During our last family devotion we studied the rebellion of the sons of Korah in Numbers 16. Our conversation fairly quickly turned to the lack of respect these men had for the authority dictated to Moses and Aaron by God. We started talking about ways that we quite often will disrespect those in authority over us. Great conversation for sure!
As the kids later began getting ready for bed, I began to think about how often I (as a role model for my kids) don't respect those in authority over me. The times that I fail to give them their full due or rather than build them up and make their jobs easier, I backbite, complain or only begrudgingly submit. God's response in this story to these disrespectful Israelites, was swift and unmistakable. Throughout scripture we see that even when the person in authority seems to not get it, or they seem to be doing the opposite of what God would want, we still are expected to honor the authority given them by God.
Flip over to 1 Samuel 24,
"3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ ” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.", NIV
So prior to this David had been annointed to be the next King of Israel. For this reason (among others), Saul was not a fan of David and wanted to take his life. So David was on the run trying to keep from dying at the hands of this current crazed King of Israel. Saul gets an intelligence report saying that David was in the area. While out looking, he pulls over to use the restroom in a cave. This is when David finds him. This man who was out to kill him was indisposed in his presence. Rather than using self defense as the reason that he killed Saul, David cuts off a piece of Saul's robe and immediately feels bad for having done this. Take a look at why,
"6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.", NIV
Clearly, David was not in agreement with all that Saul did. His conscience wasn't stricken because of Saul, but rather the fact that Saul was God's annointed. In other words, because God had raised this man up to be in authority over him, David honored him and for this reason alone.
I want to model that kind of honor for my children. I want them to be the kind of people who honor and respect those in authority for no other reason than God placed them there.
Homework: Numbers 16, 1 Samuel 24, Romans 13
Have you ever felt insignificant? I mean just think about how many people currently live on Earth, (according to google, you are 1 in 7.8 BILLION). We don’t even have the capability to estimate how many people have ever lived on Earth! I constantly struggle with feelings of insignificance, and yet for some reason I’m still here. I choose to believe that this is by design, not accident. I choose to believe that God has a specific reason for my continued existence, and its bigger than just me.
I thought about this the other day as my son and I were doing some study in preparation for the upcoming Bible Bowl. (Shameless plug, start reading 2 Kings with your kids now! We can win this thing!!) So as is the story throughout most of the Old Testament, Israel had sinned continually by turning away from serving the one true God; so God allowed their enemies to oppress them. Because they were His, when they cried out, He came for them even though He knew they hadn’t truly repented of their wrongs. They were primarily crying out in their pain. Anyway, back to the saving part. Take a look at this verse,
“The Lord provided a deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram. So the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before.”,
2 Kings 13:5, HCSB
I’m so used to seeing the heroes named that I passed over that verse the first few times that I read it. Eventually, however, I noticed that this person who did a magnificent work for God’s people is not named in scripture! When we get to heaven and this person introduces themselves to you, you will have no clue who they are in history!!
There are probably a great many reasons as to why God the Spirit didn’t illuminate this name for the writer. One I can think of, is that this (along with all the great stories in scripture and life) are really about God’s ability, not some human who’s just following orders. However, regardless the reason, we can’t miss the fact that they did a marvelous work on behalf of God’s people!
Are you a nameless face? Perhaps to some. But you’re not nameless to the One who created you. There is a great work placed before you. If you are a parent, I believe that at least part of that work calls you “dad” or “mom”. So let’s get to work!!
Hello everyone! I'm excited about today's post for a number of reasons. The first is that I'm always excited to bring you easy hands on activities for placing Jesus before your babies! Also, this is something I heard about not too long ago and have wanted to share with you ever since!
This will be a quick post as it's a super simple activity! All you need in the way of supplies for this is a writing implement and a surface upon which to write.
What are the Psalms? Simply put, the Psalms are songs and prayers that either lament or praise to the Lord. They are full of imagery, comparisons and lofty language. These poems are masterfully crafted. Let's read one:
A psalm of thanksgiving.
1 Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to the Lord!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we are his--
his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever;
his faithfulness, through all generations.", Psalms 100, CSB
This Psalm is a praise of thanksgiving! Being grateful to God for all His many blessings should be a natural posture for each of us as followers. Discuss each verse with your kids and talk about the different actions the writer expects followers of God to do throughout this chapter (Shout, Serve, Come, Acknowledge, Enter His gates, and Give).
Once you've discussed each of these items its your turn!! As a group decide on a attribute of God that you would like to praise. Once you've done that, begin writing your psalm to the Lord. It can be as long or short as you'd like just try to make it full.
When you're done, we'd love for you to share it in the comments or on social media!! We'd love to know how your kiddos enjoyed this activity! Please share!!
