December 6, 2013
The only problem with this great quote is that it doesn’t tell you how (although I’m sure Mr. Covey expands on the quote in one of his books!).
Keeping the main thing the main thing is especially hard during the holiday season.
If we’re not careful, we’ll fill our time with events and forget about the relationships that make these events special.
Last year, after running my family ragged trying to do and see everything our community had to offer, I realized something…I was so busy trying to create special moments that I failed to enjoy the ones right in front of me.
So this year, I’m going about my holiday season differently.
I’m sure we’ll still visit some of the events our community has to offer, but we’ll also stay home more.
More hot chocolate…less running around.
More sitting in front of the fireplace…less sitting in the car.
More laughter…less rushing.
More cuddling…less stuff.
Several months ago, I read a book called Lead Your Family Like Jesus. There was a quote in the book from Tricia Goyer that has stuck with me all year long: “If your child’s most vivid childhood memory was of today, what would he or she remember?”
I don’t want my children to remember a stressed out, anxious mother. I don’t want them to remember me as someone who never had time to just sit with them and read a Christmas book or watch a Christmas movie.
There’s nothing wrong with doing fun things this holiday season…as long as those fun things don’t suck the joy out of your life.
So here’s the key to keeping the main thing the main thing: slow down.
The holidays are great opportunities for us to build memories with our children…as long as we remember to stop rushing and start building.
Let’s talk: How do you keep the main thing the main thing during the holidays?
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity, a parenting devotional that will be released in January 2014. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:
Her blog: www.lindsey-bell.com
Her website: www.lindseymbell.com
December 5, 2013
Unfolding a piece of paper, Grace began reading off a list of names. “Jaden, Michael, Jake, Brittany, and Jessie…”
“What are you doing honey?” I asked.
“Our school is selling candygrams. For $1.00 I can send a message and have a candy cane delivered to someone’s home room.” She smiled.
I know all of Grace’s closest friends and had never heard these names before. At eleven-years-old, her only income came from occasional babysitting jobs. Five dollars might very well clean out her piggy bank.
“Sweetheart, who are these children? Aren’t you getting one for Mackenzie?”
“I decided to do something different. Mackenzie is still one of my best friends, but she will get lots of candy grams. I decided to send them to kids in my school who might not get one.”
A lump began to form in my throat.
“Jaden is autistic. He sits by himself at lunch. Michael is really, really smart and gets made fun of by the popular kids. Jake is the boy I told you about at the library, the one who walks kind of funny, remember? He offered to give me his seat and girls walked by him and whispered, Jake-alert. Jake-alert. I could tell he felt bad. Kids encouraged Brittany to dance at lunch last week. She thought they were being nice, but they were really being mean. And, Jessie, well she is kind of chubby and sits by herself in class and doesn’t talk much.”
My child went on and on with her reasons for giving—I couldn’t help but whisper a prayer of thanks for my daughters’ heart. “What are you going to write in their message?” I asked.
“I’m not sure. I think I’m just going to write, Merry Christmas – God Loves You.”
“I’m sure they will love it.” I reached out and pulled her in for a hug.
God so loved the world that He gave. This Christmas season encourage your children to give anonymously. Lead by example and show them how it’s done.
- Drop off a plate of cookies on your neighbor’s front porch, ring their doorbell and run!
- Write out a Christmas card for someone and fill it with reasons why this person is loved by you. Don’t sign your name. Have your child address it and drop it in the mail.
- Take your child with you to the grocery store. Have them help you pick out food for someone in you know is hurting financially. Let your child drop the bag off at the house.
Remember, we are loved by a God who gives lavishly. Let’s remember to touch the lives of someone in His name by giving.
Who can you give to this holiday season?
December 4, 2013
December 3, 2013
Silent Night. It’s been one of those for me. I tried to fill it with a few phone calls and text messages to friends while waiting in my car for my kids to emerge from their youth group meeting. No one answered. All was silent, and the hush filled my heart until I could no longer suppress my reality. The pain inside of me was going to find its voice, and the silence offered it a stage for release.
Rather than trying to hold the silence at bay, I gave in to it and allowed it to hold me. Cradle me. Collect all the tears that had been welling up within me. In those moments of surrender, the Father allowed me to move out of my silent night so that I might enter into another one—the holy quiet belonging to Bethlehem some 2000 years ago.
Mary’s labored breathing followed by the push and pressure of Emmanuel’s eagerness to make his entrance. Joseph’s soft responses to his beloved. Stabled animals shuffling in the hay. Neighs and brays; snorts and sneezes. Whispers of the wind stirring as symphony. A baby crying. The boisterous interruption of a heavenly choir.
