Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ouija Boards, Horoscopes and Crazy 8 Balls: What Does the Lord Say?

When men tell you to consult mediums and spirits, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God?  Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?  ~Isaiah 8:19
Recently, I came across this verse and it immediately brought back a memory of the Ouija board game my sisters and I used to play as children.  Games such as the Ouija board, the Crazy 8 ball and the shrunken head experiment were popular 'toys' at the time, and my family, indiscriminately saw them as entertainment like Monopoly or Scrabble.  What exactly are these 'toys' that can sneak in and desensitize children, as seemingly innocent forms of entertainment? What does the Bible say about such things?

 "...Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15) While this verse refers to people, many of the 'toys' on the market today are disguised as 'wolves in sheep's clothing.'
The Ouija board (now available as a 'glow-in-the dark' board game) is a spirit talking board that some view as harmless; others say it is associated with the threat of demonic possession.  A movable indicator tells the spirit's message by spelling it out on the board during a seance.  Even if there weren't countless and eery stories about demonic possession, this game, even in 'fun' is against the teachings of God's word.  Its purpose is to communicate with the dead.  A newer and similar board is called the 'Angel Board,' which boasts it will connect you to your guardian angel.  What a clever and even more deceptive way to lure our children to communicate with the 'other side.'

The inventor of the Crazy 8 ball was inspired by a 'spirit writing' device used by his clairvoyant mother.  It was first marketed as a crystal ball.  When asked a yes/no question, it answers with one of twenty responses predicting the future.  It was unpopular sold as a crystal ball, so a Chicago company refashioned it to look like a billiard ball.  Under this disguise it became a popular 'toy.'   

One of the strangest 'toys' I had was the shrunken head kit, which included instructions on how to shrink an apple, and the supplies to make it look like a real shrunken human head.  In the recent children's movie 'Hotel Transylvania,' talking shrunken heads hang on each of the guest's door.  Even though the kit is meant to be 'all in good fun,' have you ever wondered what is a shrunken head?  It is exactly what the name implies and was used for trophy, ritual or trade.  The macabre act of severing and shrinking the human head was believed to harness the spirit of the enemy and to prevent the soul from avenging his death.  Surprisingly, there was a significant trade of human shrunken heads in the 1930's.  The United States finally outlawed the import during the 1940's.  Apparently, the toy industry decided to keep the idea alive by recreating the shrunken head with an apple and marketing it to children.
The presence of the Ouija or Angel board, Crazy 8 balls, horoscopes, shrunken (apple) heads, and palm readers are in our world today; as are tarot cards, psychics, fortune telling, contacting the dead and sorcery.  Unfortunately, many are available to our children as games.  Innocent children don't naturally see things as sinister, particularly when it comes in the form of a game.  Wouldn't it be just like the devil to devise a board game to deceive our children?

What is a parent to do?  God's word tells us to be alert and to teach our children.  "Be alert...your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)  I pray that I will 'be alert' and aware of the culture around me; that I "don’t become so well-adjusted to my culture that I fit into it without even thinking." (Romans 12:2 The Message)  About God's truths, the Bible says, "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 11:19) The 'world' will certainly teach them untruths when they 'walk along the road,' when they go to school or to a friend's house.

The Bible says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world..." (Romans 12:2) Without Christ, I lived 'of this world' the first twenty-one years of my life.  I know what the world has to offer and what it teaches.  Understanding God's character and His word are the weapons our children must carry to be in this world.  God's word in their hearts and an awareness of what is 'the pattern of this world,' with its deceptions and beguiling lures, will hopefully offer discernment to my children as they 'walk along the road' of life. 

While preparing this devotion for my children, my youngest daughter came home from school and was so excited to show me a toy her first grade friend had given to her; a Crazy 8 ball.  Small and attached to a plastic ring, it appeared to be a toy from a fast food restaurant.  She proceeded to tell me to ask it a question and then she would shake it to get the answer.  To a six year old, this seemed like an innocent game.  She had no malice attached to it, nor did her friend who gave it to her. 

Do I respond as an over-reactive parent and snatch it from her hands?  Do I ignore it and think, "Its just toy.  Let her have it for some fun"?  In that moment, God's scriptures returned to me, and all I could hear resounding in my head was, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world.  She has plenty of other toys; toys which are wholesome and peaceful, and promote creativity and learning.  This 'toy' with its hidden meaning and masked design, is against the teaching of God's word." 

