Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17
2 Corinthians 5:17
This Holiday season I have invited my daughter Grace Ladd McDonald to share her Advent curriculum with the Positive Life Principles readers. Each week we will post creative and meaningful ways to prepare your family for Christmas by focusing on the various attributes of Jesus.
The Teeny Weeny…True king”
Or Read 1st Samuel 8-10
Throughout the Old Testament, we see examples of kings, some were good, some were evil. All were human, which means they were sinners and because of their sin, they were not the leaders that the people truly needed. The Old Testament tells the story of one specific group of people called the Israelites. God chose the Israelites to be His people and to show the rest of the world his great love. There are many stories in the Bible which tell about the redemptive love God has for His people. They keep sinning and God keeps loving them. Early on in the Old Testament, the Israelites pled with God for a king. God sent many kings and prophets to help lead and guide the people, but no king could ever truly give the people what they needed. God promised His people early on that He would eventually send them a king that would loose the chains of oppression and set his people free. This week’s activities, readings and music will help you learn about why we need Jesus and the hope that he offers as a king.
Nature Exploration: Throughout history kings have worn crowns as a symbol of their authority and dignity. Jesus was unlike any king. He did not wear a crown adorned with jewels or gold. Rather, Jesus wore a crown of thorns. Jesus is the one true ruler over all the earth, as well as beyond what we can see. Did you know that there is a world beyond the one we can see? Spend some time out in nature, collecting sprigs and vine elements that you can weave together as a crown to wear on your head. Use tape or string as needed. Wear it on your head as you go throughout your day. How does wearing a crown make you feel?
Home Discovery: Walk around your house and find all the seating areas such as chairs and/or stools and couches. Choose one chair as your throne for the week. Sit in it, perhaps build a fort around it. Many verses in scripture talk about Jesus sitting on a throne. What do you think the significance of a throne is? Why do you think having a designated place to sit is special?
Baking Activity: Jesus did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped. Unlike other kings who are waited on hand and foot, Christ came to serve, to give of himself as a ransom for many. I am not sure what Jesus’ favorite food was but Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader who stood up for the rights of the oppressed in similar ways as Jesus. He liked to eat Pecan pie. Pick a simple pecan pie recipe or other sweet treat that you enjoy, bake it and share it with your neighbor. My personal favorite is chocolate covered buttered pecans.
Art Exploration: Purple is a color used throughout history to symbolize royalty. Purples, violets and blues were often used in old paintings to signify royalty. What about purple feels significant or special? Using water colors, fill a page with a mixture of blues, violets, and purples. What do you notice about the color? When you picture Jesus, what colors do you picture him wearing?
Adventure Walk: Rather than living in a castle, Jesus had no home while He was here on earth. He slept in the homes of friends or perhaps even outside in nature. Throughout the Bible Jesus spent time in God’s beautiful creation, floating, even walking on water, traveling up mountains or talking with crowds of people. As my good friend Sarah Gregory once said, people are God’s best creation. Walk to a nearby body of water with an adult and stare at the way the water moves and think about how God is moving all around you just like the waves.
Further Reading and Discussion
1 Chronicles 17: 7-10
7 Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men on earth. 9 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies.
Psalm 47: 1-9
1Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
2 For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
8 God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham
for the kings[c] of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.
24 My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.
The corona virus wasn’t exactly on my game plan for November, but I’m now keenly aware that I am not in control of these things. When my husband tested positive for Covid, and I tested negative, I thought I was better and stronger than the Corona Virus. But then…three days later, my symptoms started showing up. Achy body, chills and a general feeling of yuckiness mixed with a slight cough and shortness of breath. It all seemed to overtake my body at once.
Still thinking I was slightly invincible, I said to myself, I’ll be over this in just a few days and back to normal. On Day 12 of general misery and malaise, I realized that although I wanted this to be a microwave type of sickness, for me it was more like a slow cooker. I know it hits everyone differently, some do have quick recoveries, but others have a longer and more bumpy road.
So how do you stay positive in the midst of the virus that you didn’t plan for yourself? Here are a few ways that I found to stay upbeat during this down time.
