Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Different Christmas Catalog

While your kids are perusing the toy catalogs as the holidays approach- take the opportunity to ditch the materialism and pull out a different kind of Christmas catalog! I am very fond of Samaritan's Purse and LOVE what they've done for the last two years at Christmas. They have a catalog-style publication of needs for their ministry. There are eight categories and a wide variety of projects to consider and contribute to. I cried as I read over the catalog that just arrived. I have a very special place in my heart for medical missions- so something like this just hits me in my soft spot.

This is really a perfect tool to use with your children to help them see a bigger picture this holiday season. There are things that kids can relate to and pick out to give like sports balls or warm blankets, food or milk, storybooks or Gospel lessons. Let your kids pick out a few things to give to their grandparents or others who really don't need a "gift". Samaritan's Purse will either send you a card to give to the recipient or they'll send it to them directly for you! Let's teach our children how blessed they really are- and help them to look beyond themselves this Christmas. Let's teach them-

"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.' Matthew 25:40

God bless you as you seek to teach your children that God loves others as much as He loves them, help them not be "conformed to the pattern of this world" (Rom 12:2), and keep them from being "polluted by the world" (James 1:27)! (It's so easy for us all to do these things during the holidays!)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Two more ideas...

Two more ideas/updates from that last post about prevention, bibs, and GT and the Halo Express. 1st, since that post, at the suggestion of a dear friend, I ordered a Bumpkins bib- with long sleeves and a catch-all pocket- and wondered how I've (almost) been through the highchair phase 4 times without it. Wow- worth all $17! Really! Secondly- if your kids think mp3's and iPods are cool- get them a little one and load it up with Scripture songs like GT and the Halo Express! My girls got little mp3 players as a gift- and we loaded 'em up with praise songs and GT's and they just love it! (And I love what's going into their minds and hearts!)

Not earth-shattering- I know. But, helpful, I hope!

Friday, October 17, 2008

An ounce of prevention...

As I take my 18 mo old out of the high chair I'm asking myself, "WHY?!?! Why didn't you take 1.5 sec to put on a bib???" Our selection of bibs by the 4th kid is rather... limited- and I have simply gotten out of the habit of finding a clean one and putting it on! (There is really no good excuse.) So, he had mac-n-cheese, gluten-free of course, and a popsicle and a little red jello. Well... you can imagine the result. And you're thinking I'm pretty... well... I guess it goes without saying--- I just wasn't thinking. But now, I get to make this great analogy. Prevention saves much time and trouble later. How does this apply to discipling our kids? Well, my kids are dancing and singing to GT and the Halo Express right now- they've sung Gen 1:27, Psalm 139:14, Jer. 29:11, and now 2 Cor 5:17 "If anyone is in Christ Jesus, He is a new creation!" Now, since I've started typing, I've told them it was time to turn it off- come empty the DW- and get ready for bed. However- they're STILL SINGING 2 Cor 5:17. This is prevention at it's best. They don't need that verse right now (maybe). But, it is being embedded in their hearts to be used in the future- by us- and by the Holy Spirit. I can't begin to imagine what things having these verse buried in their hearts will prevent- and I don't want to! Just like putting on the bib- it really doesn't take much time to turn off the radio and pop in a CD- or throw it on in the kitchen while everyone's cleaning up--- but the dividends reaped will be worth the effort! (I'll be reminded of this when I spend 1/2 an hour trying to get red jello out of grey shirt and pants.)

If you've read "Living the Inspired Life" blog from the beginning- you remember me talking about GT and the Halo Express. But, I thought, especially with Christmas right around the corner, it bore repeating!!! It was THE best $ I spent last year. You can buy one of the 7 CD's by itself- or you can buy the whole set together. I don't know if you can hear clips on their site or not- but may I vouch for the music? It is upbeat, QUALITY music we all LOVE to sing! It is SO easy to memorize God's Word this way! Great gift to give, too! Ok... check it out here!

Happy discipling~

©2008 Katherine Clark

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Discipling the virtue of Compassion

Yesterday was "Blog Action Day"- where bloggers are asked to "change the conversation" in lives around the world. The topic for 2008 is poverty. Now you, and I, my friends, are mostly homemakers, parents, carpool drivers, and the like, am I right? But, we influence people within our homes, churches and communities, as well as the future leaders of the world- in society, business, government, and church. As we speak about the poor (or do we acknowledge the existence of mass poverty in our world?)--- how do we speak? With compassion? With responsibility? With action?

I am encouraged today- to incorporate talk of the poor and our responsibility into our lives. There exist differing perspectives on what poverty is. Afterall, most everything is relative. If you live in the US, some would say that no matter how bad off you are, you do not experience poverty. I would argue that anyone who does not have security in knowing their basic needs will be regularly met, is in poverty. (Those not in poverty have no fear--- not even a thought- of whether their basic needs for food and shelter will be met.)

