Your Family Praise Psalm

Praise  sing praises speak of His wondersHave you ever considered that your family could write your own praise Psalm?  This would be a great thing for your family to do at Thanksgiving or at any time of year.  After all, a psalm is simply a heartfelt prayer song to the Lord. Psalms are always honest. The Psalmists speak of times of difficulty in some songs, but they always come back to the fact that God is Supreme over all and that He is good and is worthy of our trust and our worship and praise. Psalms can be very personal, but at the same time they are universal in that the heart cries of the Psalmists of old still resonate with people today.

Living a life of trust and walking by faith are not always easy, so one thing that the Psalmists did was to declare their intention to honor their covenant relationship with God by choosing to be guided by God’s word or to praise the Lord every day. In addition, the Psalmists often spoke of who God is as far as His character. In the Psalms, we read of God’s holiness, righteousness, goodness, kindness, long suffering, His mercies, His everlasting love, His power and might, and His glory. The Psalmists were guided by their knowledge of who God is and their relationship with Him. In Psalms that were written in times of trial, the Psalmists call out to God because of the fact that they know He is good and loving and merciful. In good times. the Psalmists exalt the Lord because of His kindness and long suffering that has been revealed through both trials and blessings.

Psalm 100 scripture memory photo

We all have life stories and faith journeys, just like the Psalmists.  Every individual story is unique, and every family has their own journey as well.  In order to focus on the element of praise in your family’s Psalm, it is helpful to look at two of the most well known praise Psalms in the Bible.  Both are very short (only 5 – 6 verses), and they are a good model for your family’s prayer of praise.  So, here are two scripture memory photos for Psalm 100 and Psalm 150.  These can be printed in whatever size works best for you and used for your family times of devotion.  Perhaps your family can memorize the five verses of Psalm 100 one month and the six verses of Psalm 150 the next.  Or, spend some time reading and talking about these two Psalms during a couple of your family worship times.  Look at the times that are mentioned when the Psalmist praised the Lord.  Look at the attributes and actions of God that the Psalmist praised.  Look at the commitments to the Lord that the Psalmist mentions in the verses.  What actions or attitudes have the Psalmists chosen for themselves in order to demonstrate their praise to God?  How can your family demonstrate your praise and thanksgiving?  At what times of day and in what places can your family express their praise?  Read through the two brief praise Psalms above and below this paragraph, and then think about what your family’s praise Psalm would say.

Note:  For a family devotion resource on Psalm 100, check out this post on our primary blog, which shares the why and how of praise, as found in the Psalm, as well as a list of the benefits of praise.  http://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/psalm-100-a-prescription-for-praise/

Psalm 150 memory help photo

WRITING  YOUR  FAMILY  PRAISE  PSALM

Make your family’s praise Psalm as unique and personal as you desire.  You can frame a copy for each child’s room or for your family room if desired.  Just make sure that it reflects your family’s desire to praise and thank the Lord for who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in your lives.  Your praise Psalm should state your family’s intention to be faithful to God in praise as He has been faithful to you in everything.  Most importantly, your praise Psalm should be true to scripture.  Have fun working together with your family to figure out what your praise Psalm should say.  Below, you will find a set of suggestions for writing your praise Psalm that would be easily understood by most children.  This can be printed and used to guide that process of writing if you feel that it would be helpful.

Print this guideline to help your family write a Praise Psalm, or write the suggestions on sentence strips and give each family member one suggestion to work on as their contribution to your family’s Praise Psalm.

How to write a Praise Psalm 2

MY  FAMILY’S  PRAISE  PSALM

Praise   Lets just praise the Lord“Praise the Lord!  Praise Him wherever you are.

Praise God when you get up in the morning to get ready for the day.

Praise Him when you go to school or when you run to play.

Praise God when you are with your brothers and when you are alone.

Praise God at church; Praise God at home.

Think of God and praise him all day long.

Praise Him with a thank you song.

Praise God when it is time for slumber;

Count your blessings…what a number!

Praise the Lord!  Praise Him everywhere you go,

Praise Him for all of the love that you know.

For our God is so good.

His promises are true.

His love lasts forever.  His mercies are new.

Praise Him with your family.

Praise Him with your friends.

His love lasts forever.  His grace never ends.

Praise the Lord!”

(Your Praise Psalm doesn’t have to be poetic.  Ours just came out that way.  Just make sure that your Praise Psalm reflects your family’s personal opportunities to praise the Lord, some reasons to praise Him, and your intention to do just that.)

Blessings to you and your family as you walk with the Lord day by day and choose to praise and worship the Lord together!

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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He is Jesus!

Topics for Teaching:  Jesus, His identity, His uniqueness, His mission, His victory, His sovereignty

WelcomeProphets foretold His birth centuries before it occurred.An angel appeared to His mother to announce the miracle of his conception.

His Father chose as His mother an unknown maiden with a heart inclined to God and ready to surrender herself to God’s will.

He left His heavenly home to come into a world that seemed to have no room for Him.

He was born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy of His royal birth.

And yet, He was born in the humblest of circumstances in order to identify fully with humankind and because He had no intention of becoming an earthly King.

His birth was celebrated by angels and accompanied by a phenomenal Heavenly star to proclaim His deity.

Modest working men were the first to hear of His coming, demonstrating that no wealth is necessary to know Him.

Wise men of wealth and position travelled from far away to bring gifts to Him and worship the One whose birth could be seen in the Heavens, showing that He was and is the King of Kings.

He astonished the learned scholars in the temple at a young age, demonstrating that He is the Word made flesh.

He healed sickness, demonstrating His compassion and His power over human frailty.

He raised the dead, demonstrating His power over death and the coming end of sorrow.

He multiplied the provisions of men, taking care of earthly need and demonstrating that God can take what we offer and do more with it that we could imagine.

He walked on water and calmed the storm, demonstrating His supremacy over all created things and what we call the “laws of nature.”

He taught with authority because He was the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

He taught profound truth through the simplicity of parables so that all people and even children could understand.

He wept at the sorrow of death and the rejection of God’s plan in demonstration of His incarnation.  He is Emmanuel, God with us,… in grief, in sorrow, in rejection, and in loss.

He demonstrated humility in washing the feet of His own disciples.

He foretold His own death and resurrection and the denial of one of His closest followers.

He chose God’s will for Himself and submitted to a mockery of a trial so that He could take our guilt.

He was beaten, despised, humiliated and condemned so that we could be redeemed.

He carried much more than a heavy wooden cross on His back.  He carried the weight of the sin of all mankind.

The hands that blessed and healed were nailed to a cross.

The beautiful feet that had carried the message of God’s love and mercy were pierced so that He could carry our sin to the mercy seat.

The heart that beat with more love than you or I could fathom was stilled as He gave up His life so that we could have life everlasting.

He commited His spirit to God and spoke the words of victory that echo through eternity:  “It is finished!”

“He was in the beginning with God, and with Him everything that was created was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

He is life, and He came to give life.  And yet, he endured death, and darkness, and Hell.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

He did not stay in the tomb.   He was no longer there, for He had risen, just as He said.

He appeared to Mary, to his disciples, and to other followers.  He was not bound by death or by the walls of a tomb.  He is alive!

He told His followers that he must leave so that the Holy Spirit could come and inhabit the hearts of all believers.

He told them what he would be doing while they were apart.  He is preparing a place in Heaven, reigning as Sovereign Lord at the right hand of God the Father, and praying for believers.

He gave them their mission:  “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”

He is with us.  He is praying for us.  He is preparing a place for us.

He is still changing lives, touching hearts, and healing hurts.

He is the Savior of the world.

He is the Redeemer whose love for mankind could not be crucified.

He is the Lord of All.

He is the beginning and the end.

He is the Bridegroom.

He is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world.

He is the Living Water, bringing unquenchable life.

He is the King of glory, the hope of mankind, and the joy of man’s desiring.

He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

He is Jesus!

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This post originated in the heart of God before the foundation of the World. The words were put together by Cynthia A. Boyd to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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“He is Jesus!”, copyright 2012 by Cynthia A. Boyd, all rights reserved. To share this post,  only the URL  may be copied or posted.    http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/he-is-jesus/

Permission must be obtained for printing or for audio or video recording if this is used as a reading.

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Grace…it really is Amazing!

Teaching topic:  God’s amazing grace, the expression of His great love!

Photo of the interior of the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel at Callaway Gardens (by Dea Minter Carey)

* GRACE GIVES,… out of the overflow of LAVISH LOVE!

