Summer Family Fun, Week 6

I all. I hope you and your family are able to use some of the ideas I have shared for spending time together.  Family time is so important!  Please make it something that you do on a regular basis, no matter what time of year.

Mind-Discussion:

I thought I’d throw this discussion question into our summer ideas because I just did this with my grandkids for my post on faith.

“What is faith?” Even younger kids brought up in the church may have ideas about this. (Maybe 6 or 7 years old).  If they can’t find the words to define it, they might be able to give you an example.

For young kids: “What is praying?” “Why do we pray?”

Don’t expect this discussion to be long, just let it go as long as the kids are comfortable.

Body:

Turn on your favorite music, and DANCE! Kids love to dance, no matter what age they are. Actually, I love watching very young kids moving to the music, because they are so spontaneous and natural.

If you give yourself and your kids 20-30 minutes of dancing, you have done your exercising for the day! And you will have had fun doing it!

Soul:

Check your family prayer journal, or start one. I really believe that our kids need to see Jesus at work through the Holy Spirit. See if you can find prayers in your journal that have been answered, and how.

Another thing I think is super-special to do with kids, is to pray individually  with them and hold both of their hands when you pray. I believe that the kids see this as you giving them one-on-one undivided attention, and shows them the importance and “specialness” of prayer.

What is “faith?”

To you, what is faith? I think a lot of people struggle with what faith is, and how to have it. In the past, when a pastor would preach about faith, I felt like they presumed if they said I needed more faith, it would just happen.  In Luke 17:6  Jesus stated, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” I figured I must have the faith of an amoeba, because I honestly knew I wasn’t going to be moving any trees!

I asked two of my grandkids about faith. My 9 year old stated that “Faith is when you are brave, and you are sure you can do something.”  My 11 year old stated that it is “believing in someone or something, trust. When you have faith in God, you trust Him.”  I thought that was pretty good, but wanted to see what the dictionary said.  Dictionary.com defines (specifically regarding religion) faith as, “the trust in God and His promises as made though Christ and the scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.”

The google dictionary defines faith as: 1) Complete trust or confidence in something or someone, and 2) A strong belief in God… based on spiritual apprehension. (No one convinces you to believe, you believe of your own accord, or understanding).

Finally, the Bible, in Hebrews 11:1 states that faith is: The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Just knowing what faith is, doesn’t give you more faith. So what does give you more faith? Faith and trust are synonyms. You really can’t have one without the other (as far as I am concerned). What it amounts to, as far as I believe (you may disagree, that’s ok) is that faith begins with trust. Small babies learn to trust their mothers when they cry, and Mother responds. They develop faith in their mothers based on the fact that they can trust them.

Building faith in Jesus Christ can happen the same way. Faith is built on trust. The more you learn to trust that Jesus is who He says He is, and is there for you no matter what, the more you will trust Him. The more He comes through when you need Him, the more faith you will have that you can trust Him, no matter what. This doesn’t mean He will give you everything you want! Jesus is not a “Sugar Daddy.” But praying to see God’s will in all circumstances will help you see Him working in your life. And seeing Him work is definitely a faith builder.

Hebrews 11:6, Without faith it is impossible to please Him, (God), for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.

How many ways are there to get to Heaven?

Do all roads lead to Heaven? In today’s world, with political correctness being the norm, it is said that as long as you are spiritual, or have some sort of faith, you are fine. Does that mean Jesus was wrong? Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (goes to Heaven), except through Me.

Our kids get the politically correct information about being a good person all the time. Just ask their teachers. And a lot of their parents. If Jesus said He was the only way to Heaven, was He lying? Was He just another crazy cult leader? Or was He telling the truth? Ask your kids what they believe.

Jesus said, Unless you are born again, you cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.  Was He being a hater, racist, separatist, isolationist, or politically incorrect? Or was He right?

In our world today, many, many kids are growing up with little to no beliefs about Heaven. Most kids don’t go to church regularly. Their parents also have no particular beliefs about Heaven, or think it’s an issue they will deal with “when the time comes.” I believe that this is one very big reason kids go into their schools and shoot their peers. A child with no faith can be a child with no hope.

It is time that as a Christian parent, we make certain that our kids are firm in their beliefs, and can share that faith. Satan is on the prowl, and in today’s world our Christian kids are prone to do the same hateful things that non-Christian kids do, in terms of gossiping, backbiting against their peers, and living as though they didn’t know anything about Christ.

