Tuesday, April 30, 2013

HOMEMADE DENTISTRY


 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish
ways behind me.  I Corinthians 13:11 NIV

Homemade Dentistry

            “Look how loose my tooth is,” I said as I showed them my dangling incisor, never dreaming that they’d want to pull it. 
            “Just yank that right out of there!” said my teenage uncle.
Horrified, that he might do it, I shut my mouth, shaking my head vehemently no.  I was seven-years-old and visiting my grandparents’ farm.  I had no intentions of letting anyone pull my tooth.  My front teeth had fallen out when they were ready, and I had every confidence that this one would too. 
Then Grandpa said, “Come here and let me see.”  Reluctantly, I walked across the room and opened my mouth.  “Why that tooth is only hanging by a thread.  You wouldn’t even feel it if I gave a little tug on it.  If you keep it in there, the next time you eat, you may swallow it.”
 I thought about that.  That meant I wouldn’t get the quarter from the tooth fairy.  I needed to think about that possibility. 
Then my uncle spoke again. “I’ll tell you what we need to do.  We need to tie a string around it and tie the other end around the doorknob.  Then we’ll slam the door! That tooth will be out in nothing flat!” 
I didn’t like the sound of that.  Immediately, I looked into my grandpa’s eyes.  I felt reassured as I saw him shake his head no.  “Hush, now!” He said.  “It’s her decision to make.”  Then looking at me, he added, “It won’t be any big deal, just let me know if you decide you want me to do it.”
I believed Grandpa, but I didn’t want him to pull my tooth.  I didn’t want anyone to pull my tooth.  My tooth was just fine moving to-and-fro at the flick of my tongue.  I made my decision.  I would move it constantly, and it would be out before supper.  If it didn’t come out, well maybe I’d let Grandpa pull it.
Suppertime rolled around, and I saw a platter filled with one of my favorites, corn on the cob.  Gathering my courage, I decide it was time I grew up a little.  After all, I wasn’t a baby.  If Grandpa said he could pull it without pain, well I’d just have to trust him.  Growing up meant being brave, learning to stand some things that are less than pleasant—trusting that you could get through it. 
“Grandpa,” I said, “I’m ready,” and I opened my mouth.
Without a word, he plucked out my shiny white baby tooth.  I hadn’t felt a thing.  Feeling pleased that I had actually let Grandpa pull my tooth, I showed it to everyone, then ran back to hug my grandpa, thanking him. That day, my trust in Grandpa grew; he had told me the truth.  But, most importantly, I had left some of my childish fears behind, I had grown-up a little.

Heavenly Insight

            Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:14-15 that we are all to become full-grown in the Lord.  He encourages us in 2 Peter 2:2 NIV to be like newborn babies and,  “Crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” We are to choose to study God’s Word so that we may grow spiritually.  By engaging in a Bible study and being in the Word daily, we will progress from the elementary teachings of Christ and move on to more mature studies (Hebrews 6:1) 
 Our goal must be to always be growing in our knowledge of the Lord.  Grandparents have a wonderful chance to help their grandchildren grow spiritually.  These observant young people are looking to us to see how important we consider the principle of spiritual growth.  What they may not buy into with their parents, is more easily accepted from their grandparents.
King Manasseh almost waited too long to come to the Lord, but after a reign of wickedness, he did turn to God and his heart was changed.  This was timely because about this time, he became a grandfather to young Josiah.  Josiah’s father, was suffering the consequences of his father’s years of sin and was very wicked.  But young Josiah spent his first six years, which psychologist tell us are the formative years of our personalities with his godly grandfather.
I imagine that King Manasseh, a new believer, was pouring over God’s laws, trying to learn all he could about God’s teaching.  I can almost see, young Josiah being taught at his grandfather’s knee.  As Manasseh shared what he was learning, Josiah was observing a faith that was growing.   He saw how his Grandpa Manasseh valued God’s Word by letting it dwell in his heart and becoming a doer of the Word.  Josiah’s training at his grandfather’s knee was potent because two years later, after his grandfather’s and father’s death, he became the King of Judah at age eight.  2 Chronicles 34:2 tells us “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.”  I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of grandparent I want to be.  I want to give them the godly heirloom of spiritual maturity.  I want to help them grow-up in the Lord.

