Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our Little Trouble Maker...Samuel



Samuel Addison is our youngest.  We call him "Samo" sometimes.

Sam is every bit of 3 years old & more.

One minute I am hugging & kissing on his sweet little cheeks & the next minute I am pulling him off the counters & out of my sugar or flour tubs or find him sneaking into his sister’s purse looking for gum.  He is trouble with a capital T, but melts my heart every time he comes to me saying, “Hold you, Mommy”

Tomorrow I will wake up & he will be 16 & not have much time for me anymore.  Almost makes me not want to go to sleep.

My daughter Sarah is the photographer of these pictures & Picnik was used to create the collage.



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Experiencing God’s Protection

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

We believe in angels.  Scripture talks about them.  We teach our kids about them.  I tease my sons that they give their guardian angels a great workout.

I have so many stories I could share with you about times when I knew that my children were being protected from harm.  God used his angels to protect my children from harm countless times.

This past week, we experienced it again.

We always stay with my parents in East Texas for several days after Christmas.  This year was no different. My brother  John is home from college and it is always fun to see him too. 

Saturday John & my two oldest sons, Josh & Collin were going to Tyler to run some errands.  As they entered an intersection on a green light, they were hit by a man who ran his red light.  The impact was great enough to send the mini van spinning in the middle of the intersection.  The man hit the van right behind where Collin was sitting in the back on the drivers side, causing him to be thrown around & eventually thrown into the floor board.  His seat belt didn’t hold him in.

The man was knocked unconscious by the impact. 

Our boys were o’k, just shaken up quite a bit.  Josh had a sore shoulder & some bruising on his neck from the seatbelt & on his leg from hitting the door.  My brother has some bruised ribs.  Collin had a level 2 concussion with bruises & lot’s of soreness.  We don’t know the condition of the man as he was taken to the hospital.  We do know that he didn’t not have insurance.

As we sat around for the next couple of days, we all were very much aware of how great was the protection of our God.  In our conversations we sifted through all of the “what-if’s” and are so thankful that they didn’t happen. 

For my family it brought back memories of another car accident we had 10 years ago that my older children still remember.  The accident was much more serious, but still we saw God’s protection on our lives in a big way.  No one lost their life, our injuries were very minor compared to what they could have been.  Our vehicle was completely totaled, but our lives were saved. Not many people survive a roll-over the way we did.

It is important to let our children flesh out these memories by letting them talk about what they remember & reminding them of the way God took care of us instead of letting them dwell on the painful part of the memories. 

Christmas 2009 was a very special Christmas for our family for many reasons, but I think we will always remember how God protected my boys & my brother from serious injury from that accident.  I will always have the vision in my mind of angels in the van with my boys taking the brunt of the impact so they would not be more seriously injured.

God is good & his promise of protection is mighty & alive in our hearts and minds as we start a new year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Struggling with God’s Ways

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord, not Yourself.    Learning to trust the Lord completely with every detail of my life is been much harder than it sounds.  I memorized the verse a long time ago and it has brought great comfort to me, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of my life, I still struggle with it.
Today, I am struggling with how God is providing for my family.  It is not in a way that we would choose, but it His way right now.  I fight against the pity party.  I wrestle with thoughts of doubt.  I want to say, “God, are you serious?  Are you sure you know what you are doing?”  I guess me writing it here is the same as saying it since he knows our thoughts before we think them.  Trusting His ways that seem completely hidden from me is what faith is about.  I do know that I am not the only one who felt this way.
Job said in Job 3:23;

Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?

Job didn’t know what we know.  He didn’t know that God had allowed Satan to take everything away and yet he trusted God anyway. 
Shall we accept the good from God and not trouble? Job 2:10
When we are in the midst of adversity we don’t know what God knows.  We can’t see the big picture. All we see is what is right in front of us and it usually doesn’t look very good.
Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. Job 14:5


Job knew that his days were numbered by God, he cannot live longer than God had already determined him to live and he wouldn’t die before God had determined him to die.  God is sovereign, in complete control.  When His ways don’t make any sense to us, but they make complete sense to him and we must trust that. 
I am learning to be o’k that I may never know why God is allowing our family to experience what we are experiencing right now.  I am learning to trust His ways, instead of what I think he should be doing.  It is a daily choice, sometimes an hourly choice to trust him.
My first step towards this is worship; turning my focus off of myself and onto my God by meditating on his promises, singing & praying his words back to him.  Just saying “Thank you” even if you are not sure what you are thankful for can do amazing things to your spirit.
Use your imagination and picture Jesus standing before you and say to him, “Thank you”.  Then start a list of what you are thankful for.  Spiritual maturity comes when you can be thankful for the adversity because you know it is drawing you closer to God and your knowledge of him.
I think I will go take my own advice!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Understanding His Birth

I originally wrote this 2 years ago and had it posted on my previous site, Living Stones 4 Moms.
 