And therein, my momentary pain was overshadowed by lasting remembrance.
Perhaps this is the beauty of a silent night … when sorrow bumps up next to Salvation. When pain nestles closely to Promise. (more…)
December 2, 2013
While flipping through the TV channels before leaving for church. I was sad to hear a pastor of a very large church begin his teaching about the gospel of Matthew, the very beginning of the New Testament.
He told his congregation, “The first chapter of Matthew is pretty boring, all of those begots and all…Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers, And Judah begot Pharez and Zarah of Tamar, and Pharez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Aram…” He went on to say, “If you can hang in there long enough you will get to the good stuff.”
It grieved me to hear that.
This pastor had missed such a great opportunity to share with his church. When I was a new Christian I had no idea what this list of names in the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament was all about. Now I know differently. This list of names is the genealogy of Jesus.
Just as God began the book of Genesis with the words, “In the beginning…” so he does the same thing here in the New Testament. He starts in the beginning by fulfilling the prophecy of the coming Messiah being from the line of David (Heir to the throne of David. Isaiah 9:6-7). He gives every single name of every relative of Jesus. He not only proves for us that Mary was from the line of David, but that Joseph, Jesus’ father here on earth was also from the line of David. What an AWESOME way to begin the New Testament!
My daughter Meghan is taking a math class this year called, ‘Probability and Statistics’. In this class she takes statistics and then with this information, she comes to a probable solution to the question given. I looked up the word probable and LOVED the definition…”Having more evidence for than against, evidence that inclines the mind to belief but leaves some room for doubt.” God has given us so much evidence of His existence. We will always have those moments where we may doubt. Praise God, through His Word and prophecies fulfilled, He has given us very little room for that. Our faith does not have to take a very big leap at all. This morning I have included a list of just a few of the prophecies of Jesus.
There are over 300 prophecies of our Saviour in the Bible. Again I must repeat that I have included just a few below. I have also included below, an excerpt from an interview with Josh Mcdowell on the internet called ‘What are the Odds’.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
“What is the probability that just eight of these prophecies could be fulfilled in one individual? Dr. Peter Stoner, in an analysis that was carefully reviewed and pronounced to be sound by the American Scientific Affiliation, states that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled in just one person is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.
That’s 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!
Now maybe your minds go that high, but mine doesn’t. So let me give you a visual picture of what it is. Take the state of Texas and fill the entire state two feet deep with silver dollars. Then take one silver dollar, mark it with a big red X, toss it back into the pile, and use bulldozers to mix up the entire state of dollars.
Then, blindfold a person, and starting at El Paso on the western border, let him walk the entire length and breadth of the state, from Amarillo to Laredo, all the way to Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico, stopping just once on the way to pick up a single silver dollar out of that two-foot-deep pile, blindfolded. The probability that on his first attempt he would pick up the silver dollar marked with the red X is the same probability that just eight of these prophecies could be fulfilled in any one individual!
In other words, it is nearly unthinkable to imagine that eight Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah could have come true in one man-let alone the sixty major prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth-unless, of course, he is “the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God,” the One who was and is and is to come (Mark 14:61; Revelation 4:8).”
JUST A FEW PROPHECIES FULFILLED…
- Tenakh/Hebrew Scripture New Testament
- His pre-existence Micah 5:2 John 1:1, 14
- Born of the seed of a woman Genesis 3:15 Matthew 1:18
- Of the seed of Abraham Genesis 12:3 Matthew 1:1-16
- All nations blessed by Abraham’s seed Genesis 12:3 Matthew 8:5, 10
- God would provide Himself a Lamb as an offering Genesis 22:8 John 1:29
- From the tribe of Judah Genesis 49:10 Matthew 1:1-3
- Heir to the throne of David Isaiah 9:6-7 Matthew 1:1
- Called “The mighty God, The everlasting Father” Isaiah 9:6 Matthew 1:23
- Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1
- Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:18
- His name called Immanuel, “God with us” Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23
- Declared to be the Son of God Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:17
- His messenger before Him in spirit of Elijah Malachi 4:5-6 Luke 1:17
- Preceded by a messenger to prepare His way Malachi 3:1 Matthew 11:7-11
- Messenger crying “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” Isaiah 40:3 Matthew 3:3
- Would be a Prophet of the children of Israel Deuteronomy 18:15 Matthew 2:15
- Called out of Egypt Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:15
- Slaughter of the children Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew2:18
- Would be a Nazarene Judges 13:5; Amos 2:11;
- Lam. 4:7 Matthew 2:23
- Brought light to Zabulon & Nephthalm, Galilee of the Gentiles Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 4:15
- Presented with gifts Psalm 72:10 Matthew 2:1, 11