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Friday, March 30, 2018

Family Friday: Easter Fun




EASTER  FUN
            Holidays are fun!  Excitement builds as we anticipate days off from school, possible vacations, family time, or any other number of things we get to do.  This is a great time to focus on some family time and to plan an activity or two together. Sadly, the world has commercialized Easter, and sometimes we forgo any celebration in order to help preserve the sacredness of this special day.  However, we can still do special things that pertain to Easter without making our children concentrate on bunnies and candy.
            Think of things that are possibly associated with Easter, and put a spiritual application to them.  Decorating eggs can remind us to be transformed to the image of Christ.  Baby bunnies remind us that we need to grow in Christ instead of remain baby Christians.  Candy reminds us of the sweetness of His love for us.  Easter baskets remind us to think of others and to be a blessing to our family members.  Tiny chicks remind us of the new life Christ brings.  The possibilities are endless!
            Yes, we need to make sure our children don’t think of Easter the same way the world thinks, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot have any fun traditions associated with it.  Have an egg or candy hunt in your yard, put inexpensive gifts and a little candy in Easter baskets, dye eggs, go shopping for new clothes if God has blessed you with the money to do so, and have fun at Easter! 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Monday's Message: Softly and Tenderly



Will L. Thompson was born at East Liverpool, Ohio. His father, Josiah Thompson, was a member of the Ohio State Legislature.
       Young Thompson attended the Boston Music School and did additional musical study in Germany. After a very successful career of writing secular music, Thompson turned his talents to writing gospel hymns.
       His business earned him a sizable income in his lifetime, yet he was always known as a kind, quiet and unassuming Christian gentleman, greatly loved and admired by his associates.
       Thompson was also known for his travels by horse and buggy from one small community to another throughout Ohio singing his songs to people everywhere.
       This particular hymn was one of D.L. Moody’s favorites. It is said that on his deathbed while being visited by Mr. Thompson, Moody feebly whispered:
       “Will, I would rather have written ‘Softly and Tenderly’ than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.”
       This hymn was widely used as an invitation hymn in the great evangelistic meetings conducted by Moody and Sankey throughout Great Britain and in America.
 
       ++++++++++

Softly and Tenderly

      
(1) Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
 
CHORUS:  Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling-
Calling, "O sinner, come home!"
      
(2) Why should we linger when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we wait, then, and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?
      
(3) O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me;
Tho' we have sinnned He has mercy and pardon,
pardon for you and for me.

Family Friday: Follow Me




Follow Me

          Everyone is a teacher!  I don’t mean professionally, but we are all teaching somebody something whether we realize it or not.  There is at least one person who copies your actions, dress, reactions, manner of speaking, etc., because that person wants to be like you.
          Some days that is a bit of a scary thought!  Phillipians 3:17 is a good reminder that people are following our Christianity: “ Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”  Is my Christianity worth following?  Do I give others a clear picture of Christ?  How about my home life?  Do I act one way at church, then act another way at home?  I am always supposed to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, not just when I’m in public.  My children are the ones that are noticing my example the most often. 
          If you are a leader in any area, whether as a Sunday School teacher, bus worker, church musician, Junior Church worker, usher, greeter, or any other area, you have a great responsibility of maintaining a life of example.  If you are a parent, be the right example all the time, expecially at home.  May we be able to say to others, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.”

Friday, February 23, 2018

Family Friday: Training Future Spouses




            When listening to my class of small children play “house” at recess, I was struck with the wide variety of how they treated each other.  Some of the boys were so kind and thoughtful of the girls, and some were just rude.  Some of the girls let the boys make the decisions, and some just told the boys exactly what they thought of the ideas.  Children come up with the craziest things to say all on their own, but it could be that they are learning how to treat their future spouse by what they are observing at home.
            It has been said that girls often marry men like their dads, and boys often marry women like their mom.  That may be true to an extent, but perhaps the greater truth is that men treat their wives the way their mother was treated, and ladies treat their husband the way their father was treated.  Dads, your sons learn how to treat a lady from you!  Are your words and actions thoughtful and preferential, or are they selfish and demanding?  Moms, your daughters learn how to treat their husband from you!  Do you respond to your husband in love and submission, or do you assert your opinion and desires over his?
            Early training can help instill many of the qualities we look for in a spouse.  How you allow your children to treat each other is often training for how they will treat their spouse.  I know brothers and sisters do not always agree or get along!  Our job as parents is to help them learn to work through the disagreement and respond correctly to each other; this will help them learn to handle disagreements when they are married.
            This is by no means a study on teaching manners and kindness to children, but hopefully it will help someone think about training their children to treat their spouse correctly.  Children catch more from your actions than your words.  “Your walk  talks, and your talk  talks; but your walk  talks louder than your talk  talks.”