I love the Christmas season.  When I was young, my mom always made Christmas an extra special time of year.  She would decorate the house from top to bottom many times with her own handmade decorations.  We would bake special desserts that were only made during Christmas and share them with friends who visited.  My sister and I always knew that Christmas was really about the birth of Jesus, but the presents and decorating were our favorite part.
When Scott & I married and I was left to begin my own traditions for my family.  We would decorate the house and find a big tree to decorate.  We would buy the kids tons of gifts and bake a lot of sweets.  It was a time of year when we did things that we normally did not do through out the year.  We told the kids that Christmas is really about celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We had a nativity set up and talked about it with the kids.  We tried to pass on to them an appreciation for the true meaning of Jesus, but I myself still didn't have a  real deep understanding of Christ birth.
One Christmas changed all of that.  A few October's ago we had found out we were pregnant and we were so excited.  This would be our ninth baby.  When my midwife came for my first check up I was feeling pretty well, which was not a normal feeling during the first trimester for me.  She tried to find the baby's heartbeat but couldn't find it.  We thought maybe it was too early so she would come back in a few weeks to try again.  As the days went on I began to feel some cramping, but I had done that in the past so once again I didn't think much about it.  A few days before my midwife was to come back I began spotting.  I had never done that before and now I was really worried.  The morning of my appointment I told Scott that I knew that Renee would not find a heartbeat.  I knew the baby was not alive.  My worst suspicions were confirmed.  There was no heartbeat.  She told me what would happen as my body would naturally begin to expel the baby.  She said it could only take a few days or it could take a few weeks.  I cried, not because I was afraid of what was about to happen, but because this baby that I already come to love so much was dead inside my body.  I would never be able to hold and nurse this baby or kiss his fat little cheeks.
The days turned into weeks as my body slowly did what it knew to do.  We came into the Christmas season and I was not in the mood for Christmas cheer.  This was about celebrating Jesus, but I was still mourning my baby's death.  I went through the motions of celebrating, but was not in it at all.  Then Christmas morning came and as I was helping my little ones open their gifts my body reached the peak of the miscarriage.  I was in horrible pain and knew what was happening.  I ran to the bathroom and cried out to God.
"Why on today would you let this happen to me?  How can I celebrate your sons' birth when my body is discarding my dead baby?"
I spent the day at my in-laws in pain, emotional and physical pain.  I was feeling very sorry for myself and really just wanted to be at home in bed rather than pretending to enjoy Christmas Day.  That evening as the pain began to lessen I asked God again why this had to happen today of all days.  It was my worst Christmas ever.  Never again would I be able to celebrate the Christmas season without remembering losing my baby on Christmas Day.  I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
"Your baby was conceived to serve a purpose in my plan for you.  My son was conceived with a purpose; so he could die for you.  Your baby died so that you would understand my son's birth." 
This realization pierced my soul.  I knew that it was o'k to mourn the loss of my baby, and now I had a greater understanding of my Savior's birth.  The pain I felt as my body progressed through the miscarriage was great, but the pain of my sin was even greater to my God.  I began to ask myself if I had the ability to control conception would I conceive a child knowing that he would be born to later die so that others would live; knowing that he wouldn't just die, but that his death would be traumatic and excruciating.  I know I could not do this and my God did it for me!  He knew that we needed someone to walk among us and show us his love.  He knew that we would need Jesus, but he knew that it meant that his son would have to die so that we could live.  He would do away with the Old Testament covenant and Jesus would be the new covenant.  And for all of this to take place God orchestrated a brilliant plan to send Jesus to earth in a way that we all can relate to; as a baby born from an earthly mother. 
I don't know about you but the realization of what Jesus was born to do so that I, a selfish sinner, could live eternally with him in Heaven brings me to my knees in humble adoration.  I can't even begin to describe to you the emotions that overcome me.  It is hard for my flesh to understand how and why anyone would do anything so great and sacrificial for one who has hurt him so deeply.  But that is why I am not God, because I could never do that, I am too selfish. 
This miscarriage gave me an even clearer picture of God's grace.  In his grace and mercy he gently led me into a deeper understanding of his son's birth which resulted in the ultimate act of love for me.  I realized that God didn't have to send his son to die, just like he didn't have to allow me to conceive that baby, but he did.  He didn't even have to let me wake up this morning, but he did.  Christian author and speaker, A.W. Tozer said,
"Whom God will use greatly, he will hurt deeply." 
He loved me so much and wanted me to experience him in a deeper way and for this to happen I would need to experience a painful loss.  He knew my pain and my loss, yet his was much greater than mine, but he loved me still; enough to send his son to earth to die for me, knowing how sinful I would be.  How can I not love him with all that I have in me?  How can I not devote my life to serving him?
So, we have Christmas; a time each year to remember that a baby wasn't just born to live a perfect life, but he was born so that he could die for you and me.  I know that Christmas is a holiday that the world has commercialized in a huge way.  But for our family it is a time to stop and remember.  We can thank God for his son Jesus everyday.  We can remember everyday that Jesus came to earth to show us how to love God and each love other.  He came to die for us and even more amazingly he was raised from the dead.  I know that we don't need a special day to do this, but taking that day is special.  Now when this time of year approaches I become especially mindful of what all God has done for us through out the year.  I understand his birth in a much deeper way and it has made a tremendous affect on my relationship with Christ.
I feel very blessed that the Lord not only gave me a spiritual reason for the miscarriage but the physical reason also.  We later found out that I actually had a virus that had attacked the baby causing it to die early on. I went through treatment, cleaned up my health by eating better foods and was soon pregnant again; this time with my first girl in 10 years. We gave her the middle name of Grace as a reminder of God's abundant grace in our lives.  22 months later we welcomed another boy, our 11th little blessing (10 on earth & 1 in Heaven).  I still hear the kids talk about the "baby who died in moms tummy" and that is all they remember.  But for me I will always remember the baby that helped me to come to a deeper relationship and love for my Lord Jesus Christ.  Every Christmas I thank my God for allowing me the very short time with that little one and for the way he so greatly blessed my life.
Please don't let this Christmas come and go without going to your Lord Jesus Christ and thanking him for giving his earthly life for you.  Share this truth with your children and pray that they too would come to a deep understanding of the meaning of Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection.
There is a book that I enjoy reading with my children every year called, One Wintry Night by, Ruth Bell Graham; the late wife to Billy Graham, world renown evangelist.  This book will bless you as you read the story of Christmas beginning with creation and going all the way to Jesus resurrection.  The last few sentences in the book sum all of this very well...
"Through his death and resurrection, the baby born in Bethlehem had become Lord of all.  This is the real meaning of Christmas, the joy and glory of it all!"




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Monday, December 14, 2009

Phototinks

Ok, here is another cool find I made online this morning.

Widdley Tinks is a cool site that offeres tickers, widgets, photo cards & more all for free!  I made a few Christmas cards & sent them through Facebook.  Below is my favorite.

To make a card simply pick a card, upload your photo & them create the text you want & there you have it, a free way to send special greetings to your favorite people.


