Saturday, December 29, 2012

Q and A

Q and A
By Amy Gentry

Q: What is The Day of Epiphany?

A: Traditionally The Day of Epiphany is commemorated on January 6th;
it was a day of feasting that celebrated various aspect of Christ’s deity:

·         The reveal of the Son of God as a human being,

·         The visit from the Magi to a young Jesus marking His manifestation to the Gentiles,

·         The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.
Each one of these very different points have been at the root of the celebration of this day at some point in history, but they all have a common thread.  They are all a set event when Jesus was presented as more than just a man.  He was presented as God in the form of a man.  His Godhood established for all to see.  What looked ordinary was in fact extraordinary.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting father, The Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6 KJV

This year The Day of Epiphany is on a Sunday, maybe this would be a great day to celebrate Christ with other believing friends and family.  No Christmas presents, no tinsel, no holiday stress - just believers celebrating Christ - celebrating the ordinary being extraordinary. 



Friday, December 28, 2012

The Friday Focus

It’s Better to Build Boys than Repair Men
As parents, it’s our duty to train our children. If we fail, children may grow up damaged and may need some healing. Proper training is calmly teaching them why certain behavior is not acceptable. Children, particularly the smart and strong willed ones, want to know why. Please don’t ever spank, speak, or punish your child out of anger. Softly saying to them why that action was not good is an opportunity for training. Afterward, when their little heart is open, soft and repentant, lead them to the Lord to confess, to ask his forgiveness, and to be cleansed.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Fish Out of Water

A Fish Out of Water
Family Matters
By Amy Gentry
The only thing I love more than a day of shopping at the mall with my daughter is a ROOT CANAL without pain killers using slimy, rusty instruments!!!  So I jumped at the chance to give my 16 year old daughter the freedom to go to the mall with a friend and find a Disney character costume to wear to school for the following week for Disney Day.  My daughter is a beautiful red head so the logical Disney princess of choice for her was Ariel, but how to balance artistic interpretation, school dress code and moral dress code. 

The girls had been shopping for hours; I’m sure giggling and trying on things that never would cut the mustard around here.  My daughter flew in the front door with bags from multiple stores and ran to her room to put away the bags.  But when she emerged from the bedroom she was not outfitted in her newest wears.  Hmmm….  I asked her to model her costume for the family while I was prepping dinner.

My stunning red head confidently emerged from the bedroom in a teal tube dress that was a size too small, and a purple bustier.  She DID look like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. 

-The artistic interpretation was realized, she had successfully shopped the mall for pieces of regular clothing that could be put together to resemble Ariel.  Job well done!

-School dress code doesn’t allow for bare shoulders, but my daughter had a solution.  To wear a hoodie.

-Moral dress code….  Hmmm…..

We are different.  In 1 Peter 2:11, Christians are referred to as aliens and strangers in this world.   “So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is revealed.  [Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel].  But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.  For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:13-16 AMP

"When you did not know the requirements of the Gospel?”  Is dressing modestly a requirement of the Gospel?  No.  But God does ask for us to be holy because He is holy.  Holy means being set apart as consecrated.  There is something special about God, He is holy.  Likewise, there is something special about you, you are holy.   
                                                                               We are fish out of water.
                                                                    AND IT’S OKAY!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Real Santa

The Real Santa

“The real Santa lived a long time ago in a place called Asia Minor. It is now the country of Turkey. His name was Nicholas.

“Nicholas' parents died when he was just a teenager. His parents left him a lot of money which made him a rich young man. He went to live with his uncle who was a priest.

“Nicholas heard about a man who had lost all his money. He had three daughters who were old enough to get married. But in those days young women had to have money in order to get married. This money was a "dowry" and it was used to help the new family get started. If you didn't have dowry money, you didn't get married.

“This family was so poor they had nothing left to eat. The daughters were going to be sold as slaves because they couldn't live at home any longer. They were very sad. They wouldn't be able to have families of their own. And they would have to be slaves—no longer able to decide where they would live or what they would do.

“The night before the oldest daughter was to be sold, she washed her stockings and put them in front of the fire to dry. Then all of them went to sleep—the father and the three daughters.

“In the morning the daughter saw a lump in her stocking. Reaching in, she found a small, heavy bag. It had gold inside! Enough to provide food for the family and money for her dowry. Oh, how happy they were!

“The next morning, another bag with gold was found. Imagine! Two of the daughters would now be saved. Such joy!

