Friday, October 30, 2015

All In Devotional by Stacy Davis: God is the Creator

Family Fun Icebreaker: What do you like to create?

Topic Question: Who is God?

Today’s Big Idea: God is the Creator

In scripture, God defines Himself as “the Creator.” The Bible shares there is
nothing that God did not create. God did not have to create everything, but
He did. He chooses to create YOU! In the beginning, according to God’s
Word, everything that He creates is “very good.” Problems arise shortly
after creation and mankind enters into sin, behavior that turns against God.
After mankind’s rebellion, God chooses to care and provide for us; He did
not abandon mankind to struggle through life alone. God designs a plan
and a purpose for His creation. He makes a way to restore your relationship
with Him. He wants an interactive relationship with you!

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 ESV)
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! (Psalm 95:5-7 ESV)

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.

You are God’s creation. He is a powerful Creator with a speci!c interest in
YOU! It is amazing to think that a God who creates planets, solar systems,
and billions of people wants to personally know you and for you to know
Him. He has many other things to think about, but He still remembers to
think and care about you. The more that you get to know God, the more
you see evidence of His compassion for you.

Discuss with your family: When you create something, do you usually
take care of it? Since you are His creation, God feels the same way about
you. Can you share ways that God takes care of you?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help you see Him in His creation.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Thankful(ness) - Lisa Clark

Each fall I get the “thankful(ness)” bug! You know, “let’s all start getting thankful ‘round here, okay?” Fall means pumpkins, good food, family, celebrations and thankfulness.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!

When the girls were little, we’d have Thankfulness Jars and they would contribute their posts to the jar everyday. It was a tradition to read what each family member was thankful for the evening before Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Eve, I guess.  Everyone would pull a slip of paper from the jar and read it and then the writer would proclaim, “That’s mine!” It kept us focused on the season and what was really important.

Having a thankful heart changes everything.  It takes the focus off self and puts the focus on ALL we have to be thankful for.  If you have a child that seems to see the glass half empty, this exercise in thankfulness will really help them refocus and be aware of their less than thankful attitude. 

There are many things families can do during this time of year to stay thankful and “others” focused.  Here are some ideas:

            Organize a canned food drive in the neighborhood
            Volunteer at a food bank or kitchen for the homeless
            Clean out closets and take excess to a shelter or a family in need
            Memorize scripture using thankful, thanksgiving, thanks, etc.
            Write letters to family members blessing them and thanking them
            Random acts of kindness in your neighborhood or school
            Serve at church, school or home

Start a new tradition this year and have a “30 Days of Thanksgiving!”  Be intentional and stick with it! Getting all family members involved in projects like this encourage unity and harmony within the family unit.  Also, allow each family member to contribute a dish during the Thanksgiving meal.  Ask them their favorite, then let them prepare that particular dish.  Happy Thankful(ness) Month!!! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

All In Devotional by Stacy Davis: God is the One True God

Family Fun Icebreaker: What makes you unique?

Topic Question: Who is God?

Today’s Big Idea: God is the One True God

In this section, as you focus on who God says that He is in scripture, you
find there are several ways that God defines Himself. When you begin
a relationship with a friend, you get to know your friend by listening to
the things that they choose to say. How do they reveal themselves to you?
Starting a relationship with God is the same way; to know God, you have
to get to know God for who He is and how He reveals Himself. What
does He choose to tell you about Himself? In scripture, the Holy Bible,
God shares that He wants you to know Him personally. He uses creation
to reveal Himself to you (Romans 1:18-21), and He gives you His Words
through scripture. God inspires normal men to write His Word to tell other
people about Him through the Holy Bible. He gives His Words to men to
write down so that you can know Him (2 Timothy 3:16). One thing that
God consistently shares in scripture is that He is unique; there is no one like
Him! No one can take His place. He is the One True God.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.

For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me. (Isaiah 46:9 NISB)
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. (Jeremiah 24:7 NIV)

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.

God creates everyone and everything by speaking it into existence. You are
not like God. You cannot create by speaking things into existence. You do
not have the same abilities that He does. His power and ability are beyond
anything we understand. God is one of a kind. God is so special, it can be
intimidating. "e good news is that, if you ask Him, His Word tells us He
gives you a heart to know Him. He really does want you to get to know who
He truly is, and He will help you understand Him.

Discuss with your family: To understand God, you need to start with the
things that make God unique. How is He different from anyone else that
you know? What are some things that make God unique?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to give you a heart to know Him.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Battle Ground and the Battle Plan - Terrie Chevailier

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning- Exodus 17:11

I find great direction and wisdom in these verses from Exodus 17 where the Amalekites had set out and attacked the Israelites.  Moses sent Joshua out to fight them with some other men.  As long as Moses had his hands up, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  SO- when Moses hands grew tired, Aaron and Hur held his hands up for him! I encourage you to read the full story in chapter 17.  After you read it- hear are a few thoughts I want to encourage you to pray over?