Photo Albums at WiddlyTinks.com
Photo Tinks by WiddlyTinks.com



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Saturday, December 12, 2009

12 Days of Christmas; Bailey Style




On the first day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me;
Half of a Christmas tree.
On the second day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Two tired parents.
On the third day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Three teenage daughters.
On the fourth day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Four headless dolls.
On the fifth day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Five teens on cell phones!
On the sixth day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Six smelly boys.
On the seventh day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Seven loads of laundry (everyday)
On the eighth day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Eight homeschooled kids.
On the ninth day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Nine minute showers
On the tenth day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Ten kids home for dinner.
On the eleventh day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Eleven people sleeping (mom doesn’t sleep)
On the twelfth day of Christmas a Bailey showed to me
Twelve coats by the door




Written by: Dana and The Tribe, © 2007-2009, All Rights Reserved


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Phonics Freebies using 100 EZ Lessons


Over the years I have found that one of the easiest & pain-free ways to teach my kids to read is to use the book,Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessonsalso known to other home school moms as the "100 EZ Lessons" book.

But one of my frustrations was that to reinforce what they were learning, they needed to practice the sounds more & practice writing them a lot and there were no resources that were available that I knew about.  We usually just made our own flash cards and then the company came up with some.  Our handwriting practice consisted of me writing it down while they watched and then they copied what I wrote.



This morning, I found a FREE treasure on DonnaYoung.org.  If you have homeschooled very long, you probably know of this site.  This lady has so much on her site that it would take you years to find it all AND she continues to add to it.  It is all FREE, that is the best part.

O'k, what I found was that she has created handwritng pages and other nifty little resources to reinforce the lesson in the book.  It all goes along with the EZ Lessons book.

These pages are PDF downloads & you can save them to your computer to print when you are ready.

Click here to download your own set of pages.

She has a lot of handwriting resources along with forms, lists, calendars & whatever you can think of using for home and school.

Be careful,if you have never visited Donna Young's site before, you could be there all week!  Enjoy!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

How Does the Messianic Community Celebrate Christmas?

This is an article that I found that I thought was very interesting.  If you are interested in studying more on the Biblical Holidays, I highly suggest Robin Sampson's book, A Family Guide to Biblical Holiday's.  You can use it with your children & teach them our Biblical roots.

I hope you enjoy this article by Rabbi Scott Sekulow
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How Does the Messianic Community Celebrate Christmas?
By Rabbi Scott Sekulow
When I was asked to write about how a Jewish believer in Messiah celebrates Christmas, I thought about the different expressions of celebration. They range from those who put up trees, decorations to those that don’t because of the pagan influences. There are also different days to celebrate Yeshua’s (Jesus’ Hebrew name) birth. Do we follow the decree by Pope Julius I in the fourth century of December 25th or the Greek Orthodox Church which celebrates two weeks later?
So how does the Messianic Community celebrate the birth of Messiah? First, we take our clues from the Biblical Feasts. We believe Yeshua was born on Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) based on scripture, historical events and Jewish culture. More importantly, it is consistent with God using His Feasts as prophetic foreshadowing’s of upcoming events.
To date Messiah’s birth, we first turn to the birth of John the Baptist. We know Zacharias was ministering in the Temple when he receives the announcement of the birth of his son. Zacharias was a priest in the division of Abijah, ministering in the Temple during Sivan 12 to 18. Calculating a normal pregnancy at 40 weeks, John the Baptist’s birth was at Passover.
“…Elizabeth conceived, and she remained five months in seclusion…In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God … to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph” Luke 1:24,26
Mary visited Elizabeth when she was 6 month’s pregnant, putting Messiah’s conception at the time of Hanukkah (December). Calculating a normal pregnancy at 40 weeks, Messiah’s birth was at Sukkot (September/October).
It has been taught that Mary and Joseph were required to go to Bethlehem to register for their taxes, and due to this there were not any accommodations. While it’s a beautiful story, but is it the whole story?
First of all, when the decree was issued, citizens were given a full year during which to register. There was no reason thousands of Bethlehemites would come to their hometown all at once register. So why would Joseph bring his wife Mary all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register when her pregnancy was so far along?
There were three great feasts each year when the Jewish people were expected to make every effort to go to Jerusalem: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot (Exodus 23:14). During these feasts, the population of Jerusalem would swell from about a hundred twenty thousand to something over two million people.
During Sukkot, every family was expected to live at least part of each day in their booth, called a sukkah, a temporary dwelling usually made out of palm and/or bamboo branches. These sukkot were available for overnight lodging and the homeowners would stock them with food. The food was placed on a food-tray attached to the inside wall of the Sukkah to keep it up off the ground. It was not a shelter for animals
Bethlehem was a small village just about four miles south of Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph had apparently decided to register with the census-takers when they came up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Evidently they intended to spend the night in Bethlehem, register in the morning, and then proceed to Jerusalem for the Feast. Since there were no vacancies, the innkeeper offered them shelter in his Sukkah. When the Baby was born, they laid Him on the food shelf to keep Him up off the damp ground. It is interesting to note that the origins of the word “manager” refer to “sukkot”
Another clue that December is wrong timing for the birth is given by the Shepherds. Luke 2:8 tells us: “There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock." By December in Israel it is quite cold, and the sheep would have been brought into the fold for the winter.
Since we have shown Yeshua was six months younger than John, it is easy to establish the time of His birth as September/October. The only reason Bethlehem would possibly be crowded at this time would be for Sukkot.
At Congregation Beth Adonai, we celebrate Messiah’s birth in conjunction with the Feast of Sukkot because we know Messiah dwelt (tabernacled) among us. Remember Yeshua is the reason for all the season.
The Feast of Tabernacles
Thought:
The Apostle John uses a verb form of the same Greek word that is used to translate the Hebrew word for “booth” (sukkah) when he wrote, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt [tabernacled] among us.” (John 1:14) He tabernacled among us, and He will tabernacle among us again in the messianic future. The celebration of the Festival of Booths (Sukkot) celebrates the Messiah who once tabernacled among us, now tabernacles within us, and in the future will again tabernacle among us.
Commentary:
The last appointment on God’s Leviticus 23 calendar is the Feast of Booths, a seven-day harvest celebration. The Hebrew name of the festival is Sukkot, a word that means “shelters, stables or huts.” These temporary, tent-like structures are often translated as “tabernacles” in our English Bibles. The festival is so named because Israel is commanded to annually build such dwelling places as a reminder of the post-exodus years when they lived in huts and booths, following God in the wilderness.1Sukkot is a time of joy and celebration, a time to celebrate the harvest and revel in God’s goodness.
Many beautiful traditions are attached to the annual Festival of Booths. For example, it is traditional to invite guests into one’s booth for a festive meal each night of Sukkot. Among the list of invitees are some auspicious names: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David. Each are specially invited to come into the booth and pull up a chair at the table. Obviously, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David are unlikely to actually attend the meal, since they are all dead. That, however, is the point of the ritual. The Feast of Booths anticipates the Messianic Age, when the dead will be raised to life again and we will all sit at the table with the aforementioned in the kingdom of heaven.
When Messiah comes, He will bring in the final harvest of God’s kingdom and institute an age of peace and prosperity upon the earth. The prophets relate that day to the festival of Sukkot, a day when every man will sit beneath his own vine and fig tree.2 Isaiah 4:6 tells us that God will spread a tabernacle of glory over Jerusalem.
According to the prophets, the Feast of Booths celebrates a time when all nations will ascend to Jerusalem bearing tribute to King Messiah and celebrating the festival. In that day, all nations will ascend to His throne in Jerusalem in order to celebrate the Festival of Booths (Tabernacles). Obviously, this is a very important festival for disciples of Messiah today.
Sukkot is the great festival, the culmination of all the appointed times. Sukkot is to the other festivals what the Sabbath is to the other six days of the week. As such it is a fitting foreshadowing of that great celebration of creation when the entire world will live in peace and brotherhood under the reign and rule of the righteous Messiah King. Just as the weekly Sabbath foreshadows the millennium, Sukkot also looks forward to that great age. Therefore, the festival of Sukkot, like all the festivals, foreshadows Messiah.
Commentary from FFOZ – First Fruits of Zion ~ ffoz.org
Endnotes

