Love Our Kids – Impossible (or not)

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37  NASB

This is one of my favorite verses from the Christmas story in Luke 1. And so easy to memorize!

Do you need to change your thinking about something today and embrace that promise?

Do you have a child in your class that you’ve given up on? Maybe she just needs someone to believe her. The Lord can help you with that.

Do you have a co-worker relationship that is challenging and you think it will never get better? Nothing is impossible with God.

Are there things in your family that seem overwhelming and without a solution? Nothing is impossible with God.

Are you dreading the holidays thinking that nothing good can come of them? Nothing is impossible with God.

Lord, remind us that our hope is in you and work in us to change our thinking. Amen.

Morning Prayer

Boldly I come to you, Father.

You bid me in your Word to approach your throne.

In coming I recognize that

You are God and I am not;

You have wisdom that I only have through you;

You have power that I can only have through you;

You have strength that I can only have through you;

You have grace and mercy that I so desperately need.

Thank you for the blood of Christ that has made me able to enter your presence.

Help me to open my whole heart to more and more of you.

Thank you for meeting me here.

Amen.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.  Hebrews 4:16 NLT

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited b resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.   18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.   21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT

Love Our Kids – We Are Not Our Own

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:7, 8 NIV)

I pray that as we go through our days will be very aware of nothing is about us.

If we’re in Christ, everything is supposed to be for him. I’ve been contemplating what kind of difference that should make in my choices, speech, behavior and attitudes.

Lord, we commit everything to you today. Give us a keen awareness of the things that we choose that do not honor you.

Love Our Kids – Devo for Teachers – 11/16/11

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

I was glad to see this verse come up today in my 31-day challenge because it is one of my FAVORITES. But as I did some study on it, I realized that when he rejoices over us, it will be with a shout or song of victory. How easy it is as a child of God to forget that we are on the winning side!

So today, as you work with the children God has carefully planned for your care, are there any that you’ve “given up” on? Have you decided that it’s just impossible to make a difference, so you don’t spend any energy with him/her? Or maybe you’ve given up on a parent.

I pray that you will recognize the victory that you have as a child of God and pursue that with the child(ren), parents or co-workers that just seem impossible. Ask God for wisdom in how to approach him or her. He knows what will make a difference.

A Day of Thanksgiving

Today is our family’s Thanksgiving celebration.  Some day maybe we’ll get to have all 5 children’s families together, but this year just 4.  My Matthew and his wife are coming for the traditional Thanksgiving holiday from Phoenix.

But it seemed important last year to Ellis’ boys to have something for our family.  In the past I haven’t always tried to cram it in because they had other events to attend.  And with work schedules including work over the holiday weekend, this was the best weekend to do it.

The Lord is working in our family in many ways and I am so thankful!

My soul, praise the LORD, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion. He satisfies you with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle. The LORD executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and full of faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.  (Psa 103:2-13 HCSB)

We have members of our family who need the Lord.  Even some of our grandchildren are old enough to understand that they need the Lord.  So today I am praying that we will have opportunity and boldness.

Lord, let me witness through my gratefulness and thanksgiving for your faithfulness to us individually and as a family.

A Passion for The Word

I’ve just finished preparations for this week’s session of the New Christians’  Sunday School class and I’m always pumped by the process.  There is NOTHING more exciting than being in the Word to find what the Lord wants to say to me and through me.

I think people who know me well know that I do not typically commit myself to things I am not passionate about.  I learned the art of saying, “No,” many years ago after a stress related illness.  I try to make sure I am doing what the Lord wants me to do, because I know he will give me what I need to do it.  I love what Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator (1706), writes in his thoughts on 1 Kings 19.

Note God knows what he designs us for, though we do not, what service, what trials, and will take care for us when we, for want of foresight, cannot for ourselves, that we be furnished for them with grace sufficient. He that appoints what the voyage shall be will victual the ship accordinglyhttp://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/1-kings/19.html

This spring we had several new adult Christians in our congregation and I am passionate about discipling new believers so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.  That is a big failure in many churches.  I offered to teach a New Christians’ class, not really knowing how I would have time to prepare.  But I definitely felt called to do it.  The pastor typically teaches this, when we have it, but he took me up on my offer and proposed giving me his material to help.  There are a lot of discipleship materials on the market, but most of them are not comprehensive on the topics we want to cover.

About the same time that I was offering to teach the class, I began to feel that even though I watch very little television, the shows that I was watching regularly were not shows that honored the Lord or would lead me to honor the Lord.  So I have quit watching NCIS and The Goodwife.  There’s two hours a week right there for additional study and preparation.  The more I’m in the Word, the more I want to be in it.  I don’t miss those shows at all.

I have challenged by Facebook friends to spend more time in the Bible than they spend on Facebook every day.  Will you take the challenge to give up something with no lasting value to be in God’s Word to YOU? 

By the way – when you take the challenge, get ready for challenges from Satan.  He will challenge your new commitment.  He will want you to fail.  Don’t give up. 

 Ephesians 6:13 NIV   Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  

 1 John 5:3-4 NIV  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The Flashlight

We’ve had interesting weather at our house this summer.  August wasn’t quite so wet, but June and July were very wet and September has been really something.  Yesterday after it looked grouchy most of the afternoon, the skies really let loose.

I didn’t get home to check the rain gauge until after church.  So I grabbed a flash flight and went out to see how much new moisture we had gotten.  It was about 1-1/10″.  Then I pulled the gauge off of its nails to empty it.

Getting it back on those nails, which are offset a bit, proved to be a challenge and I fought it for several seconds before I realized that I had a flashlight in one hand and I wasn’t using it.  Once I started shining it on the nails, the gauge went back on very quickly.

I have no idea why I wasn’t using the flashlight to help me see to replace the gauge.  But I think that is how we live our lives sometimes as Christians.

We have the light all the time but we don’t always walk in it.  We have been given such a great gift and yet we often choose to stay in the shadows or the darkness.  Why would we do that?   What better life would be available to us if we were to “walk in the light as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7)?

The darkness is natural to us.  It is habit.  And the older we are, the more comfortable it is.  We hate change and we deplore the unknown.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.   (Joh 1:4-5 NIV)

And yet the light is beautiful.  It gives us fellowship with Jesus.

Today I choose to walk in the light – not just when I am interested in something that I think it can reveal.  I choose to walk with the light of the world, despite the differences with the world. . . and my habits. . . and my comfort.

Lord, thank you for your light.  I thank you that I don’ have to settle for darkness when I can walk with you.  Thank you that there is no “shadow of turning” with you — your light shines in every direction all the time.  Help me to crave your light.

Coffee Anyone?

Are you a coffee drinker?  And when I ask that I realize that there are all different levels of coffee drinkers.

For instance, my husband drinks coffee.  At McDonald’s he gets three creams and ten sugars in a small.  And he might drink the whole cup.  On Saturday morning at the coffee shop when we are visiting with each other and our neighbors, he might drink more than a cup.  But at home, he might not drink any or he’ll only drink a few sips in the morning.

On the other hand, I have coffee during my quiet time.  I drink coffee on the way to work and I drink coffee until about 11 am.  Now I am a sipper and not a gulper so it doesn’t add up to a whole lot of coffee, but I definitely drink more than my sweetie.  And if I drink it at night, it is usually a special situation where dessert is involved.

And then there are those who drink coffee from morning until night.  Caffeine before bed is no issue.  They like it with meals (I like it with sweets or breakfast) and as a refreshment.  Are you a coffee drinker?

Are you a Bible reader?  Sure you are!  You read along with the Bible Study teacher and the pastor on Sunday morning.  But do you read the Word daily?  How much?  If you have a quiet time, you may read a devotion that lists a scripture reference.  Do you go to that reference and read?  Do you meditate on what you’ve read or are you already moving on?

Or are you committed to daily time in the Word with a plan to get fed?  You work through in-depth Bible studies by book, word or topic.  You memorize scripture to hide His Word in your heart.

If you struggle knowing God’s will for your life or how to respond/behave in certain situations, God wants to teach you and His primary way of teaching is through His Word.  And if you know Christ personally, He has given you the Holy Spirit to interpret it for you.

“But I don’t have time. . .”  If that’s what you’re thinking, I challenge you to get before the Lord and ask Him what you’re involved in that you can give up.  How many hours per week do you spend on fitness for your body?  Isn’t your spiritual health more important?  Are your children involved in multiple activities each week?  Chances are one is plenty.  Pray for God’s guidance on this.  Your entire family may be too busy.  How many church activities are you leading?  Which ones have you been doing without being called by the Lord to do them?  How much time do you spend on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking sites?

If you’re looking for a place to start, get into Psalm 119 to learn all about the benefits of learning and following God’s Word.  When God’s people get interested in God’s word, we will have revival!