10 Ways to Change Our Culture

When it comes to making a change in our world, we often feel . . .

  • Who am I to make a difference? I’m only one person.
  • What does it matter what I say? Who listens to me anyway?
  • I don’t have a platform. How would I get my voice heard if I did try to make a change?

Have you had similar thoughts? I did. Twenty years ago, I wasn’t thinking about making a difference in the world’s culture—just in my world. Then during the journey of starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and watching lives changing—one woman at a time—I realized I was making a difference. These mentors and mentees were making a difference. One woman mentoring another woman was having a ripple effect out into the culture.

You too can make a significant change in our culture today. God never forces us to do anything, but He created us with gifts and a purpose, and when we use our God-given talents for His glory, things change—for the good—in our circle of influence, our platform.

In the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-16), Jesus tells us to shout the Good News to everyone who will listen. That means in our jobs, activities, sports, shopping, playing, parenting . . . whatever we do, wherever we do it . . . joyfully let others know that God is at the center of our lives. Someone is noticing. Someone sees a difference in how we live our lives, and that changes things.

Celebrities, Sports Stars, and Politicians

Movies stars and entertainers have changed the culture mostly in a negative way by making it fashionable to have babies with whomever they’re dating, normalizing living together without getting married, wearing revealing clothes, swearing and using vulgar language—both men and women—doing things in movies we would never let them do in our living rooms. They have influenced our culture by lowering the moral and sexual standards for society. And in today’s volatile political culture, the majority of them are liberal progressives, and those who aren’t are blackballed.

Gospel-sharing movies are beginning to get some traction at theaters, many started by grassroots Christians who want to make a difference in today’s culture. We need to support them. It’s upsetting to hear Christians armchair criticize other Christians who are stepping out to make a difference for God, especially when the critics aren’t trying to make a difference themselves!

Sports figures and teams have become idols. We recently watched one football player dishonor our National Anthem and young high school football players followed suit. Time Magazine included him in the most influential people of the year! 2016 Olympic swimmers lied and falsified an assault story in Brazil, and yet one of them ended up on Dancing with the Stars! Instead of being good role models, again we see the culture influenced in worldly, ungodly ways, while sports figures honoring God are ridiculed. Still it was refreshing to hear many Olympians praising God.

People don’t trust politicians. Many will change the culture for good, but others make changes that starkly contradict our Christian beliefs and values. The media blasts and tries to silence politicians who agree with a conservative agenda because the vast majority of culture today is liberal.

We’ve seen the liberal agenda invade the Federal and local government, and we feel helpless watching the sanctity of life and marriage destroyed by laws legalizing sin. We cry out to God and to each other at the atrocities; but we hang our heads thinking we can’t do anything. But that’s when the real work begins. There’s more to changing culture than just voting in our candidates! We still have control of where we spend our money, our time, and how we use our voice and influence.

You Can Change Culture

It’s time for Christians to step up, speak out, and seize opportunities to defend God and change our culture back to one that respects and honors virtue and morals. We need a revival, which doesn’t start in government, it starts in the church with the people sitting in the chairs and pews. That’s you and me!

Christianity has come under attack by the media, the government, and the entertainment world for several generations, so today’s generation has formed prejudices and perceptions based more on the worldly lies of Satan than on the truths of God. We need to proclaim the Good News of Christ because many have only heard the distorted lies of Satan.

10 Ways You Can Help Change Our Culture

  1. Speak Up

Today, society marginalizes, neutralizes, and denies God—forgotten by a culture forsaking him. Wherever and whenever you hear someone speaking disrespectfully of God, kindly let him or her know you’re a believer and explain why and what you believe, and would they please speak respectfully of the most important person in your life.

  1. Mentor—

I receive so many stories from women of all ages desperate for someone spiritually older to share their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. They’re begging for mentors as Titus 2:1-8 instructs spiritually older Christians to help spiritually younger men and women learn how to navigate life and make choices that honor God. If more Christians became mentors, we would see less violence, rage, poverty, divorce, single-parent families, abuse, abortion . . . the list goes on. Titus 2:5 says we mentor so “no one will malign the word of God.”

  1. Use Social Media

As an author and speaker, I have a large social media presence, and I boldly comment from a Christian perspective. A young mom approached me at church and thanked me for my Facebook posts. She said I always wrote something on my timeline just when she needed it or when she needed perspective on a current topic.

Then I received an email from a mom saying she found my tweets, Facebook messages, and blog posts helpful in her life. The list goes on. I have no idea how many lives I may be touching and changing through social media, but I try to always include something about God in today’s culture, and hope it sounds doable to my readers to duplicate.

Pick one form of social media, establish a following, and get a dialogue going for cultural change.

  1. Blogging—

I also write a weekly Monday Morning Blog. Not everyone likes to write, but a blog reaches multitudes. Whatever your passion is—sports, gardening, building, cooking, parenting—write about it and add something in your post to help the reader make positive cultural changes in his/her life or environment.

  1. Parenting

Your children are the future of our country and will define the culture for decades. They look to you for guidance and direction to set their moral compass. Talk about the difficult issues they face. Know what the culture is saying and doing and teach them how to identify twisted doctrine and counter it with the truth. Give them the tools they need to be change agents in the culture. Help them be leaders, not followers.

  1. Teach Sunday School or Help in Youth Ministry

One of the most important roles in the church is teaching and training the next generations. These children and youth are the future who will determine if the church remains true to God’s Word, the Bible, or casts it aside to accommodate the falsehoods of the culture. They must go into the world not only knowing about Jesus, but also knowing Him in a personal relationship they wouldn’t give up or give away for anything.

  1. Support Business that Champions Christian Values—

Businesses are succumbing to the liberal cultural pressure to market and financially support the LGBTQ agenda. We have a choice where we spend our money and our time. If you know a business supports something you don’t agree with, don’t spend money there. It’s that simple. There are plenty of other places to eat and shop—especially those owned by Christians.

If a movie is full of violence, sex, and vulgar language . . . don’t see it. Go to opening weekend of a Christian movie. Businesses, television, the movie and sports industry . . . notice when revenue declines.

  1. Run for a Local Office

We need more Christians and conservatives in government! If you feel called, run for office and be the voice in the wilderness in your community that fights for the sanctity of life, morals, freedom of speech for all, and laws that honor God and the Constitution.

  1. Remember God’s Goodness

When we remember how good God has been in the past, we share it with others. Today’s millennials, and those younger, don’t know a world where you can openly pray, talk about Jesus, and take your Bible to school. When “gay” meant joyful, and the rainbow only stood for God’s blessings. Where marriage was only between a man and a woman, and kids didn’t have two dads or two moms. It’s our job to tell them that the culture we’re living in today is not God’s way, but we can find our way back to His ways.

  1. Prayer—

God hears the prayers of His people: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Jesus changed the culture, and He was only one man, whose fame came after his death, but he left a band of followers to keep up His work of changing the worldly culture.

“As Christians, God calls us to live holy lives: separated to God, separated from the world, and separated for God. Our responsibility is to help a generation that thrives on conforming, want to conform to God’s standards! Don’t think you can’t make a difference. You can. Sure, you can’t transform the whole world, but you can make a difference in your world.”*

*Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten

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How to Celebrate a Peaceful Post-Election Thanksgiving

happy_thanksgiving

During our small group prayer request time, a reoccurring request went something like this: Please help us be a light on Thanksgiving with the eclectic group of people attending with differing political and faith beliefs.

Whether it was all family, all friends, invited guests . . . or a combination . . . most were apprehensive how the day would turn out.

In the fragile aftermath of a volatile election, I imagine many of you are having similar concerns and conversations. I remember my mom cautioning that if you want to keep the peace, don’t talk about religion or politics, As a kid, I never understood her warning. Believers are supposed to tell everyone about Jesus. How could we not talk about our Savior, since our identity is in Christ? And isn’t everyone entitled to his or her own political opinion?

Then I grew up and learned that Jesus and politics are indeed quite controversial, but I still don’t think that means we shouldn’t talk boldly about them . . . we just need to be respectful. My first priority in life is being a born-again Christian and all other roles follow after. But as I wrote in Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten: “Bold doesn’t mean obnoxious. It simply means not being afraid to speak the truth in love, even in the face of adversity: ‘Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold’ (2 Cor. 3:12).” For example, if someone asks what I write, I answer, “Christian nonfiction.” Or I’ll say, “I’m a Christian author and speaker.”

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Philippians 1:20 NLT

So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:8 NLT

Is Thanksgiving a Religious Holiday?

That could be an awkward question in some circles.

I was with a group of people when I mentioned how I hoped people would set their differences aside on Thanksgiving Day, and one person said, “It’s just a time for eating a lot of food, watching football, and shopping online anyway.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure the first pilgrims who celebrated Thanksgiving didn’t have TV or Amazon.

Another responded: “Well at least Thanksgiving isn’t a religious holiday.”

I asked: “Who then are we thanking?”

Complete silence.

Of course, the answer is: God.

Abraham Lincoln made it an official national holiday “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”

The English colonists we call Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving as part of their religion. But these were days of prayer, not days of feasting.

We read in Genesis that God spoke everything into being, and yet, many will be sharing turkey and dressing with people who don’t believe in, or discount, the existence of God. They don’t know where they’re going when they die, or where everything we enjoy on earth came from . . . and maybe they don’t even care. They’ll walk out of the room during prayer before the meal, and may try and start an argument over the election. Maybe after a few drinks, their conversation will turn ugly, even though innocent young eyes are watching and ears are listening to how “adults” interact.

As I prayed and talked to the Lord, here’s a list I hope will help any who might be apprehensive this Thanksgiving. I’d love to hear your ideas too.

Don’t worry about what to say—“Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” Mark 13:11 (Jesus was instructing his disciples, but I think it could apply to us too if we felt our faith was being tested or put on trial.)

Speak kind words— “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Pr. 16:24 NLT

For your part, maintain peace—“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

Don’t ask or answer antagonistic questions, walk away or change the subject“Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.” Pr. 26:17 NLT

Play with any children present“We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.” Ps 78:4 NLT

Don’t drink“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 NLT

Smile, Smile, Smile“Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” Psalm 42:5 The Message

Listen“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Pr. 12:15 NLT

Take a deep breath and think before you speak—“There  is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.” Pr. 29:20 NLT

Less is more—“The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they?” Ecc. 6:11 NLTThere’s “A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” Ecc. 3:7 NLT

Say mind prayers continuously.—Pray continually” 1 Thess. 5:17

Have a secret sign or word between you and someone else that signals: Let’s change the subject or move into the other room.—“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” Ecc. 4:9

Put on the Armor of GodPut on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Eph. 10:6:18

If you’re Hosting—Pray and thank God for each guest. Ask to be a blessing and to share joy. Pray over your home and each chair at the table. Pray before the meal as you normally would, your guests know they’re coming to a Christian home.—“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9

If you’re a Guest—As you walk up to the home, pray you’ll be a blessing and that God will stir up the fruit of the spirit in your heart. If you’re hosts don’t pray before the meal, bow your head and pray over your food as you normally would. — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23

Thanksgiving is a day for harmony and focusing on God and giving Him thanks and praise in whatever way He leads. Fiction writers have a saying: “Show don’t tell.” Which simply means, you don’t always have to speak Jesus with your words, you can show Jesus with your actions, and people will want what you have!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NLT

Past Thanksgiving Blogs

Here are several past Thanksgiving blogs you might enjoy. I do give thanks for each of you who have followed me on my Monday Morning Blogs, and I pray you have a joyful, peaceful, and God-filled Thanksgiving Day.

Acquiring Overshadows Thanksgiving

What Are You Most Thankful For?

Love Your Body During the Holidays

Thanksgiving Tablecloth Idea

In Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten I share how to use your tablecloth as a “praise-cloth” to preserve memories for generations to come. Here is an excerpt from the book. I hope it gives you some ideas. I’ll be taking our tablecloth with us this Thanksgiving, and here is a picture of ours. We’re now writing down the sides.

thanksgiving-tablecloth-full

When my breast cancer journey started [2002], I became keenly aware of making memories with my family. At times like that, you think seriously about your mortality and the legacy you want to leave with your loved ones. You appreciate each new day of life. The sun rising every morning is an act of God to celebrate.

            Holidays like Thanksgiving have new meaning. Typically, Thanksgiving is a celebration where family and friends gather for a feast, and everyone says what they’re thankful for in the past year. But after finishing the dishes and putting away the leftovers, how many really remember what everyone said?

The Thanksgiving following my first breast cancer surgery, I had an idea of a Thankful Tablecloth. I purchased a Thanksgiving themed tablecloth with plenty of white space and a box of wash-resistant colored markers. After Thanksgiving dinner, I brought out the markers and asked everyone—kids included—to find a spot on the tablecloth to write what they were thankful for that year, sign, and date it. We traced handprints for the tiny ones with their name and age.

Today, we have years of thankful messages to read every Thanksgiving and remember the many acts of God’s goodness to us and the people who joined us at the celebration table each year. If we go to someone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, I ask if I can bring our Thankful Tablecloth and markers.

            When I go to be with the Lord, I pray my family will continue bringing out the Thanksgiving Tablecloth as a reminder through the generations of how good God has been to our family and friends. [Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten]

 

thanksgiving-tablecloth-message

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NLT

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God Does Tell Us How to Vote

Dr. Carson

I remember as a little girl hearing my parents warn: Never get into discussions about politics or religion—especially among family and friends. The basis of their warning was that people differ so much in their opinions that it will only cause disagreements and maybe estrangements. And it did!

That seemed so strange since as Christians of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20), we’re told to go out and tell the world about Jesus. And if Jesus is the most important person in our life, and our whole life centers on Him, how could we be silent? Wouldn’t our faith influence our politics? Wouldn’t fellow believers agree?

The adage of my parent’s time has become the “political correctness” of our time. Don’t offend anyone with your beliefs or they’ll label you a hater and bigot for opposing something the Bible clearly calls sin. Even all Christians don’t agree on what constitutes sin . . . or agree on much else actually.

In our culture, if we mention God, Jesus, or the Bible, we’re dismissed as religious zealots or troublemakers—sometimes even among fellow Christians.

How Is God Forsaken Politically?

In working on the title for Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, my husband suggested we put a question mark after Forsaken God? to make us stop and think if this could be true. Many Christians can’t imagine ever forsaking God, but it happens so frequently today—not intentionally, but unconsciously—that we may not even realize we’re forgetting Him. But it is happening right now during the elections. How often do you hear people including God in the reasons for their political persuasions and voting choices?

When I was writing Forsaken God? last year, I had no idea what the political arena would look like this year, or that it would be an example of the premise of the book. But what I did see coming was a steady cultural forsaking of God and embracing of the liberal abandonment of the Bible. Just today, I read about an owner of abortion clinics who said she was sure Jesus approved of abortions because she was raised as a “liberal Christian”—an oxymoron! I wrote in the Generation to Generation section of Forsaken God?:

The next generation is falling away from the church in droves or erroneously choosing a pseudo-gospel of compromise and feel-good theology. Today, even children from Bible-believing homes may not have the tools or fortitude to equip them to face a liberal world drifting away from the God of the Bible.

We cannot assume that all Christians will be voting the conservative agenda in a world that indeed is forsaking and forgetting the God of the Bible. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myth” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

God Does Tell Us How to Make Every Decision, Including Voting ….

As Christians voice their political opinions in conversations and on social media and in blogs, I seldom hear the use of Scripture or prayer as the basis for their choices and comments. One exception is Pastor Max Lucado, who broke the typical pastoral nonpolitical protocol to speak out about Decency for President because he’s alarmed at some Christians straying away from our core values and biblical roots as criteria for a presidential nominee.

Like Pastor Lucado, I’ve observed disturbing responses to the current political scene, which I list below, but God provides us an antidote and voting guide when we remember Him and His Word.

  1. We’re angry, disillusioned, want change—which are all legitimate feelings as long as they’re not the sole basis of our decisions or lead us to choices that go against our beliefs and values. We can personalize these verses when we consider how to vote and who we’re voting for:

Character: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Eph. 4:31

Language: “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” —Col. 3:8

Attitude: “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” —1 Tim. 2:8

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.” —1 Cor. 7:17

  1. I want, I need, I don’t like, I feel, I believe—Self-centeredness is never a good basis for making godly decisions. Try personalizing these verses.

