Parents, Pray like King David

This morning our pastor’s sermon was taken from I Chronicles 29: 1-3 and 10-20.  In these passages King David is calling on God’s people to give generously to the building and furnishing of the temple of God.  Once the people overwhelmingly agreed to follow King David’s generosity in giving, David offered this beautiful prayer in praise to God (given below in part)

Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty;  for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;  Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all.  Both riches and honor come from You,  and You reign over all.  In Your hand is power and might;  in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

The pastor then went on to challenge parents to consider offering prayers like this in the presence of their children.  To let their children hear them praise and adore the Creator for who He is, and what He is doing!  Our minister acknowledged that many parents would shake their heads, and respond by saying they could in no way pray like David.  Their lives were in such a mess!  Even this very week they have sinned in a multitude of ways.  No way are they “good enough” to offer such beautiful words to such a holy God!  Their children would be able to see right through all of their words.

How I love the way our minister reminded us of King David’s very messy life, and the way God dealt graciously with him.  King David, a man after God’s own heart?  Yes!   But also an indulgent father who was guilty of lying, adultery, and murder.  So how could King David pen these beautiful words in praise to God at the end of his life?  Because of the greater King who was coming!  The Davidic King who would live the life King David (and we!) could never live, and die the death he (and we) should have died.

This is why parents (and all of us!) are able to pray just like King David.  Using our “weakness as the way” (J.I. Packer), we can come before the throne of the Creator of the Universe, and know that we have a greater king than David to hear and present our prayers before the Father.

So parents throw open your hearts and pray like King David!  Doing so will point your children toward the only One who deserves such praise and adoration, and the only One who has the power to overcome all of the messiness of this life.

Blessings for a prayerful week,

Pam

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaping the bounty of creation!

Our yard has abundant fruit trees and about once about every five years our apple trees bear fruit. Now I don’t know what they are doing the other four years, but we seem to have a bumper crop this year – just like we did five years ago! I think it’s pretty amazing how that happens. I’m sure there might be a horticulturist explanation but I just think the Lord decides to bless us with abundance in the way of apples – AND so many other things!

This year my husband, Mac, and I are making an effort at some lifestyle changes, particularly in our eating habits. So, our crop of apples gave us the perfect opportunity to attempt some new recipes. We decided to make apple butter using NO refined sugar, but just adding some natural sweetness from dates. This has been an experiment with some wonderful and tasty results! Sweet, rich apple butter in abundance!

How often I think of the bounty of blessings from the Lord. He delights to surprise us with blessings that we don’t understand from whence they come.

Thank you, Jesus!

Have a blessed week.

Susan

Grandcamp 2014!

IMG_1921Last week we had Grandcamp at our house! It was a week of fun adventure centered on the concept of kindness as it is demonstrated in the Bible. One day we studied kindness to strangers and discussed the Parable of the Good Samaritan. After reading the story, we went out and bought food to deliver to a local ministry. Another day we talked about kindness to our friends and reenacted the story of the four men who lowered their paralytic friend through the roof of the house so that he could be healed by Jesus. We also enjoyed talking about kindness to ourselves, our families, to the environment and to animals.
As a demonstration of kindness to animals we made special treats for our neighborhood dogs. When we delivered them we all laughed when the “mother” of the dogs tasted our dog biscuits because they looked just like cookies. Fortunately, they were very healthy dog treats!
All along I thought that I would be teaching my three granddaughters some truths about kindness, and although that probably did happen, I also learned a lot about kindness from them. When the youngest of the three was missing her mom or dad, the two older ones stepped in with extra hugs and kisses. When I needed help with some cleaning, one of them enthusiastically cleaned some mirrors and dusted the furniture. All of them showed kindness by helping with dinner – setting and clearing the table and assisting in the preparation of the food. As I continue to pray for the character development of all my five granddaughters, I am thankful to begin to see the answer to some of those prayers. And because I believe that God not only hears my prayers, but is faithful to answer them (I John 5:14-15), I will continue to be on my knees asking God to put all His desired characteristics into their hearts.
Have a wonderful week,
Kathy

Leaving A Legacy

Honey and MC enjoying the healthy banana pancakes they prepared together!

Honey and MC enjoying the healthy banana pancakes they prepared together!

One of the reasons Kathy, Susan, and I wrote our book, My Grandmother Is. . . praying for me, is that we wanted to leave a legacy for our grandchildren.  In the introduction of the book, we write “that God would enable us all to leave a legacy of faith so that He might be honored and glorified”.  It was our hope that we, along with our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren (you get the idea!), “may proclaim together Psalm 89:1-2: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. . . ‘

The Oxford Dictionary defines legacy as an amount of money or property left to someone in a will; A thing handed down by a predecessor.  I am realizing, however, there are many types of legacies we can leave to those who follow behind us.  As mentioned in our book, there is the legacy of faith.  The dictionary speaks of a legacy of money or possessions.  Maybe there is a very special personal possession like a ring or watch that has been handed down from generation to generation.

