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FEBRUARY 2013

KNOWING “GOD KNOWS ME AND I CAN KNOW HIM”

CAPTURING THE SEASON LOVE GARLAND 6

PRAYER

8 BE STILL AND KNOW

CREATE

17 GLIMPSES OF GOD


6 CAPTURING THE SEASON LOVE GARLAND

8 PRAYER

BE STILL AND KNOW

17 CREATE

GLIMPSES OF GOD

CONTENTS FAMILY TIME

12

Storytelling

3

Environment Knowing

13

Worship

22

Tot Time

4

Editor’s Note

14

Family Time Recipe

23

Tough Topics

5

How to Use Family Time & the Family Verse

15

Kids in the Kitchen

23

The Middle

6

Capturing the Season

16

Conversation Starters

7

God’s Word

17

Create

24

Marriage

8

Prayer

18

Global

25

Spiritual Parenting

9

Traditions

19

Blessing

25

Spiritual Grandparenting

10

Game Time

INSPIRE

26

10 Environments

11

Game Time

The Everyday Parent

27

Resources

Love Garland

God Cares

Be Still & Know Sezatoare

What’s in the Bag?

Getting to Know You

21

EQUIP

Knowing God Provides

God Is...

Banana Flowerpot Bread

Valentine Pretzels

Romania

Knowing His Ways

Look It Up

2

Love Your Enemies

Removing Distractions

SUPPORT

The Truth About God

Glimpses of God

Along the Road

To Be Known By You Inbox

A Different Lens

Capturing the Season

KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


We believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s chosen teacher. It is He who causes spiritual growth and formation when and as He chooses. As such, we have articulated 10 distinct environments to create in your home. We desire to create spiritual space, which we refer to as an environment, in which God’s Spirit can move freely.

Nothing is more important in our spiritual lives than knowing and being known by God. We live in a world that denies absolute truth, and yet God’s Word offers just that. As we create an environment that upholds and displays God’s truth, we give children a foundation based on knowing God, studying His Word, and cultivating a relationship with Him through Christ. Just as the environment of KNOWING describes, we live in a world that denies and dismisses the existence of absolute truth. What a tragedy! We face an urgency to pass on the truth of God and His Word to the next generation. As we learn this truth, we open up to knowing God Himself and entering into relationship with Him. As we create space that allows our families to study God’s Word, we’ll develop a hunger and thirst to know Him more.

Michelle Anthony Family Ministry Architect David C Cook

Follow Michelle: @TruInspiration

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF KNOWING (an excerpt from Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony)

I remember the time my daughter came running into the house, telling me that our neighbor had just told her he didn’t believe in God. She was crying, and through her sobs she whimpered that this neighbor had asked her that if God was real, why couldn’t she ever see Him or hear Him speak? He mocked her, “Have you ever seen Him? Have you ever heard His voice?” I was saddened that this doubt had been put in my daughter’s mind. But even more than that, for a moment I felt the responsibility of proving that God existed and that she could see Him and hear Him. But God gently reminded me that this was something He would be faithful to do and that it was my job merely to put my daughter in the environment where she would best be able to experience Him.

Design, Layout, and Photography by Brad Claypool

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


EDITOR’S NOTE While it is good that we seek to know the Holy One, it is probably not so good to presume that we will ever complete the task. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer God is vast and mighty and has so many different facets to His character that we could never hope to know Him completely. Even so, God desires for us to know Him, and He reveals Himself to us every day in countless ways. As parents, it’s our job to create environments for our children in which they’ll be open and ready to find the divine in their day-to-day lives.

Debbie Guinn

HomeFront Editor-in-Chief David C. Cook debbie.guinn@davidccook.com

a spiritual parenting resource

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Like us at Facebook.com/HomeFrontSP and join the conversation.

This month’s issue of HomeFront is filled with creative ways to help your family live in the environment of KNOWING. Throughout this issue you may notice a common thread of knowing God as our provider. It’s vital for our children to recognize the loving ways God takes care of us. The CREATE section this month focuses on the ways God reveals Himself to us in nature, and the WORSHIP section will challenge your family to list what you know to be true about God. We pray that the end of this month, each member of your family will be able to say, “God knows me, and I can know Him.”

Follow us on Pinterest @HomeFrontSP. Explore our boards and pin your favorites.

Follow us on Twitter @HFfamily for updates and encouragement as you spiritually parent your children.

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


HOW TO USE FAMILY TIME ...

FAMILY TIME

sy as a e s a It's ONE TWO THREE

1

Start by deciding on a day and time that works well for your entire family. It can be an evening, afternoon, or morning. Just commit to building this time into your family’s natural rhythm. It’s usually best to build this time around a meal.

FAMILY VERSE Memorizing Scripture can be an incredible practice to engage in as a family. But words in and of themselves will not necessarily transform us; it is God’s Spirit in these words who transforms. We come to know God more when we’re willing to open our hearts and listen to His Holy Spirit through the words we memorize. Have fun with this verse, and think of creative ways to invite your family to open up to God as they commit this verse to memory.

2

Look through HomeFront and see what stands out. Choose two or three experiences you would like to incorporate into your family times each week. Don’t feel burdened to complete all the activities at once, but carefully select which ones will fit your family best. This resource provides your family with more than enough experiences to create transforming environments in your home throughout the month.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us. (Psalm 100:2–3)

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FAMILY TIME IDEAS!

Remember to HAVE FUN! Strive to make each gathering unique to your own family as you enjoy spending time with God and each other. 5

KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

c a p t u r i n g t h e s e as o n

Love Garland It’s incredibly important that our children grow up knowing they’re loved—not just by us but also by their Creator. We desire for our children to know God’s love in an intimate and personal way. We pray they will recognize how much God loves them and then, in turn, show that love to others.

TEMPLATE

February is widely recognized as the month of love. By creating this heart garland, you and your family can read a Scripture verse about love every day this month. You’ll read verses about God’s love for you as well as verses that will guide you in how He desires for us to share His love with others. by Richelle Paris

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: + Scrapbook paper + Twine or ribbon + Scissors + Glue stick + Small clothespins + Heart template + Number cutouts (pg. 27) + Scripture reference cutouts (pg. 27)

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO DO: 1: Cut out the heart template (above). 2: U sing the heart template, trace and cut out 28 hearts from scrapbook paper.

3: C ut out the 28 numbers found on page 27 of this magazine.

4: C ut out the 28 Scripture references also found on page 27.

5: Glue a number to each heart. 6: Glue a Scripture reference to each heart. 7: Using the clothespins, clip the hearts to the twine or ribbon.

8: Hang your heart garland in a prominent place in your home.

9: E ach day of the month, look at the garland and read the verse for that day as a family.

10: E njoy getting to know how much God

loves you and getting creative about how you can show His love to others.

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

g o d ’ s wo r d

God Cares After spending time in the oasis of Elim, the people of Israel felt rested and refreshed. It was time to move on, into the wilderness of Sin. (The name Sin doesn’t refer to sinfulness but instead relates to Sinai, as in the Sinai Peninsula. The actual meaning of Sin isn’t known.) Only a month or so into their journey from Elim, the entire congregation of Israel became disgruntled and began murmuring against Moses and Aaron. They cried, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3). Seemingly, the people had forgotten the bondage, the beatings, and the misery of their slavery. But God heard the murmurings of His people. In His grace and mercy, He revealed His plan to meet their needs. Psalm 78 tells us God opened the doors of the heavens and rained down manna. He gave them grain from heaven! The word manna comes from the question the people asked that first morning: “What is it?” (in Hebrew, man hu). Manna would be the Israelites’ food for the next 40 years until the new generation entered the Promised Land. The Israelites were instructed to gather manna each day, but only as much as each person in the family could eat—no more, no less.

The way the Lord provided the manna six days a week was a wonder-filled miracle, and the preserving of the manna for the seventh day was another miracle. God’s instructions were clear. His people were to wake up early each day, before the desert sun would melt the manna, and only gather enough for the day. Any leftovers would rot and fill with maggots. On the sixth day, the people were to gather twice as much manna as normal in order to prepare for the Sabbath. God could have provided nourishment for His people in many ways, but He chose to remind them daily that He was their provider. The manna came with the dew each morning and resembled a hearty seed. This nutritious food could sustain an adult for an entire day’s journey. Preparing the food into bread consisted of pounding the sweet honey-like seed and baking or boiling it into cakes. God instructed His people to place a jar of manna in the Ark of the Covenant, which later became the throne of God in the camp. This jar would serve as a reminder of God’s wonderful provision. The manna, inside the Ark of the Covenant, was placed in the Holy of Holies inside the tabernacle, where the glory of God dwelled.

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HEAR IT Read Exodus 16 together. After reading, talk about why you think God made the manna last for only one day. Then discuss why God would instruct His people to put a jar of manna in the Ark of the Covenant.

DO IT One of the ways God shows us how much He loves us is by instructing us to Sabbath (rest). When He provided manna for the Israelites, he told them to collect only enough manna for that very day, but on the sixth day He instructed them to collect enough for the next two days. This month, we encourage you to create a Sabbath for your family by preparing your meals the day before and setting aside a day to rest. If an entire day feels like too much, you may choose to prepare for half a day (or even just one meal). During your Sabbath, take time to enjoy each other and focus on God. Pray together, thanking God for loving us and caring for us in amazing ways. by Debbie Guinn

KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

p r ay e r

Be Still & Know

SIMPLY BE STILL

by Justin Fox As we read the Bible, it’s obvious that God knows us intimately. And He deeply desires for us to get to know Him too. How amazing—the Creator of the universe wants to make Himself known to us! How can we get to know Him? There’s a verse that speaks directly to this pursuit, and the instructions are surprisingly simple. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God.” What’s a good way to begin knowing God, to know He’s real? Be still. Whenever I try to simply “be still” with God, my mind immediately begins to wander, and random thoughts and worries overwhelm my soul. Before even a few seconds have passed, I’m totally and utterly distracted. Can you relate? It should comfort us to know we’re not alone. Even the ancient fathers of the church knew this struggle and wrote and taught on the subject extensively. They discovered that being still takes practice. We actually have to practice the exercise of being still with God. And the more we do it, the easier it will become. For this month’s family prayer time, be still before God. Just silently be with Him. Try five minutes to start. When you get distracted, just turn your thoughts back to God. After five minutes, ask your children if God revealed something about Himself to them. Discuss together if being still showed you anything more about Him. This type of “being still” prayer takes practice; it’s a muscle we need to exercise. But over time it will become easier.

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

traditions

Sezatoare (English is Daniel’s second language. We intentionally kept this article in his original voice.)

Yesterday we sat outside and enjoyed the warm weather, which is pretty unusual for September in Romania. It was interesting, as we were all talking except for Cristiana, our eight-years-old daughter. She was captivated by her fabric craft. My wife had just showed her how to do it. I was reminded about an old tradition in Romania that still happens in some villages. That’s an event usually happening in the wintertime when all the field work is done and the people have time for family and for their soul. In Romania, the farmers call wintertime “The Soul Springtime.”

GROUPS OF PEOPLE, OR FAMILIES FROM THE COMMUNITY, JOIN TOGETHER IN THE EVENING NEAR A RIVER, IN A GLADE OR CLEARING, AND SPEND SOME SPECIAL TIME TOGETHER.

Groups of people, or families from the community, join together in the evening near a river, in a glade or clearing, and spend some special time together. The event itself was an informal moment, but the people were all nicely dressed. All the family will go together—parents and kids as one. That moment is called sezatoare or “sitting.” Usually the women will meet in a separate group than the men. Girls will sit with the ladies and boys with the men. As they are together, they talk as they do different crafts. All the happenings from the community are shared. They share recipes, talk about their problems, and share new tips for the household. An important part of the meeting is singing. They sing as they do crafts or after they finish the crafts. They sing old and new songs. Songs that are so close to their heart. This is a life-sharing experience. It is so meaningful for the adults. Sezatoare is a real milestone for the person, as well as for the village. Sezatoare is even more meaningful for the children. They hear jokes or proverbs, find riddles, and get tips for the household. For some of them it might be their first craft experience. They do not only watch the adults do something, but they are offered the chance to work hand-in-hand and even get skilled. As I look back to that old Romanian tradition, I see some great impact of these moments helping the community know more about God: 1. They are building a safe, clean environment for kids to grow in. God’s values were separated there from the world’s values. The proverbs and anecdotes would always set the line between good and bad, between true and false.

A TRADITION

IS THE HANDING DOWN OF STATEMENTS, BELIEFS, OR CUSTOMS FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.

2. They are building a skills-training context. They can learn from each other, and they can make sure their kids get skilled not because they need to do it, but because they like to do it. 3. They are building an inspirational context. At that time, new leaders “are born” as the kids or young people are so impressed with different informal leaders of the community and their relationship with God. As we move in a changing world, where traditions fade, we have the same unchanging powerful partner—the Holy Spirit. He can do amazing things in us, among us, and through us. What He expects for us is to create, as a family, the context where He can work. What’s the context that I am ready to build in my home or in my church where He can do amazing things for every generation to know more about Him? by Daniel Bruda

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

game time YOUNGER

What’s in the Bag? How do we know God is real? How do we know He’s there? Consider the wind. Can you see it? No. So how do you know it’s there? How do you know it’s real? You can feel the wind blowing across your cheeks and rustling your clothes. You can hear it whistle by your ears. You can see it stir up leaves. We experience God in a similar way. And we can know for certain that He’s all around us. by Justin Fox

^ HOW TO PLAY ^ • One person begins by hiding a secret object in a bag. •H  e or she passes the bag around the table and lets everyone feel the object. • No peeking! •E  veryone guesses what’s in the bag, and whoever guesses correctly leads the next round. •A  lso try this game by placing an object in an oven mitt or a sock (instead of a bag) to make it more challenging. •Y  ou can start with simple objects and gradually use more complex objects. •B  e creative, and have fun!

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

game time OLDER

Getting to Know You

WHAT IS MY FAVORITE COLOR? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE FOOD? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE ANIMAL? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE PIECE OF CLOTHING? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE ACTIVITY?

SUPPLIES: - bowl - provided questions - pen and paper -

WHAT IS/WAS MY FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE SPORT? IF I WON A LOT OF MONEY, WHAT WOULD I BUY FIRST? WHEN DO I LIKE TO GET UP IN THE MORNING? WHEN DO I LIKE TO GO TO BED?

 efore you begin, cut the questions into B strips, fold them in half, and place them in the bowl.

WHAT IS MY FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE BOOK?

HOW TO PLAY:

WHAT IS MY FAVORITE MOVIE?

The youngest player will go first. Each family member will take a turn picking one question from the bowl. Once he picks his question, he will read it out loud to the rest of the family. Then each family member will take a turn guessing what that person’s answer would be. For example, if Mom picked the question “What is my favorite color?” she would read the question out loud, and then each family member would guess her favorite color. Once everyone has had a turn to guess, Mom would then reveal her favorite color. Whoever guessed correctly would get one point. Then the next player, going in a clockwise direction, would pick a question from the bowl and repeat the process. When there are no more questions left in the bowl, the game is over. At the end of the game, see who has the most points!

WHO IS MY CLOSEST FRIEND? IF I HAD ONE WISH, WHAT WOULD IT BE? WHAT DO I LIKE MOST ABOUT MYSELF? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE CANDY? WHAT SUPER POWER WOULD I LIKE TO HAVE? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE BREAKFAST FOOD? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE SONG? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE WAY TO TRAVEL? WHAT IS MY FAVORITE TOY?

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

sto ry t e l l i n g

Knowing God Provides God provides. It’s who He is. And it’s incredible to think that His provision is coupled with His wisdom, which is far greater than ours. We often never learn the why and when of God’s provision, but we know His love for us is perfect. Flawless. He knows what’s best for us. He knows everything! It’s interesting to read the stories of God’s provision throughout the Bible. Most often, His action occurs just in the nick of time—the 11th hour. In fact, when He rained down manna from the sky for His people wandering in the desert, He didn’t even allow them to store up extras. He made it good for one day only, leaving them to rely on Him every morning just to eat. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). He knows that this sense of dependence is the best thing for us and our relationship with Him, and He plays the theme like a catchy pop chorus, repeating it again and again and surprising us every time. The Red Sea, water from a rock, a ram in a thicket, a baby in a manger—God specializes in the dramatic, last-minute save. For my family (we’re missionaries), we often find ourselves praying for God’s provision for our finances. It seems that even with all of our budgeting and planning, we still barely make ends meet. We’ve learned to trust in the unpredictable, rescuing love of God. For example, a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were going over our finances on a Sunday afternoon. Our accounts were slim, and we decided by faith to cut our grocery budget in half for the week. “We’ll see what happens,” we said. Not more than 15 minutes later, my wife got a text from a friend who owns a catering business. She had just cooked for a massive wedding, there were tons of leftovers, and she wanted to know if we wanted any. That food fed our family of six for the rest of the week!

SHARE WITH YOUR CHILDREN A STORY ABOUT A TIME GOD PROVIDED FOR YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW. Another example happened a few years ago. We were in danger of missing a mortgage payment. It was due the next day, and we were a couple thousand dollars short. We needed a miracle. We prayed and cast our cares into God’s hands. We surrendered it all, and I slept like a rock that night. The next morning I waved to our kids from the porch as they walked to school. Lingering on the step, I felt at peace even though I wasn’t sure of God’s plan. I drank in the warm, sunny morning and noticed something in the bushes near my feet—a dirty, frayed, grass-stained piece of paper. I picked it up, realizing it was an envelope. It had fallen from the mailbox. I had no idea how long it had been there. It turned out to be a check for the entire amount of our mortgage payment and then some! God had once again provided. My heart leapt with thankfulness to God, who provides. by Justin Fox

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

wo r s h i p

WE OFTEN THINK OF WORSHIP AS SINGING, BUT WE CAN WORSHIP GOD IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.

God Is …

It’s evident that God made each of us unique. We possess all kinds of talents and abilities. We respond to situations differently, and we have opportunities to learn from one another in a variety of situations. It’s also interesting to see how each experience shapes our view of God. He reveals Himself to us in different ways and in different seasons of life. by Tommy Larson

This month your family will have an opportunity to share what they know to be true about God. This will be an ongoing worship activity throughout the month.

+

Start by taking a SMALL FLOWERPOT and decorate it with the words “God Is.”

+

 ext, place LARGE CRAFT STICKS N and MARKERS next to the bowl. Explain that at the end of each day, each family member should write a word or phrase representing what God revealed to them that day about His character.

+

As the month progresses, your family will see the flowerpot begin to fill up with God statements. Not only is God revealing Himself to you, but by your acts of acknowledgement, you’re worshipping Him as a family.

+

At the end of the month, gather as a family and read aloud each God statement. Thank God for His many amazing attributes. The sticks will serve as a reminder of this time when you stopped to acknowledge and praise God for who He is and how He has made Himself known to you.

PRAISE GOD FOR WHO HE IS AND HOW HE HAS MADE HIMSELF KNOWN TO YOU.

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

fa m i ly t i m e r e c i p e

BANANA FLOWERPOT BREAD by Stacy Igarashi One thing that we know to be true about God is that He provides for us—and that includes the food we eat. Most of us have never worried about where we’ll get our next meal, so it’s easy to forget that each time we eat, God provides that food for us. In the Bible, God miraculously provided food for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. He gave His chosen people manna—enough to eat every single day. Below you’ll find a new way to bake banana bread—in a flowerpot! The flowerpot reminds us of things that grow (and represents our growing knowledge of who God is). And the banana bread reminds us of the sweet manna God provided for the Israelites.

Prep time: 30 min. Cook time: 50 min.

Yields five medium loaves.

Ingredients:

Directions:

+ 2 cups sugar

1. Buy five medium-sized terra-cotta flowerpots. Make sure to take off any stickers.

+ 1 cup butter  (or 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup shortening) + 3 eggs + 6 very ripe bananas (mashed)

2. Wash well, rinse, and soak in water for about 20 minutes. 3. Place a small circle of parchment paper or foil over the drain hole in the bottom of each pot.

+ 2 tsp. baking soda

4. Grease the pots (inside and out) with shortening, butter, or oil. Make sure to coat the rims as well.

+ 2 1/2 cups flour

5. Mash the bananas in separate bowl.

+ 1 tsp. salt

6. Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs.

+ 1 cup crushed walnuts (optional)

7. Add bananas and beat well.

+ oil, butter, or shortening to grease the flowerpots

8. Add dry ingredients and mix only until smooth.

+ parchment paper or foil

9. Stir in nuts. 10. Separate dough into five medium-sized washed, soaked, rinsed, and greased flowerpots.

for an easy metric conversion chart, search the internet for “metric kitchen.”

11.  Put flowerpots on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire cooling rack. Remove bread carefully after it has cooled completely.

God faithfully provided for His people back in Bible times, and since He doesn’t change, we know He’ll faithfully provide for us today.

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

k i d s i n t h e k i tc h e n

VALENTINE PRETZELS Have fun together as a family making these Valentine’s Day snacks. Consider wrapping up a few and giving them to friends and family as a healthy alternative to candy.

PRETZEL STICKS

PEANUT BUTTER CRANBERRIES

KIDS IN SIMPLE, K THE KITCHEN FEA TU ID ENCOURAG -FRIENDLY RECIPES RES TIME TOG E FAMILIES TO SP THAT ETHER W END YUMMY T HILE CREATING REATS.

WHAT YOU NEED: + 10 oz. bag large pretzel rods + 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or other nut butter) + 1 cup dried cranberries + parchment or wax paper + small plastic bags (should you decide to give some away)

BE SURE TO LET CHILDREN TAKE PART IN CONSTRUCTING THESE AND PASSING THEM OUT TO THOSE THEY LOVE!

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO: food allergy warning: this recipe contains nuts.

1. Place peanut butter or other nut butter in a cup and stir until smooth. 2. Spread cranberries on wax or parchment paper. 3. Working with one pretzel at a time, dip and coat one end of the pretzel rod. 4. Roll the coated pretzel in the cranberries, covering thoroughly. 5. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzel rods. 6. Place on a piece of parchment or wax paper until ready to be packaged or served.

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KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

co n v e r sat i o n sta r t e r s

We’re raising our children in a world that denies absolute truth. But God’s Word offers just that. As we create an environment that upholds and displays God’s truth, we give children a foundation based on knowing God, believing His Word, and cultivating a relationship with Him through Christ. These essentials for our faith all begin with knowing God.

2 THINGS THAT ARE TRUE 1 THAT IS NOT Taking turns, allow each family member to share two true statements about himself and one false statement. For instance, the first person might say, “I am a good soccer player, my favorite color is green, and I love to eat macaroni and cheese.” The last statement would be false since she’s allergic to cheese. Then the other family members should guess which statements are true and which statement isn’t. Get creative, and have fun trying to stump your family members while getting to know more details about each other’s lives.

GET YOUR CHILDREN TALKING ... When each family member has had a turn, ask your children, “What do you know to be true about God?” Ask them to share two true statements about God and one false statement. You may wish to play this game often during the month to remind your children that they can see God’s character in many different ways. This game can also point out any false views of God your children might hold. Encourage them to be on the lookout for how God will show Himself to them each day. by Debbie Guinn

WHAT DO YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE ABOUT GOD? 16

KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

c r e at e

Glimpses of God It seems as though our lives get busier every day. The few spare moments we have seem to quickly fill with soccer practices, music lessons, and play dates. In the midst of our ever-more-chaotic schedules, sometimes the best way for our little ones to know God is to simply slow down. This month’s CREATE activity begins by setting aside some time to do just that: slow down. Start by taking a nature walk or short hike with your children. If you live in an urban area, head to a park, a community garden, or the beach. As you walk, encourage your children to collect bits of nature that give us a glimpse of who God is. Prompt your children to think about the items they pick up, and talk with them about how their chosen items relate to God’s character. For example, your child may pick up some pebbles (representing God as our rock) or some twigs (representing the cross and our salvation through Jesus). They may even recall parts of The Big God Story they’ve studied. For example, sand may remind them of God’s promise to Abraham to make his descendants more numerous than the sand on the seashore. When you get home, each member of your family should glue or fasten the items to a poster board. You may also choose to add photos or magazine clippings to enhance your board (a photo of a rainbow to remind you God always keeps His promises, a photo of a waterfall to represent the living water Jesus gives us, etc.). Be sure to write on the board why each item is meaningful to your family and what it reveals about God. You may choose to do this activity more than once this month, adding to the same poster board as your children discover more and more about God’s character.

CREATE

IS A TIME TO ENGAGE YOUR FAMILY IN A COLLABORATIVE RESPONSE TO HEARING

GOD’S WORD.

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Exploring nature can be one of the most powerful ways for children to learn about God’s love, beauty, and creativity. Scripture tells us that even the heavens declare the glory of God. With each item your family collects, your children will learn that even though they can’t physically see God, they can know Him, because the evidence of His character surrounds them every day! by Alyson Crockett

KNOWING | HomeFrontMag.com


family time

g lo b a l

Where in the World Is ...

ROMANIA

Awakening a compassionate heart and a global mindset in children for people beyond the boundaries of their own neighborhoods.

UKRAINE MOLDOVA HUNGARY N W

E S

ROMANIA

 omania is located in eastern Europe, north of R the Balkan Peninsula. Romania encompasses 91,699 square miles and is bordered by Ukraine and Moldova on the north and northeast, the Black Sea on the east, and Bulgaria on the south. Southwest of Romania you’ll find Serbia, and to the west is Hungary.

SERBIA

BLACK SEA BULGARIA

POPULATION: 21,904,551

LANGUAGE: Romanian

NOW THAT WE KNOW THE LOCATION OF ROMANIA, LET’S MEET ITS PEOPLE.

RELIGION:

86.7% Romanian Orthodox 5.3% Protestant 4.7% Roman Catholic

DID YOU KNOW?

Almost 22 million people live in Romania.

• The tale of Dracula was inspired by the 15th-century Romanian, Count Vlad Dracul.

If you lived in Romania, you would most likely eat a traditional food called mamaliga. It’s made with cornmeal and sometimes served with sour cream and goat cheese. Romanians also love meat wrapped in cabbage leaves. You’d probably also find crepes with various fillings and toppings on the typical Romanian dessert menu. If you went to church in Romania, you would most likely go to a Romanian Orthodox Church.

• Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci was the first female gymnast to receive a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event.

TO GREET SOMEONE, YOU WOULD SAY:

“BUNA ZIUA”

(pronounced boo-nuh zee-wah) To talk with your friends in Romania, you would speak Romanian.

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family time

blessing

KNOWING HIS WAYS

Blessings can be spoken over a child for the purpose of declaring God’s protection, joy, and wisdom.

Numbers 6:22–26 records the Lord instructing Moses to bless the people with these words: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

BLESS Share these words of Scripture with your children.

He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel. Psalm 103:7

PRAY (Child’s name), just as God made His character and deeds known to Moses and the people of Israel, may He also make His ways known to you.

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INSPIRE Parenting stories and devotions to spur you on and motivate you as you spiritually parent your children.

EQUIP Resources to prepare you as you navigate through tough ages and tough topics.

SUPPORT Walking alongside you to promote healthy marriages and answer your spiritual parenting and spiritual grandparenting questions.

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inspire

t h e e v e ry day pa r e n t

We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:6

O

ur kids ask us some pretty crazy questions. Our tendency can be to brush them off or give a quick response. But they’ll continue to ask questions—desiring truth, often relentless until they get the answer that satisfies them. What an honor we have to parent them toward Jesus—toward knowing their heavenly Father. While our children are young, we can set a biblical foundation and teach them to compare everything they hear or learn outside of the home to what they know to be true about God. As they grow accustomed to discovering God’s character for themselves, they will become less concerned with what the world says. May you and I be parents who dig into Scripture for answers. May we write biblical truths on our children’s bathroom mirrors and pray and sing these truths over them. That way, when they do ask questions and want to know more, they will easily recognize truth because they know their all-powerful Creator. by Rebekah Pogue

Look It Up by Rebekah Pogue

As a little girl I would occasionally ask my mother, who happened to be an English teacher, how to spell a word or use it correctly in a sentence. “Look it up” was always her reply. Frustrated at the inconvenience, I’d pull out the dictionary (my childhood was pre-Internet), locate the word, see the correct spelling, and read sample sentences. At the time, I wished she would have saved me the work, but now I’m grateful that she encouraged me to go to the source and learn for myself.

By searching for the answer together, I’m equipping my son to ask questions, and, like my mom said, to “look it up” to find the answer. As my boys grow older, they will learn the comfortable back-and-forth of asking questions about God. They will begin to know truth from His Word and see their biblical foundation come alive as they grasp that the Almighty desires to know them too!

I’m discovering the same concept applies to knowing God personally as I’m helping my boys seek His truth. Even at their young ages, they’re beginning to ask questions about life. Before the world steps in, I want to lay a foundation for them to find God’s truth in the Bible, to know their heavenly Father, and to realize He desires to know them individually too. My oldest son recently asked where Jesus lives. I started to explain but stopped when I saw an opportunity for us to find the answer in Scripture instead of it coming solely from me. Together we looked up verses explaining that Jesus sits in heaven at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19), and “the Holy Spirit … lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14). We underlined the verses in his Bible so he can easily recognize them later.

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equip

tot t i m e ( ag e s 3 & u n d e r )

Repetition is fundamental to almost any learning style, so when you’re attempting to teach your children, use repetition! lie down

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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.

g the roa lon

d

at home sit

a

get up

(Deuteronomy 6:6–7)

along the road

As you’re driving along the road, teach your little one this rhyme. Use this time to reinforce the truth of the environment of KNOWING: “God knows me, and I can know Him.”

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equip

to u g h to p i c s

Love Your Enemies

How can we live Jesus’ call to love our enemies when our child is the victim of a bully? Consider Jesus’ response. Sometimes He spoke up; other times He walked away (Matthew 3:7; 12:14–15a). Ultimately, Christ prayed for His enemies and forgave. Dealing with bullies provides an opportunity for Jesus to shine in our families. Help your child view the situation in light of Scripture. Emphasize her value as a child of the King. Expose the lies in a bully’s unkind words. Teach her to pray for and forgive her enemy. Provide support. Let your child talk about his pain; help him process his reactions and what they say about how he sees the situation and himself; discuss possible responses and their consequences. Be age-appropriate. Younger children need more intervention by authority figures. Most of all, invite the Holy Spirit to give you and your child God’s heart and wisdom for the situation.

equip

the middle (6 t h

to

8 t h GRADE)

Removing Distractions When I was in middle school, I had the opportunity to experience my first rock concert. I remember that from the minute I entered the concert hall, I noticed a constant noise that seemed to reverberate everywhere. I wish I could tell you the band sounded great, but, because of the blaring noise, I can’t. My ears were ringing for the next week. Just like the overwhelming loudness detracted from my concert experience, your children face the potential to be distracted from knowing and hearing God by the noise in their lives. Noise can be produced by busy schedules—school, sports, social events— and the continual consumption of media. These things in and of themselves aren’t bad. However, busy schedules have the potential to become increasingly louder and to intrude on us spending time getting to know and hear from God. As parents, it’s vital to help our children look for ways to turn down the noise. We need

to consistently remind them that listening for God’s voice is an essential part of living. One way you can help eliminate unnecessary noises is by taking the time to go on a retreat with your children. This time can be used to simply spend quality time with them—talking about what it means to know and hear from God. A family in our faith community has two boys. When their oldest son became a teenager, the father took him on a father-son retreat. During this time away there was a lot of playing and having fun. However, the main purpose of this time away was to have intentional dialogue about what it means to be a man—and, more importantly, a man who listens to and knows God. In conversation with the son after the trip, I could tell that it was a weekend that marked him forever, both spiritually and emotionally. Consider making a parent-child retreat a tradition in your own family, maybe when your children reach a certain age or when you begin to recognize signs of distraction 23

due to the noise in their lives. On this retreat, spend time reminding them who God is. Encourage them to read God’s Word, and ask them to listen as He reveals His character. Remind your children that God knows them, and they can know Him too. Help them make a list of things in their life that distract them from spending time getting to know God. Then, when you return home, be aware of those things creeping back into their lives. As you pray over the retreat, ask God to use this time to fuse a relationship of trust between you and your children. This way, when you return to the noise of our world, you will have established a relationship that allows for truth to be spoken and heard. As a result of these relationships, God’s voice will become louder, and your knowledge of Him will help clear away the distractions. by Bryan Pogue

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support

m a r r i ag e

To Be Known By You “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

us, intimacy is more difficult to achieve than for others; often childhood experiences create a guarded heart and we have a difficult time opening ourselves to our spouse. When we grow up in families where we don’t experience unconditional love and acceptance, we must consciously be reminded that it is important to share who we are, our feelings, our hurts, our dreams, and our disappointments. We must become intentional in order to develop closeness. It may seem awkward at first, but the more you open up with one another the deeper you will know and be known.

To know and to be known are the two most deeply felt needs of all human beings. To really know God in a personal way is a concept beyond many people’s comprehension. God chose to let us know Him by allowing Jesus to come to earth. He was a gift to us. To be known and really know our spouse is truly a gift of God Himself. As a counselor I am called upon regularly to help couples increase their level of intimacy. For some of

by Roger Tirabassi

What is something I can pray about for you?

What is a dream you have that doesn’t seem to go away?

! T I Y TR

Sit face to face with your spouse. Take each of the questions below and share your thoughts and feelings with each other: 1. W  hat is a dream you have that doesn’t seem to go away? 2. What is a fear that reoccurs weekly or monthly? 3. W  hat is a pain from your childhood that you can remember pretty vividly? 4. What is something about me that always makes you grateful? 5. What is something I can pray about for you? I encourage you to take the list above and share from it on a weekly basis. You can vary it. Remember: to know and be known will take some intentionality.

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support

s p i r i t ua l pa r e n t i n g

Inbox with Michelle Anthony

Q: A:

I ’m not sure I would know how to lead my child to Christ if she told me she wanted to make that decision. Do you have some simple steps to follow to help my child make this important decision?

This is such an incredible opportunity for a parent! Here are

Would she like to ask for forgiveness? Would she like to thank God for His love? If your child still doesn’t know what to pray, let her repeat a prayer, line by line, being careful to explain that she should repeat each line only if she really means it inside.

some steps I often share with parents.

FIRST Select a place to talk with minimal distractions. Giving your child your complete attention tells her this is important.

SIXTH After your child has prayed, allow her to tell you what she said to God or what she asked Him. Salvation is more than just a prayer; it’s a decision to follow Jesus for your entire life. Ask how being a child of God will make your child different at home and school. What will happen if she does something wrong? Explain how to confess sin and continue living for God’s glory. You might share a story from your own life and then suggest one or two verses for your child to read. Encourage her to have a quiet time in prayer and/or Bible study/reading each day. If she doesn’t have an age-appropriate Bible, help her to get one.

 ECOND Use Scripture. Select verses such as John 1:12, John 3:16, or S Romans 3:20, and let your child read from her own Bible. THIRD Make the verse personal. The decision is between your child and God, so help your child understand what God is saying to her through His Word. FOURTH Try to ask questions that will reveal your child’s thinking and help you clear up any misunderstandings. For example: “What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Why do you need to believe? What promise does God make in this verse?”

Although, you may be eager to lead your child to Christ, remember that ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who causes spiritual growth and formation when and as He chooses (Phillippians 2:13). Your job is to plant the seed in your home and nurture it, and in some cases you’ll have the privilege of being a part of your child giving his or her life to Christ.

FIFTH If you feel that she’s ready and the Holy Spirit is prompting you, invite your child to pray. Your child may say she don’t know how. Explain that God doesn’t care about fancy words. He wants to hear what we’re thinking on the inside. Ask your child what she would like to ask God.

support

s p i r i t ua l g r a n d pa r e n t i n g

A Different Lens by Debbie Guinn Focusing on the “Lower Story,” we see life only through our own eyes and our own experiences. From our perspective, everyday life simply doesn’t always make sense. We ask, “How can a loving God allow bad things to happen?” However, when we understand that God is writing the “Upper Story,” we can learn to trust His character and recognize His sovereignty in everything that happens.

As grandparents, our life experiences cause us to view the world through a different lens than that of our children and grandchildren. We’ve most likely experienced death, sickness, suffering, and pain—all of which have molded us into the people we are today. Through these trials, we’ve learned to trust God even when things don’t make sense. When difficult things happen—things we struggle to understand—it’s important to remind our families of what we know to be true about God. Pastor and author Randy Frazee says this: “To understand the Bible, you need bifocal lenses, because two perspectives are involved. The Lower Story, our story, is actually many stories of men and women interacting with God in the daily course of life. The Upper Story is God’s story, the tale of His great, overarching purpose that fits all the individual stories together like panels in one unified mural.”

As grandparents who’ve spent years going through the ups and downs of life, we have the opportunity to encourage our families in times of difficulty, helping them to see things from an eternal perspective. Daily reminding our families that we can trust God, know that He loves us, and believe that one day all things will be restored is one of the best legacies we can give.

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10 ENVIRONMENTS Below you'll find a brief explanation of each environment. 1. Storytelling—The power of The Big God Story impacts our lives by giving us an accurate and aweinspiring perspective of how God has been moving throughout history. It is the story of redemption, salvation, and hope and tells how I have been grafted into it by grace. It further compels us to see how God is using every person’s life and is creating a unique story that deserves to be told for His glory. “God has a big story, and I can be a part of it!” 2. Identity—This environment highlights who we are in Christ. According to Ephesians 1, we have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, sealed, and given an inheritance in Christ … all of which we did nothing to earn. This conviction allows children to stand firm against the destructive counter identities the world will offer. “I belong to God, and He loves me!” 3. Faith Community—God designed us to live in community and to experience Him in ways that can only happen in proximity to one another. The faith community serves to create an environment to equip and disciple parents, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, and to bring a richness of worship through tradition and rituals, which offer children an identity. Our love for each other reflects the love we have received from God. “God’s family cares for each other and worships God together.” 4. Serving—This posture of the heart asks the question, “What needs to be done?” It allows the Holy Spirit to cultivate a sensitivity to others and focuses on a cause bigger than one individual life. It helps fulfill the mandate that as Christ followers we are to view our lives as living sacrifices that we generously give away! “Asks the question, ‘What needs to be done?’” 5. Out Of The Comfort Zone—As children are challenged to step out of their comfort zones from an early age, they learn to experience a dependence on the Holy Spirit to equip and strengthen them beyond their natural abilities and desires. We believe this environment will cultivate a generation that, instead of seeking comfort, seeks a radical life of faith in Christ. “God transforms me when I step out in faith.” 6. Responsibility—This environment captures the ability to take ownership for one’s life, gifts, and resources before God. A child must be challenged to take responsibility for his or her brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as for those who are spiritually lost. Our hope is that the Holy Spirit will use this environment to allow each child to understand that God has entrusted His world to us. “God has entrusted me with the things and people He created around me.” 7. Course Correction—This environment flows out of Hebrews 12:11–13 and is the direct opposite of punishment. Instead, biblical discipline for a child encompasses a season of pain, the building up in love, and a vision of a corrected path for the individual with the purpose of healing at its core. “When I get off track, God offers me a path of healing.”

IT IS OUR PRAYER THAT HOMES AND CHURCHES WOULD CREATE THESE ENVIRONMENTS FOR KIDS TO LIVE IN SO THEIR FAITH WILL GROW IN A COMMUNITY OF CONSISTENCY, COMMON LANGUAGE, AND PRACTICE. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW THESE ENVIRONMENTS CAN IGNITE A TRANSFORMING FAITH IN YOUR FAMILY, WE SUGGEST YOU READ:

8. Love/Respect—Without love, our faith becomes futile. This environment recognizes that children need an environment of love and respect in order to be free to both receive and give God’s grace. Key to this environment is the value that children are respected because they embody the image of God. We must speak to them, not at them, and we must commit to an environment where love and acceptance are never withheld due to one’s behavior. “God fills me with His love so I can give it away.”

9. Knowing—Nothing could be more important than knowing and being known by God. We live in a world that denies absolute truth, but God’s Word offers just that. As we create an environment that upholds and displays God’s truth, we give children a foundation based on knowing God, believing His Word, and cultivating a relationship with Him through Christ. God is holy, mighty, and awesome, yet He has chosen to make Himself known to us!

SPIRITUAL PARENTING:

An Awakening for Today’s Families BY MICHELLE ANTHONY © 2010 DAVID C COOK

“God knows me, and I can know Him.” 10. Modeling—Biblical content needs a practical living expression in order for it to be spiritually impacting. This environment serves as a hands-on example of what it means for children to put their faith into action. Modeling puts flesh on faith and reminds us that others are watching to see if we live what we believe. “I see Christ in others, and they can see Him in me.”

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RESOURCES “CAPTURING THE SEASON” “Love Garland” Scripture References

JOHN 3:16 ROMANS 5:8 GALATIANS 2:20 1 JOHN 3:1 ROMANS 8:37–39 ROMANS 13:8 GALATIANS 5:13 EPHESIANS 4:2 1 PETER 1:22 1 JOHN 4:7

1 JOHN 3:18 PSALM 31:16 PROVERBS 10:12 EXODUS 15:13 LEVITICUS 19:18 1 CHRONICLES 16:34 PSALM 5:11 PSALM 13:5 PROVERBS 21:21 PROVERBS 3:3

HOSEA 12:6 JOHN 13:34–35 1 CORINTHIANS 16:14 1 JOHN 4:19 LUKE 6:35 1 PETER 4:8 PSALM 37:28 PSALM 18:1

“Love Garland” Numbers

1

2

4

6

8

9 10 11 12

7 14

16 17 18 19 20 21 22

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26 27 28 27

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BiBle StorieS ThaT Change liTTle lives The Toddler’s and Preschooler’s Bible help little hearts discover the Bible in a whole new way! These unique Bible storybooks are a perfect way to turn story time into life-changing moments.

Contact a David C Cook 28 rep at 800.323.7543 or visit DavidCCook.com

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HFSPR: KNOWING FEB 2013  

HomeFront is a FREE monthly resource that gives parents ideas on how to create fun, spiritually forming times in their home.

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