Category Archives: Strength Through Faith

Lent – Preparing Your Heart for Easter

Lent Jar FullEvery January, our church community rings in the new year with a week of daily, evening prayer and encourages the whole community to fast.  This year, we talked to the kids at dinner about the different types of fasting, and (amazingly) they all agreed on three types of fasts that they were willing to try….for one week each:  media fast, processed food fast, meat fast.

The kids did REALLY well with the fasting…I was amazed.  Somewhere in the middle, one child asked at dinner if we could “do lent” this year.  I know they’ve heard about their catholic friends “giving up” something for lent, so I asked what they had in mind.  I went on to tell them that we could certainly “do lent” as long they kept with the purpose of lent.

As long as whatever you’re doing or giving up is drawing you closer to God.….(in other words, giving-up pop or chocolate isn’t going to make you a better Christian, nor is it going to bring you closer to God)

So…with that in mind, we set out to make a list of small things to do each day, or things to give up, that would help us to act in a way pleasing to God, as well as things to strengthen our faith. (download our list here: lent jar)Lent Paper Strip

I typed up the list, cut them into strips, and put them all in a jar.  Each dinner during the season of lent, we draw one out of the jar.  We discuss what it means, and hang it on the fridge as our challenge for the next day.  As we finish each challenge, we tape them onto a picture that’s hanging on the wall in the kitchen.  Amidst all of the bunnies and Easter eggs, those little strips of paper remind us to take time and prepare our hearts for Easter.DSCF2007

 

Make sure you have your cell phone when you go to heaven!

We were just leaving the check-out lane at the local grocery store….my tow-head five year old boy and I.

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He looks at me while I navigate the cart around the other shoppers.  “I’m really glad you’re not old,” he says as we pass a couple of senior citizens.  Lately, he’s had a horrified fascination with wrinkles, so I figured these lucky grayhaired folk just had too many wrinkles for his taste.   But, his next few words cleared that right up….

“Because….I don’t want to go to your funeral yet…..when you’re just laying there all flat….like this,” (and he demonstrates the head back and eyes close) I assured him that I wasn’t quite ready for my own funeral either.

“But,” I told him, “when you’re dead, you get to be with God in heaven, and it’s REALLY nice and beautiful.”  He looked unsure, but wanted to believe me.

“Where is heaven?” he asks…looking at the cloudy sky.  “Is it really up above the clouds?  Is that where God is?”  I told him that I really didn’t know, but that I was sure it was a very nice place.

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“OK,” he says, “Just make sure you take your cell phone with you when you go there, so you can tell me about it.”

Later that day, we went over his Sunday-school homework.  He was supposed to talk to God, anytime, about anything.  So, we prayed a quick prayer about heaven, and requested that God send my dear boy a few dreams so he could see what it was like.

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Dear God – please help me to make use of every “teachable moment” that you give me with my kids.

Don’t just read – Study!

Today, I’m issuing a challenge to my fellow Christian women to “step it up a bit.” Don’t just read devotionals…..challenge yourself to a bible study.  If you think you don’t have time…think again, and then check out www.goodmorninggirls.com

Good Morning Girls is perfect for busy moms….just about 10 min a day, and only on weekdays!  Right now, they’re in a study of Colossians.  Here’s a bit of the study text from this week….this is Paul writing from prison to the Colossians….

Colossians 2
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

The commentary in my study bible talks about Paul’s note to the Colossians about “not being deceived by fine-sounding arguments”  The commentary goes on to remind us that God has given us a mind for learning.

  • We should never stop learning
  • We should press toward wisdom
  • We should pray for understanding

When I look at these three points….I see all the things that come so naturally to me during a workday….or in my parenting….or in my relationships/marriage.  Those three things are a BIG priority for us in other aspects of our life.  We adjust our time and prioritize activities/work accordingly.

However….we are also called to do those things in our faith walk.  Somehow it’s always harder to make that one a priority.

Dear God
 In this crazy world where we are trying our best, and feel like we’re stretched in every direction….please help us to see the importance in pressing onward in our faith.  Please show us the grace, peace, and joy that come from a solid relationship in you.  Amen!