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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Family Friday: Spirit-filled Lady

Being a Spirit-filled Lady

          I have heard the role of a wife and mother described as the Holy Spirit presence in the home.  This causes me to wonder how I can act like the Holy Spirit?  I know many Scriptures describing Jesus Christ’s attributes, but what about the Spirit?
          The Spirit speaks in a still, small voice.  He doesn’t demand attention or respect, but He compels us to have a close relationship with Jesus by showing compassion, love, and forgiveness. He comforts us in sorrow and helps us bear the burdens of life. He will lead us to the Source of strength and reveal the Answer to life’s questions. 
          During my devotions a few days ago, I was struck by a passage in John 16 about the content of the Holy Spirit’s message.  He doesn’t speak of himself, but speaks whatever the Father tells Him. The Holy Spirit speaks to glorify the Father, not to voice His own opinion.
          These few things about the Holy Spirit are plenty of food for thought as we consider our actions and speech in our home.  Certainly there is more about the Holy Spirit than I have brought out, but think specifically about how He ministers to us in comparison to the way we minister to our own families.  Let’s begin to act like the Holy Spirit in our homes.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

We Pray Wednesday: Commitment to Prayer


We have all probably heard this many times in the past couple days and have thought to ourselves that it doesn’t feel much different than the last one.  This is probably true; however, this is a time that most of us look back and make goals for things that we would like to change in the new year.  Whether it be work, church, family, or personal, we make “resolutions” to change things in our lives.  If we are honest with ourselves, most of these “resolutions” don’t last for a significant amount of time before we go back to the ways things used to be.  Rather than make resolutions, let us make commitments to God concerning our spiritual well-being.  The great thing about God is that there is always the opportunity to start anew - God always offers us a new day and is long suffering with us, no matter what has gone before.
One area of spiritual well-being that we should commit to God is to talk to Him daily.  Talking to God seems like it should be as easy as falling off a log, but often it can feel more like climbing a cliff. In order to keep this commitment to Him, here are 10 tips to help.
1. Choose a specific place to pray away from distractions so you can concentrate. Ringing phones and crying children will sabotage your "quiet time" before it gets started.
2. Pray at the same time every day, if at all possible. Make it part of your regular routine and it will become habit. Write it into your schedule and then treat it just like a daily appointment.
3. Pray out loud. Many people can pray under their breath or in their minds for long periods and still maintain intensity, but for most of us it's a quick ticket to dreamland. When we pray out loud we have to form intelligent sentences. We have to concentrate more on what we're praying about.
4. Keep a note pad handy so you can jot down different things that come to mind while you're before the Lord. Sometimes you'll get great ideas totally unrelated to what you've been praying about. If you jot them down you can quickly get back to the topic at hand without being too distracted.
5. Make a list to keep track of your prayer needs. This can be done several ways. Prayer needs can be listed by category like "Church," "Family," or "Unsaved friends." Or they may be listed by the days of the week. Each day you pray for a different set of needs.
6. Redeem time for praying out of unused corners of your schedule. Those who have to drive to work can use the time talking with the Lord instead of screaming at traffic (just don't close your eyes!). Busy homemakers can combine prayer with housework, especially if the task doesn't require a lot of concentration. Joggers, swimmers and cyclists can use their workout time for prayer.
7. Change the pace during your prayer time. Include praise, thanksgiving and singing as well as petition. Spend some of your time reflecting on the Scripture, meditating on it and digesting its meaning.
8. Keep a prayer journal. Keep track of what you prayed for and when you prayed for it. Leave a space to jot down the answer when it comes. This will help you to keep alert to God's answer so you can thank Him promptly. Sometimes prayer answers come in the back door and you don't want them to slip by you.
9. Pray with someone else. Though some prayers can only be said in solitude, there will be times when you'll want to join hearts with another person in prayer. If you commit to a prayer meeting on a regular basis, the accountability can really help build consistency.
10. Pray one-sentence prayers. If the thought of laboring over a topic wears you out, pray short, sincere prayers instead. A sentence or two may be all that's needed to exhaust the topic for you for the time being. If so, just move on to the next item without feeling guilty for your brevity.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Family Friday: Teaching Stewardship

Teaching Stewardship
Christmas has passed, gifts have been opened, and space must be made for all the new things our children have gotten.  What will you do with the older, unwanted things?  Sometimes children clean out their toy boxes and throw things away, but there is something else you can do.
             Consider donating gently used items to a children’s hospital, a homeless shelter, or an orphanage.  If your family works on a bus route together, think of some children on that route that would enjoy those items that your children no longer use.  There are always others that would enjoy using what you no longer need.
            When you are gathering and cleaning out the items from your house, involve your children in the process.  They need to learn the importance of “recycling” toys and clothes.  Talk to them about which children should receive the items they no longer play with.  This is a perfect opportunity to talk about the many blessings we have been given and the thankfulness we should express to God every day.
            Please be thoughtful in the clean-out process.  If an item is broken or very worn, do not donate it; that is not Christ-like.  However you chose to donate, involve your children and help them begin learning to be a blessing to others.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday's Message: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

       Longfellow is not usually thought of as a hymn writer, but one of his poems has been set to music by an Englishman, John Calkin, and the result is one of our most popular Christmas carols.
       On Christmas Day, 1863, Longfellow wrote of the joys of the season:
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
       As he came to the third stanza he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country.  The Civil War was in full swing.  The Battle of Gettysburg was not more than six months past.  Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, “How can the last phrase of those stanzas to be true in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?”  But he kept writing:
As in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to man!”
       It seems as if he could have been writing for the present day, too.
       Then, as every Christian should do, he turned his thoughts to the one who solves all problems:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
—Lindsay I. Terry

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
1           I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
2           I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
3           And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,”
I said “For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
4           Then peeled the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.
5           Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Family Friday: Once in a Manger


Once in a manger, a long time ago,
Before there was Santa and reindeer and snow,
A star shone down on humble beginnings below
Of a baby just born who the world would soon know.
Never before had there been such a sight.
Would the Son of a King have to suffer this plight?

Aren't there armies to lead? Aren't there battles to fight?
Shouldn't He conquer the world and demand His birthright?
No, this frail little infant asleep in the hay
Would change the whole world with the words He would say.
Not about power or demanding His way,
But mercy and loving and forgiving God's way.
For only through humbleness would the battle be won
As shown by the actions of God's only true son.
Who gave up His life for the sins of everyone,
Who saved the whole world when His journey was done.
Many years have now passed since that night long ago
And now we have Santa and reindeer and snow
But down in our hearts the true meaning we know,
It is the birth of that child that makes Christmas so.