Sunday, July 20, 2014

Share Your Faith: Do All Things

This little boy, learning to walk with his new legs, is inspiring. As we watch the clip, we want to root for him. We know he is working hard to do this by himself because he tells his mom “I got it” over and over again.

Think about this Bible verse:

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, ESV)

It is easy to think that this verse is telling us that we can do anything we set out to do. The truth is we can do NOTHING we set out to do.We need God's help for everything, every big thing and every little thing.

We want to say to God “I got it” but what we need to say is “I need you.”

God is ready to help us with big things like learning something new, or living through something very sad, or scary. Yes, God is ready to help us when we really need him.

Now read the verses that come just before:

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Philippians 4:11b-12, ESV)

Sometimes God helps us to accomplish big things. Sometimes God helps us to be content and to accomplish little things.

Things like obeying your mother when she asks you to clean your room.

Like obeying your father when he needs your help picking up sticks from the lawn.

Like being content with what you have, instead of complaining and whining for more.

Like learning to share what you have, even if you do not have much.

What has God helped you with, lately?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Share Your Faith: New Life

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6: 3-4, ESV)

A few days ago, when I went for my morning walk, I found one of these on my front steps. It made me jump because at first I thought it was a live bug, but then I got a closer look and saw it was a cicada shell.

Insects have different life stages. As you can see from this chart, cicadas molt out of their skin when it is time for them to change into an adult. Their skin does not grow with them. It dries and splits open so the adult cicada can crawl out. The cicada shell will not hurt you. It is just leftover skin. If you find one, it is very interesting to look at because you can see all of the parts of the insect. You can even count its legs.

Some cicadas live underground for many years before they come to the surface and molt. They just leave their old skins all over the place!

When Adam and Eve first lived in the garden they walked around in nothing but their skin. After they sinned, they dressed in animal skins. Because of that sin, we are all born into sin and live as sinners in a sinful world. Even if we do not want to.

We need new skin.

Instead of molting, God gave us new life in a special way: baptism.

In baptism we are given not just new skin, but new life.

Martin Luther tells us we call our old life "Old Adam." In baptism, we receive forgiveness Through the work of the Holy Spirit we have a new life. Part of the blessing of baptism and the Spirit living in us, is that we can work to put down the "Old Adam" and work to keep our new life in Christ.

Remember that you are a new child in baptism. Remember that your sins are forgiven. Remember that the Spirit works in you to let your faith show to others.

How can others see your faith?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Resource: A Time for Everything
I ran into an inexpensive app that is a great idea for children and parents. The Kid-do app lets you set up routines and set up timers that allow children to see how much time is left.

For instance, you can set up a bedtime routine that walks your child through putting away toys, setting out clothes for tomorrow, teeth brushing and flossing, etc. Each step has a timer so your child is less likely to be distracted and is more likely to spend adequate amounts of time with a toothbrush in the mouth.

You can also set up a quick timer for time-outs, music practice, or an emergency what-toys-can-we put-away-in-five-minutes-game.

There are several bonuses to this tool:

Children learn to self-regulate when the app routine becomes a part of their routine.

Children learn to tell time and develop a sense for the passing of time. (Just how long is ten minutes, anyway?) 

Children can work away at routines without having a parent standing over them. 

Children learn to get things done instead of wasting time complaining.

Children learn to set goals.

Parents learn to let their children develop these skills :-)  

I am going to use it, for me, when I speak to groups of teachers and parents. I apparently have issues with self-regulation in such circumstances.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV