Monday, July 27, 2009

Precious Child

Thomas Watson (17th century English preacher and author) wrote, “The name Jehovah carries majesty in it; the name Father carries mercy in it.”

It is an amazing thought to me that the Sovereign God, the High King of Heaven calls us His children. As believers in Christ we are His beloved children. John put it this way, “See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!” I John 3:1

The apostle Paul reminded believers, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:14 – 16

What a glorious privilege to call God our Abba Father, which is a tender term like “daddy.” It means we are loved. We are forgiven. We are free to go before His throne and pour out our hearts to Him. Psalms reminds us, “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion toward those who fear him.” Psalm 103

My friend, I don’t know what your life is like right now, but I do know if you are a follower of Christ, you have a Heavenly Father who tenderly and dearly loves you. Enjoy the blessing of being a part of His family and the strength that comes from knowing you are passionately loved by Him. If you have never taken that step of faith in Jesus, I hope you will recognize God’s loving arms open wide ready to welcome all who believe. Out of God’s great love for us, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us. He rose again giving promise of eternal life to those who believe.

Just as the father ran and embraced the repentant son in the well-known parable of the Prodigal Son, so our Heavenly Father runs to us with arms open wide. His embrace is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in love.

If you are continuing with me on the theme week idea for younger kids, I would encourage you to have a Family Week. You can put together a scrapbook with pictures of your family and extended family. Call, write or email family members to say hello and let them know you are thinking about them. Draw pictures of your family tree. Make a special time this week to visit any members of the family who live in the area. Ask them to tell you stories of their childhood (you may want to add some of those stories to the scrapbook). Pray together and take pictures together. As a devotional talk about the wonderful privilege it is to be a part of God’s family. Read Romans 8 and reflect on the fact that nothing can separate you from His love.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Holding on to Hope

Hope is a powerful word, especially in these troubled times. Often we use the word so flippantly: “I hope you have a good day.” “I hope the shoes I want are on sale.” “I hope you feel better.” For the Christian, hope is much more than simply wishful thinking. We know that God is a God of hope. We have Christ within us, the hope of glory. The definition of “Faith” is being sure of what we Hope for and certain of the things we do not see. If we do not have hope we can become consumed with fear, despair and anger.

The weeping prophet Jeremiah spoke often about hope. Hope shines most brightly in times of difficulty and we see this clearly with Jeremiah. Listen to his lamenting:

Lamentations 3:
17 “Peace has been stripped away,
and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, ‘My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!’
19 “The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words. 20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.”

Certainly Jeremiah is down and out. Perhaps you can relate to his words of grief in your own life right now, or perhaps you will. We all go through low points, difficulties and yes sometimes tragedies. But what I love about Jeremiah is that he was honest about his grief, but then he always turned to hope.
He continues,
21 “Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

My friend, let us remember the faithful love of the Lord everyday. Because He loves us, He will care for us. He will not leave us. Reflect on His mercies which are new every morning. Maintain hope one day at a time. Dwell on God’s great love for you and remember that He is a God of hope and can redeem any situation. Don’t place your hope in circumstances or people. Hope in the Lord!

Hope is sometimes a tough concept for our kids to grasp. But hope can be contagious. If your kids see you are a mom who puts her hope in God, they will grow and learn from your example and become hope-filled men and women. A quick suggestion for a theme week for younger kids is a Prince and Princess week. Make crowns, play dress up, make scepters (use empty paper towel tube with Styrofoam ball glued to the top, spray paint and decorate), create treasure boxes and go on treasure hunts (just like an Easter egg hunt). Read fairy tales and watch movies which include royalty. Teach your kids about Esther and David, both had royal positions and place d their hope in God. Psalms 62:5 – 7 is a tremendous passage revealing David’s hope in God. Or read the story of Esther. As Christians, we know that we will live happily ever after in God’s kingdom. Our life on earth may not turn out happily ever after, but our loving Father (King of Kings and Lord of Lords) has great plans for us in His Heavenly Kingdom.

