22.1.17

Three Ways to be a Brave Christian

by Sally Matheny

Three Ways to Be Brave
(Pixabay photo)



What do brave Christians do? 

Through God’s power, lots of things!

Here are three. 










Brave Christians share what God is doing.

One brave act recently came from a Vietnam veteran. He attends and serves in his church regularly. Normally, he worships in a quiet manner. But, one Sunday, when the pastor asked if anyone had any announcements for the congregation, this man spoke up. 

He didn’t mention a church meeting or a community event. He simply heeded the prompting of the Holy Spirit and shared about a rainbow he had seen in the sky that morning. He reminded everyone about how it was God’s creation and His promise.

Now, that may sound like something small to you. But it wasn’t. It was a testimony to everyone in that church, including his grandchildren, how to take notice of what God is doing and share it with others.

Brave Christians talk about God, what He has done, and what He's doing now.


Brave Christians support one other.

The second brave Christian I heard about was a public elementary schoolteacher. As she sat at the back of the classroom, her students watched the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

She shared this about her class of “amazing Americans”,

“My students made me very proud today . . . 
When the minister came and delivered a prayer, I looked 
and my students all had their heads bowed . . . 
Then when Pence was sworn in, they said to stand, 
and [all the students] stood! 
They sang “America” and stood while Trump was sworn in. 
All this without any prompting from me. 
I followed their example. . .”

This teacher followed all the rules and guidelines. She was brave because she did not discourage what the students initiated. She was brave because she followed through on her desire to join her students. And, she was brave to share this story publicly on social media.

Brave Christians follow the law, but they don’t hide behind it.





Brave Christians Share the Truth in Love

The third brave Christian was at the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Rev. Franklin Graham was one of the three pastors invited to make a brief comment and pray.    

When selecting the scriptures to read, Franklin Graham did not choose passages that would appease all ears. Even though he knew God’s truth would offend many, he offered its hope to all. It did not matter to Graham if he attracted hateful criticisms. He obediently revealed the Truth out of love.

He read from 1 Timothy.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings, for all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
This is good, and it please God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all people . . . (1 Timothy 2:1-6)

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. (1 Timothy 1:17).”

Then, Franklin Graham ended the prayer of scripture, “in Jesus’ name.”


We can do brave things in the name of Jesus.
Three Christians stepped out in faith. Each situation was different, but all glorified God.

Are these three people perfect? No. Not even the pastor.

Do any of them have all the answers to life? Of course not. Not even the pastor!

Can you and I overcome our fears and do brave things in the name of Jesus? Absolutely! With Christ, all things are possible.

Do you trust Him?





14.1.17

Have You Been Labeled a Christian?

by Sally Matheny


Have You Been Labeled a Christian?
Pixabay photo
Have you been labeled as a Christian? How many people in your home claim to be Christians?

We know only God is truly able to judge a person’s mind and heart. Since there is only one God, some humans resort to other means of determining people’s beliefs. They conduct a survey!

Surveys are not always reliable. But most conclude approximately 75% of Americans claim to be Christians.



However, the majority of these “Christians” say they do not have a “biblical” worldview. 

Obviously, people have different definitions of what it means to be a Christian.

To get a better perspective, the research organization, Barna Group, conducted a survey and went beyond simply checking a box labeled “Christian.”

Another label may be new to you— “post-Christian.”

According to the Barna Group’s survey, to qualify as a “post-Christian,” people have to meet nine or more of the following factors:

1.   Do not believe in God
2.   Identify as atheist or agnostic
3.   Disagree that faith is important in their lives
4.   Have not prayed to God (in the last year)
5.   Have never made a commitment to Jesus
6.   Disagree the Bible is accurate
7.   Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
8.   Have not attended a Christian church (in the last year, not counting weddings or funerals)
9.   Agree that Jesus committed sins
10.        Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
11.        Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
12.        Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
13.        Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
14.        Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
15.        Do not participate in a house church (in the last year)

6.1.17

A Review & Giveaway of Children’s Picture Book- Behind my Bellybutton

by Sally Matheny

(Behind my Bellybutton by Elaine Tomski)
Let’s celebrate Sanctity of Life month by talking about a delightful children’s book! 

To top it off, author, Elaine Tomski, is generously donating an autographed copy of her book to one of my blog readers. Woo hoo! We love giveaways. 

First, let me tell you about this precious book.

Behind my Bellybutton is a hardcover picture book published by Ambassador International. It contains twenty-eight pages of colorful illustrations by Chris Danger.  



The story is about a little boy, Eli, discovering how God grew him behind his mother’s belly button. It's Eli's birthday and short, easy-to-understand conversations take place between Eli and his mother.

I love the author's descriptive and comparative language. It makes it easier for a young child to relate to something abstract with something they understand.

Eli first learns he was about the size of a poppy seed when he was “in the safe, warm place behind [his mom’s] bellybutton and near to [her] heart.”
Throughout the book, his mom repeats this phrase as Eli observes things and asks questions.