Glimpses of grace come to us in all kinds of ways. We see the grace of God through His word, through an encouragement when we need it most, through the reminders of His love and mercy, and through the majesty and beauty of His creation, which is constantly sustained by His grace. We also see grace extended through the lives of others. We have been given lavish grace, and we have opportunities every day to extend this grace to others. In our lives, we all have stories of grace extended, grace recognized, grace blossoming, and grace overcoming darkness with light.

Sometimes we just don’t think about all of the manifestations of grace and may even take it for granted. We should think about grace, because we need to seek to extend God’s grace into the lives of people with whom we come into contact and into the world around us. The only way for us to extend the grace that we have been given by God is to do so intentionally. Grace is love that goes beyond. It is lavish love. It is not a mere exchange, requiring something in return. Grace gives when there is no promise of recompense. Grace reaches out through alienation and hurt. Grace heals, encourages, surprises us, and takes our breath away at the beauty of its motivation. For grace is pure. It is love that gives because it overflows, not because it is deserved or earned.  The best gift ever given, God’s only Son, Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the lavish, loving grace of God.  Grace really IS amazing!

* GRACE EMBRACES….out of a longing for relationship

As Jesus has loved us, so are we to love one another. We must remember that we have already been given that which we do not deserve…the love and mercy of God through our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is because of the lavish gift of salvation that we must choose to lay aside that which is temporary and embrace that which is eternal. When we embrace and value the lives of fellow human beings, we are most like Christ. Though He clearly saw the sin and sorrow in every life He encountered, Jesus healed, blessed, encouraged, helped, taught, fed, raised, challenged, transformed, forgave, and loved all who came across His path. The desire for a relationship with us because of His great love for us was more important to Jesus than any condemnation of our unrighteousness or exaltation of His own righteousness.

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17

* GRACE SEES…what could be

Because grace is lavish love expressed through undeserved mercy, grace sees.
Grace sees what could be….in the hearts and lives of people.
Grace sees what could be….in our own hearts and lives….and our need for growth.
Grace sees what could be….in relationships.
Grace sees what could be….in attitudes.
Grace demonstrates love to us right where we are….and sees ahead to what God will do in our lives as we yield our will and our hearts to Him.

* GRACE KNOWS US…right where we are…and chooses to show us love and mercy.

Grace is a choice that God makes in every millisecond of time to continue to show mercy because of His great love for us. The world keeps on spinning because of Amazing Grace. Our hearts keep beating because of the amazing grace of God. He could choose immediate judgement, but instead He chooses grace. And, from the dawn of time, His plan was to meet our need for grace by taking our judgement upon Himself because of His great love. We didn’t have to deserve or earn the right to forgiveness and salvation. He loves, He provides, He forgives, He sanctifies, He heals, He makes all things new, He comforts, He blesses, He gives joy and life more abundant, and His mercies are new every morning…because He is love. His grace flows out of the overflow of His lavish love, and the flow is never-ending.

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth; and we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father. And from His fulness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:14 & 16

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth; and we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father. And from His fulness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:14 & 16

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Post written by C. Boyd

This post was first published as a page on our WorshipSound Music Blog at http://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/grace-notes/

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

Tidings of Great Joy!

Topic for teaching:  the birth of Jesus, prophecies fulfilled, trust and worship God

Nativity silhouetteThis post contains the story of the birth of Christ with the scriptural accounts from Luke’s Gospel and Matthew’s Gospel, illustrated throughout with the most appropriate art or photos of dramatic portrayals that we could find. Following the scriptural story, you will find some information about some of the prophecies that were fulfilled with the birth of Christ. This information about the prophecies and their fulfillment comes from two different sources, which are noted.

THE STORY OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
IN SCRIPTURES AND ILLUSTRATIONS

Luke 1

New International Version (NIV)
(Scripture passages are copied from http://www.biblegateway.com )

Introduction

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth

5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Artistic deptiction of the angel appearing to Zechariah

Artistic deptiction of the angel Gabriel appearing to Zechariah

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could

Artistic depiction of Zechariah with Elizabeth

Artistic depiction of Zechariah with Elizabeth

not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Artistic depiction of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary

Artistic depiction of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Artistic deptiction of Mary as she expressed her desire to serve the Lord

Artistic deptiction of Mary as she expressed her desire to serve the Lord

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Artistic depiction of Elizabeth greeting Mary

Artistic depiction of Elizabeth greeting Mary

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Artistic depiction of Mary and Elizabeth rejoicing together

Artistic depiction of Mary and Elizabeth rejoicing together

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

Artistic depiction of Mary glorifying the Lord

Artistic depiction of Mary glorifying the Lord

“My soul glorifies the Lord47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

The Birth of John the Baptist

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth with their miracle baby

Dramatic portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth with their miracle baby

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

Artistic depiction of Zechariah writing on a tablet, "His name is John."

Artistic depiction of Zechariah writing on a tablet, “His name is John.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child

going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

Zechariah’s Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn[c] of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Artistic portrayal of the prophecy of Zechariah

Artistic portrayal of the prophecy of Zechariah

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[d]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

Sculptural portrayal of Caesar Augustus

Sculptural portrayal of Caesar Augustus

Artistic portrayal of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem

Artistic portrayal of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Artistic depiction of Mary caring for Baby Jesus

Artistic depiction of Mary caring for Baby Jesus

shepherds afraid8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”1

The Heavely Host appear to the shepherds and share the good news of the birth of Jesus

The Heavely Host appear to the shepherds and share the good news of the birth of

5 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Shepherds on the way to find baby Jesus

Shepherds on the way to find baby Jesus

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

The shepherds adore the baby Jesus

The shepherds adore the baby Jesus

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.Mary holding baby Jesus19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20 The shepherds returned [to their flocks}, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Artistic depiction of the shepherds returning to their flocks, glorifying and praising God

Artistic depiction of the shepherds returning to their flocks, glorifying and praising God

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

Artistic depiction of Mary and Joseph taking baby Jesus to the temple

Dramatic portrayal of Mary and Joseph taking baby Jesus to the temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]

Artistic depiction of Simeon thanking God for baby Jesus

Artistic depiction of Simeon thanking God for baby Jesus

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Anna rejoicing36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Matthew 1

New International Version (NIV)

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Artistic depiction of Abraham and Isaac

Artistic depiction of Abraham and Isaac

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,

Perez the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

4 Ram the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

6 and Jesse the father of King David.

Artistic depiction of David and Solomon

Artistic depiction of David and Solomon

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

12 After the exile to Babylon:

Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,

Abihud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

14 Azor the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Akim,

Akim the father of Elihud,

15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob,

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Dramatic portrayal of the betrothed couple, Joseph and Mary

Dramatic portrayal of the betrothed couple, Joseph and Mary

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Artistic depiction of Joseph as he slept and the angel appeared to him in a dream

Artistic depiction of Joseph as he slept and the angel appeared to him in a dream

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

Dramatic portrayal of Joseph as he considers the dream and decides to obey and trust God

Dramatic portrayal of Joseph as he considers the dream and decides to obey and trust God

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2

New International Version (NIV)

The Magi Visit the Messiah

Artistic depiction of baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph

Artistic depiction of baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph

Wise men from the east come seeking the baby Jesus

Wise men from the east come seeking the baby Jesus

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

The wise men consult with Herod about where the new King might be found

The wise men consult with Herod about where the new King might be found

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

Artistic depiction of the wise men (or Magi) continuing their journey to find Jesus

Artistic depiction of the wise men (or Magi) continuing their journey to find Jesus

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

Artistic deptiction of the wise men worshiping the young child Jesus

Artistic deptiction of the wise men worshiping the young child Jesus

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

Artistic depiction of the angel warning Joseph in a dream

Artistic depiction of the angel warning Joseph in a dream

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]

Artistic depiction of Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt with Jesus following the angel's warning

Artistic depiction of Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt with Jesus following the angel’s warning

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”[d]

Artistic depiction of the killing of the innocent children due to Herod's evil decree.

Artistic depiction of the killing of the innocent children due to Herod’s evil decree.

The Return to Nazareth

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Nazareth today

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ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN SCRIPTURE PASSAGES
OF PROPHECY ABOUT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

baby JesusFor to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6 & 7

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INFORMATION ABOUT PROPHECIES FULFILLED WITH THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

(NOTE: This information has been gathered from two sources, which are referenced with the URL for each site following the information gleaned from that site.)