I asked my little girl if I could hold the toy to inspect it closely.  I distracted her with her tea set and dolls.  She forgot about the Crazy 8 ball.  Later, I explained to my children that parents don't allow their children to play with certain toys, because they are dangerous and can cause physical wounds.  There are some toys that seem fun and entertaining, but the meaning behind them is against God's word.  These toys are deceptive and can cause spiritual wounds.

I am not sure they grasped fully what I was saying.  In their little minds, a toy is a toy.  As their parent, some toys are not just toys.  God's word says, "If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."  (Matthew 18:6)  As their mom, I certainly don't want them to stumble.  As parents, I hope we are alert to the toys which are against God's word and to those things that could cause our little ones to stumble.     

Do not practice divination or sorcery. ~Leviticus 19:26
Do not turn to mediums or seek spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.  I am the Lord your God.  ~Leviticus 19:31
I will turn my face against the person who turns to mediums.  ~Leviticus 20:6
Then the Lord said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name.  I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them.  They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries, and the delusions of their own minds."  Jeremiah 14:14
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.  Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Questions for my children
What are some other 'toys' that may have a hidden meaning against God's word? (Pokemon, several video games, etc..)
If it is 'just a game,' what is the harm in playing with such things?
What does God say about contacting the dead or inquiring of someone to tell the future?
What would you do if you were at a friend's house, and they wanted to play with a Ouija board or any of the other toys we have discussed?

Thank you for joining me for this 'Life Lesson' Sunday.

This topic always seems to stir up controversy.  Even among my christian friends, some feel this is a bit legalistic.  What are your thoughts?

Blessings to you!
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday


A Fall Festival Maze-Running through the Sorghum!
I love the Fall!
Have a great weekend!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

A Little Punkin'

 One of my girlfriends is having a baby!
A group of us gave her a shower for her little boy. 
In addition to the two pumpkins for the body, I used a small pumpkin and some vine to make the pacifier.  For the eyes, I cut slits in the pumpkin and pushed in two scales from a large pine cone.  Small pine needles are sticking out the corners of his closed eyes.  Certainly you could carve the face, but I didn't trust the outcome.  The hair was made from tendrils that grew from the pumpkin.
I made a little rattle from a small squash wrapped with a corn stalk to resemble the handle.
The blanket is made from corn stalks and wrapped loosely around the baby.  Everyone calls babies, 'Punkins' or 'Little Pumpkins,' so it seemed like the perfect display to welcome guests on the front porch, especially since it is Fall!
Thanks for stopping by!
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Priorities- Relationships

We are now on our second week with 'no electronics.' We had decided to set electronics aside for the week to check our hearts for a sense of entitlement. While this is such an important issue, and one in which we will continue to address, something else surfaced unexpectedly and more vividly.
Without electronics, our relationships flourished.
Without realizing it, electronics and television had stolen our time; the actual dimension of time and the time necessary to build solid relationships with each other. None of us would have stated that our relationships were unimportant, but the preoccupation with electronic devices, with their stealthy effect of stealing time, implied otherwise. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21) This verse applies most likely to money, but it certainly could apply to anything that garners our attention and distracts us from where our real treasure is; a relationship with the Lord and with our family. In a sense, we could consider, "Whatever your priorities are, there your heart and devotion will be also."
It is so obvious now, and I am ashamed that I didn't catch it before. Who would want to steal our time so that we don't have any left to spend with our family? Who would want to pull us away from investing in relationships, particularly since the Holy Word of God is the ultimate book of relationships? Certainly, it is the deceiver himself. I am sure he believes his scheme is brilliant: sneak in and erode relationships by stealing time. No, I will not let him use modern technology to steal my heart or time from my Father in heaven or my family. B.U.S.Y (being under Satan's yoke) is not the acronym I want to live by.
Our week without electronics was spent doing the obvious things a family would do without them; we played outside, took walks, played games or cards. Our attitudes were better toward each other. We said, "yes" to throwing ball and playing Monopoly. In the past, our response might have been, "Okay, but first I need to check e-mail." Sometimes, we might leave the computer and play with our children and sometimes not. Because we were 'too busy' our children would resort to their own corner to share life with a robot. We had not intended for our family to be this way. Electronics, without knowing it, can claim your biggest devotion and contribute to a gradual deterioration of a family.
I have often said, Rob and I are two sinners trying to raise three sinners to the cross; a family of five sinners living under the same roof. Without God's grace, that fact alone could cause a family to disintegrate. What I saw during our week without electronics was a lovely picture of redemption. Instead of the prevalence of sin, I could see Christ-like characteristics emerge. That week caused a shift in our children's attitudes and behaviors. They were nicer to each other. They were more respectful. They served in the kitchen and helped cook supper. They cleaned up willingly. Without the lure of electronics, we lived simply. We rested our brains. We read books. My older children sat for two hours learning songs on the piano and guitar and could perform a duet together. This never would have happened had electrons been bursting in their faces from a screen.

