Preschool is Apple-Solutely Fun!

Visiting an apple orchard is a great way to introduce the letter A to your preschool child.  Science, language arts, math, and art are all subjects illustrated in God’s world as apples are discussed, picked, and tasted.

Language Arts and Math:  Discuss the different varieties, colors and sizes of the apples with your preschooler.  Use real apples or paper apples to sort and count.  After sorting count and talk about same, more and less.

 

 

 

 

Math and Science:  Cut open an apple and count the seeds.  Discuss what grows when an apple seed is planted.  Discuss what a seed needs to grow.  Use 3 varieties of apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious) and have a taste test.  Use a color corresponding stamp pad to graph the preschooler’s favorite and then discuss results.

 

 

Art:  If you cut an apple through the middle while it is on its side, God has placed a special thing in the middle of the apple.  Your preschooler will be excited to see a star!  God brought the star down from the heavens and placed it in an apple just for us!  Use this apple in a stamp art project with paint.

 

 

Easy bake “apple pie” with your preschooler.  For this apple pie you will need cinnamon and sugar in container, tube refrigerator biscuits, butter, and 2 cups of chopped apples.  If you have an apple peeler it is really fun for the child to use.  Peel and chop apples, have chilld smash biscuit flat, add a large teaspoon of chopped apples to biscuit, shake cinnamon and sugar on apples, top with a small pat of butter, fold over biscuit and seal well.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown, then cool and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Books to read and enjoy:  Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall,  Apples by Gail Gibbons, Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington,  The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons, Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd, and  Apples, Apples, Apples, by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace  are some books that are lively, rich, and beautifully illustrated apple  books for the preschooler and early elementary child.

APPLE
(Sing to the tune of: “BINGO”) 

I know a fruit that grows on trees, 
An apple is its name, oh!
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E
A-P-P-L-E 
An apple is its name, oh!

In summer and in early fall
It’s time to pick an apple!
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 

It may be sweet or may be tart,
It’s red, or green, or yellow! 
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 

A McIntosh or Granny Smith, 
A Winesap or Delicious!
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 

Make applesauce or apple juice 
Or apple pie with apples! 
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 
A-P-P-L-E 

 

Until the next “Truth” sharing time,

Cathy Jo Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start to a Great Preschool Year

 

Summer activities are winding down, outdoor pools are now closed, at least in the Midwest, and daylight is waning.

That all means that schedules change and for most young children excitement grows as they prepare for preschool.

My three year old grandson is excited to start preschool and I  am thrilled to share in his fun of learning and in my fun and love of teaching.  I have taught in Christian schools, public schools, and home schools.  To now share my love of God’s Word and God’s world with my grandson and his one year old sister means that I am over the moon!

Skills to Practice while Playing with your Two Year Old.
  • Cut play dough with blunt end scissors
  • Bake and cook together
  • Finger paint
  • Play with a variety of art mediums
  • Color with a variety and size of crayons
  • Easel paint with chunky paint brushes
  • Make crafts with a variety of papers, glue, and paint
  • Read many books
  • Attend age appropriate library programs
  • Use blocks of various sizes and textures to build things
  • Play outside
  • Play with chalk
  • Blow bubbles
  • Do puzzles together
  • Sing together
  • Play with balls
  • Point out things in nature while sharing God’s amazing creation

As this preschool year progresses many cooking and art medium recipes that are good for ages 2 through 5 years of age will be shared. This preschool year skills and activities for 3 and 4 year old children will be shared.  There are different expectations  for the 3 year old and the 4 year old.  So I will outline those differences as the year progresses and next school year plan to expand the specific needs of the 4 year old as we prepare for kindergarten.

First week of Preschool

First of all establish if the child is left or right handed. As an activity have paint, chunky paint brush, and easel.   Watch which hand the child uses to paint with at the easel.  Make a note so you will be able to encourage the use of that hand when tracing and letter formation.  If the child keeps switching from hand to hand that child has not become comfortable with a dominant hand, more activities and attention will need to be observed over the next few weeks.  Once left or right handedness has been established make sure that is the hand the child uses in tracing and letter formation.

