Sunday Respite | Show Them Jesus

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”This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.” Isaiah 44:2-5

Dear Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this amazing scripture that gives us great hope for our future generation, our children’s children. I am thankful that you formed them in their mother’s womb and you promise to be their help. I pray that you would pour out your Spirit upon them and that your name would be written on their hand. With anticipation, I long for them to say with confident assurance, “I belong to the Lord.”

Please keep them thirsty for your love, for your truth, for your word. I pray that you would make the gospel of grace compelling and irresistible in their lives.

Help us, their parents and grandparents to be faithful to pray for our next generation to spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. This is a beautiful portrait of a life rescued by your grace. Please pour out your blessings on our descendants and help us to remain faithful to show them Jesus.


sunday respite 1

Our Family Reunion

family reunion

A few of my silly relatives

This week has flown by much too fast. I wish we had more time…my husband and I planned a long weekend with our children and grandchildren. There is nothing better than playing with our granddaughters! In addition, we arranged a reunion with some of our extended families…on my husband’s side and mine (a day for his and a day for mine). My bright idea for the reunion was to have our family history present with a visual showcase of memories.

My bright idea began with sorting through hundreds and hundreds of photos from nearly 35 years of printed pictures. I never took the time to organize our photos in “sweet” crafty scrapbooks or in a systematic file box with photos labeled and categorized per year, child or event. But I did have lots of blank envelopes containing photos in no particular order, plus bundles of photos with an old rubber band binding the memory together, only to disintegrate when it was removed.  All of the photos had been neatly stashed in a very large plastic storage box.

I began opening each envelope and quickly realized that I was being sucked into a black hole of photo oblivion and there was no turning back. I was determined to see the clear bottom of the plastic box.

I spent hours, which turned into days…with the memories, smiles, laughter, cries and sorrow. Every photo told a story. Every photo holds a memory. I could hear the voices of friends and family and the laughter of our children. Visual reminders of loved ones that have passed and grateful for our heritage and their legacy. Every photo is a piece of our grand story designed by a loving God.  As my husband and I looked through the photos, we kept saying, “Thank you, God! We are blessed!”

My work paid off as the photos were a hit and an added comic relief looking at the styles of the mid 1970’s through the ’80’s. It was a lot of work to sort the photos and to plan the reunion, but so worth it! By now, everyone has returned to their homes and routines and we all agreed that we need to do this more often. I treasure these memories plus, I have more photos to add to my organized collection!



Five Minute Friday: Cherish

Photography by Donna Harris

Photography by Donna Harris

Linking up with everyone for Five Minute Fridaywhere a remarkably encouraging and loving  community gathers to write for five minutes. This week’s prompt is: CHERISH.

This is my today…my Friday and the events that are cherished.

I wrap myself in the warmth of the sun on this glorious Friday.  The cold winter wind slapping my cheeks is suppressed with warmth and tender touches from the sun. This strange and unexpected day in winter is a kiss from God. He knows just what I need. I cherish this.

The laughter of a child swinging higher and higher and a grandmother’s smiles of delight embrace me with soft words, “Cherish this.”

A friend wants to talk about her stuff and needs me to listen and I am there for her. I cherish this.

Children are growing and their world is spinning…with work and family and fun and they call…to face time and I cherish this.

A wise one will meet with me to speak into my life and to show me things that I need to know. Mentor. I cherish this.

My family afar requests that I pray for them. A sadness with frustrating days await them and God’s grace is their comfort. I cherish this.

My husband wants to talk so we meet for lunch at our favorite restaurant to share words of encouragement to inspire and motivate each other through the rest of the day. I cherish this.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” Ephesians 1.           I am cherished!

Five Minute Friday

Sunday: A Child’s Perspective of the Nativity

I love how kids think! 

A more realistic view of the nativity…everyone focused on Jesus. We should arrange our nativity with every figure facing Jesus instead of a perfect display. 


This is a profound story! 


To teach in the home:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1–14

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him. Colossians 1:15–22


The Christmas Story: as told by children

The Christmas Story as told by the children of St Paul’s Church, Auckland New Zealand

This is delightful to watch!

Married and Still Friends


It was 40 years ago but I remember the moment as though it just took place. It was our Senior year in high school. He gave me a single rose. It was a Tropicana Rose and it was the most beautiful flower ever given to me. It’s the small things that I remember most fondly. That one rose communicated a sweetness that grabbed my heart. We were 17 years old. Young and clueless…


We have been married for 38 years and he recently gave me a bouquet of sweetness. That single rose is now a full bouquet that represents love, family,  hope, pain, triumph, compromise, joy, trials, sadness, trust, prosperity, debt…We know that marriage is a battlefield yet  too often we have ventured into the mine fields.

We are aware that God’s enemy want’s to derail us and destroy our relationship, our marriage and our family. We remain focused on giving God the glory in our marriage because we have been rescued by Jesus. Everyday we experience more grace.

 “Faith not only sees grace, it delights in grace. Faith is not only like a homing device and radar and metal detector that spots grace in an instant. It is also like an addiction. The more grace you see and taste, the more you must have. And when you get near it, you not only spot it, you savor it, you rejoice over it!”    ~John Piper

The best part of living together for this long is that we are still friends. We have always loved each other, but we have not always liked the other. Becoming a friend to a spouse takes years to develop. Neither one of us knew what “friendship in marriage” meant until we realized that we didn’t like each other very much. Not to be confused with loving the other…you can love without liking. We like each other because Jesus has captured our hearts. The love of Christ in our personal lives shows us how to love, to live…to be in friendship with each other.

