God can be real to your child.

30 10 2014
Clinging to God as a Toddler

Clinging to God as a Toddler

Reaching out to Him as an Adult

Reaching out to Him as an Adult

“What’s wrong, Al?” I asked. The fellow teacher always seemed joyful. Normally, his love for the Lord splashed across his face. God’s peace glistened in his eyes. But not that day.

He checked his mailbox with his shoulders slumped and his head down. As if to hide pain or frustration. Something happened to smother his joy.

Every teacher has one of those days from time to time. A day full of problems. When they’re barraged with a multitude of incomplete assignments, relentless unruly behavior, and unending interruptions.

“I’ll be okay once I get my eyes back on the Lord,” was all Al replied. And he went on his way.

That single sentence was the sermon I needed. His godly advice came in handy when I experienced those kinds of days. Those words helped me adjust my focus when difficult days knocked the joy right out of me.

I’ll be okay once I get my eyes back on the Lord.

Don’t we all experience those days? Days when life gets the better of us. When we can no longer cope. When it becomes impossible to hide the hurt under a painted-on smile.

God, are You there? I need You. I need Your help. Where are You?

No answer. That silent treatment form God is unbearable. What can we do when God seems to be elusive?

We desperately need to know how to find Him. Not just for us. But so we can offer wise advice when our children go through trials.

What’s the secret? It’s no secret, really. Al’s stated it in a way even a young child could understand it. Focus on God instead of the problem. Then the challenges will shrink in light of His greatness and power.

How can we teach children to maintain an eternal focus? There are subtle ways which would instill godly thinking.

When our boys were toddlers, adults would often ask the typical question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I taught them to reply, “More like Jesus.” They learned that God had a purpose for their lives. One they’d discover. No matter what occupation God prepared for them, the goal would always be to become more like Jesus.

Many people ask students in high school and college a similar question. “What’s your major?” A different question could help young adults shift their focus heavenward. “How and where are you going to live out your faith?”

I’m blessed to still have the opportunity to teach education majors at a Christian university (Cairn University). We discuss many scenarios they might encounter out in the field. The students offer solutions to each problem.  Their responses reveal insight into each situation.

Rarely, however, do their answers include God. Seldom do they add, “I’d pray for wisdom to handle the situation,” or, “I’d trust God to provide the resources and guidance.” It’s not that they don’t know the Lord. They’re simply responding the way many of us react to challenges. By handling things first and turning to God as a last resort.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for not seeking You when I need You most. Thank You for being so patient with me. And for being so accessible. Help me turn to You when I’m FIRST confronted with a trial. Teach me to rely on You before going in my own strength. Help me to lean not on my own understanding, but to acknowledge You in all things. How I want to see Your hand in every area of my life. Give me lessons I can pass on to my children. For Your glory and for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Here’s a challenge:

Does a drama queen live in your house? It could be a toddler who throws temper tantrums. Or a teenager with raging hormones. What could you say or do (during calm times) to help her focus more on the Lord?

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Creation reminds children of God’s love.

28 10 2014

IMG_5054 adj

Go on a love hunt with your young child. What’s a love hunt? It’s kinda like the games I Spy and Hide and Seek. Only you’re searching for God’s love.

Invite your youngster to join you by saying, “Let’s go outside for a love hunt. We’ll search for messages from God.”

Use the script below as you stroll outside hand-in-hand. On a rainy day, watch the video I created for an indoor adventure.

http://youtu.be/WS2hoyCxX7A

Note: All Bible verses are from the Easy-to-Read Version.


 

See that sky?

God created that sky. His power is amazing! You draw pretty pictures for people you love. God paints the sky for you! Each day He gives you a new beautiful picture.

“Long ago, you made the world. You made the sky with your own hands!” Psalm 102:25

You can’t see an end of the sky. That’s just like God’s love. His love to you will never end.

“Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds.” Psalm 36:5

“Your faithful love is higher than the highest clouds in the sky!” Psalm 108:4

See that cloud?

God made the clouds. Every day we see clouds in different shapes and colors. That’s another amazing thing about God.

“Do you know how the clouds hang in the sky? This is just one of the amazing works of the one who knows everything.”  Job 37:16

That cloud reminds us of His love.

“Your faithful love is higher than the highest clouds in the sky!” Psalm 57:10

It reminds us that God provides what we need to eat and drink.

God sent food to drop from the clouds when His people were wandering around the desert and hungry.

