Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Let's Be Thankful for Everything (and Teach our Children to be also)!

I was shocked recently at church. I had complimented a teenage girl on her mother's hard work for the church and she said, "Yes that's my mom, I'm so thankful for her" and then she began to list all the things she was thankful for in her mother, father and sister!

Our 17-year-old grandson is with us for a week (after working six weeks) before returning to his home and missionary parents and last year of high school in the Philippines. Even though our apartment is very small and he needs to sleep on the floor, he not only keeps things tidy and clean, clears the table after meals, runs errands for us, is polite and kind to all (actually talks as a teenager), but he says "thank you" for everything! Wow! Everything! Yes, wow!

If the Word of God says to be thankful in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”), then why, especially as Christians, are we not thankful in everything?

So many never say thanks, especially children and many adults! Even if you hint, they do not seem to know what being grateful is.

Parents, teach your little ones to look you in the eye and say, "Thank you!" Yes, teach them to say "thank you" for everything!

Why? Because the Bible says so, and as a result, they will grow into teenagers and adults who are kind, grateful, happy, and obedient!

If you do not teach thankfulness to your children, they will be considered by others as selfish, rude, discourteous and, therefore, a future embarrassment to you as parents, grandparents, their few friends, and in the end themselves.

Saying "thank you" for everything will help them, especially if they are extremely shy, not to have a privileged attitude (thinking themselves rich and well-to-do).

Teach your children to write thank you notes for gifts and things done for them by others such as teachers, relatives, church pastors/staff, and many others.

The Word of God says to train a child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22: 6). Let's have faith to practice this ourselves to be thankful. And if we are parents, to teach our children and young people to "be thankful!" to all including Sunday School teachers, pastors, youth leaders, etc.).

Friday, July 15, 2016

75 Astonishing Things that Happen at Conversion

by Paul Tautges

What words could we use to describe God’s grace toward sinners like us? Amazing? Yes. Extravagant? For sure. Astonishing? Absolutely!

The apostle Paul was a man who never got over the grace of God…and neither should we. As the Holy Spirit guided him along, he edified the believers at Ephesus by expounding on “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:7). I want to do the same in today’s post.

Recently, I spent some time thinking about all that God accomplishes in an instant, at the moment of conversion, and what He continues to work to its ultimate completion in the day we see Him in glory (Phil 1:6). The result was a list of 75 amazing works of God. With a list that long, and interconnected, categorizing them into smaller chunks was quite a challenge. But I finally had to decide on a manner of grouping, inadequate as it may be. 

Take time to meditate on these astonishing realities, personally, or in your small group. I hope this meditation on the riches of God’s grace and kindness in Christ will stir our hearts toward worship and will encourage our spiritual growth. Read more ...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sent ≠ Forgotten: A Practical Way to Care for Missionaries

by Zach Bradley

When I was six years old my parents accidentally forgot me at church. Both of them had driven that day, and they simply pulled away thinking I was in the other vehicle. Meanwhile, I sat happily on the front steps, waving goodbye to friends. At first the autonomy of it all was pretty cool. But when the last car left the parking lot, I began to feel six years old. We lived only two miles away, but less than five minutes alone was enough to convince me—it stinks to be forgotten.

Now multiply that by thousands of miles and several years. Perhaps you start to get a feel for what missionaries experience when their sending churches lose touch. Read more ...