“And the next night, the father planned to stay awake to find out who was helping his daughters. He dozed off, but heard a small "clink" as another bag landed in the room. Quickly he jumped up and ran out the door. Who did he catch ducking around the corner?

“Nicholas, the young man who lived with his uncle. "Nicholas, it is you! Thank you for helping us—I hardly know what to say!" Nicholas said, "Please, do not thank me—thank God that your prayers have been answered. Do not tell others about me."


“Nicholas continued helping people. He always tried to help secretly. He didn't want any attention or thanks. Years passed and he was chosen to be a bishop. Bishops look after their people as shepherds look after their sheep. And that is what Nicholas did. When there wasn't any food, he found wheat; so no one went hungry. He always helped people in trouble. All his life Nicholas showed people how to love God and care for each other.

“Everyone loved Nicholas. After he died, they told stories of the good and kind things Nicholas had done. Sailors took these stories about Nicholas everywhere they went. Some of the stories were about his special care for children—helping and protecting them when danger threatened. And so more and more people learned about good, kind Nicholas. They wanted to be like him. He is an example of how we should live. And that is why he became a saint.

“This is the story of the real Santa Claus, St. Nicholas. To this day people say that St. Nicholas, or Santa, is the special friend of children.”




Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence
By Sarah Young
Looking for a daily quiet time focus to add to your Bible reading?  Wondering if there are any good, new devotionals out there?  Here is a great one T2W has found that we have been using lately.  Missionary Sarah Young has a heart for Jesus and a heart for helping others spend time with Him!  Jesus is calling us every day to carve out time to meet and be intimate and transparent with Him.  Don’t miss out!  Start the New Year with these fresh motivating words from Sarah Young.
“Jesus Calling is a devotional filled with uniquely inspired treasures from heaven for every day of the year.  After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever she believed He was saying to her.  It was awkward at first, but gradually her journaling changed from monologue to dialogue.  She knew her writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but journaling helped her grow closer to God.  Others were blessed as she shared her writings, until people all over the world were using her messages.  They are written from Jesus' point of view, thus the title Jesus Calling.  It is Sarah's fervent prayer that our Savior may bless readers with His presence and His peace in ever deeper measure.”

Saturday, December 22, 2012

God Knows My Name

God Knows My Name
By Amy Gentry
“And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17) 

A couple of years ago, a friend and I were discussing this passage which had just appeared in our daily bible reading that day.  Revelations was hard for us to wade through, so we were taking the journey together.  A word phrase hit us both upside the head; we got all excited as we pondered, “a new name.”  What did God mean that He would one day give each of us a new name? One that no one else would understand except for Him?  What would it be?  A fruit of the Spirit?  Perhaps a character trait?  Maybe a Greek or Hebrew name or a name with Latin roots?  Will I even be able to pronounce it?
Even Isaiah 65:15 says the LORD, “…will call his true servants by another name.”

I believe His Word and know that one day He will give me another name that will only be known or understood by me just like He said in Revelations, but for today – for now- Lord- give me a new name.  I prayed and asked the Lord to tell me what my new name would be. 

Overtime God revealed to me my new name.  And just like the verse in Revelations, I wrote it on a white rock and that rock sits on the headboard of my bed.  Every night I go to sleep with that name over my head. 

This new name means so much to me, more than I ever thought possible.  I’ve heard the word in song lyrics, in sermons, in bible readings… and my ears always perk up.  But this name is special to me because it is a term of closeness, a name of intimacy.   The Lord knew that this name would be a comfort to me because He knew that I had a love tank that was depleting that only He could fill.  God is the source of my comfort and by just saying the new name to myself – He speaks to me.

                                    “Not Forgotten” Video by Israel and New Breed
             CHALLENGE:  Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you your new name.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Friday Focus

The Only Gift that Lasts

A gift cannot be yours until you receive that which is given.
The very best gift ever was born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling cloths.

