Preparing for Your Royal Wedding!

Preparing for Your Royal Wedding!

You’ve got your royal wedding guest name, tea and biscuits, and are just waiting to enjoy the lavishness of the Royal Wedding as Prince Harry marries commoner Meghan Markle. It is exciting! With so much attention being paid to their glorious day, I can’t help but wonder how prepared we each are for our own Royal Wedding. You do know your Royal Wedding Day is coming, right?  It’s true. So let’s start preparing for your royal wedding!

Here’s the checklist you will definitely need to have in hand to make sure your royal wedding goes off without a hitch!

Preparing for Your Royal Wedding

1. Finding a Royal Groom

In any marriage, finding a groom is of the utmost importance! LOL! Since most of us are commoners, where on earth do we find a royal groom?

Did you know that the Bible speaks of our relationship as God’s people with Jesus in marriage terms? It’s quite interesting and a big reason why the sanctity of marriage is so important.

From the moment God created the first union of Adam and Eve, he planned to explain to us how our irreconcilable differences would never part us. Even when we were extremely unfaithful and caused our sin to separate us from our Creator, our Lord had a plan to reconcile us to Him. Read Hosea sometime. His love in the midst of our unfaithfulness is astounding!

Anyway, the point is, as a church body, when God sends Jesus back one day, he will collect his bride, the church. Are you a follower of Christ Jesus and part of his church body?  If so, then you’ve got your groom. If not, then doing a bit more study is called for on your part.

Preparing a Place for His Bride

Jesus said that he was going to prepare a place for us. This is marriage talk. Did you know that?  In Jewish custom, the groom was charged with preparing a place for his bride before they were married. The groom prepared a place by adding on a room to his father’s house. Yes, the couple would live in the groom’s father’s house after they were married. The groom would work and work until his father said the room was complete and then, he could finally go get his bride.

Now with that Jewish custom in mind, read what Jesus said.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14: 1-3

Wow!  Doesn’t that make so much more sense now?  Our groom is preparing a place for us in Heaven! Our bridgegroom is Jesus! He will come back for us and we need to be prepared for that moment – our royal wedding day!

How does the Bride Prepare for the Royal Wedding?

Now, preparing for Jesus’ return is a little tricky but easy all at the same time. it’s tricky because we have no idea when he is returning. He does not either. Only the Father knows!

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Matthew 24:36

As we read through all Jesus’ parables about being prepared, we see a common thread and start to understand how to be prepared:

  1. We are each responsible for our own preparedness. No one else can do it for us, we each have to believe He is the only way and we have to dedicate ourselves to following Him.
  2. Since we don’t know when Jesus is coming, we must always be ready for his return. This means that we should be doing God’s work in our lives.  We should be putting his desires and will before our own.
  3. We are called to be faithful. This life and it’s difficulties may seem long and neverending at times, but we must glorify God and stay faithful even through the trails. Take heart, Jesus is coming back and all of this hurt will fade away.

Let’s go back to the Jewish custom of preparing for marriage.

The bride never knew when the groom would be coming, so she always had to be prepared. Likewise, her bridesmaids would be ready to help her at any given moment as well. Typically, once the father released his son to go fetch his bride for the wedding, news would spread quickly before his arrival. Almost like trumpets announcing his arrival.

The parable of the 10 bridesmaids expresses the importance of our being prepared while we wait for Jesus’ return.

At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves. 

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Matthew 25:6-10

Always be prepared! This must of been where that motto game from. The sole job of the bridesmaids was to be ready to help the bride when her bridesgroom came. In this parable, only half of them were ready for the bridegroom to come!

Then what about the bride? Can you imagine what would have happened, if when the groom arrived and found his bride in the arms of another? In essence, that it what it will be like if we are not obediently serving our Lord when Jesus returns!

Can a virgin forget her ornament, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me Days without number.
Jeremiah 2:32

It’s ridiculous to think that if we were planning on marrying a royal prince that we would forget simple things like the dress or allow our excitement to dwindle. Instead as the day of the wedding draws closer, our excitement builds. Let our thrill for faithfully following Jesus so overtake our souls that when He returns, he will find a bride eagerly anticipating his arrival! 