Perhaps you are already doing things that your children are unaware of. We make a SMALL monthly contribution to Feed the Children. However, I don't think our children are aware of this. So, today, I will make them aware. Each year we pack Shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse- Operation Christmas Child- likely, you do, too! There is a children's book that talks about the shoe boxes- perhpas it, or your own story, would help drive-home the reason for this charitable act. Many ministries close to home and around the world are serving the needs of the poor- historically, most of them have been Christian ministries, however, as of late, the secular world is attuned to the abhorent existence of poverty and have been making their own efforts to raise awareness of and erradicate hunger and poverty. One such is End Poverty 2015. We all need to join together in this work of self-sacrifice and serving others in need. I believe for parents, this begins with teaching our children how blessed they are and to extend the compassion of Jesus to those who are in need. This might begin with small personal sacrifices to benefit someone else.

Even though we in America are experiencing serious financial hardships, we are rich compared to 90% of the world (or so I've read in that email forward...). Let's start changing the conversation in our small corner of the world- and bring compassion to those in need.

What are some small, practical ways you (and your family) can begin to address the issue of poverty in our world?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Praying for your Children

When Hope was a baby, I cut out a list of '31 Virtues to Pray for Your Children' which was printed in our church bulletin. I try to use it each day to pray for our children, among other things. I found the original article online by Bob Holstetler. I hope that you will find them as helpful as I have! If you are still working on your "Discipleship Goals for your Children"- perhaps this list will be a brainstorm springboard for you and your spouse. Blessings as you pray,

31 Virtues to Pray for Your Children
by Bob Holstetler
1 salvation "Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory" (Isaiah 45:8, 2 Timothy 2:10).
2 growth in grace "I pray that they may 'grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ'" (2 Peter 3:18).
3 love "Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to 'live a life of love,' through the Spirit who dwells in them" (Ephesians 5:2, Galatians 5:22).
4 honesty and integrity " May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection" (Psalm 25:21, NLT).
5 self-control " Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be 'alert and self-controlled' in all they do" (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
6 a love for God's Word " May my children grow to find your Word 'more precious than gold, than much pure gold; [and] sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb'" (Psalm 19:10).
7 justice " God, help my children to love justice as you do and to 'act justly' in all they do" (Psalm 11:7, Micah 6:8).
8 mercy " May my children always 'be merciful, as [their] Father is merciful'" (Luke 6:36).
9 respect (for self, others, authority) " Father, grant that my children may 'show proper respect to everyone,' as your Word commands" (1 Peter 2:17a).
10 strong, Biblical self-esteem " Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are 'God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus'" (Ephesians 2:10).
11 faithfulness "' Let love and faithfulness never leave [my children],' but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts" (Proverbs 3:3).
12 courage "May my children always 'Be strong and courageous' in their character and in their actions" (Deuteronomy 31:6).
13 purity "'Create in [them] a pure heart, O God,' and let their purity of heart be shown in their actions" (Psalm 51:10).
14 kindness "Lord, may my children 'always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else'" (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
15 generosity "Grant that my children may 'be generous and willing to share [and so] lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age'" (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
16 peace, peaceability "Father, let my children 'make every effort to do what leads to peace'" (Romans 14:19).
17 joy " May my children be filled 'with the joy given by the Holy Spirit'" (1 Thessalonians 1:6).
18 perseverance " Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to 'run with perseverance the race marked out for [them]'" (Hebrews 12:1).
19 humility " God, please cultivate in my children the ability to 'show true humility toward all'" (Titus 3:2).
20 compassion " Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion" (Colossians 3:12).
21 responsibility " Grant that my children may learn responsibility, 'for each one should carry his own load'" (Galatians 6:5).
22 contentment " Father, teach my children 'the secret of being content in any and every situation. . . . through him who gives [them] strength'" (Philippians 4:12-13).
23 faith " I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children's hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them" (Luke 17:5-6, Hebrews 11:1-40).
24 a servant heart " God, please help my children develop servant hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, 'as to the Lord, and not to men'" (Ephesians 6:7, KJV).
25 hope " May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).
26 the willingness and ability to work hard " Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work hard at everything they do, 'as working for the Lord, not for men'" (Colossians 3:23).
27 a passion for God " Lord, please instill in my children a soul that "followeth hard after thee," a heart that clings passionately to you (Psalm 63:8, KJV).
28 self-discipline " Father, I pray that my children may develop self-discipline, that they may acquire 'a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair'" (Proverbs 1:3).
29 prayerfulness " Grant, Lord, that my children's lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to 'pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Ephesians 6:18).
30 gratitude " Help my children to live lives that are always 'overflowing with thankfulness,' 'always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ'" (Colossians 2:7, Ephesians 5:20).
31 a heart for missions " Lord, please help my children to develop a heart for missions, a desire to see your glory declared among the nations, your marvelous deeds among all peoples" (Psalm 96:3). Copyright © 2005, Bob Hostetler

Friday, October 10, 2008

Great Kids Bible

Just wanted to make you aware of a great deal available today-Monday on Christian Book Distributors! (Now, there's not free shipping- so if it's the only thing you're getting- may not be a deal- but it's $5 off Amazon's cost and there are LOTS of other great Fab. Friday specials- a devo by Anne Graham Lotz for $3!) My 8 year old daughter uses the hard-back version previous to this one- "The Little Kids Adventure Bible" and we like it. It has excerpts from Scripture, this one on sale today is a verse by verse. The hard-back version is $17.81 on Amazon to compare. But this is a nicer, "real" looking Bible that older children may prefer.