God help me remember when I vote to: “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” —Ps. 119:36 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” —Pr. 16:18

“When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”—Eph. 4:21-24

  1. Don’t talk to me about God or the Bible. You’re placing your faith in a very complex work written over a long period of time.” As Christians, we are to remember . . .

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”—Heb. 13:8

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” —Ps. 119:11

“I love God’s Word: I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” —Ps. 119:16

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” —2 Tim. 3:16-17

  1. God is in control, just be silent and let Him pick who is going to be PresidentGod never tells us to be apathetic, ineffective, or silent, and He uses His people to do His earthly work. How can He pick someone, if we don’t vote?

God says: “Select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” —Ex. 18:21*

Speak out for Christ: “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”’

Our part in the elections: “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” —Pr. 16:33 (MSG)

Christ has commissioned His Body, the Church, of which He is the Head, to effectively participate with Him in this world: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” —John 15:16

So What Do Christians Do This Election?

Republicans who stay home

We pray and then we go out and vote remembering that no man is perfect—Moses was a murderer, King David was a murderer and an adulterer, Paul was a persecutor of Christians . . . . But if we vote for the Republican conservative agenda and platform, then God can work through whoever wins the earthly mantel.

Max Lucado wrote a follow up blog post to his Decency for President post and he titled it Worried Enough to Pray?

Pray for God to:

  • Bring unity in His church and His people
  • Put a man of integrity and character who loves the Lord as President
  • Help us do whatever God asks to return our country and our culture back to God
  • God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven
  • Add your own prayers:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14

Then we do our civic responsibility and privilege, confident that we have done what we can in the way that God called us to work with Him as Christians:

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 2 Cor. 1:12

*Bryan Fisher Host of “Focal Point” has an excellent article “The Bible Does Tell Us Who to Vote for” in which he explores in detail Exodus 18 and the criteria Jethro told Moses to use in selecting godly leaders. I highly suggest reading this well-written article.

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Grandparents Changing the Culture

A Million praying grandparentsIn the Generation to Generation section of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I stress that the most important task for parents and grandparents is to pass down to future generations the goodness of our Great God, and help their children and grandchildren enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus.

Lillian Penner, National Prayer Director for Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN,) and an endorser of Forsaken God?, shares my passion for mentoring the next generation. Lillian has a dream of A Million Praying Grandparents committing to pray intentionally and regularly for grandchildren and their parents. I asked Lillian to share her dream/passion with you because I believe you share my concern for our grandchildren and children growing up in a broken world that has forsaken and forgotten God.

I joined the Million Praying Grandparents as a grandparent who prays Scripture daily for our eleven grandchildren. It’s part of my morning quiet time, and I have seen God do amazing things, which I write about in Grammie’s Corner in my monthly online newsletter. This month you can read how 7-year old Sienna surprised Grampa and me when she announced that she wanted us to pray with her to accept Jesus into her heart. That blessing was the answer to many morning prayers.

Sienna and KatelynI learned about praying God’s will by praying Scripture for Sienna’s mommy. I share more about this way of praying in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter.

MESSAGE FROM LILLIAN PENNER

In a movement to unite grandparents to pray intentionally for the next generation, Christian Grandparenting Network is launching a globale prayer campaign for 2016: A Million Praying Grandparents. Can you imagine the impact of one million or more grandparents praying for their grandchildren?

The Mission Field

The mission of CGN is the mobilization of grandparents throughout the world to commit to pray daily for their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s parents. In Christian Living Today, Editor, Randy Swanson, wrote:

The role of Grandparenting is becoming more important than anyone would ever have imagined. The rescue of our culture may well rest on the shoulders of today’s grandparents.”

Perhaps at no time in history has the call been more urgent for intentional prayer.

If you grasp the urgency of our time, then I urge you to join the Million Praying Grandparents movement, linking arms in prayer for the next generation.

Our grandchildren are our primary mission field.

Sign Up Today to Be a Praying Grandparent

If you’re as worried as I am about the world our grandchildren are inheriting, I urge you to sign up for the Million Praying Grandparents Movement. By joining, you are declaring your commitment to pray regularly for your grandchildren.

In appreciation for making such a culture-changing commitment, you will receive a free printable copy of a Million Praying Grandparents Prayer Resource to guide in using God’s Word to pray for your grandchildren.

Now you must make a decision:

For the sake of the hearts, minds and souls of your grandchildren, will you say, “YES I will join the Million Praying Grandparents movement?”

Go to the Million Praying Grandparents website and follow the instructions to sign up!

Please also share the vision of a Million Praying Grandparents united in prayer for their grandchildren with your friends and family.

Together we can influence the next generation to know Christ and follow Him wholeheartedly! Together we can change the culture and a world that has forgotten and forsaken God. Don’t let that be your grandchildren’s future.

Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten.

Steve Green wrote a song with the chorus, “Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.” Someday we’ll all just be a memory, but let’s make sure that memory is a good one. In your sphere of influence, starting with your own family and church family, “tell them” all you’ve seen God do and his unchanging truths. Influence the next generations to love and obey God with born-again, Holy Spirit filled hearts.

I pray my [Janet’s] legacy to my children and grandchildren will be—Mom/Grammie was a woman who loved Jesus and lived what she believed.

If you’re a grandparent, you’ll want to join this movement of a Million Praying Grandparents.

If you’re a parent, you’ll want to forward this blog to your children’s grandparents.

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_MG_5006A LIL

Lillian Penner is the author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren and is the National Prayer Coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network. An avid blogger, Lillian will break into smiles if you ask about her twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She and her husband, John, live in Portland, Oregon, where they are active in church ministries.

