Monthly Archives: June 2012

Hide ’em in Your Heart

Helping a child hide a verse in their heart is burying treasure.  They might forget it’s there, but “X”  always marks the spot.  That verse will bear fruit in the Lord’s timing and in the Lord’s way.

I blogged earlier about the power of  ONE VERSE I memorized as a child during AWANAS.  I didn’t even want to memorize the verse, I wanted to sit by a cute boy.  I didn’t review the verse. I didn’t write it down.   I memorized it, walked away and had no idea what had been buried inside my 9 year old heart.

Treasure needs to be deep beneath the surface where it can’t be stolen by a thief.  Through the years, we’ve found the best memorizing success, especially for kids from the non-Christian homes, is to have a time slot of 5 – 10 minutes set aside for memory work. It’s not just enough to tell the kids to memorize a verse, or send a piece of paper home with them.  Not all kids get help at home with their Vacation Bible School and Sunday school homework.

Use a variety of tools in teaching the verse to the kids will  break up chunks in their hearts’ soil so the treasure is deep and safe.

REPETITION aids memorization.  We say the verse over and over, having the kids repeat phrase by phrase, trying to ensure the verse is  memorized before they go home.

ANIMATION aid memorization. Sometimes we whisper.  Sometimes we shout!  Sometimes we chant.  Sometimes we close our eyes.  Sometimes we follow each word with a light clap.

IMAGERY aids memorization. Other than just sending a piece of paper home with words, words, words and more words with a few numbers and a colon thrown in, I like to have a shape or picture that accents or explains the verse.  It also makes it more attractive and more likely to be pinned to the fridge or bulletin board so other family members may bury the treasure in their own hearts.

Generations ago, a scissors, glue and construction paper accomplished much in schools, homes, and Sunday schools.  Sometimes, I like to get back to the simple things in life. When I needed to make Vacation Bible School memory verse cards, I didn’t go to the Internet, I went down into a plastic shoebox in my craft room to dig for examples.

An older Christian friend, Alice,  taught Sunday School, Five Day Clubs,  and Vacation Bible School for years.  When she retired from the ministry, she gave me some of her materials.

Before the invention of computers and Microsoft Word, Alice used a manual typewriter to type her verses over and over, and hand cut all of her shapes.

The shapes in the upper left hand corner were the ones I created based on Alice’s templates.    Younger or first-time attendees only memorize the first part of each verse, although are rewarded if they memorize both.  Click on images to enlarge.

Those of you that aren’t very crafty will look at my project and say, “Hey, that’s simple, I can do that!”

Those of you that are very crafty will look at my project and say, “Hey, I can do that, but I’ll add this, and add that, and……”

The computer and the internet have exploded our creative possibilities. For any intended project, we type in the words and search thousands of options for patterns, free downloads, examples and pictures of people proudly displaying their creative successes.  Craft items like  paper punches, Cuttlebug and Cricet have also aided creativity.

It’s a simple project to bury one verse in a heart and send it home to benefit the rest of the house. Because remember,  one verse can change a life.

It Only Takes One Verse…

With Vacation Bible Schools bringing fun and faith across the United States this summer, it’s important to think of creative ways to get the Gospel message into the homes.  Sometimes the kids cram their papers into pockets, purses or backpacks, and never look at them again.  The candy will keep them from tossing it too soon.  Yea, I’m not above bribery.

In my last post on sweet ways to share the Gospel, I said  “it only takes one verse to convict the heart of sin and lead  to salvation.” Lemme’ tell you why I’m SO convinced of this theory and look for simple ways to get kids to learn at least one precious verse during Vacation Bible School.

It was the early 70’s and I was one of 22 kids living in my Helena, MT neighborhood. I’ve threatened to write a book about the kids I now refer to as The Townsend Avenue Tyrants.  We weren’t always nice kids, but in case you’re reading this, Mom, don’t worry.  We weren’t that bad!

Somehow, many of us got roped into going to AWANAS at the Hannaford Baptist Church up the street.  I’m sure there was a prize in it for someone for bringing us, but with the promise of fun and treats we were off.  At 9, I was boy crazy, I admit it, and when the group was instructed to sit on the floor,  I managed to finangle myself next to a cute boy, close enough to touch elbows, and struck up a conversation.

For some reason, a woman singled me out, and urged me to go into a room alone with her and memorize  verses for a prize.  I didn’t want a prize.  I wanted to sit by the cute boy.  She convinced me and I followed her reluctantly into the empty classroom. Although she remains faceless to me to this day, I remember her patiently repeating the verses over and over until I could recite them to her satisfaction.  As a CHUM, I memorized a C verse about Christ and the H verse, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” She praised me so much, I wondered what the big deal was.  After all, it was only a few verses from the Bible.

