Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Sky Ranch family to Yours!

Merry Christmas...It is all about Jesus!

Luke 2:15-20

The Message (MSG)

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Gift

Last year I was brainstorming for a new and creative way to celebrate Christ in Christmas.  Gifts seem to be a major component in the Christmas celebration, don’t they?  Who’s getting what?  Who wants what?  How much to spend? Even though my girls only get 3 gifts Christmas morning (just like Jesus got), we still put a lot into the gift giving.  I’m not that creative, so let’s just get that out there from the start.   But I pictured in my finite brain a gift at the front of the tree that we would put out every year that signified the true meaning of Christmas.  An empty box, covered in bright, white paper, with red ribbon and some greenery.  As I started to “create” such a box, I began to tell the story of Jesus. 

            “Jesus came into the world one night because of God’s plan for salvation.  Sacrifices and commandments had fallen short.  God needed to provide a Savior and the only one who could save us was His Son Jesus.  We celebrate His birth every year on December 25th.  It’s His party, yet many times we forget to invite Him, don’t we?  This box that sits at the front of our tree symbolizes the gift He gave us.  His life.  He lived a perfect life on earth and died for our sins, so that we might live forever with Him.  The white paper surrounding this box symbolizes His perfect, blameless life.  He was the precious lamb of God who died for the sins of the world.  He had no sin.  The red ribbon symbolizes the blood that was shed as he died on the cross.  Without the blood there is no remission of sins.  The empty box is a picture of the empty tomb after His burial.  God’s word tells us that 3 days after his burial He arose from the dead and the tomb was empty.  The greenery symbolizes our new life in Christ.  God’s word tells us we are “new creatures” after our rebirth in Christ.”

Each and every time we look at our tree, we see The Christmas Gift at the front of all the other gifts.  A beautiful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

~Lisa Clark

Monday, December 18, 2017

The TRUE REASON for the Season!

Dear Sky Ranch Family,

Let’s together, celebrate the reason for each season!  My prayer for your family is that every Christmas be filled with His presence and joy as you share the love of our Savior.  Enjoy a special time with your family that is full of tradition.  If you do not share many traditions, that’s okay because it is never too late to start a tradition.  It becomes a tradition when you start it! 

Our family has enjoyed many traditions over the years. Christmas is by far when we share many of our favorite traditions. I’d like to share a tradition with you.

“Happy Birthday Jesus”

Since the first child was born in the family, the Happy Birthday Jesus Cake has been a tradition in our home for Christmas helping to reinforce the TRUE REASON FOR THE SEASON.

Up until the youngest child at our annual family gathering no longer believed in Santa Claus, Santa himself would deliver the Happy Birthday Jesus Birthday Cake on the Eve of Christmas.  Santa would come into the house with the cake and everyone would sing happy birthday to Jesus, blow out the candles and listen intently with wide eyes as Santa Claus would share all of the symbolism of the cake. 

Today, the tradition remains, but Santa Claus no longer joins us for the Christmas Eve gatherings.  One family is designated each year to make the cake and lead the tradition.

The cake is a Chocolate Cake made with cherry filling inside. It is frosted with butter cream frosting, decorated as noted below:

Chocolate Cake – This chocolate cake symbolizes our sin nature through and through.
Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 53:6)

Cherry Pie Filling – The red symbolizes the blood of Christ shed for us. (Ephesians 1:7 and Hebrews 9:22)

White Cream Icing – Symbolizes the righteousness of Christ without blemish which covers up our sin.  When we put it on, God sees our sin no more.  It still does not change our basic nature though.  The cake is still chocolate. (Romans 4:24 andIsaiah 61:10)

Decorations On The Top Of the Cake –

1.     Place a star for Bethlehem, Christ’s birthplace.  (Matthew 2:1-12Luke 2:1-6)

2.     Place an angel to symbolize the herald of Christ’s birth. (Luke 1:26-382:8-20)

3.     Place 3 red candles on the cake.  The number 3 symbolizes the trinity.  (John 14,  John 1:1510-1418Genesis 1:26,3:2211:7Isaiah 6:8)

4.     Place evergreens around the cake or cake plate to symbolize the eternal life we have through Christ.  (John 3:161 John 5:11-12

~Linda Paulk

Friday, December 1, 2017

Getting Wisdom is the WISEST thing you can do!

Hello! I’m Stacy. I’m excited to share with you a series of excerpts from the 2017 Sky Ranch Summer Devotional I’ve written called Boom Town, Sifting for Truth.

This year we’ve done things a bit differently. My son Taylor, also a Sky Ranch “Lifer,” has joined the team to add an element of fiction to the book. Each section will have part of an ongoing fiction story to help illustrate the devotional messages.

We have also added overview questions at the end of each section called “Golden Nuggets of Truth.” These provide a recap and highlights so that you and your family can be sure to remember the most important parts of the message.

