Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday slowdown - Praise day 20

I thought that this hymn was perfect to end our month of praise -- How Great Thou Art! 
I hope that this month has blessed your heart; I know it's made a difference for me!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Praise day 19 - Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd like to wish all of you a wonderful, peace-filled, blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

Praise the Lord for all of His many blessings!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Praise day 18

Praise Him for His work of restoration. Let me explain what I mean, on this day before the American holiday of Thanksgiving Day . . .

God is in the restoration business!

He always has been . . .

We see the concept of restoration in the Law:

          Then it shall be, because he hath sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore
          that which he took violently away ....he shall even restore it in the principal
          and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it to him.... (Leviticus 6:4-6)

          If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or
          sheep; he shall restore double. (Exodus 22:4)

David understood the principle of restoration:

          And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show you kindness for
          Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore all the land of Saul your father....
          II Samuel 9:7)

Remember when Elisha was staying with a widow woman and her son?  The son died, and the woman appealed to the man of God. Elisha prayed and the life returned to the child.

Think back to Job, when he lost his possessions, his family, and his health to the devil -- God restored twice as much to him.

Jesus practiced and taught the concept of restoration.

           Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and
           it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.  (Matthew 12:13)

           Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened,
           his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:25)

           But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give
           half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything,
           I will pay back four times the amount."  (Luke 19:8)
 God is our restorer today, too! He will restore our physical needs:               Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.              (Joel 2:21)                And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord                your God, that has dealt wondrously with you.....  (Joel 2:26) He will restore our souls, our minds, wills, emotions:                He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His               name's sake.  (Psalm 23:3) He will restore our health:                For I will restore health to you, and I will heal you of your wounds, says               the Lord; .....  (Jeremiah 30:17) He will restore our freedom, especially giving freedom from our sins:                So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  (John 8:36) He will restore a "right spirit" in us:                 Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean: wash me, and I will be                 whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a                 right spirit within me.  (Psalm 51:8,10)                  A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and                  I will take away the stony heart our of your flesh, and I will give you an                 heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk                  in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel                 36:26-27) He will restore the joy of our salvation:                  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to                  sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will                  turn back to you. (Psalm 51:12-13) He that spare not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  (Romans 8:32)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Praise day 17

What a blessing music is in our lives!

Every three weeks on this blog, I ask y'all "what are you listening to?" and we have shared some of the songs and hymns that we have been enjoying.

Music can soothe; it can invigorate. It can get us in a frame of mind to worship our Lord; it can be how we worship Him.

Psalm 104:33 says,

                  I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to
                  my God while I have being.

Hebrews 13:15:

                 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise
                 to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

How wonderful that He gave us the capacity and the desire to sing and make music in our hearts! Whether we can sing in a choir, or just carry a tune in a bucket, it all sounds good to our Lord!

Jesus even sang with His disciples, setting an example for us:

               Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine,
               until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they
               had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. (Mark 14:25-26)

We've looked at this verse before, and it may have surprised some of us to realize that the Father sings:

                The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will
                rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He
                will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Let's praise Him today for the gift of music!

               O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah
               to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends
               out his voice, his mighty voice. Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is
               over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. Awesome is God from his
               sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength
               to his people. Blessed be God!   (Psalm 68:32-35)



Monday, November 24, 2014

Praise day 16

What a blessing it is for us to have our Bible!

The Bible can show us our sin:

                   For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

                   For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ
                   Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

It assures us of our salvation:

                  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not
                  in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us
                  our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8-9)

                 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart
                 that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your
                 heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you
                 profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

The Bible can comfort us when we are sad:
                 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock,
                 in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my
                 stronghold.  (Psalm 18:2)

                 . . . he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe
                 away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from
                 all the earth. The Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8)

                 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you
                 will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (John 16:22)

The Word can assist us when we feel like rejoicing:

                 Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
                 (Psalm 105:3)

                  . . . and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with
                 singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake
                 them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)

                 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills
                 will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their

                 hands.  (Isaiah 55:12)

Praise Him for the blessing of His Word!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday slowdown (praise day 15)

Yesterday we looked at the blessing that Christian friends can be . . . our greatest blessing is the Friend that we have when Jesus is in our hearts and lives.
I hope that you enjoy this Friday's song:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Praise day 14

The Bible tells us as Christians, that it is very important to choose our friends wisely in this life. The Bible tells us to walk with wise people, to refrain from being "yoked" with unbelievers, and to help other saints with accountability and prayer. God's highest aim is to sanctify and transform us, and our friends can be a vital part of that, either to make it happen, or to make it more difficult!  He wants us to grow spiritually, and to mature in our walk with Him.