Christian kids should have a faith that is unshakable, because Jesus died and rose again to make it so. Do your kids have an unshakable faith? Do YOU? According to the web article: “Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity”, most Christian kids (63%) don’t believe Jesus is the son of the one true God.  http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

Please don’t leave your kids’ faith to chance. Don’t expect them to figure it out for themselves, because they won’t.

John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 3:3, Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

God did WHAT?

Unless they are in church or a Christian atmosphere, many Christians don’t know how to respond when they hear someone start talking about how God is working intimately in their life. I know, because I was one of those who felt awkward when a Christian would share an experience they had with Christ, in a secular atmosphere. Especially if we were in a group of people who were not Christians.

However, unless you decide to make Christ an intimate part of your everyday life, you are just living on the fringes of Christianity. And you and your family really are missing a lot of God’s blessings. What IS God doing in your everyday life? If you are tempted to say “nothing,” something is wrong with your relationship to Him.

Jesus loves us like crazy, and He really does want to “bless our socks off.” Don’t be afraid to tell people what God is doing in your life. Tell your kids/grandkids especially. They don’t just need to hear that God is real, they need to see Him working in your life.

Start a prayer journal with your kids, and record how God answers those prayers. It will amaze your kids, and probably you, as well.

TIME SPENT WITH CHRIST, IS TIME WELL SPENT.

Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Mark 16:15, And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

I Peter 3:15, But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

Pay attention!

Do you ever remind your kids to pay attention to you? If you haven’t, you are in an amazingly small group! Yet one of the things most Christians are good at, is forgetting to pay attention to what God is doing; in, through, and around us.

I would like to suggest that we re-energize our desire to see Christ at work. When we are truly paying attention, we can see what He has done to us and for us, as well as for the people and situations we are praying for.

In the picture here, we can’t see who made the footprint, but we know it was made by someone. Look around to see the evidence that Jesus leaves when He works in your life, and the lives around you.

This is not only a wonderful way for us to stay close to Jesus, but a wonderful way for our kids to witness Christ at work. God either causes or allows all things to happen. When we realize and accept this fact, there’s no room for “luck,” or “coincidence.” Everything happens for a reason, and when we watch for evidence that He is at work, it can be truly amazing what He does for and around us.

Just pay attention!

Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Philippians 1:6, …being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

How is the family devotion time going?

One thing God has made clear to me over the past months of this blog is that I am good at being able to tell others what to do, but don’t necessarily apply the advise to myself. In other words, I need to do more to bring Jesus home when I am with my grandkids (which is almost everyday). The Holy Spirit  has been nudging me to start doing devotions with my grandbabies, and I thought I’d look for online devotions to see what was “out there.”

I found one I am going to use that includes a lot of resources to help parents/grandparents. The website is: www.truthforkids.com. Go to “kids devotions online”. The devotions are aimed at kids 8-12, but there is a link for preschool devotions as well.

The site has information on how to get kids into reading the Bible, tackling difficult subjects, a template for kids to journal their reading, ideas for crafts, activities and more, and most of it is available for FREE.

I know this sounds like an advertisement for this website, but I haven’t even contacted the author, so it really isn’t. I just thought this could be a very good place for parents to start on the journey to doing devotions with their kids.  I will let you know how it goes with my grandbabies (the oldest “baby” is 12, but I still call them grandbabies). Right now I am praying for a time to do devotions when the kids will be the most interested, and the least distracted by other things they are already doing (like electronics).

James 1:5, But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (NIV)

Psalm 32:8, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go, I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (ESV)

Who is in control?

Who is in control of your kids/grandkids? In the U.S. “being in control” is a big thing. Some parents want to be very careful of where their kids go, what they do, who they play with, etc. But how about trying to be the ultimate control in your kids’ lives? The story of the parents of 13 starving, shackled kids is a story of trying to be the ultimate authority, in control of their children’s lives. And the story is very ugly, as we have seen.

So who is ultimately in control? God is. Why didn’t He stop this? He did stop it. Why did it take so long? I believe the answer to that is because Satan is still loose  and able to do what he wants to on the Earth.

It can be a scary thing to have kids and want to keep them safe. But as Christians, we have to understand how “in control” God Himself is. Isaiah 41:10 states, Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

It is our God given job to watch over our kids, and keep them safe as much as we can, but with Jesus Christ, it is possible to be happy without being totally in control. God’s got you covered, and your kids. He loves you and them like crazy, and wants what is best for you. God is in control. We can’t even control our heart beats, so how are we going to control anything else completely?

Give God your children’s safety. And your’s as well. His peace will surround you, and you will feel better, knowing Almighty God has your back.

The verses at the top all address the peace of God, when we feel like we have no control over events (and our kids).