She gave me a piece of candy and let me out, but I wasn’t allowed to sit by the cute boy again.  I don’t remember ever going back to AWANAS. But through that visit and a few other invitations to  believers homes for some type of kids Bible club, I grew up with all the doctrine I needed to be saved.

I grew up knowing the Bible was all true.

I knew Jesus was the Son of God and was the only way of salvation.

I knew I was a sinner that deserved Hell.

I knew it and believed it all and accepted Jesus into my heart every time the offer came forward.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I had a life-changing meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ. As a freshman at the University of North Dakota, I started doing two things  ~ going to every party I could find and going to every Bible study I could find.  The battle for my soul didn’t last long.

In October, after a weekend of partying, I was in my room  physically and spiritually miserable. Hoping to relieve the burden, I grabbed my Bible and started reading the Love Chapter,  I Corinthians 13, the only chapter I knew. When I finished that, I kept reading.  The Word of God awakened everything I’d heard, seen and done and put it into spiritual perspective.  By the time I got to 2 Corinthians 5:10 I trembled in fear of a Holy God, knowing I would  stand before Him in judgement.  My life  passed before my eyes, for the first time, viewing my life from the Lord’s holy perspective. I kept thinking  I’d been given a life  and I was poisoning it with sin. Over and over, a Voice I was learning to hear and love, repeated,   “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”

By the time I got to verse 17, I experienced what it said.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

I was a new creation, a Born-Again Christian,  because I had finally been convicted of my sinful, wicked heart. It was that one  AWANA verse,  stored away in some dark corner of my heart, festering conviction until it bore salvation’s fruit.

This is why I love thinking of creative ways to get the Gospel message into hearts and homes. It only takes one verse to convict the heart of sin and lead to salvation.  Many times I’ve distributed the Gospel message with the following candies and the instruction card tucked into plastic bags.  I’ve used them for VBS, Bible camp and Halloween. Each type of candy represents a different part of the Gospel message.  (I always use individually wrapped candy.)

LIFE SAVER – Being born into a Christian family or going to church doesn’t get you to Heaven. But, the Lord loves you and longs for you to be with Him forever. Put your faith in Christ, who alone can save you from your sins.  Acts 16:31,“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”

HOT TAMALES– This spicy candy represents Hell, the punishment we deserve for sin, or disobeying God. Revelation 20:15, says, “Whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Smarties Candy Rolls

SMARTIES – Make smart decisions. Daily read the Bible and accept the Lord’s forgiveness and salvation. 2 Timothy 3:15, “The Holy Scriptures make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Now and Later Candy 18 Piece Classic Bar 24 Bars

NOW AND LATER– – Make the decision for Christ now, not later. You will have joy now and can look forward to an eternity with Jesus in heaven later. 2 Corinthians 6:2b “Behold, NOW is the day of salvation!”

 

(click to enlarge) 

This is the Word document I created using New>Templates>Certificates>Gift Certificates>Gift Certificate for Restaurant.  You can easily use this template for creating other verse cards for spiritual adventures.

When you pass away these sweet Gospel messages please remember, you are only sowing seed.  The Lord will make sure the seed is watered, nurtured and cultivated. Not only do we have a sweet message, we have a life-changing message ~ a message that brings eternal life.

Maybe, someday when I’m in Heaven looking for that dear faceless sister who taught me the verse that led to my salvation, there will be other souls looking to meet you. Isn’t that sweet?

The Sweet Gospel Message -Vacation Bible School Idea

For Vacation Bible School I decided even the candy treats should proclaim the glory of the Lord. It only takes one verse to convict the heart of sin and lead  to salvation. If we pass verses into their hands and their houses,  it might enter  their hearts.
Each day of Vacation Bible School we send goodie bags home  that include a Gospel tract, a small gift for attending,  and a candy treat, and an invitation for the next day to pass out to a friend.
All templates were from Microsoft Word. They’re so easy to use!
(click on any picture to enlarge)
This was actually a template to label garden plants.
Under New choose
Templates,
then Labels,
then Other Labels,
then Herb Garden Plant Markers. Their  words and Genesis 24:26 was inserted.
I love making these little gifts! Wrapping box after box of Nerds can be challenging, tying tiny bows can drive you crazy, but they sweetly illustrate the Gospel verse Ephesians 2:8. I hot glue the box on the card.
I used a Word document, not a template, cutting and pasting 2 Timothy 3:15 over and over. I punched a hole in the corner and tie two Smarties on with curling ribbon.
This is a business card from Word templates. I  added Ephesians 3:19, punched the holes, and slid the suckers through.
I was grasping at straws, and used the comparison of candy fillled with chocolate to being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Other years, I have typed up this paragraph below and filled celophane gift bags with the text
and individually wrapped types of candy listed.

