A Parent’s Opportunity

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:16-17

As parents, so many of us seem to get caught up in our busy lives and often lean on others to supplement some of the important aspects of raising our kids. One of the more obvious of these abdications is the thought that, “the public schools will teach our kids what they need to know.” Of course, wisdom is not limited to book knowledge and many of our schools are failing to even properly and effectively teach secular knowledge.

One of the subtler places we, as parents, can fail to take opportunities on behalf of our kids, is in the area of spiritual matters. While raising my two daughters, I was a baby Christian and I made many mistakes trying to pass a biblical Christian worldview onto them. Fortunately, God had a plan that did not rely on me. However, the fact remains that…

  • Barna Research indicates “nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior do so before reaching the age of 13 … and half of those reported that they were led to Christ by their parents…comparatively few accepted Jesus in response to a minister’s prompting …. or a special event in their life.”

The Greatest Commandment God has offered us is to love Him and to love our neighbor (Luke 10:27). Further, He commands us to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15).

This holiday season, He will bring to us many opportunities to show and share that love with friends and family.

  • The word “Thanksgiving” has “thanks to the One who owns everything” (Psalm 24:1) built right into it.
  • The word “Christmas”, of course, begins with “Christ”, which speaks to John 3:16.

As parents, our greatest responsibility is to our family, and the most important thing we can do for them is to insure they are on the narrow road that leads to Heaven (Mat. 7:14).  The holiday season is a time of extended fellowship, joy, warmth, and peace on earth. It is an opportunity to talk to your kids about spending an eternity with the God of Love. The greatest expression of the Greatest Commandment is to talk to your kids about Salvation.

The Romans Road is a great place to end the conversation, and begin a prayer……

Romans Road

  • 3:23 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
  • 6:23a For the wages of sin is [eternal] death.
  • 5:8 But God demonstrates his love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • 10:9 If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Prayer

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know that you died on the cross for my sins, and arose from the grave. I ask you to please come into my heart, forgive me of my sins, and save my soul. You are now the Lord of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeff Hilles

 

 

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Thanksgiving

So did you know that Thanksgiving is the oldest American holiday? The roots of this holiday  precede our country’s founding with the Puritan’s survival due to the help of the Native Americans in 1621.  In 1789, the year of our first Congress, a representative asked President George Washington to issue a proclamation for our first federal holiday.   After much debate, the President made a request of the states and the first federal holiday was proclaimed. The next significant date for the Thanksgiving holiday was in 1863, in the midst of the bloody Civil War at perhaps the peak of warfare.  At this time, Lincoln called for another Thanksgiving and even recalling the blessings of a year that historians might call our country’s worst year.   The current date of the fourth Thursday of November  for Thanksgiving was established by law in 1941 by President Roosevelt.   Imagine that again, this proclamation being done during World War 2.   Just consider that even in our country’s history, we have burst out in thanksgiving in the midst or just following bloody and difficult seasons.

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

from http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/washingtons-thanksgiving-proclamation

  • Bold emphasis done by the blogger.

You can also read Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation here

If you also would like to read President Franklin Roosevelt’s proclamation then read here.

Much of this information I learned from Melaine Kirkpatrick’s book, Thanksgiving: The Heart of the American Experience, which you can find more information about here.

Jarrod Scott

So What Do We Do Now?

This is a question that no doubt many in our country are feeling in the wake of one of the most contested and bitter elections in our history.  And as the results came in the emotions were hitting on all cylinders.  A friend of mine told me his son, a freshman at Duke, called him the following day and said that all over campus students and professors alike were in tears.  Tests, assignments and even classes were being cancelled due to the emotions of the results.  And beyond the college campus, it got even worse as many found themselves so full of anger that riots broke out in the streets of several cities across the US.  And as crazy as it may sound, without Christ we could find ourselves in the midst of a similar situation.  You see without Christ you will find yourself putting hope and trust in things and people who will ultimately disappoint us and move us to anger and bitterness towards each other.  But that isn’t God’s plan for us at all, he created us to love and be loved. He tells us in Ephesians 4: 31-32 to Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

So what do we do now?  We need to put down our own desires which can lead us to disappointment and anger.  And instead put our faith, hope and trust in God our Father as He is the only one who deserves such as this.  And we pray for our new President and the leaders that will be appointed.  They have a job to do and so do we ~ our job is to be salt and light in a world that desperately needs to see it. Not as those tossed by the waves of emotion and despair ~ but as those firmly planted in the knowledge and love of Christ, tender-hearted, loving one another.