We broke through the difficulty with learning what “healthy fighting” looks like. We are still learning how to have healthy fights, arguments, disagreeing…while respecting each other’s character and integrity. Too often we attacked each other instead of attacking the problem. Wounds cut deep, feelings hurt, and we began to avoid each other. We would avoid conflicts because it was too much work and effort to solve the problem. A healthy marriage will include healthy fighting.

Future Years

I will venture to say, based on our track record, that we will be together for many years to come and that Jesus will be the center of our existence. We will nurture the young couples that want to know our secret of longevity and we will just tell them more about God’s grace and Jesus. We will continue to teach our children and their children about the wondrous deeds of God. We have a heritage in Christ alone and that will be our legacy. Our children have a relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ…and we pray that God will endlessly call our grandchildren to want nothing more than Jesus. We are praying that the lives of our little people will be overwhelmed with more grace.

Recommended Reading

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller

What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul David Tripp

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman













Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Be Persistent

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

I recently bought the devotional book, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones to give to my children to encourage them as they establish a rhythm of family devotions with their kids. This is a remarkable devotional book with profound spiritual truths from the Bible told in a conversational tone. I greatly appreciate how theologically rich it is and yet so easy to understand. I think the grown ups reading the book to their children may love it just as much or even more than their kids.

I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite out of the 101 devotions, but what prompted me to write this post was when I read the title of Devotion #65 (Page 146) that simply says, “Nagging God.”  It’s about praying…constantly talking to God…never stopping. The author poses a question and then gives us the answer…

“Is it okay to nag God? And pester him? God says we MUST!”

I have a friend going through a very difficult and challenging time. Whenever she asks me for advice, I encourage her to be persistent with praying to God.  I can’t solve the problem or purchase a quick cure-all solution, but I can be persistent with my encouragement, mercy and care for her while gently reminding her that God is never tired of listening to her. Our problems are not bigger than God. And while we are being persistent with finding a right and just solution, God is even more persistent with rescuing us and pouring out more grace in our lives for his glory. I’m reminded about The Parable of the Persistent Widow:

 1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1–8 (ESV)

The widow persisted beyond what is comfortable yet she did not lose heart. If an unjust judge finally grants the window’s “prayer,” how much more will God, who is all and completely just, hear our prayers? God will not and cannot grow tired of us constantly talking with him. He is a big God, a good God and He is a King–
“–and Kings love to do marvelous, powerful things.”

So yes, my friend, it is okay to nag and pester God. Please do so! Be persistent. God is always there and he loves it when you ask him for great things!

I think I shall give my friend a copy of this book. It will encourage her heart to sing.

There is an affiliate link on this page. If you purchase the book using that link, I will receive a small stipend.

“Supper’s Ready!” family dinner devotions

“Supper’s Ready!”  I loved hearing my Mom or Dad shout those words to us. Besides being hungry, dinner became a great highlight of our day because we were all together, enjoying a meal, listening to each other talk about school and friends. We laughed a lot and we bickered too, but inevitably after dinner, my father would direct our attention to listen to scripture being read…either by him or Mom and sometimes one of us kids would take a turn reading. We would talk about the verses or passage of scripture and my parents would help us to see an application that was relevant to our situation. They would explain the meaning of words, doctrine, theology and the bible stories were always full of adventure, intrigue and alive with God’s power and love for us. We would pray for each other and pray about anything and everything. Our family devotional time became a tradition. However, it wasn’t always easy to keep up with, due to schedule conflicts or the tyranny of urgent mingled with different attention spans. Nevertheless, my parents continued to persist. Even though we were very involved in our church programs and ministry, my parents took full responsibility to disciple us. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:18-21; Psalm 78:5; Proverbs 1:8-9; Ephesians 6:4) This spiritual legacy has been passed down from my parents to us and to our generations that follow.

Family worship and devotions became a rhythm with my husband and I when raising our children. It’s a beautiful thing to see God’s promises fulfilled in our next generation as we watch our grown children teach their very young children about Jesus.

The following are suggestions and simple steps for beginning to incorporate a tradition of family worship and devotions.

Step 1. Eat dinner with your entire family regularly.

Step 2. Mom and Dad sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.

Step 3. Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.

Step 4. Someone opens in prayer and covers any requests. This task should be rotated among family members so that different people take turns learning to
pray aloud.

Step 5. Start eating and discuss how everyone’s day went.

Step 6. Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age-appropriate for the kids’ reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the
Bible, and assign a portion to read aloud while everyone is eating and listening.

Step 7. Parents should note key words and themes in the passage and explain them to the kids on an age-appropriate level.

Step 8. Ask questions about the passage.  You may want to begin with having your children summarize what was read—retelling the story or passage outline.  Then, ask the following questions:  What does this passage teach us about God?  What does it say about us or about how God sees us?  What does it teach us about our relationships with others?

Step 9. Let the conversation happen naturally, listen carefully to the kids, let them answer the questions, and fill in whatever they miss or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.

Step 10. If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus’ work in your life and your need for him too.  This demonstrates gospel humility to them.

Step 11. At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.

Step 12. If you miss a night, or if conversation gets off track, or if your family occasionally just wants to talk about something else, don’t stress—it’s inevitable.

For your children, the point is to learn what they are thinking about God, to help them know and love Jesus as God and Savior, and to teach them how to articulate and explain their Christian faith. For parents, the point is to lovingly instruct children and each other—thereby creating a family culture in which every member freely and naturally talks about God and prays to him together. In short, the goal is simply that your family would open the Bible and grow in love for Jesus, one another, your church, and the world.

Finally, remember that family Bible study requires a sense of humor, so make sure to have some fun, enjoy some laughs, and build some memories. Discussing the Scriptures is a wonderful way to see into the heart of your children, and to reveal your heart for them and Jesus’ heart for you all.

What you do for God beyond your home

will typically never be greater than what you practice with God within your home   

 ~Timothy Paul Jones