Here are some great ideas from FamilyLife: 1. Start Thanksgiving Day by spending some time with God.
Read through Psalms that talk about giving thanks to God: Psalm 50:14;
69:30; 95:2; 100:4; 147:7. And then focus on Psalm 9:1, which tells us,
"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all
of your wonderful deeds." Write down some of the ways that God has
worked in your life and your family.
2. List God's blessings. As you approach
Thanksgiving, here's one way to cultivate a thankful heart: Spend time
listing God's blessings in your life. And don't stop until you've listed
at least 10-15. The exercise will force you to think creatively about
God's care and provision—even in small things.
Listing God's blessings in your life forces you to focus on Him, and
in the process you catch a glimpse of His love, care, and compassion.
God has given us the real responsibility of discipling our
children in prayer. Home is the perfect place for children to learn to
talk with and listen to God and to see such conversation modeled as a
natural, daily habit. - Cheri Fuller Praying families release the life and blessings of the Lord. I want my prayers to invite the presence of the Lord into the life of our family, influencing my children long after they mature and leave home. George
Barna said, "85 % of parents with children under thirteen believe they
have primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious
beliefs and spiritual matters. However, a majority of parents don't
spend any time during a typical week discussing religious matters or
studying religious materials with their children. Parents generally
rely upon their church to do all of the religious training their
children will receive." Dads and Moms, Grandpas and Grandmas, here are ten tips for praying as a family: Ten Tips for Praying as a Family 1. Make praying on the go natural. A great time to do this is when you drive your children to school or other events. 2. Pray over children as they sleep. Kneel by their beds. Lay your hand on their foreheads. Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit on your children. 3. Use table blessings to teach prayers. Take turns in the family praying. Sing songs or hymns as blessings. 4. Use meal times for discipleship times. Mealtimes may be the best time for engaging and teaching truth. 5. Pray briefly before going to bed. Keep it simple but consistent. 6. Make a family prayer plan. Monday
- pray for a missionary, Tuesday - two friends, Wednesday - a people
group, Thursday - thanksgiving, Friday - family members 7. Teach them to pray Scripture. Read a Bible verse and then pray it together. 8. Use Christmas cards as prayer reminders. Keep them in a basket and pick ones out during the year. 9. Use a Christmas prayer garland during December. Make
a 24-link garland out of red and green construction paper. Write on
each one a different family, person, or ministry. Tear off one a day
and pray! 10. Keep a prayer journal for your family. Keep
an ongoing, written record of God's activity in your life and family.
Write down specific things, character qualities, and Bible verses you
are praying for your children and family.
Just released: More Christmas Moments from Grace Publishers Want a good Christmas book for you or someone else for December? Includes 55 inspirational stories of
Christmas. I have one story in it called "Come Dance with Me."
I believe it will also be available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.
If your comprehension of the situation is causing
you to doubt the Lord, then your own understanding has become an idol.You are choosing your ability to understand
over the Father.So when everything
appears to contradict what the Father has promised you, remember that your
perspective is incomplete and that your trust in Him is more essential than
ever.Say, “I don’t understand this, but
God does.The Lord is working on my
behalf in the unseen.”Exhibit faith in
His unfailing character.– Charles
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias shares an excellent commentary on the recent Paris attacks and what it says about the state of our world. The layers that obscure the truth are burying humanity in large numbers.
Yes, Paris was burning again and those flames and the dead bodies may
well be a grim foreshadowing of what the future holds. I was in
neighboring England the night the massacre scattered across Paris took
place, as people going out to enjoy a dinner or concert or a football
game were the targets of hate-filled and ruthless killers. The
newspapers the next day had similar words: “Carnage”; “massacre”;
“assassination”; “murder”; “blood”; “death”; “screams”; “terror,” and so
on. Television programming was preempted and viewers were cautioned
that some of the scenes of the slaughter were graphic. It was real. A
few hours later, names and pictures of the dead were shown. It was like
we had heard this before. But it was new and real: the victims’ lives
cut short in the peak of their careers. Children who weren’t going to
come home. People looking for their loved ones. Marriages suddenly
broken by death. A young graduate with life ahead of her. And so on. One
doesn’t have to know the individuals to feel helplessness and pain.
This is twenty-first century murderous man. War in small increments can
be deadlier than large scale war because it doesn’t just desensitize the
killers; it desensitizes all of humanity.
I found this picture going through some old files last night. It is one of my favorites with my youngest son taken the day I baptized him at the lake. Today I am thankful for three children who profess to believe in Jesus Christ.
Candy Arrington shares some great ideas for how to remember the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of November . . .
between Halloween and Christmas is a Thursday holiday that is slowly
becoming more miniscule in the minds of millions of Americans –
Thanksgiving. If you search hard, you might find one small section of
Thanksgiving cards, autumn decorations, and a turkey platter amid the
aisles and miles of Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations, and toys.