If you do not know Christ, and want the assurance of knowing you too will live “happily ever after” in Heaven, I want to encourage you to call 1-888-Need Him today. Someone will be on the other end of the line who can offer you words of eternal hope.

You can listen to me share this message on Fresh Start.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Living Water

You must agree as we continue through these hot summer days, water is not only refreshing but it is life-giving. Dehydration is a real threat to those who work outside or spend a lot of time in the heat. Spiritually speaking, when we face the heat of difficult circumstances or perhaps annoying people, we need the refreshment of God’s living water to replenish our thirsty souls.

In John 4 we read the story of Jesus encountering the woman at the well. She was drawing water in the heat of the day most likely because she had should we say a sordid past and was not accepted by the rest of the women of her city. Jesus crossed cultural and societal barriers to reach out and accept this woman and bring her the Good News that God loves her.

He offered her “living water.” Later in John 7 we see Jesus talks about living water referring to God’s Spirit which is given to everyone who believes in Him. God’s spirit quenches the thirst we have our in souls for God. He comforts us, convicts us and helps us in our daily struggles. My friend, as you experience a physical thirst during the summer heat, remember that just as water refreshes your body, so God’s Spirit refreshes the soul. Let us find our strength and hope in Him.

As we continue with “theme week” ideas for the kids, this would be the perfect time to declare Water Week. Your devotionals can center around the reverences in the Bible about living water (John 4:10, John 7:38, Psalm 42:1, Psalm 36:9, Jeremiah 17:13). Water activities can range from playing in the sprinklers to visiting a water park. Water gun fights, spray bottles filled with water or water balloons can also be a fun extra. Crafts can include water color paintings or drawing pictures of the ocean, decorating water bottles or painting water glasses for each of the members of the family.

Hope you have a swimmingly great week. Be sure to watch my web TV show. I have a special guest on the program, my friend Jane Jarrell who talks about quick easy ways to refresh the look of your home each day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Amazing Animals

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful 4th of July with family and friends. Isn’t it wonderful to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in this great nation? Remember to pray often for our nation and our leaders. Pray for God’s protection, guidance and blessing. May we be diligent this entire month of July to encourage our kids to pray daily for America and also to thank the Lord for the ways He has already guarded, blessed and cared for us.

As we continue with theme week ideas this would be a great time during the summer to declare Animal week! Each day choose a different animal to study and explore. You can read books about the animals, dress up like the animals, watch videos, play animal games and do animal crafts. A visit to the zoo or local pet shops would add a great adventure to the week. Here are some activities to consider for younger kids.

Rabbit Day – Make bunny ears out of poster board and attach them to a headband, put white socks on hands and feet and make a little cotton tail too. Draw nose and whiskers using make-up pencil. Eat rabbit food (fruits and vegetables), do the bunny hop and visit rabbits at the pet store. By the way, this is a nice quiet day, because bunnies don’t make a lot of noise. Lovely!

Lion Day – Practice roaring (okay just for a little while), make a lion’s mane using a brown paper sack, cutting into strips or use yarn or mop. Add a tail using a long tube sock. Watch Narnia videos. Find interesting facts about lions on line. Visit lions at the zoo.

Dog Day – Make doggy ears using felt attached to a visor or headband. Watch a dog show video and 101 Dalmatians, play fetch, eat trail mix out of pretend dog bowls. If you do not have a dog, visit a friend who has one.

You get the idea. Think about a Crocodile Day, Elephant Day, Zebra Day or Horse Day.

Animal devotionals can include a study of God creating the animals in Genesis 1, or Noah’s ark in Genesis 6, Balaam’s donkey in Numbers 22, or God talking to Job about creating the animals in Job 39 – 41.

No matter what the age of your kids, you can enjoy a week of exploring God’s creative work in the animal kingdom. Be sure to watch my message on freedom in Christ at: By the way, my dog Angel is included in this one in honor of the animal theme. Have a great week!