Note: Sometimes, especially with children who are left handed,  the child may cut better with their right hand so watch this skill as an opposite hand may need to be encouraged for cutting.  More about cutting skills and best scissors for the 3 and 4 year old will be addressed in a few weeks.

Tracing and Writing Practice
  1. With the two and three year old use crayon rocks.   I prefer fat pencils with the three year old and if the child has trouble holding this try 3 sided pencils
  2. Use a regular size pencil and a three sided pencil grip so proper habits can be established with the four year old. (Saying: Thumbkin goes on star of this pencil grip, pointer (finger) and rests on tall man (tallest finger).
  3. Little hands (3-4 year old children)  need correct and consistent writing practice.
  4. A great resource for handwriting is The Handwriting Book
  5. Provide tracing practice for the preschooler to strengthen fine motor control.  Tracing practice can take place in many ways:  Make lines on a chalkboard and have child trace over with a different color each time traced.  Purchase preschool tracing books at a teacher store or dollar store.  If you want to reuse pages place in a plastic sleeve and use dry erase markers for tracing practice.
Daily Calendar

While pointing to a calendar (a large wall calendar) and each day, sing Days of the Week song.  This teaches left to right progression, sequence, and that letters form words.

  This is sung to the tune of Ten Little Indians…

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Thursday, Friday,

Saturday,

God made 7 days in a week.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (as fingers are held up as counting)

You are off to a great start this preschool year!

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going for Gold or Going for Crowns

Daily Truth:   “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”

 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

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What were once dreams for the 2016 Summer Olympians are now reality.  Let the games begin!

There have been many stories about the place but what about the athletes?  They have worked hard and dreamed big.  What characteristics do these elite athletes have in common? Can we apply these characteristics to Christian parenting?

The Olympians fight through setbacks and injuries while becoming the elite athlete they each are today.  Do we focus on the situations in our life or do we focus on the prize? (Eternity with Jesus Christ and laying crowns at His feet.)  Prayer is important for the Christian.  Keep a family journal of prayer requests and answered prayer so children can see God.  Come back to those answered prayers in time of difficulty and remind children that God helped in the past and will help in the future.

  • The Olympic athletes must eat well in order to fuel their bodies to perform at this elite level.  As Christians we must feed on the things of God. Spending time with God in prayer and reading His Word are imperative if we want to finish this life well.  In order to teach our children to love the Lord we must spend time with God first and then share that love with our family.  Pray with your children before school. Have Bible fact night at the dinner table once a week.  Pray for a missionary before dinner. If your hear an ambulance pray for all concerned.  Be creative and see how many ways you can point your children toward God in a day.
  • Practice is imperative in order to become an Olympic athlete.  Have a time of Bible teaching with your children.  Memorize Scripture as a family.  Use teachable moments in nature to teach the things of God.  Practice is repetition and adding creativity to the repetition is key.  Make learning the things of God repetitive, fun, and creative.
  • Encouragement from mothers and fathers has is a theme as we learn about the athletes.  Parents and grandparents have a great responsibility to encourage our children in the things of God.  Just think of Hannah in the Old Testament and her son Samuel.  She brought him a coat each year he was growing up with Eli as an act of love and support.
  • The medal winners are thankful for the people who have helped them on the journey toward perfection of their specific sport. As Christians do we provide encouragement to others? Do we praise God for His Word that imparts so much and are we thankful for the Holy Spirit that wants to guide us in all things?  Let children see your praise and thankfulness of God and others. Help your children think of  “random acts of kindness”  to bless others.

We may never earn an Olympic medal but we all have the ability through Christ to earn a crown that we will want to lay at the feet of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown but we for an imperishable crown.”         1 Corinthians 9:24-25

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicingIs it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”  1 Thessalonians 2:19

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”  James 1:12

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away”. 1 Peter 5:4

“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:8

When this year’s Olympics come to a close and the medal count is posted consider the importance we are placing on the rewards God gives to us.  Are we teaching our children about God’s rewards?  Our we teaching them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind?   Let’s run this race well and teach to our children what counts for eternity.