So I'm kind of cheating today, but I promise its a good thing! These posts are generated by my life, things I read and other things I see and hear. A few weeks ago I read something I just loved. Instead of me rewriting it, I'll just link you to it.
Before I do that, though, I want to frame it. Throughout scripture, the Lord has consistently given us the choice between two options. This is so vitally important to teach our children. The world around them will tell them they get to choose from among many, many options. However this is not what Jesus says,
"6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.", John 14:6, NKJV
He doesn't give a couple different choices (though the world around us will say that there are many choices). He is THE way, THE truth and THE life. The choice is between Him and the wrong choice.
Our job as parents is to point our children to Jesus, recognizing we can't make the choice for them. Just like the star that led the wise men to Jesus in the manger, it is our job to lead them to the risen Savior so they can choose Him. Leading them to Him means placing the choice before them and helping them know that not choosing Him means choosing death. Choosing Him means choosing life!!
"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.", Deuteronomy 30:15-16, NIV
Without further ado, here's the link I promised. Please take a read and be blessed!!
I'm not sure if you missed it, but this week marks 75 years since the prisoners of Auschwitz were liberated. Such a dark time in the recent past. Citizens watched (and too many sat silent) as their fellow citizens (friends, neighbors, teachers, grocers etc.) were first marginalized, then forcibly ostracized from the communities they had help to build. Too many other countries sat silent as such a dark evil was allowed to sweep across Europe. Such an important time to remember and NEVER forget.
As I was watching some of the coverage of the memorials and events marking this day, I was awestruck by the story of one survivor in particular. Mrs. Tova Freidman was 5 when she and her family went got to Auschwitz. At such a young age, I'm sure she didn't immediately fully understand the horrors that awaited her, her family and the other prisoners. This didn't stop her mother though. Tova spoke about how her mother protected her by telling her the truth!! She said that her mother didn't ever hold back. This shocked me. I can only imagine my young children being there and how knowing what was likely to happen, how I would try to pretend that all was ok. This is not the choice Tova's mother made. She didn't hold back and always told her daughter what was happening and why. This would allow her to respond accordingly.
After hearing this interview, I started thinking about my kids. My first thought was this world and the conversation that Paul has in Ephesians 6. Its easy for us to think it wise to not tell our children that they are in the midst of a war. But it is a spiritual battle. Take a look at 2 Timothy 2:22,
"Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. ", HCSB
There can't be "youthful passions" (or "adolescent cravings" according to another version), if it was only adults in the war. Scripture also talks about satan setting traps for us; some of those traps are specific to the youth of the day.
Now, obviously I am not saying that we should terrify our children with stories of devils and demons lurking behind every corner, but we shouldn't shy away from talking about the great deceiver either. Especially in light of one of my favorite verses,
"...the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.", 1 John 4:4 HCSB
Remember the one who is in the world is that old liar from the start. The One who is in you, died on Calvary for your sins and mine. And NEVER forget, He got back up!!
Take the lead from Mrs. Tova Freidman's mother. Tell your children that they are in a war. They are in a battle. Then prepare them for war against an enemy who has already lost. As long as they get on the right side of the battle, they will be victorious!
Its the start to a new year and change is in the air! This is the time of year that everyone's best intentions are on full display. Even my son's elementary school is getting in on the action. Each of the almost 400 students had to answer about five specific questions about themselves with an eye toward personal improvement. This got me thinking, why not do the same around my home?
I'm sure you've seen how many churches, organizations and even individuals will choose a specific theme or trait for the year upon which they'd like to focus. This is what we're doing in our home. So we've decided on a theme for the year. Something we all (parents included) need to be working on anyway. What is our trait/theme that we've decided to work on? Gratitude!!
So step one, after deciding on the theme (get your kids involved in this part), is making sure both of our young kids fully understand what this is. Step two was to find a memory verse that would be the basis of our focus for the year. (Ours is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.") Step three is to help them see how they get to show and experience gratitude day to day. This one is an on-going, throughout the year type process. The final step (another on-going through out the year type thing), is to hold each other accountable for living this gratitude out. If your kids are anything like mine, this will probably be their favorite!
There are so many aspects to this type of activity that are great learning tools for our kids! We've got prayerfully considering a decision together as a family. You've got scripture memorization. This has become a favorite of mine. As I get older I recognize the benefit of having scripture at the ready in my head/ heart. You also have the application of scripture lived out in real life. And last but not least, we've got the accountability piece of living in a village. As the Lord's church, this is part of our job description. One of the benefits of the local church is the fact that each of us has folks that we see on a least a weekly basis who can speak life into us and call us out when we're messing up.