Ready for the Royal Wedding!

One day the trumpets will sound and the glory of Christ will be witnessed, but the absolute best part is we will finally be united with Him forever away from the pain and hurt of this world. As you watch the royal wedding tomorrow, take these verses to heart because one day soon, a wedding whose splendor you cannot even imagine will take place!

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, 
and his bride has made herself ready. 
Fine linen, bright and clean, 
was given her to wear.”

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Revelation 19:6-8

 

Why Praying During Ramadan Is So Important

Why Praying During Ramadan Is So Important

You might be questioning why praying during Ramadan is so important. I did until I realized the significance behind the opportunity.

What is Ramadan? Why Praying During Ramadan is So Important?

Several years ago, I visited North Africa during Ramadan. I really didn’t think anything about it but realized quickly how this religious holiday impacted our travel or more so our ability to eat.

Ramadan falls during the 9th month on the Islamic lunar calendar and is considered by Muslims to be the holiest month. During Ramadan, Muslims give alms, fast, and pray during the day then celebrate with family and feasting all night.  They do this for an entire month. So our expectation of finding a restaurant open to accommodate our hunger when we arrived in Morocco was sadly unmet.

As with any “issue” there is always opportunity. 

Praying During Ramadan for Muslims Brings Hope

Ramadan begins today and ends roughly around June 14!

Yall, we have an amazing opportunity to be praying during Ramadan for Muslims who are hungry to know Allah better. They will be focused on prayer, giving alms, restoring relationships and pursuing the things of God. Many will be crying out to know Allah better.  What better time for us to be praying that they would come to know Jesus as their personal, Lord, and Savior!

They know Jesus is a prophet. The Koran speaks of him in this way, but like Saul, we can pray that the scales will fall from their eyes and they will come to know the one true and living God!

You can pray a simple prayer for those seeking and hungry to know God to see Him for who He really is or you can follow along with this video series for praying during Ramadan. These video prayers are great. They may even give you more of a heart for reaching out to Muslims as well!  Truly, this life is all about building bridges with others and then sharing Jesus too!

You can even follow this prayer and specifically pray over each aspect observed during Ramadan.

Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim, went a step further than praying during Ramadan while he was alive. He would fast and even participate in the feasts, which are open to non-muslims too. He would use these moments to build bridges of relationship like Jesus did. Read more about how he viewed this as an opportunity to reach out and love people to Jesus.

Praying During Ramadan for Our Fellow Brothers & Sisters in Christ

During the time of Ramadan, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ stick out like Daniel in his prayer window when it was forbidden to pray. They obviously do not take part in the Ramadan rituals, and are often exposed as Christians because they do not partake in the fasting or calls to prayer.

Due to their non-participation in these events, they are more likely to be harassed and discriminated against.  Sadly, some radical Muslims will even take this harassment to the extreme and perpetuate physical violence or persecution against those who choose to follow Christ instead of Allah at this time.

Praying during Ramadan specifically for our brothers and sisters in Christ to be strengthened in their faith and for them to withstand any type of abuse they may receive just as Christ did is of the upmost high importance.  We can pray freely and often through the next thirty days. May their strength and courage come from the Lord.

Let’s Grab Hold of this Opportunity

For the entire next month, we, as believers in Christ Jesus have an opportunity. An opportunity to not only be praying during Ramadan for Muslims to come to know God and our Lord Jesus Christ, but to be praying for the protection of our brothers and sisters in Christ ,who will be extremely noticeable as they do not partake in these celebrations.

Praying Over All Hearts

Lord, you are holy and the beyond compare!  We pray for those who do not know you yet to come to know you fully and completely. We pray that they will see the amazing blessing that comes from knowing the Creator of the World personally. You are not far from us. You did not make us only to keep us arms length. Our sin has created a barrier between us but praise be to you, you sent Jesus, who took all our sins upon Him on the cross, so that our sins would no longer separate us from you!  Thank you, Lord, for your immense mercy, grace, and love.