Friday, February 16, 2018

Family Friday: I Choose Love




I Choose Love
          Around this time of year, many people talk about love and its effects on people.  Cards with sweet sentiments are exchanged, and sometimes flowers are delivered to a loved one.  You may hear phrases such as “fall in love”, “can’t help loving you”, “a feeling bigger than both of us”, etc.  These ideas are romantic, but not necessarily true.
        Love is a choice!  True love does not depend on circumstance or receiver.  The greatest love comes from Christ who gave Himself to die for us that we might live for eternity.  If His love depended on circumstance, then He could have stopped before going to the cross.  If love depended on the receiver, then no one would ever be worthy of His love.  Christ demonstrated true love when He gave His all for those not doing anything to show love for Him.
        This should make us ponder our love for our spouses.  Our loving them should not depend on circumstances or receiver.  Life does not always present the best circumstances; choose to love anyway.  Our spouses are not always lovable; choose to love anyway.  Besides, we are not always loveable, either! 
        Of course there are things you can do for each other to strengthen your relationship.  You should invest time, effort, and even money into each other as often as you can.  Cards and gifts are a tangible way to help you express your love.  However, do not depend on these things to keep you loving each other.  Realize it is a choice to love, then choose love every day.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

We Pray Wednesday: Spiritual Security




Spiritual Security
We love to be safe.  Whether in our cars, homes, or work, we like knowing that we won’t have to worry about things happening to us that can injure or harm us.  We make sure we lock our doors and set our security systems before going to bed at night, because we do not want to worry about anything while we are sleeping.  When we get in our cars, we buckle our seat belts for safety in case an accident occurs.  We have metal detectors in airports, stadiums, and government buildings because we want to know that we will be secure inside.  Some businesses even have armed guards to deter incidents from occurring with their customers.  All of these can be titled under one word: SECURITY. 
How often do we think about having spiritual security?  Do we protect ourselves from the spiritual warfare that is happening around us daily, that we cannot see?One of the ways to have spiritual security is to pray daily for God’s protection from the enemy.  The devil has a daily plan for us.  He wants to put traps and temptation in our daily path to cause us to sin and to destroy our lives.  We need to have our spiritual security measures in place daily to keep us safe from his temptations.
1.  Pray for the strength to flee from temptation.
God put into everyone of our bodies a chemical known as adrenalin.  This is sometimes called the “fight or flight instinct”.  Many times, after someone has used part of their adrenalin in a stressful situation, they become very tired from the extra energy that they have expended.  We need to pray for the strength to continue to flee the temptations that came in our lives.  It’s unusual that we as Christians want to use only half of our spiritual adrenalin: the part that says to stand and fight.  We need to realize that fleeing from the dangers of sin does not make us less of a Christian.  In I Corinthians 10:13 the Bible says “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  We need to realize that we cannot always handle the temptations, but we can pray for the strength to help us flee.
2.  Pray for a spiritual wall of protection from the enemy.
In the book of Nehemiah, the city of Jerusalem had the wall torn down and the gates burned with fire.  The enemy was able to go into the city at any time and do whatever the wanted to do to the people.  When Nehemiah went to rebuild the wall, the enemy began to be upset with him because he was building up protection from them.  This is what we should do for ourselves and our loved ones.  We should daily pray that God would give us spiritual protection from the enemy’s attack.  The devil will use other’s words and actions to get in and begin to destroy us.
3.  Pray that the devil will never get a place in your life.
The best security measures are used to keep those that should not be inside, out.  Security plans are not usually started with, “Okay, after the intruder has been here for a while, then we will try to figure out how to make him leave.”  That is very poor security plan!  Anyone who would use that plan in the security world, would not be useful.  Many Christians try this spiritual security measure with the enemy and cannot figure out why it doesn’t work.  We need to daily pray for the Holy Spirit to show us where we have a weak spot in our spiritual security.  If the Holy Spirit shows this to us, we need to call out to God to help us get the intruder out of our lives before it becomes almost impossible to make him leave.  If we give the devil a foothold in our lives, he will not be content until he has built a stronghold.