Christian Living Quick Tip #6

Believe bravely.

“Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened,
and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go”
Joshua 1:9 ESV

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Christian Living Quick Tip #5

Give quickly.

The wicked borrows but does not pay back, 
but the righteous is generous and gives. 
Psalm 37:21 ESV

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Christian Living Quick Tip #4

Pray biblically.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, 
that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
1 John 5:14 ESV

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Christian Living Quick Tip #3

Speak boldly.

[Pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in
opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.
Ephesians 6:19 ESV

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Christian Living Quick Tip #2

Love patiently.

“…with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2 ESV

Aslo: Colossians 3:12-14

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Christian Living Quick Tip #1

Live purposefully.

And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to His purpose. 

Romans 8:28 ESV

Scripture Focus: Romans 8:28-30, 2 Peter 1:3-11

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remember

In times like these,
it’s good to remember,
God is still on His throne,
and He still saves.

Fret not yourself because of evildoers. 
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation. 
Psalm 37:1, 2 Peter 3:15 ESV

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The Jesus Story: for children

This story can be told all at once, or over a period of days. First read the story and the Bible verse. Then open the corresponding egg, and talk about it. The objects in the eggs are meant to spark imagination and meaningful conversation…all because Jesus lives!

Egg 1
A long time ago, God came to earth. God actually became a baby! An angel told His mother, Mary, to name Him Jesus. We celebrate His birthday every Christmas.

The angel said:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31, also Matthew 1:23).

(open egg #1)

Do you think Mary put Jesus in a baby carriage?

Egg 2
Jesus grew up just like every other little boy grows up. But He didn’t act like any other little boy. Jesus never lied. He never cheated. He never said an unkind word, or did an unkind thing. And Jesus never, not even once, disobeyed His parents. Jesus never sinned! He never did anything wrong.

The Bible says,
“The child [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40).

(open egg #2)

Do you think Jesus played with marbles? Maybe He did. He might have played with blocks, too.

Have you ever said an unkind word, or disobeyed your parents? The Bible says everyone has sinned. Jesus is the only one who never sinned. (see Romans 3:23)

Egg 3
God told the people of Israel He would give them a King, their very own Messiah. The Messiah would love them and forgive them and show them how to live. The people waited and waited for their King. It seemed He would never come. But they kept waiting and hoping and looking for their King. Then, one day, a man named Andrew met Jesus.

After Andrew met Jesus, he hurried to Simon, his brother, and said,
“We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).

(open egg #3)

Do you think Jesus wore a crown? No, He didn’t. The first time Jesus came to earth, He came as God’s servant. But when He comes to earth again, He will come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then everyone will bow down to Him. (See Philippians 2:9-11)

Egg 4
Jesus performed miracles to prove that He and God are one. He healed many people who were sick. He told a storm to stop, and it did! He walked on water. He turned one little boy’s lunch into enough food to feed over 5,000 hungry people. And He brought a dead person back to life. Only God could do those things!

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

(open egg #4)

A long time ago, men wrote God’s word on parchment paper, and rolled it into scrolls. Now the Bible is a book. We learn about God, and get to know Him, when we read the Bible. It’s filled with true stories about Jesus! Do you like to hear true stories? (see John 20:30-31)

Egg 5
Jesus loved people more than anyone ever could. Some people loved and followed Jesus. Other people hated Him. They didn’t want to obey Him, or bow down to Him as King. They wanted to kill Him.

The Bible says,
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

(open egg #5)

Did you know that God loves you? He wants you to love Him, too. When we love God, we want to obey Him. (see 1 John 4:19)

Egg 6
On the night before Jesus died, He ate supper with His friends. He told them about His plan to go back to heaven, and prepare a place for them. He said one day they would live with Him in heaven.

Jesus said,
“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

(open egg #6)

Do you think there will be houses in heaven? What do you think heaven will be like? The Bible says God will live with His people, and there will be no crying or sickness or pain. The streets will be made of gold! Everything will be made new. (see Revelation 21:3-4)

Egg 7
After Jesus ate supper with His friends, He prayed for them. Jesus knew He would be killed. And He knew His friends would be very sad. So He asked His Father to take care of them.

Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven and said,
“Father….they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:1, 11, 15).

(open egg #7)

Prayer is talking to God the same way you talk to your mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa. God likes it when we talk to Him. (see Philippians 4:6-7)
What are some things we can pray about?

Egg 8
When Jesus finished praying, a mob of angry men came and took Him away. They put Him on trial, and declared Him guilty, even though He had never done anything wrong. They decided to kill Him by hanging Him on a cross—but that didn’t surprise Jesus at all. He came to die, and He knew He would die on a cross.