Grandpa’s Tools

Ø  Grandchildren need to know/observe grandparents taking spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.

Ø  Grandchildren need to know/observe grandparents letting God’s Word dwell in their heart and becoming doers of the Word.

Ø  Grandparents need to share God’s Word with their grandchildren.

Ø  Grandparents need to serve as guides in a grandchild’s spiritual growth by being trustworthy and never lying to them.

Passing on The Godly Heirloom
of SPIRITUAL GROWTH

v  Grandparents, make a scrapbook journal of your spiritual growth journey.  Include baptismal certificates or snapshots, photos of any conferences, camps , or church events which kept you on track and growing in the Lord. Share with your grandchildren how you formed the habit of a daily quiet time.  If this is still difficult for you, share your struggle with your grandchild.  Talk about how you learned to walk with Jesus one day at a time.  Be sure to provide your grandchildren with the materials to start recording their own spiritual journal.

v  A springtime activity teaches why we need spiritual growth. Give your grandchildren two plants.  Leave one plant in the sunshine and water it as needed.  The other plant is to be put in a closet and ignored.  After one week, have the child check the plants and describe what happened.  Point out the first plant is like us when we nourish ourselves with Bible study and prayer.  The second plant is like us when we don’t; without taking spiritual nourishment, we dry up and die. 

Older children will enjoy being the caretaker for tomato plants.  One is to be planted in sunlight and watered, the other in a shaded area and ignore.  They are to compare the growth results at the end of the summer, the amount of fruit, etc.  Conclusions can then be drawn. 

v  This activity will encourage your grandchildren and help them understand why we need to be in church.  Give each grandchild a magnet and some metal items (paper clips are a good choice, for they are not particularly sharp).  Let the grandchildren experiment by picking up these items with the magnets.  Talk about how the metal objects stick together and to the magnet.  Discuss how it is easier to remove one item, then to remove several at one time.   Suggest that they let the strength in the magnet represent the love and power of Jesus Christ, and the magnet represents His church.  We, the believers, are drawn to Him and become stronger in our faith as we pull together towards Him.  This is why Jesus said, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. . . Hebrews 10:25 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

CROCHET DOILIES


THE SPIRIT of the Sovereign LORD is on me. . . To bestow
on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of
gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.  Isaiah 61:1, 3 NIV
 
Fingers flying, Grandma could weave the crochet thread faster than any spider could spin a web.  I was fascinated that what seemed to be a thin string soon became a lace doily, reminiscent of the Victorian age.   In answer to my plea to “please teach me,” there were many tries, but my southpaw (being left-handed) always seemed to frustrate both Grandma and me.  I was never very adept at maneuvering the crochet thread, thus chain-stitching was about the limit of my crocheting. 

Today, seeing a lace doily all starched and stiff, takes me back to a time when I felt secure to let someone wiser and more capable than me, use the thread to create beautiful lacework for the family to enjoy.  What patience she had and how diligently she kept working even when the task took weeks.    After my various tries, I would often pause by her rocker and watch her fingers work deftly.  Then, I’d run off to play, content that the thread was in good hands, and happy to let Grandma take care of creating the masterpiece doily.

Heavenly Insights

Sometimes I have trouble handling the thread of life, too.  My thread gets tangled between my fingers.   I know that if left to me, life will only be mediocre (chain-stitch variety), never the beautiful life that God wants me to live.   At those times, I give Him the thread of my life (my will), and leave it to the Creator to make something beautiful out of it.

Rahab was a person who surrendered her will, or shall we say, the thread of her life, to follow the God of Israel. (Joshua 2:17-22).  Up until that time Rahab did not have a beautiful life.  She was struggling to manage the thread of her life and not doing a very good job of it.  The Scriptures tell us she was a prostitute.  But Rahab had heard about the magnificent miracles that God had done for the Israelites, and she believed.    Because she believed and feared the Lord God of Israel, she hid and protected the two Israelite spies.  She surrendered the thread of her life to God. 