To create interest with your child about the Olympics and then springboard to Biblical concepts please check out my Olympics Pinterest Board.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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God’s Goodness Abounds

Daily Truth:  “They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.”  Psalm 145:7  NKJV

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How many times have you locked keys in your car, forget a dear friend’s birthday, or miss an appointment?  We have lives that are fully scheduled. It is nearly impossible to remember everything on our plates if it were not for the alarms and calendar on our phone, computer, or sticky notes on mirrors and in cars.  Our memories are on overload.

To remember God’s goodness and intentionally share those things with our children takes planning and purpose.  How are we going to praise God if we do not remember what He has already done.

The Practice of Praise by Spurgeon shows us exactly in the title that praise takes practice. Practice is the “repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency.”

Spurgeon tells us that the first step to  “mental philosophy of abounding praise” is to take “careful observation.”  We must take note of things we want to remember.  Do you take notes when you listen to a sermon, take pictures of your children at special events, or have Pinterest boards full of ideas that you want to remember?

If we want to remember something, we will need to have a way that helps us to remember what we have observed.

“The first thing, therefore towards the plentiful praising of God is a careful observation of His goodness.”  Look for God in the moments of life.  A child’s first step (which I have recently enjoyed with our grandchild),  freshly picked dandelions given to you by your child, a beautiful snowfall,  waves rolling in by the sea are some of the moments we have committed to our memories.  There are sad observable moments as well.  In the words of Spurgeon, “Let rebellious spirits murmur as they may, goodness is enthroned in God’s kingdom, and evil and suffering are intruders there.”

“The greatness of the goodness is on some occasions made manifest by the evil from which it rescues us.”  I think of the Olympian, Louis Zamperini, who was tortured relentlessly after being captured in World War II.  No one knows the blessing of health better than those who have been through great physical, mental, and spiritual pain.

We need to practice careful observation of God’s goodness.  Arrange photos and mementos in your home of wonderful family memories.  This helps to provide an anchor so you can “abundantly utter the memory of [God’s] goodness.”  By looking at good memories we can “link one idea with another” and thus associate God’s goodness with observable moments.

We know how a child can observe a tiny ant carrying a small piece of dirt that goes entirely unnoticed by us yet it is an amazing thing to a child.  In this busy world, we too need to observe those things around us with child-like eyes of wonderment.

Dear Lord, help us to see things in this world with wonder and awe of you.  Please give us this child-like wonder to observe with intention so we will fall more in love with you and the world you have created. Help us to purposely make memories  that will remind us of your goodness.  Help us to share your love and goodness through our praise of you with the children you have entrusted to our care.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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Back to School and On Our Knees

 

School and Prayer Blog

Daily Truth:  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  Romans 8:31

School buses in the neighborhood means that school is back in full swing.  Morning alarms are set for the new schedule.  New books to study, new friends to meet, new teachers to greet, and children with a variety of emotions.

Some children look forward to the routine, meeting new friends, seeing old friends, learning new things, eating a school lunch or opening and eating a packed lunch. Other children want to keep playing outside, have no interest in a schedule particularly one that includes homework.   Children approach the back to school time of year with a variety of emotions.

Preschool age or college age the child prepares for school in their own way.

Our youngest son made sure that his electronics were in order with the most current technology before he left for college.   No need for thinking about clothing or toiletries it was all about the electronics.  As I reflect on my daughter as she got ready for college she wanted to coordinate the dorm room decorating with her roommate.  It was all about the design, color, and organization of the room.  Our oldest son made sure that he had new strings on his guitar. I can still see him sitting on his bed tuning his guitar after restringing the instrument with clothing in piles at his feet a day before he left for his freshman year of college.

God has made each child with likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.   As parents we need to watch with wisdom as our children grow.  Sometimes a cheerleader is needed while at other times a listening ear and discerning spirit is required.  It is good to know that our heavenly Father knows what we all need, parents included.