If we have good, solid Christian friends to share this journey with, we can accelerate our growth and relationship with God. We can learn about God from our own adventures with Him, but then we can also learn from our friends' experiences with Him, too.

We can find some inspiring examples of friendship in the Bible. I encourage you to look up these passages and think about the relationships you see here:

Ruth and Naomi were friends, as well as relatives: Ruth chapter 1, especially 16-17

David and Jonathan: I Samuel 18:1-3

Elijah and Elisha: II Kings 2:2

Proverbs is a well-spring of advice concerning our choices of friends:
Proverbs 12:26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 14:6-7 A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
Proverbs 12:26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 14:6-7 A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Our friends can be such a blessing! Let's praise God for them today!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Praise day 13


We tend to take good health for granted, don't we? That is, at least until our bodies fail us, and we start to lose that good health.
When our health takes a nosedive, we quickly begin to look for answers in our habits and our diet. God designed our bodies as finely tuned instruments, and they are the most resilient on earth. Our bodies can withstand fractures and pain, tedium and excitement. But they are not built to handle extremes -- whether that is too much food or too little, too much stress, etc.
Our bodies are not machines, but like machines they can choke down on poisons and poor fuel. God has provided us with an owner's manual, with instructions on proper maintenance.
One of the most key teachings for our health is found in these verses:

                     “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in
                      your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring
                      you prosperity . . . This will bring health to your body and nourish-
                      ment to your bones”   (Proverbs 3:1-2, 8)

Many other passages mention our health, as well. We must be careful to care for these bodies -- they are temples of His Spirit!

                     Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food
                     and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will
                     miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
                     (Exodus 23:25-26)

                     Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in good
                     health, even as your souls prosper. (III John 2)

                    Then will your light break forth as the morning, and your health will
                     spring forth quickly; and your righteousness will go before you, and 
                     the glory of the Lord will be your reward. (Isaiah 58:8)                  

Praise Him today for good health!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Praise day 12

A comment from a faithful follower on a recent post really set me to thinking, and convicted me of an attitude that I needed to change. Everyone has a favorite season, ay? Some people love the springtime, when the daffodils sprout up cheerfully to welcome the newly-green leaves that are popping out on the trees, and the breeze is warmer; the world is reborn after the winter time.

Some love the summer; absolutely everything is blooming and growing, including the veggies in the gardens. The warmth of the sun is mixed in a recipe that includes thunderstorms and swimming, holiday fireworks and family picnics.

Then there are those that sigh with relief when autumn arrives. Their favorite season shows the glorious paintbrush of God, as the leaves turn from green to golden, red, purple, and more. The temperatures are brisk, and invite us to happy times around a campfire.

And there are those hardy souls who truly enjoy the winter. For them, the cold and wind are wonderful, and the possibility of a snowfall fairly fills them with glee. Of course, winter brings us the wonderful time that we humans celebrate the birth of Christ, and families gather to count their blessings.

So, what’s amiss here?

Well, perhaps I’m the only one in this study group, but I will have to admit I’ve been a complainer. Here God is, showing us the intricacies of His awesome design for creation, and I’ve been just as much a grumbler as the children of Israel in the wilderness. I really don’t like winter at all! Too cold! I don’t like it when the forecast mentions frozen precipitation, since in the Southland, it is often the freezing rain variety – ice everywhere! Autumn is pleasant, but it actually makes me a little sad, since I know winter is coming!

And there are those who complain bitterly about the summer heat – I often overhear people in the grocery store, saying they just can’t go outdoors in the summer!

And yet, if we examine things with our heads, instead of our comfort levels, we know that the summer time is vitally important to allow us time for growing crops and harvesting them. And the winter is an integral part of controlling the bug populations, since they get reduced by the cold temps. These are just two of many reasons why God created the seasons.

I guess we (me, really) need to embrace all of the seasons, and praise Him for them!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Praise day 11

Praise Him for our freedom, and the nation we live in. I know that we have readers from all over the globe, and we may enjoy varying degrees of freedom. But the Bible has much to say about citizenship, and being a testimony for Him in our country, whichever it may be:
There are reminders for selecting leaders of vision:

                    Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps
                    the law, happy is he.  (Proverbs 29:18)

And leaders with discipline:

                   Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes
                   eat at a proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness.
                   (Ecc. 10:17)

                   When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with
                   discernment and knowledge maintains order. (Proverbs 28:2)

There are reminders to be fair, especially to the poor:

                   If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be
                   established forever.   (Proverbs 29:14)

And exhortation to be people of integrity:

                 For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will
                 remain in it;  (Proverbs 2:21)

Peter also noted our responsibilities as Christians:

                 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:
                 whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors,
                 who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend
                 those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you
                should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people,
                but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
               17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God,
               honor the emperor.  (I Peter 2:13-17)

This brings up the question of civil disobedience when the law of the land is against the Law of God as revealed to us in the Word. If we look at Acts 5, we can find the answer. I hope you will go and read this chapter, for it is an inspiring one.  The apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin and the high priest was questioning them: why were you preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus, when we told you not to do this?
Peter and the others replied that they must obey God, rather than men. So it is clear that as long as the law of the land doesn't contradict the laws of God, we are bound to obey man's laws. But as soon as the law of the land contradicts God's commands, we are to disobey man's laws and obey His commands. But let's be clear -- we should accept the government's authority over us, even then -- look at Peter and John's response to their punishment: they rejoiced that they were suffering for obeying God.            

In all cases, we should be a people of prayer:

                 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and
                 thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in
                authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness
                and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants
                all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
                (I Timothy 2:1-4)
                If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and
               pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear
               from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
               (II Chronicles 7:14)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday slowdown (Praise day 10)

We are focusing on praising our God, and this familiar song is one that truly expresses our thoughts as we contemplate all that He has done for us:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Praise day 9

Praise Him, for He has a plan for us!

One of the things that kept coming back to me as I was writing these posts is the picture that we see of God being our true heavenly Father. There are so many verses in our Bible that paint a beautiful picture of God loving us so much that He will provide for us in all areas of life. He will take care of us just like He takes care of those sparrows in flight, or like He cares for the lilies of the field.

We can depend on the fact that He is the best Father ever! He knows what our needs and our wants are. Sometimes we get those mixed up, ay?
As a parent, we can recall the times that our children have pleaded, begged, wheedled and connived to get something they thought they "had to have." They WANTED it, right? But did they NEED it? That is what we were required, as parents, to decide.

We can trust God to know what we need, and what we want. And we can rest in the knowledge that He has a plan for us. In fact, He knew us and planned for us before we were even born, just like He did for the prophet Jeremiah:

                “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,  before you were born
                 I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)

And He didn't just wind us up like a toy and let us go on our own; He is still watching over us and has His plan in mind:

                 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to
                 prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
                 (Jeremiah 29:11)

Look at that! It's all in present tense; He knows, He has, He plans. That's not just in the past. That is happening today, even as you read this study blog. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. That is how much He cares.

                 The Lord will guide you always;
                 he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
                 and will strengthen your frame.
                You will be like a well-watered garden,

                like a spring whose waters never fail.  (Isaiah 58:11)

Maybe today we are in a bad situation in life, and don't know where to turn. Perhaps we are in "over our heads" either financially, emotionally, or spiritually. We are not in it all alone. I hope these verses will encourage all of us that God knows what is going on in our lives, and has a plan for us.

We don't always know why something is happening. We may beg and plead and wheedle (and maybe even connive a little) asking God to change things. Instead of that, we should trust Him to have a plan that is far better for us than we can know -- He is the greatest Father ever! He is still in the business of making beautiful things out of our messes.
Talk to God today and praise Him for the plan He has for you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Praise day 8

In this month that we (at least those of us in the US) celebrate Thanksgiving, it's appropriate for us to praise Him for our homes and our food, our finances to pay our bills, and all of the other ways that He provides for us.

All of these are blessings. We cannot take credit for them. "But I worked hard to make the money for these things!" you may protest.

But think . . . who is it that strengthens us for the task? Who makes it possible for us to get up out of bed each day? Who puts us in the place where we are tapped for a job? If He knows the sparrows that fall from the nest, and the hairs of our heads, we can be certain that it's He who makes all of those things possible, too!

Our Bible is full of assurances of how God will provide for us. He is fully aware of our needs, and He wants us to come to Him with every need, care, and worry that we may have. We often ask God to help with our physical needs, but we should seek His provision for our spiritual and emotional needs as well. When our view of our world shows that we believe He cares about every area of our lives, then we are starting to be in the place He desires for us -- the place where we talk to Him constantly and then listen for Him to speak to us.

