Monthly Archives: January 2020

Calling All Grandparents: We Have a Mission!

Friends!  I’m on my fourth trip of reading thru’ a devotional for grandmothers.  Every single trip thru’, I flip anew over a myriad of pearls of wisdom author Kay Swatkowski shares.

When John and I first became grandparents in May of 2017, my sis-in-love, Margee, gave me this book:

I’ve since given it to countless friends who were also becoming grandparents. And, I have even more exciting news if you’re thinking of someone to give a copy of this book to…Just this week I popped in a Hallmark store and lo, and behold, there was Kay’s book in a beautiful gift-style cover! It’s hardback and the title is in white stitching—exquisite! (Visit your local Hallmark, or I bet you could order it on-line.)

Available at Hallmark.com.

Each entry offers excellent prayer ideas, accompanied by Scripture along with a “think and do” section which almost always offers books for further reading (Kay has cost me a small fortune!), questions to ponder, followed by more Scripture.

Day Fifty-Six’ entry stopped me in my tracks this week.  Kay strongly urges us to consider ourselves our grandchildren’s first prayer partner.  Before they can even pray by themselves, or with you, pray for them faithfully.

Kay says, “Intercessory prayer is a privilege. Bringing a Christian brother or sister’s needs before the Lord is an honor…as great a privilege it is to pray for other believers, it is an even greater honor to pray for our grandchildren.”  And here’s where she got me:  “Imagine the joy of being your grandchild’s FIRST PRAYER PARTNER.” Kay asks, “Could our greatest work be the work of prayer?”

Checkout the below Scripture:

Some days I don’t feel so “fresh and green,” more like tired and worn out, yet notice the verse says we will “STILL bear fruit in old age.” May we take this as our “mission,” to faithfully and daily pray for our grandchildren.  When they’re old enough to realize our efforts, let’s pray they’ll come to rely on us and trust us with their prayer requests.

Yesterday I attended a Bible study at Christ Church Methodist taught by my dear friend and mentor (and therapist!), Liz Curtis Higgs. We spent some time studying a passage where Paul tells us about Timothy and his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, who each taught him about the Lord, giving him a deep, and sincere faith. (See 2 Timothy 1:5)

Liz reminded us that while some of us may never have grandchildren, there are always children in our lives whose lives we may have the privilege of influencing.  She shared how the Lord crossed her path with “foster parents” (whose last names are Foster!). They  poured into her when she was a new Christian and have kept pouring into her all these years. Liz gave us a fabulous quote to ponder:  “Family is God’s workshop here on earth.”

 

Checkout our author Kay’s website. The above picture is of Kay and her husband, Ray. Her website has a little bit of everything! Here are the headers: About Kay, Faith, Food, Fun, Read Aloud, and Everything Else. It’s a goldmine!

2019 was a huge, banner year in our household. John and  I celebrated our thirty-fifth anniversary, and God blessed all three of our sons and daughters-in-love with babies.  Christmas of 2018 found all three of our daughters-in-love pregnant!  We now have four grand angels to pray for…And now, a shameless photo for you:

Pictured left to right:  Charlotte Elise (born 8/30/19), Claire Elizabeth (born 5/9/17), Woodford Lee, Jr., a/k/a “Ford” (born 3/18/19) and Henry Pierce (born 4/22/19)

In this particular entry of Kay’s devotional, she recommends three excellent books (Yes, I have all three and they really are superb resources loaded with pertinent Scripture):

Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson

This is a really cute and clever children’s book:  One Year Devotions for Preschoolers by Christine Bowman

And I love how Kay promotes other books similar to hers yet different:

Grandma, I Need Your Prayers by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock

Let’s close with the prayer from Day Fifty-Six:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the loving Christians who have prayed for us throughout our lives. Their prayers were a gift to us. Father, teach us how to pray so we can be effective and powerful as we bring our grandchildren’s requests to you. Give us sensitivity to their concerns. Teach us to honor their privacy by not sharing their concerns with others. Help us to be consistent in our prayer lives, not only for our own growth, but also so our grandchildren can truly trust us with their requests.  Thank you for the opportunity and privilege of praying for these children. Lord, we want to be their prayer partners. Thank you that we can still be of use to you at this stage of life. May our prayer life keep us young and vibrant in spirit and bearing much fruit for your kingdom. Amen.”

May we endeavor to pray faithfully for these grandchildren as they grow up in our crazy culture.  Let’s also pray for each other while we’re at it!

‘Til next time!

P.S.  If you’re looking for a spring-time Bible study, reach out to Christ Church United Methodist and sign up for The Women of Easter Bible study, taught by the author (of the book of same name), Liz Curtis Higgs.  The classes will meet on Tuesday mornings, March 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  Four hundred of us have loved learning about “Jesus Girls” this month of January and my guess is many of us will continue to come in March!  Please purchase the book prior to the study either via your favorite bookseller, or you may pick it up at Christ Church for a suggested donation of $10. You can either call Christ Church or sign up on-line:  www.ccum.net or 502-897-6421.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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What’s Your Point of View? You Don’t Want to Miss Our Book Club Meeting Next Monday, 1/27! (…with fascinating discussion of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Book.)

Friends!  Load up your car with friends next Monday night, January 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. and join us for what promises to be a super fun-in-every-way night.  Branches Book Club, at Middletown United Methodist Church will be discussing a new book by Elisabeth Hasselbeck called Point of View:  A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom.

I learned a lot about a lot of topics, most of which I had no clue regarding Elisabeth’s life and career.  I knew she’d been a contestant on Survivor in 2001 and soon afterwards got a chair as a co-host on The View.  But who knew she was a walk-on for the softball team at Boston College?  Or a shoe designer? Throw in three young children and a husband that played in the NFL and she’s spinning multiple plates!

Before we dive in, let’s hear from some of Elisabeth’s endorsers:

Roma Downey says, “…Elisabeth’s book carries a powerful message that reprioritizes the great truth: He calls, He equips, He never leaves.”

Lysa TerKeurst says, “In a world that sometimes begs us to do the total opposite, Point of View is a great resource that will help us process having a godly perspective.”

Candace Cameron Bure is who took Elisabeth’s place on The View when her contract wasn’t renewed.  As God would orchestrate, they became dear friends.  Candace wrote the Foreword to this book. I love how she ends it:  “God changes our point of view when we understand just how blurry our vision really is without Him.”

Each and every chapter offers beautiful reminders that our Sovereign Lord is in charge. The lengths to which He went for Elisabeth are astonishing.  Elisabeth offers us many metaphors also in each chapter sprinkled with pertinent Scripture to lean on.  She dubs her friends “spiritual optometrists who have helped me look at something differently or more closely and pointed my eyes to a different point of view.”

I also never made the connection that the same year Elisabeth was on Survivor, our very own Rodger Bingham, a/k/a  “Kentucky Joe” was too.  He and Elisabeth were on the same team. She says they quickly developed a father/daughter type of relationship.  While each participant was allowed their own, personal “survival item,” Elisabeth chose a crafty headdress she made from a collection of scarves that were important to her.

Kentucky Joe’s survival item was his Bible!  He often taught Elisabeth from the Bible and they bookended their days with prayer and Scripture. She shares, “Every night and morning we prayed, beginning with praising God and thanking Him, praying for our families back home, and asking for safety in the long, uncertain days that lay ahead of us.”

Numerous lessons Elisabeth shares will bless you and strengthen your faith. She says, “Rodger pointed my eyes, through our alliance in heart, to reliance on faith.”

Leading up to the Australian Outback where they’d be for Survivor, (noting 9 out of the world’s 10 most deadly snakes are found in the Outback), Elisabeth and other potential contestants had a series of tests to take.  (I’d have thrown in the towel long before I ever got started.) I found myself shaking my head a lot,  saying, “No way!”

