Glorious FALL! Praise the God of all Creation

My son Chris this weekend....“‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool….Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the LORD. ‘These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word…’” – Isaiah 66:1a-2

This summer our family enjoyed a wonderful week at the home of our dear friends. They always welcome our big crew with open arms, making everything so special and inviting. They always let us know that they are thrilled to have us. Even so, John and I always give our children a pep talk on the way there, reminding them of how important it is to be a gracious and thankful guest in their home. We want to make sure we honor them with gratitude (in word and deed!) any chance we can!

As I marvel at the wonders of our world and ponder our place in it, I can’t help but feel like we are guests in the vast creation of Someone Else’s design – and indeed we are.

“But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” – Jeremiah 10:12

When I consider the beauty and order of this world, I stand in awe of our awesome and gracious host – God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Does your mind and heart rest in this reality?
– that the universe and everything in it belongs to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
– that we are not the Creator, but merely His creation?
– that we are simply the guests He has graciously welcomed into His world?

Every detail, every design, from the way our bodies function to the way the tides ebb and flow are all His doing – and He owns it all.

As owner of it all, God naturally and lovingly sets the rules and the boundaries in place on every level of life – both physical and spiritual. He created it for His pleasure and for His purposes. This world and everything in it are under His sovereign control. Am I a humble and grateful guest in this world of His?

What a difference I see in people who live joyfully in the knowledge that God is the ultimate Creator and we are His lowly (though dearly loved) creation. When we see life from this true perspective and clearly understand our humble place in this world, it sets everything in its proper place. It sits well with our souls.

Just as we can’t fathom going to a friends’ home and ignoring them, enjoying the blessings of their thoughtfulness and generosity without ever expressing love and gratitude, we need to be aware of our Kind Maker all the time. It saddens me that we live in a time when many do not acknowledge the Hand that has given us life and every good thing.

We were designed to live in grateful praise of this gracious God, so it’s no wonder that so many people who live without any reference to God, wrestle with the meaning of life and lose their bearings. A little perspective of His greatness and our relative smallness, does our hearts a lot of good.

How can we cultivate this perspective of humility before God in ourselves and in our kids?

Consider just a few of His countless attributes…

His Power – His power to create life – both physical and spiritual, His power in the forces of creation, His sovereign and powerful rule over all the earth, His power to change hearts, His power to raise Jesus from the grave! (1 Chronicles 29:11)

His Wisdom – His profound wisdom which he so lovingly gives us in His word, which has guided and transformed millions in every generation; His wisdom He imparts to all who ask Him. (Job 12:13)

His Artistry – His stunningly beautiful artistry which graces every flower, every mountain, every meadow, every rocky shoreline, every new baby’s tiny fingers. (Psalm 139:13-14)

His compassion – His compassion for His creation, expressed through His new mercies every day, both seen and unseen, and most vividly expressed through the gift of His Son, Jesus. (Psalm 111:4)

Considering these attributes fills me with awe and brings me to a quiet and simple understanding of who I am and who God is – that I am infinitely small and God is infinitely huge and vast.

How crucial it is that we constantly remind ourselves of this and teach our children this humble perspective of our place before Almighty God. He is our great and awesome Maker and Host of all of His creation, and it is our privilege to honor Him and thank Him for every beautiful thing and every sweet moment we enjoy!

How right and good it is to GIVE HIM THANKS AND PRAISE!

– Julie McGrath

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” – Hebrews 1:3

Going Deeper…

1. Practice tuning into the wonderfully intelligent designs of God all around you. Speak of God as Creator often to your children, pointing out the details that make our world so stunning. For example, my daughter recently did a report on grasslands and we marveled together when we discovered that different grasses taste better or bitter to various animals so they can all share the same living space. Together we said, “Isn’t God Amazing!!”

2. Just for FUN! In the fall, we all go outside and try to catch a leaf. When my kids catch a leaf falling from a tree, they get a dollar. One per month in the fall! It can’t be blown off the ground. This is harder than you think! Have fun!! 🙂

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Teaching Devotion for your kids – Yikes! It’s Dark Out there… Let Your Light Shine!

images-11Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Yikes! It’s Dark out there…So Let Your Light Shine!

People are afraid of lots of things. Some people are afraid of heights, some people are afraid of spiders or snakes. Are you afraid of anything? I mean really afraid??

Well, I am afraid of something – THE DARK.

One time we went to a museum that had a DARKNESS tunnel challenge – a short maze you were invited to crawl through to experience what it would be like to live in COMPLETE darkness. That’s really neat, I thought. That looks like fun!

So one by one, I watched my kids scramble ahead of me for a chance to crawl through the dark maze in the tunnel. They entered on their hands and knees, lifting up a black sheet and then closing the sheet behind them. I was assured that this tunnel was completely carpeted, not very long (although it did have some turns along the way), and that they would flash lights inside if I got in trouble.

NO PROBLEM, I thought. I love museums with things to try! I lifted the sheet and crawled on in, letting the sheet close behind me. Once inside it was BLACK, BLACK, BLACK – completely dark. I felt around…carpet. Carpet beneath me, carpet to my sides and carpet above me. I slowly started to crawl. YIKES! This was strange. I felt around some more, more carpet, nothing to touch in front of me. I widened my EYES to help me out…no help. YIKES! This was SCARY. YIKES! I’m done!!

I turned around and got out of there fast!! NO MORE DARK TUNNELS FOR ME!!

I never really realized until I was in that scary, COMPLETELY DARK tunnel, how precious LIGHT is, what a GIFT it is to be able to enjoy the security of knowing how to SEE. Just one little candle, just one tiny flashlight would have made all the difference!

Did you know that our love for Jesus can be like LIGHT to a DARK world? Jesus said that when we do good things for Him, our WORK (if we do it because we LOVE Him and want to show the world we are His children) is like PRECIOUS LIGHT to a DARK world!!

His LOVE shining through us is like LIGHT to someone sitting (or crawling!) in the dark, all alone. We can be that one little candle, that one little flashlight to someone who finds themselves there, in the dark. How desperately this dark world needs that little bit of light!

If we SHINE like that, the best part is this: When we carry God’s love in our hearts, and do our works because of that great love, we draw attention to the GIVER of all LIGHT – GOD Himself. He is the GIVER of the LOVE and SERVICE we have to offer others and HE is the reason we serve! When we do our good deeds in the name of His Son, our LIGHT is truly beautiful because it brings praise to the One who deserves it.

What a beautiful thing to be able to shine the love of Jesus into the lives of others. May we all live today, looking for ways to let our light SHINE before men so that they may find (and praise!) the GIVER of light and every good thing, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

– Julie McGrath

Going Deeper:

1. Try this DARK tunnel experiment at home. Find a place with NO light with your Mom or Dad. What do you feel in there? Now bring in a little flashlight and see what a difference a little light makes!!

2. Brainstorm and plan something TODAY that will intentionally show God’s love to a hurting and dark world!