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The Urgent ‘Affluentza’ Epidemic

wallpaper of cross

www.christianwallpaperfree.com

We are an affluent society laboring under the tyranny of the urgent: marketers prey on our “don’t-want-to-miss-a-great-deal,” “gotta-have-it” obsession. If there’s a limited time to buy, then the product must be worthy of our time, energy, and finances. Our culture suffers from an urgent affluentza epidemic that has now invaded our churches and Christian lives.

The Lord recently pointed out to me how affluentza epidemic is transmitted virtually through the numerous emails I receive with subject lines like:

last chance, sale ends at midnight, discount ends tomorrow, only 48- hours left to buy, free shipping for the next three hours, exclusive in-store offer, exclusive online offer, exclusive holiday offer, today only, final days, clearance sale, order now before it’s too late, sale ends, last minute buy, flash sale, today’s deals, one time only, last day, you’ve been chosen, trending gifts going fast, hurry, don’t miss. limited time offer . . . .

You get the picture because you could add to the list. I found these in my email “trash.” That’s what I think of most marketing emails. As soon as an “urgent” sales campaign is over, another one starts.

I remember a friend once looking at the newspaper and exclaiming, “Wow look at all these sales. Maybe we should go shopping before the sale ends.” I laughed and said, “Don’t worry, tomorrow’s paper will be full of more ‘great buys.’”

When we moved to the mountains with no shopping centers, a city dweller said, “You’re going to miss all the sales in town.” I responded: “There will always be a sale going on somewhere any day I’m in town. And I’ll save so much money and time not running all over for the next big deal.”

Marketers use our desire to think we’re getting a great deal with a limited buying window to seduce us into buying things we don’t need with money we shouldn’t be spending for things that often end up stashed away in the garage or back of the closet.

What is ‘Affluentza’ Epidemic?

If you’re wondering if I made up the word affluentza, I did. But I couldn’t think of a better word to describe how salesmen, companies, and marketers entice us to think their product or gadget is something we can’t live with out, when you only have to drive by a garage or moving sale to see how many of those things were actually worthless.

We live in one of the most affluent countries in the world, but we always want more. This need to acquire–the affluentza epidemic–started with the most affluent couple in the Bible: Adam and Eve. They had everything in the world, and wanted for nothing. So how did Satan tempt them? With the only thing God told them they couldn’t have: to be like God.

And man has been in a power struggle with God ever since to: own more, make more, acquire more . . . .

The next time you see one of those adds that entice you into thinking this product will bring you contentment, joy, peace, happiness, wealth, a better life, health, wisdom . . . ask yourself: Is this from Satan or God?

There’s Only ONE Urgent Offer That Matters

This Christmas, don’t buy into the urgent affluentza marketing hype. There’s only One truly urgent offer; it’s free and you’ll never want again. . . but it’s an offer that won’t last forever. We don’t know when Jesus will return and we don’t know the number of our days. We all have friends, family, neighbors, workers, mentees . . . who don’t know Jesus . . . that’s the ONLY “time-is-running-out,” “must-have” offer that should get our attention.

There are people in our sphere of influence who have passed away without believing in Jesus. Maybe they were even affluent in earthly possessions, but they were spiritually bankrupt, and we didn’t seize opportunities to create a sense of urgency for them to make decision for Christ. We thought there was time, but there wasn’t.

That may be a sober way to look at Christmas, but in the wake of the senseless, random killings in our world today, how could we think of Christ’s birth any other way? He came to earth to offer the One and Only Gift worth our time, energy, resources, and urgency because this salvation offer does have a time limit . . . an hour, the next three hours, today only, tonight, last chance . . . with our last breath or Jesus’ return to earth.

If you’re a Christian, God chose you to do everything in your power this Christmas, and every day, to share Christ’s free Gift of Salvation with a world where the end time could be near.

I appreciate each of you who follow this blog, and I pray your Christmas makes a difference in someone’s eternity.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Here is a poem that I wrote a few years ago, and many ask me to share it every year because it has an urgent message we need to apply in our lives every Christmas and every day!

Time To Sit With You

Lord, so many things to do,

No time to sit with you.

There’s presents to buy,

And I must bake a pie!

But isn’t it all about Me?

What’s closed your eyes to see.

The purpose of Christmas day,

Isn’t how much you pay?

Lord, each year we hear that said,

Yet, still it comes with dread.

Anticipating all to do,

No time to sit with You!

This is MY day.

Don’t I have a say

In how you spend your time?

Remember, you are chosen…Mine!

But Lord, relatives will soon be here,

And the lawn Santa still needs reindeer!

There is so much to do,

Still no time to sit with You.

Relax and enjoy Me this season,

Let your activities have a reason.

This is My Birthday celebration,

And all I want is your attention.

Oh, Lord, we’ll make it all about You.

Do You think we should have fondue?

We’ll read the Christmas Story,

And give You all the glory.

Sit down and read My Word.

Your craziness is absurd.

Come spend some time with me,

Forget the Christmas tree.

Oh, Lord the cookies are all baked,

I have such a headache.

I know I need to pray,

But I’ve had such a day!

Lives are waiting to be saved.

Did you hear Me when you prayed?

It is certainly no wonder

Your world is all asunder.

No, God, I didn’t hear a word,

I was busy stuffing the bird.

I want to just slow down,

But I feel I’m losing ground.

You’ve made it all about you,

And all your parties too.

My message to the lost,

Overshadowed by homemade cranberry sauce.

Lord, that’s not true,

You know I do love You.

