Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Valentine's Day Tradition by Lisa Clark

Early on we established a Valentine's Day tradition out of necessity. I had our youngest the end of December, and she was still so little and I was still so...in pajamas...that we decided to stay at home for Valentine's Day.
I cooked a home cooked meal (see below for our family favorite recipe - POPPY SEED CHICKEN), pulled out the china, and made my famous slushy strawberry drinks. Brad brought home flowers for all of his girls and we had the best time. We enjoyed it so much that we continued for years to come. As the girls grew older, we'd play "slow dance" music, and Brad would take his turn dancing with each girl, ending with the two of us.
During dinner, we'd go around the table sharing what we "loved" most about each other..building each other up, laughing with each other, maybe even crying a little.#useyourwords
Remember, the world isn't telling your loved ones how special and loved they are. That's your blessing. #family #raisingsinners #biblicalparenting

Poppy Seed Chicken
2 cups chicken (cooked and shredded)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tubes ritz crackers (crushed)
2 tbsp buter, melted
1 tbsp poppyseed
Spread chicken in greased baking dish. Mix soup and sour cream. Pour over chicken. Mix crackers and poppyseed. Sprinkle over soup. Drizzle butter over crackers. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Jesus is the Perfect Sacrifice

Family Fun Icebreaker: Have you ever done extra chores to help another person have less chores?

 Why Is Jesus Sent to You?

Today’s Big Idea:
 Jesus Is the Perfect Sacrifice

Taking on the duties of another in kindness is a form of sacrifice. God sent Jesus to be a perfect sacrifice for your sins. Scripture says, “But our High Priest (Jesus) offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” Hebrews 10:12 NLT. Jesus came to make a new covenant, a new agreement, between you and God. If you believe that Jesus paid the price for your sins, God will forgive your sins and no longer even remember your sins. Then, you will be welcome to pray to God while on earth and receive His help. And you will be welcome in God’s home (heaven) later on. The Bible shares that all people are eternal, meaning we all live forever. The eternal life that God gives welcomes you to live out your eternal life with Him in His home, heaven. But to be welcome there, you have to approach God on His terms, repenting of your sin. Once you are forgiven, you can have a real relationship or fellowship with God. You can be friends with God!

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.

In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. Hebrews 5:9 NLT

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
 Hebrews 10:10 NLT

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
God is serious about sin, and as long as you are sinful or rebellious toward God, He will not let you have access to heaven or Himself. God will keep you separate, away from Him. It is only through your repentance of sin and belief that Jesus paid the price for your sins personally that you can have a real friendship with God.

Discuss with your family:
Since heaven is God’s home, does it make sense that to be welcome there, you must follow His rules to get in and live there? What do you think God will say to someone who makes up their own rules and ignores God’s rules in an attempt to get into God’s home in heaven?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help you trust in Jesus’ payment for your sins.

I will be praying for you!

Stacy A. Davis, Author
Exerpt from Come One, Come All, a Sky Ranch Family Devotional
© 2016 Stacy A. Davis, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Jesus is The Good Shepherd

Family Fun Icebreaker: Sheep are cute and fuzzy, right? How are people like sheep?

Question: Why Is Jesus Sent to You?

Today’s Big Idea: Jesus Is the Good Shepherd

Sheep and people need a leader. We like to follow. Jesus is sent to lead you the right way and He leads by Shepherding. Read Psalm 23:1–6. What does a good shepherd do? A good shepherd helps your physical needs. He lets you rest; he nourishes you; he strengthens you; he takes you on right paths; he guides, protects and comforts, even in difficult times. He also helps your spiritual needs by restoring your soul and anointing your head with oil, and he causes goodness and lovingkindness to be a part of your life as long as you are with him. Jesus leads you in a kind and gentle way by teaching you to listen to Him through His Word, the Holy Bible. He is the Good Shepherd who leads you as you listen to the Holy Spirit direct your heart.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.

(Jesus is speaking) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.”
John 10:11–14 NLT

(Jesus is speaking) 
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NLT

Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25 NLT

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
Spending time in God’s Word, the Holy Bible, helps you learn to hear Jesus’ voice. He gently leads you in the right direction.

Discuss with your family:
Do you recognize Jesus’ voice when you hear His words read to you? What will help you learn to recognize His voice better?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help you hear Jesus’ voice.

I will be praying for you!

Stacy A. Davis, Author
Exerpt from Come One, Come All, a Sky Ranch Family Devotional
© 2016 Stacy A. Davis, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Mastering Sin by Lisa Clark

Mastering Sin

Have you ever had a conversation with your children about obedience? Hahaha Of course you have!!! Maybe DAILY??? We’re raising sinners!