Recently my husband, David, and I have launched what I call a new “(Ad)venture”, the opening of a Lifestyle Medicine practice. This is something David has wanted to do for many years.  His last seven to eight years at a large healthcare company convinced him that people can get well if they will start practicing a healthy way of life. David and I, both, have become more convinced than ever that we must be more pro-active in promoting and supporting healthy ways of living.

So what does this have to do with a legacy for our grandchildren?  More than I ever realized.  The Bible tells us our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we should glorify God with our bodies (I Cor. 3:16).  Paul also goes on to write that whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God (I Cor.10:31).  Surely modeling for our children and grandchildren how to take care of our bodies by living as healthy as we can is a legacy of true value that glorifies God!

Have you given thought to leaving a legacy of healthy living to your children and grandchildren?  Don’t think in huge overwhelming changes.  Just start with one small change–taking a walk with your grandchild; drinking water instead of soda; making a healthy meal together.  Not only will you be teaching healthy practices, you will be making wonderful memories with your grandchildren.  And, THAT, is a legacy in itself!!

Hope you have a healthy week.

Blessings,

Pam

 

 

 

 

Mistakes

In my world of real estate, accurate financial information is critical. Recently, an assistant made a critical error while transferring a dollar figure from one document to another. This, in turn, caused a huge issue for all parties involved. Because this assistant is a person of honor, she believed she needed to rectify the situation by contributing the shortfall to the seller. This whole transaction has been a nightmare and has caused quite a rift in our relationship – which, of course, is much more important than the financial implications.

As we have continued navigating our way toward the real estate closing I’ve been reminded that I make many mistakes; that we all make many mistakes. We don’t always know what the implications of those mistakes might be, but we know that we can learn from them. And when we come humbly before the Lord acknowledging our errors and ready to learn, He can teach us the appropriate lessons.

2 Chronicles 34:27 reminds us so well that God will help us in these difficult times: “Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord…He has heard you.” The Lord is faithful to walk us through the most challenging of circumstances and for that I’m forever grateful.
Blessings, Susan

The Three Bears

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He who mocks the poor shows content for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished. 
Proverbs 17:5
 
Do you have friends who are creative and imaginative?  Friends who think and act “outside the box” ?   I do!  And I just love these friends!!  They stretch me.  They challenge me.  They lead me in places I would never think to go.  My friend and fellow grandmother/author, Susan, is like this.  I was visiting at her house last week, and came across 5 little blue piggy banks on her table.  She said they represented her 5 little grandchildren.  When her grandchildren visit her, they love to take out and count the money.  H’mmm, interesting, I thought.  Wonder where I could find 3 piggy banks?
 
Another friend, Sydney, is about to travel to Africa to work at a Christian school.  She requested prayer from her friends, and also provided the opportunity to sponsor one of these sweet children. I could certainly send a check, but what if I included my granddaughters in this?  What if I provided an opportunity for them to participate with me in sponsoring a child at this school?   My mind returned to those piggy banks at Susan’s, but then I remembered I had saved 3 little honey bear bottles.  I wonder if that would work?  
 
You might be asking, “What is the big deal with piggy banks or honey bear bottles”?   It is this.  Such simple objects can teach our grandchildren profound lessons about gratitude and humility.  Encouraging our little ones to save and give to those in need is cultivating a heart of compassion.  As the prayer found on June 28th. in our book, My Grandmother Is. . . praying for me, says, “May she never forget that she, too, has been a needy recipient of much grace and mercy from the Lord Jesus”.
 
How thankful I am for friends who encourage and “stir me up for good works,” especially when it relates to leading my grandchildren in righteousness and humility!!  How about you?  Do you have any honey bears in your pantry?  
 
Blessings to you,
Pam
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Grandparents Around the World

May 2014 042The tears were hard to hold back as we said goodbye to our family in China last week. My husband and I had been visiting for a few weeks and were there for the birth of our fifth granddaughter, Gracie. As a commentary one might expect from a grandmother, she is a beautiful baby! We really enjoyed our time with Gracie, her big sister Abby, and her parents. Being in China, however, was not without its challenges and surprises.
Each morning we walked to the grocery store to purchase food for the day. We carefully dodged electric bikes, motorcycles, and oncoming cars as we crossed the streets. Although the personnel in the stores were friendly, we could not communicate with them and were unable to read most of the food labels. There were times when I wasn’t sure what kind of meat I might be buying!
Before an outing, we had to check the air quality index. Pollution and smog are quite the problems in their city and, if the air was designated as “unhealthy,” we needed masks before venturing out. Some days it was just too polluted to even go outside.
There were several highlights of the trip, besides the birth of Gracie. One of them was attending the international church, a congregation of about 300 to 400 people. The visitors were asked to stand up and share where they were from. There was a group of students from a college in Alabama, there was someone from Texas, and we shared that we were from Tennessee. But, the visitors were really from all over the world – a family from Malaysia, a student from Korea, others from Japan, Brazil, Germany, Australia, South Africa and various other nations. It reminded me of Revelation 7:9 – “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Traveling to other countries reminds us of the enormity of God’s kingdom. It reminds us that His sacrifice and love has been for all peoples, all nations, all tribes…
Our book, My Grandmother is…praying for me, encourages us to pray for godly character traits in our grandchildren. A visit to this international church reminded me that there are grandparents all around the world whose passion is for their grandchildren to follow Christ. My hope is that I will never lose this vision of how big our God is and how much He loves us all!
Have a wonderful week,
Kathy

A Balanced Busyness


 

A caged dog complains of the fleas.

A hunting dog doesn’t notice.

(Face Book entry by unknown author)

A few years ago my 6-year old granddaughter and I were in the kitchen making muffins.  As she cradled the mixing bowl with one arm, she busily whisked the batter with the other hand.  “Honey!” she said. “I’m happy when I’m busy!!  I’m happy when I’m busy.”   “Most people are, Mary Chase.  Most people are.”

I think the FB author and my granddaughter were expressing the same sentiment though somewhat differently.  Having a life that is active and busy can provide much enjoyment.  We are much less apt to focus on the negative in our lives if we are involved in activities that have purpose and meaning.  This is not busyness for the sake of busyness.  It is also not trying to do or be all things for all people.  Kevin Deyoung in his book, Crazy Busy, rightly says, So much of our busyness comes down to meeting people’s expectations.  We want people to like us, so we say yes to too many things.  When that happens busyness becomes our foe not our friend.

I have found in my life as I have gotten older that I am no longer willing to spend my time and energy in ways that are not my calling.  Perhaps it has come with the realization that life this side of heaven is really very short.  Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.  I want my last days to be traveled on the road God has planned out for me, not someone else’s path.  How about you?  Are you going crazy with busyness?  Quoting Kevin Deyoung again, He (Jesus) spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry.  He did not try to do it all.  And yet, he did everything God asked him to do. 

Yes, we are happiest when we are busy.  But let’s make sure it is the “Busy” God has called us to be and to do.

Hope you have a Busy Balanced Week,

Pam

 

Keeping Warm

Recently on a visit with our North Carolina children and grands, our seven-year-old grandson Wyatt and I had a chance to do some serious pillow talk. You know, that’s when the grands come cuddle in the bed and we have those early morning visits. Well, his feet were a bit chilly and when I mentioned that to him, I told him that it reminded me of a verse from scripture. This verse talks about how we can “warm” each other and is found in Ecclesiastes 4:11 – “Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?” So, the next three days when he snuggled into bed for our early morning talks, he said “Nana, let’s do Ecclesiastes 4:11!” He learned a basic principle that we need each other – not only to keep warm, but to listen, encourage and sharpen each other in our walk with the Lord. Have a great week,
Susan

Eyes that Roam the Earth

 

We have a neighborhood cat that seems to have taken up residence in our yard. I find it fascinating to watch him as he comes in daily to “claim” his kingdom. He slides under our fence, saunters across the green grass and comes to a perch on top of a lawn chair. From that vantage point, it seems he can scope out the entire yard. His eyes roam from left to right, watching for any movement, any small creature that might be unfortunate enough to make an appearance just at that moment. And, if anything is sited, the cat makes a mad dash towards the little creature. My husband and I are hoping that he is ridding of our yard of all the destructive moles, but I’m not really sure what he actually catches!
The cat’s actions remind me of a verse from 2 Chronicles 16:9 which says that “the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” God’s eyes are also constantly roaming, but they are searching for men and women who are committed to him, and who need strength and encouragement to make it through the day. His intent is not for destruction, but to provide grace and power to those who are weak. It is through our trials, through our weaknesses, that God can best show His strength. In Isaiah 41:10, the Lord encourages us by saying “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God’s desire is to be with us through all things – when we are at our weakest, He will support us and uphold us.
I have a nephew who suffered a severe concussion more than a year ago. He is still experiencing the ramifications of that injury and is being treated at a neurology clinic in the hopes regaining some of the functioning he has lost. He and his family are at low point – a weak point – and in need of encouragement and miraculous action. I am praying very specifically for them that as the Lord’s eye roam the earth that the words of both 2 Chronicles and Isaiah will become reality to them – that they will experience supernatural strength and support. We all need that at times, and God says He desires to provide it. The condition, of course, is that our hearts need to be committed to Him and His purposes. I pray today that all of us can examine our lives, commit ourselves fully to the Lord, and experience His strength in the midst of any of our difficulties.
Have a blessed week,
Kathy