Do you believe in “coincidence?”

First, I have to say that I don’t believe in either coincidence or luck. As a Christian, I believe that God either causes, or allows all the things that happen in the world. I have had so many “coincidences” happen in my life, that it just confirms what I believe the Bible teaches, that God is in control.

Second, I really want to let you know how I came to write my last post. One of the pastors of Sonrise Community Church, Mike Emery, shared a sermon about the trap of comparing ourselves to others, and how as children who are adopted into God’s family, we are unique, on the same day that I wrote a post on being adopted.  And I wrote the adoption post before I heard his sermon! I didn’t give Pastor Mike the appropriate credit for helping inspire the post I wrote after his sermon, which was about comparing ourselves to others! I was so blessed by his sermon that I decided to wait on the adoption post, and replace it with the comparisons post. God does indeed work in mysterious ways!!  Thank you so much, Pastor Mike, for the inspiration you are to me, and others, and thank you for allowing me to share points from your sermon in my post!

Strangely, after I published my post on comparisons, I started comparing my post to Pastor Mike’s sermon! When I realized what I was doing, I prayed that the Holy Spirit would take away my fear that my post wasn’t as good as the sermon, and He did.  Weird, huh?

Romans 8:15, The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. (NIV)

What kind of Father is God?

Today, families come in all types. As a teacher, I have “seen it all,” I suppose. One of the really sad things about families these days, is their non-permanent nature. When someone in the family is tired of dealing with the problems and issues all families have, they leave – leaving a gaping hole that the kids are supposed to just accept and adapt to.

This is not what God intended for His children, and teaching kids about God as our Father is important when raising kids and “bringing Jesus home.”

God describes Himself over and over again as “Father,” or “our Father.” He also calls us, “His children.”  In Isaiah 64:8 Scripture says: “But now, O Lord, you are our Father,”; Jeremiah 3:19 states, “You shall call Me, My Father, and not turn away from following Me.” And just one more here: Luke 11:13 states, “If you then, being evil, [sinful] know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give… to those who ask Him?” (Look for more verse references at the bottom).

God states in His word that He will never leave us. He will not use our sins and weaknesses against us, as a reason to leave us. He will not separate Himself from us for any reason. Satan has a nasty way of making us feel like we don’t deserve His love, and we often don’t pray about our sin and problems, when the first thing we should do, and God wants us to do, is talk to Him.

God is LOVE. He loves us purely and completely. Through Jesus, we are His “kids,” no matter how old we are. Our kids, and we as well, need to know we have a Savior we can trust completely. One who loves us and wants the best for us. One who will stand by us no matter what happens in our earthly family. Because He is our Father, and we are His children.

John 20:17; Romans 15:6; Matthew 6:9; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:26;  1John 2:13; John 1:12-13; Romans 8:14

Do you know the gift God gave?

How can you know a gift? Well, Jesus Christ was sent as a gift to us over 2000 years ago. God could have sent Jesus down in glorious fashion; in crown, robe and jewels, already grown, and looking like we think God “should” look.  He could have used power He already possessed to be what we think of as a “superhero”.

Instead He chose to come to Earth as humans do, through childbirth. He chose to go through life and experience it as a human, though He was and is also God. He chose the lowest of rank, the shepherds, to announce His birth to first. He chose to sacrifice Himself, knowing that our sinfulness required the perfect sacrifice and only He could fulfill that requirement, because He never sinned, and was perfect. He chose to die for us, people that weren’t even born yet, because our sin separated us from Him, and would make it impossible to live with Him in Heaven, which is the ultimate “perfect place”.

Jesus followed through on all the things He chose to do. He did die, but was raised again on the third day after His death. How do we know this for sure? Well, the Bible states that over 500 people witnessed Him alive after they saw Him hang on the cross. Also, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, Jesus will reveal Himself to you in a way that only Christians can experience, through the Holy Spirit who Jesus sends to live within you forever.

Jesus Christ loves you like crazy. How do I know this? Because I have witnessed His love for me, and know without a shadow of doubt that He exists, and is who He says He is. In this wacky world, all of us need this Savior. He makes sense in a world that doesn’t make sense. He brings peace to your heart, and comfort to your mind.

Ask Jesus to come into your heart, forgive your sins, and help you understand who He is. I promise your life will never be the same, if you do with all sincerity.

Email me, and let me know if you asked Jesus to come into your heart, and we can discuss your relationship with Him further.   God Bless you!

Luke 1:35, John 1:14, Matthew 2:10-11, Romans 8:32, I John 4: 15-16, 18. (Just a few verses about this)

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