Mattthew 1:20-23 [20] But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. [21] She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” [22] All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: [23] “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

1. Promised Through the Seed of Abraham:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Genesis 22:18
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 1:1

2. Promised Through Isaac:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Genesis 21:12
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:34

3. Out of the Tribe of Judah:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Micah 5:2
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:33

4. Born in the Family of Jesse:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 11:1
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:32

5. Born in the House of David (King):

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Jeremiah 23:5-6
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:31

6. Born in Bethlehem:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Micah 5:2
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 2:4-7

7. Born of a virgin:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 1:18

8. Worshipped and Presented gifts by Kings:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 72:10
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 2:11

9. Worshipped by Shepherds:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 72:9
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 2:9

10. Weeping for the Children

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Jeremiah 31:15
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 2:16

11. Flight to Egypt

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Hosea 11:1
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Matthew 2:13-14

12. He will be called Lord:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 110:1
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 2:11

13. He is the Son of God:

  • Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 2:7
  • New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 3:22
    (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11)

(The information above came from: http://englewoodcog.org/Word/Birth_of_Christ.php )

Concerning his nature

Prophesied

Fulfilled

11. He pre-existed creation Mic 5:2 1 Pet 1:20
12. He shall be called Lord Ps 110:1 Acts 2:36
13. Called Immanuel (God with us) Isa 7:14 Mt 1:22-23
14. Prophet Deut 18:18-19 Acts 3:18-25
15. Priest Ps 110:4 Heb 5:5-6
16. Judge Isa 33:22 Jn 5:22-23
17. King Ps 2:6 Jn 18:33-37
18. Anointed by the Spirit Isa 11:2 Mt 3:16-17
19. His zeal for God Ps 69:9 Jn 2:15-17

(The chart above was found at http://www.bible.ca/b-prophecy-60.htm )

Isaiah 9:6-7 [6] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. … 700 B.C.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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30 Thankful Verses

Thankful hearts, rejoice! Here are thirty verses about giving thanks to God. There is one verse for each day of the month, with some brief devotional thoughts to inspire you.  (Topic for teaching:  thankfulness)

DAY ONE

“The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; His love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud.” II Chronicles 5:13

Jesus prayed that we (God’s people) would be one. When we come together as one to praise and thank Him, God’s presence is made known to us. Today, let us thank God, as the trumpeters and singers did, for His great love that endures forever.

DAY TWO

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17

He is holy and righteous. Thank God today for His righteousness.

DAY THREE

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1 & 2

How are we supposed to give thanks to the Lord? This verse tells us that we should give thanks to God with our whole heart. A half-hearted thankfulness results from giving thanks out of a sense of duty, just because we know we should. However, when we spend some time thinking and meditating on all that God has done (His wonderful deeds), thankfulness is the natural overflow of our hearts in response to our great God. Spend some time thinking of His wonderful deeds, and thank Him with your whole heart!

DAY FOUR

“Blessed be the Lord! for He has heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.” Psalm 28:6 & 7

Thank the Lord today for being a God that we can trust. He has our best interests at heart. He gives His strength, protects us, and helps us.

DAY FIVE

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.” Psalm 30:4

His saints… He has accepted us as we are, saved us, and is at work in our hearts to make us like Jesus. Thank God for His mercy in all of these things!

DAY SIX

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” Psalm 50:14

He has given sacrificially to us in every way, and He always keeps His promises. Thank God today for accepting your thankfulness as a sacrifice to Him, for the sacrifices He has made to you, and for His unchanging character as a keeper of promises.

DAY SEVEN

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

Thank God for the songs that allow you to praise His name and bring glory to Him through thanksgiving. Sing one of these songs to the Lord today.

DAY EIGHT

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High; To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1 & 2

Thankfulness is a good thing! From morning until night, give thanks for God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness today.

DAY NINE

“O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” Psalm 95:1 – 7a

He is a great God! Our God is the sovereign ruler and creator of all things! And yet, he regards us with tenderness, as the sheep of His hand. Thank God for His might and for His tenderness today.

DAY TEN

“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.” Psalm 97:12

We can be called righteous only to the extent that His righteousness indwells our hearts. Thank God today for living within you.

DAY ELEVEN

“Make a joyful moise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come fefore His presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100 (all verses, 1 – 5)

The Lord is good! His mercy lasts forever! (He never tires of showing mercy!) His truth will prevail, even when it seems that the world is full of lies. Thank God today for these great truths about who He is.

DAY TWELVE

“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him; talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Psalm 105:1 – 3

We can rejoice and give thanks because when we call upon the Lord, He hears us. When we seek Him, He responds. Before we knew we needed Him, He met our need. These are among the wondrous works of the Lord. Thank Him today for being a God who knows us and who wants to be known by us.

DAY THIRTEEN

“Praise ye the Lord; O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can show forth all His praise?” Psalm 106:1 & 2

Thank the Lord that His mighty acts are so numerous that no one can name them all. Thank Him for the ways that He is at work that we cannot see. The Lord is good! Show forth His praise today.

DAY FOURTEEN

“Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to the sons of men! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!” Psalm 107:21 & 22

No matter who we are, where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, God’s love for us is steadfast. Thank God today for His wonderful, everlasting love.

DAY FIFTEEN

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth.” Psalm 108:1 – 5

God’s faithfulness reaches to the clouds. It is beyond any faithfulness that we have ever known. God’s faithfulness is not dependant on perfection from us. He is faithful is spite of our sinfulness. Thank God for His faithfulness today and every day.

DAY SIXTEEN

“With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise Him in the midst of the throng.” Psalm 109:30

Where did the Psalmist give thanks and praise to God? ….in the midst of the throng. And how? …with his mouth. Thank God today, no matter where you are and who is there with you. Thank Him out loud!

DAY SEVENTEEN

“Praise the Lord. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” Psalm 111:1

Where else did the Psalmist give praise and thanks to the Lord? …in the company of the upright, in the congregation. You will never know how much your presence and the testimony of your praise may mean to the heart of another believer. Do not forsake the worship of God with your congregation. As iron sharpens iron, the faith of others increases our own faith, and your faith increases the faith of others. Thank God today for those who have been a spiritual influence in your life. Give Him praise with your whole heart, and remember to assemble with the saints in your congregation every time that you can be there.

DAY EIGHTEEN

“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God upon the lyre.” Psalm 147:7

Why are we told in scriptures so many times to sing to the Lord with thanksgiving? It’s because we matter to Him, and our praise matters to Him as well. We were created to bring Him glory. Thank God that you matter to Him, and that He considers you to be of such infinite value that your praise brings Him glory. Glorify Him with your praise and thanksgiving today.

DAY NINETEEN

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” Isaiah 12:4-5

To whom are we to make God’s name and His deeds known? …to the nations, and to all the world. Our God wants everyone to know Him. He values all people. He loves all people. Today, thank God for the fact that He has allowed you to be part of His great mission to make Himself known and to reach the hearts of people around the world.

DAY TWENTY

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” II Corinthian 4:15

Thank God for His wonderful, incredible grace, reaching out to us in spite of our sinfulness and covering our sin because of His great love.

DAY TWENTY ONE

“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Eph. 5:20

For what should we be thankful? …everything. This is the most difficult thing for us to do, but He is with us and is working all things together for our good. Give thanks for the hard places in your journey.

DAY TWENTY TWO

“Do not be over-anxious about anything, but by prayer and earnest pleading, together with thanksgiving, let your request be unreservedly made known in the presence of God.” Phil. 4:6

Thank God today for the fact that we have the ability to talk to Him in prayer about anything. We are to come to Him without reservation. We do not need to worry. He hears our prayers and answers them in His wisdom.

DAY TWENTY THREE

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power, so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. Col 1:11 – 12

God continues to give! He gives strength through His glorious power, along with endurance and patience. He gives us an inheritance as His people. He allows us to live in the light of His glory and grace. Thank Him today, with joy!

DAY TWENTY FOUR

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7

We don’t have to stay where we are in our walk with the Lord. He accepts us and loves us as we are, but He also continues His work in our hearts as we build our lives on Him. Thank God for His work in your heart and life. He will be faithful to complete it!

DAY TWENTY FIVE

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Thank God for His peace, and ask Him to help you allow His peace to rule in your heart no matter what circumstances surround you.

DAY TWENTY SIX

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:16 & 17

Thank the Lord for Christ our Savior! He has given His all for us, so may we live to bring Him glory!

DAY TWENTY SEVEN

“Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God–which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe. I Thessalonians 2:13

Thank God for the power of his Word, which continues to work in us, and for Jesus the living Word, who has been the physical incarnation and demonstration of the Word

DAY TWENTY EIGHT

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18

We belong to Christ Jesus! He has saved us, and God holds us in the hollow of His hand. How can we fail to be thankful?

DAY TWENTY NINE

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” I Timothy 2:1

Thank God for the people in your life…all of the people! And, when God brings a name or face across your path, thank Him for this person and ask God to help them.