Chris Best

When all we have are ????

So if you haven’t already done so, Nov. 8 is a time when we answer some national questions.  The problem for most us is that we have more questions than answers and our answers have questions.  Have you ever asked, God, why couldn’t this just be black and white, simple right and wrong?  To be sure, there are many clear right and wrongs, more than we might first think.  Yet, it is the question where clarity hides from us, that looms large in our life.  Sometimes, we can wait on answering the question with the hope that clarity arises with the passing of time. Othertimes, situations demand an answer whether you are ready or not.

As much as I hate those times, I am learning to thank God for them. Why would I be thankful for personal confusion and lack of direction? Well, I’m glad you asked.  I believe that the moments of ambiguity are opportunities to learn Proverbs 3:5-6, which states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”  If issues were always clear, I would trust too much on my understanding and my thinking will be my disaster.  An important lesson in mountain climbing, is never trust the branch with your full weight.  You can’t always tell which branch is dead or barely rooted in the ground.  When your future is out on a limb of personal understanding, then you are in a precarious situation.  There are times when we have to make a decision, even though we can’t connect all the dots.  At that time, Trust in the Lord for the situation and acknowledge that He is the Lord.  Perhaps the results of the decision comes out well, perhaps the impact is dire, either way, we can trust our God to lead us through it for He is lord in every situation.  So vote, trust God with the future of this nation and acknowledge His lordship over our government.

Jarrod Scott

Something truly worth Dressing Up For….

Fall is here and it’s that time of year again.  Halloween has come and will go tomorrow. According to the National Retail Federation, spending projections for Americans this year are expected to reach $8.4 billion dollars on costumes, candy, decorations and other items to celebrate the nationally recognized holiday of Halloween that comes on October 31st each year.  There is no denying, Americans love Halloween.

For many Americans whether young or old this is the one opportunity we have each year to wear that unique costume that we’ve thought long and hard about.  We’ll dress up and pretend to be our favorite super hero, fictional character, actor or actress, or maybe just somebody different.  We will plan parties, festivals and even close down city blocks where thousands will come to show off their unique costume they have chosen for the year.  We even have contests to decide who has the best costume and who looks, talks and acts most like the one they are pretending to be.  Of course nothing is wrong with having a good time and doing a little dressing up 1 out of 365 days of the year.  But for those of us who have chosen to follow Christ, we are also challenged to put on something else as we live out our day in everyday life.  Are we to go about our day to day lackadaisical and not be concerned of how we act, talk, what we think about and what we are doing?  Are we ok living as we normally would focused on our self-motives and selfish desires of making sure we look out for #1?

I’m reminded of a few passages in God’s word that tells us of what we should put on everyday if we have confessed and decided to follow Jesus Christ as our Lord.  Romans 13:14 tells us to “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of your flesh”.  In Galatians 3:27 we read “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”.  Colossians 3:9-10 reminds us “do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

What a great reminder of how Christ in our life changes us from our old self to a new self that is motivated to live it out by “putting on Christ” to those that we encounter each day.  Renewed in Him, we can outwardly display what has taken place in us inwardly of being made into a new creation.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  We are challenged with no longer responding as the world responds but rather in humility.  We have the opportunity to show love and compassion to others which is opposite of what the world shows them.  We are challenged to not live a life of complacency in the fact that we alone know Christ but that we also desire for others created by Him to know Him as well.  The extravagant love that is shown to us through Christ on the Cross is one that moves us to sacrifice our time by praying with others, caringfor others, and sharing with others this love that we know as we put on Christ each day.  As we challenge ourselves to live this out each day we begin to realize that this is something truly worth “dressing up” for.

Jason Hicks