We pray that as Muslims cry out to Allah this month, that you will reveal yourself to them. May the scales fall from their eyes like they fell from Saul’s eye. May the come to realize that Jesus is more than a prophet but their salvation!

Lord, we also lift up our brothers and sister in Christ during this time. For their willingness to put you first in their lives no matter the cost, you are to be praised. We pray that their faith, courage, and trust in you will be emboldened no matter the discrimination or persecution they face. May they use these moments of facing their “enemies” as an opportunity to point them to you.

Lord, we pray that our faith will be emboldened too.  May we seek you with such passion that there is no doubt where our treasure is stored. In the One who took on the sins of the world – Amen!

Learning How to Knock Sin Out of Our Lives

Learning How to Knock Sin Out of Our Lives

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In a culture that is centered on doing whatever is right in one’s own eyes, teaching our kids how to knock sin out of their lives is of the highest priority.

Preparing to Knock Sin Out

Before we can even begin to knock sin out of our lives, we have to start with the basics.

What is sin?

Who sins?

What does sin do?

Who is the only One who knows how to knock sin out of our lives?

Family Time Training’s “Knock Sin our of Our Lives” script lays the foundation to make this activity not only fun but packed with a powerful spiritual punch!

Learning How to Knock Sin Out of Our Lives

Warning & Interesting Unplanned Lesson

I love how these activities spark conversation around the topic but also open us up for lessons we never intended to learn. It’s like God is using this opportunity of studying his word to show us areas that we didn’t realize needed extra attention and helps us all grow in the process.

Using the Bible passages given in the “Knock Sin Out of Our Lives” activity, it was easy for the kids to answer and understand what sin is and that everyone has sinned.

When we listed off a few Bible characters and asked how they sinned, my kids were able to list these off too.

HOWEVER, when we asked them to list some of their sins, this was a little more difficult. The majority of them kept wanting to list off the sins of one of their brothers and sisters.  It suddenly struck me how much of a discipline it is to look into our own hearts and ask God to reveal our own sins to us so we can confess them.

It does no good for us to point out other people’s sin, when we are not willing to even look at ourselves and see what sins might be keeping us away from God.

We have a rule in our house: “Don’t tattle, talk to the person.”

This falls very much in line with Matthew 18. We are to talk to each other and encourage each other on their walk. But we are supposed to not just focus on what sins are in others lives without dealing with the sins in our own lives. (Matthew 7:3-5)

This was a great bonus lesson that happened while learning how to knock sin out of our lives! I wanted to warn you about it ahead of time just in case your kids try to start pointing fingers at others as well.

The “Knock Sin Out of Our Lives” Activity

This “Knock Sin Out of Our Lives” activity was sooooo much fun! My kids wanted to do it over and over again, which provided ample opportunities for them to repeat the main points of what we learned and how we knock sin out of our lives! We probably spent 20 minutes enjoying this activity.

Did you hear my daughter singing at the end, “I’m with God! I’m with God!” Love their little hearts!

Using Total Access to Help Fill our Lives with Jesus

There are a lot of spiritual concepts that are difficult to understand.  That is why I love using Family Time Training’s activities to help make the abstract more concrete through their scripts and activities.

With a Total Access online membership, I can quickly search for the activities based on age, topic, or Bible story.

If you’ve enjoyed this activity, then you will love having access to HUNDREDS of activities instantly through Family Time Training’s Total Access online membership.

Coupon Code Just for Creating a Great Day Readers!

Use the code CGDFAM518  to get a 10% discount on a Total Access Membership now through Tuesday, May 15!

Total Access only opens a few times a year and will only be only through May 15. Don’t miss your chance to have access to these great activities all summer!

What spiritual lessons are you looking forward to teaching your kids this summer?

When Prayer Doesn’t Come Easy

When Prayer Doesn’t Come Easy

Growing up, I loved it when my mother would sit on the edge of my bed and pray over me. Often she thought I was already asleep. I would stay quiet and take in the words she prayed over me. I have learned to love to pray out loud over my family and others and enjoy it. But sometimes prayer doesn’t come easy.

