Monthly Archives: October 2015

Funny little power super hero child (girl) in a blue raincoat. Superhero concept

Give your kids a Super Power!

Sometimes we learn the most powerful lessons from the smallest among us. Minnie Moorehouse was an amazing little girl with wisdom well beyond her years…

Her dad had just come home from work and had a package someone had sent for her mom.

“Where is Mother?” he asked after he kissed and hugged his daughter.

“Mother is upstairs,” Minnie responded.

“Well,” he said, “I have a package for her.”

“Oh,” she pleaded, “Let me carry the package to Mother.”

He gazed sadly at his wheelchair bound daughter.

“Why, Minnie dear,” her father replied, “how can you carry the package? You can’t even carry yourself.”

With a smile, Minnie continued, “That’s true, Papa. But you can give me the package, and I will carry the package — and you will carry me!”

And that’s just what they did.

 

After reading this story to kids we ask them,

“If Minnie had not been paralyzed do you think she would have asked for her dad’s help to take the package to her mom?”

Of course not. Like most children, Minnie would probably have bounded up the stairs on her own power without even a backward glance. It was Minnie’s weakness that made her depend on her dad’s power.

I don’t know about you, but my first reaction when my kids wrestle with a weakness is to figure out how to “fix” it. But when “fixing” it is my top priority I’m afraid I miss the most important thing… and so do they.

Do we want our kids to learn to work hard at overcoming obstacles? Absolutely. Do we encourage them to persevere even when the odds are stacked against them? You bet. Do we want them to think they can do it on their own? Only if we want to set them up to ultimately fail.

When our kids weaknesses show up it’s so easy to miss the opportunity to show them how to be swept up in the arms of our All-Powerful God. He doesn’t promise He will use His power to get rid of the weakness, but He does promise to give us strength in the midst of our weaknesses and empower us to do things we could never imagine doing on our own power.

Here’s how this played out in our house one morning…

My sweet daughter was 4 years old and as strong willed as they come! It wasn’t even 10 a.m. and she had already been disciplined 5 times. I was so weary of the battles. She was weary too, but not as much. I sat on her bed as she cried, crushed that I would be so cruel as too condemn her to another time-out. Between sobs she gasped,

“I try to do the right thing but I just can’t. Something takes over. I just can’t do it.”

There were two dynamics going on. The tear stained princess before me thought it was extremely unfair that I would hold her responsible for something she couldn’t help doing. She also truly believed she could not be obedient, thus there was no hope for the rest of the day.

I rubbed her back and laid out her options.

“Sweet girl, today can be a good day or a bad day. If you keep making bad choices it’s going to be a bad day. If you make good choices it can be a good day.”

“But I can’t!” she wailed.

“No, you can’t. Not by yourself. Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to help us make good choices and say ‘no’ to the bad ones. He won’t force His help on you, but if you ask for it He will help you be strong and make the right choices.”

Defiant hazel eyes looked into mine.

“No.” she declared. “I can do it myself.”

“Okay.” I sighed. “You try.”

Fifteen minutes later she appeared in the kitchen. Beaming with joy she declared,

“I did it!”

“What did you do, honey?”

“I asked Jesus to help me and He is!”

It wasn’t the last time she had to learn the lesson, but it was a powerful first step! The rest of the day did go much better.

Happy mom.

Happy and empowered daughter.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.   –Isaiah 40:29

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.                                           –I Corinthians 12:9,10 NLT

Go to http://dg4kids.com/bible-time/day-three-god-is-all-powerful/ for a great family devotion that includes the story of Minnie Moorehouse!

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Conversation starter: What scares you the most?

Talking about our fears is a key step to rendering them powerless in our lives. It’s the same for children. Sometimes discovering what our kids are afraid of is a no brainer. They scream, hide, cry… but sometimes their greatest fears go undetected. Like adults, kids learn to keep some fears to themselves. Pushed into the back corners of their brain the fears fester, grow and take control.  It’s our job to help bring the fears out into the light.