The Bible is a book about relationships. It is about the relationship with our Father, our spouse and with our children. It discusses our relationships with neighbors, friends and enemies. When asked of all the commandments, which is the most important, Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:29) Certainly, 'neighbor' is anyone else besides yourself.

Considering our family members as neighbors, what should 'love your neighbor' look like in our home? A personal interpretation of 1 John 3:16-18 would read as follows, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives (and the things that make us busy) for our (family.) If anyone has material possessions and (gives his or her devotion to such things) and sees his or her (family) in need, but has no pity (or time for them,) how can the love of God be in (them?) Dear (parents,) let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.'
Families are under assault from an ever increasing number of forces. I remind myself that God is bigger and that He can restore "the years the locusts have eaten." (Joel 2:25) We are now approaching our third week of 'no electronics or television.' Our family is not characterized anymore by a family devoted to electronics. We use them as needed, but mostly reserve them for weekends. When you remove such things, you will see the sweetness of freedom and the joy of precious relationships restored.

Thank you for joining my on this 'Life Lessons' Sunday!
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday

 Cotton Hills Farm Fall Festival is my favorite.
 The tractor-pulled hay ride takes a group of about fifty people on a forty minute ride through the fields of cotton, pumpkins and sunflowers.
 The fields of cotton, pumpkins, Bluegrass music, a corn maze and farm animals make this the best festival.  Best of all, you can pick out your own pumpkin and leave with a scoop of ice cream! 
 Have a beautiful 'Fall' weekend!
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Sunday, October 14, 2012


We were supposed to go out of town for the weekend.  Rob and I were not feeling well, so we cancelled the trip.  My girls pouted, because their weekend was "ruined."  My son had wanted to stay home anyway and play golf with his dad.  It rained over the weekend and the golf course was too wet to play.  Perturbed, my son jumped in the pouting pool with his sisters.  Regardless that the course was closed, he asked if he could call to see if they would open for him.  "Sure you can; you are entitled and how dare them close the course when you want to play,"  I thought facetiously, but answered, "No."  Was this the innocence of a nine-year-old boy or was this a seemingly entitled absurdity?   
We had taken pride in not giving our children everything they want. The kids have chores and they save their money when they want a Lego set or doll on the shelf at the store.  They know not to ask for every little trinket in the checkout line (which by the way, marketing firms study our habits and know exactly what people tend to pick up and what toys children grab upon checking out.  Why is there a Cinderella doll the size of a finger in the check-out line which costs five dollars?  Because data shows we buy them.)
We were proud we didn't buy our kids new bikes, as soon as theirs broke.  My son's bike is too small for his legs and the tires have no tread.  Before he reaches the school each morning, he has to stop and reattach the chain.  My daughter's bike, also too small, is missing a peddle.  We decided to wait and get new bikes for Christmas, believing that this 'delayed gratification' would be of value.  As our pride welled up that we were teaching such valuable lessons, our children went and acted 'entitled.'  (The funny thing is, why are we taking pride in something that is really just good ol' Grandmaw common sense?  Whenever you are puffed up on the perch of pride, the imminent fall is coming.)
Culture tells us we have a right to new things right now, a right to the best schools, preferential treatment and the 'good life.'  At least it's not our fault our kids acted entitled; phewww, I'm so relieved, that it is somebody elses fault!  A part of 'entitlement' is that it is never our fault.  We have become articulate in the language of blame, grievances and complaints.  Maybe our culture and our government tell us we are entitled, but it is not their fault when my children are grown and think somebody owes them or they have a right to the 'good life.'  Rob and I, knowingly or unknowingly, allowed this mentality to be woven into the developing fibers of their young lives.  Are Rob and I caught in a wave of entitlement that we don't even know we are swimming with?   Do we even know how to swim against it? 
We concluded that our family intuitively believes we are entitled to certain things.  We think we are entitled to heat and air condition; fresh running water and clean air;  a dishwasher, a dryer, a washing machine, a plethora of electronics and many other things.  We feel entitled to family trips and fun excursions.  And even with these things, we grumble that something is not working fast enough or isn't 'fun' enough.  So, maybe we won't buy a new toy or bike or a trinket in the check-out line, but there are plenty of ways we are teaching our children to feel entitled.
When I woke one morning last week, it was so cold.  Without thinking, I immediately walked over to the heater and turned it on, because I certainly can't tolerate a little bit of discomfort.  Why do I think I am so entitled to be comfortable; not too hot and not too cold?  It sounds like Goldilocks.  Good grief, if you have been wandering in the woods, be grateful for the bowl of porridge and a bed to sleep on.  I turned off the heater and put on a sweater and socks.
Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)  What does Jesus mean when he says, "deny?"  I wonder with such abundance in America (an abundance of things, not money) do our morals show that we 'deny' ourselves anything?  Our sixteen trillion dollar debt indicates 'no.'

