God Talk

By Susan G Mathis

Talking about God is not just for Sundays; it’s for every hour of the day. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

I don’t think this Scripture is only for parents. It’s for all of us—with or without kids at home! So how do you, as a couple, make “God talk” a lifestyle and have conversations about God in a natural, comfortable, and life-changing way?

God needs to be a part of your every day life—your thoughts and actions. Attend church but don’t just go on with your day. Talk about the sermon, the worship songs, and godly conversations you have with others.

Read God’s word together daily, even if it’s just a few verses, and talk about them. For us, breakfast is a good time for us to do that. We also listen to Chuck Swindoll’s radio teaching while we get ready for the day. This has a way of leading us to some pretty interesting God talk.

Be sure to apply God’s truth to your relationship and to your life. Sometimes that takes two minds trying to figure out how to do that. As you talk about it, God can often inspire you together in ways you wouldn’t think of separately. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” There are times when Dale and I snuggle up together and just chat about a God topic or something we’re thinking about.

It’s also important ask godly questions about things that happen during the day. There are times I’ll get an email or phone call that requires wisdom from God to answer well, so I sometimes talk about it with my husband. And when we watch the news, we frequently talk about the different news stories and how God’s word applies to them. That sure makes for interesting conversation.

Last, if you have kids at home, doing all this will model for them that “God talk” is a normal way of life. Include them in your God talk—in the car, at home, everywhere. And if you have grandchildren, be sure to shine your light brightly before them. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to get so busy we forget to share Your word and what You are doing. Help us to talk about You everyday. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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In today’s world with frightening headlines blasting the worst possible scenarios into our homes, and the stress of the daily responsibility of providing for ourselves and our families weighing heavy on our hearts, coupled with the unpredictable, unwelcome, unwanted, unbelievably hard or harsh circumstances like floods, fires, relationship strife, death and disease it is very easy to get depressed, discouraged and down-trodden.

But God has a solution for our despairing hearts!

Discovering Hope in the Psalms: Creative Bible Study Experience

While writing my newest book (co-authored with Bible teacher Jean E Jones and artist Karla Dornacher), Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Biblical Experience, Jean, in passing said, “Psalm 71:14 I think could be the theme verse for this study.” Intrigued, I immediately looked up Psalms 71:14:

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. (Psalm 71:14)

The word hope is a verb, so it is an action we choose, to wait expectantly for God to move. I like to say, “trust while you tarry” , or to wait patiently (and sometimes painfully long) for God

Psalm 71:14 Bible Art by Pam Farrel

to show up and show off! After doing a word study, to summarize the meaning, this hoping is to be exercised: surpassingly, repeatedly, increasingly, intensely, exceedingly, continuously, regularly, consistently, and perpetually! When I drew the verse in my Bible art journal, I pictured a geyser of ever-flowing hope!

My contribution to Discovering Hope in the Psalms is a series of inspirational devotionals that help women apply the psalms to their everyday lives and keep HOPE ALIVE. To help me keep HOPE ALIVE, in my bullet journal, I have pages I write my “God-Sized” hopes and dreams and I wrap them with scripture so I can pray the Word over my life.

Bullet Journal prayer page
from Pam Farrel

The key to securing a hope like an eternal spring is also in this same verse, “praise you more and more”. The “more and more” means to accumulate or gather praise—and in doing this gathering we fuel hope. One way to picture accumulating or gathering praise would be how you might walk through a garden to gather flowers to create a beautiful bouquet or through a mall gathering gifts for family and friends that will bring joy!

So to capture praises to fan the flame on hope, in my bullet journal, I have pages to accumulate praises. One looks like the sun with praises written on each ray. Another is a vase with praises on each flower petal. Accumulated praise could also be drawn as gift bags collected while shopping, presents under a Christmas tree, waves on the ocean, or shells on the beach– use your imagination to personalize your record of praise! 

(Download your Prayer and Praise sheet to keep Hope Alive!)

 

Pam Farrel hopes to help people around the world keep hope alive. She is and her husband Bill are international speakers, authors of 45 books including her newest Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. Stay connected with Pam at www.Love-Wise.com Learn more about Discovering Hope In the Psalms, and find numerous free downloads on creative Bible study at www.DiscoveringHopeinthePsalms.com

Pam Farrel with Kay Arthur

What an incredibly unique and creative Bible study Pam, Jean, and Karla have created! It’s multilayered, dimensional, theologically rich, touching the senses—enlightening the mind, capturing the heart. Well done, beloved Sisters! Thank you for this gift.

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Easter for a child can often only mean candy, ducks, bunnies and an Easter egg hunt. And for the

children and Easter Basket

first six years of my life, I am sure waking up to find out how many jelly beans and chocolate bunnies were in my Easter basket must have been my priority– that is until one Easter, when my mom’s best friend recognized how much we needed the Easter message:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

1 Peter 1:3 

My family NEEDED that living HOPE! My parents’s marriage was unraveling and hanging by a weak, fraying  thread. And we also needed the unconditional love Christ demonstrated when HE CHOSE to leave the glory of heaven and come live among we lowly, imperfect human beings– and my alcoholic dad especially needed to hear he was loved, even in his unlovely state. We needed the grace and mercy the Father extended. To this day when I wake up, I pray God’s grace and mercy over me, my marriage, my family and my future:

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

God give me GRACE: Lavish me with the blessings I DO NOT DESERVE but that you freely give

  • I am a sinner, You are the Savior

God give me MERCY: Hold back the wrath that I DO DESERVE but You shield far from me

  • I am unrighteous, You are the Redeemer

As a little girl, in my pajama’s, I used to tip-toe out to the living room, pull my flannel night gown over my knees and turn on the TV to watch a Christian television cartoon that showed a healthy mom, dad and happy children. I would pray, (not even having a clue who I was talking to in the cosmos,), “I want a happy family like that.”

Soon, God sent my mom’s best friend to invite us to her church. My mother, sensing this was an

Pam Farrel first Easter

important day, dressed us all up in our very best and bought me white gloves and an Easter bonnet to wear on my first day of going to the “House where God lives.” There, in that little tiny church, in a little tiny town, a little tiny girl met the GREAT and GLORIOUS GOD.

My life was forever transformed for the better. I soon began a personal relationship with the Creator God I had been whispering to. Eventually my mother, my siblings all began a relationship with Christ– and the day my dad died, he too, while reading Steps to Peace with God by Billy Graham, finally gave his broken heart to the One who had been lavishing love over his life, waiting patiently for His prodigal son to come home.

This is why we write — we write, we speak, we teach for the reason Christ came and gave His –to reach the lost, the hurting, the broken and the bruised,

The Easter Sunday, or any Sunday after, be brave enough to pray one of two prayers:

  1. Lord, give me eyes to see who needs a relationship with you, and the courage to invite him or her to come hear about You, the God who loves us all enough to go up Calvary’s hill and give your perfect life, in payment for our imperfect lives. 
  2. Lord, I want to know You. I, too have been talking to You, hoping, wishing, praying for a better life here on earth and an eternal home one day in heaven. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I receive that free gift of Your love.  

Pastor Pete Jankowski once put it like this, “The cross was not Christ’s destination– YOU were.” .Jesus went through the grueling pain of the cross out of love for you! God reached out in sacrificial love to you, now, simply reach back in surrender to the God who created you, knows you and loves you.

 

Pam and Bill Farrel, authors of 45 books

Pam and her husband, Bill are passionate about sharing the good news of Christ’s redeeming, life-transforming resurrection power through their ministry Love-Wise. The Farrels are the authors of 45 books, including A Couple’s Journey with God,  her newest, Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience (penned with Jean

Pam Farrel, author Discovering Hope in the Psalms

E Jones and Karla Dornacher) and the Farrel’s best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti  The Farrels have experienced many of the merciful answers to Pam’s “little girl” prayers, including a happy marriage of 38 years and three grown sons, three daughter in laws and four grandchildren who all love Jesus too.Pam and Bill live in Southern California, where they enjoy Easter sunrise services on the beach.

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St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks

by Susan G Mathis

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, because I’m Irish, and because my novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, is about the Irish immigration, I want to share with you how St. Patrick used a simple weed to share the Gospel.

St. Patrick lived in the fifth century Ireland where the shamrock clover was abundant, even a staple food for livestock. The shamrock is a weed that grows quickly and is hard to get rid of. In Ireland it was everywhere, so as Patrick traveled the country, he had a ready-made symbol that he could easily find, pluck, and use as a teaching tool. Sounds like something that Jesus would have done, doesn’t it?

As he spoke Patrick would note that the shamrock has three leaves, just as there are three persons in the trinity. In using the shamrock as a symbol, he taught about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who they were, what they did, and how they could change the listeners’ lives. Then, whenever folks would see the shamrock in their garden or fields or yard, their minds would instantly connect to the Trinity and think of God. Brilliant!

As Patrick traveled throughout Ireland spreading Christianity, the shamrock became an important symbol of the Trinity and of God’s work in man’s life. Even today, the shamrock is Ireland’s national symbol and still points to the Trinity as well as to 1 Corinthians 13:13, “and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”. The number three is so important to the Irish that they use three cords in their Celtic knot, in their three-fold repetitive rhythm of Irish storytelling, in their idea of past, present, and future, and a lot more.

So when you see a shamrock during this holiday, remember that it means so much more than just “the luck o’ the Irish.” It’s represents biblical truth, wise teaching, and a beautiful way to share God’s story.

 

Dear Lord, Like St. Patrick and the simple shamrock, help us to find all kinds of creative ways to share biblical truth. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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Don’t you love a spring shower? Refreshing. Relaxing. Rejuvenating. But what happens when it doesn’t stop raining? Flooding. Only one kind of flooding refreshes, relaxes, and rejuvenates––the reign of God flooding our heart.

How do we know He reigns in our heart?

  • When He reigns in our heart, His praise flows from our lips.

“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad” (Psalm 97:1 NIV). Our great God overflows from his creation. We can see His greatness through his creation. We are His creation. If He reigns in us, He flows through us. We not only experience refreshment but also others feel refreshed by our testimony. We should praise God’s great and awesome name because it symbolizes His persona and His nature. Our best witnessing happens when our hearts overflow with appreciation for what He has done. God has chosen us to declare His marvelous works.

  • When He reigns in our heart, we want to evangelize the whole world.

“…let the distant shores rejoice” (NIV 97:1b). How will His Word spread to distant shores so others, too, can rejoice in His presence? Only if God’s ambassadors take His Word to those distant shores will they know of Him and rejoice with us.

  • When God reigns in our heart, we worship Him and respect His name. We give Him praise by both our words and our life.

“The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake” (Psalm 99:1 NIV). God’s holiness is frightening for sinners but a wonderful comfort for believers. God cannot tolerate sin. But for believers, God’s holiness gives comfort. And, because we worship Him, we are lifted from the mire of sin.

Have you seen these three examples flowing from your heart, soul, and lips?

You will if you let Him reign!

Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a prolific writer. Book 1 of her newly released children’s series, Hooray for Holidays, and her devotional for adults, Dancing Like Bees, are available on www.Amazon.com.

 

 

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