We encourage you to use these different study methods to communicate with each member of your family in the way that they learn best. We pray that your family will grow in the Lord as you go through this study on seeking truth!

I’m praying for you,

Stacy A. Davis

Section One Story - The Boy and the Prospector

by Taylor A. Davis

Over the mountain range, through the thickets and trees, a gentle wind traveled its way through the woods until it found a low-lying stream. The cool air had seen the trials and hardships of a hardy few who would strike rock, dirt, and sand to find a new way and a new life. With sweaty,

coarse hands, mankind hunted for the finer things, most seeking treasures wherever the stars guided, while only a few knew to look in the small places hiding alongside them.

Along the Shasta River rested a settlement known as Boom Town. It was home to a happy bunch, for they’d found the most precious of metals. A prize most prospectors had searched for, yet found none. However, the “Boomers,” as they called themselves, knew the secrets to finding what others could not. They knew where to look and how to look. Gold was their trade, the life of their community. And if you failed to find it, then you were just an outsider, a lonely seeker of dirt.

“Could you tie up the tent flap, Curly? That breeze is killin’ me,” groaned a kooky old man sporting a thick, white beard and wearing a brown cowboy hat atop his head. The chipper fellow adjusted his reading spectacles and scratched his large nose. He leaned over, fidgeting like a

squirrel away from its tree while he laid down a large leather book with a golden crucifix sewn in the center of the cover.

“You need to be sure none of that wind blows through. If you let that cold stuff in, you won’t survive the evening in this winter.”

“I’m doing my best, sir!” whined the boy. Smaller and younger than the men at Boom Town, the young lad did his best to shut the tent. The wind catapulted the wool cap from his head and into the old man’s wrinkled face. Curly’s blonde hair levitated as he mightily pulled the two pieces of

cloth together, battling the gale forces of nature pounding against his skinny frame.

Once the boy had finally closed the tent and the old man removed the cap from his face, they sat down together. The old man dusted the grimy item and then leaned forward to place it back on Curly’s head.

“You know the reason I called you here, boy?” the old man mumbled. “I can’t find gold?” Curly replied under his breath. His head sank low. “It’s not that you can’t find the gold. You just don’t know where or how to look for it…” The old man’s response was followed by a lingering pause.

“Well, how do I even know it’s real? All I do is hear about it; I never seen it.”

“Ahh,” the old man chuckled, “What a mistake it is to believe only until you see. For you to find the gold at the bottom of that river, you must know it’s there. Then you must be patient. You must be still. And then you will find what’s buried beneath all that dirt and stone.”

A befuddled look spread across Curly’s face. Annoyed, he lacked the patience to find wisdom in the old man’s words.

The boy cried in a raised tone, “How am I supposed to know that you know what you’re talking about! For all I know, you’ve been searching longer than me. For all I know, none of the Boomers in Boom Town have even seen gold!”

“Then what is this, boy!” the old man sharpened his voice. He held up a closed fist before the grumbling child. His palms remained closed. Withered and frail, they shook violently to stay afloat.

“They call me the Old Prospector for a reason. I’ve been here. I’ve been back. I’ve seen it all, and I’m trying to show you the way. For there is only one way to find the gold. Only one way to find that sweet treasure buried beneath. You must believe.”

Before the boy, the old prospector released his hand and revealed what was hidden. Out rolled a dazzling chunk of rock. Ripe and true, strong to the core with a beauty that could not be recreated or destroyed. Purest of all things, that tiny speck of gold struck Curly in the hardest of ways. He believed.

The Old Prospector closed his palm and shook his head. “Emptiness is to doubt what you know is truth. If you’re gonna join the Boomers, you must know it’s there before you can find it. Meet me in the river tomorrow, when the sun breaks the plane of day.”

Nodding, Curly got up, grabbed his gray jacket and cap, and then made his way out of the tent as the wind grew, pushing harder than he’d ever known.

Section One Topic - Truth

The story begins with a young prospector named Curly. Curly is having trouble finding gold. An older wiser prospector reveals that for Curly’s search to really begin, Curly has to believe that gold really does exist. After sharing his experience of finding gold and even showing Curly a nugget of real gold that he found in the river, the older prospector convinces Curly of gold’s existence. This begins Curly’s quest for gold. In a similar way, to begin a search for truth, you have to believe that truth really exists, that there is truth just waiting for you to find it. There is an old proverb that says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get,

get insight” (Proverbs 4:7 ESV). It is saying that the beginning of wisdom is recognizing that you need real wisdom and then, whatever you do, find the truth. You have to recognize your need for truth to begin your search for it. The Sky Ranch family devotional, Boom Town, will take your family through the process of seeking truth by breaking into five sections that will lead you to real truth. In this first section on truth, your family will discover that truth is real, whom the source of real truth is and the evidence that supports whether your source really is giving you truth.