When Prayer Doesn’t Come Easy

When prayer doesn’t come easy, my first reaction used to be fear.

What am I doing wrong?

Why can’t I pray?

Why is my mind just an absolute blank, when all I want to do it cry out to God?

What is going on?

Instead of giving in to that knee-jerk fear, when prayer doesn’t come easy, I’ve learned to do some simple other things.

What to do When Prayer Doesn’t Come Easy

Maybe some of these will help you, when you just can’t pray.

Confess

Sometimes, prayer doesn’t come easy because I haven’t been close to God. Maybe I’ve been accommodating my sin or just pushed God to the side in “my busy life.” I haven’t allowed Him to be the Lord of my life in all areas and so feel guilty and distant.

When that happens, I start to confess or ask God to open my eyes to why I’ve been avoiding Him.

BUT….

Sometimes, it’s not because I’ve been avoiding him. Sometimes, it feels like prayer doesn’t come easy because, my mind is just an absolute blank. It’s like I can’t think. I can’t process. It’s scary and frustrating.

When this happens, I simply confess exactly where I am….

”Lord, I love you.  I don’t know what’s going on, but the words aren’t coming. I want to express to you my need and I want you to hear my prayer, but I can’t.”

(Even though it’s a few words, that’s technically a prayer. Talking with God in any form is praying, right?)

Trust in the Holy Spirit Going Before Me

When I get to the point of not being able to even put words together, I lean in and trust that the Holy Spirit is going before me. I thank God that even though I don’t have the words, his Holy Spirit knows my heart and knows I want to follow and love Him all my days.

He knows the struggles I am having and why my thoughts won’t form.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

–  Romans 8:26-27

Praise God that he is always faithful and won’t turn from us, simply because our prayers are not eloquent and wordy!

 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

-Jesus, Luke 18:13-14

The Lord hears the cries of our hearts and knows what they are before we ever understand them. We can seek comfort in the fact that he knows some moments in our lives are going to be minute by minute, day by day and gives us our daily bread – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Read Other People’s Prayers

When praying doesn’t come easy, reading other people’s prayers encourages my heart. It almost kick starts my prayer muscle so I can feel that there is life in my prayers. I might not have the words but God has provided someone else’s heartfelt words so that I can still connect with Him.

Sometimes, their prayers lead me into my own words and sometimes I can only read theirs.

Did you know God doesn’t keep prayers from being heard because they are not your original words? It’s true!

He gives us plenty of prayers that vary from a few words to a few paragraphs in the Bible. I believe these prayers not only help to show us that prayers are as varied as people but help us in times when our own words aren’t coming.

Pray Directly from the Bible

There are times I read other people’s prayer and then there are times I read over scripture and pray those exact words. God’s word is powerful. Trusting that God means what He says and wants that in my life, allows me to lean into His words in order to pray.

Maybe it’s praying the blessing from Numbers 6:24, praying a Psalm, or praying whatever passage I’m reading.

No matter what scripture or Bible verse we choose, it can easily be turned into a prayer. Or simply even, “Lord, help my life start to reflect this passage.”

Ask Someone to Pray Over You

Asking your husband or a friend to pray with you is wonderful. If you have a prayer accountability group, letting them know that you feel blocked or unable to pray is a much needed request and allows honesty to encourage your faith instead of thinking that you have to be a perfect prayer warrior. Even prayer warrior’s get wounded and need extra help.

Draw Near to God…God Understands

We all go through ups and downs in our spiritual life. They may look differently from person to person, but if you ever find yourself having a difficult time praying, don’t take that as a sign that you are a bad person. Take it as a sign that you are going through a difficult season. Trust God will get you through it.

When prayer doesn’t come easy, it often feels like we are grappling to hold on to God. The good news is, when we draw near to God even if words don’t come, he holds us tightly in his hand. He knows our hearts and what is happening even when we don’t.

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
2 Thessalonians  3:3

Using Your Inability to Prayer to Encourage Others

Maybe, just maybe, part of the reason prayers aren’t coming easily now is because you will need to encourage someone else down the road whose prayers aren’t coming easily either.