For some, Thanksgiving
is a day to get a list together prior to a day of marathon Christmas
shopping. Somehow our perception of Thanksgiving Day has gone askew.
We've forgotten the reason for celebration that first Thanksgiving.
Gratitude for survival!"
Studies show that pastors greatly need encouragement. The word encourage literally means "to fill with courage." Here are five practical ways to do just that for the pastor who serves your church. Read the article by Gavin Ortlund here.
The following article appeared in the November 11th edition of The Clinton Chronicle in my column, Faith, Family, and Freedom:
I love the beauty of the leaves as October turns to
November, reminding us that autumn is passing and winter approaching.The attempt by stores to sell Christmas to us way-too-early aggravates me yearly.The pursuit of the dollar tempts us to
overlook one of the year’s most important observations: Thanksgiving.
Here is one holiday that avoids commercialism,
brings people together, offers fantastic food, and calls us to forsake our
selfishness and instead practice gratitude.Don’t lose the spirit of Thanksgiving.Claim it, prepare for it, and practice the art of that holiday.
As we plan for Thanksgiving this month, here are a
few ways to intentionally lead your family to be thankful.
Create a Thanksgiving tree.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, I tell my family,
“Get out the construction paper. It is time to make our Thanksgiving tree.”
Don’t worry. It is a simple project. We cut out a brown trunk, making several
tree limbs. Then each child cuts leaves out of various colors. The goal is for
every person present at our house on Thanksgiving to have five leaves.
Following the Thanksgiving meal, we pass out the
leaves and pens. Each person writes one thing for which they are thankful on
each leaf. After a few moments, we go around the table and read our leaves.
They don’t have to all be spiritual or serious things. A typical year includes
gratitude for health, salvation, and our church as well as action figures, the
treehouse, and tickets to Dollywood.
We tape the tree and leaves onto a prominent wall in
our house, leaving it up for several months.It serves as a regular reminder of God’s blessings.
2.Remember spiritual heroes.
Take time the month of November to teach your
children about some of the great spiritual heroes - and also to take time to
remember some of our own heroes in our lives. Don't just let these days float
by as missed opportunities while the culture is already trying to make money
off of Christmas.Redeem this time and
use it as a stepping stone into the holiday season. Spend the month of November
leading up to Thanksgiving learning some new spiritual heroes - and being
thankful for some familiar ones.
Talk around the supper table about a godly person from
history.Or, share some stories from
your own pilgrimage about heroes in your life.The website Christian History Institute is a great resource for learning
about people who have gone before us.For several years I have used Barbara Rainey’s book Thanksgiving: A Time to Rememberto teach our children about the
spiritual heritage we have as Americans from the Pilgrims and the First
3.Engage in meaningful conversation.
One educator said that we live in a day of hurried
loneliness. We have hundreds of facebook
friends but not two with whom we think and share deeply.Families rush from one activity to
another.To some people, the idea of a
family sitting down together and leisurely sharing a meal is an idea from a
Norman Rockwell painting.
Dads and Moms, we must plan to make meaningful
conversation happen.Dennis Rainey,
President of Family Life Today, says that once he asked his children to give
one word that summed up their dad.They
Without intentionality, family devotions, meaningful
conversation, and disciplines of thanksgiving won’t happen.We will just stay busy.
As Thanksgiving approaches, stop for a few moments
and make a plan.Ask, “How will I intentionally
help my family practice gratitude the next two weeks and have some meaningful
That will produce beauty greater than the autumn
Here's a good, practical article about dealing with discouragement. It's written to pastors but applicable to anyone!
"When you attempt anything significant, you will face times of
discouragement. It always comes with the territory. Since you’ll
probably have many periods of discouragement, if you’re observant, you
will probably notice patterns about how to best handle them. I’m still
learning, but here is what I’ve learned so far and the steps I now take
when I’m discouraged.
Go to sleep. Discouragement and sleep deprivation
seem to go hand in hand. When I’m discouraged, one of the first things I
do is commit to go to bed early. When you’re tired, problems seem to be
magnified. When you’re well-rested, you can see them in their proper
place. Like Elijah, if I can just get some sleep, I often wake up ready
to go, rather than being paralyzed by discouragement.
Remember God is in control. Scripture is full of
stories of people who faced dire circumstances during the journey and
later found out that God was in control the entire time. When I’m
discouraged, I remember people like Joseph who faced some discouraging
circumstances but later found out that God was ordaining his steps and
had been in control the whole time. I’ve found that when I repeatedly
affirm God’s sovereignty, my circumstances don’t always change, but my
ability to continue on through them does. Pick your favorite leader in
Scripture and remember that just as God was with them and in control of
their circumstances, He is with you."