Are You Listening?

My one-year-old granddaughter sits in church with her parents until the children are dismissed for children’s church just before the sermon. My daughter-in-law then brings her to the nursery so she and my son can listen to the pastor’s sermon without interruption. My granddaughter loves the time of worship and seems to pay attention as well as any one-year-old is able to. Recently, as the pastor was integrating some spiritual thoughts in preparation for the sermon, he said, “And what does God say . . .” But before he could finish his sentence, my granddaughter said, “Woof woof!” She didn’t quite get it right—but she was listening!

Isaiah 28:23 says, Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.

Proverbs 2:6 says, For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 

We are blessed to live in a land of religious freedom where we can worship as we choose. We are blessed to live in an age when Christian books fill the book shelves and a Bible study can be downloaded with the click of a mouse. God’s Word, pastors’ sermons, Bible commentaries, and biblical studies are available to everyone.  But in order to benefit and grow spiritually, we need to use them and we need to listen.

Before you go to church, before you open the Bible, or before you dig into a Bible study, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to hear and understand God’s truth. The wisdom and understanding that come from God enable us to make better choices in our lives. And the more we grow in our spiritual journey, the more we will be able to live a life guided by the Holy Spirit.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:22

Crystal Bowman

 

Childish or Childlike?

I’ve always loved the Bible passage where Jesus speaks about the need for us to become like children:

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:1-3).

Problem is, too many of us confuse “childlike” with “childish” – and boy, is there a huge difference!

Remember The Toddler’s Creed by Elisa Morgan, president of MOPS International?

Toddler’s Creed

 If I want it, it’s mine.
If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.
If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
If it’s mine, it will never belong to anyone else,
no matter what.
If we are building something together,
all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

Unfortunately, many adults have never outgrown the “terrible twos.” If this behavior is bad in children, it’s horrific in adults. Yet, even a cursory glance at the news headlines proves that in business and in politics, in international relations and in local neighborhoods, the Toddler’s Creed is alive and well…in grownups!

Our relationship with the Lord will show in a variety of behaviors, but one way in particular is when we are willing to give up our rights…even if those rights are legitimately ours. This includes the right to keep what is ours, say what we think, or put ourselves first.

Let’s outgrow the “terrible twos” and relinquish the Toddler’s Creed!

Ava Pennington

Teaching Children to Trust God in the Small Things

As a parent and grandparent I think teaching children to trust God may be one of life’s most important lessons but also the most challenging. The lesson is challenging because as  the adult, I can slip into relying on myself rather than God especially in the small things in life. Is our Lord too busy for the small things in my life? Or can we talk to Him about every little thing in our hearts?

Proverbs 3:5 tells us the truth: ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”

It doesn’t say trust only in the big things. His word doesn’t say ” don’t bother me until it is important”. His word says” Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Period. Big things, small things, sad things, happy things, His word says trust Him.

I was reminded of this last weekend when my grandkids were visiting our new home in the hills of Brown County where the deer are abundant and all kinds of wild life can be seen on our 3 acres… or at least most of the time. The kids and I were out with flashlights and blankets waiting for the deer to come to the feeder but none were to be found. Not a life threatening incident but serious for a six and 9 year old longing to see a deer close up and personal at mamaw and papaw’s new house. It was also difficult for them to sit still for long so they were whispering, turing on the flashlights and all in all not creating a very inviting environment for the poor deer. I didn’t think we had a chance of seeing this beautiful creature yet I longed to see their excited faces if one would appear.

I whispered a quick prayer with the kids: ” Dear God, Kylie and Edwin are here Lord and we are waiting to see your creatures here in the wild. Would you send a deer our way before mommy and daddy make them come in to bed?” Amen.

We whispered about God’s creatures and maybe He would send one our way but we needed to be quiet and be patient to wait and see. Such good little children they were. Only once did they whisper and ask if they could sweep the area with their light one more time. As Kylie was asking to look again with the light, a deer who must have been watching as it eased closer to the feeder became startled and jumped directly in front of them. The looks on their faces was the most precious thing I have seen in a long time. They were so very excited that God had answered this little prayer. The memories we made that night were priceless and God taught me a lesson too.

No thing is too small for God. Trusting God for my needs, big or small is the only way. And my grandson was obviously impressed as he exclaimed” God was really listening mamaw, that was awesome.”

Teaching children to trust God is simple if we too learn to trust Him in all things, big and small. I am thankful for that small lesson that night and for an answer to a tiny prayer. It made for a wonderful life lesson the three of will not soon forget.

 

 

Enchanted Tree by Davy Liu

Enchanted Tree
■Author: Davy Liu
■Illustrator: Davy Liu
■Publisher: Kendu Films, LLC
■ISBN-10: 0982505086
■ISBN-13: 978-0982505083
■SRP: $19.95
■Reviewed By: Cheryl Malandrinos

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

Artist, illustrator, and former Disney feature animator Davy Liu, has released the next book in his Invisible Tails series. Founder of Kendu Films, Liu has once again brought to life a well-known Bible story that will captivate young readers with its stunning artwork and moving Bible-inspired plot.

Enchanted Tree takes place at the time of Creation, with the animals living together in harmony. The proud Phoenix boasts of a special fruit that gave her beauty and a special ability. The animals began to crave this fruit, but none more than Octavia who doesn’t feel quite as pretty as the others.

Once a two-footed stranger and his helpmate arrive, the Phoenix changes her plans. Soon the Paradise Garden is no longer a paradise and the animals and the two-footers must wait for everything to be new again.

This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. The animals display traits we all know as humans; traits youngsters will relate to: self-consciousness, jealousy, doubt. The reader sees the story of Creation and the fall of man through these animals’ eyes. He is witness to the immense beauty of the Garden of Eden and the deep tragedy that occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit–even though those names don’t appear in the story.

I’ve read every one of Liu’s Invisible Tails books to my girls, and though they are more involved storylines than typical picture books, the girls were still able to tell me without prompting which Bible story the book is based upon. The book’s unusal size (12 x 6.7 x 0.5 inches) allows it to stand out on the bookshelf, but it will never be there long.

Highly recommended!

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for my review.

Not so Patiently Waiting

I am a jump in with both feet kind of girl.  Act now, assess later!  This can be a great thing; like all the times it launches a spur-of-the- moment family adventure to someplace new.  It can also be a not so great thing; like the home improvement projects I just HAVE to start RIGHT NOW even if it might mean I end up in way over my head.  With the school year quickly approaching and my young family getting another year older, I am feeling the familiar niggle that I need to take on something new.  Write a new book, start a new job, take on more volunteer responsibilities – I’m not sure what direction I need to go in but I am pretty sure I need to start heading in one THIS INSTANT!!!

A small, very brief, barely noticeable moment of reflection however reminds me that indeed my husband’s work schedule, my oldest’s school schedule and two little ones at home does not leave me with much time to fit in a new challenge.  Yet I can’t help but feel like there is something else I should be doing.  So I pray.  And I pray.  And pray some more, waiting for some guidance and direction.  The response?  Patience.

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.       James 5:7

While I may be ready for change, to harvest my valuable crop so to speak, I must patiently wait for the rains.  Despite my perceived ticking clock, I realize it is not my schedule that matters but His.  So I wait patiently (some days more than others) for guidance in this next phase of my life.  All the while trying very hard to keep both feet on the ground!

www.hollyskeltonbooks.com

www.thelittleheartsproject.blogspot.com