Encouraging others to hold on to their faith, when our faith walk isn’t easy, is definitely a theme threaded throughout all of Scripture. Personally, I count these times of not being able to pray the way I wish I could as trials that allow me to just hold on and not give up.

If you’re in the midst of this right now, remember the best thing of all, God is holding you tight and won’t let you go just because your prayers aren’t coming easy.

What have you found that is helpful? 

Stop Hiding Your Light

Stop Hiding Your Light

Growing up we swung our pointer fingers wildly in the air while loudly, proclaiming, that we will shine our light all over whatever town we lived in!

Can we really look at ourselves in the mirror today and proclaim that we are doing that very thing?  Or are we hiding our light unwillingly?

Why Should You Stop Hiding Your Light?

Well, this question is very easy to answer. It’s the answer all 3 year olds declare as the answer to everything ever asked in Bible Class: “Jesus!”

Yes, we shouldn’t hide our light because Jesus told us not to.  In Luke 11: 33, Jesus says,

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.

Shine, friends, Shine!  Don’t hide Jesus’ light that is in you!

Stop Hiding Your Light

Sometimes we do have a tendency to hide our lights. Why?

Because shining Christ’s light draws attention to us. It draws both positive and negative attention. Who wants negative attention? We are called to shine no matter what kind of attention we receive.

Moses Hid His Light

God used Moses in many amazing ways and one of those ways is for us to learn what not to do. Oh please, don’t get me wrong, Moses’ faith was amazing! He taught us how to follow God’s leading even when we are too scared to do it. But like us, he wasn’t perfect.

Sometimes he struggled as a leader to keep from letting the people’s reactions and actions bring him down.

We never let what other’s think bother us though do we?  Of course, that crosses our minds sometimes. We can’t help it. We are human.

Although we want to please God rather than man, sometimes the human voices are screaming us down and we just want them to back off. It becomes at that point that we don’t want to stand out in a crowd any more than we already do.

Moses may have felt a similar way. When he had the privilege of being in God’s presence, he came back down from Mt. Sinai glowing. Literally, his face was shining! But then he covered it!

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him…

When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face.
– Exodus 34:29-33

Reading this makes my heart said, and then it convicts me!  Do I ever hide my light?

What will you let shine?

It’s interesting that in the rest of this passage Jesus explains that our eyes are the light of our body and we will be shining something. Jesus then urges us not to shine darkness!  Until I reread that a couple of times, I did not realize that we had there was a third option:

  • Hid Christ’s light
  • Shine Christ’s light
  • Shine the light of darkness

Oh, this gets me even more worked up? Doesn’t it you?

When we come into the presence of God, we are changed!  That is what we want. We want to look less like ourselves, less like the world, and more like Christ himself. So when we are spending time with our Lord in his word, in prayer, and walking with him in our daily life, we will look different. Our light will be different.

But if we spend our time in the things of this world, as followers of Christ, we will hid our light or our light will start to dim.

Don’t shine darkness!

Who of us wants to shine for the devil?  No one…willingly!  Well, let’s say no follower of Christ willingly.

But that is very much what we will be doing if we are not shining for Christ. So let’s determine to be in God’s word.

#1  We must make sure we are shining the right light.

#2 – Let’s refuse to hid Christ’s light. Let’s ask for courage and boldness to stand strong even when the voice of popular opinion is speaking loudly against us.

This world is not our home, sisters!  Shine brightly!

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.
Philippians 2:14-16a, emphasis added

Prayer Over our Hearts

Lord, you say whoever willingly acknowledges you before others, will be acknowledged by you before your Father and whoever disowns you, will be disowned before your Father.

Lord, we want to be a people that shine brightly for you like the stars in the sky. We do not want to hide your glory and your imprint on our lives.

Let us not be swayed by whatever the popular opinion is of the time, but let us be rooted in your truth. Leaning into your truth might lead us into a path of public ridicule, but if that happens, we can trust in your strength to walk us through it.

In the One who took lashings, mockery, death on the cross, and overcame death so we could walk in confidence – Amen!

 

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