Hi Parents! This week we will finish the first section of the Believe book. In my opinion, it is the best way to end. Not only is it the end, it is also the beginning. This chapter talks about life after death. Life after death...that sounds so strange. We really never die if you think of death as being the end. The very same moment we go from life here, we are alive in heaven with Jesus. But that really depends on your belief in Jesus for salvation. If you don't believe; you still go from life here one moment to life someplace without God the next. We will all live forever.
Last year The Story began and ended in a garden. There is a huge difference between the first garden and the last. The first went away with sin. The second will last forever and ever because of salvation. AND IT IS ALL BASED ON WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US. Not one of us is good enough to earn heaven. Holiness and perfection is impossible for us. I only have to think back a day to see where I messed up (I will not admit it might be a shorter period of time). I try to live the way God wants me to but I fall so short. I may have great intentions, but that doesn't do anything for me. God sent Jesus to the cross so my sin could be piled up on Him as He took it's punishment.
As you read the chapter this week with your family remember Elijah's trip to heaven. Also remember the words of John as he tried to explain what he saw in heaven.
I gotta tell you, heaven used to scare me. In this body now, I don't think I'd really enjoy standing before the throne of God and singing. But right now my body is poisoned with sin. I know that won't be the case when I get there. There are people who think we will wear white robes and sing 24/7/eternity. Notice John's description of the gates. They are OPEN. We will be able to come and go. Now that touches a special place in me. I want to explore every corner of God's wonderful creation. I want to care for the animals and the landscape. I love God and I try to worship and praise Him often as I go through my daily duties. That will be so much easier without the distraction of sin.
Blessings my friends! I hope I haven't offended anyone. Please talk with me if I have, I know it is easy to misunderstand written communication without voice inflection and body language. I pray God reveals my heart and HIS love.
Hi Awesome Parents!
I wish my parents had taught me to consistently sent aside an offering for the Lord. They taught me how to be a good person and they raised me in such a way that I loved God and always wanted to please Him. But I never learned stewardship until I was in my last year of high school. And since then I have learned that God not only deserves a portion of my possessions, it is in fact ALL HIS! Everything I have is His. And as I walk this path He has me on with cancer, I am learning that He owns my time and He owns me. An even better way to say this is that I need to gladly give Him everything...my house, my income, my pets, my wife. None of this actually belongs to me. He has blessed me by allowing me to have these things and so much more. I need to be a good steward of all these things. That means I need to take care of them so they last a long time, or grow in value. It also means I need to invest these things in things that are valuable to God, the things He wants me to invest in. For me, I know he wants me supporting the work at DBC, my church.
In one of our stories this week a widow gives her last coins in the offering. She held nothing back for herself. That is a good lesson for all of us. Instead of figuring out the very least I can give to satisfy my expectations of myself, I need to figure out the most I can give to serve God. That can be money, it can be time, it can be both.
I pray as you read chapter 9 with your children and talk about the lesson with them, that God will bless you and allow heart felt conversations. Bless you for raising your children to follow and serve Him.
CHALLENGE: It is my understanding that it will be a few weeks yet before we study chapter 9 in church. Each of you is able to subscribe to Right Now Media. There is a video series by Chip Ingram titled The Genius of Generosity. I thought he did a great job talking about this subject and he included a couple of the stories covered in our lesson. This series is only 4 chapters plus the introduction. These videos are part of a study that includes a book which is not available through Right Now Video, but the videos alone are very informative. SO HERE IS THE CHALLENGE: Watch these videos with your older kids/teens and discuss what Chip is teaching. Then try to apply the principles to your life by asking God to help you make any changes needed.
The children's version of this chapter focuses on two wonderful stories. First is the Old Testament story about Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. It is a story of love and compassion. Ruth cared for Naomi and Boaz cared for both of them. The other story is one Jesus tells in the New Testament. It is about the Good Samaritan who took care of the man who was robbed and beat (a complete stranger).