                   Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as
                   I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (Genesis 9:3)

                   The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD
                   lack no good thing.  (Psalm 34:10)

                   I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide
                   your mouth and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10)

                   For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and
                   honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is
                   blameless. (Psalm 84:11)

                   Do not worry, then, saying, "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?"
                   or "What will we wear for clothing?" .............for your heavenly Father
                  knows that you need all these things.    (Matthew 6:31-32)
                   And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory
                  in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:19)
                  “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say
                  to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
                 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive,
                  so that your joy may be made full.    (John 16:23-24) 

Praise Him -- He loves and provides for us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Praise day 7

Today, on our seventh day of praise, let's thank Him for His work in strengthening us.

Ever feel like you can't go on? Like even one more step is impossible?

Have you ever felt that you couldn't possibly face tomorrow? Or you couldn't get up out of your bed or your chair?

Have you ever felt so stressed, so fatigued, so depressed, that you couldn't imagine what was keeping your heart beating?

I feel like many of us have been there. Maybe some of us are there now. Did you know that claiming God's promises and praising Him can help?

Let's dive in!

Our thoughts about strength to meet the day, to conquer a task, must start and end with God. It is the power and strength that comes from Him that allows us to move forward. As Christians, we need to surrender to the thought that God provides our strength -- and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He willingly supplies it, and we can rest in His strength and in the comfort that He provides to us.

Did you know that He is constantly looking to see if we need His help? Check this out:

                 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
                to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
               (II Chronicles 16:9)

Look here in Psalm 18:32-33:
               ....the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.
               He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.

And here, too, in Deuteronomy 31:6:
                Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is
                the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake

Wow! Those are awesome promises, no? Yes! What does it take to claim these promises?
Just one thing.
Listen to what Paul says, as he talks about what happened when he trusted God:

                 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me
                 the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might
                 hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.  (I Timothy 4:17)

Are there lions in our lives today? Are there people and situations that may devour us? Are there sins and guilt that could destroy us? If we trust Him to strengthen us, we can claim this familiar passage as our own:

                  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the ever-
                  lasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint
                  or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power
                 to the faint, and to him who has no might, he increases strength.
                 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall ex-
                 hausted, but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
                  they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be
                 weary; they shall walk and not faint.  (Isaiah 40: 28-31)

Praise the Lord for the strength He supplies!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Praise day 6

Have you ever thought about the fact that God is always trying (for our benefit) to make Himself smaller? Yeah, I know. But calm down and think it through -- I'm not being sacrilegious. (Grin)

When God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, He made Himself smaller. When He came and ate with Abraham, He did it again. When He spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and when He walked past Moses, He made Himself smaller.

And of course, when He came as the babe in the manger, He made Himself smaller still.

                 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little
                 while, now crowned with glory and honor .....  (Hebrews 2:9a)

                 ...rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a
                servant, being made in human likeness.  (Philippians 2:7)

Each of us has a body.  For us, with our finite minds, to understand things, they must be embodied. He chose to make Himself smaller so that He could be a personal God. He wanted to break through all of our sin, our pride, our arrogance and fear, and hold out His hand to us, "I want you to know something. I want you to know that I love you.  I want you to know Me personally."

                           How precious to me are your thoughts concerning me, God!
                           How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would

                           outnumber the grains of sandwhen I awake, I am still with you.
                           (Psalm 139:17-18)

God not only thinks about us, but He thinks of us in terms of a mighty love for us:

                          But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were
                         still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

And He thinks of us in personal terms, using "you" and "I" --

                       So do not fear, for I am with you;
                       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
                       I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you

                      with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

And In Jeremiah, there is another compelling reason to believe He is a personal God:

                    “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of
                     their strength or the rich boast of their riches,  but let the one who
                     boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know
                     me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and
                     righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. 
                     (Jer 9:23-24)

Praise Him, for He has made Himself known to us as a personal God!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day of Praise 4

Aren't you glad that God designed and planned for us to have families? What a blessing our family can be!

A father has many roles: a teacher, an example, a provider. We can see many good examples in the Bible to guide dads in leading their children in God's pathway:

              Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your
              God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
              These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
               Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
              and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you
              get up.  (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

              Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without
              anger or disputing. (I Timothy 2:8)
Dads also should be training their children:

              Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old
              they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

              Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the
              training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

We moms have many roles, as well. (I know, I see you rolling your eyes....I am not just talking about chauffeur, laundry queen, cook and bottle washer!)

Respect and love for our husbands:
             However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and
             the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)

             Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to
             be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they
             can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-
             controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their
             husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5)

And our study of Proverbs 31 gave us some insights into Godly living and also gave us goals to aspire to.
Our children can be a source of joy and also of pride, as we see them reverence God and fulfill their potential.

              Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like
             arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is
             the man whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3-5)

Children have responsibilities:

              Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father
              and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it
              may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Eph 6:1-3)

Jesus was trained as a carpenter (Mark 6:3), and Paul as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3), and their examples should be followed. Being busy and working at things are important to children. It's a wise family that encourages hard work and industry for both boys and girls:

              And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and
             brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of
             scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up
             in wisdom spun goats' hair. (Exodus 35:25-26)

. . . but these responsibilities need to be balanced with fun:

             And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing . . .
             (Zechariah 8:5)

Lastly, our grandparents and other elders are important parts of our families.

            You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of the old
             man . . . (Leviticus 19:32)

             The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men
             is their gray hair. (Proverbs 20:29)

We are exhorted to respect the elderly in our Christian families, and to value the mentoring that they can offer. Their wisdom and advice can make a real difference.
Praise Him!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day of Praise 3

Today let's reflect on praising God for our senses . . . do we take these for granted, as we do so many of God's gifts?

As a quilter, my senses are in use a great deal when I pursue my craft. I enjoy the pleasures of bright and happy colors, or soft and soothing ones. My eyes let me take pleasure in movement and shade, and the "play" of one color with another.

The textures of the fabrics are revealed as my hands move across them to cut and piece them. Some are smooth, some rough. Some seem heavier than others.

Think about the treasures that God gives us with our sense of smell. Bread baking, turkey freshly pulled from the oven, the incredible scent of newly-turned earth in the spring. I'm certain that you can add more to the lists!

Our ears are blessed each day with the sounds of nature and of family. The laughter of children, the songs of the hawk above my pasture, all of these cause me to praise Him.

Surely God designed us with love and grace, and gifted us with our senses. How dull life would be if we did not have these joys!

Praise Him!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day of Praise 2

I don't see how we could continue this 20 days of praising God without praising Him for our salvation, do you? We barely touched on this yesterday, when we mentioned that from the beginning, He has had a plan . . .
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,  (II Timothy 1:9)

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  (I Peter 1:20)
That plan began before the world was created, and is being carried out even today, when souls are saved.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Ephesians 2:10)

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  (John 1:12)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  (Romans 5:9-10)

God has a plan for all of us, an individual purpose that is uniquely ours. It begins when we accept the gift of salvation, and we experience the peace of Christ that comes from knowing our sins are forgiven. He knew us in eternity past, even before we existed! He loved us enough then to send His only Son to die on the cross for us, before we turned to Him.

Thank you, Lord, for your gift of salvation!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Introducing our 20 days of praise

You may have seen the Becky Harling book entitled "30 days of Praise" in a bookstore or online -- I haven't read the book, but I was intrigued by the idea.

I decided that this month would be an ideal time to take a break from our studies in John, and refresh ourselves with praise for our God. Since our study blog is posted on weekdays, that gives us twenty days in the month of November for our praise focus.

Another book by Kenneth Smith states that we should: ". . .create the habit of praise! The Bible tells us that praise stops and confuses the enemy ... if the door won't open, praise God in the hallway!"

Join us, won't you?

On this first day of praise, let's start at the beginning:

               In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
               was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were
               made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life,
               and that life was the light of all mankind.    John 1:1-4

Today, on our first day of praise, let's praise the Father, and the Son. Let's spend some time in thought today, reflecting on the mystery of the Trinity.  Praise Him for mercy and grace that had a plan, even in the beginning, to ransom us from our sins. Thank Him for the gift of the Spirit, that indwells us daily.

Our grateful hearts should sing praise when we think of His creating the world and all of the things in it, both large and small. It always amazes me when I hear people talking about things that make "intelligent design" so obvious, and yet they do not attribute this design to God. For example, recently I watched a television report that gave information about a tiny weather system that is created by mushrooms. Yep, you heard me right! The mushrooms have a way of utilizing humidity and air temperature to create a very, very, very small wind current that carries their spores out from under the mushroom and into higher air currents, so that the spores can be distributed. Kinda like a "be fruitful and multiply" system for mushrooms and toadstools!

To me, that just screams, "God made that!" He planned it, He designed it, and it's incredible! But of course, most of the scientists today would simply say that the process was a proof of evolution.

Today as you pray and enjoy a quiet time with God, praise Him for Who He is, and for the Son and the Spirit, and for the incredible love and wisdom that created our world.