Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Discipling the Generations: Part 4

This is the fourth part in a series talking about discipling the generations, especially young people. We are looking at aspects of Jesus' life and example of how He worked with His disciples. We’re going to look today at Jesus’ intentional work of growing His disciples.

The first point I want to emphasize is Jesus intentionally challenged His disciples with tasks meant to stretch and grow them. He taught them, equipped them, and then sent them forth to serve various times, always bringing them back to debrief and make sense of what they’d experienced. For a disciple to truly grow and mature, these times of stretching are critical. It isn’t enough to simply feed your disciple head knowledge. They must learn to apply the Word of God in their daily life. Sometimes, life events will help them along without any involvement from you. But other times, they may need encouragement from you to do something that will challenge and strengthen their faith. Like Jesus, we must be sensitive to these opportunities in the lives of those we have been called to train.

In addition, Jesus used significant events to make impactful messages sink deep in their hearts. Like the feeding of five thousand. Or the raising of Lazarus. Or the storm on the sea. Crisis moments in our lives can become huge “ah ha!” moments of spiritual truths. Sometimes a mentor is all we need to help us see the light. When we are all wrapped up in our own busyness, it’s hard to truly be there for a friend experiencing a crisis moment. But that is exactly what Jesus wants us to do, not only to help them bear the burden, but also to point them towards the light and truth of God and His everlasting Word.

Take a moment to prayerfully consider who in your life is going through a crisis moment right now. How can you be an encouragement to them today?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Discipling the Generations: Part 3

This is the third part in a series talking about discipling the generations, especially young people. We are looking at aspects of Jesus' life and example of how He worked with His disciples. Today we are going to focus on prayer.

One of the most important (and often the most overlooked) aspects of discipleship is faithful prayer for the disciple. Jesus gives us this important example in multiple places. 

Take a look at Luke 22:32 where Jesus tells Peter after his denial of Jesus, "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Jesus' prayer for Peter was powerful and crucial in Peter's returning to the Lord. In another place, during Jesus' great intercessory prayer just before His arrest, He prays for unity among His disciples and for all believers that would come after them. 

This is just a sampling of the prayers we have recorded that He prayed specifically for His disciples. Faithful, fervent, intercessory prayer... this reflects the heart of a discipler for his disciples, and more importantly, it reflects the heart of God. 

I'll be quite honest: I have struggled a lot to be faithful in this area. In a future post, I will be sharing more about how I've found a tool that has helped me tremendously. Until then, you can ask yourself, who is God calling me to pray for today?  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Discipling the Generations: Part 2

This is the second part in a series talking about discipling the generations, especially young people. We are looking at aspects of Jesus' life and example of how He worked with His disciples. We'll examine a couple more points today.

The first point is this: Jesus modeled a faithful life for His disciples and included them in on every aspect of His life to observe His times of devotion, rest, refreshment, nourishment, service, work, and anguish… his life rhythms, in other words. I remember well watching my parents walk through a grief that was not my own and observing carefully how they responded to it. It prepared me to walk through a much bigger grief that my whole family shared a few years later. Observation is a huge part of discipleship, which brings me to my next point. 

Jesus shared His griefs and sorrows as well as His joys with His disciples. His life was an open (and perfect) book. It’s a bit scary for us as we open up our lives to observation from others. What if they see nothing but sin and hypocrisy? Certainly, we need to pray through our habits and examples and continue to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sins in our lives, but by God’s grace, being still imperfect and sinful, we can make a huge impact in the lives of those we mentor. And when we sin, being honest, humble, and transparent can also be an important lesson to teach others.

How can you include someone needing discipleship in your life during this holiday season? Pray and ask the Lord to continue to direct you to those He would have you disciple.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Discipling the Generations: Part 1

There has been a lot of talk about different characteristics of generations in our culture. A quick internet search will bring up article after article highlighting the qualities of each one and how to engage them. Even Christians are doing their research and suggesting options for how to reach out to our young people. I’ve found, however, that no matter which generation or culture one identifies with, the principles of discipleship that Jesus used over 2000 years ago still are relevant, effective, and needful today.

