What if I begin the New Year with full assurance of God’s love?
What if I begin the New Year knowing I am in a right relationship with God?
What if I choose to look more like Jesus and less like the world in 2016?
What if I read and mediate on God’s Word every day?
What if I let go and let God?
Psalm 91 (NLT)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
“Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor” (Psalm 96:9).
Splendor: great and impressive beauty (Merriam-Webster)
My husband recently surprised me with a dozen red roses.
One of the twelve survived the shock of over-fertilizing.
Underserved, I’m now delighting in its beauty.
Analogy of Christ’s amazing grace:
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
My Jesus is due all my honor and praise.
His holy splendor is displayed in all the nations.
16 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 NIV).
Facebook friends: May the Psalms draw you near to God.
“1 Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! 2 Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. 3 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. 4 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. 5 The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! 6 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
7 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. 8 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. 9 Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. 10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! 12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth” (Psalm 96 NLT).
“For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
Children speak from the honesty of their hearts, even when it reflects their sinful nature.
While finishing eating our cupcakes for Julia’s 4th birthday, Julia surprised me with these words, “Nana, sometimes I do mean things.” Prior to our little party, Julia had been in our backyard running water from the hose, making a puddle to jump in with her sparkly new shoes. Her mom caught her and gave her a little talking to about her misbehavior. No spanking though, since it was her birthday. I later gave her four affectionate old-fashioned birthday spankings and a pinch to grow on…fondly recalling my childhood memories.
Now back to Julia’s concern over her naughtiness. I asked her, “Why do you think you do mean things?” She quietly answered, “I don’t know, I just do.” Okay, got it! Julia’s sinful nature is becoming evident to her and to others. Because Julia has received the primary teaching of sin from her parents, and by the faithful conviction of God’s Holy Spirit, Julia is clearly beginning to recognize the reality of her inherited bent toward sin.
With her pretty blue eyes focused upon mine, I responded to Julia this way. “I know that you really don’t want to do mean things, but the only way that you will be able to stop doing them, is to ask Jesus to help you.” As she seemed to experience a small sense of relief, I told her I would be praying for Jesus to help her.
My prayer for Julia is the same one that I pray for all my grandchildren: That they will come to know Jesus at a young age, to love Him fully, to obey His Word, and to serve Him faithfully all the days of their lives.
I believe that teaching children who God and Jesus are comes more naturally for most parents/grandparents, than it does to teach them about the third person in the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
While recently watching the made for T.V. miniseries, A.D. The Bible Continues, my spirit was revitalized by the dramatization of the Acts of the Apostles being infilled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
This same Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) that was poured out upon those early believers is the same Holy Spirit who desires to infill every Christ-follower today.
We need to teach our children the only way to work out the “meanness” in our lives, is to receive Jesus as our personal Savior…to repent of our sins, and allow the Holy Spirit to begin His cleansing work in our lives.
Somewhere along their spiritual journey, new believers sense an internal struggle–the “desire” to sin. This desire comes from the original sin nature, (inherited sin of Adam). The only remedy for the sinful nature is heart cleansing by the infilling (or baptism) of the Holy Spirit.
Teaching our children to understand the difference between original sin (nature) and personal acts of sin is a vital part of training in Christian holiness (perfect love).
Pray for your children to be sanctified (or set apart for God’s holy purpose). See Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonica Church:
1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 (NIV)
22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
It is true, God is faithful to cleanse (purify) the heart from original sin as we consecrate or surrender ourselves fully to Him. He promises to replace the inbred “desire to sin” with an abiding holy-heart desire to please our Heavenly Father above all other. Of course, we will continue to be tempted to sin, but with a cleansed heart, have the power NOT to sin.
The greatest joy of Christian parents is realizing the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of their children. Sanctification empowers every believer to serve Christ with a joyful heart.
The proof of spiritual maturity is not how “pure” you are but awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to grace. —Philip Yancey
When David sinned against God, he acknowledged that he was “born a sinner.” And when David repented of his personal sin against God, he sought to be fully cleansed, or purified.
Psalm 51: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.[a]5 For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb,[b] teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. 14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. 15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. 18 Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.
Living in the Light (1 John 1:5-7)
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
Resources for teaching children the basic beliefs of Christianity and the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene.
Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 2: Jesus Christ
Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 3: The Holy Spirit
Beliefs About the Bible, God s Holy Word
Beliefs About the Human Race and Sin
Beliefs About Salvation, Part 1
Beliefs About Salvation, Part 2
Beliefs About Entire Sanctification
Beliefs About the Church
Beliefs About the Christian Life
Beliefs About the Sacraments and Divine Healing
Beliefs About Things to Come
Important Need to Knows
The Apostle’s Creed
The Nicene Creed
The Ten Commandments
The Lords Prayer
Agreed Statement of Belief
Articles of Faith
The Covenant of Christian Character
My Faith: Certificate of Completion
BE SURE TO TUNE IN TO WATCH A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES ON SUNDAY NIGHTS, NBC, 8 PM CENTRAL TIME. DISCLAIMER: DUE TO THE VIOLENCE DEPICTED IN SOME OF THE EPISODES, PARENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE DISCRETION WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN. HOWEVER, I PERSONALLY ENCOURAGE PARENTS TO WATCH WITH OLDER CHILDREN AND TEENS. FOR BIBLE STUDY AND OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES TO ENHANCE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES, THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, GO TO DR. DAVID JEREMIAH’S WEBSITE: http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/therevolution/home.aspx
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.
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 glorifyGod 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).
My greatest passion is intentionally passing my faith in Christ down to the next generation, starting with our family. I’ve been married to Jeff since 1975. We have three adult children, two sons-in-law, and six grandchildren…our greatest joy in this life! I served alongside of my husband in pastoral ministry for twenty years. We currently offer resources and a speaking ministry to churches and families called Covenant Heirs. Our mission is to encourage and equip parents, grandparents, and others to intentionally live a life of faithfulness to God, with a family discipleship emphasis. Please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in learning more about us and our ministry.
Holding His Hand blog (2016) is dedicated to my mom, Audrey Lewis, who learned to trust in Jesus during her battle with cancer. This blog testifies to God's amazing love and provision in our lives.