I think one reason God gives us children that are so different from one another and ourselves is so we will have to cling to Him for guidance.  If not we can become prideful if all is going well (those rare moments are cherished) or we can become overwhelmed with inadequacy (which is often the case).

There are many books that are helpful in guiding us as we pray for our children. Shepherding the Child’s Heart and Praying the Scriptures for Your Children are two of my favorites.

The main thing about parenting is to remain on your knees.  Parenting is a wonderful journey even though not always easy but, when we enlist our Heavenly Father to lead the way the journey is sweeter.  We are can only see what is in front of us but God’s perspective is infinite and perfect.

No matter the age of your children you will always be their parent.  Roles change but it is good to know that God is always for us and that we can talk with Him in prayer and study His Word that so richly leads us to truth.

Children, families, parents, backgrounds, environments, are all different yet God is the same and wants us to love and trust Him.  With God on our side who can be against us?

This school year will present new challenges but we are not alone.  I have a provided a “PRAYER” chart for parents and a prayer organizer to encourage you as you lift your child in prayer this year. PRAYER for parents as you raise your children

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/angel_ina/4552152062/”></a> / <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

 

 

 

 

Light Means More than Spring Has Sprung

Daily Truth:  “And God saw the light, that is was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”  Genesis 1:4

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Just as we begin to enjoy the earlier sunrise of late winter-SMACK-Daylight Saving Time is upon us.

Why do we enjoy beginning our day in the light rather than the dark?  For me it is the singing of the birds, the beauty of the sun piercing through the dark, and knowing no matter what, God is in control with the rising of the sun.

Why are we disgruntled with extended darkness?  I find it more difficult to get motivated in the darkness of morning-let’s face it-doesn’t a beautiful sunrise put a smile on our face?

The Bible uses the word “light” in this context over one hundred times.  In the third verse of the Bible we read that the first thing God created was light.  Genesis 1:3 “And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.”

It is amazing to think that the sun is just the right distance (92,960,000 miles) from the earth to provide us with warmth, food, and fuel. Any difference of distance would alter our life drastically.  What a great God to create all things so perfectly.

Truths for Tots

  • Turn out the lights and then illustrate how a flashlight brightens the room and directs our path. (Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.)
  • Plan a camp out so the sunrise and sunset will illustrate the importance of light.  (Genesis 1:16 Then God made two great lights, the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night.  He made stars also.)
  • Discuss how the LORD guides us and leads us.  We do not need to be afraid of the dark.  (Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; when shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?)

Truths for Parents

My grandmother lived to be 99 years old.  She lived in the time period when the Wright Brothers flew their first airplane, Henry Ford brought cars to the masses, and Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb was perfected by William D. Coolidge in 1908 so that homes were lit by lamps rather that candles.  My grandmother said that the best invention of her time was the incandescent lamp.

Light changes everything!

John 8:2 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,’ I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ”

As we walk through these days before Resurrection Sunday, may we prayerfully consider how Jesus is the light of the world.  You no longer need to walk in darkness.  You can have as much light as you want.

For more information about Jesus as the light of the world please check out the link http://www.blbclassic.org/knowgod.cfm .

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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A Loving Valentine

Daily Truth:  “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

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Valentine’s Day is a favorite day for young and old alike.  This day for elementary age children is fun as making or selecting Valentine cards for friends and classmates brings a sense of excitement and a way to show how much you care about someone.  The preschool age and early elementary age is a great time to teach how important love is to God through the Valentine celebration.

Truths For Tots

Love shares:  The songs below could be acted out with Valentine cards.

I’m a Little Valentine
(Tune: I’m a Little Teapot)
I’m a little Valentine
Red and white
With ribbons and lace
I’m a beautiful site.
I can say, “I love you,”
On Valentine’s Day.
Just put me in an envelope
And give me away!