It’s just I feel a call,

To make this the best Christmas of all!

You’re wasting your time.

Do you think you could top Mine?

I had a virgin birth,

As my entrance to earth.

Oh, Lord, I’m beginning to see,

How You want to use me.

Telling Your story to all who will listen,

Is the true Christmas mission.

Spending time with Me,

Is the only way to flee

The world’s strangling control

On your time and very soul.

Oh, Lord, Your music softly plays,

As the candle glow displays,

The beauty of time spent

With our Gift heaven sent.

You’ll go against the flow

Taking time to help a lost soul.

But when the day has come to end,

You’ll have the joy of a new friend.

Oh, Lord, forgive me please.

Help me put down my car keys.

It really is so true,

There’s ALWAYS time to sit with You.

If you receive this in email, please comment here.

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Want a New Start in 2015?

New Start 15 theme verse-1

 My friend and fellow author/speaker, Kathy Howard, is inviting you and me to join her in a search for holiness and a deeper walk with the Lord in 2015! In her guest blog today, she tells us more about New Start 15 and how to get involved. If you’re wondering why my Bible Studies are not listed on their Resource List, I’m writing fast and furious on a new book and wasn’t able to be a contributor for New 15, but I support it 100%. You can also consider starting 2015 with one of my Bible studies to do on your own, with a friend/M&M, or in a group.

New Start 15 by Kathy Howard

New Start 15 by Kathy Howard

I love the “undo” button on my laptop. You know the one – that little arrow that curves to the left. When you click it, the last thing you did magically disappears.

Sometimes I wish life had an “undo” button. I could click it to magically erase the unkind words I blurted. Or wipe out my selfish behavior. Or eliminate that wrong decision. To “undo” all those things that brought unwanted consequences or now weigh heavy on my conscience.

Yep. In fact, sometimes it would be great to start over all together. To get a clean slate. To get a complete do-over.

Guess what? If you’re a Christian, that’s exactly what you got when you entered into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And sister, if things have gotten a bit off track since then, it’s not too late to undo and start new. In fact, now is a great time for a NEW START.

New Start 15

If you’d like to “undo” a few things or even start new on a bigger scale, consider joining me for “New Start 15.” During January, a few friends and I will be leading a month-long journey into holiness. Together we’ll explore what it looks like to become a “new creation in Christ,” to practically live out the set-apart, holy life to which God calls us.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 2:17, NIV

The “old” life looks like the world around us. And it’s burdened with the weight and consequences of worldly living. But the “new” life is radically different from the world, holy and set apart to God.

There is glorious freedom and joy in living a life of holiness. Freedom from the weight and consequences of sin. And joy in a deeper intimacy with our holy God.

Do you like the sound of freedom and joy? The chance for a New Start? Our God is the God of second chances, clean slates, and do-overs.

 

Participation in New Start 15 is simple.

Here are a few ways you can get involved:

 

  • Use the New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan in your personal quite time January 5 – 23. (Free download)
  • Like the New Start 15 Facebook page to keep up with daily devotional blog posts, get words of encouragement, and share thoughts from your own journey. (You can also download the New Start 15 bloggers list and schedule.)
  • Follow the New Start 15 “blog hop” January 5-23 (weekdays only) as the New Start 15 team blogs about living the new, holy life in Christ. (List of New Start 15 Contributors)
  • Check out the New Start 15 Resources List for books, Bible studies, blog posts, printables and more to help you on your journey. (Free Download)
  • Invite your friends to join you in the New Start 15 journey by sending them the link to this post.

Do you long for deep intimacy with God? Do you desire for your life to please and glorify Him? Do you want your life to point others to Jesus? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then New Start 15 is for you! Join us in January as we dig into God’s Word to find out what He says about living the new, holy life in Christ.

 

Are you ready for a New Start? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Or simply let me know you’re in! Happy New Year!

Kathy Howard

Kathy Howard

 

 

 

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Slow Down You Move Too Fast!

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Thought you might want to see what the garage door looks like down for a feel for the scene of the “accident”

Garage door half open

About where the garage door was when I ran into it–of course the car was not in the garage but out in the driveway.

All my life, someone has been telling me to slow down. I walk fast, talk fast, move fast, think fast, type fast . . . you name it, I do it fast. Consequently, I often run into things and usually am touting a bruise to prove it. When I had my tonsils out at five years old, the hospital was ready to turn my parents in as child-abusers because my legs were battered and bruised. My parents quickly explained that I was just an accident-prone, fast-moving kid.

I’d like to say I’ve outgrown those clumsy, fast-moving tendencies . . . but alas, I have not. Last Sunday morning, I overslept so I was rushing to get ready for church. I heard my hubby start up the car, so I grabbed my Bible and purse and flew down the stairs and into the car. Just as Dave was pulling out of the garage and telling me how nice I looked, a questioning voice came into my mind, Did you unplug the straightening iron?

Without stopping to consider if I had or not, I leaped out of the car telling my husband over my shoulder that I had to run back in the house. He just happened to be in the process of putting down the garage door . . . and the next thing I remember I was lying flat on my back in the snow looking up at the half-way down garage door above me.

I thought the door was coming down on me, so I jumped up just as my husband was getting out of the car to see if I was OK. I took inventory that nothing was broken, ran back in the house, confirmed that the straightening iron was indeed unplugged, and ran back to the car.

I asked my husband “What just happened?” He said that he was in the process of putting down the garage door and “You jumped so fast out of the car that I tried to stop the door from coming down. But before I could get it back up, you ran right into it.” That explained the extreme pain I had over my left eye. He said I lay on the ground for a while before getting up, and he was just coming to see if I was all right, when I stood up.

Fortunately, I fell back onto a soft mound of snow, which saved me from pounding the back of my head on cement and probably doing some real damage. As I walked into church that morning, I was still dazed and seeing stars. I wondered if I had a concussion and worried that I was for sure going to have a black eye and a goose egg on my forehead, since there was no time to ice it. Or I should say, I didn’t take time to ice it . . .

As I sat in church and started seeing more clearly, I began praising God that He must have laid me down gently in the snow after my forehead went full speed into the open edge of the garage door. And I thought about the fact that I knew the straightening iron was unplugged, so why did I question myself?

Deadline Attacks

I just happened to be on a book deadline and always seem to come under attack when I am writing something about strengthening marriages and family. Then I knew the source of the questioning voice—it was Satan planting doubt in my mind. And because I do everything fast, I hadn’t stopped to discern the origin of that voice. I had run right into what could have been a devastating accident. In hindsight, I saw clearly the trap I had fallen into because of my rushing.

 Hearing God's Voice

Then to confirm my enlightenment, I came across the above diagram on Facebook. Some of you might have seen it since I posted it on my timeline and explained how I had let Satan’s voice cause me to . . .

  • Obsess over the straightening iron not being unplugged, even though I knew for sure I had turned it off. So even if still plugged in, there wouldn’t have been a problem. But I also knew that I had unplugged it. I fell for the doubt trap that sly Satan set for me.
  • Worry that I might cause the house to burn down in the hour and a half we were at church.
  • Confusion about whether or not I had unplugged the straightening iron.
  • Pushed out of the car.
  • Frightened that I was going to have a concussion.
  • Rushing all morning . . . head long into an accident.

What To Do When You Hear Satan’s Voice

When I heard that doubting voice, I should have:

  • Prayed and asked Dave to wait a moment.
  • Rethought my steps of leaving the house.
  • Confirmed in my mind that I had turned off and unplugged the straightening iron, or calmly told Dave I had to go back in the house.
  • Waited for him to put the garage door back up.
  • Walked slowly back into the house.
  • Looked where I was going.

I have printed out God’s Voice/Satan’s Voice diagram, and it’s on my desk to remind me to slow down and take the time to listen carefully and know the source of the voice I am hearing. You may be wondering if you can really hear God or Satan, and the answer is absolutely. Usually, we don’t stop long enough to hear the still small voice of God because it’s drowned out by the clamoring loud voice of Satan.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

If you’ve ever felt obsessed, worried, condemned, discouraged, confused, pushed, frightened, rushed, defeated, exploited, depressed, anxious—you were listening to Satan. God doesn’t talk in that tone of voice to us.

God’s voice is calm, comforting, convicting of sin, encouraging, enlightening, guiding, reassuring, loving and “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’” (Psalm 46:10).

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2).”

After a lifetime of rushing, slowing down will not come easy for me, but I know with the help of Jesus, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NLT)

How about you? Anyone tracking with me? Please let me know how you’ve learned to slow down. There’s strength in accountability, and I need all the help I can get!

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Mentoring Tips on Raising Godly Children By Crystal Bowman

In my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I point out that every parent of a prodigal wishes we had done things differently and started praying for our children when they were young, before they became prodigals. In the following guest post, Crystal Bowman author of My Mama and Me—Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child, shares mentoring tips on raising godly children.

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No Greater Joy

One of my mom’s favorite Bible verses is 3 John 1:4 — I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

Now that I am a mother and grandmother, that has become one of my favorite verses as well. My husband and I have raised three amazing children who are all walking with the Lord. As I mentor many young mothers through MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers), they want to know how we did it!

I believe you can be a wonderful, godly parent and still have children who walk away from the faith when they grow up. Many times it is only for a season, but for some, it is longer.

A Solid Foundation

The best thing we can do as parents is give our children a solid biblical foundation by teaching them about God from the time they are babies to the time they leave home. Since most of my books are for preschool children, I pray that the books I write will be a helpful resource for parents as they read and talk about spiritual things with their little ones. Reading with your children is one of the precious gifts of motherhood, and sharing your faith is the most important gift you can give your child.

Kid-friendly Devotions

Making time for bedtime Bible stories or mealtime devotions is a great way to teach children about God and encourage meaningful discussion. My newest book, My Mama and Me—Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child features twenty-five devotions, each including a rhyming message that teaches children about God, a Scripture verse, a prayer, and an activity that reinforces the theme. The devotions are spiritually solid, yet fun and enjoyable for young children.

The Importance of Prayer

Many of the moms whom I mentor were not raised in Christian homes. They know it is important to pray for their children, but at times they feel inadequate. I remind them that God knows their hearts and they just need to talk to God like they talk to a friend. With that in mind, I wrote a prayer at the end of the book for mothers to pray over their children.

Just Released

My Mama and Me has just been released by Tyndale House Publishers. If you get a copy of the book, you will notice the book was written by two authors—Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley. I am Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley is my daughter. I have no greater joy!

Bio: Crystal Bowman is the author of over 80 books for children including The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers, and My Grandma and Me—Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Grandchild. She is also a national speaker, a lyricist, and a regular contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine.

www.crystalbowman.com

www.facebook.com/crystaljbowman

 Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley

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Good Morning, Lord!

 

Photo: Feeling right at home with  Dave Thompson!

Elk Ridge Bed and Breakfast in Keystone, South Dakota

My husband, Dave, and I have just returned from a two-week road trip to Colorado visiting grandkids, and to South Dakota where I spoke at LifeWay’s You Lead Women’s Ministry Training in Sioux Falls. After the training, we continued up to the Black Hills where hubby had booked us into the Elk Ridge Bed and Breakfast in Keystone for a little site seeing on our way home.

Motorcycles Everywhere!

(Overhead Warning Road Signs in South Dakota and Wyoming)

 

To our surprise, we discovered after arriving in South Dakota that our visit to the Black Hills coincided with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally—as in Harleys everywhere! The population in the Black Hills triples during this rally with bikers coming in the week before and staying the week after. Dave and I in our Subaru Forester with a luggage compartment on top were sorely out of place as we toured Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the scenic drive through Custer Park with packs of motorcycles. The music in our ears was the roaring Harley engines and the food we learned to eat was Buffalo Burgers when buffalo was the only item on the menu!

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PhotoPhoto

Dave eating a buffalo burger next to some Harley bikers from Switzerland!

South Dakota, Where God is First, and Reminders of the Lakota Warriors are Everywhere.

(On The Elk Ridge Bed and Breakfast website)

 

It’s amazing that Dave was able to get a reservation at the Elk Ridge Bed and Breakfast because all the hotels and campgrounds sell out during this annual Motorcycle Rally event. Other guests at the B&B had traveled on their motorcycles from Pennsylvania and Ohio, and when we checked out, our room went to another biker couple.

But God opened the door for us to be at this B&B at this time. The night we arrived, as I visited with our hosts, Leslie and Ron, I sensed immediately that they were Christians. As I often do . . . I just asked them if they were Christians, and they said absolutely!

Their strong faith was evident again the next morning at breakfast as the guests all gathered around the table and started getting to know each other. Leslie stood at the head of the table and quietly interjected “Shall we bless the food…” Without hesitation, she clasped her hands, bowed her head, and prayed: “Good morning, Lord! Thank you for this beautiful day and this beautiful place…” She went on to pray a protection over all of us who would be on the roads and asked a blessing for the food.

This was natural for Dave and me—we pray before every meal, everywhere. I don’t know where the other guests were spiritually, and I didn’t open my eyes to see who bowed with us in prayer, but there was respectful silence as Leslie prayed. When she said “Amen,” we started passing food around the table and went back to conversing.

After breakfast, I thanked Leslie for praying and asked if she prayed a blessing over breakfast every morning. She said yes, unless she can’t get her guests’ attention. On those mornings, she says “Well, Lord I tried, but let me pray for them.”

Elk Ridge was not featured as a “Christian B&B”…it is a lovely B&B operated by Christians who aren’t afraid to display their faith and love of the Lord and welcome each day with “Good morning, Lord.”

Questions to Think About . . .

If you owned a Bed and Breakfast or similar establishment, would you boldly pray a blessing over the food as Leslie did . . . even when you didn’t know, or you did know, the spiritual persuasion of your guests?

Do you pray over meals at your home when you know all your guests aren’t Christian? Why or why not?

Titus 1:16 says that some “people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. Leslie and Ron know God and acclaim Him by the way they live. Ah, if that could be said for everyone professing to be Christians, our world would be a different place today. Do you agree?

To find out more about Elk Ridge Bed and Breakfast.

More Pictures from Our Trip

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Only room to park motorcycles in Keystone and every city nearby.

Photo: Now that's impressive!!!

Even Pastor Greg Laurie joined the Motorcycle Rally. Here he is at Mt. Rushmore!

Photo: At Mt Rushmore.

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Celebrate National Grandparent’s Day with Prayer

 

Grandparents day

Grandparents laughing with grandchildren 

Did you know there is actually a National Grandparents Day? This year it is on September 13. Have you been planning a celebration?  It certainly isn’t recognized like Mother’s Day for Father’s Day, but those of us who are grandparents know what a blessing it is to have grandchildren…and that’s celebration enough for me!

I LOVE being a grandparent. I like to say that God saved the last for best. My husband, Dave, and I have eleven grandchildren and we plan our schedule around spending time with each of them.

My friend Lillian Penner is the National Prayer Coordinator for the Christian Grandparenting Network and I invited Lillian to be a guest blogger today to talk to grandparents about how to celebrate National Grandparents Day by praying for our grandchildren. I pray for each of my eleven in my morning quiet time, and I can visibly see God at work in each of their lives. Enjoy Lillian’s post today–

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Christian Grandparenting Network is asking grandparents all over the world to unite in prayer for their grandchildren on Sunday, September 13, 2013. This date is the official United States National Grandparents Day designated by a Senate proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

            Our grandchildren are living in a desperate moral and spiritual climate navigating in a world hostile to truth. Satan has launched an aggressive attack on our families, schools and our nation to desensitize our children to truth and righteousness. Perhaps at no other time in our history is a call to prayer more urgently required than it is today for our grandchildren.

            The mission of Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN) is to promote effective grandparenting, which is intentional about assisting our children and grandchildren to know and follow Christ wholeheartedly. CGN is issuing a call to all grandparents to join with other grandparents in their churches, community and around the world to “Stand in the Gap” for an intentional day of prayer for the next generation.

Will you stand in the GAP to join grandparents worldwide on Sunday September 13 to pray for the next generation that they may walk in the truth? Will you volunteer to plan an event with your friends or in your church?

To join the movement  go to our Facebook page, “Like” our fan page and under the “more” tab, you’ll find a link to my free e-book Reflecting on My Grandparenting Journey.

For additional information and resources go to www.gocgn.com or contact Lillian Penner lpenner@christiangrandparenting.net.

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