One day, Jesus said, “…the Son of Man [must] be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life” (John 3:14).

(open egg #8)

Jesus died on a cross, to take the punishment for sin. Do you know what sin is?

Sin separates us from God, because God is Holy. Everything He does is good and right and true. He never lies, or does anything wrong.

We can tell God we’re sorry for the things we’ve done wrong. We can ask Him to forgive us, and He will! Do you know why? Because Jesus took the punishment for everyone who believes in Him.

Egg 9
While Jesus hung on the cross, people mocked Him. They said, “If you are God, save yourself!” And Jesus could have saved Himself. He could have called for ten thousand angels to rescue Him. But He didn’t, because He wanted to take the punishment for the sins of God’s people.

The people who watched Jesus on the cross wagged their heads and said,
“If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. He saved others; but he cannot save himself. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now” (Matthew 27:40-43).

(open egg #9)

Did you know that angels do whatever God tells them to do? Sometimes He sends them to protect His people. (see Matthew 26:53-54, Psalm 91:11-12)

Egg 10
After Jesus died, two of His friends took Him off the cross. They wrapped His body in strips of cloth and sweet-smelling spices. Then they laid Him in a tomb.

The Bible says,
“So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (John 19:40).

(open egg #10)

Jesus died, and His friends were very sad, but God has power over life and death. Something exciting happened three days after Jesus died! Do you think you know the end to this true story? (see 1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

Egg 11
Strong men rolled a huge stone in front of Jesus’ tomb, so no one could get in and no one could take Jesus out.

The Bible says they “rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away” (Matthew 27:60).

(open egg #11)

A tomb was like a cave, with an opening at the front, so people could walk in and out. How big do you think the stone had to be to close the entrance of a tomb? Do you think it was bigger than you?

Egg 12
Three days after Jesus died, three of His friends went to the tomb. They were women who wanted to put more spices on Jesus’ body. On the way to the tomb, they said to each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us?” When they got to the tomb, an angel had already rolled away the stone. When they went inside, they found an empty tomb!

The angel said to the women,
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said…go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:5-7).

After Jesus finished all the work God gave Him to do, God brought Him back to life. And He still lives, to this very day!

(open egg #12)

Why do you think there’s soap in our last egg?

Thanks to Jesus, we can ask God to wash away our sins. And He will!

The Bible says:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Jesus came to His own people, but they didn’t care about Him or love Him. They didn’t want to obey Him or honor Him as King.

But to all who believe Him, who receive Him as Savior and Lord, He gives the right to become children of God (see John 1:11-12).

That’s why we celebrate Easter.

Supplies:

12 plastic eggs numbered 1-12
egg carton

Here’s what to put in the eggs:
Egg 1: baby carriage or any small item found in the baby shower section of stores, an It’s a Boy trinket, or small piece of baby blanket
Egg 2: marbles, a small bouncy ball, small blocks or toy
Egg 3: crown (charm or sticker, Hobby Lobby has several crown charm options)
Egg 4: rolled up Scripture (copied from page of Bible), and picture of Bible, Bible charm or sticker
Egg 5: heart (plenty of options to choose from)
Egg 6: Monopoly game house, pictures of houses from real estate section, gold nugget
Egg 7: praying hands (charm, clipart cutout, or sticker)
Egg 8: cross (many options to choose from)
Egg 9: angel (charm or sticker)
Egg 10: strips of muslin and whole spices such as cloves, allspice or nutmeg
Egg 11: stone
Egg 12: soap (small soap balls found by bubble bath in stores, or cut a piece from bar)

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Jesus paid it all

Whenever we wonder if Jesus’ sacrifice
paid the full price for our sin,
we should open our Bibles
and read about the crucifixion.
One short portion will do.
Let that sink in.
And soon we will realize,
Christ’s suffering is the only reason
we can stand before a Holy God.

Now to Him who is able
to keep you from stumbling
and to present you blameless
before the presence of His glory
with great joy, to the only God,
our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority,
before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jude 24 ESV

Scripture: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 22 & 23, John 19

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because God cares…

Our relationship with God
can be so satisfying,
and the time we spend in His Word
so rewarding,
that we aren’t phased
by what people think of us,
or how they treat us.
When we need to be lifted up,
we simply bow down
before this One
who knows us best
and loves us most–
we kneel before the One
who holds this crumbling world,
and every aspect of our lives,
in the palm of His hand.

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; 
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
Psalm 95:6 ESV

Scripture: Psalm 95:1-7, Hebrews 4:14-16

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God alone

It’s good to remember, the best things
a person can do will be known to God,
and God alone.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door
and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father
who sees in secret will reward you.” 
Matthew 6:6 ESV

Also: Matthew 6:1-6

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God smiles

God is delighted with the one who delights in Him,
whose lips are quick to offer Him praise.