My concern is for my children's hearts and their future. My desire is to understand how we can stop feeding the beast of entitlement; a beast that will never be satisfied; never. There will always be a new electronic or outfit or toy that the beast is starving to devour.  Regardless, if we have money in our pocket or not, we are all feeding the beast.  If we continue to pass this mentality on to succeeding generations, the beast will become a Tsunami and the devastation it will leave is incomprehensible.   
Recently, I finished a book called, "To End All Wars" which gives an account of the events of WWI. Currently, I am reading a book called, "The Zookeeper's Wife;" set in Poland during WWII.  The stories of the survivors and the devastation they endured is incredulous.  During wartime, people felt lucky to be alive with a bowl of oats, a glass of water and a small corner to crouch and hide.  Goldilocks wouldn't have survived;  honestly, neither would I, or my kids, or much of America.  The hard work and skills necessary for survival are not embedded in us.  We have so many modern conveniences, that we lack the struggles which shape and form us into grateful and hardworking people. God's will for man is to work and not be idle. Paul urged, "In the Lord Jesus Christ, earn the bread you eat...never tire of doing what is right." (2 Thessalonians 3:12,13) God intends for us to have a work-oriented life.  In the Garden, before the fall and corruption of sin, "the Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." (Genesis 2:15)

The Bible is clear about work.  But, what are we working so hard for? more stuff? the easy life?  Somehow, it just doesn't seem that a bunch of stuff and the 'easy life' go hand in hand with the character of Jesus.  God blesses us with conveniences, but have we become so idle and dependant on them, that we blindly accept them as guarantees?

To swim off the wave of entitlement, we all agreed to have an 'electronic free' week; no IPad, IPhone, ITunes or IMac (Isn't it ironic they all begin with "I?") no television, radio, or electronic book.  This wasn't a punishment for our children.  It was to reveal how entitled we all feel to have things that are such luxuries, and things we forget are absolute blessings from the Lord. 
 We desire for our children to grow into adults with hearts of thankfulness and a deeply embedded work ethic; however, we are not attacking the issue of entitlement as aggressively as we should; especially when we are guilty of it (on a personal level, cultural level and a governmental level.)   "In the end, it's the entitled who, however rich, are truly poor.  Instead of knowing life as a gift, life turns into something that is taken for granted--or worse, begrudged.  That's real poverty, and no sense of entitlement can alleviate it."  Anthony Robinson 'The Unfortunate Age of Entitlement in America'

Next time you see that little Cinderella plastic doll in the check-out line, don't buy it, but consider this: Cindy certainly knows how to work and she sings while she does it.

Our steps toward freedom from entitlement:
1. Recognize it and pray for freedom.
2.  Have a right relationship with our Lord to avoid a focus on 'self.'
3.  Consider the luxuries we have and deny the over-abundant use and dependence.  These things are not guarantees.
4.  Develop and implement solid work values and an 'earning' mentality over an 'entitled' mentality.
5. Consider what we save our money for and what we spend it on.  We may earn and save, but are we being good stewards of our money and spending it wisely, or do we spend it on the latest thing?
5.  Consider work related and productive tasks when disciplining children (ex. picking up a bucket of acorns in the driveway; washing windows, wiping baseboards.)

Questions for my children:
1. What do you feel entitled to?
2. When something goes wrong, whose fault is it?
3.  What would Jesus think, when you feel you must have the latest toy?
4. Are relationships more important than things?
5. What does God say about being idle and entitled?
6. What does God say about work?
7. How have you felt (or acted) without electronics this week?   

  Next week I will share about our electronic 'free' week and what my children had to say about it.

I hope you have a beautiful and blessed week!

Disclaimer:  We do not have all the 'I' electronics; this was added for emphasis.  My son plays golf at the local college where walking nine holes costs ten dollars.  His story was also embelished a bit (a little bit.)
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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Snow of the South - Favorite Photo Friday

Fall festivals with pumpkins, hay rides, corn mazes, apple pie, apple doughnuts, apple cider...and cotton; these are my favorite things about fall. 

Just a short distance past our city limits, the cotton farms look like Mother Nature selectively chose to blanket the fields in a light dusting of snow.  Once you step outside, there is the unmistakable smell of mature cotton.  You can see the powerful modern version of Eli Whitney's cotton gin off in the distance waiting patiently to devour the land.

 Thank you for stopping by and have a great fall weekend!
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

What Does it Mean to "Fear God?"

Brooke Owen age 4
Come my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. ~Psalm 34:11
Recently, I heard some parents arguing over the discipline of their children, when one yelled, "Are you trying to put the fear of God in them?!"  It seems this phrase has been used more as a chastisement to some bewildered parent who is trying to scold his or her child.  Given the fact that some parents are abusive and yell loudly in public places, it is understandable that one might think they are parenting by putting fear in their children.  The 'fear' often seen with this type of (incorrect) parenting is one of bullying.  I have yelled at my children, and in public places, too.  Yelling may cause enough fear for them to stop misbehaving for the moment, but does it reach their hearts and point them to the cross?  How are we to teach a wholesome fear of God, if by our actions, we are teaching them to fear us?   Do we really see this type of fear as the same 'fear of God?'     
What does the world teach us about fear?  It sells 'fear' by the billions during the second largest commercial holiday of the year and with horror movies that gross in the millions. Are we to have this same kind of fear, with screams of loud piercing sounds; one of trembling and fright, of our God in heaven?  The Bible says, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13)  Does God want to bully us into keeping His commandments?  Does he want to scare us so that we flee and respond with loud shrieks?  If not, what does it mean to 'fear God?'
To fear God means that we are to be in awe and recognize His majesty and sovereignty. We are to honor, respect, revere, worship, obey, trust and serve Him.  If we desire to please our Father in heaven, then we will have a wholesome dread of displeasing Him; a fear that demonstrates our recognition of Him as Creator of all; the One who has the power to create and the power to destroy.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear Him.  ~Psalm 103:11
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. ~Psalm 103:13
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children.  ~Psalm 103:17
He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. ~Proverbs 14:26
 The fear of God offers compassion and love. It provides a secure fortress and a refuge. The fear of God brings peace, "health to your body and nourishment to your bones!" (Proverbs 3:8)  I doubt the children, who have a bully for a parent, feel this kind of love and compassion. I doubt they feel their home is secure and a safe refuge. More than likely, children feel unloved and insecure because of an ungodly fear.  God is not a bully, nor is He a spooky being, dressed in a scary costume trying to induce fear with high-pitched shrills, causing little children to run and hide.
The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?  ~Psalm 27:1
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  ~Matthew 19:14   
Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.  The Lord Almighty is the One you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear.  ~Isaiah 8:12,13
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is kept safe.  ~Proverbs 29:25
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.  ~Psalm 2:11
As a child, I hardly rejoiced with trembling when I toured a haunted house in the month of October.  I trembled, but it was with a desire to run away and hide from that scary thing (man-made) that jumped out at me!  God wouldn't want us to run and hide.  He doesn't want us to fear what the world fears.  He wants us, in humility to recognize who we are.  We are man, His creation, and He is God, Creator of all!  Whom shall I fear? Man? Objects created by man? Or, the one who rebelled and was kicked out of heaven? No, we are to fear God; the Alpha and Omega and Creator of all.
Isaiah is an example of one who understood the fear of God.  When he came into the presence of the Lord, "seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple," Isaiah was undone.  Isaiah, who was surely trembling with fear and awe, shouts, "Woe to me!" I am ruined (undone!) For I am a man of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."  Isaiah was very aware of who he was before God (a sinner) and he was very aware of Who was before him; the Lord Almighty!  (Isaiah 6)  Throughout the Bible, God's children have fallen on their faces when in the presence of the Lord.  I don't think I could bury my face in the dirt enough. It is the recognition of how mighty and powerful and amazing God is, and how unworthy and small I am!  And yet, as small as I am, He loves me so much, He gave His son to die for me!  How could I do anything else but fear the One who made me and died on a cross for me?  And yet, before writing this, I didn't really understand what it meant to 'fear God.'
When we have a high view of man, of ourselves, and of our culture, we have a subsequent low view of God and His word.  Instead of being made in God's image, we make Him fit into our (created) image; an image of a lesser god; one who is less powerful, less frightening, and less angry.  This seems to make us feel better, because who wants to think about a God who can wipe out an entire nation by the spoken words of His mouth?