“But then God opened the clouds above, and manna rained down on them for food.” Psalm 78:23

He sends rain so we can drink water and so plants will grow.

“He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains.” Psalm 147:8

Christ went up into heaven on a cloud and will come again on a cloud. When that happens, it will be the end of all hurts and problems.

“After Jesus said this, he was lifted up into the sky. While they were watching, he went into a cloud, and they could not see him. They were staring into the sky where he had gone. Suddenly two men wearing white clothes were standing beside them. They said, “‘Men from Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? You saw Jesus carried away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same way you saw him go.’” Acts 1:9-11

See that bird?

God loves you more than any bird in the sky.

“So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than a whole flock of birds.”  Matthew 10:31

Birds don’t worry. God takes care of them. So don’t worry about what you will eat. You’re even more important to God than the birds. He will take care of you and make sure you have food.

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Don’t you know you are worth much more than they are?”  Matthew 6:26

See this tree?

God made it to give us shade. He made other trees to give us fruit. We can hang swings on trees or climb small ones. Adults use trees to make things like furniture and paper.

A tree reminds us not to worry. The tree doesn’t worry. Its roots always find water. When we trust in the Lord, we’ll find blessings. God will always do what He says.

“But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what he says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8

See those flowers?

Don’t worry about what you will wear. God made the flowers look even more beautiful that the richest king. He can surely make sure you have clothes to wear.

“But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers.”  Matthew 6:29

See the water?

God has power to open the sea. He has power to help you with any problem.

“Moses raised his hand over the Red Sea, and the Lord caused a strong wind to blow from the east. The wind blew all night long. The sea split, and the wind made the ground dry.”  Exodus 14:21

Christ walked on TOP of the water. He will do amazing things in your life.

“Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus’ followers were still in the boat. Jesus came to them. He was walking on the water.”  Matthew 14:25

Christ’s followers were afraid of the storm. Jesus used His power to stop the waves. He can keep you from being afraid, just like He calmed the waves.

“The followers went to Jesus and woke him. They said, ‘Master! Master! We will drown!’ Jesus got up. He gave a command to the wind and the waves. The wind stopped, and the lake became calm.”  Luke 8:24

See that rock?

God is like that. He’s my sturdy Protector.

The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my place of safety. He is my God, the Rock I run to for protection.”  Psalm 18:2

See the lamb?

A tiny lamb needs a shepherd to take care of it. Just like we all need Someone to take care of us. The Lord is our good Shepherd. He has power to take good care of us.

“Like a good shepherd, he takes care of his people. He gathers them like lambs in his arms. He holds them close, while their mothers walk beside him.”  Isaiah 40:11

“The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good. Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave, I will not be afraid of any danger, because you are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. You prepared a meal for me in front of my enemies. You welcomed me as an honored guest. My cup is full and spilling over. Your goodness and mercy will be with me all my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house a long, long time.”  Psalm 23

See the path?

God wants you to follow Him and do what He has planned for you. Find His path and stay on it.

“I have followed your way. My feet never left your path.”  Psalm 17:5

“God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take.”  Psalm 18:32

“He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good.”  Psalm 23:3

“Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right.”  Psalm 139:24

Reading the Bible will help you follow His path.

“Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take.”  Psalm 119:105

See that sand?

It reminds you that God is always thinking about you. It would be too hard to count each grain of sand. There are so many! That’s how many thoughts God has for you. He’s ALWAYS thinking about you. He knows all about you. It’s wonderful to think that the Creator of the whole world thinks about you all the time.

“Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun.”  Psalm 139:17-18

See that shade?

God protects you all day and all night.

“The Lord is your Protector. The Lord stands by your side, shading and protecting you. The sun cannot harm you during the day, and the moon cannot harm you at night.”  Psalm 121:5-6

See that moon?

God made them.

“Look up to the skies. Who created all those stars? Who created all those ‘armies’ in the sky? Who knows every star by name? He is very strong and powerful, so not one of these stars is lost.” Isaiah 40:26

Even the moon praises God. The sun, moon, and stars praise God. Let’s join them.

“Sun and moon, praise him! Stars and lights in the sky, praise him!” Psalm 148:3

See the sunset?

God never sleeps. He watches over you when you’re sleeping.

“He will not let you fall. Your Protector will not fall asleep. Israel’s Protector does not get tired. He never sleeps.”  Psalm 121:3-4