  1. Leviticus 23:42–43
    2. Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10
CONGREGATION BETH ADONAI
Rabbi Scott Sekulow
4141 Bancroft Circle, Tucker, GA 30084
770-939-1152
bethadonai.com ~ mail@bethadonai.com

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Free Advent Study - Inductive Method

Anytime I see FREE posted on Twitter or Facebook, I am checking out the link.  Tonight, I followed a link and found a really neat download of an Advent study that focuses on the Inductive way of Bible study.  This caught my attention.

For years we have done simple studies that mainly involved reading a scripture passage & discussing it a little.  This new study I found seems to get the kids more involved in the actual study of the Scriptures by paying close attention to details in the passage.

You will find this FREE download at Our Grace Journey.  There are 2 different way's to download; in Microsoft Word or in PDF.  There are about 60 pages that you print out to use with your children.

I haven't used it yet, but have printed it out & have been looking over it hoping to start it tomorrow with the kids.  I have kids of all ages that will be sitting in on our study (17 yrs - 5 yrs).  I think you could use it younger elementary age to older very easily.

Go to Our Grace Journey of your free Christmas Advent study.

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Take the Roosevelt Challenge



So, Now What?

The Thanksgiving holiday has passed – the first of two Christian holidays nationally established by Congress back in 1870 (the other was Christmas). Today, there is not much organized religious activity to fill the five weeks between these two national celebrations, but in 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt made an excellent recommendation worth following today:
I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas. . . . [G]o to . . . the Scriptures for a renewed and strengthening contac t with those eternal truths and majestic principles which have inspired such measure of true greatness as this nation has achieved.
While the five week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the focus of this particular email, it is still worth noting that many presidents before Roosevelt similarly urged Americans to delve into the Bible – including President Zachary Taylor, who declared:
The Bible is the best of books and I wish it were in the hands of everyone. It is indispensable to the safety and permanence of our institutions. . . . Especially should the Bible be placed in the hands of the young. It is the best school book in the world. . . . I would that all of our people were brought up under the influence of that Holy Book.
And Daniel Webster had earlier affirmed:
To the free and universal reading of the Bible . . . men [are] much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is . . . a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.
And well before Daniel Webster, the Founding Fathers had declared the same:
The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. Patrick Henry
For nearly half a century, I have anxiously and critically studied the Bible and I still scarcely ever take it up that I do not find something new. Were you to ask me to recommend the most valuable book in the world, I should fix on the Bible as the most instructive both to the wise and the ignorant. Were you to ask me for one book affording the most rational and pleasing entertainment to the enquiring mind, I would still stay the Bible. And should you ask again about the best philosophy, or the most interesting history, I would still urge you to look into your Bible. I would make it, in short, the alpha and omega of knowledge. Elias Boudinot
The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. John Jay
Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited . . . What a Utopia! – What a paradise would this region be! John Adams
The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society. . . . All of the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from them despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. Noah Webster
So significant was the Bible to America's greatest statesmen that many of them committed themselves to reading through the Bible from cover to cover once every year. For example, John Quincy Adams stated:
The first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention is the Bible. I have myself for many years made it a practice to read the Bible once every year. I have always endeavored to read it with the same spirit and with the same temper of mind which I now recommend to you. That is, with the intention and desire that it may contribute to my advance in wisdom and virtue.
Considering this background, right now – that is, the next five weeks – is the perfect time to begin doing exactly as President Roosevelt recommended:
"I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas."
Urge those in your family, church, business, youth group, school, or whatever, to take the Roosevelt Challenge: regularly delve into the Bible from now unto Christmas.
By the way, if you have never read through the complete Bible and are wondering which version of the Bible to read, perhaps a recommendation made by John Quincy Adams in 1817 may be useful to you. When asked the version he preferred, he replied:
You ask me what Bible I take as the standard of my faith. I answer, any Bible that I can read and understand.
Indeed, select a version that you "can read and understand." And if you are further wondering just how to go about reading the complete Bible in a year, let us recommend the One-Year Bible a full Bible divided up into 365 daily readings. (The One Year Bible is available in all major Bible translations so that you can select the one you can best " read and understand.")
Give yourself an early Christmas gift – commit to read through the Bible in the next twelve months; and encourage those around you to do the same. By so doing, you will be giving yourself a gift that truly keeps on giving!
God Bless!

