Archives For December 2014

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Recently a mom sent me a note saying she was frustrated that she did not have time to keep up with the reading she thought was important.

I had the same struggle until a few years ago when I learned something that totally changed my life. Perhaps these tips will help you as you plan your new year reading....and wish you had more time!

1. Know that most key points in an article or book can be gleaned without reading the whole thing.

Books and articles are designed to give both the facts and the illustrations. Facts and concepts can be gained without all the illustrations. That is why the business world can design executive summaries.

2. Be content to skim read when the choice is skim read or do without.

I will too often say "someday" to a book and it really is "never." Skimming has opened a new world to me. Some books I skim...while others I savor.

3. Read the first paragraph and then the first sentence of each paragraph.

As an author I have learned that most of the main points in a book can be found in the thesis statements of the book's structure.

4. If it is a book, start by looking at all chapter titles before reading.

Good chapter titles give you the flow of the book and make your skim reading much more effective.

5. Settle in your head it is okay not to read every word.

I used to feel like I had to finish a book like I needed to clean my plate. Now I know better on both counts! 

Let the Lord inspire you in the new year to read more effectively for spiritual growth and parenting maturity. And be sure and share these tips with your own kids. It really helped some of our kids break out of the I-don't-have-time-to-read box!


Image: Jen Hubbard “Reasearch”   via Flickr Creative Commons
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New years’ resolutions … It’s the time when we think about them.

This year, we are suggesting that you make one that will give you and your family lasting spiritual benefits.

What if you made 2015 a year to read the Bible daily and search it for God’s wisdom with your family?

The Bible is packed with godly wisdom. .. and it comes with many promised benefits:

Knowledge, prudence,

safety, security,

discretion, understanding

goodness, righteousness,

blessing, long life, riches, and honor,

…to name just a few.

Here are some options to help you get started:

  1. Establishing the habit of daily Bible reading. Choose a method and time that works for you.
  2. Read a chapter of the Bible out loud each day at mealtimes, or in family devotions.
  3. Listen to the Bible on CD while doing something else (exercising, getting ready, cooking, in the car, etc.
  4. Use a Bible app on your phones or tablets.
  5. Follow a Bible reading plan. You can have one emailed to you daily. Bible Study Tools has 17 different plans, some brief, some for the whole year.
  6. 6. Download a printable copy of a Bible reading plan.Back to the Bible has a number of reading plans to choose from. Here’s one that assigns a different part of the Bible (Epistles, Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, Gospels) for each day of the week. 
  7. Start a notebook to write down the precious bits of wisdom you find as you read the Bible.
  8. Each family member could read the passage for the day in his or her quiet time, and choose a favorite verse to share with the family.
  9. If you miss a day, don’t let it stop you. Get right back on your plan and go forward.

Reading the Bible daily with your family will instill God’s own wisdom in you, and propel you toward a greater understanding of His kingdom. Let’s make 2015 the year of Bible wisdom!

Image: Ben “book” via Flickr Creative Commons
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Is Everything OK at your House?

Lisa Cherry —  December 23, 2014

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Today, I want to reach out to those of our Frontline Moms and Dads who might be struggling at this Christmas time.

Perhaps you recently lost a loved one.

Perhaps you recently lost a job.

Perhaps you have emotional pain or physical pain.

Perhaps the kids are not in order and you just cannot pull off the holiday flair like you so desperately want.

We know what it is like to not have a very easy Christmas!

So if this message is for you, please know your Heavenly Father sees your struggle....and He cares.

In fact, He cares so much that He sent His son in the form of a baby to carry your weights and your sorrows.

Our family is praying for you today. We are standing in the gap believing that even as the Christmas glitz may not produce for you this year...the light of Jesus will still guide your heart home to the One who will never leave or forsake you.


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Image: Jackle “Christmas Time” via Flickr Creative Commons
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A Christmastime Miracle Baby

Lisa Cherry —  December 22, 2014


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A couple weeks ago I read a post on Facebook about a sweet young mother who needed a huge miracle for her month-old baby to survive the day.

My heart was so deeply touched as I began interceding on her behalf.

Since she was a stranger to me, I read deeper into her blog to find out her whole story only to discover her husband had recently died.

Wow. And I thought I was having a rough day?

Unfortunately, I did not bookmark her blog and when I went to check the next day to see if the baby survived, I could not find it! I was so upset! I probably spent an hour looking for it through any of my friends I thought would know.

Two days later, an acquaintance on Facebook posted the rest of the story. (By the way, the young mother’s name is Sarah Rodriguez.)

I was so shocked by what I read, tears began filling my eyes.

I don't want to spoil it for you. But if you want in on something big....I encourage you to take a look here

This mother has walked through multiple ethical dilemmas that would challenge any believer, and has chosen to walk by faith.

This will grow your faith and bless your heart!

Merry Christmas!


P.S.: Here are a few more posts from Sarah that you don’t want to miss:

Story of a Name


They Are The Hero’s


Image: Brandon Barr, “Fists and firsts” via Flickr Creative Commons
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A Cure for Self-Centeredness

Lisa Cherry —  December 18, 2014

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My husband got home from a business appointment excited to tell me a story.

He had stopped by a client's office to drop off some paper work when the man uncharacteristically invited him to sit down and chat.

Suddenly, Doug was invited into the secret world of this man's past as the stories of his family's joys, needs, and wounds began pouring out of his middle-aged heart.

Doug, I am still believing our family can recover what we have lost. It has been a rough road, eventhough mom and dad gave all nine of us a good foundation with God in our pastor's family home. But....I can look back and point to where some things went wrong. One of the big things that caused us to drift is when we quit giving each other Christmas presents....

That last statement got Doug's attention.

At our house for the last several weeks the kids have been very busy buying and wrapping Christmas presents for each other. That is no small job when you have a lot of siblings...not to mention nieces and nephews!

I have watched all the hoopla and wondered if we should cut the process down and "draw names." But every year I make the same conclusion: leave them alone. What they are doing is important.

This is the time of the year that they go out of the way to sow into each person's life personally.

They do extra chores, save up from odd jobs and then shop for the perfect gift that will bring joy to their sibling.

Some of them make their treasures. Some of them have even been known to "regift." And everyone knows that very few items in our mound of presents were bought at anything less than bargain clearance. But that is fine. It is not the size or expense that matters. It is the thought and the expression of care.

Perhaps this man's observation is correct. I remember the years that we "swapped token gifts" with an extended family grouping...a tin of popcorn or a box of candy or cookies was an annual tradition.

But then one year we agreed to stop the exchange. And somehow as I crossed them off my annual Christmas gift list, something unfortunate happened. I crossed them out of my remembrance. I didn't mean to; life just got busy and we began to drift.

It seems that is the way with relationships. They never stay still. They are always moving...either closer or more distant.

So while we are completing our holiday plans, maybe we should all ponder this man's wise observation. It seems biblical to me. Giving is what our Lord did best! Celebrating the ones we love is worth our focus and thought.

I am asking myself some questions today....

Who has God placed in my life that I need to nurture and invest in? Who would find my expression of love a blessing (even if the treasure is small and non-valuable by the world's standards)? How can I encourage my own family to discover the joy of giving as they step out of the bondage of coveting?

I'll leave you with this verse to meditate on:

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35


Image: Rachel Stahl “wrappings” via Flickr Creative Commons
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