We have a God with an unbelievable and mighty power.  My son is building a fort, and it is time-consuming.  When 'man' builds anything, it takes a long time.  God speaks and everything comes into existence.  He created life, light, small molecules, the heavens and the whole earth and everything in it; everything by the words of His mouth.  He is an enormous God!  And man is desperate without Him.

God tells us to fear him and He will offer you love and compassion, righteousness and safety; to you and to "your children's children."  He promises that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.  God says, "Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29)  To fear God is to think lowly of ourselves, and to think highly of Him.  Run to Him, not away, and there you will find shelter, peace, love and compassion from a God, who for as big as He is, loves little you!

Questions for my children:
1. What are you afraid of?
2. What does it mean to 'fear God?'
3.  Is God a bully?  Is He scary?
4.  Has mom or dad every bullied you into obeying?  How did it make you feel?  Does God want us to parent this way?  Does God want you to fear Him that way?
5.  What are the attributes of God?  In other words, who is He?  (Psalms is a great place to start)
6.  What are some examples in the Bible that show of His mighty creations?
7. What are some stories in the Bible that demonstrate His power to destroy? (Noah and the flood may be a familiar one to discuss with young children)
8.  Does God destroy because He is mean, or do these stories show a righteous, patient, merciful and loving God who cannot tolerate sin?
9.  Based on all you have learned, whom will you fear and why?
10.  Aren't you glad that our God is righteous and just and that in Him, we have hope, salvation, and eternal life?

Blessings to you on this 'Life Lessons' Sunday!

Sources: NIV Bible;;  Pastor Mark Driscoll
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday

Drayton 12 weeks old
I can assure you, he has chewed up much more than Rob's shoes!  Lab puppies are just so cute, it is hard to mad at him.  He looks like he is posing for an LL Bean ad.  So stinkin' cute, but what a mess!
I hope you have a beautiful weekend!

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Monday, October 1, 2012

An Apple Pickin' Cart Centerpiece

Recently, my youngest daughter and I went apple pickin.'
We now have more apples than we know what to do with!
I bought the little red wagon for $10 in Asheville, NC.  I love vintage, small children's toy carts, baby strollers and cribs...perfect for holding arrangements or fruit!
Since we have so many apples, I moved this fall arrangement to my dining room and put the apple cart on the kitchen table.
I have some of the apples in this old dough bowl, too.
Of course, this fall arrangement is still in my kitchen.  That is all I have done to decorate for fall.  I need to punch up my living room and front door!  On to the next project!

Thanks for stopping by...and for all your advice and comments about the kitchen!  You all are the best!

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