David Barton


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Monday, November 30, 2009

Trust in the Lord, not Yourself

Recently, I was faced with a very difficult decision.  I was faced with either compromising my relationship with a friend or compromising my relationship with my Lord God.  If I chose my friend all things around me would remain the same and there would be no break in our relationship. However; if I chose to keep my relationship safe with my friend I would be in direct disobedience of what God was specifically telling me to do.
After agonizing over my decision, I knew what I had to do & ask the Lord for strength to obey.  He answered my prayer.
The days & weeks following my decision were horrible.  My relationship with my friend was broken and will never be the same again.  This was agonizing for me.  I prayed that God would restore our friendship, that one day she would understand why I made the decision I did.  She weighed heavy on my mind.  As I continued to pray a verse I didn’t expect began to flow through my mind.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and hi will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
I had done a study of this verse last year in preparation for a talk I gave to a mom’s group.  I went back to my notes to review and was surprised by the reassurance I gained from it.
Trust= the act of leaning on.  Not standing in your own strength or abilities.  To relay on someone or something for support and strength.
My visual picture in my mind is my leaning against a strong mature tree.  The tree is supporting most of my weight.

Trusting in the Lord means I do not trust in myself and I definitely do not trust in others more than I trust in the Lord. I do not rely on myself or others for wisdom and strength.  I don’t do what seems right. I don’t do what feels right.  I do what is right, because I am trusting in the Lord.  The decision I had to make didn’t seem right or feel right, but it was clear what I was to do and I know have to trust the Lord that He knows what is right.
with all my heart”
Trusting the Lord with all my heart means that I don’t sort of trust him.  I don’t trust him when it is convenient or easy.  I don’t trust him in some area’s of my life and not in others.  I trust him with all my heart!  With all of me, my mind, emotions, spirit; I trust him.
Lean not on your own understanding”
This tells us what not to do, because if we are doing it we are not trusting him with all our heart.  Do not lean on your own understanding. Remember the tree?  Trusting him is like leaning against the big strong tree.  The tree is obviously my God.  It supports me, provides shelter and rest.  If I am leaning on my own understanding, that is like leaning against a small new tree.
This tree in the picture looks much like a tree in our front yard.  It is very small with a small trunk & if I leaned against it, I would push it over.  It cannot provide me with shelter or rest.  It would not support me at all.
If I am depending on my own understanding, it is much like me relying on this little tree to hold me up. My understanding is covered in sin and selfishness.  My understanding only brings me trouble.  It is very dangerous for one to depend on human wisdom alone. 
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Our world is all about doing what feels right.  Or doing what others think you should do.  Many times in the life of a believer, we will stand alone as we trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him”
This is a call for total, unwavering commitment in trust for obedience in all things.  ALL THINGS.  Not some things, not just the things that will make us look good to others, all things.  In all we do, acknowledge him.  This is a mental and emotional awareness of who God is.  I can tell you that as hard as it was to go forward and obey what God was telling me to do, the reassurance of knowing  my God is what gave me the strength I needed to obey.  I knew he knows better than I do, I knew that he knew my friends’ heart better than I did, I knew that he is sovereign and His will is always done.
By obeying God, I was acknowledging him as the Sovereign Lord in my life.  By trusting him and not relying on my own wimpy understanding and as I obeyed what he told me to do, I acknowledged him.  The rest of the verse is the promise of a blessing when we trust him.
“…and he will make your paths straight.”

He will guide us, strengthen us and give us the wisdom we need to handle whatever comes next.  That is where I am right now; trusting God to give me the wisdom I need to handle the effects my decision had on my friend of whom I love so much.
My God is so faithful even when I am not, why would I not want to trust him.  He has never failed me. It is I who has failed him, yet he continues to keep his promises to me.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Letter From Jesus about Christmas

  This letter was posted as a comment on another blog by a writer named Liz.  I don't know if she wrote it or where she got it.  If you do know please let me know so I can properly site the author.  But I thought it was good enough to post here. ~Dana


Dear Children,
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival, although I do appreciate being remembered anytime. How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town. Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1-8.
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list.

Choose something from it:
 1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

 3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

 4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

 9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine. Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love.


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Friday, November 27, 2009

Creating Space for God

As mothers, we are used to fighting for time for ourselves.  But, do you fight for time with God?  How much trouble do you go to so that you can spend time with Him in prayer & Bible Study?

I heard a guy talking about his father on the radio one morning.  He was describing to the audience of how important it was to his father to spend time alone with the Lord.  He explained that his father would dismiss himself every night about 9 o'clock to go to bed, so that he would be rested enough to get up early the next morning for his quiet time.  I thought that was great!  I know what you are thinking!  He is a man, he is not the one putting the kids to bed, making lunches for the nest day of school or trying to get that last load of laundry folded & put away.  His commitment is what I admire.  He knew what he had to do so that he was ready to spend time alone with God & he did it.

I have written about this before, but if you truly want that time with the Lord, pray and ask him to show you how & where & when.  He will show you.  Once he shows you & you are able to establish a great new habit, you now need a plan.
I recently was sent a link to a website of a fantastic woman who is passionate about helping others develop a meaningful quiet time.  Catherine Martin of Quiet Time Ministries is an author & speaker.  Visit her site!  You will be blessed.  Sign up for her "7 Days to Energize Your Quiet time"  In Day 4, she advises you to make a plan, & this is what she shared...

Henri Nouwen made a very important statement that offers an incredible perspective for your relationship with the Lord. Henri Nouwen defines discipline as the effort to "create some space in which God can act. Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you're not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn't planned or counted on."

What discipline will help you create that space? The discipline of a plan - a very simple plan for your quiet time. The Lord gave me this plan many years ago and it has been incredible in helping me to draw near to God. You can remember it according to the acrostic: P.R.A.Y.E.R.:

Prepare Your Heart

Read And Study God's Word

Adore God In Prayer

Yield Yourself To God

Enjoy His Presence

Rest In His Love

Prepare Your Heart is necessary at the beginning of your quiet time. It allows you to turn your eyes upon Jesus as the hymn goes. There are many ways to prepare your heart including reading a devotional or a psalm. Then Read And Study God's Word to hear God speak to you. Adore God In Prayer and respond to what you have heard Him say. Then Yield Yourself To God as a response to what you have learned in His Word. Enjoy His Presence and take all you have experienced in your quiet time throughout the day. Then take God's promise and Rest In His Love. 