Elisabeth’s ten years on The View were anything but easy.  Having a Biblical worldview and discussing “Hot Topics” usually got her in the hot seat and highly criticized, however, she held her ground.  She attributes a large part of her strength and stamina to putting on the FULL ARMOR OF GOD every morning.  She says, “I prepared my heart each morning with the armor of God because I knew each day would have its challenges.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 spells out the full armor of God for us:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Some fun parts of the book include Elisabeth’s sweet relationship she had with the one and only Barbara Walters.  Interviews with major celebrities and opportunities to dinners at the White House, etc. were frequent.  Not all of them went swimmingly.  Don’t miss these!

When she learned her contract on The View wasn’t being renewed, she decided to stay as long as possible and daily recited, Psalm 3:3,

We readers also benefit from the many lessons Elisabeth learned along the way such as “how to leave a job well.” She also shows us how not to take a new job at the expense of your little ones.  Her vulnerability on how she crashed and burned with Fox is eye-opening and impressive she has the guts to share this with us. She realized, “it was time for my family to get the best of me, not the rest of me.”

We look forward to a lively discussion and more lessons we can all take home from our book club meeting this coming Monday. Our theme is “All American,” so plan to bring a snack related to that if time allows. Be thinking of some friends you can bring and please join us next Monday night, January 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.!!! Middletown United Methodist is at 11902 Old Shelbyville Road, in Louisville, 40243.

RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502)245-8839.

We look forward to seeing you!

‘Til next time!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

 

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What is The Art of Everyday Worship?

Friends! Please allow me to share with you info on a beautiful, coffee table book that’s not only pretty to look at, but encourages you to find the wonder of each new day.  Frankly, I struggle with taking things, people, and places for granted until my eyes are reopened by wake-up calls from our Creator. “Still a work in progress” comes to mind…

The book?  Oh, you’ll LOVE this one:  Beholding and Becoming:  The Art of Everyday Worship by Ruth Chou Simons.

I first discovered Ruth’s breathtaking art and writing gift from her first book, Gracelaced:  Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the HeartI flipped over it and snagged multiple copies for my daughters-in-love and friends the year it came out.  Thus, I was beyond excited to discover Ruth’s newest endeavor, Beholding and Becoming.

Here’s the cover of her first book:

FYI:  Both books also have companion journals, which make great gifts as well.

In Beholding and Becoming, Ruth begins with,

“A relatively short time ago, we didn’t have an ‘online life.’
Tweeting was for birds,
posts were for fences,
and text required ink.”

She builds her case by reminding us the clutter we’re inundated with from our culture causes us to miss the “art of beholding.”

Ruth invites us to “be transformed, one everyday moment at a time.”  We readers get to do exactly that thanks to her words of wisdom, saturated with Scripture, many times in a beautiful painting, or two or three, found in each of the sixteen entries.

We’re also given, in the Glossary, information about various insects, plants, flowers, etc., showing us what they symbolize.  I found this fascinating, i.e. “blackberries…the thorns and blood of Christ,” or “bluebells…humility.”

Worship is defined as “esteeming a thing or a person more highly than everything else and giving it your utmost attention and adoration.”

Here’s one of many favorite quotes:

Missionary Elisabeth Elliott famously encouraged all who crossed her path to “just do the next thing.” Ruth includes a favorite verse, Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  She expounds on this, “When we believe the Giver of every ordinary moment in our every day is the faithful God who is trustworthy for each next step we take in our daily lives, we have reason to rejoice in the gift of another day.” (To which I’d add several exclamation points!!!)

Another reason I stand in awe of this book, and of author Ruth Simons so much is because of her life she lives on a daily basis.  She and her husband are the parents of six, count ‘em six, boys!!!  Checkout both of her websites:  www.gracelaced.com and www.ruthchousimons.com

The gracelaced website has a shoppe where you can find prints and notecards…just look at how beautiful they are.  She also includes super fun recipes, plus ideas of how to put the “family friendly snacks” to use, just for example.

This is one of many options available in her Shoppe at http://www.gracelaced.com.