In Genesis, Adam and Eve play the blame game when God confronts them about their sin.  They have little sinners, Cain and Abel, who live up to their name.  When Cain becomes envious and jealous of his brother, Abel, God confronts him.  Knowing Cain’s heart, God says, “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted (by me) if you do what is right.  But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at your door, eager to control you.  But you must subdue it and be it’s master.” 

Sin is crouching at your child’s door.  Sin wants to control your child.  Your child is only able to control his sin through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Our heart’s desire to obey and love God must be stronger than our sin desire. 

God knows our hearts.  He sees.  He knows.  Pray for your heart to be one that is devoted to pleasing God.  And pray your children know Him, follow Him and desire obedience.  Remember, you always want your children obeying God FIRST.  If they’re obeying God, they’re obeying YOU, because you are under His authority as their parent.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Jesus is the Prophet

Jesus is the Prophet
Family Fun Icebreaker: How would you describe yourself to others who had never met you? What would you tell them to look for if you met them in a crowd?

Topic 1 Question:
 Who Is Jesus?

Today’s Big Idea:
 Jesus Is the Prophet

God sent Jesus into the crowd of mankind and told us to watch for Him. God described Him as a prophet. A prophet speaks God’s message to the people of God. Jesus knew that God had been setting the stage for His arrival for a very long time. God spoke through many prophets who shared God’s Word. In the Old Testament, or Jewish Scriptures, Jesus knew there were many prophecies that told the people of Israel of a special future Jewish leader who would speak for God. Read Deuteronomy 18:15–18. There were hundreds of descriptions of what God’s Special Person would do and say. It was even so detailed that scripture tells the location and timing of His birth and descriptions of events in His life, even His death. God planned it all so that we would not miss that He very specifically sent Jesus.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:25–27 NLT

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
A prophet speaks for God. But Jesus is more than a prophet—He not only speaks God’s Words, He is the Word of God. In scripture, His name is called the Word of God (Revelation 19:13).
Discuss with your family:
Considering that Jesus is called the Word of God, what are some helpful words from Jesus that you have learned from the Bible?

Prayer suggestion:
 Pray for a thankful heart that is filled with God’s Word!

I will be praying for you!

Stacy A. Davis, Author
Exerpt from Come One, Come All, a Sky Ranch Family Devotional
© 2016 Stacy A. Davis, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thoughts For My Girls - Angie Tingle

The Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack was playing in the background as the menagerie of Christmas decorations was being marched down the stairs by the children.  Each child had to make a couple of trips to the attic in order to bring it all out.  As boxes opened, memories and stories and traditions seemed to be opened, too.  A fire was going in the wood burner, hot cocoa was being prepared, and the stage was set for the traditional decorating of our tree and our home.

After 17 years of marriage and 16 years with children, we had collected many, many tree decorations and “pretties” to sit around.  The decorations had become a nuisance to try to maneuver around for a month in our home.  So, this year I decided we would scale down and have only a few of our decorations out.  And so, according to eight year old Abbie, there was one hitch in her celebration:  Mama. 

As everyone else was in agreement and was going about their chosen decorating jobs, Abbie found the bag that she had packed the year before.  It was filled with an accumulation of ornaments and lights for a mini-tree. 

In the early years of our marriage, I had been given several tiny ornaments.  They looked best on a tiny tree, set it in a pot with gravel from the driveway to steady it, and placed in my kitchen by the sink or on the counter somewhere.  About 3 years ago, Abbie appointed herself as the tiny tree finder and decorator.  By last year, instead of being 12”, it had become about 3’ tall with lights and a velvet clad, ceramic angel ornament on top.  The simplicity of a mini tree had been lost and “bigger and better” had taken over. 

Abbie, already displeased with the idea of scaling down, placed herself on the floor near an electric socket to check her lights.  All was scattered in front of her: ornaments, tree topper, some tinsel, a 12” tree, a pot, and a string of 100 lights.  After wrapping the tiny tree with as much of the strand of lights as she could (with the rest trailing toward the socket), hanging all the small ornaments, and putting the ceramic angel on top, the tree looked gagged and bound. 

She blurted out, “Mama, I told you we needed a bigger tree!”  With an inhale of breath, more was coming!  

She slumped, knitted her eyebrows, and finished, “Why didn’t you let me get a bigger one?!  This just looks awful!  You wouldn’t listen to me and get the bigger one!” Her frustrated exhale of breath was sent my way on the vehicle of her dissatisfied, blaming glance.