THINK ABOUT IT

     RED HOTS – Hell is real. Hell is forever. Hell is the punishment you deserve for your sins. The hardships and sufferings on earth are nothing compared to the eternal suffering in Hell. Revelation 20:15, says, “and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
LIFE SAVER – there is nothing you can do to save yourself from an eternity in Hell. Christ alone can save you from your sins. John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”
SMARTIES – Make the smart decision. Accept the Lord’s free gift of salvation. 2 Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
NOW NOT LATER – II Corinthians 6:2b “Behold NOW is the day of salvation!”
Yea, His Words are sweeter than candy.

Psalm 119:103

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

When we pass out sweet Gospel treats, I love to tell the kids  the Word of God is sweeter.

I would love hearing  any ideas you have for making sweet Gospel messages!

Have a Tie-Riffic Father’s Day!

It’s not too late to pull together something to honor those amazing Dads in your life.

Last week I was blog-hopping and found Amanda’s Parties To GO!   She is so creative and generous in her ideas and her freebies, I had to become a follower.  Actually, I think I’d like to adopt her.   Finding her blog was like finding the Super Power I needed to become that caped Super Mom that actually made cool parties happen.  Ya’ gotta’ go meet her!

SO CUTE!

Anyhoo, I immediately printed them and while I watched a movie with my hubby, I’m one of those people who can’t sit still to watch a movie, I cut them out and laminated them, and cut them out again.  It kept me busy and now I have special decorations for years ahead.  Since boxes of holiday decorations have filled my attic, I like the idea of simple things that can be put in a file folder until the next year.

My picture isn’t as sleek and professional as hers, but aren’t my daughters loverly?  Plus, they’re making dinner while I blog.  Gotta’ love that.  No, that’s not a grandbaby in the bottom left hand corner.  That’s a vintage baby doll who sits on my counter in a vintage chair.

I bought my son-in-law, Aaron,  Mountain Dew and my 4 year old granddaughter decorated the cans. To make the collars, I cut a inch inch strip lengthwise from cardstock.  When crafting with kids, I give them free reign.  I show them a few skills, but don’t correct their creations.  I adore all the blue tape Brookie used!  Didn’t she do a wonderful job?

She has an amazing Daddy and I loved the opportunity to help her celebrate the gift of a great Daddy.  She reminded me Gwammpa is special, too.  Aw, fer cute!

Diet Coke labels were removed and the bottle was dressed in more formal attire for the weekend festivities. Daughter Rebekah, 9 years old,  used less tape and decided the tie looked more realistic tucked under the collar.

Want to read about the history of Father’s Day and find more free printables?  Check out Family Fun.

It’s not too late to celebrate a TIE-riffic Father’s Day  this weekend! (Amanda’s printables include ties to celebrate Dad, Step-Dad and Grand-Dad!) Download Here!

Just to remind you what parenting is all about…

Happy Father’s Day!

Are You Listening, LORD?

We’ve all had times when we think the Lord isn’t listening to our prayers.  We’re in good company with David, ya’ know, King David, the man after God’s own heart? Read the cry of his heart in Psalm 102.

In verse 4 he’s so depressed  and distressed  he says,   “I forget to eat my bread.”

In verse 9 his grief caused him to “mingle my drink with weeping.”

David knew what it is to be distraught, alone and forsaken, but does the right thing in his trials. He goes to the Lord and begs Him to hear his prayers.

Sometimes we do more than just ask the Lord if He’s listening, we accuse Him of not listening. In our minds, we know we’re wrong. Of course, He  hears us. He’s omnipotent and omniscience. We don’t even need audible prayers, He knows our words before they’re on our tongues.

The problem is on our end.

In reality, we’re not doubting His ability to hear, we’re doubting His willingness to answer our prayers in our way and our timing.

We don’t FEEL He’s listening because we want an answer now.
We don’t FEEL He’s listening because we want our own way.
We don’t FEEL He’s listening because we asked for a different path.

We need to change our feelings into fact. These feelings come from our circumstances and people on earth, not our relationship with our Savior.

As we identify with David, let’s follow his  path to peace through the next chapters in the Psalms.

Psalm 103:1, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.

Psalm 105:1,  “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name”

Psalm 106:1, “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 108:1, “O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise…”

Psalm 111:1, “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart…”

Psalm 112:1, “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord…”

Psalm 115:1, ” Not to us, O Lord, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.”

David praised, thanked,  and blessed the Lord.  He willed himself to sing and praise the Lord’s Holy Name through his soul distress to the point where David’s heart changed.