Establishing a good habit of drawing away & spending time with the Lord won't happen magically, we must be disciplined with our time & priorities.  But it will happen, just don't give up.  Your life is at stake here & the lives of your family.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Simplifying Again

I have a little bit of a break from my ministry work at church, so I thought it was time to try & update my blog & simplify it.  I realized that my other template just took too long to load so I have gone back to my original look while I work on a new design.

I hope that you are able to enjoy the holiday season as we celebrate with our families the amazing things God has done for us.

Blessings!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Send a Christmas Card to the ACLU!



What a clever idea!
Yes, Christmas cards. This is coming early so that you can get ready to include an important address to your list.

Want to have some fun this CHRISTMAS? Send the ACLU a CHRISTMAS CARD this year.

As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice, CHRISTIAN card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world..

Make sure it says "Merry Christmas" on it.

Here's the address, just don't be rude or crude. (It's not the Christian way, you know.)

  ACLU
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York , NY 10004

Two tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations because they wouldn't know if any were regular mail containing contributions.  So spend 44 cents and tell the ACLU to leave Christmas alone. Also tell them that there is no such thing as a " Holiday Tree". . . It's always been called a CHRISTMAS TREE!

And pass this on to your email lists. We really want to communicate with the ACLU! They really DESERVE us!!

For those of you who aren't aware of them, the ACLU, (the American Civil Liberties Union) is the one suing the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything Christian away from us. Help put Christ back in Christmas!



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Raising a Modern Day Daniel



 Daniel 1 details a wonderful story of 4 very strong and dedicated teenage boys.  These teen's were in their early teens, but according to their culture were considered men.  There was evil in Jerusalem.  For many years it had been ruled by kings who were wicked and God handed Jerusalem over to the king of Babylon.  2 Kings 24:14 says that, "He(King Nebuchadnezzar) carried into exile  all Jerusalem: all the officers and fighting men,  and all the craftsmen and artisans-a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left." "Among these were some from Judah: Daniel,  Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. (Daniel 1:6)
After arriving in Babylon the young men were gradually stripped of their Jewish heritage.  First they received new Babylonian names, and then they were to eat the Babylonian food.  Daniel and his friends, I'm sure, were not happy with their new names, after all they were much harder to pronounce, but they could live with it.  But when the new menu was set before them they knew they couldn't defy themselves.  It would go against everything they had been taught.  The Mosaic Law was very clear about eating unclean foods; "Don't do it"!  In Daniels mind, there was no choice; he could not eat the Babylonian food.  His friends agreed with him and together the 4 of them rebelled, respectfully of course, against eating the fine foods of the Babylonians.  They knew that their God was bigger than even the mighty Babylonians.  They had a very healthy fear of their God.
They stood before the overseer of the court of officials and asked permission to not defile themselves.  The God they so strongly believed in softened the heart of the officials.  This Daniel was a very wise man.  He made a bargain with the official.  Is that not like the typical man?  Daniel tells the official "Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who are eating the royal delicacies; deal with us in light of what you see."(Daniel 1:12,13)  It worked!  They got what they wanted.  Even better, the whole plan worked.  They were able to show that their simple diet of vegetables and water made them stronger than the others who ate the food of the Babylonians.  Then the official removed all of the junk food and they all ate the healthy food.  After all, the King didn't need fat, lazy Jewish men in his court.  They were no good to him like that.
Because Daniel remained faithful to his God, did not conform to the pagan culture, and took a stand against that which he knew was wrong he was blessed over & over for the rest of his life.  Read about his life in the book of Daniel.  It is fantastic.  I didn't say it was easy, but it was blessed.
As a mom, I have to wonder what kind of mom Daniel had.  Did she know that she had raised a young man who was so strong in his convictions?  Did she know that her son was capable of making such a difficult, yet brave move against his enemies?  Did his father know that he had prepared his son to lead others in truth and conviction?  How did he teach his son to not follow others, but to lead even if you are standing alone?  As far as we know Daniel never saw his parents again.  They may have never known what a mighty man of God their son became.  What do you want to bet Daniel would be called "strong willed" in today's times?

After reading the story of Daniel in the first chapter to my children one morning I wondered to myself if they would be able to make the bold stand that Daniel & his friends did?  Am I equipping them to stand for what they know is right no matter what the costs?  If given the choice would they gobble up the kings' food or would they ask for a diet of clean foods?  Am I raising my sons to be leaders or followers?  Their dad plays the major role in teaching them to be men, but I still have a role as I am with them more than their dad, especially while they are young.
When you throw seeds in a pot of dirt you hope that what comes up is what is on the package.  You have an idea of what to expect, but is that really what will grow out of the dirt?  You water it, watch for bugs, and shield it from too much sun.  You nurture & care for it and before you know it up pops a little green shoot.  As it grows it looks like what you expected & you are feeling quite successful as a gardener.  Then it blooms.  It doesn't quite look like what you thought it would.  What do you do?  You keep nurturing your plant and you wait and trust the direction on the package.
This is how I see my boys(& girls).  I have these ideas of how they should turn out and some of my ideas are just not panning out.  I'm getting worried.  I don't want to raise jail bait.  I want to raise future men of God who will make an impact on others.  God reminds me, just as I am sure he reminded Daniels mother to trust him and continue to raise them according to his scriptures.  Teach his laws and promises to them.  Believe and live according to them myself.  Teach them to guard their heart, to capture every thought that could lead them into foolishness and that whatever they do, do it as unto the Lord.  Talk to them about what we believe and why, and then expect them to live this way because it pleases the Lord and no other.
This is not what our society teaches at all.  The Christian is expected by God to live to please his God and in return receive blessings untold. Society expects us to live for ourselves and do whatever pleases us.  I don't know if I am raising modern day Daniels, but I'm trying.  I see a passion in the eyes of my sons that I pray constantly will grow into a passion for their Lord.  I see a zest for life that I pray will grow into a zest for Christ and I recognize their natural God given hunger for adventure that could bring them to the point of history changing adventures.
I pray that even though my sons must live in this world, they will not be conformed by the world.  I pray that they will guard his heart, resist the temptation to conform, and learn to love his God with his whole heart, mind and strength.  It is all up to God. 