It’s not enough, however, just to talk about what frightens us. Sitting around a campfire sharing scary stories tends to feed the fear rather than quench it! Like us, children also need to bring their fears face to face with their All Powerful God and trust Him for the courage, strength and faith to do battle and win.

October is a great month to focus on God’s limitless power! Halloween paraphernalia and promotion is on every street corner. Whether you participate in Halloween activities or not, your kids can’t escape the skeletons, ghosts and witches that pop up everywhere. It creates a launching pad for conversations about what they find scary. Be careful to listen compassionately to what they share and don’t minimize their fear. It may sound silly to you, but it’s real to them. Bring the focus back to God and the fact that NOTHING is stronger than Him.

Conversation starter: What scares you the most?

Follow up question: What makes it scary?

Follow up question: Is God stronger than anything you’re afraid of?

The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.                                                         —Psalm 33:6 NLT

Follow up question: How can God give you power over your fear? (example: I know I’m never alone. He’s always with me…)

For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.

                                                –Philippians 4:13 NLT

 

Keep in mind; you don’t want to plant false expectations of God’s power in the hearts and minds of your kids. Sometimes He gives us power to endure rather than power to take away that which scares us. Sometimes He gives us powerful peace rather than take away the turmoil. Sometimes He wraps us in powerful comfort and healing rather than remove the hurtful circumstance.

Fear wins when it paralyzes us, controls our actions and manipulates our relationships. God’s power frees us from fear and gives courage to move forward, make good choices and live a life of authentic love.

I don’t know about you, but this mom needed to be reminded of God’s power today! The message spans the generations!!  🙂

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Warning: Don’t try this alone!

What are you doing with the kids you love this weekend? If you want to do something easy and super fun, with minimal time commitment and eternal significance, we have just the thing for you!! It all starts with the power of One and the weakness of … one…

First, something to think about:

Divisive. Political. Hypocritical. Weak. Failure. Power hungry…

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been watching the news haven’t you? Sadly, I’m not talking about the current political climate. Far too often these are words used to describe God’s people–the Church. If we can’t work together, how can we possibly expect the rest of society to figure it out? If we can’t teach our children how to work together, how can we expect their future to be any better than ours?

God is the only one who is All Powerful. He doesn’t need anyone else to give Him strength; but we are not God! We need His strength to do our part.  He also designed us to need each other in order to experience the power that comes from working together as the Body of Christ. The Bible emphasizes the importance of functioning as a body. Arms, feet, fingers, toes, head, mouth… all have different functions but all equally important to helping the body thrive. We like to pick favorites, usually the part we associate with, and minimize the necessity of the others. I wonder what the community of God’s people would look like if we all started valuing each part as much as we value our own?

This weekend you can help your kids take a step in the right direction. We have a couple activities that will help you laugh together and have an opportunity to talk about God’s power as well as our need for Him and each other.

Each option is designed to illustrate the limitations of trying to accomplish something on our own rather than using the power of community effort. The conversation starters at the end can be used with either option.

Option 1: Prepare a dessert.

**Place the dessert on plates in front of each person at the table and provide the 
necessary utensils.

**Tell everyone that they’re to pretend their elbows won’t bend. If they can figure out 
how to eat the dessert, without putting their face on the plate and without bending their elbows, they can have the dessert. (The solution is to feed those sitting next to you. When you help your neighbor you each get to enjoy the dessert!)

Option 2: Pin the tail on the donkey, or whatever you want it to be – pin the mustache on a picture of dad?

**Blind fold the person with the closest birthday, turn them 3 times and see where the 
tail or the mustache ends up. Let everyone who wants to try it take a turn.

**Finally, follow the same procedure but let everyone give directions to help the 
person get the tail in the right place. (They become the blind man’s eyes.)

