Wisdom

In the Beginning…Part 2

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Family Devotional Adult 01-14-18Family Devotional Kids 01-14-18

 

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God owns it all – the earth, and everything in it. He blesses us with many good things, and as His managers, He expects us to handle His resources His way. The first and the best of what we receive belongs to God; when we fail to do that, we open ourselves to unnecessary hardships and temptations.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 4:3-5 [NIV] “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.”

Q. Why did God receive Abel’s sacrifice with favor, but not Cain’s?

Q. Abel gave the first and the best of what he had to God. What would the first and the best look like in your life?

3. Discussion

Genesis 4:6-7 [NIV] “Then the Lord said to Cain… ‘If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’”

Cain’s refusal to give God his first and best lessened his view of God as leader and Lord, and that weakened state left him vulnerable to temptation. Instead, he should have refocused on giving God what was right. When we learn to put God first in any area of life, it helps us to put Him first in all other areas.

Q. How are you honoring God with your possessions? 

Q. Do your giving habits make it easier or harder to fully put God first in other areas of your life?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for blessing you with life, and for meeting your needs. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put Him first in your finances.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

 Matthew 5:16 “Let your shine before men…”

LIGHTNING BUGS“I’ll Shine My Light In This Dark World!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn how to work together as partners who belong to God!

2. Bible Reading

Read: Exodus 34

The New Stone Tablets

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut out two stone tablets that are just like the first ones. I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning. Then come up on Mount Sinai. Meet with me there on top of the mountain. No one must come with you. No one must be seen anywhere on the mountain. Not even the flocks and herds must be allowed to eat grass in front of the mountain.”

So Moses carved out two stone tablets just like the first ones. Early in the morning he went up Mount Sinai. He carried the two stone tablets in his hands. He did as the Lord had commanded him to do. Then the Lord came down in the cloud. He stood there with Moses and announced his name, the Lord. As he passed in front of Moses, he called out. He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord. I am the God who is tender and kind. I am gracious. I am slow to get angry. I am faithful and full of love. I continue to show my love to thousands of people. I forgive those who do evil. I forgive those who refuse to obey me. And I forgive those who sin. But I do not let guilty people go without punishing them. I cause the sins of the parents to affect their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if you are pleased with me, then go with us. Even though these people are stubborn, forgive the evil things we have done. Forgive our sin. And accept us as your people.”

10 Then the Lord said, “I am making a covenant with you. I will do wonderful things in front of all your people. I will do amazing things that have never been done before in any nation in the whole world. The people you live among will see the things that I, the Lord, will do for you. And they will see how wonderful those things really are. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites to make room for you. 12 Be careful. Do not make a peace treaty with those who live in the land where you are going. They will be a trap to you. 13 Break down their altars. Smash their sacred stones. Cut down the poles they use to worship the female god named Asherah. 14 Do not worship any other god. The Lord is a jealous God. In fact, his name is Jealous.

15 “Be careful not to make a peace treaty with the people living in the land. They commit sin by offering sacrifices to their gods. They will invite you to eat their sacrifices, and you will do it. 16 You will choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons. And those daughters will commit sin by worshiping their gods. Then they will lead your sons to do the same thing.

17 “Do not make any statues of gods.

18 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Do it at the appointed time in the month of Aviv. You came out of Egypt in that month.

19 “Every male animal born first to its mother belongs to me. That includes your livestock. It includes herds and flocks alike. 20 Sacrifice a lamb to buy back every male donkey born first to its mother. But if you do not buy the donkey back, break its neck. Buy back all your oldest sons.

“You must not come to worship me with your hands empty.

21 “Do your work in six days. But you must rest on the seventh day. Even when you are plowing your land or gathering your crops, you must rest on the seventh day.

22 “Celebrate the Feast of Weeks. Bring the first share of your wheat crop. Celebrate the Feast of Booths. Hold it in the fall. 23 Three times a year all your men must come to worship me. I am your Lord and King, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations ahead of you. I will increase your territory. Go up three times a year to worship me. While you are doing that, I will keep others from wanting to take any of your land for themselves. I am the Lord your God.

25 “Do not include anything made with yeast when you offer me the blood of a sacrifice. You must not keep any of the meat from the sacrifice of the Passover Feast until morning.

26 “Bring the best of the first share of your crops to the house of the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down the words I have spoken. I have made a covenant with you and with Israel in keeping with those words.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights. He didn’t eat any food or drink any water. The Lord wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant law. Those words are the Ten Commandments.

The Face of Moses Shines

29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. He had the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. His face was shining because he had spoken with the Lord. But he didn’t realize it. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses. His face was shining. So they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called out to them. So Aaron and all the leaders of the community came to him. And Moses spoke to them. 32 After that, all the Israelites came near him. And he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

33 Moses finished speaking to them. Then he covered his face with a veil. 34 But when he would go to speak with the Lord, he would remove the veil. He would keep it off until he came out. Then he would tell the people what the Lord had commanded. 35 They would see that his face was shining. So Moses would cover his face with the veil again. He would keep it on until he went in again to speak with the Lord.

3. Discussion

Jesus told us that we should be like a city on a hill with a light that can’t be hidden.  We are to SHINE the light of Jesus all over the darkness. Even the smallest light can cut through the thick layers of darkness that sin brings into the world. 

Q.  What does it mean to shine your light?  

Q. How can you shine your light?

Q. Do you think it is easy to shine your light?  

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that they will shine their light in their school and in their neighborhood so that all people will see Jesus in us.

In the Beginning…

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Family Devotional Adult 01-07-18Family Devotional Kids 01-07-18

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When Satan brings temptation, it’s not obvious – it’s sneaky. He uses things that seem good, things which have a ring of truth to them, to get us off of God’s game plan.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 3:1 [ESV] “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

 

Satan didn’t use a full-on attack – that would have been easy to spot. He didn’t even start by contradicting God. Instead, he created doubt in Eve’s mind. Those same tactics he used in the garden are just as effective today. Your crafty enemy will tempt you by creating doubt.

Q. Have you ever wrestled with doubts about who God is or what He wants? If so, how did you resolve them?

Q. When Eve had doubts, she trusted the serpent’s interpretation. What should she have done instead? How does that relate to topics which are debated in today’s culture?

3. Discussion

Genesis 3:8-10 [ESV] “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

God put two things into place to help keep Adam and Eve from falling – His Word, and His fellowship. The best way to resist temptation is to lean into those supports. Stay connected to God through prayer and worship. Study the Bible and incorporate it into your life.

Q. Where do you need growth the most right now – Prayer, Worship or Bible Study?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for making a way for you to come near Him again, and for giving you access to His Word. Ask Him to strengthen you so you won’t fall for the sneaky temptations that Satan brings.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

1 Corinthians 3:9 “We work together as partners who belong to God.”

 ANTS:  “You & Me, We Agree, We Will Work In Unity!”

This week, we continue the series called, “Bugs”.  In this lesson, we learn how to work together as partners who belong to God!

2. Bible Reading

Water Out of the Rock

17 The whole community of Israel started out from the Desert of Sin. They traveled from place to place, just as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. But there wasn’t any water for the people to drink. So they argued with Moses. They said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why are you arguing with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”

But the people were thirsty for water there. So they told Moses they weren’t happy with him. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? Did you want us, our children and our livestock to die of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord. He said, “What am I going to do with these people? They are almost ready to kill me by throwing stones at me.”

The Lord answered Moses. “Go out in front of the people. Take some of the elders of Israel along with you. Take in your hand the walking stick you used when you struck the Nile River. Go. I will stand there in front of you by the rock at Mount Horeb. Hit the rock. Then water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses hit the rock while the elders of Israel watched. Moses called the place Massah and Meribah. That’s because the people of Israel argued with him there. They also tested the Lord. They asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Joshua Wins the Battle Over the Amalekites

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men. Then go out and fight against the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill. I’ll stand there holding the walking stick God gave me.”

10 So Joshua fought against the Amalekites, just as Moses had ordered. Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hand, the Israelites were winning. But every time he lowered his hands, the Amalekites began to win. 12 When Moses’ arms got tired, Aaron and Hur got a stone and put it under him. Then he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands. Aaron was on one side, and Hur was on the other. Moses’ hands remained steady until sunset. 13 So Joshua destroyed the Amalekite army with swords.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is something to be remembered. So write it on a scroll. Make sure Joshua knows you have done it. I will completely erase the memory of the Amalekites from the earth.”

15 Then Moses built an altar. He called it The Lord Is My Banner. 16 He said, “The Amalekites opposed the authority of the Lord. So the Lord will fight against the Amalekites for all time to come.”

 

3. Discussion

Q. Who was Moses praying for?

Q. What happened when Moses would lower his arms?  Q. When Moses was tired, who helped him to keep his hands up?

Throughout the church’s history, Christians have struggled to work together in unity.  Individuals have strong feelings on how we should go about accomplishing God’s work.  Many times, those feelings and ideas differ from one another.

Too often, Christians begin to fight against one another rather than work together in unity.  Nothing causes more damage to the Kingdom of God than when the people of God begin to hurt and destroy each other.

God wants His people to work together in unity.  We won’t always agree, but when we disagree we should do so in love, trying to compromise with one another.  Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone at church?  How can we be better at working together with other Christians? 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray with your children that they will stay away from fighting other Christians and work together.  Pray that God would help you to work together as a family to accomplish the BIG task of reaching the world for Jesus.

God Can Use Broken Things

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Family Devotional Adult 12-31-17Family Devotional Kids 12-31-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

God uses people to accomplish His mission – not perfect, flawless people, but real humans with real issues. It doesn’t take perfection to be useful to God, but it does take the right effort and attitude.

2. Bible Verse

God called Noah, and entrusted him with the survival of the entire human race.

Genesis 6:13-14 [NLT] “So God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!  Build a large boat from cypress wood…’”

But Noah had his own issues.

Genesis 9:20-21 [NLT] “After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.”

Q. Why do you think the story from Genesis 9 was included in the Bible? What can we learn from it?

Q. How do you think Noah felt after the whole incident?

3. Discussion

Even after his drunken experience, Noah had a huge role in God’s mission. He lived for another 349 years, teaching the new generations about God (he even lived alongside Abram for 58 years!). God doesn’t expect perfection, but He does expect humility, submission, and resiliency. If Noah had given up on serving God after his embarrassing moral failure, the entire human race would have been missing a huge wealth of knowledge about God and the times before the flood. The key is to repent, put it in the past and keep following God’s direction. When you fall, don’t give up – get up!

Q. Have you ever felt like you were disqualified to serve God because of mistakes / sins?

Q. If God called Noah (a drunk), David (an adulterer and murderer), and Peter (who denied he even knew Jesus), do you think He would disqualify you for your issues?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to serve Him. Ask Him to keep you from sin, and to help you get back up and keep going when you fall.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Keep on praying.

 Watts Up: “P-R-A-Y, Lift Your Eyes Up To The Sky & Pray!

This week, we start a brand new series called, “Bugs.”  In this series, we will learn some big lessons from different bugs.  In this lesson, we are encouraged to talk to God daily.  He is our best friend.  God wants the best for all of us.  We can share with Him all the things on our minds and hearts.

2. Bible Reading

Luke 18:9-14 Jesus told a story to some people who were sure they were right with God. They looked down on everyone else. 10 He said to them, “Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee. The other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people,’ he said. ‘I am not like robbers or those who do other evil things. I am not like those who commit adultery. I am not even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. And I give a tenth of all I get.’13 “But the tax collector stood farther away than the Pharisee. He would not even look up to heaven. He brought his hand to his heart and prayed. He said, ‘God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner.’14 “I tell you, the tax collector went home accepted by God. But not the Pharisee. All those who lift themselves up will be made humble. And those who make themselves humble will be lifted up.”

Q. What kind of prayer did the Pharisee pray?  What about the tax collector?

Q. Which prayer do you think was most pleasing to God?

3. Discussion

Life is full of choices.  It’s so easy to rely on our own minds and power to make those hard decisions. God has provided a way for each of us to plug into His power and wisdom through prayer.  

Too often, we choose the advice of friends, family, internet, books, television, etc., before we ever go to the source of all wisdom – God.  

Prayer changes things. We must remember that prayer should be our first option, not our last.

Q. Where do you usually go to for advice when facing a tough situation?

Q. How do you think we can make prayer a priority?

 

4. Prayer Focus

Lead your child in the “PRAY” method of prayer.  Walk them through Praise, Repentance, Asking For Others, and then Yourself.  Remind them that prayer is an essential part of our lives.  It is how we stay close to God.  Remind them, “When you see a praying mantis, let it remind you of the importance of prayer.”

Making Life Better

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Family Devotional Adult 9-17-17

Family Devotional Kids 9-17-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Everybody’s looking for ways to make life better. From smart phones that translate languages, to cars that help you stay in your lane, to updated nutrition levels, everyone’s trying to improve the quality of their lives. As great as man-made advancements are though, there’s only one way to change life from the inside out – allowing the Holy Spirit to rebuild your character in God’s image. 

2. Bible Verse

John 10:10 [ESV] “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

The “thief” is Satan, and his aim is to destroy you.

If you take an inventory of the world around you, it’s easy to see the effect of sin and the pain it brings. Satan is a real being, who is working to prevent people from experiencing peace with God by providing unfulfilling substitutes. These pursuits may seem good or fun in the moment, but ultimately, they lead people further and further from God.

Q. List a few sources of pain or hardship in your life. Do you believe these sources fit with God’s original design for humanity? 

Q. If not, what influence does Satan – and sin – have on them?

3. Discussion

John 10:10 [ESV] “… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Jesus came to bring the full, vibrant life God always intended for you.  At the core, the one thing every human longs for is peace with God. Satan offers external “fixes,” but they never fill the void. Life with God at the center doesn’t change the outward circumstances – those are part of a sin infected world. Instead, it changes you, and enables you to live in joy and victory regardless of what’s happening around you. 

Q. How do you think a relationship with God might better equip you to handle the sources of pain & hardship you listed above? 

Q. How differently would you view these situations if you didn’t have God’s help?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for the joy, peace, and fulfillment that He has planned for your life. Ask Him to help you share that good news with others, so more people can experience life the way God intended it.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

Proverbs 13:10  “Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.”

“I Will Listen and Learn To Take Godly Advice!”

The last few weeks we have been learning about how we are “Never Too Young” to do amazing things for God.  This week we learned a very important lesson on how to “Listen to Godly Advice.”

2. Discussion

Q. What is Godly advice?

Q. Who are some people who can give you Godly advice?

Q. Why do you think it’s sometimes hard to do what other people tell you to do?

It’s easy to want to do things on your own or to think you know what is best for yourself.  However, God places people in your life to help you and guide you in your walk with Him.

Q. Have you ever tried to do something or get somewhere with no directions?

Q. Was it easy or hard to do?

Q. Why do we need directions when we are going somewhere or putting something together?

3. Activity 

We need directions because we can’t always do it on our own!  That is how it is with living our lives for Him.  God doesn’t want us to do it on our own!  He sends parents, teachers, pastors, and friends to help us!  Isn’t that cool that God gives us people to help us in our journey with Him?

Take time with your kids to discuss who these special people are in their lives.  Help or allow your children to write a letter to one of these people thanking them for guiding them and helping them in their walk with Christ.

 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your child will listen and follow the leaders that God has placed in their lives!

Decisions, Decisions

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More so than in several years I have been watching national television news.  It began with the Republican and Democratic national Conventions.  I tuned in to parts of each of these because I wanted to see what each of the presidential candidates had to say and I wanted to see how they would say it.  This then continued with my occasionally watching the national news, which is a new thing for me.

  • On top of the political season, which is upon us,
  • We are in the midst of many very important decisions here at the church.
  • I leave Thursday to move my mother to Alton.
  • I’m finishing up building my wife a new kitchen/dining room.
  • And my son-in-law just enlisted in the Marine Corp.

