Sunday, January 16, 2022

Wonderfully Made

 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. ~Psalms 139:14 KJV

My niece, out playing in the snow with her sons, took close-up pictures of the snow on their hats. She obviously has a great camera to take such detailed pictures. Amazing that man can make a camera like that. Oh, I just said, “Man made a camera.” But what about snowflakes? Are they complicated? Simply put, they are snow crystals that enlarge and change shape as water vapor changes into ice without going through the liquid state. I wonder if the frozen fog would be snow formed on the trees.


It's amazing that God can make a person who is so much more detailed in every respect. The explanation of the making of a person is so much more complicated than that of a snow crystal. Scientists still aren’t sure why snow crystals grow with six sides and form symmetrically.  Explaining exactly how a person is formed is still a mystery too that scientists can only observe. That’s why this month is Sanctity of Life month. A time to stop and reflect on how precious each life is whether young, old, middle-aged or at the moment of conception. All life is precious and purposeful. Whether a person is a great statesman, a mom, or a mechanic, they each serve a great purpose. Using the talents God has given us to serve Him is an even greater purpose. God has given each of us something precious and holy, life itself. May we use our lives for His glory this year and always.

Heavenly Father, help us see the wonders of your creation with new eyes. Help us see ourselves and others as wonderfully made. May we cherish each life from the moment of conception to the last heartbeat of old age, realizing each person has a purpose that you have planned. In Jesus's name. Amen.

Hey Kids:
Would you like to learn more about snowflakes? Maybe even make a snowflake? Here's a great site.
Please let us know what you've learned about snowflakes. 
Maybe you'd like to share something wonderful you've learned about yourself as God's marvelous creation. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Ten Ways to Hear God




Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! ~Psalms 46:10

The winter snows are beginning to fall. I love snow. I recently finished reading Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper, a children's book about a child visiting with her Grandmother who cannot see well.  Mrs. Camper describes the things Lina hears because of snow as she walks to her Grandmother's. Lina hears shovels scraping, the crunch of her boots, the ploompf of snow falling from a limb. On and on she notices all the things she usually ignores or can't hear without snow. Finally at Grandma's, when she has only heard eight things, she hears the drip, drip of snow melting from her mittens. Lina's Grandmother has difficulty seeing. When she asked Grandma if she knows there has been a blizzard last night, Grandma said she could hear the snow when she raised her window this morning. Grandma says, "Today everything sounded hushed and soft. No noise is the sound that means it's snowing." That was the tenth way Lina heard snow. 

I could easily relate to this story because I have experienced the hush and the softness, the peace of snow. Ten Ways to Hear Snow also made me think about the ways I hear God. I wondered if I could think of ten ways that I hear our Lord. 
  1. In the rustle of leaves in the breeze. —Jesus tells us in John 3 that the wind blows where it wishes and no one knows where it comes from or where it goes like the Holy Spirit as it convicts and guides us. 
  2. In the laughter of children. —Jesus said to let the little children come unto him. 
  3. In the reading of God's word. —The Ethiopian eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah about how the Messiah would be led like a sheep to the slaughter when Phillip encountered him on the road. Acts 8.
  4. In the preaching of God's word. —Paul asks in Romans how will people hear about Jesus without a preacher
  5. In the kindness and love others demonstrate. —Paul writes in ICorinthians 13 about demonstrating our faith with faith, hope, and love; love being the greatest. 
  6. In the sharing of a testimony. — In Acts, Paul testifies of his conversion on the road to Damascus. 
  7. In the singing of birds in the early morning. —Song of Solomon chapter two speaks of the singing of birds as a time to come away with my love, my fair one. 
  8. In the chirping of crickets at night. —Jacob, running from his brother, took stones and made himself a pillow to sleep. God appeared to him in a dream that night. It was the place of Jacob's decision to follow the Lord. 
  9. In the flow of still waters as I sit beside a stream. —Psalms 23 tells us God leads us beside the still waters. 
  10. In the voice of God when I am still, in prayer. —In I Kings 19 God speaks to Elijah in a still small voice to get his attention and give him direction. 
The voice of God when I am still. To know the presence of God I need to be still. I need to listen to his voice, blocking out the clamor of life around me. What will he say? He will tell me truth. When all the world tries to tell me their truth, the only voice that matters is God's truth. 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~John 14:6

Heavenly Father, help us to be still so we can hear your truth and know that you are God and you are the one and only in control. In Jesus's name. Amen. 

Hey Kids:

Have you noticed God speaking in your life? Has he spoken to your heart while you were still? Maybe you were listening to Christian music, or your Sunday School teacher. Maybe you were listening to your parents as they led family devotions. 

This week, listen for the ways you hear God speaking. You might like to draw a picture or write a sentence in your journal. You will probably think of other ways than the ten I listed that you can feel and hear the presence of God. As you listen to God, He will also listen to you. Is there something you would like to tell Him? 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Dear Parents

 

Dear Parents,

Have you read your children's literature lately? I recently had a conversation with a lady who is helping raise her seven-year-old niece. She was horrified with the language in children's books promoted in public schools. Many parents and caretakers are upset with the values children's books are often promoting. So what's up?

Children enjoy books that use less than polite words for the bottom and bodily functions, words many Christians don't allow their children to use. Publishers and authors want to sell books so they use language that will get a giggle and values that are heavily promoted by society. Children will read a whole series if they get that giggle factor. Teachers just want children to read. 

But is it all the teachers' fault? 

Most children are not homeschooled nor do they attend Christian schools. Is it not our job as parents to monitor the literature our children are subject to and promote literature that has positive examples and Christian values? 

Where do we start? 
We can take our children to the library and read to them and with them. Start early, really early, like at birth. We can evaluate what we read. We can let our children know how we feel about a book and how it does or doesn't match our values. I love Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. I don't know her faith but her book promotes positive family relationships and a dad who is worthy of imitation. I'd put her picture book at the top of a list of best books for young children.

Books about God and Jesus are great but they're not likely to find their way into your child's public classroom. We need to be more like Paul on Mars Hill. 

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. ~Acts17:23. 

We can help our children find a way to use the secular world to show Jesus to their classmates. Isn't it all about demonstrating Jesus, not just telling about Jesus that will make a difference?

Here's a partial list of the books I enjoy reading to children.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle -a salvation story - the caterpillar eats the wrong thing and though he tries to turn over a new leaf, he still must die to his old way of life to gain a new life with a new body.
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle - be aware of who you hang out with - every animal invited the spider to come and play, then left except a fly who kept hanging around. He was eventually eaten by the company he kept.
Beauty and the Beast - a servant's heart story - our kindness can make a difference in so many lives
Little Red Riding Hood - listen to your parents - a story of Satan who walks about seeking whom he may devour
Elephant and Piggy by Mo Willems - a variety of stories about two friends who face common or funny situations but manage to do the right thing to resolve the issue
The Grinch by Dr. Seuss - Christmas is not about gifts but about the Gift
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss - a sanctity of life story, A person's a person no matter how small.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - stories of family life centered around family values
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - a fantasy genre that depicts the war between good and evil
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - Historical fiction about a ten-year-old girl whose family hides a Jewish friend to protect her from the Nazis. A story about doing the right thing even in the face of grave danger.

What books would you add?

Hey Kids:

What do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

Why? Now that is the question. 
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is one of my favorite books. Why? Because it's about snow and hunting and being with Dad. The child loves and respects his dad. They have a great relationship. I think this book shows me without telling me to honor my parents and appreciate God's creation. 

Do you have a favorite book that shows Christian values? Be sure to let your parents know so they can add your book to a list of favorites.