Monday, April 27, 2020

How Can You Know God's Will? (Asking for a Friend Series)

My pastor is taking us through a series he has titled, "Asking for a Friend."  He is answering common questions in the realm of Christian living.  Today, he is answering the question, "How can you know God's will?"

How can you know God's will?
How can you know God's will?

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.

You are invited to watch, Listen, and worship with us here.

We are God's masterpieces.  God had a plan for you and me when he made us.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we have all been placed in a time out.  What if this season is the start of new beginnings?  God uses all things for good.

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. - Ephesians 5:17
Let us begin by understanding what is not God's will.

1.  God's will is not a feeling.  Our feelings can lead us down wrong paths. 

2.  God's will is not a formula.

3.  God's will is not weird.  It is beautiful.

What is God's will?

God's will is a relationship.  Read Ephesians 2:10 again.  God has created us anew.

To know God's will is to know God.  The will of God is more "being" than "doing."  To know God's will is to know Jesus and to be like Him - to behave, respond, and desire like Jesus.

Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:4
To know God's will is to know God so well that we desire the things God desires.  Let's not look at God's will as a roadmap, but instead a relationship.  Do you have a relationship with the Lord?

The will of God comes from God.  God is not reluctant to reveal His will.  We just need to go to God and ask Him.

Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day. - Psalm 25:4-5

The will of God is not about our happiness.  It has everything to do with our holiness. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
God's will is pleasing and perfect.  His will is not absent from problems but is in the presence and guidance of the Lord.  God will use our trials to grow and sanctify us.  If you are in the middle of a difficult time, it doesn't mean you are out of the will of God.  God will sometimes allow us to be in a dark place, but He will never waste a hurt.

The will of God is revealed when we are willing to do it.  We like details but God wants our devotion, our trust, and our surrender. 

The devil wants us to believe that God is not always good.  That is a lie.  We can trust God. 

In the garden of Eden, Jesus surrendered to the will of God.  Are you surrendered to God?  Do you trust Him? 

Surrender is not a one time event but a daily choice. 

The will of God is clearer than you think.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. - Matthew 7:7
Ask, seek, and knock, but ask with the right motive.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. - James 4:3
Sometimes we don't ask because we are stubborn.  We don't want to change.

Seek the Scriptures.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. - Psalm 119:105

God's will and His Word never conflict with one another. 

Pray for the Holy Spirit's leading.

Listen to wise counsel.  Who in your life shoots straight with you?  Talk to that person.

Knock:  Pursue what God has placed on your heart.  He is our provider.  He will open doors. 

The will of God is bigger than our mistakes and regrets.  Failures are not final with God.  Jesus redeems and restores.  He wants the prodigals to come home.

Come to God in the middle of your mess.  Pray, "Not my will, but Your will be done, Lord."

God's will is for you to follow Jesus Christ and be totally surrendered to Him.

Read all posts in this series here.


How can you know God's will?  Pinterest

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Easy Mother's Day Crafts for Kids: Easily Adaptable Gift Crafts for Kids to Make at Home

Since almost the entire USA is in the middle of school-from-home orders, teachers are missing out on the fun of helping their students make handmade Mother's Day gifts for their moms.  You know what?  If you are a mom at home with your kids, you can still help them make a gift for you.  In order to keep the surprise effect, recruit another adult in the house or an older sibling to help your young child with the craft.  Since many of us are under shelter-at-home orders, I have compiled a list of easy Mother's Day crafts for kids.  These craft gifts are made with simple items that you most likely have at your home or you can order them and hopefully get them delivered in plenty of time.  Your child will light up when he or she gives his or her perfect handmade gift to Mom in honor of her special day.

Easy Mother's Day Crafts for Kids to Make at Home
Easy Mother's Day Crafts for Kids to Make at Home

Mother's Day Crafts for Kids

Butterfly Hand-Print Card

Gather a few colorful sheets of construction paper or cardstock, a little paint (crayons or markers will work too), and glue.  If you have googly eyes at home or any other materials your child can use to decorate the butterfly, gather those as well.  You'll need a marker or pencil to draw around your child's hand and scissors to cut out the handprint.  Then, head over to Simple Everyday Mom for complete instructions for completing this craft.

Paint Mom a Porcelain Vase
Paint Vases - Kit
This item is available here.
This Mindware paint-your-own-porcelain-vase set comes with three porcelain vases, 12 porcelain paints, and 1 brush.  The instructions say you just paint, bake, and display.  Your child can make flowers from construction paper or tissue paper to display in the vases or use the vases to display real flowers.  This looks like fun.  I kind of want to order a set for myself. 