That They will Trust in You

Lord God,
I come before you lifting up my children.  I want so badly for them to trust you with ALL their heart.(Prov.3:5)  I want them to be passionate about you.  I pray that they will not lean on their understanding but will acknowledge you in all their ways(Prov.3:5).  I want them to learn early that their ways will surely bring them failure and disappointment, but it is your ways that will bring life and joy.  I want them to learn that when they trust in you, you will direct their paths, you will guide them and that they will be satisfied and fulfilled with your love for them.(Prov.3:6)  Protect them from the wicked ways that may stray them from you and bring them back when they do stray away.  I pray that they are able to shun evil and bring honor and glory to you.(Prov.3:7-9)  I pray all this in your trusted & blessed name.
A~Men


Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Little Big Birthday Girl


Today is Gracie's 5th birthday.  She is the youngest girl at the end of 4 boys.  When we found out we were pregnant with a girl, I was in total shock!  I had not had a girl in 10 years & never thought I would see little pink bows and baby dolls in my house again.

Gracie is all girl, but can run with the boys also.  We joke that she has a purse that she keeps her hotwheels in.  When the brothers go to spend the night with Mamaw, Gracie goes with them.  She the brothers jump on the trampoline, Gracie jumps with them.  When Gracie wants to play baby dolls she makes the brothers play with her.  LOL!


Gracie is a strong willed little girl, but has a sweet heart & spirit.  She takes care of her little brother Sam (even though he is as big as she is).  She is a petite little girl with a very big voice. :)  She keeps us laughing and amazes us with her wit.





Happy Birthday  Baby Girl!









Saturday, November 7, 2009

Decorate a Cookie



Need a little practice on your cookie decorating skills? This is a neat website that I found this morning. Decorate an E-cookie & send it to a friend to just keep decorating more cookies. Your kids will enjoy this.

Create-A-Cookie



Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Picture of Peace

If you were to paint a picture of what peace looks like to you, what would you paint?

I found a story that goes something like this...

Two artists set out to make a picture representing perfect peace.  The first painted a canvas depicting a carefree lad sitting in a boat on a little placid lake without a ripple to disturb the surface.  The other painted a raging waterfall with winds, whipping the spray about.  On a limb, overhanging the swirling water, a bird had built its nest, and sat peacefully brooding her eggs.  Here she was safe from her predatory enemies, shielded and protected by the roaring falls.

The world paints a picture of peace that is very different from the picture that is painted in the scriptures.

According to the world peace is the "absence of war or other hostilities" and also explained as "inner contentment, serenity; peace of mind" (Webster's)  The worlds kind of peace is caused by created things and the manipulations of carnal beings.  In other words, according to the world, we create peace.  Peace comes from us.

Here is the picture the world paints of peace.



Do you know the history of the peace sign?  It is a really popular symbol today that is worn on our clothes, jewelry, cars, etc...  Read the history & decide for yourself if you still want to wear it.


The spiritual peace found in scripture paints a different picture. I don't know about you, but I like this picture better.

Strongs Lexicon defines peace as
"The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatsoever sort that is"

A Bible Dictionary defines it as;
"Freedom from worry, harmony in personal relations, freedom from evil disturbances."

I love the thought of being free from all worry.  I am not there yet.  It is a daily walk, a daily choice to walk in His Spirit.

According to Scripture...
~God is the God of Peace - 1 Thessalonians 5:23
~He ordains peace - Isaiah 26:12
~Christ is the Prince of Peace - Isaiah 9:6
~Christ is our peace - Ephesians 2:14


Peace accompanies...
~Faith - Romans 15:13
~Righteousness - Isaiah 32:17
~Acquaintance with God - Job 22:21
~The love for God's law. - Psalm 119:165
~A Mind set on the Spirit - Romans 8:6

Saints (those who belong to God by his grace through faith)
~Have peace in Christ - John 16:33
~Kept in perfect peace - Isaiah 26:3
~Enjoy peace - Psalm 119:165
~Kept by peace - Philippians 4:7

There is only one picture that I can think of that paints a perfect picture of God's Peace.

(taken by my daughter, Sarah)

When Jesus was crucified on the cross he fulfilled the prophecies, thus bringing peace to the hearts of all those who believe in Him.  No longer did they have to abide by a strict code of law, his shed blood provided the atonement they needed.  When we believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior and we trust him with our life we are then sanctified and made holy in His eyes. (1 Corinthians 6:11) We then can experience His perfect peace in our lives.

There is much more to this, but I will post it later.  My next post will focus on the how's of experiencing God's peace.






Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Believer's Response to Halloween


Once September is over, I get this churning in my stomach.  October is next & that is my least favorite month of the whole year because of Halloween.
I have tried for years to figure out what I believe is the right way for my family to respond to Halloween.  Honestly, I hate it.  I hate everything about it. The scary creatures, ridiculous house decorations and creepy shows that come on TV.  I start dreading this time of year as soon as I start seeing the stores stock up on candy.
 When I was little it wasn't that big of a deal.  You didn't have to worry about your babies getting scared in the stores by the creepy stuff hanging around.  Our neighbors didn't put tomb stones in their front yard that screamed when you walked by.  It has definitely changed and is getting worse.
Click here to read how the Washington Post reported this change.
Up until a few years ago we lived out in the country miles from the main road.  On Halloween, I wouldn't even mention it & it would be just a normal day for us.  We would sometimes decorate our house for Fall by putting pumpkins on the porch and hanging our favorite scarecrow on the front door.  My wooden set of Pilgrims would be nicely placed on the table in the entry way.  We were focusing on Thanksgiving & most of the time the kids didn't even realize it was Halloween.  Then about a year and a half ago we moved into town.  Now I had trick or treaters to deal with.  I didn't want my kids going out and I didn't want the neighbor kids coming over.  The problem is, our house is one of the main hang outs on the street.  Everyone wants to be at our house, so they had all told my kids they were coming for tons of candy.  I had to think fast & figure out what we were to do.  Should we hide in our house with the lights off or what?  Maybe we could go somewhere.  No that wouldn't work because everyone will be dressed up & it might scare my little ones.  When all else fails...PRAY!
I prayed about it, talked to my husband & we agreed that we were not going to hide in our house.  God had placed us in a neighborhood full of lost people and kids who were living in very disfunctional homes.  How could we react in a way to this holiday that would honor God and in a small way share the gospel with all of these people coming to our door?  We decided to hand out tracts.
I want our family to be a witness to those we live around & the biggest way we can do that is by the way we treat them.  If we hid in our house on Halloween our message would not be a welcoming one to them.  If we hide in our house on a regular basis and do not get to know our neighbors what does that say to them?  I don't want my life to send a message that says, "I will only talk & associate with those who share my beliefs."  That is so far away from the message of grace and love that Jesus came to teach.  I'm so glad that he didn't only hang out with those who believed he was the Messiah.  His message would not have spread & that was his mission; to teach us to love each other and love God with all our might.  A fruit of my love for Christ is my deep desire to share his love with others in whatever way I can.  Even if it means passing out candy at Halloween to children.  I don't see this as celebrating Halloween.  We are not decorating, nor involved with the creepy traditions that come with Halloween.
I know that some who will read this will not agree.  That is o'k, you don't have to agree.  Knowing the history of Halloween helped to make some decisions, but more importantly, knowing what scriptures teach about reaching out to the lost helped even more.