Savoring these sixteen entries will take a while as you feel as if you’re stepping into an art gallery with each one.  You can easily spend a lot of time in each section.  The last one happens to be my favorite, “Actively Abide.”

We readers discover Ruth and her family recently bought some property with a pond on it in Colorado.  Their boys were the most excited about it, however they quickly became disappointed when they learned the pond is not connected to a water source, thus it’s a grand ole’ hole in the ground come summer!  Here’s where she points us to John 15:9-10,

We learn, “The meaning of the original Greek word meno (which is ‘abide’) in the New Testament means:

To stay,
To remain,
To be true to,
To persevere,
To keep walking beside;
To get in close,
To dwell,
To be near,
To not perish,
To withstand.”

Friends, may we seek to abide in Him and worship Him every day with wonder and with new eyes.

Now you know what I’m going to say, “Run, don’t walk to your favorite bookstore and get your very own copy of Beholding and Becoming.”  You’ll thank me later, I’m certain!!!

‘Til next time!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

 

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A New Year’s Resolution Worth Your Consideration…

Resolution, Schmezolution.

If I had a nickel for every New Year’s Resolution I’ve been-ever-so-desirous-of-but-ditched, I’d be rich. Same song, different year…How ‘bout you?

Therefore, I’m not making any resolutions this year…

Wide-eyed tho’ you may be, It was my resolution to not make any resolutions….

Until…..I came across a lovely idea we can all do. It comes from a book my friend Mary gave me by Henry T. and Richard Blackaby in their noteworthy devotional, Experiencing God Day by Day. 

Experiencing god

The entry from December 23rd is entitled The Wisdom of Spiritual Checking. The Blackabys discuss how we’re all used to having our progress measured in lots of ways. For example, we’re given tests in school, employee evaluations at work, and let’s not forget those charming physical exams from your docs.

My doc had a sign that read:   “Eat Less. Exercise More” in every single exam room. I always challenged his nurses to place me in a room without that sign, but alas, they really were In. Every. Single. Exam. Room. (As were the obnoxious scales.)

Hiding Numbers

The Blackabys point out that while we’re measured in many areas of our lives, we’re rarely measured by our spiritual growth. We learn from Luke 2:52:

flowers-daisy-1024x683

The Blackabys remind us of Paul’s words:   “When he was a new Christian, he behaved as a spiritual child, but as he matured in his faith, he began to act like a spiritual adult.”  (1 Corinthians 13:11) They build their case by saying “There’s nothing wrong with acting like a baby when you are an infant, but…

… it is the obligation of every believer to strive for maturity.”

Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity….” (ESV)

The Message is more my speed: “So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on ‘salvation by self-help’ and turning in trust toward God…”

3D Keep Calm And Trust God Button Click Here Block Text

The Blackabys suggest, “It is helpful for you to measure the progress in your spiritual life from time to time.”

How, we wonder, would one do such a thing?  Our authors recommend we ask a mature Christian if our actions reveal our maturity. Another question to ask yourself comes from the Chairman of the Board of the school our boys used to attend (I’ll never forget it.): Are you more mature in your faith today than you were six months ago?

Photo of a funny surprised girl

I know, yikes! Let’s vow to pray about these questions this week.  Ask God to bring to mind someone you can ask about your spiritual growth.

Along with the Blackabys, my mentors all agree that time spent diving into God’s Word, via a Bible study and quiet time is invaluable. 

There’s still time to sign up for four fun Tuesdays (the month of January) for a brand new Bible study, taught by my dear friend and mentor, Liz Curtis Higgs, starting tomorrow, January 7th, from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., at Christ Church United Methodist.  What a way to begin a new year!  Call the office to jump in:  (502) 897-6421.  They’re at 4614 Brownsboro Road, here in Louisville.  Lots of my Tuesday Bible study buddies are diving in too!  We hope to see you!

Women Bow And Pray

Meanwhile, I pray your brand new year begins with blessings a plenty!  May we all “grow up in Christ.”

Here’s to a happy-n-healthy 2020!

‘Til next time!

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