may not choose to remove your unfortunate circumstance(s), but He will be faithful to complete your joy even in the midst of it.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4. Read the rest of this entry »
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.