As I walked over, her eyes never left my face.  Their blaming expression began filling with tears and she snapped again, “I told you we needed to choose the bigger tree!” It seemed as if her joy for the holiday would be based on the satisfaction she would gain (or not) in the decorating of her tiny tree.  It was my turn to take a deep breath and whisper a prayer to my Father for the right words to redirect her focus.

Cautiously I replied, “No, Honey.  This is the right size.”
“No, it isn’t, Mama! Everything doesn’t fit!  It’s awful!!” she cried.

“You are right.  Everything doesn’t fit.  We will not get a bigger tree, though.  This is just the right size.”  I sat on the other side of the tree and began removing the lights.

Abbie was not willing to let go so easily.  “Mama, we could buy a smaller set of lights.  You know, the battery operated kind!”  Her little mind was still trying to figure a way to put as much on the tree as possible because her thoughts were telling her: more is always better.

“Yes, we could, but we won’t.” was my reply as I kept unburdening the little tree. 

Abbie’s face drooped.  “Mama, please don’t take everything off.  You will ruin what I’ve done!” 

I didn’t answer.  My hands were working carefully and quickly to restore the tree to a more natural state as I began teaching Abbie about the burden of carrying or having too much. 

The tree returned to an upright position in its pot, again.

Abbie sat quietly and watched while the tree was turned and viewed from all directions, each ornament being placed in a carefully chosen spot.  As she watched and listened, her countenance began to change.  The tiny tree was just right for what it was meant to carry.

“Do you like the tree now?” I asked.  She just nodded her approval.  “Would you make a star for the top?  You are so good at making things.  Cut it out of something, anything you like . . . but keep it simple to fit the tree.”

A little while later, a foil covered star cut from card stock topped the tree.  It was beautiful.  Abbie had to even show me how she rigged the back of the star to make it fit!  Joy had returned to her heart. 

This episode with Abbie reminded me: a simple focus requires self-discipline.  It is so easy to be swept away by the presents that must be bought, wrapped and presented; homes that must be decorated; jolly attitudes that must be displayed; parties that must be planned or attended; the annual Christmas letter that must be written, addressed, and sent; and the unspoken other expectations that must be met . . . and the real reason for the celebration is forgotten.

By the way, who is dictating the must be’s?  Who is our audience for whom we perform and what is the focus? Celebrations are important because they cause us to remember.  But, to what extent should we go for a celebration and is the purpose for it still in view?

I ask myself these questions because when the weeks of preparation and celebration for Christmas are over, the sun will lay its head to rest and all festivities will come to a close.  At that time, there will be a moment, a stillness speaking of Truth.  I hunger to tarry in that moment, that place where “bigger and better” doesn’t fit because I know the fullness of that moment arrives when my heart humbly turns toward the Father in thankfulness for the coming of His son, my Messiah.

Celebrate well by keeping a simple focus.
And remember,
the most precious celebration
is the private one
between you and the Father.

Love always,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Free Gift

Family Fun Icebreaker: What is a special gift that you received?

Question:Why Is Jesus Sent to You?

Today’s Big Idea: Jesus Is the Redeemer
Jesus is a special gift for you. God sent Jesus to redeem you by being a sacrifice to take away your sins and give you peace with God, the Father. Read 1 John 4:9–10. Scripture shares that God loves you! And He loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son into the world so that you personally could have eternal life. When you believe in Jesus and trust Him as Lord of your life, you receive other promises, such as help from God’s Holy Spirit (John 14:26) and the promise of a better, more satisfying (purposeful) life while you live on earth (John 10:10). In return, you allow Jesus to be Lord of your life. When you confess your sin and repent, you are choosing to stop continuously rebelling against God and instead to continuously be obedient to Jesus. Allowing Jesus to be Lord of your life means you choose obedience to Jesus. And then in return, Jesus helps you be obedient—by giving another gift, the gift of His Holy Spirit.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NLT

For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 1 Timothy 2:5–6 NLT

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.

Jesus can pay for your sins, but you must confess your sin, repent and decide to believe in Jesus, this decision will lead to a friendship with God.

Discuss with your family:
Have you received the free gift that God has offered to you? If not, would you like to receive His free gift now? Pray, “Lord, please forgive me. I confess to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my wrong behavior. I believe that trusting Jesus, whom You raised from the dead, as my Lord and Savior will save me. I confess that I want Jesus Christ to be Lord of my life, and I would like to receive your gift of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray, Amen.” If you have already prayed this prayer, how has your life changed since then?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

I will be praying for you!

Stacy A. Davis, Author
Exerpt from Come One, Come All, a Sky Ranch Family Devotional
© 2016 Stacy A. Davis, Inc. All rights reserved.