I'll check back in with you guys over the next couple months so you can see our progress attempting to live out gratitude in our lives. I'd love to hear about your experiences!! Have you had a family verse or theme for the year before? How'd that work out for you?
My husband and I have a three-year-old. For some reason this is an intense age. Since she is very strong willed, we but heads daily on who’s will is going to win. I am not one who believes a strong will is bad. As long as your will can be brought into submission to His will, this can be good! (We are still working on the submission part with my daughter.)
We often have “girls” devotion time while her dad is at work and her brother is in school. During this time, I try to help her see a principle that is evident and repeated in scripture. Each time I walk through a story with her, we discuss the same three questions at the end. “Who did we talk about in this story?”, “What did they do?” and “Did they follow God’s directions?”.
Turn over to Judges 2:1-5, CSB,
“1 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt and led you into the land I had promised to your fathers. I also said: I will never break my covenant with you. 2 You are not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of this land. You are to tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed me. What is this you have done? 3 Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap for you.” 4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these words to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly. 5 So they named that place Bochim and offered sacrifices there to the Lord.”
Up to this point, God had told His people a number of times that they needed to follow His directions. Here he is telling them that they will be punished through the Canaanites for disobeying. This is the principle I want my daughter to learn early. Let’s compare.
Flip over to Genesis 6:22, CSB,
“22 And Noah did this. He did everything that God had commanded him.”
In Genesis 6 we learn about the instructions that God gave Noah about the ark. We see at the end of the chapter that Noah did follow His directions. Then the rain came, and everything that breathed air died. After the storm, we see what happens when we obey God.
Head over to Genesis 8:1-4, CSB,
“1 God remembered Noah, as well as all the wildlife and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water began to subside. 2 The sources of the watery depths and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky stopped. 3 The water steadily receded from the earth, and by the end of 150 days the water had decreased significantly. 4 The ark came to rest in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.”
Because Noah did “everything God commanded”, “God remembered Noah” by saving him from the flood! The juxtaposition of these two stories shows us the principle I’m praying she learns (soon). On the other side of our obedience are the blessings of a just and loving God.
What this shows me, is that teaching my children to follow my directions is more important that just having well mannered children. Teaching my children to follow directions (or obey), is preparing them for life in the Kingdom of God! If we want good Kingdom citizens for children, we need to broaden our thinking in these areas. They need to know that the best way to live joyfully in the Kingdom, is to walk in obedience to the will of the One and Only King of Kings and Lord of Lords…. Jesus!!
“23 However, I did give them this command: ‘Obey me, and then I will be your God, and you will be my people. Follow every way I command you so that it may go well with you.’”, Jeremiah 7:23, CSB
“22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works — this person will be blessed in what he does.”, James 1:22-25, CSB
Before I could put a title to my desire to be a disciple maker in my home to my children, one thing I knew was that I wanted them to truly understand the importance of Christmas and Easter. I wanted to make sure they knew it wasn’t about a jolly old elf who could slide up and down chimneys bestowing gifts upon “good” little kids or about huge bunnies that lay plastic candy-filled eggs in your yard. I wanted them to know that these holidays were supposed to direct their attention and intentions to the God who loves them more than even I could. As my children have grown older, I find this even harder than it used to be simply because misconceptions are in the air around them.
In my attempt to make sure they remain focused; I have come up with a few things to hopefully keep them (and their parents) focused on the Lover of our souls. If we think about who Jesus was while He was here on earth in the flesh, one word that comes to mind is servant. So what better way to remind ourselves of Him than to be servants?!
Flip over to Luke 22:27,
“27 For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves.”
Keep in mind that you’ll want to do as much of these as you can as a family. Try to avoid doing all (or most) of the preparations alone. Also, these are all things that can be done throughout the year. We don’t have to wait for the Christmas season to find a way to serve the world around us.
So here’s the list. Feel free to lump some of these together. Feel free to invite friends or family into the serving action with you.
Perhaps you’ll do one or more of these things. If you do take a picture and let us know how it went. That would be great!! Just know God honors us when we try to keep His children focused on Him. Make every effort to keep Jesus at the center of the holiday. Stand strong! Be firm! You can do this!!
I hope you're having a Happy Thanksgiving!! I thought I'd honor the holiday by sharing something for which I'm thankful.
Wait for it.... I'm thankful for...… PODCASTS!! Aren't they awesome!
In all honesty, I'm serious. I am thankful for a couple of specific podcasts. My kids and I spend a bunch of time in the car. Earlier this year, I came across these podcasts. There are three that I will be sharing with you today.