The Battle Ground- Where is the battle ground in your home?  What is that reoccurring issue that seems to steal, kill, and destroy?  Finances, friends, rebellious child, marriage discord, strife, broken relationships?   In this story from Exodus, the battle was the Amalekites attacking the Israelites. 

Prayer- Once you have identified the battle, you can see it from a different perspective and go to war in prayer over the situation just as Moses did for Joshua.  If you haven’t seen the movie War Room, go see it!  It will help you understand what it means to fight strategically in prayer over these situations.  Notice that when Moses hands were lifted that Joshua was winning.  When Moses grew tired and weary and lowered his hands, the Amalekites started winning.

Friends- Exodus 17:12-13 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset, So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Who are your Aaron and Hur’s?  They would be faith filled friends who love God’s Word and prayer.  Call them!  Ask them to join you in the battle in prayer.  Don’t go at it alone.  Moses didn’t and we shouldn’t either.

Victory- Don’t stop praying until you see the victory!  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dear Sky Ranch - Jennifer Bownds

Dear Sky Ranch,

I would love to share one of the 2000 reasons why I love Sky Ranch.  Last year we had an event that happened in our home that was life changing for my daughter.  She was in 7th grade and was going through a rough time with friends.  She was having to choose between giving up friendships and following Christ and His ways or going with what the world and peers said was cool.  She was trying to discover who her true friends were.  She struggled with this for weeks.  

One day I picked her up from school and she cried all the way home.  She specifically asked me why God would put her through this when she was trying to do the right thing.  I could tell she was at her breaking point with what to do with this situation.  We came home and by now she was sobbing.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

From A Dad - Skeet Tingle

Greetings from a SkyDad!   Thank you for desiring to create Christ-centered homes and raising kids that love and honor God!  Sky Ranch is committed to leading youth and families to know and follow Christ and SkyDads is specifically committed to standing with dads, providing encouragement and resources for them to soar in their roles as Godly husbands and fathers. We know that being a dad these days isn’t for the faint of heart, it is tough work! We know because we are dads.

While Angie and I were raising our four children born within four years, there were a LOT of days that I felt like I wasn’t “getting it right” as a dad.  In my efforts to be a good spiritual leader in my home, I would often end up doing nothing because I was overwhelmed, sometimes discouraged, and just plain tired!  I compared myself to other dads and, instead of gaining ideas of how to lead my family, the comparisons would leave me thinking that I was never doing enough.  Does that sound familiar?

What would pull me out of those places? An obtainable focus. Encouragement.  And a step in the right direction. 

With encouragement from a friend and support from Angie in our home, I started doing something.  It wasn’t big, fancy or perfect, but we began having a short five to seven minute family devotional every morning.  No matter what

We would all pile onto the couch or sit up to the breakfast counter when our children were little.  I would read a Bible story and pray over my family.  As they grew, extra curricular activities and sports began to be a regular part of the family schedule. We realized that mornings were the only time we were all together at the same time!  Now, our grown kids will tell you that although they don’t remember specifics from those times, they DO remember that we gathered before the Lord as a family every morning, read His Word and committed our day to Him.  Morning devotionals became their “normal” and God multiplied my meager offerings to Him as a dad with my wife and children.

It all began with another dad encouraging me and my wife supporting me.  Skydads encourages fathers in their role of modeling our Heavenly Father’s love to His children, helping dads be Godly character leaders who will change their families, their children’s schools, their communities and, ultimately, the world. We are committed to help you and your husbands succeed as a couple and as parents.

Here are some of the basic encouragements that have mattered to me as a dad:

Stick with it
Keep showing up. Take the next step. Be faithful. Do something. Persevere. Run with endurance the race set before me.

Be strong and courageous   Joshua 1
God doesn’t just make us brave. He wants us to choose courage by trusting Him.  And He is also constantly reminding us not to be afraid.
Choose courage. Choose not to be afraid.
God is for you, for your family, and He is able! I would say to dads, remember God loves your wife and your kids infinitely more than you do!

Stay focused
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and on His perspective and His priorities for your family. He wants them to know Him, love Him and trust Him.  Don’t over-complicate this.

Stay connected
We are not created to do this journey alone.
We are called to abide with the Lord, to stay connected to the “vine” (John 15:5).  And we are called to stay connected with the community of believers and with other men.

Finally-stay surrendered to the Lord
The biggest gift you will give to your wife and children is your transformed self. What you do for your family and how you do it will flow from who you are and who you are becoming in Christ.

Seek Him first today!