 

Share
(Tune:  Mary Had a Little Lamb)
( I like to use  various sizes and colors of hearts
with this song to teach about “real” sharing.)
Valentines are made to share,
Made to share,
Made to share.
Valentines are made to share
With my friends at school.
I made you a Valentine,
Valentine, Valentine
I made you a Valentine
That says, “I love you”.
(And then each child trades hearts.
We will sing this several times
as hearts are traded.)

 

Discuss how the Bible is a collection of God’s love letters that He shares with us.  Place some cut out hearts with a Bible verse written on each heart. (Some Bible verses to write on the heart may include:  John 3:16, Psalm 86:15, Romans 8:37-39, and Zephaniah 3:17) Place these hearts in a Bible (Could place in a children’s Bible on pages of illustrations of Jesus’ showing love to others.)  Open the Bible and pull out the heart and read the verse “God’s love letter” to us.

Discuss some ways in which we could let God’s love show through our lives not only on Valentine’s Day but every day.

Truths For Parents

Let’s look at the verse 1 Corinthians 13:13 more in depth. The Children’s Ministry Resource Bible published by Thomas Nelson provides us with great definitions for key words in this verse.

Faith-“believing without question what God says about Himself and about what He will do”

Hope-“looking forward with confidence to receiving good things that God has promised to give me in the future”

Love-“a quiet, steady decision of the will to care for another person, totally apart from any good quality or ability or desire to respond on the part of the object of love; feeling of great affection that causes me to give and do things for another person”

By better knowing and understanding the meanings of each word we are better equipped to teach our children.  Teach your child that God gave His Word to tell us about His love and to give us a living example of His love.

Think about the ways in which you show love to your family.  You are your children’s living example of love.

Loving the Lord first will give us the ability to show love to our families no matter what life situation is occurring.

May you have a “lovely” Valentine’s Day. ❤

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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Sing, It Does a Heart Good

Daily Truth:  “They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.”  Psalm 145:7  NKJV

Sing, It Does a Heart Good

Why is the musical The Sound of Music so popular?  It is a wonderful, true story about the singing Von Trapp family.  One of the most memorable lyrics in the score is, “the hills are alive, with the sound of music.”  The hills (God’s creation) with all the surrounding life are filled with music.  How sweet are the sounds of the mountain streams, birds, other wildlife and then to be captured in music brings joy to our hearts and ultimately praise to a great God.

Sometimes it is only music that can lift our hearts or help us to “[bring] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

At dawn the birds begin to sing.  I like to think they are praising God for the new day. The birds even provide an example for us.

As Spurgeon writes in The Practice of Praise, “When the heart is most adoring and selects the grandest theme for reverent song it chooses the meeting of goodness and righteousness as it topic.”

Singing praises to God blesses us and blesses God.  Don’t you love it when  your children are playing and they spontaneously begin singing a Bible song?  How much more does our Heavenly Father love to hear us, his children, singing praise about Him and to Him?

There are many ways to teach children to sing praises to God through His Word.  Make up a melody, use a well know children’s melody, or use one of the following links that teach Bible verses with music accompaniment.   Children Desiring God   John 3:16-17           John 1:1-2  Psalm 107:1

Another lovely resource that is wonderful for both parent and child is Scripture Lullabies. (click on Home after this link and it will open)

As Spurgeon writes, “sweeten your lips with the pleasant confection of praise…praise God extravagantly if you can.  Try it.”  “There are no limits to the deserving of God who ever blesses.”

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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The Value of Memories and Praise

Daily Truth:  “They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.”  Psalm 145:7  NKJV

The Value of Memories and Praise

How many times have you locked keys in your car, forget a dear friend’s birthday, or an appointment?  We have lives that are fully scheduled. It is nearly impossible to remember everything on our plates if it were not for the alarms and calendar on our phone, computer, or sticky notes on mirrors and in cars.  Our memories are on overload.  To remember what is important to us takes planning and purpose.

If we want to remember God’s goodness it is going to take planning and purpose.  How are we going to praise God if we do not remember what He has already done?