DAY THIRTY

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably, with reverence and awe.” Hebrews 12:28

Thank God for His eternal Kingdom and His ultimate victory. With our thankfulness, we offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence for Him and awe because of who He is and what He has done. Thank Him for being who He is.

WORTHY OF OUR THANKSGIVING

For all of time, God has been the same. He has always been worthy of praise and thanksgiving, and He always will be. Our grateful hearts on earth foreshadow the thankfulness of the great multitude in Heaven. Give thanks to Him every day! Amen.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multititude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, ” Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 7:9 – 12

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This thankfulness guide could certainly be used in the month of November as many people focus on thanksgiving to God. However, it can be used at any time! Everyday, we have 10,000 reasons to thank God and give Him praise!

Note: The verses used in this post were copied from BibleCC, the Online Parallel Bible at http://bible.cc/
The verses were found using the following search terms: ‘thank’, ‘thanks’, ‘thankful’, ‘thankfulness’, ‘thanksgiving’, ‘give thanks’, and ‘giving thanks’. In each case, the Bible translation which seems to convey the meaning of the verse most clearly was used, so the verses represent various Bible translations. There were other verses in which the thankful terms also appeared. However, many of the verses in Psalms were very similar to verses already chosen. Other verses were part of a narrative and would have sounded incomplete when used out of context. The 30 verses chosen were just the best representation of verses about the subject of being thankful or giving thanks.

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These scriptures were compiled and the devotional thoughts were added by C. A. Boyd

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Boys, Cars, and Blessings

Teaching topics:  Look for blessings, and trust God.

Life can be complicated.  At our house, lots of things are super-sized.  With Dad, Mom, and 6 boys ages 6 to 19, there are a lot of mouths to feed and needs around every corner.  There are many examples of our need for super-sizing through the years.  Some of these relate to the number of children we have, and some super-sized needs have related to the ages of our boys.  The youngest three are one and a half years apart.  By that, I don’t mean that boy #4 is a year and a half older than boy #5, who in turn is a year and a half older than boy #6.  Nope.  Boy #4, Logan, is a year a half older (18 months and 1 week) than twin brothers Camden and Austin, numbers 5 and 6.  Since Logan has special needs, he has often been going through some of the same developmental milestones as his younger twin brothers.  As a result, it was really like having triplets.  In fact, we were often asked if they were triplets.  We had 3 toddler beds for a long time, two high chairs and a strap-on booster seat, three potty chairs lined up in a row, and a double stroller plus a single one.

The blessing of Suburban transportation

For a while, we had to take 2 vehicles everywhere we went in order to transport the whole family.  I know that’s nothing compared to the truly super-sized families like the Duggars, but it is certainly different from anything my husband and I experienced as we were growing up.  I was the oldest of three children, and he was the youngest of three.  We’ve definitely been figuring out how to make things work well for a larger family while on the job.  We were so excited when we were able to buy a 2001 Suburban that was actually large enough to accomodate the four car seats that we were using at the time, plus our two oldest boys and Mom and Dad.  Travis had actually taken our car seats with him as he was looking at vehicles in order to determine which of the vehicles that were advertised as seating 8 could actually accommodate all 4 of the car seats with room for four more people.  The Suburban was the only model he found that could do the job, so we were thrilled when we found a used one in good condition.  It was great to be able to fit the whole family into one vehicle again.   This was about 5 years ago, and Mom and Dad were the only drivers in the bunch.  We were very thankful that one of us could drive while the other tended to any needs which arose during our travels.

Our Suburban is still going strong.  We did have to have the transmission re-built in July, but the occasional repair is preferable to payments.  Now, however, we have hit a snag in our transportation journey.  Our youngest three boys have just outgrown their final and largest car seats and are ready for booster seats.  When they were unable to buckle their straps on Sunday, we knew we had a problem.  So, last night, Travis and I were outside trying to figure out what to do.   Our problem is that our 2001 Suburban does not have a shoulder harness for the center passenger in either the middle row of seating or the back row.  This means that two of our boys will have to ride with no shoulder harness until we are able to find a solution.  We knew this was coming, so Travis had already been looking for a solution online.   He has found a retrofit shoulder harness assembly that mounts to the frame of the car, but it is really made for race car drivers, not for 2 six year old boys and their 8 year old brother who is about the same size.  We have also checked out the car seat options.  We have been unable to find anything but booster seats for boys as old and as big as Logan, Austin, and Camden.  The booster seats all rely on using the car’s seat belt/shoulder harness assembly, so we are back to square one.

After we had worked outside for a while last night and considered all of the options, Travis and I did come up with the new seating arrangement for using boosters.  Both of our biggest boys will have to be on the middle bench due to leg room needs.  Our 19 year old is over 6 feet tall, and our 12 year old is almost as tall as Mom.  It will work fine to have Braden, our 9 old, in the middle of the back bench with Camden in a booster on one side and Logan in a booster on the other.   They will get along well together, and they will have adequate room.  Braden can help the younger two with their seat belts.  It will be fine… except for the fact that Braden will have no shoulder harness.  And on the middle bench, we will have our oldest son, Jared, in the seat that has to be lifted up to allow access to the back bench, where he has been for the last 5 years.  Then, we will have to place Austin on his booster seat in the center of the middle bench and Zach on the other end.   Zach will have to help Austin fasten his seat belt before getting into his own seat.   Our new seating plan takes into account the width of the booster seats and difficulty buckling 2 or more that are side by side, Jared’s and Zach’s long legs, family dynamics such as the fact that Camden and Austin get too loud if seated side by side, and the way that we will function best in the vehicle.  However, again, Austin will have no shoulder harness either.   For now, it is what we have to do, but having 2 boys seated with no shoulder harness restraint is unacceptable from a safety standpoint.

We recognize that we need to provide a better situation as soon as possible, but our options are limited.   We cannot purchase another vehicle at this time.  Our Suburban is paid for and still running well.  We just down-sized our second vehicle so that we could have a more affordable option (3 years older and more gas effiecieny).  It does not make sense to get into a double payment situation.  We have both been brain-storming to try to come up with some solution that will keep our entire family safe.  Last night, after we’d gone back into the house and the boys were all in bed,  a possible solution occurred to me.  I wondered if we could find a replacement bench seat on a newer Suburban which did have shoulder harnesses in the center.   Travis had his I-pad handy and started checking the possibility.  He knew that later model Suburbans have seats that fold into the floor now and would not be compatible with ours.  But, were there some years after 2001 when shoulder harnesses had been added and the seats were otherwise still the same?  Travis has only had time to do a little research so far, but it seems that we might be looking at the range of 2004 to 2006 model years to find such a replacement seat.  He’ll probably do further research tonight.  We have no idea how hard it will be to find such seats at a salvage yard or how much they will cost.  But, we have got to find a way to keep our family safe and make this work.  It’s just another of life’s complications.

In the midst of the struggles like this, it has alway been a joy (and a survival tactic) to look for the blessings and to remind ourselves that we have an awesome God who has blessed us beyond measure.  With every problem we encounter, we have the opportunity to see that there are so many more blessings surrounding us than problems facing us.  We are truly so blessed, and we are confident that God will make a way to solve this problem.  We are so blessed!  May we never forget!

We have 6 healthy boys at home.
We have a roof over our heads.
Travis has a job that is really a calling (as a Minister of Worship)
God has been so good to us!
We live in a country where we can worship freely.
We have wonderful extended family and friends.
We have not just one but 3 working vehicles (old but still kickin’).
We have our needs met, the blessings of life, spiritual blessings here on earth, and a home in Heaven!

We are blessed!

Thank you, Lord, that we have the blessing of this need for safe seating for all 6 of our awesome boys.  We trust You and know that You will make a way for us to meet the need!  Amen.

Priceless gifts!

Psalm 23…He Restores My Soul

The Lord is my Shepherd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shall not be in want.

 

He makes me lie down in green pastures….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He leads me beside still waters….

 

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil.

 

For You are with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your rod and your staff comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me in the midst of my enemies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You anoint my head with oil, and my cup overflows.

 

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me

all the days of my life,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

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<< Psalm 23 >> New Living Translation

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;

I have all that I need.

2 He lets me rest in green meadows;

he leads me beside peaceful streams.

3 He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honor to his name.

4 Even when I walk

through the darkest valley,a

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

5 You prepare a feast for me

in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord

forever.

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PSALM 23 for Today

By Toki Miyashiro

The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me to stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness, which restores my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency, through calmness of mind.

And His guidance is my peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, His all-importance will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquillity.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of the Lord and dwell in His house forever.

“Japanese version of Psalm 23″ as published in Guidepost Magazine

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This post was compiled by C. Boyd

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Scriptures About Family

When God created mankind, His plan was for us to live in families. Since God created marriage and the family, our family relationships are important to Him. His desire is for every marriage to be happy and loving and for children to grow up within a loving family structure, secure in the knowledge that they are loved by God and by their mother and father. God love you and your family. He cares about your home and wants you to have a strong family. He will help you to accomplish this most important task. God has given us His commands and guidelines for strong families in His Word, the Bible. If we follow what the Bible says about families, God will bless and strenthen our families. Family has great spiritual meaning fo believers because the church, the universal body of believers, is called the family of God. When we receive God’s gift of salvation, we are adopted into His family. The Bible tells us that we become sons and daughters of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. God’s plan for family includes your family right now, and you will be a part of God’s forever family as His adopted child.

Bible Verses for Strong Families

1) Commit your family to serve and honor God.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

2) Live in Obedience to God and make the Bible your guidebook for life.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

3) In everything that you do, seek to honor God.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3:23-24

4) Allow the Love of God to flow through your life.

“Walk in love.” Ephesians 5:2

5) Be kind and forgiving to others.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God has forgiven you for Christ’s sake.” Ephesians 4:32

6) Pray for you famil and for others, asking for God’s wisdom in your relationships.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

7) Forgive each other.

“If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:13

OTHER BIBLE VERSES ABOUT FAMILIES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NLT)

Joshua 24:15 “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (NLT)

Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— (NIV)

Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (NLT)

Psalm 128:3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. (ESV)

Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (NIV)

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. (NIV)

Proverbs 12:7 The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm. (NLT)

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (NIV)

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Mark 3:23-25 Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” he asked. “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” (NLT)

Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. (NLT)

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)

Romans 9:4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. (NLT)

Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)

Ephesians 2:19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (NLT)

Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:1–2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandmentwith a promise) … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to angerby the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

Colossians 3:20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. (NLT)

1 Timothy 3:2-5 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NASB)
BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES

Marriage is a Covenant and is Not to be Broken

1) Marriage is a Biblical Covenant to Be One

“…she is your companion And your wife by covenant.” Malachi 2:14

2) God Hates Divorce

“For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16

Bible Verses for Wives

1) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

2) “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:23-24

3) “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

4) “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:5-6

5) Build Your House The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

Bible Verses for Husbands

1) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… ” Ephesians 5:25

2) “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29

3) “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge… ” 1 Peter 3:7

4) ” …giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. ” 1 Peter 3:7

Bible Verses for Children – Obey and Honor Your Parents

1) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

2) “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

Bible Verses for Fathers – Fathers Admonish Your Children to Know and Serve God

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

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This post was compiled and edited by C. Boyd

The scripture verses on this page and some of the content in the beginning paragraph come from these two sources:

http://www.usachristianministries.com/2011/11/30/what-does-god-say-about-families-bible-verses-on-families-bible-verses-for-family/

http://christianity.about.com/od/Bible-Verses/qt/Bible-Verses-Family.htm

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When a Loved One’s Health is Failing

(Note:  This post was first published on our primary blog.  We have added it here because families do deal with changes in the health status of loved ones and with the grief and loss that accompanies a health crisis.  Such a traumatic time can also hold some sweetness as families have an opportunity to share their love with one another and as parents teach their children the lessons of God’s love, human love, mortality, perseverance, heaven, and hope.)

Dear friend, this is a very hard subject to talk or write about. If you are reading this, I know that you are hurting. I am praying for you even as I am writing. I pray that you will be able to make the most of the time you have with your loved one. I pray that you will have close friends and/or family who will be there for you when you need the comfort of knowing that someone else in this world knows what you are going through and cares deeply for you. I pray that you will have a very profound awareness of the presence of God. He is the God of all comfort, and I pray that you will have His peace even in the moments of stark reality when possessing any peace truly will be something that is beyond human understanding.

I pray that God will grant you wisdom for those times when you don’t know what to say or do and wisdom in comforting others (such as your children or siblings) who are walking through this valley with you. I pray that you will know that you do not carry your burdens alone. When you have Jesus as your forever friend and Savior, you are never alone. He is God with us. The Holy Spirit is also called the Comforter, and I pray that you will experience the lightening of your load as you give it all to Him each day.

I pray that whatever the road ahead holds for you and your family, you will have some opportunities for sweet moments along the way, and that you will be comforted in the joy of your memories as time passes. I pray for the strength of your relationships and that the experience of walking through a deep valley together will bring you closer. I pray for times of refreshing and worship even in the midst of your valley. I pray that you will know how deeply you are loved.

The Bible tells us of two things that Jesus is doing right now in Heaven.

*  He is preparing a place for those who love Him, and He is praying for us.

As we face difficult times and even tragic loss, we must remember that the time we spend apart from our loved ones will be a millisecond in the forever song of eternal life with God in the wonderful place that He has prepared for us. When a loved one is very ill or may be nearing the end of their life on earth, such a painful ripping away of the fabric of your life is a heavy burden, but it is a burden that you do not bear alone. Jesus is praying for you, and He wants to take your burden and exchange it for God’s peace as you choose to trust that God is good and that He is working all things together for good. As much as you love, with the great depth of feeling and compassion that you have, longing for the best for your loved ones….you and your loved one are loved infinitely and eternally more than you can imagine!

My own father passed away in 2004. In the last months of his life, there were some things that my siblings and I did very intentionally to make the most of the time that we had and to communicate love and caring to both of our parents. Some of these things we were able to do seemed to bring a significant amount of comfort to my Dad or to be especially meaningful or comforting to my Mom, and I will share those ideas with you. There are other things that we failed to do and that we saw in hindsight as something left undone. I will share those as well. This is not a comprehensive guide, but I want to share with the reader some lessons that I learned with the hope that they will be helpful to you and your loved ones. Whether you are a primary caregiver, a relief caregiver, or part of a support system as a family member or friend, you can find some help with the information shared in this post. It’s full of lessons learned about the most important areas of concern and ideas for addressing the needs that arise when a loved one is ill.

A.  TAKE TIME!
Tips for making the most of the time you have together

Making the most of the time with your loved one can be very difficult to do. Many people feel very uncomfortable being around someone who is very ill or who has been given a tough diagnosis.  Remember that your loved one probably feels much more uncomfortable than you feel.  Physical discomfort can be very difficult, but even more difficult is the knowledge that your illness is a source of emotional grief for loved ones.  In addition, it is very difficult to have others doing things for you that you would much prefer to do for yourself if you were not ill or injured.  So, keeping in mind that this experience is very difficult for everyone, resolve to be there for you loved one as much as is possible and practical for you as well as encouraging and helpful for him or her and for other care-givers.

If you loved one is still ambulatory, take your cue from them about what they would like to do and feel well enough to do.  Keep in mind that the amount of time away from home or expending energy may differ significantly from before their illness or injury.  Some ideas for them might include:  a concert, picnic at a favorite place or in the back yard, going to church, visiting a friend or relative,  a shopping excursion,  a board game night, a movie theater or movies at home, etc.  Remember that if you are not the primary care-giver, you should ask (privately) whether the primary caregiver would want to come along or would want to take a break while your loved one has some special time with you and your family (assuring them that they are very welcome to come but that you will not be offended at all if they need some down time).  One big help is to provide transportation to medical appointments.  The primary care-giver may come with you but enjoy a break from the driving.  It can also be very helpful to have one care-giver get out of the car and go into the building with your loved one while another parks the car.  Make sure that if you are giving a break to a primary care-giver by taking your loved one on an outing or to an appointment, you must ask about any concerns for the trip or necessary equipment, medications, etc. to take along.  You will need to be equipped with the knowledge to care for your loved one while away from home.

If your loved one is not feeling well and is spending most of their time in a chair or a bed, what can you do?

Here are some suggestions for that scenario and for caring for your loved one at home regardless of their mobility level:

1. The very nearness of your presence can be a comfort to your loved one even if he or she is only able to interact in a very limited way.  Even if your loved one seems upset or grumpy, they still want to see you.  They are just dealing with a lot emotionally and physically.  Ask if they need rest and would like to continue a visit later.  If they want you to stay, do so.

* visiting with children
It is important to be sentitive to the need for rest, so if you bring your children, talk to the caregiver(s) for your loved one ahead of time. Find out the best times of day to be there in person. Then, when you visit, make those times of day your priority. Play a board game with your children or build with blocks or color pictures in the room with your ailing loved one. Let your loved one experience the giggles and fun of watching the little ones. Let your little ones help. If a drink needs to be taken to Grandpa, let your child do that. Your children need to know that they can help and have helped. (Hint: use a lidded and insulated drink cup with a straw to prevent spillage and keep the drink warm or cold for your loved one. This will help not only your child to carry it without spilling but also be good for your loved one who is weakened and could drop or knock over the cup.)

In order to give your loved one a break for rest, take your children to a park or a movie. Take photos with your camera or cell phone while you are there so that the children can come back and tell about what they did and the fun they had, with pictures! Your loved one wants his or her family to keep living and loving, and sharing times of joy with them is one of the best things that you can do. Give the caregivers a break and let them have the fun of taking your children somewhere while you care for your loved one. Go to the grocery store for needed items, and let your children help find the items on the list. If you can make it like a scavenger hunt, they can have the fun of discovery.

2. If you are not the primary caregiver, try to go to see your loved one at least once without your children.
You may have to go alone, without your spouse, in order to accomplish this. I did this once, and I am so glad that I did. It was the last anniversary that my parents were able to share, and both my sister and I were able to be there. I only wish I had stayed a little longer. You need to try to find times when you can talk with your loved one. They may have some memories to share. That can be a very sweet time. Don’t wait too long to do this and then have unanswered questions that you wish you had asked. Share your memories of times together with them. Let them know how much you treaaure and love them!

3. Be sure to ask your loved one in a private moment if there is anything that you can do for them.
They may want to talk about their illness or about death and dying. While it is difficult for you and for them, they may feel that this is too hard to do with another loved one, and they may need someone to talk to about this. Let them talk, cry if you can’t help it, ask questions if you feel that it is called for, and pray with them.

* prepare for something special
Something else that you can do is to think ahead to special occasions that are approaching and ask if your loved one wants you to help them prepare for such events. For example, my parents’ 49th anniversary was coming up in September, so I asked my Dad during the summer if he wanted me to help prepare for it. He said yes. I asked him if he had any ideas of something he’d like to do. He really didn’t have any, so I shared with him about the eternity necklaces that were being made at that time, with 3 diamonds. The meaning of these necklaces was a love that has lasted, that is still alive, and that will always be. I told Dad about the local jeweler in the town where I lived who was also a custom jewelry designer and maker. Dad asked me to get his checkbook, and he wrote a check for this gift to my Mom. I was able to get the necklace made in a style that I knew my Mother would love and purchase a card on Dad’s behalf. When I drove the 3 and a half hours across Oklahoma by myself, to be with them on the week-end of their anniversary, I brought Dad’s last gift to Mom. He was able to give it to her in person (after he’d signed the card when Mom wasn’t looking) and tell her in person the significance of the gift (we have both pictures and video of this). Dad passed away 13 days later.

4. If you don’t live nearby, get creative with keeping in touch.

*  Call often, skype, send your childrens’ art and home-made cards, look for special cards that you can send.
*  Send photos by email or a small photo album of recent pix through the mail. Send a video.
*  Talk not just to your ailing loved one but also to caregivers. Look for ways to brighten their days.
*  Once, I sent a fruit basket through a florist when my Dad was in the hospital. I called the florist directly and talked to the person who was going to shop for and make the basket, so I was able to specify what fruits to include. You could also ask that a small paring knife, some pretty napkins, and some small disposable plates or bowls be included to make the gift more practical in a hospital environment and give them what they need to eat the fruit. Dad and Mom really enjoyed that fruit basket, and it was more meaningful than flowers at that time.
*  Something that I wish I had thought of was to give or send my Dad books on tape (CD). He loved to read, but his eyesight failed as his health did. He also could no longer see what was going on in a television program. There might have been some recorded books that he and Mom could have enjoyed together.

5.  If you have a loved one who enjoyed staying in touch by e-mail, searching the internet, or working on the computer, go together with other family members to purchase a computer that your loved one can use even if confined to a chair or a bed. A regular computer desk and desk chair may not work anymore, but a tablet (I-pad) or lap top computer on a hospital type table that can be swung over the bed or chair surface and adjusted for optimum height might work really well. Your loved one might not even need a table in order to use a tablet if hand or arm weakness is not a problem in holding on to it. A Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader might work well also, especially if it has the option of conversion to audio books. Do keep your loved ones tech capabilities, interests, and eyesight in mind in deciding whether to make such a purchase and what to purchase. For some people, access to this type of technology could really help them to feel that they are still connected to the world, able to view the news when they feel up to it, etc.

6. If your loved one is physically and mentally well enough to participate, join them in doing things they enjoy.
*  Do a puzzle or play a board game together.
*  Rent a video of their favorite movie.
*  Listen to favorite music or sing together.
*  Read a book or the Bible aloud to them.
*  Look through photo albums, watch family videos, or whatever your loved one wants to do.

7. Finally, as you are spending time, take the time to ask if there are any legal or businees matters that you can help to resolve for your loved one. In the case of my parents, Dad had almost everything in good shape as far as personal affairs, and Mom knew where everything was kept. This helps so much, but it is not always the case that someone is this prepared. Especially if an illness has come about suddenly, your loved one may need help with this. It will be a comfort to them to know this is taken care of, so don’t feel bad asking if there is such a need. If you can do this in the same conversation where you’ve aske about other types of needs, it could lead quite naturally to asking about this type of concern. There was one detail that my father had not taken care of that caused my Mom a lot of problems later on, and I wished that I had taken time to ask him about any loose ends. Topics such as insurance, a will, his wishes, any outstanding loans (they need to be in the name of both parties), and any properties (also need to be jointly owned) need to be addressed. Again, my Dad had done very well, but he failed to add my mother’s name to the property deed for some land he’d been given by his mother (once part of the family farm in South Carolina, split up into four parcels for he and his 3 brothers). The land was being used as a tree farm, and it was earning some money every time trees were harvested. It turned into a big hassle for my Mom to jump through the legal hoops that it took to get the property into her name, so I wished that I’d sat down with my Dad and helped him to think through a list of things like this that needed attention.

B.  PRACTICAL HELPS:  LOOK FOR THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE

What are some practical things that you and / or other family members or friends can do (or have done by a professional contractor ar handyman) that will be helpful to both your ailing loved one and their caregiver(s)?

It is good to think all of this through and come up with some possible ideas. Then, run these ideas by the caregiver(s) to see if they agree that what you are proposing will really be practical and helpful. The caregiver(s) may have additional ideas that have not occured to you. Finally, have a family meeting or conference call with those who can help to do what needs to be done and pay for any expenses. Share the needs and the ideas for meeting them, and make an action plan about how best to accomplish doing what you have agreed upon.

Here are some suggestions for re-arranging and modifying the home environment :

1. Comfortable seating is a must for someone who is not feeling well and for those who will be caring for him or her. If your loved ones have always resisted the look of a recliner but such a chair would now be very helpful, consider such a purchase and a furniture re-arrangement for perhaps the family gathering room to accommodate the large chair. Or, if there is no place to sit in the room where your loved one’s bed is, you may want to move another piece of furniture out in order to place a chair for a caregiver or visitor. For example, your loved one may only be wearing pajamas and may not need as much clothing storage, so their chest of drawers might be able to be moved into a closet or into another room.

2. A hospital bed can make life so much easier and more comfortable for your loved one and even be helpful to caregivers. Caregivers have the best perspective on when this becomes a need. A formal dining room can be converted to a room for this if there is nowhere else. Curtains or even a temporary wall (with a wide door opening) can be put in place for privacy. Your table can be stored in the garage, with legs removed and leaning against a wall, with some kind of a small carpet underneath to prevent damage. Chairs can be stacked in front of the table in your storage space. A hutch or buffet could stay if there is room, perhaps packing up some dishes temporarily and using the space for medicines, clothing, or whatever.

3. Grab bars can be a safety essential. If your loved one is like my Dad, he wanted to take care of his own needs as long as possible. We did install a grab bar beside the toilet and another beside the tub/shower. This did make it easier for my Dad to continue to take care of his needs for a while longer. However, we should have done it sooner. The grab bars were installed after Dad had already had a fall. We were able to get very sturdy grab bars at a home improvement store. They were white and didn’t look terrible. Make sure these are installed properly and anchored into a stud.

4. Consider accessability needs. If a ramp is needed but a permanent structure would not be a good option, check out the rollout aluminum ramps that support 1,000 lbs. and work well in so many applications. Here’s a link to the Roll a Ramp website: http://www.rollaramp.com/ . In addition, some doorways may need to be modified to accomodate a wheelchair or walker. This should be done by someone who knows how to re-frame a door opening and install a wider door. In most situations, no electrical outlets or switches would have to be moved; however, it’s wise to proceed with caution and use an electrician for this if the need arises.

