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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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>

 

 

 

 

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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Can You Hear Me Now?

Daily Truth:   “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”

 Revelation 13:9 NKJV

listening ear

How many times have you lost a connection on your cell phone?  It is frustrating to say the least. It is also frustrating when you speak to your children and they do not answer.

Listening is a skill that needs to be taught.  In this world of changing technology and fast paced life, to slow down and pay attention to the spoken and written word takes self-discipline and practice.

I wonder how many times God speaks to us through His Word and we do not pay attention?  At times we do not make time to pray, read the Bible, or listen intently to God’s Word being taught.  We too can be like children and allow inattentiveness to be our norm. Our Heavenly Father is patient and teaches us how to listen if we will take the time to learn.  If we become better listeners we are better equipped to teach listening skills to our children.

I admit, when my children were growing up, I should have listened better.  To be still and listen instead of allowing my mind to race ahead to answer the child or adult talking to me has taken practice…and yes still practicing.  I am so glad God is patient and listens to my cries for help.

God shows us in His Word how to listen so we may hear with intention.

  1. God is a good listener.  “Blessed be the LORD, because He has heard the voice of my supplications!”  Psalm 28:6  We need to listen to our children with our eyes, ears, and stop what we are doing so our attention is modeled and we too can hear what our children are saying.

Be intentional about teaching your children about Jesus and pray that God will speak to the heart of your children.

  1. A Christian can hear God speaking to their heart.  John 10:27 ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me.’
  2. A Christian can hear God’s Word and understand it.  Matthew 13:23 ‘But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’  Pray that the ears of your child will be opened to hear Jesus’ Words.

Object Lesson to Teach  Attentive Hearing to Children

Show photos of ears or point to ears of your children.  Ears are made for listening.

The Bible talks about different kinds of ears. Ask the child, “Think about what kind of ears you have as the different ears are shared.”

  • The first ones are closed ears.  One day the Lord Jesus met a man who could not hear. He was deaf; his ears were closed.   Jesus said one word to this man which meant “to open” and then the man could hear perfectly. (Mark 7:34)
  • Some people have close ears because they have chosen to close their ears. Jesus met some people who could hear people speak, but they could not understand what the Lord Jesus was saying to them. (Matthew 13:15)  Pray that your child would have open ears to hear what the Lord Jesus is saying.
  • There is a boy in the Bible who had “opened ears” his name is Samuel.  He heard God speaking to him and obeyed right away. (1 Samuel 3:10) God today speaks to us through His Word, the Bible.  Ask the child if their ears are open to God’s Word.
  • Ask children to place their hands over their ears and begin talking.  Now have the children uncover their ears and begin talking.  Ask which way could they hear better.  Also discuss how sitting quietly helps when listening.

Attentive hearing listens with the heart.  There are over 500 times in the NKJV where the word “hear” appears.  Hearing is important to God.

In the book of Revelation God asks us ten times to hear what He has to say.  Wow, we are just like children needing to hear things repeated.  With patience, love, prayer, and consistency may we all become better listeners and then teach this to the children God has entrusted to our care.

Can you hear me now? Better yet, Can You Hear God Better Now?

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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I am Bored…Where is Contentment?

Daily Truth

  “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…”

Philippians 4:11

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Children at the close of summer sometimes begin to lose their contentment. Well, maybe parents too.  Your family has been swimming, biking, hiking, reading, camping, vacationing, visiting, and now everyone is beginning to look forward to getting into a different routine or just getting back into a routine.  Some children may even say they are bored.  They ask us, “What is there to do?”

As moms we sometimes try to fix things to bring contentment.  We may suggest activities that the child could do.  We may invite another child over for a playdate, ask the child to select a piece of paper from the jar in the kitchen with activity ideas,  or ask a family over for a cookout to spice things up.  These all are great ideas yet, is that the ideas given to us from Scripture?

While studying Philippians 4:10-20 the word “learned” jumped out at me.  Paul says, “for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content.”  To learn something means that it had been taught.  How then does one teach contentment?  By looking at Paul’s life we can see what to emulate in our lives so we can teach to our children, the next generation.

  1. Paul made cheerful sounds from a jail cell. While Paul and Silas were in prison, they sang praises to God (Acts 16:25) and God miraculously freed them.  God will free us from our sadness and give us happiness of soul when we focus on him.  We need to help our children focus on things of God rather than circumstances.  Use the Psalms and put a melody to them and teach your children God’s Word.  Examples of Psalms set to a Melody (A free pdf)
  2. The book of Philippians uses the word joy or rejoicing every few paragraphs.  The word JOY can be used as an acronym meaning:  to think of Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third.  Once a child has made a profession of faith this concept is easier as their love of Jesus grows but the words can be taught as a reminder that true JOY comes with thinking of things in that order.
  3. Paul takes evil and turns it into good.  Bad and sad things will happen.  It is important to point children to Jesus and not our circumstances.  In Philippians 2:1-11 Paul shares the Gospel message with us.  Jesus did everything for us.  Share that unwavering confidence with your children so they too at times of heartbreak or fear will know that contentment will come.