Whether you are dealing with Covid or know someone who is, there are positive steps you can take. If you are a friend or family member of a homebound covid patient, reach out to them and reassure them that you are there for them. My daughters’ daily calls just to check in meant the world to me. My friends who reached out to bring a meal or drop off a smoothie, lifted my spirits. What a sweet time for all of us to care for one another. We will get through this as we love and serve together, and as we look to Jesus as our source of comfort and strength.
As I write this blog on the day before Election Day, I have no idea what the outcome will be. The one thing I do know is that roughly half the country will be very disappointed. So how do we handle discouraging circumstances in a Christ-like way? How do we bounce back after a major disappointment? Let’s look at three ways we can experience resilience when we don’t win.
Realize that God Has a Bigger Plan and Purpose. When we face a discouragement in life, it’s easy to think that all is lost and our lives will never be the same. To be honest, sometimes things do change and they change for the worse, but that doesn’t mean that God is incapable of using even the worst of circumstances for a greater good. The Bible is clear that God is sovereign and His ways are unfathomable. He is able to take even the most dreaded of situations (the cross) and bring redemption and restoration through them.
Respond Without Regrets. No matter what happens, we have a responsibility at followers of Christ to reflect His heart. We must respond as people who have faith in an all-knowing God, and not as those filled with fear and anger. We are people of hope, and we must show hope to the world around us. Our hope is that God will do more than we ask or imagine beyond what we see in front of us. So what does a healthy response look like? Kindness, love and respect for our neighbors. Humility and prayer for our country. Trust in a God who is bigger than our disappointment.
Recognize There Are Still Reasons to be Thankful. In this month of Thanksgiving we need to reflect and focus on those things for which we can give thanks. And there are plenty! Sometimes we need to look a little deeper and be more thoughtful, but we can always find a reason to be grateful. Start a thankfulness journal this month – even if you are not a journaler. I’ve never been a journaler myself, but I do write down a list of at least five things I’m thankful for each morning. It changes our perspective and outlook and helps us see that God is at work. It reminds us that He is using even the difficulties in life to bring truth and light into a dark world.
No matter what the outcome, each of us can experience victory and strength as we deepen our faith and trust in our all-knowing God. Instead of being fearful and angry, turn your heart and mind upwards and remember that God is on His throne. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of disappointment is that it can bring us to a stronger reliance on Him and a deeper life of prayer.
Go Vote (if you haven’t already), and draw close to the Lord in prayer.
Will school start in person or online? Will you be homeschooling or going back to work or juggling the two? As a mom, you may feel at wit’s end right now with so many unanswered questions. Today’s blog offers you a few points of encouragement as you juggle your continually shifting responsibilities.
When you feel overwhelmed, remember the Stop Method
Step away from the source of frustration
Take several deep, relaxing breaths
Objectively think about how to wisely handle the situation (reengage your brain)
Pray for God’s help, strength & direction
Creating a Peace-filled Environment
Take care of yourself personally – Set aside a little time now and then to stay connected with positive friends through calls or texts. Again, guard against constantly being on your phones as it will only add more stress to your life. If you need a break, see if a family member can help watch the kids while you take a break.
It’s easy to talk about the problems in our society, but it’s not as easy to discover positive solutions. When I think about journeying down the road to recovery, here are a few things for which I pray:
What would you add to the list? It may seem like pie-in-the-sky thinking, but I believe we can each take steps toward healing and hope. Will you join with me in praying for our nation? And as we pray, let’s seek God’s heart on what we can do to make a positive difference in our own communities.
If you are looking for a way to be proactive, I invite you to join the volunteer team with Engage Positive Parenting Initiative. Our desire is to strengthen and restore families through parenting discussion groups. The Engage program not only encourages fruitful conversation and stimulating ideas, but it also builds relationships across the racial divide.
Currently we are holding classes online. Our next Volunteer Training will be Wednesday, August 12, 10:00 – 1:00 CT via zoom. You can find out more information about Engage and sign up for training at www.EngageParenting.com