I am starting a new series on different aspects of discipleship I've learned from the example of Jesus and from personal experience of 5+ years on the mission field. One of our main ministries is discipleship, and specifically, discipling young people.

The first aspect of discipleship that we'll look at today is discipling during teachable moments of daily life. Jesus set the example by following the Biblical model in Deuteronomy 11:19, “You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (By the way, this verse was given to parents first. As parents, we can never forget or overlook our first and foremost discipleship opportunity: our children!) Jesus took advantage of teachable moments as He lived daily life with His disciples. And that is the key: He lived daily life with them. You can’t take advantage of those teachable moments if you aren’t around to experience them. This means making significant time commitments on both the part of the disciple and the mentor.

My husband and I have worked hard to share daily life with the young people we are discipling. Over time, they have come to us with questions from their real world struggles and problems and we have helped them work through the problems through the lens of the Bible. And then finally, they have begun showing signs of spiritual maturity as they learn to apply Scripture for themselves in practical ways in their lives: a sign of Biblical wisdom.

Have you recently prayed about who God might be wanting you to reach out to and disciple? The Christmas season is a great time to bring people into your home to share in your meaningful traditions and learn about the greatest gift of all: Jesus!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Another Christmas Sneak-Peak

So, we moved to a new house about 8 months ago. Now, that my husband and I are starting to turn our attention to Advent and Christmas decorating, my husband noted that we now have a lovely fireplace and mantel to decorate. The other day he told me it would be a shame to have such a nice mantel and not have stockings to hang up on there. (You see, we never had stockings for the kids before since we never had a good place to hang them.)

So, guess what? Yep, on top of everything else, I am now feverishly working on felt Christmas stockings for the kids.

I kept the design very simple and they aren't taking long to make. I just need to decide if I want to personalize them or not...

Stay tuned to find out how they turned out in the end and to see our decorated mantel with all the trimmings!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Getting Ready for Christmas

Ever since I bought a kit of finger paints a couple of weeks ago, my kids have been begging me to do a craft with them. Seeing as how we are nearing Christmas season, I thought this project was a good way to get out the paint and have some fun!

I had some pine cones that weren't being used in any way and I wanted to think of a way to use them this Christmas. So I looked on Pinterest and found this idea, which seemed pretty easy to copy, so I went for it!

Overall, it was a big success and the kids had a blast!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Sneak Peak of Christmas Gifts

Hello again! I thought you might be interested in the Christmas gifts I am currently making for my family. 

At one point over the summer, I casually mentioned to my daughter in a rather nostalgic frame of mind that I might make her a nightgown some day. ALL my kids (except the baby) jumped at that and immediately began saying, "Yeah! Mommy is going to make us pajamas!" So I decided to go ahead and tackle that project as part of their Christmas gifts (at least for the three oldest). 

I've finished my daughter's nightgown pictured below. I am not an experienced seamstress, so I learned a lot while making hers. Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out. She'll never notice the slight mistakes I made during the process. 

Another gift that I am making for all my children (including the baby) is a Christmas tree ornament. I was lamenting this past Christmas that my children didn't have personalized ornaments to hang on the tree like I did when I was a child. Hanging up my special ornaments was one of the highlights of the decorating traditions for me. I had eyed buying personalized ornaments online, but to get anything really nice, the price was too expensive. So the idea came to me: Why not make them special ornaments out of felt?

Each child is going to get an ornament related to the meaning of their name. This one is for my oldest, and his name (first and middle combined) means "Little Gift of God." I put his first name on the front and the year he was born on the back. I think he's going to love it as much as I already do!

I will be posting more pictures of pajamas and ornaments as I get them done. For now, I hope you enjoyed your sneak peak! What are you making for your family this year? Happy crafting!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Magnesium Helped Heal my Cavities

I know, I know. If you search long enough, you can find hundreds of posts about the latest and greatest health breakthrough. "Take this and it will solve all your health problems," they all seem to claim. Well, I give my testimony simply as a suggestion to others who might be struggling with cavities in their teeth. Perhaps this will help you as it did me.