Mama Bear Card 

Does your child love bear books or bear crafts?  He or she can make a mama bear card for your special day.  You'll need simple items such as cardstock or construction paper, scissors for cutting out the bear shape, googly eyes, and a small pom pom.  If you don't have the googly eye or pom poms, that's OK.  Your child can draw the bear's eyes and nose.  Once you gather materials for your child, head over to The Best Ideas for Kids for detailed instructions.  You'll have the option to get a bear card template sent to you via email. 

Mom and Me Memory Book
Mother's Day Crafts for Kids to Make at Home
This item is available here.
This Mommy and Me Memory Book kit contains enough materials to make 12 books so it's perfect for classroom teachers to use in their classes.  If you're a dad who wants to use this with your child to make a Mother's Day gift for Mom, just know that you are actually ordering 12 individual wrapped kits.  Of course, if you have several children, then you'll have all you need and probably enough left over for a child who wants to redo the cover or pages.  The books are approximately 5in. X 7in. 

Painted Flower Pot


My kids made this flower pot a few years ago.  We had a clay flower pot, tempera paints, Styrofoam balls, flower pick stems with wire, watercolor paints, and coffee filters.  This craft can be easily adapted to use other items.  Instead of a clay pot, you can use a large Solo cup, an old plastic planter, an old vase, or even a bowl.  If you don't have tempera paints or watercolor paints, you can use markers.  Instead of Styrofoam balls, you can use sand, dirt, rocks, old fabric cut into pieces, or anything that will fit into the pot that will hold the stems.  If you don't have the green pick stems with wire, you can use sticks and tape, paper or plastic straws, or whatever you can find that will work for the flower stems.  If you don't have coffee filters, you can use tissue colorful tissue paper or construction paper.  Follow the basic instructions in my original post, but adapt this craft according to whatever you have at home.  I'd love to see how your pots turn out.  Come back and leave us a photo in the comments below.  :)

Popsicle Frame with Buttons

Do you have popsicle sticks and a bunch of random buttons?  Your child can make a photo frame to display his or her button art.  You'll need construction paper, popsicle sticks, buttons, and glue.  Then head over to East Coast Mommy for complete instructions.

Suncatcher Art

These suncatcher hearts at Where Imagination Grows were intended for Valentine's Day, but this activity can easily be adapted for a Mother's Day gift.  You can use a heart shaped cookie cutter if you want, but you can use a flower or any other favorite shape.  You'll need a cookie cutter of your choice (or your child's choice), Elmer's glue (you'll need the kind your child can pour), wax paper, and beads, small buttons, or any other small objects that fit inside the cookie cutter.  These turn out cute and you and your child will enjoy it watching it glisten in a sunny window.

Love Bug Mason Jar Card

Does you child love to catch fireflies?  Here in the south, we call them lightning bugs.  We used to catch them, put them in a jar and watch the jar light up.  This memory makes me nostalgic.  If your child loves spending time outside,  have him or her make mom a card that reminds her of your child.  Head over to Glued to My Crafts for complete instructions for completing this adorable card featuring your child's thumb print.

Personalized Mugs
Personalized Mugs
This item is available here.
The Podzly plastic coffee mug kit comes with 12 plastic mugs and removable paper inserts.  Your child can create a personalized mug for Mom.  Mugs are said to hold 10 ounces of liquid.  Be sure to remove the paper inserts before hand washing. 

Painted Wooden Flower Planter

Give mom the gift of real flowers.  I love this adorable painted planter.  I found it over at 5 Minutes for Mom.  Find a wooden box.  I doesn't have to look just like the one shown.  Any wooden box will do.  If you don't have a wooden box, look around for scrap pieces of wood and make one.  If you are not getting out due to the current COVID19 health crisis, check for nurseries that will deliver flowers to your home or perhaps you can schedule a curbside pick up.  Don't forget the potting soil.  Visit 5 Minutes for Mom now for complete instructions.

Illustrated Faith New Mercies Mug

Is mom a coffee drinker or a tea drinker.  Consider the New Mercies Inspirational Mug from Illustrated Faith at Dayspring Cards and Gifts.  Mom will enjoy her favorite morning beverage in this pretty 12 ounce tall mug. 

