I wish I could tell you I was a great prayer warrior. I am not. If you ask for prayer I will probably pray right then so I'm sure to pray for you. Oh, I have a list, but I don't like praying through lists, it just seems wrong to pray the same thing over and over. That is why I like the story in Luke 11 starting in verse 5 where Jesus tells His disciples about persistent prayer.
One of my shortcomings when I pray is that I expect God to answer my prayer right away just like I asked. He doesn't do that. You'd think I know that by now. I expected everything in Seattle was going to go just the way I was told and the way I prayed. I'd get rid of the cancer, get a bone marrow transplant and live happily for at least another 10 years. I forget I serve an omnipotent God who knows so much more than I do. I think He knew that plan wasn't going to work well for me. So even while I'm praying for that plan, He is setting something else in motion. Because of His plan I was able to come home 4 or more weeks early and I get to return to a life that is closer to my normal.
My devotion from Jesus Calling this morning said this...
When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out you concerns before Me. Speak to Me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers that I have set into motion long before you can discern results. When your requests come to mind again, continue to thank Me for the answers that are on the way. If you keep stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind-set becomes much more positive. Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promises.
Please help your children know they can talk to God like a true friend. He cares. He wants them to talk to Him. He loves all of us. Also teach them that God is like daddy and mommy. He knows what is best even when it doesn't make sense to us. Our story about Gideon is a good example of that. After Gideon believes God wants him to lead the army, God tells him to use only 300 men. That sounds so crazy to us. But it was God's battle and He wanted the people to trust in Him, not their numbers. They won the battle because of God. (My cancer is God's battle too.)
Please read this week's lesson with your children and teens. Discuss it together and grow together.
Sunday we will learn from chapter 11 in the Believe series. The topic is worship. Please spend time with your older and younger children talking about this important topic.
This week's lesson teaches us how important Worship is. Worship can be something done in private but should also be done with others. Many times during worship at DBC it meant so much to me to look around at all my friends sharing their love for God together.
The kid's lesson focuses on Daniel who refused to stop praying in worship to the God of his people in spite of the threat of becoming lion fodder. God rewarded Daniel by protecting him from the lions until he was released the following morning. The New Testament story is about the time Paul and Silas were thrown into prison after being beat. Paul and Silas were heard by the other prisoners worshiping God and singing praises to Him. During the night there was an earthquake which resulted in the jailer and his family being saved from their sins. Well, the quake didn't save them, their faith in Jesus based on what they learned from Paul did. God deserves our praises. We need to see all the ways God blesses us over and over again. The more we worship God, the more we see these blessings.
God bless you for the very important role you have of teaching your children!
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!
We take turns writing when God gives us an idea. The author will be noted.