I've traditionally had excellent teeth throughout my growing up years. I was late in my twenties before I had my first cavity and it was only a minor one at that. But during my fourth pregnancy, I started having significant pain in my back molars and sure enough, a glance back there confirmed my suspicions: I had cavities. Cavities in pregnancy are not uncommon, but that was of little comfort at the time.

After researching the issue for a bit, I decided to try to heal my cavities naturally before running to a dentist. Studies show that many people are deficient in magnesium, and since magnesium is one of the key minerals for strong bones (and teeth), I decided to try taking a quality magnesium supplement. After a week on the magnesium, my cavities cleared up on their own! After I had my baby, I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. She told me my teeth were in excellent condition.

And this was not an isolated event. I've since had some cavities return (when I was not taking the magnesium) and I easily cleared up my problem by returning to the supplement. I do not pretend to believe that this will solve everyone's teeth problems, but it's worth trying if you are suffering from cavities.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Playing Peek-a-boo

My bookends were playing peek-a-boo in the yard today. They were so cute together, and I just happened to have my camera with me. These pictures are too cute not to share. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dollhouse Quiet Book: Part 3

Hello again, everyone! Here is my final post for the dollhouse quiet book I made for my daughter awhile ago. 

Here are the pages for her wardrobe and bedroom. I got many of the ideas for this page here. The rest, I made up on my own. I made the wardrobe extra big to allow for more outfits to be added later.

You can't see it in the picture, but there is a removable pillow tucked under the blanket on the bed. The teddy bear is also removable.

Also, from that same website I got the idea to make a garden page and swimming pool page. Only, I made my garden page very different from the one featured there. You can look at the original idea here. My little girl loves to make her doll meander down the stone path, stopping here and there to admire and water the pretty flowers and look at the insects. 

And this swimming pool page is a big hit with her as well!

Here is the back cover. I decided to hint of living the country life, so I added a cow in a pasture scene.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these ideas! I'm very pleased with how the whole book turned out and so is my little girl.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dollhouse Quiet Book: Part 2

Here are the next few pages in the dollhouse quiet book I made for my daughter.

This is the living room and office pages I designed. There were no templates for these, so I used a couple of coloring pages to give me ideas for size, proportions, etc. My daughter especially loves taking the pillows on and off the couch!

These next couple of pages are the laundry room and bathroom, both of which I did use templates for. You can find the template for the laundry room here. I had to shrink the template for my purposes, and I added the accessories like the broom, dust pan, etc.

 This is the link for the bathroom template. My little girl loves this page as well.

I hope these pages inspire you to keep thinking creatively!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dollhouse Quiet Book: Part 1

This is the first part in a three part series on a dollhouse quiet book I made for my daughter awhile ago. I'm not going to post any templates this time around, but I will provide links to the templates I used from other sources. Some of the pages I just created on my own.

Here is the front cover of her book.

Here are the kitchen and dining room pages. I used the templates from imagineourlife.com, but also added my own ideas. I made a number of food items in addition to the ones provided by the templates such as a pizza, a pie, and other various odds and ends. My little girl loves playing with these pages!

Stay tuned for more pages and posts to come!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Life Update

Hello everyone. As you can tell, it's been over a year since my last post. Having a baby and going on a 6 month furlough in the United States (without my computer) does complicate things. But I do apologize for letting this lapse for so long. I'm here to announce that I'm planning to start back on blogging.

I've been working on revamping my personal planner system, designing new pages that better fit my current needs and lifestyle. One of the things I've added to my planner is a weekly reminder to post on this blog and some pages for planning future posts. I hope to blog once a week on Tuesday evening, so you can check back weekly for a new post (Lord willing!).

Other things that have been going on in my life:

My youngest child is 10 months and we are currently working with him to get him to sleep through the night without needing to nurse.

I am working through a new Bible study by Lysa Terkeurst called "Finding I Am." So far, it's been excellent and I highly recommend it! It's been very rewarding, challenging, and inspiring... and meeting a long time need. I'm going through it by distance with my sister in law.

We are now back in our host country and are settled back into our house and church community. I'm grateful for the many ways the Lord has directed us this time around, as we had many questions about returning. But for now, the Lord has made it clear that He still has work for us to do here.

Well, that's enough random updates about me for now. Hopefully next week will be a more organized post. Blessings!