The Practice of Praise by Spurgeon shows us exactly in the title that praise takes practice. Practice is the “repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency.”

Spurgeon tells us that the first step to  “mental philosophy of abounding praise” is to take “careful observation.”  We must take note of things we want to remember.  Do you take notes when you listen to a sermon, take pictures of your children at special events, or have Pinterest boards full of ideas that you want to remember?

If we want to remember something, we will need to have a way that helps us to remember what we have observed.

“The first thing, therefore towards the plentiful praising of God is a careful observation of His goodness.”  Look for God in the moments of life.  A child’s first step, freshly picked dandelions given to you by your child, a beautiful snowfall,  waves rolling in by the sea are some of the moments we have committed to our memories.  There are sad observable moments as well.  In the words of Spurgeon, “Let rebellious spirits murmur as they may, goodness is enthroned in God’s kingdom, and evil and suffering are intruders there.”

“The greatness of the goodness is on some occasions made manifest by the evil from which it rescues us.”  I think of the Olympian, Louis Zamperini, who was tortured relentlessly after being captured in World War II.  No one knows the blessing of health better than those who have been through great physical, mental, and spiritual pain.

We need to practice careful observation of God’s goodness.  Arrange photos and mementos in your home of wonderful family memories.  This helps to provide an anchor so you can “abundantly utter the memory of [God’s] goodness.”  By looking at good memories we can “link one idea with another” and thus associate God’s goodness with observable moments.

We know how a child can observe a tiny ant carrying a small piece of dirt that goes entirely unnoticed by us yet it is an amazing thing to a child.  In this busy world, we too need to observe those things around us with child-like eyes of wonderment. 

Dear Lord, help us to see things in this world with wonder and awe of you.  Please give us this child-like wonder to observe with intention so we will fall more in love with you and the world you have created. Help us to purposely make memories  that will remind us of your goodness.  Help us to share your love and goodness through our praise of you with the children you have entrusted to our care.

Stay tuned as next week we will consider the second part of Psalm 145:7 in our study of praise.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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A New Year Filled with Praise

Daily Truth:   “So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.”   Psalm 61:8 ESV

 A New Year filled with Praise

A brand new year presents new goals and a fresh start!  Ready, set, what….?

Well below freezing temperatures, car won’t start, home with a cold that turns into a sinus infection, children that have strep throat…and on it goes.  Plummeting from lofty goals to the nitty gritty of life stifles great intentions for the new year.

The first week of the new year is gone. My heart grows faint and my energy is spent.  It is time to get focus back while still caring for the needs of others…all is placed on auto pilot.

We all have circumstances that effect our lives and try to alter our focus. Digging into God’s Word and seeking Him for guidance is what this year and each day require.

Psalm 61 brings hope to my soul.  In this Psalm David is thought to have been in exile after crossing Jordan while running from Absalom.  David wants to stay away from conflict especially since it is with his son who is trying to take command.   David cries out to God, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  Then, in verse 8 David says, “So I will ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.”

“Praises to your name” draws my focus back to God and off myself.  No matter what circumstances we find ourselves praise should be in our hearts and roll off our lips.

Isn’t that what we try to teach our children?  In order to teach our children about praise they must see us praising God under any circumstance.  Yes, it is difficult when life goes in a different direction than planned or desired. But remembering the many trials of David and others in the Bible we understand that “there is nothing new under the sun” and we too will make it through as long as we put our focus on God and our trust in Christ.  Praise His name daily.

This reminds me of a book I read several years ago entitled, The Practice of Praise by C.H. Spurgeon.  I am now rereading this book and will in the next few weeks share Scripture and Spurgeon’s thoughts on praise.

“Now, our desire is that we also may praise and magnify the name of the infinite Jehovah without restraint or limit, and may especially have our hearts enlarged and our mouths opened wide to speak abundantly of His great goodness.”  Spurgeon

May your days be filled with warmer temperatures, cars that work,  healed bodies, and mostly, praise for our Lord Jesus Christ whatever the circumstance.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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