God wants us to be compassionate and help others who need help. Carol is the best example I know who does this often. She wouldn't want you thinking she is perfect but she sure is a sweetie whenever someone needs help. Just the other day we took the shuttle to shop at the local Safeway. An older couple went as well. When we got back to the apartment, Carol helped them carry their groceries all the way to their room. I wanted to help; Carol did help. She has a way of overcoming the apprehensions I have and just taking care of people. Often the times I help are because I've seen Carol do it. That's how God wants us to be, like Carol. Helping people who need help. That's compassion.
God bless you as you discuss this chapter with your kids this week!
This is just a quick reminder for you that we are on chapter 7 in the Believe series this week. Please be sure to spend some time with your young ones reading and discussing the lesson.
The streets of Seattle are filled with all sorts of people. It is easy to tell some of these folks are from India or other countries that have distinctive clothing. Most of the people seem to be much younger than I am. We see many more dogs than we do children. In fact, some store owners put out bowls of water for the dogs. Too many of these people are homeless. We'll see them camped under the bridges, sleeping in the entry of buildings, and sometimes begging for money. There is one young homeless guy we've see a few times who gets around on a bike. He has a dog who will sometimes pull him on his bike. He also has a cat that stays at the top of his backpack. Most of the people here will not make eye contact or acknowledge a 'Hello' as we pass them on the sidewalks (and there are lots and lots of people). Every now and then there is an exchange of friendly greetings.
All these people, you and I, need Jesus. God never gives up on any of us. It took 18 years before I found out I really needed Jesus to get to heaven. I thought it was all about my good out balancing my bad. If only I had known how far short my best was... God never gave up on me and He is still teaching me and changing me to be THE person He wants me to be. I doubt I'll ever get there this side of heaven, but He'll still be there to give me a great big hug when I get there.
God so loved the world that HE gave His one and only Son. ANYONE who believes in HIM will not die but will have eternal life. John 3:16
I love you all! May God bless you as much as He is blessing me!
Identity. Lately that seems to have become a loaded word. Most of the time, it’s what gender or non-gender we identify as. But, I realize that we identify as much more than that. If you think about it, you probably identify as a son or a daughter, parent or sibling. Then you might identify as something work-related like a teacher, plumber, scientist, engineer, nurse, accountant, receptionist, cashier, IT tech or whatever. Sometimes we even identify as customers of Fred Meyer or Taco Bell. I know that there are many, many other ways that we identify with things or people. Still, we are so much more than how we feel we identify while here on earth.
Many of you know that my mother-in-law is nearing the end of her life here on earth. There is one thing that I have been thinking about constantly throughout this battle. Her identity as a daughter or mom, receptionist or manager, renter or owner doesn’t ultimately matter. It’s not the fact that she identifies as an interior designer or safe driver that matters either. No, none of those identities make a hill of beans. As she gets closer to death, the only identity that matters is not found in the things of this world or in what she has done. Her identity as a child of the Most High God is the only identity that matters for her life both now and forevermore! Her identity as an heir of the one Who saved her soul and Who guarantees her safe passage to paradise is the only one that makes a difference.
Someday in the future, you will have to ask yourself the very same question that Ruthie has, “Is my identity found in the One that matters eternally?”
I am always amazed at the faith of Abraham. I don't know that I could pack everything up and go where God was telling me to go. I'd wonder if it was really God talking to me. I'd think of excuses why I shouldn't go. Abraham listened and Abraham followed God.
We hear about tiny Zacchaeus a lot. We sing songs with our children about how he climbed up a tree to see Jesus. We forget that he was an evil person who spent his day looking out for himself. He was always demanding extra money from the people as he collected their taxes. The people did not like Zacchaeus. Yet somehow, God tugged on his heart and had him all excited about seeing Jesus. And that changed his life.
God loves all people. But there is a special group of people He has adopted to be His own children. If you believe Jesus died for your sins, you are a part of that group.
Please read Chapter 5 with your children and teens. Help them know you care about them and love them just like God does. Help them understand how special they are to God.
God bless you all!