“Was I ever the size of a blueberry?” he asked.

“Once you were the size of a blueberry,” Mama said.

“What was I doing then?”

“Your heart was beating strong like a drum in the safe, warm place behind my bellybutton and near to my heart.”


Eli then comments how he notices his heart working today.

This sequence continues with Mama telling Eli what things he did before he was born when he was the size of an orange, a baseball, and finally a watermelon!

The book has a happy ending with Mama assuring Eli that no matter how big he grows, he will always be near to her heart.

http://elainetomski.com/
Psalm 139:13 is in large print on the last page. God is mentioned at the beginning and at the end of the story, unless you count the author’s dedication to God our Creator on the dedication page. Then, it’s three!

I love this book. The story is endearing. Young children will find it interesting to learn how lively they were before they were born, even when they were as small as a blueberry.

Who wants to win this book? 

I'll choose a winner on Saturday, January 14, 2017. All you have to do to get your name placed in the drawing is leave a comment finishing this sentence:

A baby (zygote, embryo, fetus) in the womb is . . .

I’ll start us off by stating what we know to be true. A baby (zygote, embryo, fetus) is a gift from God.

Your turn.

A baby in the womb is . . .




*CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER!: Rebecca F.


3.1.17

Top Ten 2016 Blog Posts

by Sally Matheny


I follow several blogs on a variety of topics. Every January, it’s delightful when they post their top, most popular blog posts from the year. What did other readers find most helpful or entertaining? I click through their lists to make sure I've not missed anything.

I like to do the same thing on my blog. It helps me to see which topics readers found most interesting. 

The book reviews and giveaways were popular. For those of you reading today, here's a heads up! There'll be several giveaways between now and February. You may want to join my free email list if you don't want to miss one.

Otherwise, here are the blog posts you all ranked as the top ten.


The countdown of 2016's top ten:












Sally Matheny

Thank you, dear readers. I feel your pulse.


You and I are striving to grow strong and courageous in our faith so we can influence the next generation to be strong and courageous.


Let’s keep searching for His Truth as we continue to pray for and encourage one another. 

I pray the Lord will meet all your needs and bless you with a joyful and healthy new year.  


30.12.16

No Resolutions--Just Asking for a Dance

by Sally Matheny

Like most people, I’m planning to lose weight this year. Again. You can forget it being a resolution. It’s more like asking for a dance.

This extra fifteen-ish pounds and I have been swing dancing back and forth for years.  For the past two months, food has led the dance. When my desire to be healthier overrides my desire for chocolate, then I’ll take the lead again. 

Usually, I tire of toting the holiday heaviness around mid-January. 

However, a big snow can stretch that out.

17.12.16

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


by Sally Matheny



It was the best Christmas pageant ever. Not because of the angels in their white poster-board wings and crooked tinsel halos. 

Nor was it the tiny, shepherds carrying ninja sticks. Or the wise men wearing refurbished Burger King crowns. 

Even though Mary held the baby doll as if it was Jesus himself; that year, it was all about Joseph.


5.12.16

A Twist of Faith on Random Acts of Kindness

by Sally Matheny
    
A Twist of Faith on Random Acts of Kindness
 Kindness. It breaks through barriers. One act of kindness can turn a person's day around. Just one thoughtful deed has the potential to open up a whole, new life for someone.  


There are many stories about random acts of kindness. I recently read about a family waiting until a neighbor went to work. Then, they secretly placed a festive welcome mat at her front door. The children especially liked giving in secret; much like that St. Nicholas fellow did long ago. 

    

Not expecting anything in return, not even recognition, helps keep the giver humble and focused on the giving.

Doing kind deeds is a great way to help us concentrate on other people rather than ourselves. Children, who are constantly adding to their wish lists, are prime candidates for this type of project.

There are tags available on-line to leave for the recipients of random acts of kindness. But I don't care for the slogan ,"You've been R.A.C.K.'ed!" (Random ACt of Kindness) 
    
I wanted to create a different kind of tag. I desired to add a twist of faith—something that told about the ultimate act of kindness—that of Jesus Christ. The result is a card that begins: “You’re B.A.C.K.! (Blessed by an Act of Christian Kindness). The card ends by sharing about God's greatest act of kindness and how it isn't random at all, but intentional.

28.11.16

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer Review & Giveaway

by Sally Matheny

Bible Basics 
My last book review and giveaway in November is a board book for toddlers. The content in Bible Basics is just as robust as its construction.

The author, Danielle Hitchen, and the illustrator, Jessica Blanchard, are mothers who care about the spiritual formation of little ones. Hitchen’s book grew out of her need to find books that teach theological basics of the Christian faith to the youngest members of the family.  


Bible Basics “teaches the Bible and core tenets of Christianity” using quotations mostly from the Bible (ESV) and (NIV). Also included is a quotation from St. Augustine and one from the hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

This is a meaty book. Babies and toddlers will enjoy the bright pastel illustrations while being exposed to theological concepts and six passages of scripture.