John MacArtur has written a fantastic article describing how Christians can respond to Halloween and the history behind it.

Read Christians and Halloween



Blessings!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Reformation Day

luther
October 31st is Reformation Day for Christians.  On this day in 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church.  These were his protest against the indulgences of the Catholic church.  He didn't believe that you could bargain or buy your way into heaven and this is what the Catholic church was teaching.  They were taking advantage of the people and Martin Luther had had enough.
Martin Luther was a German monk in Erfurt, Germany.  He was totally dedicated to his God and in his service.  He would starve himself and spent hours on his cell floor, arms stretched out in a cross confessing his sins and seeking Gods forgiveness, but still he never found peace in his heart.  He tried to be perfect and earn his salvation, but it wasn't until the rector of the Augustinian order explained salvation to him did he begin to understand that his salvation was a free gift from God through his faith in Jesus Christ.  He told him that God was not angry with him for his sin, but that he loved him.  He then sent him to the university in Erfurt to become a priest and to teach.
Luther enjoyed his life as a priest and was thrilled when he was sent to Rome on business.  But Rome was not as holy as Luther expected it to be.  The monks openly ridiculed the saints, jokes were made of the sacraments by the priests.  But even in Rome Martin did not lose his faith in God.  But now, he had some doubt about the church authority.  He went home and began to study God's Word with a passion that he had never experienced before.  Over time in his studies he began to realize that the scriptures did not teach that one earned their salvation by good works.  He realized that salvation only came by believing in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.  All that the church was teaching was not what the scriptures he was reading.  He began to teach what he was learning at the University and this really caused sparks to fly.
To make a really long story short (which you can go here to read more), the church kicked Martin Luther out and he had to hide for several years.  It was during this time that other priest began to question the Catholic church's teaching and began to uprise.  Many lost their life, others escaped.  While Martin was in hiding he began to translate the Latin Bible into German.  He believed that anybody should be able to read and study the scriptures themselves.
Martin Luthers' boldness to stand and fight for truth marked the beginning of the Reformation Church also known as the Protestant church.  Martin Luther paved the way for other reformers to come in and carry on the work of teaching other about the grace of God.  Works are not what get you into Heaven, it is only God's grace.
Martin Luther was also known for his hymns.  The most popular hymn that he is still remembered for is also called the Battle Hymn of the Reformation or better known as A Mighty Fortress is our God (you can also listen at this link) Here is Steve Green singing on You Tube.  This hymn is my favorite of all the hymns!
So why is any of this important? Who really cares about a man who rebelled against the Catholic church over 400 years ago?  I think that as parents it is really important for us to pass on to our kids our Christian heritage and knowing about people like Martin Luther is an important in our christian history.  You better appreciate the sacrifices made by these men.  Learning how God used people even 400 years ago to spread his love and teach his grace helps us to understand that he can use us also.
Teach your kids the message of Luther, God does not change!  His Grace is forever and his love is abundant.
Here are a few websites to use with your kids to teach them about Martin Luther and the Reformation.
~ Love to Learn
~ Reformation Activities
~ Reformation Day resources (scroll all the way down the page)
~ More History on Luther
~ Read Luthers writings, hymns and learn about other reformers
Some of our favorite books on this are:
 "Martin Luther, The German Monk who changed the World" (Heroes of Faith & Courage series) by; Ben Alex.
Also, "Martin Luther, A Man Who Changed the World"


10 Ways to Love Your Man

Today is Monday(what is left of it).


Monday, for me, is more than just the beginning of a new week. It is date night for me and my husband Scott. Several years ago we knew that we had to do something to make time for just us. Living in a house with 10 kids makes it almost impossible to have a conversation with out someone interrupting you. Our date nights are simple; cheap dinner, walk around a book store or other store(not spending money unless we need to), sit in McDonalds sharing a soda & fries while we talk about whatever we want to talk about. Sometimes we go to a movie, but most times we don't.

It is so important that your husband knows that he is priority in your life. He was your husband before he was their father.

Here are a few things I have learned about loving my man;

1. Start your day in prayer for your man. Pray blessings of wisdom, discernment and protection on him. Ask God what your husband needs from you.
2. Tell him you love him everyday.
3. Tell him you are proud of him everyday.(this means as much if not more than "I love you")
4. Hug & cuddle everyday. Don't be afraid to hug & kiss in front of your kids. They need to see their parents love each other. Just don't get carried away. My son often tells us, "Get a room!" when we kiss.
5. Kiss everyday
6. Walk him to his car in the morning when he is leaving for work.
7. Email him or call him to see how his day is going.
8. If you can, put on a clean shirt & comb your hair before he comes home. I try to change my shirt since I usually have yuck all over it. But many times my husband walks in before I am expecting him. That is always a great surprise.
9. Meet him at the door with a kiss & another hug...if possible. I have a hard time catching him.  The kids usually beat me to him.
10. Cook dinners that he likes as often as you can, not just for you & the kids. Lunch time is when I fix things that the kids like. Dinner is for him.

These are simple, not very time consuming and can make a difference.