5. A nice meal tray that suits the situation can be a great help. My Dad ate a lot of meals sitting in his chair with a lap tray Mom had found in a catalog and ordered.  This particular meal tray was similar to many lap desks that are sold these days, with a fabric “pillow” on the underside, full of styrofoam beads, allowing the tray to nestle onto a lap and sit evenly and snugly.  The tray she found was generously sized, had a raised rim around the top surface, and also had a recessed well for a drink cup.

6. Some sort of table to keep needed items within arms reach can be very handy and allow the patient to reach some items without waiting for help. (Medicines, reading materials, water, etc.) If you need a hospital type table, get one.

7. Fight for whatever equipment your loved one needs. Medicare did not want to approve a wheelchair or oxygen for my Dad at first, even though he was in congestive heart failure and needed both desperately. We got the items anyway but kept fighting until they were covered. Try to make sure your loved one’s Doctor prescribes equipment like this when needed to make the process easier.  A lift may become a necessity if your loved one becomes unable to assist in moving himself or herself.

8. Control lighting. If your loved one needs more light and there’s no room for a regular table lamp, get a pole lamp. If light bothers your loved one, find a way to cover windows where necessary.

9. Make it possible for your loved one to spend some time outdoors for as long as is possible, given their health and mobility needs. You may need to purchase a different type of outdoor seating for a deck or patio that will accomodate your loved one’s need for cushion and comfort if they have lost weight. (Note:  a gel or foam cushion for a wheelchair or for a wooden diniing chair can also be helpul for your loved one and add to their comfort level.)  Add an awning or umbrella if there’s too much bright sunlight. Place a bird feeder or a hummingbird feeder by a window where your loved one can see it if they would like this for a touch of the outdoors from inside. However, it will be necessary for someone ot maintain feeders once they are up.  If that would be too much, added to what you are already doing, don’t do it. Perhaps you can give your loved one little outdoor breaks by choosing to leave a little early for appointments and then intentionally pausing in your front yard or as you are on your way in from the parking lot to the medical building (if there is a nicely landscaped area). Just breathing some fresh air and seeing growing things and even birds or squirrels could be a welcome moment of enjoyment for your loved one.

10. Remove obstructions and dangers. Get rid of any furniture in your loved one’s path that has sharp corners (place it somewhere else). Remove throw rugs that could be a tripping hazard. If a space is too narrow between furniture pieces, change your furniture arrangement to make it easier for your loved one to navigate with a portable oxygen set-up or a walker. Cover the hearth next to your loved one’s chair with a quilt. Look around the home for danger spots if your loved one were to fall. Remove things that would cause injury if someone fell on or against them.

11. Give them music if desired.  If your loved one loves music, Place a CD player or Ipod where they can reach it and listen to their favorite music whenever they wish. Make sure they know how to use it. Listen to music with them, and sing along with it if your loved one wishes. I still remember hearing my sister-in-law singing with her Dad as she was caring for him (when he had moved into their home and his health was failing).

12. Look for a project that needs to be done!  Remember that you are trying to make life easier for primary caregivers as well as for your ailing loved one.  This can bring joy to the caregivers who are also in that environment and give them something else to focus on. It can also re-assure your loved one that those left behind will be well cared for. In addition, your family can use and enjoy whatever is done. This does not need to be something that will cause a lot of indoor mess and hassle. It could be something as simple as bright, new towels for a bathroom, fresh paint in the kitchen, or a peaceful photo or painting. Large projects to be considered might be one of the step in bathtubs with an opening door, which are installed by the manufacturer, or changing out a bathtub for a step-in or roll-in shower.

What chose to do was an outdoor project. Here’s how it took place. As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were approaching in the months before my Dad passed away, I realized that there was nothing that my parents really needed as personal gifts. They had all their needs met, and Dad could no longer enjoy the hobbies that had provided our family with gift ideas through the years. I was racking by brain for an idea when I thought of their large deck. Behind their condo, Mom and Dad had both a patio and a huge deck. The deck needed some work, and they needed some new outdoor furniture and accessories. My siblings and I took this on as a project. We let Mom and Dad know about it, and Mom was especially excited. Travis & I drove to their home several times that Spring and Summer to work, and my Sister was able to fly down from Washington State to help as well. My brother and his family were living in France then, so we did a lot of communication by e-mail. We ordered many things online so that everyone could have a say in what was purchased. When we were able to be there to work on the project, Travis and I hammered in nails that were popped out, did minor repairs, and power washed the deck. We put together deck furniture that had arrived in huge boxes (we’d arranged for the boxes to be brought down the alley and placed directly on the deck so that Mom wouldn’t have to get help bringing them through the condo). We purchased pots, plants, and accessories locally and fixed them up. We hung lanterns on pretty brackets on the pergola. Mom had always loved taking care of plants, so she did not mind the watering and getting outside some. Dad was able to come outside more often in his last few months because the furniture was comfortable for him. And, when family came from out of town for Dad’s memorial service, the deck and the new table (plus the old one that Travis had repainted) were wonderful to have. There wasn’t enough seating indoors, and we were able to seat everyone nicely on the deck, which looked beautiful. Later on, when my Mom sold the condo, the improvements we’d made helped her find a buyer more quickly. The deck project was one thing that we did right.

13. If your loved one still has some mobility, look for ways to shift some things around and make it easier for them to function. If they have always gotten ready for the day at the far sink, ask if they would like to swap sinks to the one nearer the door.  Make that happen if needed. Place things that are most used in drawers at just the right height. Shift some hanging items or shelved items in the closet so that what is needed most is very accessible to your loved one.

14. Begin exploring ways to get help before you need it. If you think you will need a home health care nurse part-time, check into that. There are various programs to help with the cost, and it would be good to investigate all of that. My Dad did have a home health care nurse that came in for brief visits to handle some of the medical procedures that Mom was uncomfortable doing. They were going to start sending someone to assist with bathing, but that never happened. He also got some physical therapy at home to keep his muscles going so he could remain ambulatory as long as possible.

C.  MAKE PRE-ARRANGEMENTS SO YOU CAN BE THERE WHEN NEEDED

1. If your ability to be there for your loved ones when needed depends on getting away from your job or your spouse getting away, talk to supervisors or bosses before the need is urgent. Talk to your spouse about what times you will feel that your really need to be there. Talk about priorities for making this happen. Make any arrangement that you can to handle what must be done in your absence before you need to be gone.

2. Check on transportation options for all kinds of scenarios.

3. Make sure your children have what they need (someone to take them to sports or piano lessons, to help with homework, to be there for a special event). Have gifts purchased early for birthdays and such that are coming up in case you need to be gone. Talk to your children and help them to have some level of understanding about what is going on. They need to know and feel that they are part of the family in dealing with all of this.

4. Consider the needs of other family members as well. Try to be there for each other. Remember that others may grieve differently.

5. Talk to the funeral home and church (Pastor, person in charge of facilities) ahead of time. Make any arrangements that you can before they are needed.

6. Keep extended family and long time friends in the loop. Have a private blog for updates or an e-mail list of people to dash off a quick update. Check into Caring Bridge at http://www.caringbridge.org/ This is a web-based support system for you that you can customize to be seen only by those you wish to inform. It is designed to allow a family member to set up a page for an ailing loved one quickly and easily. They provide a sort of page template to use. Information such as prayer requests, health updates, needs for someone to stay with your loved one (while a primary caregiver has their own Dr. appointment, goes to church, has an outing with friends, goes to the grocery store, or whatever), a care-giving schedule or meals schedule, requests for immediate help if there is a need to have a prescription picked up or a family member picked up at the airport…..or whatever it is that your family needs in your own unique situation.

7. Include your ailing family member in everything (including decisions) as much as possible and for as long as possible (unless you plan a surprise).

D.  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Try to have some joyful and fun times with your children, siblings, spouse, other family members and friends even in the midst of all that is happening. You are still alive! They are still alive! Each day is a day that the Lord has made! Rejoice in everything that brings joy! It is not a betrayal of the one who is ill! They would want you to enjoy what you can!

Take care of physical needs. Try to rest when you need to. Don’t skip check-ups or dental cleanings. If you can’t make a specific appointment time, re-schedule rather than canceling. Take your vitamins.

Take care of emotional needs. There needs to be someone you can talk to in order to share your deepest thoughts and cares.

Take care of spiritual needs. Try to keep going to church or at least to watch or listen to worship services. Stay in touch with your Ministerial Staff and Sunday School class. Continue your time with the Lord, and pray about all of your needs and concerns. Read or listen to books that help you. There are lots of books at your local Christian bookstore or online for people who are dealing with illness or loss.

Tell people when you need something. Don’t become a patient yourself because you have neglected your own well-being. If you have a private blog that only people who really care about your loved one can see, post a request for help if you need someone to run to the grocery store or do a few loads of laundry or bring in a meal. People who love you will see this and will respond when they can.

E.  HOLD ON TO HOPE!

As long as there is life, there is hope! Hope with and for your loved one! Talk of tomorrow! Make plans! Don’t give up! Sometimes people respond well to treatments. Sometimes remission comes. Sometimes an acute health crisis can be resolved and the patient can get better. Miraculous healings do happen. For your loved one who knows the Lord, healing will come! Whether it is healing of the body in the earthly life or what some people call “the ultimate healing” of eternal life with no more sickness or pain, healing will come!

My Dad held on to hope. Just a month before he died, he had decided to give his car to Travis and I. It had been sitting idle in Mom and Dad’s garage for months. When they were talking about the decision, Dad asked Mom, “But what if I get better?” and Mom replied, “Then we’ll get you a new car!” (yea, Mom!) As sick as he was, Dad had not abandoned hope of getting better. He held on to hope! The hope that he had allowed him to live as long as he did and to avoid self-pity or depression. Hold on to hope!

Years ago, Travis and I went to a Christian concert, and one of the artists was talking about a friend who had what the Doctors called “terminal cancer.” This man had a joyful attitude because he believed that the two possible scenarios for his future were to either (a) be miraculously healed or (b) be with the Lord. He held onto the Lord and held on to hope!

Finally, TRUST GOD TO HAVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES WRITTEN ON HIS HEART!

Here are some scripture verses that offer comfort and hope.

  • The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
  • Jesus said, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” – John 16:22
  • I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – Jeremiah 31:13
  • …weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3
  • “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you,” says the Lord. – Isaiah 66:13
  • I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15
  • I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16
  • But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14
  • And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10
  • The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. – Isaiah 58:11
  • For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. – Psalm 72:12
  • This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
  • The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. – Psalm 116:5-6
  • For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13
  • Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
  • In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. – Psalm 31:22
  • In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. – Psalm 18:6, 16
  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  • The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2
  • For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. – Psalm 22:24
  • Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief…But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:9, 14
  • A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; – Psalm 34:19
  • In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. – Psalm 22:4-5
  • For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6:8
  • You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, – Psalm 10:17
  • For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver…we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. – Psalm 66:10, 12
  • The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. – Psalm 145:17-19
  • Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10
  • My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. – Psalm 62:1
  • He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
  • Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – I Peter 5:7
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
  • He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. – Isaiah 40:11
  • You understand, O LORD; remember me and care for me. – Jeremiah 15:15

  • Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. – Psalm 126:5-6
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
  • Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. – Psalm 55:22
  • Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2
  • My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. – Psalm 119:50
  • Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. – Isaiah 58:9
  • He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. – Psalm 18:19
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
  • Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. – Psalm 17:8

We do not want you to be uninformed about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. – I Thessalonians 4:13-18

  • Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10
  • The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
  • Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:12
  • Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. – Psalm 73:23-24
  • Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:21-23
  • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
  • Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me. – Psalm 57:1-2
  • I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. – Psalm 91:2
  • I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4
  • But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16
  • He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. – Psalm 91:4
  • The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. – Nahum 1:7
  • I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:13-14
  • The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10
  • The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:1-4
  • I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. – Psalm 34:4-5
  • May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. – Psalm 119:76-77
  • I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:2-4
  • O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. – Psalm 63:1-3
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:19
  • Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. – Psalm 69:16-17
  • …because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6
  • But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Scripture verses copied and edited from http;//www.joeagoglia.com/resources/scriptures.asp

© Copyright 2003-2012 Justin Agoglia. All Rights Reserved.

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd.
For those who love through valleys of sorrow…love and prayers to you.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Year Round Resolution ABC’s

A new year is full of possibilities…how will we use the time we have been given?

Teaching topic:  Living a life that honors God and brings glory to Him.

At any time of year, it’s good to think about ways to be more effective in living a life of intentional positive impact that is both practical and spiritual. As you strive to be an example for your children and to bring honor and glory to God (in the new year or in the current year) through all that you do and say every day, renew your resolve to be:

Aware of your blessings and the joy of the moment,

Bold in your efforts to do good deeds,

Caring to others, realizing that we everyone needs kindness and understanding..

Diligent in doing what is really important,

Encouraging to those around you,

Faithful in your commitments.

Gentle with the hearts of children,  (Not just your own children, but other children as well)

Helpful whenever possible,

Immediate in your prayers when you know of a need.

Joyful !

Knowledgable when it comes to the hopes of your loved ones,

Loving to those who are beloved.

Making the most of each day,

Near to the heart of God.

Original… and true to yourself,

Patient,

Quick to forgive,

Reasonable,

Surrendered to God’s purpose and plan for your life,

Truthful,

Understanding.

Vulnerable…opening your heart to the love of God and those closest to you,

Watchful, protecting what is good in your own life and the lives of others,

eXciting…think of ways to bring fun to everyday experiences and make life eXtraordinary!

Youthful in your thinking…do something spontaneous!

Zealous for God, for what it good, and for fulfilling your purpose in serving others, sharing the hope found in Jesus Christ, and glorifying God.

<o>+<o>+<o> Have a blessed year! <o>+<o>+<o>

Note:  Scroll on down for “Something to Do this Year” and for “Only One Life”

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Post written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Here’s a list to remind you of some other good things to do in this year or any year. This list came from the newsletter of a Rural Electric Cooperative which provided the power for our family home several years ago. There was no author given. I have edited the list, but I did not write it.

“Something to Do this Year”

Mend a quarrel.
Seek out an old friend.
Dismiss a suspicion.
Give a soft answer.
Write a note or letter.
Encourage someone who is young.
Share some treasures.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep your promises.
Find the time…
Forget a grudge.
Think of someone else.
Forgive someone.
Listen.
Apologize if you are wrong.
Try to understand.
Don’t allow yourself to envy.
Examine your demands on others.
Laugh!
Be kind and gentle.
Deserve confidence.
Express. your gratitude.
Enjoy the little things in life.
Go to church.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Make sure your face is wearing a smile.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Open your heart to others by being real and vulnerable.
Speak your love.
Appreciate others and let them know it.
Love the people in your life and don’t forget to show it!

– Adapted from a quote by H. Hunter, published in an Oklahoma REC Newsletter in 1991, edited by C. Boyd, 2012

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ONLY ONE LIFE

Redeem the time!

Redeem the time!

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Missionary Charles Thomas Studd, author of "Only One Life"

Missionary Charles Thomas Studd, author of “Only One Life”

— extra stanza —

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

– poem written by Charles Thomas (C.T) Studd

Missionary to China, India, and Africa  (1860 – 1931)

Note: To read a brief missionary biography page for this author, use this link:
http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biostudd.html

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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A Little Boydie told me…

Just a reg’lar Mom in a house full of boys

praise4ever

praise4ever

I'm a busy wife and mother of 7, with 6 incredible boys still at home and a beautiful married daughter. Our boys range in age from our 10 year old twins to our 22 year old. We have 2 in Elementary School, 2 in Middle School, one in High School, and one High School grad. They are all incredible and special. One of our boys has special needs. I'm a musician, singer, writer, composer, blogger, and teacher. I'm thankful for our home and family, for Travis, my amazing husband of 39 years, and for family and friends near and far. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy and that He has given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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Giving a Song to say “Thank You”

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father of 7, and a Minister of Music and Worship, I am very blessed. For a total of 32 years, I have served as a Minister of Worship for some wonderful congregations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia. It is a joy to lead God's people in worshipping Him through music, and I am very blessed to serve at First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia. I'm also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and orchestrator, with choral anthems, songs, and orchestrations published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard), Lorenz, Choristers Guild, and Lifeway. My web-based music publishing site, WorshipSounds Music (formerly Boydbrain Music), offers Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Congregational Praise, and Vocal Solo music. Our worship blog has become an extension of worship ministry, and it is a privelege to share information and inspiration with other worshippers. My desire is to glorify God through my life, ministry, and composition work. I believe that music is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God's love and mercy and to glorify Him. My wife, Cindy, and I have been married for 36 years. We have 7 children. Daughter Meredith lives in Texas. Sons Jared, Zachary, Braden, Logan, Austin, and Camden range in age from 7 to 19 and are still living at home.

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