Seeds of Love Ceramic Bud Vase

Head outside and pick a few wildflowers for mom or maybe you have a beautiful rose bush in your yard.  As long as mom doesn't mind, pick a few flowers and then present them to her in this cute Seeds of Love Bud Vase.  The sentiment reads, "All the seeds of love you have planted in my life have bloomed so beautifully.  Thank you."  Mom will love it.

Mother's Day Amazon Gift Card (You cant' go wrong with this!)

Journals, Bible Covers, Water Bottles, and Photo Frames
Mother's Day Gifts for Kids to Give to Mom
Mother's Day Gifts for Kids to Give to Mom

Dayspring Cards and Gifts offers several great gift ideas for Mom on Mother's Day.  Visit Dayspring here and check out all the great gift ideas including journals, Bible covers, water bottles, photo frames, and more.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Why Does God Allow Suffering (Asking for a Friend Series)

This is a question many of us ask all the time, even seasoned Christians.  The question is "Why does God allow suffering?"

My pastor helps us answer this question in his sermon titled "Why Does God Allow Suffering?"  The following are my Bible study notes based on his sermon.

You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

My pastor refers us to Romans 8.  You can read those verses here.

Let's focus on Romans 8:18 for a moment and hold onto its truth.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. - Romans 8:18

Romans 8:18 Wall Art
This Romans 8:18 wall art is available here.

Suffering is temporary.  Glory awaits us.

When we experience suffering, we tend to point fingers at God.

When things are good, we say God is good but when things are bad, we blame God.  Some people think God allows suffering because He doesn't care about us.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. - Matthew 10:30
The Bible tells us that God cares about us so much that He even knows the number of hairs on our heads.  

The Bible also tells us that we are to love others because God first loved us.
We love because He first loved us. - 1 John 4:19
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Artwork
This Scripture artwork is available here.
God doesn't just care about us.  He LOVES us.

But still, why is there suffering in the first place?  Suffering is brought on by:

- Our sinful choices.
- Other's sinful choices. (drugs, suicide, affair, etc.)
- Satan himself brings havoc into our lives.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. - John 10:10
John 10:10 is the verse on which I am building this blog.  Satan intends to steal, kill, and destroy us but Jesus came so that we may have life and have it abundantly.

Our world is deeply broken.  Ask God what He wants to tell you through your suffering.

How do we make sense of suffering?

Truths About Suffering

1.  This world is not right.  It is broken and in need of a Savior.
2.  We are not innocent.  No one is guiltless.
3.  God is not indifferent.  His grace is sufficient.
4.  This life is not ultimate.  Heaven awaits us.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28

5.  God never wastes our hurt.  He can use our hurt for good.

Good Things That Come Out of Suffering

Suffering can turn us back to God and eternal things.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes. - Psalm 119:71
Suffering can grow us and prepare us for greater things.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance. - Romans 5:3
Suffering produces perseverance,  character, and hope.

Suffering can be used to help others.
Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. - 2 Corinthians 1:4
We can disciple others out of suffering because of our own suffering.

God can take our suffering and brokenness and turn it into beautiful things.  We need to stop wallowing in past grief and let God us us.

Suffering can bring our worst or our best to the surface.  Do we love God when things are good AND when things are bad?

Job is a good example for us.  He didn't curse God through his suffering.

We don't need an explanation for our suffering.  We need a Savior.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. - Romans 8:1
All the suffering we have gone through doesn't begin to compare to the suffering of Jesus.  

How do we prepare for suffering?  We cling to Jesus.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:14-16

We are all fellow sufferers.  We ALL need Jesus.

Without Jesus, your suffering will never end.  

With Jesus, you can look forward to an eternity in Heaven.

Are you ready for eternity?  Learn more here. 

Read all posts in this series here.



Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade

While some public and private school systems have temporarily closed schools due to the COVID19 virus, others have closed for the remainder of the school year.  Many systems such as our local public school system has implemented a school-from-home program.  Students are still enrolled in our public schools but their lessons are completed at home.  I suppose different systems have different methods of doing this, but our local system has teachers and students keeping in contact with each other online while lessons are completed at home.  Students and parents keep in touch.  Many parents feel like they have become homeschool parents overnight and basically, they have.  While Usborne Books does not offer a complete curriculum for any grade level at this time, they have added a new category to their line up of educational books.  The Learning from Home category offers books by grade levels, travel the world books, books that comfort, and educational jigsaw puzzles.  This post highlights the 3rd grade category of books.  On my Usborne website, parents have the option to choose individual books or they can buy the entire set.  These books are great educational resources to supplement children's educational curricula.