First I want to encourage you to think about using podcasts as an effective way to share Biblical truths with your children. I have a friend who calls kids a captive audience in the car. They can really only listen (or watch) what you make them while in the car. It's not like they can walk away. However, the fun part is that these are podcasts my children ask for by name. Let's take a look!
The first one is "Kids Bible Stories" by Jessica White.
Jessica does a great job of retelling stories in scripture. Each podcast is about 8-12 minutes long, which is a perfect length for younger listeners. She jumps around throughout the Bible and even attaches an application with each story.
The second one is "By Kids, For Kids Bible Stories" by Audiovisual Education.
This one will warm your heart!! It is hosted by two Australian boys. They dramatize each story complete with voice changes and dramatic music for effect! They stepped through major stories from Creation to the time of Joshua. I'm not quite sure why they stopped making new episodes, but hopefully they will start up again in January. Each episode is about 5-9 minutes long. This is my three year old's favorite. She asks to listen to it, daily even though we've listened to each episode at least three times each.
The final one is my favorite and thankfully my kids thoroughly enjoy listening to it. "Truth Seekers: Bible stories for Kids" by Sherilyn Grant is the best!!
Sherilyn started at creation and began walking through the story of Truth. Each episode is about 10-15 minutes long and covers one specific piece of the story of the Children of Israel. At the end of each episode she asks the question, "What truth do we see in this story?" and invites the listener to discuss a truth about God that we can learn from this story. She also never leaves an episode without telling you exactly where in scripture you can read the story discussed.
All three of these podcasts have been a blessing! This is a fun way to fill my kids with scripture daily!! I love how these shows start conversations about God's Word and pricks their hearts with questions.
Another suggestion is the Bible app that allows you to listen to scripture with no frills. We used this feature while studying for the Bible Bowl earlier this year. This feature is available in multiple versions so that you can choose one that will be understood by younger listeners.
I certainly hope you're able to take time to share your faith with family and friends this week (including your children)!! I hope that you're able to show your family and friends just how thankful you are for them being the blessings that God meant for them to be in your life!!
I'm so amazed by my God! He opens my eyes to spiritual lessons through even non-spiritual means. The reason I love this so much is that He loves us enough to teach us where we are and using what we already see/hear/experience. I was watching a TV show a few weeks back when this lesson smacked me upside my head.
There's a father with a college age daughter. After ghosting him awhile (with him relentlessly pursuing her), she finally agrees to dinner with him. During dinner, she drops the bomb on him... she's pregnant. This is why she had pulled away from him. Sound familiar? Her "mistake" (sin) had caused her to be afraid to be in the presence of her father! (If this doesn't sound familiar, here's your homework: Luke 15:11-32 and Genesis 3 paying special attention to verses 9-13.)
Now she had decided to "fix" her mistake by having an abortion and she wanted her father to go with her to the clinic. Even though he wasn't devoutly faithful (he mentions having not stepped foot in a church for decades), he just doesn't think this was the best option because of what little faith he had. He also had no appetite to support it. So he pays for the food and leaves her at the restaurant....alone.
Now you know, as a parent, this wouldn't be something that he just doesn't think about. This whole situation eats at him for quite awhile. Later as he's walking around the city looking for clarity, he happens upon a church. He goes in to schedule an appointment with the minister. Instead he happens upon a wise janitor. After explaining in broad detail his situation and how he's feeling, the janitor paraphrases Hebrews 13:5 ("...The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us.") and tells him that one of the best qualities of Christ is that He won't leave us, EVEN when we're caught up in the consequences of our sin!
Now regardless of your views on abortion, you can't negate God's rules for us sexually. It is only within the bonds of marriage, and only with your spouse. This girl had messed up, and more than anyone else, she knew it!
Here's the lesson I heard from this. When our children are in trouble, ESPECIALLY of their own making, we CAN'T just walk away if we want to imitate Christ's love for them. Now by no means am I saying that we should ignore their iniquity and call it love. What I am saying is that no matter what, my kids have me!
Another place we see this spelled out in scripture is in Deuteronomy 31:6,
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”"
Thank you, Lord!! Thank you for not running to leave me alone every time I've messed up! Thank you, Lord for loving me through the mess, not just after I'm cleaned up. The reason God wants us to obey His commands isn't because He's a control freak. It's because He knows one of the things that happens to us when we sin is that we put space between us. He wants to be close to us at all times. He wanted to walk in the garden with us, but we couldn't follow the rules. Our children are affected by the exact same illness (sin).
One of the ways that we get to model the unconditional love that God has shown us, is to be there when they mess up; and continue loving on them.
Father help me to be the example of You perfect love that my kids need to see. Help me not to run away in the times that they need me most. EVEN when they've chosen sin over you.