NIV Adventure Bible Revised Edition, Blue Imitation LeatherRetail Price: $29.99 CBD Price: $14.99( In Stock )

Stock Number: WW16580
When kids open The Adventure Bible, they embark on a great adventure, an exciting expedition of exploring and discovering treasures in God's Word. Now this best-selling Bible has been revised to further enrich a child's first independent encounters with Scripture. It incorporates four color tip-ins throughout and identifying key Biblical characters and including important facts kids will want to know. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. Features Include:
"Let's Live It!" helps kids apply the Bible to their own lives.
"Life in Bible Times" explains what it was like to live in Bible times.
"Did You Know?" points out fun and interesting facts about the Bible.
"Words to Treasure" highlights popular Bible verses for
15 full page color charts, including "10 Commandments for Kids," "How To Pray," "Famous Children of the Bible," and more.
Book introductions provide basic facts about each book of the Bible.
8 pages of full color maps.
Presentation page.
Dictionary-Concordance to key Bible words.
10 point type.
Due to the uneven grain of this Bible, we advise against imprinting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Growing Kids God's Way

I know from discussing Babywise with people over the last 8 years that this curriculum in its secular and Christian(original) form is controversial. However, sometimes we know we're on the right track when the world persecutes us. I think this curriuculum is a good example of this principle. We used Babywise (and Babywise II and Childwise, too) with our children. I also purchased many Growing Kids God's Way tapes on Ebay and have listened to them in the last couple of years. Now, we have the privilege of taking a Growing Kids God's Way course at our church. What a blessing!!! This is truly a godly course! If you are interested in passing your faith onto your children, having a good relationship with your children as they grow up, and raising responsible, productive children, this course is for you. Here's the homepage for Growing Families International- the parent ministry. Whether you are just planning to have children soon, or have a quiver-full already like us, I recommend that you find a church in your area offering this course- or at least- get some tapes and a workbook to enhance your parenting. In this course you will learn why your marriage is important to your children, how to move behavior "why's" from rules to obey to moral reasons that will stick and shape their hearts to love others, as well as MANY practical applications for everyday parenting.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What are the values you intend to foster?

My friend, Heidi, just sent me a link to a great article. I read it and thought it to be very true and very thought provoking.

I believe that we do all have an internal "script" or set of values we desire to foster in our children. After you're done with your discipleship goals (previous post)--- think about the things you value and hope to see your children one day be characterized by. This is totally personal- perhaps a good work ethic, or being scholarly, articulate, or not outspoken. WHATEVER your values are... try to get them written down. THEN- search them out in Scripture. Find verses to go with them and make a plan for how to practice and cultivate them. And, while you're at it- be sure they ARE INDEED Scriptural values- things that our Lord also values. Sometimes things sneak in!

Enjoy the article- and blessings as you determine YOUR values...


©2008 Katherine Clark

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What ARE your discipling goals?

I was remiss this afternoon in asking you to please comment with one goal you currently have in discipling your children. If you can, put the goal as the first words of your comment- like a title or subject of your comment- then others will be able to look over them on the blog in more of a list form and click to read more. I'm sure there's not a LOT of traffic here- and maybe the idea of discipleship is new to you. Simply put, discipleship is the process of making disciples or followers of Jesus Christ- it's the "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" part of the Great Commission- the often overlooked portion. I can't wait to be spurred on by reading your goals!
Blessings of Christ,

Fail to Plan...

...plan to fail.

We've all heard that before right? However, we too often make the mistake of not making plans and goals when it comes to discipling our children in their relationship with our Lord. Spend some dedicated time in prayer with the Lord talking about how you'd like to see your children's relationship with Him established and growing. Then, if you can, spend some dedicated time in prayer with your spouse as well. Come up with a few long-term goals together and some short-term action steps to meet those goals. For example:

Long Term Goal: The children should have a daily quiet time of prayer and reading and applying God's Word independently. Short-term Action step: Read from the children's Bible with each child at a set time (morning or evening) each day, helping them apply the truths and then pray with them.

1. Be realistic in your goals and your action steps.
2. Don't start too big! You don't want to be overwhelmed and give up.
3. Work on one action step at a time- and turn it into a habit, then add another.
4. Work towards and support these goals as a team (you and your spouse- and single parents- you and your partner, the Lord)

Blessings as you fulfill the Great Commission... right in YOUR home!
~Katherine Clark

© 2008 Katherine Clark
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