Spring is Here – Time to Praise the Lord

Spring-Tulips-yellow-and-red

The flowers are springing up,
and the time of singing birds has come,
even the cooing of turtledoves.
Song 2:12 

 In Matthew 6:25-34 , Jesus must have been enjoying spring time as He taught His friends about how much God loves them.  He noticed the birds flying around and said,  “Look at the birds! They aren’t worried about having enough to eat because God feeds them.  In the same way, you shouldn’t worry about what you will eat.  God will feed you too!”  Then Jesus picked up some flowers that were blooming and said, “These flowers don’t have to worry about what they will wear because God has beautifully clothed them.  You don’t need to worry about clothes either for God will make sure you have something to wear.”

I hope your main activity with your children during this season can be outside enjoying nature together. Share with them that the Bible says in Psalm 145:10 that all God’s works shall praise Him.

As yall observe the beauty of God’s creation, join with the flowers, trees, and birds in praising God.  Here’s some songs to sing as you do.

This one is an old recording, but you can get the idea, or better yet, you can make up your own:

 Now the Flowers Are Growing

And another about God’s Beautiful World:

http://youtu.be/AbWgeJOMQ4U

Isaiah 55:12 says the mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! So even if we don’t praise the Lord, creation still will.  Here’s a song about this that was recorded for me and my children by a friend, Patti Bennett:

 The Rocks and Hills Will Cry Out

These next two are from children’s musicals when my children were small.  Yeah, I know they are dated, but give them a listen:

http://youtu.be/W8wFjhWztcw

http://youtu.be/HLsh3lwKv5c

Happy Spring!!!

It’s time to get outside in God’s beautiful world!

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
Nehemiah 9:6

I love all the seasons, but especially the warmer ones.  I am looking forward to spending lots of time outside.  As you experience the beauty of God’s creation during this season, please remember to share with your children that it IS God’s creation.  Lead them to praise Him. Make up songs about it.  Here’s one suggestion:

https://youtu.be/AbWgeJOMQ4U

Hopefully you will get to take a family trip this summer, maybe to the beach to get sand between your toes. To The Sea by Callie Grant is a book about a day at the beach that young children will enjoy.  The pictures by Jeremy Tugeau make you almost able to smell the sea air. (The author’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to effectively teach their kids about God and His creation, even at a very young age.) (Check out some of her other books on this site here.) In the book the sand castle is washed away by the sea, but the boy builds one on a rock and it stands safe. Play in the sand and tell this parable from Matthew 7:24-29.

Even if you can’t get away this summer, take advantage of every opportunity around you to enjoy God’s beautiful world with your children.  Jesus used visuals from nature as he taught.
Read Matthew 6:25-33 and be ready to share His teachings the next time you are outside observing birds or looking at flowers.

Hike, explore, play in the sand. Start collecting things from nature – moss, feathers, shells, rocks, leaves, seeds, an abandoned bird’s nest or wasp nest.  Make a nature box full of items you can enjoy all year.  And don’t forget to point out that all God’s creation praise Him!

All your works praise you, LORD; your faithful people extol you.
Psalm 145:10

Nature Box
Nature Box

Side Note: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says to speak of God and His word as we go.  Everything doesn’t have to be related to a Bible verse, but as you discover things on your nature walk you could say, “Think of the wonders of God” (Job 37:14) or “all God’s works praise Him” (Psalm 145:10)

Give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

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I believe that parents can begin even in the womb to establish God’s Word in their children (From the Womb to the Tomb).  We all hope to have a preventative role with our children rather than a recovery role. But there are no guarantees that they will make all the right choices even when we have laid a firm foundation in the Lord.  We just have to be there to pick them up when they fall (no matter what age they are) and continue to love, pray for, and encourage them in the Way they should go.

Parenting is difficult, demanding, and at times discouraging when all our hard work seems less than enough to guard our children from making detrimental choices. We get tired, disheartened, and disgruntled with the Lord at times.  But God continues to love us and to teach us through it all.

A few weeks ago my friend Lisa shared with me briefly how God is leading her in this journey.  I asked her  to share some of her story in hopes that other moms will be encouraged.

Recently I’ve read the book Power in Praise and it has really changed the way I view my circumstances.  You see, I have two children who have been caught up in addiction for many years, and I have begged and begged my Lord to remove this from their lives.  I’ve also spent a lot of time grumbling and murmuring and feeling sorry for myself.  But never once have I thanked Him for it. 

One afternoon reading and having my quiet time, it hit me like a bolt of lightening –  what if we’ve been stuck in this valley not because of the addiction, but because of me!!  That’s why the Israelites wondered for 40 years.

Today I choose to thank God for the addiction and for the wonderful men my boys will become because of it.  I also thank Him for the growth my husband and I have already experienced.  

1Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

On a side note, one son has three months clean and the other son continues to keep getting back up! YAY GOD!”

Lisa would be glad to talk with anyone going through similar problems with their children.  You can contact her at: lisa.giddens@yahoo.com  We must encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

If you want to read more words of encouragement, check out the other blog posts on this site for hurting parents:  http://www.trainupthechild.org/?s=help+for+Hurting+Parents

There was a time when Billy and Ruth Graham were hurting parents because of their son Franklin.  God brought them and Franklin through the trying years and we have seen Franklin become such a man of God, just like his dad. Check out his autobiography Rebel With A Cause.

Parents, be encouraged, thank the Lord for the struggles, and don’t grow weary in well doing. 

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.
At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9

A Visit With Jo

I recently had the opportunity to visit with my mentor, Dr. Jo Bevington.  Three years ago I first wrote about her on my blog;  click here to read that post.

When Jo was 58 she earned her Doctorate in Preschool Education.  Her dissertation was  ‘Faith Development in Children Birth through Three’!!  She has taught at Biola University and New Orleans Seminary, served as Minister to Preschoolers in several large churches; and has been my friend and mentor for 30 years now. It is her profound and lasting impact on my life that has instilled in me the strong desire I have for establishing God’s Word in children.

Jo contacted me about a year ago when she was about to move into a nursing home; she wanted to give me all her files from a lifetime of working with children!!!!!  She is 88, is almost blind, walks with a walker, and only quit teaching preschoolers about two years ago!!!

Billy and I took a quick trip to Texas last week to pick up the files and spend time with Jo. It was a privilege to sit at her feet again. She has always inspired me with her intimate relationship with the Lord. Her spirit shines forth so strongly that I hardly noticed her physical limitations. (2 Cor. 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.)

Here are some videos of our time with Jo.  Please watch and be inspired by this 88 year old saint who passionately walks with the Lord and loves children like no one else I have ever met!

 

Children Are a Gift From God

Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from God; they are his reward.

It seems in every disappointment in my life, God has always used children to lighten my heart.

In this video, a baby is laughing hysterically at ripping paper.  The amazing thing is the paper being ripped is a job rejection letter the dad had just received.  How good is God to cause the baby to be so amused by the ripping of the paper and thus bring such enjoyment to the dad in the midst of his difficult situation!

Now click here, listen to this song by The Oak Ridge Boys, and ‘Thank God For Kids’!  Children truly are a gift from Him!