How To Honor Your Parents

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And forsake not the teaching of your mother;
They shall be a crown of beauty for your head,
And a necklace about your neck.
Listen to your father who begat you,
And despise not your mother when she is old.
He who does what he is told is a wise son.
But he who makes friends of spendthrifts,
Brings disgrace on his father.

He who robs father or mother,
Saying, “There is no wrong in it,”
Is like him who is a destroyer.
He who curses his father or mother,
His lamp shall go out in the blackest of darkness.
A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son despises his mother.
A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And brings bitterness to her who bore him.

Be wise, my son, and make glad my heart,
That I may answer the one who reproaches me.
Let your father be filled with joy,
And let her who bore you rejoice.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/How-To-Honor-Your-Parents.shtml

The Joy Of Worshipping God

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord,
Let us shout to the Rock who saves us,
Let us come before him with thanksgiving,
Let us sing to him joyful songs;
For the Lord is indeed a great God,
A great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The heights of the mountains are his,
The sea is his, for he made it,
And his hands prepared the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker;
For he is the Lord our God,
And we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth,
Serve the Lord with gladness,
Come into his presence with singing,
Know that the Lord is God,
He has made us and we are his,
His people, the flock that he tends.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
His courts with songs of rejoicing,
Give thanks to him, praise his name,
He is good, his kindness eternal,
And his faithfulness unto all generations.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/The-Joy-Of-Worshipping-God.shtml

Don’t Be an April Fool

The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God Psalm 14:1.

Warning! It’s April Fools’ Day!

I’ve had a lot of AF jokes pulled on me, and I must admit that I’ve pulled off a few pretty good ones myself. But one thing I’ve noticed. No one likes being called a fool, much less being made to look like a fool. We like to think of ourselves as savvy, wise, and sharp—not easily tricked or duped. But when we measure ourselves by God’s standards, we might be surprised at how much we deserve the title.

Did you know, for example, that the Bible says we are fools if we . . .

Of course, the ultimate definition of a fool is found in today’s verse. The ultimate fool is one who lives as though “there is no God.” Notice that the verse does not say that a fool says with his mouth “there is no God.” It’s a matter of the heart attitude. In fact it would be quite possible to say with your lips that there is a God but then to have your heart think and act as though God does not factor into your dreams and choices at all. When our heart says that there is a God, we readily obey Him and surrender to His will and ways in our lives. Though it’s not always easy, a God-honoring heart is willing to begin the process of forgiving those who have deeply hurt us; to think of others as more important than ourselves; to choose generosity over greed; and to be sensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed.

One of the most penetrating “fool” passages in Scripture is recorded in Luke 12:13-21. Jesus told the parable of a rich businessman who had more wealth than he knew what to do with. After signing the papers for corporate expansion (bigger barns), he congratulates himself and decides to throw himself a party. Everyone in his town would have said he was a smashing success. But God had a different take on him: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20). Jesus concluded with the point: “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21 ESV). It is indeed foolish to be satisfied with our own wealth and to have given no thought to becoming rich toward God by preparing for eternity, or as Jesus said to become rich toward God by giving our money away to the poor and to those in need (Luke 12:33).

When we recognize the rightful place of God in our hearts, our lives are wonderfully transformed to enjoy the rewarding results of wisdom—life from God’s point of view—rather than the embarrassing outcomes of a godless, foolish heart.

I hope you get to pull off a good April Fools’ joke today. In fact, you may even have a good-natured laugh at having one pulled on you. But, while all that is going on, don’t forget to honor God’s will and ways in your heart. Life is too short and too serious to live it as a fool!

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Look back over the characteristics of a fool from the book of Proverbs. Are there any ways that “foolishness” has crept into your life?
  • How might your life look a little bit like the rich fool described in Luke 12:13-21? Have you ever thought of giving away some of your money or possessions to the kingdom of God so that you could be rich toward Him?
  • Maybe you haven’t said it, but are there ways in which you’re living as if there is no God? Take a few minutes to turn back to wisdom, which begins with “the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7).

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/dont-be-an-april-fool/

Our Gifts by Patricia Day

Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! NKJV

We all have gifts. Some we are aware of and use prolifically, while others lay hidden deep within us – dormant.