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre…
the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, 
in those who hope in His steadfast love.
Psalm 147:7, 11 ESV

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Jesus Calling? I don’t think so.

There’s a popular trend in Christian publishing in which authors write from God’s point of view. Sarah Young’s bestseller, Jesus Calling, is one of those books, with a twist. She believes she writes the very words of God, not simply what she thinks God would say, if He were to speak to her.
“I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more,” Young states. “I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day,” she explains. So she decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down her “personal messages from God.”
To Young’s credit, she admits that her writings are not “inspired as Scripture is,” and that, “the Bible is, of course, the only inerrant Word of God.” However, she believes her messages address the felt needs of Christians who are “searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace.”
Jesus Calling has appeared on all of the major bestseller lists, has sold over 10 million copies, and is available in 26 languages. People are eating it up. But should we? John Piper gives good insight.
Commenting on an article published in Christianity Today, written by an anonymous professor at a well-known Christian University, who also claims to have heard the voice of God, Piper states, “What’s sad is that it really does give the impression that extra-biblical communication with God is surpassingly wonderful and faith-deepening. I grieve at what is being communicated here. The great need of our time is for people to experience the living reality of God by hearing his word personally and transformingly in Scripture” (emphasis added).
Jesus Calling raised a few questions for me: Should I be longing for more than the Bible? Is the Bible really enough? Am I missing out on a deeper experience of Jesus’ presence and peace?
So, I asked God, and He answered me with Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Psalm 19:7-11. The Bible truly is more precious than gold, and sweeter than honey dripping from the honeycomb. What could be better than that?

 

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on thanks giving

True thankfulness happens
when we delight in the giver,
more than the gift.

May God’s love and faithfulness to us
inspire a thankfulness that glorifies Him
and blesses our hearts.

‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, 
for the Lord is good, 
for His steadfast love endures forever!’ 
Jeremiah 33:11 ESV

Also: Psalm 50:23 and Jeremiah 31:3

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on waiting and confidence

While waiting for deliverance,
the righteous live by faith,
because it’s impossible to put
too much confidence in God.

Therefore do not throw away your confidence,
which has a great reward. 
Hebrews 10:35 ESV

Scripture: Hebrews 10:35-39

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understanding life

The most important things
are best understood
after we’ve spent
time alone with God.

But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God.
Psalm 73:16-17a ESV

Scripture Focus: Psalm 73, Jeremiah 33:3

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a Christmas blessing

May God bless you
with words and opportunity,
courage and clarity,
to boldly proclaim
the good news
that is ours in Christ Jesus,
this Christmas.

“For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.” 

Luke 2:11 ESV

See: Ephesians 2:18-20

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treasures

Whenever my best friend Kare and I get together, we bring a gift. We usually find some little trinket or homemade item we think the other will enjoy. We delight in the giving and the getting. Our homes have become speckled with these tiny treasures which remind us often of the love we have for each other.
I wonder if the treasures we are to lay up in heaven could be looked at in a similar light–as love gifts for Jesus. Isn’t it possible we would want something to offer the One who has prepared a place for us in His Father’s home? Isn’t it possible we would want a treasure, however small, to lay at His feet?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 
Matthew 6:21 ESV

See: Matthew 6:19-21, Revelation 4:9-11, John 14:1-4

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calling a Christian

Calling someone a Christian, who is not one, is dangerous.
It weakens our testimony;
it keeps us from praying for his greatest need–salvation;
it gives false hope to the one acknowledged;
and it just looks stupid to the watching world.

If a person displays no love for Christ or His people, he is not a Christian.
If he displays no godly characteristics, or Spirit fruit, he is not born again.

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:10 ESV

Also: Galatians 5:22

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God answers prayer

QUESTION: Can we know God is at work in the lives of the people for whom we pray, especially as pertains to their spiritual well-being and salvation, and especially when we see little or no evidence of God’s work? And, what difference would knowing God is at work make in our own  lives?

ANSWER: Yes. We can know God is at work in the lives of the people for whom we pray, because GOD ANSWERS PRAYER!

I was going to list several reasons why we can know God is at work, when we pray, but it all comes back to that one reason. It’s all we need to know, and remember–God answers prayer.

What difference would knowing make?
If we knew God was at work,
we would pray more and worry less;
we would show more patience;
we would more quickly share spiritual truths, assuming, hoping, hearts have been prepared by God to hear and accept them;
we would have joy at the prospect of seeing the evidence of God’s work;
we would be more thankful, more worshipful, more glad in God;
we would not give up!

Go ahead, see: James 5:13-18, 1 John 5:13-17

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