Excerpt from the Sky Ranch Devotional -

Boom Town, Written by Stacy A. Davis and Taylor A. Davis

© 2017 Stacy A. Davis, Inc. and Taylor A. Davis. All rights reserved.

Check back next week for the first guided Family Devotional complete with scriptural devotional time and questions for the whole family!

For more Sky Ranch Family devotionals and information on the author, visit

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Heart Full Of Thanks

It’s the THANKFUL month! We normally think more about what we’re thankful for in November because, well, we’re supposed to.  But truly thanksgiving is a heart issue that we should practice year-round. 

Opportunities to be thankful are in the mundane things of life.  And by expressing those things to each other, we’re encouraged to be thankful in our hearts day to day. 

When I was in high school, I had several cars.  I started with a great car I bought for $800 cash and wrecked it 5 months later. The car situation took a drastic downward turn after that!  In fact, my younger sisters passed on driving anywhere with me.  That experience led me to car thankfulness.  Still to this day, I’ll be driving down the road and thank the Lord for a car that runs. 

Our experiences in life drive us towards thankfulness.  And it’s also modeled.  A thankful heart is contagious.  Saying “thank you” breeds thankfulness.  Stopping and saying “thanks” turns an ordinary moment into a God moment.  Because we honor the Creator of all things and give Him glory by simply saying “thank you.”

As you look at the beautiful, changing leaves, mutter, “Thank you, Lord!” When your fireplace provides heat and beauty to your family sitting around the den, “Thank you, Lord.” As you gather with friends, eat good food, watch football, dress in layers, and meet new neighbors, “Thank you, Lord.  You are good!”

Thankfulness is a heart issue.  And God’s in the heart changing business.  Thank you, Lord!

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life!”   
Proverbs 4:23

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If Satan Loves To Isolate, Then God Is In Community

Are you in community? It’s an IN word right now, isn’t it? It just rolls off your tongue...

It’s biblical.  Did you know that? We are to be IN fellowship with other believers.  It’s good for us.  We were created FOR community. 

Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

All of this took place after the church was established, and THEN what happened as a result of their obedience? Shock and awe.  That’s right.  They were AWED by the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  (Acts 2:43)

So we (the church) have these marching orders:  Study the word.  Fellowship together as believers, break bread, and pray. 
Our marching orders are COMMUNITY. 

October is such a great month for community.  It’s chilly outside, there’s chili inside, and our hearts are full. 

And yet when we experience heartache or trouble, we lean towards isolation. 

Isolation makes us a sitting duck for the enemy’s attacks.  And he will pounce.
When we’re down and out, feeling less than, hurting, needing help, we MUST reach out to our people.  We need them, and they need us.  We were created for each other.   

Do you have community? Do you have a body of believers with whom you fellowship? If the answer is no, then do something about it.  Pray for God to bring you to a place (church body) for you and your family.  There’s a place for everyone.  And there’s no perfect place.  We were created for community.  Not for isolation. 

I heard it said recently, “When things are going bad, God is up to something good.”  I like that perspective.  God cares.  And He gives us each other to remind us. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sometimes Community Means Making The First Move

Something a bit unusual happened to me today. I received an invitation to coffee from a new mom at our school. We’ve attended this school for five years, her kids have been there for a hot 30 minutes, and she invited me to coffee, though we’ve never met. Something seems backwards here.
She wants to connect though. So she is willing to make the first move. There aren’t enough words to express how much I love this.

My husband and I are both connectors of people. We’re always planning, initiating, inviting, hosting, introducing, and glad-handing, everywhere we go. Often when we’re guests at an event, people mistake us for the hosts. It’s just the way God made us, and it serves us well in ministry. A few years ago, though, I honestly began to resent this aspect of God’s design for our lives.

Instead of being the pursuer, I wanted to be pursued.
Instead of being the inviter, I wanted to be invited.

Instead of being the planner, I wanted to be the guest.
I was lonely. In need of community. And feeling sorry for myself. But then I recalled Paul’s words in Romans 12:6:

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

I may have wished to be pursued, but God made me a pursuer. If I wasn’t willing to lean into this gift and practice hospitality, wasn’t I missing an opportunity to be a reflection of God’s image in the world?
Now fall is upon us. And with it, comes so many opportunities to practice hospitality and build community.

So we can do one of two things.
We can sit around waiting for an invitation, or we can be bold enough to make the first move.

What we can’t do is listen to the voice of Satan telling us no one invites us because no one likes us. It’s not true! Despite the fact that my husband and I are rarely invited by others, when we invite them, they most always say yes!
So if we’re wanting to connect with our neighbors…If we’re feeling isolated from friends…If we need a Girls Night Out, or we’re just wishing for a coffee date to connect at the new school, are we going to sit around a whine about it? Or are we willing to make the first move?

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:13