Talk about it:

We need each other. God says that those who trust in Jesus are His children and part of His family. We need each other because, unlike God, we are not perfect and we can’t do everything perfectly. Some people are good cooks while others are good at fixing things. Some people can teach God’s word really well and other people are really good at helping those who are hurting. God says we’re like the human body. Each part has important things to do, and the body needs each part to work right.

Listen to this:

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.                                                                                               —Ephesians 4:16, NLT

  • What does this Bible verse teach us about working together?  (Make sure your kids understand that this verse is talking specifically about those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior)
  • Why do we need each other? 
(God has no weaknesses, but we do. Because of our weaknesses, we need each other. God promises to give us strength in our weaknesses. Sometimes that strength comes in the form of other people working with us and filling in our gaps.)
  • Bringing it to a close: 
Think of someone who has helped you this week. Thank God for that person. Thank Him for helping us through other people and for using us to help others.

Blessings dear friends!  Have a great weekend!

–For more help teaching kids about the power of God go to:  http://www.dg4kids.com/attribute/god-is-all-powerful/

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Where does hope come from?

I’ll be honest with you; I’ve been struggling with discouragement lately. I’m the type of person that rises to the occasion when emergencies happen, but the daily bombardment of curve balls and small disappointments can easily be my undoing. It seems like my days have been full of them recently and I see no end in sight. Add in our declining moral and ethical culture, world-wide volatility and a Church (all followers of Jesus) that spends more time attacking each other and “protecting” their “turf” than fighting for the eternal souls of their neighbors and loving as Christ loves…well, you get the picture. Sometimes it’s hard to be hopeful.

So, where does hope come from?

If it comes from the wrong place hope can be devastating. I think too often we teach our kids to hope in the wrong thing and then wonder why they reject the church when hope lets them down. That’s exactly what happened to some ladies in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines…

They had sat next to each other in church every Sunday, attended Bible studies, church potlucks, served the poor and helped their neighbors. In a blink of an eye it all changed.

After years of barely surviving imprisonment, faith began to falter. They had begged God to set them free. Every morning they kindled the hope that today would be the day. Every night they crawled onto their bug invested mats questioning why He had not. In the end, many lost their faith and their mind.

One woman, however, saw her faith and hope thrive.

The novice missionary had arrived on the island newly married and with the endless optimism of youth. Life was hard but good. Then the Japanese invaded and her plans for the future changed forever.

She clung to hope as her husband was taken away with the rest of the men. Hope was her comfort during endless beatings and days upon days in solitary confinement. Hope was her strength when food was meager and parasites ravaged her wasted frame. Hope was her joy—WAIT—how did joy enter the equation? Isn’t joy what happens after hope comes through?

It all depends where your hope comes from.

Her hope didn’t come from the anticipated fulfillment of her desires or a prayer request answered with a “yes”.

Hope was the reality of the character of God.

Hope was in knowing He was with her no matter where she was,

would give her strength no matter what happened,

and in His promise that her suffering was not in vain.

Hope was not in an outcome it was in the Almighty God.

The discouragements that weigh me down seem so petty compared to what she endured. But they are real to me, and how I respond to them will determine how I respond to the challenges that lay ahead.

Where does my hope come from?

When the world is dark and the future is darker, hope is the thing inside that makes people strain to see a light in the tunnel. The difference between followers of Jesus and all others is that our hope is not a based on a whim. Our light doesn’t flicker out. Our Hope is real, eternal and always with us. I may be discouraged but I never give up Hope. My hope is not in mankind or even in me. My hope is in the source of true hope. When I remember that reality, joy starts seeping into my discouragement and peace wraps around my fears.

I pray you will focus on hope…the real Hope, and that you will pass it on to the children you love. I’m not a prophet, but I suspect many of us will have our hope tested in the years ahead. Many of our brothers and sisters around the world have it tested every day. Will our hope die or will it thrive?

It all depends on where your hope comes from…

 

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.                            -Romans 15:13 NLT