God did not move. God did not change. God did not open His ears or His heart any more or any less to David’s prayers.

The LORD has inclined His ear toward you, trying to catch every precious word you pray ~ He is listening.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

When I was a kid the poem

“Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day”
didn’t mean much to me.

Neither did
“It’s raining, it’s pouring,
the Old Man is snoring.
He went to bed, and bumped his head,
and didn’t get up in the morning.”

I lived in Helena, MT, and they only averaged
11 inches of moisture each year in Helena, MT,
including the oral precipitation from  cowboys and cowgirls.
I always heard it  was drier than a popcorn fart,
although I was never sure what that meant.

Since moving to Seattle,
these poems grate through my mind endlessly.
Ya’ know how a song gets stuck in your head?

Yea, that’s my brain on rain.

Ya’ know that saying,
“Stick it where the sun don’t shine?”
I just figgered it out.
You’re supposed to stick it in Seattle.

We celebrated our last day of school today,
but my teenage son said,
“Mom, it just doesn’t FEEL like summer vacation
when it won’t stop raining.”

True.
No school should = no rain.

A few years ago, we came up with a plan to fight the depression of
living in a place where the sun don’t shine for 226 days each year.

The females came up with this plan,
so you know it involves
SHOPPING.

Travel back in time to an earlier blog called

“When the Lord Gives You Rain
Buy Rainboots.”

It will cheer you up, I promise.

If it doesn’t, you can always go shopping.

Almost Free Teacher Gifts

I’ve gradually learned thankfulness over the years.  It didn’t come naturally.  For 18 years, my Mom taught me manners, but often I said “thank you”  from compulsion and expectation, not conviction or true appreciation. I knew it was polite, and wanted to be polite, but often I thought that person owed me something, so the thank you was to make me look good.

Afterall, why thank Mom for making dinner?  She’s the mom, isn’t it her job to make dinner?

Then I became a mother.

Why thank someone for a service? They’re getting paid to do it, right?

Then I started working as a busboy.

Over and over in life I realized I failed in thanking others. The biggest conviction came when I studied the Word of God.  Word studies on “give thanks” and “thanksgiving” gave me a deeper desire to improve. The basis of a thankful heart comes from thanking the Lord for our salvation.  Daily we should marvel that the Holy One who knew no sin became sin for us.  How can our hearts not be thankful?

When I learned to notice and appreciate the cost of what I received, financial, effort or time, it increased my thankfulness.

I learned to watch the examples of others as they ministered to others.  One thing I learned was giving little gifts of thanks.  You don’t need to empty the bank account,  pour out from the heart and hands. In other words,  my gifts are simple and inexpensive.

It never occurred to me until I saw others bringing them,  but this year I planned and conquered teachers’ gifts.  You might be thinking I’m pulling a fast one since I homeschool – making my kids give me presents.  They’re for the teachers who instruct my adorable, smart, house-trained kids in a homeschool co-op.

Succulents grow well in our climate and add color to the garden all year ’round.  When the skies are gray for months and months, these babies are always green.  They’re a comfort plant for me, since My mom usually had hen and chicks in her gardens.  This was a $.99 vase from Value Village.

These little terra cotta beauties were in my craft room because I found  a box of them at a thrift store for $1.99.  Who can pass up a bargain like that?  I bought the saucers for our Resurrection craft this spring. I like to plant them into little odd corners between rocks where I don’t want to weed.

This green and yellow plant grows prolifically and brings great color into the fall.  I can’t remember what it’s called and the little plastic identification tag  disintegrated years ago.  Another $.99 pot  I knew would perfectly compliment the plant with no name.

It was supposed to be a quick 5-minute job making the Thank You Flowers. Afterall, I still had flower scraps leftover from the Graduation decor I crafted last May with my Cuttlebug.  Some were  used some to make the Multiplaction Flower Power Manipulative, but there were still shapes longing to be crafted into usefulness.

I couldn’t find my glue gun.  I couldn’t find my 1-inch circle punch. Afater a half hour of hufingf and puffing, my way of expressing frustration, I found everything and glued them together.

DONE!  As long as they survive the car ride in commuter traffic, we should be good to go!

While junkin’, my mom’s term for hitting the garage sales and thrift stores, I also look for mugs with Bible verses  and vintage baby planters.  I also love unusual items, like old tea kettles and coffee pots.

My gifts of thanksgiving were almost free, but they express my heart.  I’m always thankful when someone invests in my children. I want the teachers to know that. A thankful heart overflows in word or deed.

How do you show your appreciation to others in word or deed?

I’d love to hear your ideas, I’m still learning about being thankful!