We live our lives, staying within our comfort zone. The thought of taking a new step and learning a new hobby or venture, stay rigidly in STOP mode.

I once read a story about a man arriving in heaven, being asked about his life and how he had lived it.

“God, I’ve been kind and generous towards others all my life. and I’ve been the best person that I could be”.

“Could I ask you a question, God?” “Go ahead” he was instructed.

“Well, I know it isn’t Christmas, but beside You is a Christmas tree laden with gifts. How come”?

“Well” God replies. “It is the tree of life and blessings”. “The gifts represent the many talents I bestowed upon you. A few you used. Those on the tree remain unopened, because you refused to consider yourself capable of doing more”.

We are all guilty of similar behavior. I can stay in one spot thinking myself incapable of attempting more or living life differently; knowing full well that all I need to do is try, to discover that maybe I can do it.

Our tendency is to give up too easily. I am so glad that God does not give up on us. He pursues us and guides us. He forgives us and chides us. He bestows great and wonderful gifts upon us, then waits for us to use them.

I don’t want to reach the end of my days to find out how many unopened gifts I have left.  I want to have the determination to try something new (legal, ethical, edifying), whenever the opportunity arises.

Prayer: God, we ask for the strength to do more; to try more. We ask that You grant us discernment in using the gifts You have given us. May we become conscious of those we have, that remain unopened. May we grow them and use them for Your glory. Amen.

http://devotionalchristian.com/our-gifts/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DevotionalChristian+%28Devotional+Christian%29

Giving Thanks

A tragedy left a family with a void that nothing could fill. A toddler chasing a cat wandered into the road and was run over by a delivery truck. A 4-year-old watched in shocked silence as her parents cradled the lifeless body of her little sister. For years, the cold emptiness of that moment encased the family in sadness. Feelings were frozen. The only comfort was numbness. Relief was unimaginable.

Author Ann Voskamp was the 4-year-old, and the sorrow surrounding her sister’s death formed her view of life and God. The world she grew up in had little concept of grace. Joy was an idea that had no basis in reality.

As a young mother, Voskamp set out to discover the elusive thing the Bible calls joy. The words for joy and grace come from the Greek word chairo, which she found out is at the center of the Greek word for thanksgiving. Could it be that simple? she wondered. To test her discovery, Voskamp decided to give thanks for 1,000 gifts she already had. She started slowly but soon gratefulness was flowing freely.

Just as Jesus gave thanks before, not after, raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41), Voskamp discovered that giving thanks brought to life feelings of joy that had died along with her sister. Joy comes from thanksgiving.

Lord, I thank You that You have the power to raise the dead. May the feelings of joy that arise from our thanksgiving be seeds of grace to those who are afraid to feel.
The joy of living comes from a heart of thanksgiving.

Don’t Just Celebrate…Imitate!

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.” Ephesians 5:1

I can still remember my dad standing there, coat on and hat in hand on Christmas afternoon asking me, “Joe, do you want to come with me?” His question made me uncomfortable because I knew I should say yes, but being deep into playing with my Christmas presents, going with him was not my idea of a great way to spend Christmas afternoon.

My idea of Christmas was a time to celebrate Christ’s birth by giving and getting gifts, eating some of Mom’s all-time best cooking, and lots of play time with my new toys!

My dad liked all that kind of stuff too. But every year he had something else in mind. He knew that Christmas was more than a celebration of Christ’s birth. For him, the spirit of Christmas had a deeper meaning. He knew that the highest form of honoring Jesus is more than celebration—it’s imitation.

In fact, seeing Christmas as merely celebration can have a selfish bent to it. It can end up being primarily about days off from work, parties, family, friends, games, football, gifts, and lots of great food. But imitation—not celebration—pays a higher compliment to the one whose life we celebrate.

For Jesus, Christmas was not warm, convenient, or comfortable. In our modern-day materialized blur of Christmas, we must keep reminding ourselves that the birth of Jesus put into motion the central act of God’s redemptive plan, and it came at a cost. Not only did Jesus temporarily relinquish the glorious privileges of heaven, He ultimately gave His life on a blood-stained cross where His sinless body bore the weight of my sin—and yours. Jesus presented our world with a costly redemptive gift. Which is precisely why my dad was on his way out the front door.