As a parent we have had our lifetime to learn contentment.  Our children are just starting out. With much patience, great love, and heartfelt prayer we can teach and guide our children toward true contentment.  As our relationship with Christ grows so does our contentment.

This season of summer is about to end.  Maybe that is why God created seasons, He knows we like change. May we learn contentment from God’s Word and share what we learn to our children.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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Photo of children from the Herald Sun 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Up “Sons of Thunder” are Coming: Caring for the Active Child

Daily Praise:

“James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, ‘Sons of Thunder'”

Mark 3:1

Boys and girls running

I smile every time I read the verse Mark 3:1.   Jesus gives the nickname “Sons of Thunder” to two young men.  Any parent or teacher of boys or active children knows how rambunctious some children can be.  When active children get together there is nonstop laughter, pranks, and high energy.  Trying to stay a step ahead is difficult yet fun.

Mark 3:1 tells me that Jesus has a sense of humor.  Can’t you just see the twinkling in Jesus’ eyes as he smiled and said,  ‘”Sons of Thunder.”‘  Just picture these two young men running with zeal, maybe even in the way of others to get there first.  The Aramaic name “Boanerges” denotes a fiery and destructive zeal as of a thunderstorm. Another word  to describe  “Sons of Thunder” is commotion.  Jesus knew their personalities and enjoyed them for who they were. We too should understand the temperaments of our children.  When we lovingly use humor with our children an environment of joy and an atmosphere of contentment will surround our families.

Jesus also provides us with an example of how to harness the energy of the active child.  He gave direction, exhibited patience,  and provided encouragement.  So many times our energy wears out before that of our children.  We should consider the example that Jesus gave us and think twice before reacting.

Ideas to Increase Energy of Mothers with Preschoolers and

Early Elementary Children

  1. Getting rest will help with energy and patience level.  Try to keep your bedtime and that of your children on a schedule.  Easier said than done, but routine is important.
  2. Swapping childcare with a friend for a morning each week can bring renewed energy.
  3. Plan activities with another mom where you both can talk yet have fun watching your children play together.
  4. Sign up for an exercise class  that provides a child care that you trust while you exercise.
  5. Plan activities that you enjoy doing with your children.  Swimming, crafting, biking, camping or cooking together are just a few ideas.  Build enjoyable memories while raising children. This provides a form of relaxation.  Remember the process is important so be flexible because things usually do not go as planned.
  6. Outside activities burn energy and provide fun.

 Jesus’ Examples of Working with Energetic People

  1. Jesus gives clear directions.  Children need to know what is expected.  They also need to know how to do what you are asking.  Make sure that the skill, chore, or task that has been asked has been clearly not only asked but demonstrated.  Remember that there are visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners.  Knowing your child’s learning style will help you give directions that your child will more clearly understand.
  2. To increase patience allow for time with God.  Jesus, our example, always got alone and spent time with His Father.  Writing a verse on a card that you can place in front of the kitchen sink or post in our car can keep your focus in the correct place.  “Perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee”.   Isaiah 26:3
  3. Jesus gave the rowdy boys an endearing name as a means of encouragement to them.  This also illustrated to the people around (the other disciples) that these boys were to be valued even though they were at times unruly or over zealous.

Parents of active children need many things.  By looking at the example that Jesus provides, gives us a plan and hope.  These active children will grow up.  Just think, when all that energy is directed to serving God what an impact they will make!

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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How to Teach Children to Love One Another

Daily Truth:   “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  John 13:34

Love One Another

 Encouraging children to help and serve others creates self confidence, exhibits love for one another, and takes the focus off of themselves.  In John chapter 13 of the Bible, Jesus tells us to love others as He has loved us.  Remind your child about how Jesus Christ died on the cross for everyone.  Share how God raised His only Son from the dead because He loves us and wants to spend eternity (forever) with us.  1 Corinthians 15:3-4  and Romans 8:38-39

Ten Ways to Teach Children to  Love to One Another

  1. Show love to each member of your family by making a “blessing can”.  Ask your children some ways in which they could help each other.  Write these ideas down, along with the child or parent’s name so they will know who to bless, and place on strips of paper which can then be placed in the “blessing can”.  Each child will pull a “blessing” paper from the can at least once a week (you may want to have a higher frequency) and complete the task or blessing for the person listed on the paper.  Teaching the other person to show appreciation is also a part of the lesson.
  2. Bake cookies for a shut in and take to them.  Attach a card that  tells how you appreciate them.
  3. May 1st is around the corner.  Make a May basket out of a paper plate and fill with paper flowers and hang on your neighbors’ doors.  Click here for directions
  4. Pray for those families who are on the mission field.  If those families have a prayer card keep in a card file for easy organization.  Each evening at dinner pull  a card from the box and pray for that family.  (At Christmas time pray for those families which have sent Christmas cards to your family.)
  5. When a missionary visits your church invite them over for dinner.  Get to know them and their needs.  It will bring their ministry to life for your family.  Prayers will be more specific and special.
  6. Plan a family missionary trip.  Really see what the missionaries are doing.  Your family will be a blessing to the missionary and you will be blessed too.  You do not need to go overseas, there are many missionary ministry needs near you.
  7. Plan a “Five Day Club” at your home this summer.  Child Evangelism Fellowship will provide the leaders, lessons, and other Bible materials.  All you need to provide are the children, place, an hour of your day, and a snack.
  8. Sponsor a child through an organization of your choice.  There are many children throughout the world that have daily physical and spiritual needs.  Getting to know an individual child and meeting their needs is a blessing for everyone.
  9. Visit your local food pantry with your children.  See what needs they have and how your family can help.
  10. Read missionary biographies to your children.  The Heroes for Young Readers Series is a collection of individual missionary biographies.

Kisses from Katie, written by Katie Davis, is a wonderful parental read to see how one parent surrendered their child to serve on a mission field and also illustrates how a young woman follows God’s calling to love others in a different country.  A lovely quote from this book, “…love is the reason I just keep filling up my little eyedropper, keep filling up and emptying my ocean one drop at a time I’m not here to eliminate poverty, to eradicate disease, to put a stop to people abandoning babies. I’m just here to love.”

To share the love and message of Jesus Christ is the best thing we can teach our children.

What ideas do you have in teaching your children to love and serve others?

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

 

 

 

 

It Is Finished: Jesus’ Last Words on the Cross

Daily Truth:   “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave  up His spirit. John 19:30

Silhouettes of Three Crosses

“It is finished!”  What powerful last words spoken by Jesus on the cross.   He had completed all that was asked of Him by God the Father.

Do we follow what God asks of us?  At the end of our lives we want to hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”  We want to be great  wives, moms, and grandmothers.  Yet, how much time to spend on daily physical chores and neglect taking care of our own daily spiritual growth which affects our relationships to those we love most on this earth?

Maybe we should think about each day when it is finished and reflect on the questions like: What did I do for eternity today?,  What did I do to point my child or grandchild toward Christ?Did I spend time reading God’s Word today? Did I ask God for wisdom in situations that arose today?

As the mother of 3 children within 27 months I remember those days when I thought I was doing good to get meals on the table (well highchair, table, and bouncy chair as I tapped that with my foot while feeding the child in the highchair), clean clothes and house, toys somewhat put away, three baths, and then bedtime stories as my head began to nod.

But then God got my attention in a dramatic way and I realized that the most important thing I could do was to point my children to Christ.  It wasn’t about a clean house, playgroups, great meals, or volunteer  work in my community or church.  The most important thing I was to do was tell our children about Christ and to show them how much He loved them.  At the time I thought I was a Christian but I then realized that I knew Christ but I did not have a personal relationship with Him. What a day that was when I asked Jesus to be my Savior and to take my will and to make it His own.  From that time on my parenting became much more intentional about teaching Christ.

Times were still crazy at our home with three car seats, two cribs, a double stroller with one child holding on to the side,  grocery shopping  with two carts (one for children and one for food) and always a Cheerio on the floor.  But, God slowed down my day so that I could spend time learning and then teaching about God and His love for them.  Children learn at such an early age.  Remember Moses was allowed to stay with his mother until he was finished nursing.  My how much she must have taught him before he went to live full time in the king’s court.

Times were busy and yes chaotic back then but God is faithful and always provides wisdom and encouragement when  we ask.   I really feel like I grew up spiritually with my children as I put my trust in Christ rather than in myself.

Maybe you’re thinking, where was your husband to spiritually lead you?  My husband and I grew up in the same church.  He had accepted Christ as a youth at a Child Evangelism Fellowship booth at our county fair but no discipleship was available until later in life. My husband became a wonderful spiritual leader to me (now that I was on the same page) and our children.  I am very thankful that God allowed me to personally need Him so I would find Him.  I was grateful then too as our children were all below the age of three so my husband and I could spend the rest of their lives teaching them about Jesus Christ.

Our life is not finished until God says that it is finished.  May we all learn God’s Word and ways and impart it to the next generation.

As we reflect today on this weekend and what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross may we see the great love and compassion that He showed us.  May we all share that love with the children God has placed in our lives. May we accomplish all that Jesus asks us to do and have a willing spirit to follow wherever God may lead us.  May we finish well.

Mark 10:27 “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.'”

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson