Preparing for Thanksgiving
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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7

The apostle Paul, while being held prisoner for preaching the gospel, gave the early Christians a charge which powerfully applies to our lives today. Don’t be anxious, but instead pray about everything. Then did you notice he added “with thanksgiving?” Now hold on! I can easily be filled with thanksgiving when I’m praying for those I love and when I’m experiencing less stress in my life. But Paul is saying in the midst of anxiety, give your cares to God, and while you are at it – thank Him! What can we thank Him for in the middle of our stress? We can begin by thanking Him for His love for us and His presence in our lives. We can continue to thank Him for His Son Jesus. We can thank Him for His help and comfort in time of need. We can thank Him for His power to redeem and bring something good out of any situation.

Let’s practice what Paul preaches this week. As we prepare for a festive week of Thanksgiving, worry and anxiety may try to creep in at times. Questions swirl in our heads. How will I keep the kids occupied? How will I get all the shopping and baking done? How will I be kind and loving to everyone? How will I get the house clean? Let’s take each of our personal worries to the Lord and then let’s go the extra mile and thank Him.

Paul tells us that a peace that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. It’s amazing when we take our minds off of our worries and turn our focus on that which we can be thankful, a peace fills our heart. Paul went on to say, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Each morning as you wake up this week, lay there in bed for just a moment (if you can) and give your cares to God, thanking Him for His help and blessings. Then each night as you tuck the kids in bed, pray with your kids and help them learn this daily practice of thanking God as you give Him your worries. May you overflow this week with the thoughts of thankfulness as you recognize God’s care in your life.

And as you celebrate, here’s one of our favorite Ladd recipes:
Corn Spoon Bread
1 stick butter (or margarine)
1 pkg Jiffy Cornbread
1 egg
8 oz. sour cream
1 16 oz can kernel corn, drained.
Melt butter. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Pour into 8 by 8 baking dish. Bake at 350 30 – 40 minutes until set and lightly browned on top.

Created Us In His Image
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God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”
Genesis 1:27

After God created all the birds and fish and every kind of animal according to their own kind, there was still one creature He had in mind. This one would be different from the others. This creature would bear the image of God. Obviously humans are not created exactly like God, for an image is simply a reflection, not an exact replica of the model. We reflect certain characteristics about God which separate us from plants, animals, birds and fish. What are those characteristics? We demonstrate His nature in our ability to reason, in our creativity and imagination and in our speech. His character is reflected in our capacity to love, forgive, show patience and kindness toward one another. Just as He is an eternal being, He has given us an eternal soul which will carry on when our bodies have long since decayed.

There is dignity and worth in every human, because each human is created in God’s image. Let us recognize the value of every life including our own, for we reflect the image of our Creator.

Question for your kids: When we recognize that everyone is a creation of God, how does it change the way we treat other people?

Knowing you are a creation of God, how does that make you feel about yourself?

He Spoke…And there Was
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God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”
Genesis 1:3

What power, what authority! God spoke and it happened. It’s nearly impossible to comprehend that from nothing came something. Every molecule in creation fell in line at the sound of His voice. He spoke and there was light. He spoke and there was a great expanse between the waters. He spoke and dry ground appeared. He spoke and there was the sun, moon and stars. He spoke and there were birds and fish and animals.

Everything came into being by Him and for Him. He is before all things and by Him all things exist. Creation was not simply a random event. God deliberately orchestrated it. He is both the composer and conductor of the great symphony of life, written in His divine wisdom and carried out by His voice. His voice is immeasurably powerful in creation, and yet lovingly gentle as He speaks to our hearts. Are you listening to His voice?

This is an excerpt from my devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places. Kindle edition

Teaching our Kids the Attributes of God
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We can never know who or what we are till
we know at least something of what God is.
A. W. Tozer

The Bible offers an open invitation to know and understand who God is and how He works in our lives. Yet life tends to pull at us in all different directions, so we must be deliberate about finding opportunities to teach our kids about God. I want to encourage you to be intentional about creating a little corner of stillness in your life in order to know and understand God in a more intimate way and then share His love with your kids.
For the next few weeks I will be highlighting some of the attributes of God here on, and I encourage you to use these thoughts as a catalyst to talk to your kids about God. You may even want to read this to your kids. I’ve added a discussion starter for you to take the thought further over the dinner table.

Our Creator

In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

God is the Originator, the Designer, the Artist and the Sustainer of all there is in heaven and on earth. We can see His creative strokes in every part of creation. The beauty of a sunset, the magnificence of the stars, the intricate details of a butterfly, the whimsical acts of a monkey, all point to a glorious hand who made it all. You too were fashioned and designed by our wonderful Creator. You are a masterpiece. Just as an artist delights in his masterpiece, so the Lord delights in you.
Our designer knew exactly what He was doing when He formed the intricate details of our bodies. Every cell is coded with instructions as to how it should function within the body. From the smallest of details in an atom to the grandest of galaxies in the universe we must stand in awe of all He has done. Let us lift up our hearts in praise to the Almighty God, Creator of all. His magnificent work points to His power and beauty.

Discussion Starter: In what ways do you see God’s hand in creation in nature?
This is an excerpt from my devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places. Kindle edition

7 Tips for Taming your Fears
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What seems to make you make you shudder? Let’s face it, even the calmest of people experience a bit of anxiety now and then. With the outbreak of Ebola, the threat of ISIS or the uncertainty of the economy, how do we keep our worries in check and prevent them from dominating our lives? Allow me to offer a few tips to point you in a positive direction and help you keep your fears under control.
1. Identify the root of your fear. A current crisis may create panic in your heart, yet it often stems from a deep-seated anxiety which already exists – fear of death, abandonment or poverty. When we recognize that the bigger issue is not simply based on the latest news-maker, we gain clarity as we look at the true picture. Putting our finger on the basic cause of our fear helps us to more effectively deal with our own personal apprehensions and wisely root them out. What a blessing to know that we can go to our loving Heavenly Father with each fear and ask Him to give us heal our hearts.
2. Change your focus. When we focus on what is wrong in the world or what could happen, the issues become larger than life. One of the ways we can change our focus is to deliberately turn our minds toward what is good and positive in our lives and in the world. Recognize immediately when you are stewing on the negative and make a deliberate turn in your thought-life toward something or someone that brings you joy. It may be a great vacation spot, a precious grand-child or a new hobby. Let your mind dwell on what is good, pure and right in your life.
3. Count your blessings. Make it a daily practice to write down at least five things you are thankful for each day. Consider the blessings you have experienced over the last 24 hours. Who did you encounter? What positive conversations did you have? Who were you able to impact or help? What went your way? What doors opened up for you? Be specific as you ponder your daily opportunities to be grateful – they are there, but you have to intentionally look for them!
4. Strategize. If a worry about the future enters your mind, consider practical ways you can handle the crisis. What action steps do you need to take to be prepared? Are there preventative measures you can take? Keep in mind, we do not want to make plans out of panic or irrational fears, rather we do want to use all wisdom and discernment. Pray for God to lead you and guide you. Practical planning makes good sense, but let us always move forward with love – not fear – as our guide.
5. Reach out to others. When we are thinking of the needs of others, we have less time to wallow in our own anxieties. Take a moment to look around you. Who could use a kind word, a note, a hug, a phone call? Where can you volunteer and help make a positive difference in the world? Fear keeps us isolated, but love opens us up to experience the joy of giving and pouring our hearts into the lives of others.
6. Guard against assumptions. Often panic comes as a result of worries gone wild. It’s easy to take one little thought and develop a whole entire “what if” scenario around it. We can become consumed with fear simply based on assumptions. Stick with the truth and don’t add to it. Nip assumptions in the bud and resolve to live in the present rather than future fears that may never happen.
7. Pray. I find great comfort in knowing that there is an almighty God with a bigger plan. He has a purpose for each of our lives, and He knows the number of our days. My life is in His hands, and I can rest assured that I can trust Him with the details of my life. He invites us to turn to Him and cast our cares on Him. As we leave our anxieties in the hands of a loving God, He provides a peace that passes all understanding.

Christ came to set us free from the chains of fear that consume us. As a follower of Christ, God has given us His Spirit who gives us peace even in the storms of life. My friend, if you do not know Him, I encourage you to look to Christ today. He came not only as the payment for our sin, but also to allow us to live in victory over sin and fear. If you want to chat with someone right now, please go to

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