His mission? To visit an elderly widow who lived down the street. With no children and no family, she spent every holiday alone. And every Christmas my dad, in the midst of celebration, gave the gift of himself, sharing a few moments of companionship to help ease her lonely heart.

I learned a valuable lesson from my dad. Around all of our lives there are people who long for a touch from heaven through some caring, even sacrificial, act of love on their behalf. Who are the people you could call on Christmas day? Check your party lists. Is there someone who will go nowhere if not invited by you?

Indelibly etched on my memory are those two or three times when I stood up from my toys, grabbed my coat, put my hand in Dad’s, and walked down the street to spend an hour imitating Christ’s gift of Himself.

This year, let’s do more than celebrate Christ. Let’s honor Him by imitating the grace of His selfless and sacrificial love for us.

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • What are some ways you can imitate Christ this Christmas? Read Ephesians 5:1-33 for a list of ideas.
  • My dad’s imitation of Christ made a big impact on me as a kid. What can you do to set an example for the young people or young believers in your life? If you were to say, like Paul, “I urge you to imitate me” (1 Corinthians 4:16), what kinds of Christlike qualities would others see in your life to imitate?
  • We’re in the final countdown to Christmas. Narrow your ideas down to one action point and then, as the commercial says, “Just do it!” Who knows, your act may make this a Christmas to remember.

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/dont-just-celebrate-imitate/

Embrace a Thankful and Giving Heart

This holiday season, while we enjoy delicious food and visiting family and friends, let’s take a moment to give thanks for our many blessings.

 

It’s easy to get lost in all the bad news today — whether it be unfavorable election results, financial troubles, a struggling economy, an overreaching federal government, crisis in the Middle East or personal struggles. Our growing list of problems often seems overwhelming and endless.

It’s easy to give thanks when everything is going our way. But what about the difficult times?

The Bible, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, commands us, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I noticed a poll this week indicating a full 45 percent of Americans would rather skip Christmas because they say it’s stressful and a strain on their finances.

But this season is not about braving crowded store aisles, crabby shoppers and maddening traffic jams so we can spend money on stuff our friends and family don’t actually need.

Before you rush to empty your pocketbook and cram the hottest toys under the tree, let’s examine our hearts this season and count our blessings.

Thankfulness brings joy and contentment; it changes your outlook and attitude.

There’s real power in a thankful heart.

Even when we are tapped out financially and emotionally, we should consider the truly meaningful blessings in our lives. My wife, Gena, and I thank God for our families, friends and neighbors, and for the joy of this season that we celebrate in His name.

In all the world’s darkness, we can be thankful for God’s great love and that He sent his Son so that all of us may have eternal life. That wonderful gift is available to everyone — regardless of our hardships and individual circumstances.

As President Ronald Reagan declared in his 1981 Thanksgiving proclamation, “Let us recommit ourselves to that devotion to God and family that has played such an important role in making this a great Nation, and which will be needed as a source of strength if we are to remain a great people.”

We thank God we are fortunate enough to have been born in the greatest country on Earth, in a land of abundance, prosperity and hope. We are grateful for our nation’s foundation on freedom, justice, democracy and the rule of law. We also pray that America’s leaders will look to God for guidance.

We’re thankful for the First Amendment, which guarantees our rights to express ourselves, petition our government and worship God freely. (I might add, we’re also thankful for our Second Amendment rights.)

We are grateful for all the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans and courageous men and women serving in the U.S. military, who continue to secure our liberty and keep our nation safe.

We thank God we live in a land of opportunity, where each of us is free to develop our individual talents and embrace our entrepreneurial spirit.

We’re grateful for our good health, our jobs, warm clothing, protective shelter and nourishing food. We’re thankful that we’re fortunate enough to have these things, so we’re able to show compassion and care for those among us who don’t.

We thank God for helping us practice humility, patience, kindness and forgiveness.

Most importantly — especially in these troubling times — we’re thankful that God is always in control.

Let’s not get caught up in the material trappings of the holidays and forget to give thanks just because Thanksgiving Day is behind us. This Christmas season, I challenge you to greet every day with a thankful and giving heart.

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a columnist and impossible to kill.

http://townhall.com/columnists/chucknorris/2012/11/27/embrace_a_thankful_and_giving_heart/page/full/