God, indeed, created a masterpiece from her life.  The spies told her that when the time came for them to take the land, she must have a scarlet thread hanging from her window, so they could locate her and her family.  They were faithful to their promise, and because of Rahab’s faith, she and all of her family were saved.  What a beautiful life she had, for Rahab is one of four women that Matthew lists in the genealogy of Jesus.

When we surrender and let God create what He will with our lives, using the colorful talents and personalities He has given to us, our lives will be a thing of beauty, just like Grandma’s doily.  The significance of the beauty He creates in our lives will be handed down like a godly heirloom for future generations. 
Grandma’s Pearls

o   We need God’s help in our lives.
o   We need to surrender our will (thread of life) to Him.
o   We seek God’s help through prayer.
o   We seek God’s help through His Word.
o   We seek God’s help by choosing to trust Him.

Passing on the Godly Heirloom
of SURRENDERING OUR WILL
(THREAD) OF OUR LIFE

Consider your grandchild’s hand and wrist size, then choose a jar or vase with an appropriate size opening.  Put a small ball, money or candy inside the jar.  Have your grandchild grasp the items, making a fist, then try to pull their hand out.  Tell them if they will open their hand, they will be able to get their hand out, and may have every thing in the jar or vase.  Tell them that God wants to give us many things too, but sometimes, we won’t surrender our will to Him, thus we are stuck.

Encourage your grandchild to create a prayer corner where they can talk to God.  After talking about the various places, they can claim for their “prayer closet”, then give them an item for their special place. Sewing or gluing a pocket on a throw pillow makes a great place for them to store a prayer notebook and pen.  They can use the throw pillow for kneeling on, placing behind their back or whatever.  Some grandkids will choose treehouses, a special spot outside, and teenagers may even choose the car as their prayer sanctuary.  The important thing is that they are encouraged to pray daily.

Choose an appropriate activity and have your grandchild tell you how to do something.  A suggestion would be to present your grandchild with a craft or model kit and ask them to tell you how they think they should proceed without ever reading the instructions.  Then have them read the directions aloud to you to see how close they came to the true method.  Most of the time, they will be slightly off in what is expected.  Another on hand item in most households would be a cake mix.  Have them tell you without looking at the box how to make a cake.  After they tell you, have them read the exact amount of oil, water and eggs needed.  They will probably have missed some of the ingredients.  Point out that in order for things to turn out to be the best they can be, we have to read directions.  God has provided us with His Word to help us live our lives to the fullest.

Share a time when you were scared to do something, but went ahead in spite of being afraid.  Ask your grandchild to share a fearful time in their life.  Discuss how you can give your fears to God, choosing to let Him take care of you. Talk about any present fears you or they may have.  Write those fears on a slip of paper, and give them to the Lord by sealing them in an envelope, or write them on a leaf and toss them on the wind.

 

 

Monday, April 15, 2013

BRINGING IN THE COWS


Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
“This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:21 NIV

Bringing in the Cows
When I stayed with my grandparents in the summer, Grandpa would let me tag along with him and my uncles when they gathered the cows in to be milked.  Each evening, they would go and collect them from their cool shady pastures at the edge of the woods.

Barefoot and happy as a lark, I was reminded more than once to watch my step.  My six-year-old eyes didn’t miss a thing.  I liked watching the cows’ tails swoosh, striking randomly at the swarming flies, who insisted on dancing in close proximity to the cows.  The cows bawled loudly, and I tried to decide what and whom they were most annoyed with—being disturbed from the cool shade or bothered by the pesky flies.  Finally, I decided they must just be hungry.

Once in awhile, one would stray off the path, and Grandpa would call out sternly, “Get over Bossy!”  And to my uncles, “Keep her on the path, headed to the barn.”  I had a lot of faith in my grandpa, for I trusted him completely.  I knew he could keep Bossy on the straight and narrow path.  Shortly, we’d arrive at the barn, and at a safe distance, I’d perched to watch the milking begin.  

Heavenly Insights
Our Heavenly Father can be trusted too.  In His Word, He tells us a lot about paths and plans.  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV explains:   For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Grandpa’s plan was to get the cows safely to their destination.  He would not have let anything prevent him from doing that.  True, old Bossy tried to sidestep the straight way, but there was Grandpa, nudging her back onto the path.  God, too, has a plan for our lives.  He can be safely trusted to guide us, but we need to pray and seek that guidance instead of trying to go our own way.  When we belong to Jesus, we have the promise of Isaiah 30:21 that He will indeed nudge us if we get off the path.  What an assurance that we are being guided.

Psalms 119:105 KJV is familiar to most of us:  Your word is a lamp until my feet and a light unto my path.  Indeed the Bible will enlighten us on the path we are to walk in life.  Let us hold out the light to our grandchildren.

Grandpa’s Tools

God has a plan for each person’s life.

Grandparents are to help train the younger generation so that God’s work can continue.

God’s Word is filled with His Wisdom and will light our path on earth.


Passing on the Godly Heirloom
of GOD’S PROMISED GUIDANCE

Use the Internet and map a trip, or look at a roadmap and plan a trip.  Discuss with your grandkids that the Bible is like a map guiding us through life.
 
Try some “light gathering” activities:
Gather fireflies with the younger grandkids or give the gift of flashlights to your grandchildren.

Older grandchildren could help grandpa adjust the beam of the headlights on the car.  Whatever the activity, stress that God’s Word is a light unto our path; it is like a light to our mind, helping us understand the right way to live and how to stay out of trouble.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grandparents: How Can We Protect Our Grandchildren When the Devil is Alive & Well on Planet Earth?


Ever feel concerned about how the world is influencing your grandchildren in a negative way?  Of course, you do, you’re a grandparent.  Just the other day I was watching a movie recommended for families when right at the end a little girl around age five makes a comment using foul language.  It was totally unnecessary.

As Christians we are told to be in the world, but not of the world.  As adults, we have a pretty good understanding of what that means.  But how can we shield our grandchildren when they are bombarded with TV programs and movies that prove society has lost the vision of godly morality?  How do we fight the good fight in a world with secular agendas?

Today, I have a guest blogger, Lillian Penner, who is the author of Grandparenting With A Purpose.   Please welcome Lillian as she shares her insight and solution for this problem. 

A SOLUTION FOR CONCERNED GRANDPARENTS

Spiritual warfare is intense today as our grandchildren are growing up in the midst of a culture that is morally and spiritually depraved.

When our grandchildren are flirting with the world, just a scratch can contaminate them and grow into a major spiritual battle. Our younger grandchildren face temptations of lying, cheating, disobedience to parents, etc. Our teenage and young adult grandchildren need protection, as they tend to push the boundaries of a godly lifestyle. The devil is deceptive and he tries to distract them from walking with the Lord.

I often hear grandparents talking about their concern for their grandchildren growing up in our troubled world and the morally depraved culture they are inheriting. As grandparents, we cannot protect our grandchildren in school and their various activities.

However, we can pray our grandchildren will:
  • Invite Jesus Christ into their heart and experience the adventure of a full, purposeful, and fruitful life.
  • Guard their hearts and be aware of God’s presence with them.
  • Recognize the deception and evil in this world.
  • Be strong in their faith so they can resist the enemy.
  • See themselves as God sees them full of promise, possibility, and potentiality.

We can also ask God to:
  • Cancel the assignments from the enemy.
  • Shower our grandchildren with blessings that exceed our dreams.
  • Place a hedge of protection over our children and grandchildren physically, emotionally and spiritually each day.

By Lillian Penner

Special Note: For additional suggestions of how to pray for your grandchildren check out Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for your Grandchildren by Lillian Penner. It will challenge you and give you more creative ideas to pray intentionally for your grandchildren. From cell phones to photo prayer journals, you will find tools that will work for you. The book is available online.at www.grandparentingwithapurpose.com.


It is also available for purchase in paperback at Amazon, CrossBooks, and Barnes & Noble. The ebook is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.