It strikes me that perhaps I am in a season of life where I could use a little extra wisdom!

Have you ever felt that way?  It feels to me that right now, every day offers the awesome potential to make a real difference in the lives of people, but only if I choose wisely.  I have prayed for years that the Lord would use me to change the world and I’m beginning to see that come to pass, but I didn’t realize when I prayed that with the possibility of great success comes the possibility for great failure and many of the decisions are simply more than my intellect can handle.

Therefore, my new daily routine includes the second chapter of Proverbs.

Read along with me…

Proverbs 2 (NIV84)

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 16 It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18 For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. 20 Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

I especially love a couple of verses.

Verse 5 “then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Verses 7 & 8 “He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

Nothing could be more valuable than “the knowledge of God”, and what could be a better insurer of success than God guarding your course and protecting you as one of his faithful ones?

In these days of great decisions I for one am going to lean as fully as ever before on the Word of God and the Holy Spirit for guidance.  I know that I am insufficient for the tasks before me, but with equal confidence I know that he is more than enough.

Proverbs 3: 5 says

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  (NIV84)

Today I am trusting that this will be my greatest determinate of success!

Blessings

God Inspired Idea

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Today I we saw a phenomenal example of what a single God-given idea can do.  The house in this picture is the headquarters of a ministry that you can find at www.jesus.net and it was an idea birthed through a new friend of mine named Eric.

In 1999 the internet was just beginning to take hold here in Europe and God placed an idea in the heart of Eric to use the internet to reach out to people across the world for Jesus.  At that time there was not a single church-based site on the whole of the net.  It seems to us as if the internet has always been around but really it had just begun in 1999 as it had only been released for commercial use in 1995.  Anyway, Eric had this idea to build a site where people could learn about Jesus and find discipleship ideas that could help them in their growing faith.  That initial website was in French and had the name “top Christian” or “cool Christian” (English translations of the French name) and it was pretty much just Eric working from the church he was pastoring. 

A lot of people thought that Eric was wasting his time trying to use this new technology for the Kingdom of God and as such support was almost non-existent.  But this was a God idea, and miracles always follow God-given ideas.  Today, 12 years later, that initial website is now offered in 23 languages and if you go to the site you can watch in real time as people from all around the world indicate that they have made a decision to follow Christ. 

What can a God idea do?

Since it’s release 2.5 million people have indicated that they decided to follow Christ because of the website!   That’s what a God idea can do and He’s got more of them!  I believe He’s got one for you!

Blessings!

Birthday Wisdom

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Well today is my birthday.  I’m 47 years old today.  There are a couple of things that amaze me about birthdays.  First, how quickly they come and go.  It seems like only yesterday that I was thinking how old 30 year old people are!  I remember when my friend’s grandparents were around the age that I am now!  You know… ancient!!

Second, it amazes me how some people make a really big deal about people not knowing how old they are.  They reach a certain number of years and then they just stop changing the number they are 39 for the rest of their lives.  What is it that they are afraid of or avoiding? 

I love what a friend of mine Ron Calaway-Haebeck sent me on a Facebook message this morning.  He said that it’s been proven that birthdays are good for you.  People who have more of them live longer!  The Bible says…

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding with length of days. Job12:12

It is almost a daily thing that I ask the Lord to give me both wisdom and understanding to both serve him and lead the church better.  When I pray that prayer I almost always have some sort of divine impartation in mind.  You know that God will pour something out of heaven that will land on my head and give me supernatural wisdom and understanding that will equip me to overcome every difficulty that presents itself.  I really wasn’t thinking that He would allow me to get old and along the way both wisdom and understanding would grow in me through the struggles and learning of a long life.  However, that’s exactly the process that the Lord uses over and over in the lives of His people.

So, how should we see the passing years?  As opportunities to grow into the people God intends that we should be.  Do our bodies get slower and weaker?  Yes, but at the same time our spirits can get faster and stronger!  And that is a great birthday possibility!

Blessings!