Written 750 years before…
“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”    Isaiah 7:14

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How's Your Attitude

How’s Your Attitude?
By Sarah Onderdonk
I remember reading that most women regard mascara as a cannot-leave-the-house-without-it cosmetic. It’s lipstick for me. I will no doubt waft off to heaven one day with a nice shade of mocha frost or shimmering pink all over my lips (not my teeth, mind you... this is a paradise fantasy). So when we went to a friend’s Christmas party and I noticed one of the guests, a lovely middle-aged woman with olive-toned skin, wearing a stunning shade of red lipstick I had to comment.
“I just love that red lipstick you’re wearing!” I chirped.
“Revlon ‘Love that Red’!” she chirped back.
“Oh,” I lamented, “if only I could wear red… I think I’m stuck with pink.”
 “No,” she soothed, “you can wear red, too.”
“You think?” I said, contemplating my skin tone which is across between albino lab rat and cement dust.
“It’s an attitude,” she said.
I’ve been thinking about the “attitude” of red lipstick ever since. Really about attitudes in general.
When Christ became my Lord and Savior, I was given the gift of salvation and the promise of spending eternity in heaven with God. The Bible tells me I am a new creation in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”(2 Cor 5:17)

This verse, written by the Apostle Paul, speaks to a transformation that takes place when we put our trust in Christ. The believer becomes a participant in the new creation made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There’s a change of identity (cf. 1 Cor. 15: 45-49).
What this verse doesn’t say is that in an I-Dream-of-Jeannie “blink” we will be transformed from rusting-fender clunkers to big, stylish Hummers behaviorally.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
(2 Cor 3:18)
This verse talks about purification as believers become more and more like Christ. Notice the progressive form of the verb (“are being transformed”) and the compound adverb (“ever-increasing”) modifying the word “glory.” The tenses in this verse suggest to us that we are in the midst of a process of becoming more like Christ. While our salvation is secure the instant we put our trust in Jesus Christ, our sanctification—how we grow to resemble Jesus—is a life-long journey.
I love the Bible verses that encourage us to lean on Christ. There's no safer place to be. But leaning on Christ isn’t synonymous with giving up. Or becoming Passive Polly out there flapping in the wind like a slowly shredding flag. We still need to try! All of us have enduring work to do on our attitudes.
Do you carry a grudge? (I do.)
Are you ever prideful? (I am.)
Is your heart pure? (Not mine.)
Do your actions always match your words? (Always? Uh-uh.)
Do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?(All of it?)
Do you love your neighbor as yourself? (Depends who you’re talking about…)
These are in large part attitude issues. Matters that go beyond the surface of what we say and do to how we think and feel. I thought about making a New Year’s Resolution this year to work on purifying my heart. But those annual "commitments" are more of a wink and a laugh. So I think I will go to the Lord in prayer on this one… each and every morning as I start the day:
“Dear Lord, help me with my attitude today… so that I might better glorify you… authentically and honestly… from the inside out… in all that I do.”
Sarah occasionally speaks and writes, but mostly runs after kids. She’s pursuing a graduate certificate in Theology and Biblical Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gingerbread Nativity

Start a new, purposeful tradition...the gingerbread nativity is a great activity to do as a family and bring the focus back to the birth of Jesus.  He is the Reason for the Season!  You can make this as ornate or as simple as you wish.  Here are a few examples from pinterest.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Year's Eve and Bowl Party Recipes!


Click HERE for some family fun recipes!

Are you ready for some football?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God's Will for Christmas

God’s Will for Christmas
By Carri Pratt

 “For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” John 6:38 NIV

As Christmas approaches I am reminded of why I love this season.  There are Christmas trees, Christmas cookies, and fun times with my family.   Christians are also reminded of the most important thing about Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is our focal point. 

Jesus was born to do the will of the one who sent Him.  He was to live and die with no special privileges, even though He was the Son of God.  As the ‘One Heir to it all’ He could have had a first class royal life; however God had a different plan for Him. 

He was to be born in a stable, live in a small town and die on a cross.  I would say this would have been far from anyone’s idea of the perfect life.  But God saw it and planned it as the most perfect life.  He planned Jesus to be the Savior of humanity.

God has done the same for you, me and all of human kind.  He has designed a plan and has a specific will for each of our lives.  The only way we can truly know God’s will is to follow Him, spend time with Him and pray for His will to be revealed to us.

The Holy Spirit will prompt you and when you are living beyond your own abilities, you will know that God is living through you to help each step, and each day of your life.

Challenge:  This Christmas season, meditate on the fact that Jesus was born to carry out God’s will.  Pray that God will reveal His will for your life. 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sanctify your Home

Sanctify Your Home

Walk through your house in prayer. Enter each room praying for every family member. Ask the Lord to reveal anything that should be removed from the home. What are we bringing/letting in that hinders, makes us stumble, or worse, has us ensnared in continual sin?

  “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1