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade

365 Science Activities

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

If you've ever wondered why bread is full of holes, what your DNA looks like or how to make a rainbow, then this inspiring book is for you. It's overflowing with easy and exciting science experiments, so you can discover something new every day of the year.

Series: Science Activities
These bright, exciting books respond to the growing emphasis on scientific exploration for young children. Their appealing scientific activities are cleverly designed to help children investigate the intriguing properties of different types of science. Experiments explore basic principles of physics, chemistry, and biology in a fun and practical way.

Across the USA Activity Book

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Draw, sticker, and play (and learn!) your way across the USA! Word searches, matching games, letter scrambles and more, highlight everything from state mottoes and famous monuments to natural wonders and roadside attractions to make this a road trip to remember! 

Big Book of Stars and Planets

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Open the giant fold-out pages to discover the wonders of space – from our Sun and the planets in our Solar System, to massive stars, enormous galaxies and lots, lots more.

Series: Big Books
Huge fold-out pages help to display information in a fun way! 

The Big Picture Book of Planet Earth

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

This book will take young readers on a spectacular journey around the world, from the highest mountain peaks to the very bottom of the ocean. Full of fascinating facts, this book uses jaw-dropping landscapes and richly illustrated maps to explain the wonderful secrets behind Planet Earth. Full of rich vocabulary, quicklinks also will add virtual tours, reconstructions, games and other homework help.

Series: Big Picture Books
Big, sturdy books full of pictures that introduce fun topics in a large, unique format, perfect for little learners. 

Big Picture Thesaurus 

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

What’s another word for big, silly or shiny? What’s the opposite of freezing, stretchy or brave? Find all these – and over 2,000 other amazing, useful and unusual words – in this fantastic thesaurus, packed with pictures and stories to tell.

Series: Big Picture Books
Big, sturdy books full of pictures that introduce fun topics in a large, unique format, perfect for little learners. 

Dr. Maggie's Grand Tour of the Solar System

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Space scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock takes readers on the trip of a light-speed lifetime – from the surface of our very own planet to the farthest sectors of the Solar System. Get set for a mind-blowing visual tour of the celestial bodies surrounding us and far beyond. 

Lift the Flap Picture Atlas

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Our wonderful planet is full of beautiful buildings, exotic animals and fabulous sights to see. To find out where in the world they are, explore the maps and lift the flaps in this delightful atlas.  

Measuring Things Activity Book

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Packed with puzzles and activities, this entertaining activity book covers all kinds of measuring, from using a ruler to reading scales. Discover the different units and tools used for length, area, volume, mass and more - then write, draw, color or sticker your answers onto the page.

Series: Math Activity Books
There’s a math book for every part of the math curriculum – and these books make math fun, too! 

Multiplying and Dividing Activity Book

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Children can learn all about multiplying and dividing with this educational activity book. Inside is an array of tips and problem-solving techniques and space to experiment with these techniques. The book focuses on helping children find which techniques work best for them, allowing them to take control of their own learning.  

Not Your Everyday Illustrated Thesaurus

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

A treasury of words to boost your word power, simple to explore, lots of ideas for different subjects to write about, you can look up words alphabetically in the word finder, there are tips for writing stories…and word games to play too.

Series: Illustrated Thesaurus Books
These handy thesauruses will help children build vocabulary and be more creative with their use of language. 

Wipe Clean Starting Cursive

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Join a group of friendly monsters and learn how to start joining letters up to write in cursive. Children can write, wipe the page clean, and write again until they feel fully confident. An approachable introduction to an important skill, this book is an excellent introduction to learning cursive handwriting.

Series: Wipe-Clean Books
The wipe-clean pages provide lots of opportunities to practice as children can return to each topic again and again. A fun and engaging way for young children to learn and develop essential skills, and each title comes with a wipe-clean pen. 

Write Your Own Storybook

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
This item is available here.

Write Your Own Storybook is full of inspiring ideas for all kinds of different stories, with space for you to write them in, and writing tips to help you on your way.

Series: Write Your Own Books
The Write Your Own story books are full of inspiring ideas for all kinds of different stories, with writing tips to help you on your way.

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade

Learning from Home with Usborne - 3rd Grade
Music Education and Student Achievement 

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