Good Monday Morning: February 27, 2023

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Monday morning greeting.

I’d like to say it’s because I have been busy.

But in reality, I’ve been home nearly every day for three months.

I was sidelined in November with back pain. I went through tests and physical therapy and seemed to be doing well.

Then I tried to go back to work and couldn’t.

Pain continued and I saw a pain specialist. I got a nerve block injection and it seems to be holding up. If I don’t bend or twist or pick up anything heavy, I don’t have pain. If I overdo it with walking or sitting too long, I do start to get some achiness. I can’t pedal without pain so I haven’t been exercising. This week I’m going to start walking on the treadmill that my kids bought a few months ago. It sits in my living room so it’s really convenient.

I admit I am not that motivated, and that needs to change. I’ve also been eating more and snacking between meals since I’m home all day and I’ve put on weight. After working so hard to lose it and get in shape a couple of years ago, I got discouraged with myself and disappointed.

When I am discouraged or disappointed, then it is a vicious cycle. I feel too down to get up and do anything to change my circumstances. In turn, my situation gets worse because I’m not motivated to change.

That is where the power of the Holy Spirit can step in and remind me of who I am in Christ. God is never disappointed in me. His Word encourages me to grow in Christ and in knowledge. I’ve spent many hours in Bible study each week as I prepare lessons for children’s church.

Music has been my mainstay during this season of my life. Some great songs have been released by Christian artists:

A couple of my recent favorites:

Glorious Day:

and also:

God is on the Move

Those songs will get your blood pumping on a Monday morning!

Praise God for His plan of redemption.

God is on the Move Today

Anytime I fight against the darkness in my life, God moves in with the light.

It was no different this week.

On Thursday night I struggled with sliding towards the pit of depression.

By the Grace of God, He reminded me to Feed the Light that is in me through salvation.

Through praise and worship, that lightness overtook the darkness and I was again set free from falling into the pit.

God is good.
All the time.
Even when our circumstances are not.

Plans for future lessons for children’s church have been rattling around in my brain the past couple of days. More so since I woke up at 3:00 a.m. which is the time I usually like to get up. I go to bed early at night so I can rise early and start my day while the world is silent.

A couple of cups of coffee, some social media until I wake up enough to work on my writing or children’s curriculum.

The Passport to the Promised Land curriculum that I created and others assisted with turned out successfully. We’re learning to work with flannelgraphs. If you’re not familiar with them, they are felt pieces of characters and items in the Bible that are presented on a large board as a story is told

We’ve also used videos, games and crafts to present unique lessons. We’ve stamped our passports and traveled through the Old Testament with Abraham, Joseph and Moses. We’ll cross the Jordan River in another week and then celebrate along with the Israelites who returned to the land God promised Abraham. We’ll learn that God keeps His promises. He promised to never leave or forsake us. He always keeps His Word.

Now that the holidays are nearly upon us, the focus of our children’s church lessons will be on the events surrounding birth of Jesus and how He brought hope and joy and love into our hearts.

Since those lessons are outlined already, I’m looking ahead to what the Year 2023 will bring.

Our church has saved Vacation Bible School curriculum for many years. I’m coming up with the lesson plans and creating my own curriculum, well, me and the Lord that is. And I brought home the director’s manuals for most of the previous VBS programs.

Last night I started searching through them. Today I did some more indepth searching and also looking up the stories that correspond with the lessons from our Betty Lukens Bible story book that came with the awesome set of flannelgraphs our church ordered last spring. We’ve used the flannelgraphs, which are bright and colorful, along with the stories in several of our lessons, successfully.

Last winter and spring, I taught the Bible in chronological sequence beginning with Jesus growing up as a boy and getting lost at the temple. Well, He wasn’t lost. He knew exactly where He was, in His Father’s House. His parents lost track of Him.

After that story we followed Jesus’ teaching and miracles, his death and resurrection and ascension (Return to heaven). Then we continued with Pentecost and the Acts of the disciples in May.

For 2023, I intend to do something similar but with all new stories and lessons. We’ll have the opportunity to put the flannelgraphs to good use..

I spent time last night and this morning organizing most of the lessons into an outline with specific dates and stories we’ll be learning. I’ve marked pages of the VBS directors’ manuals to search more thoroughly and gather ideas from.

I see some exciting things in our future!

God is on the Move!

I’m excited about the possibilities for the future, both for my local church and one day when I publish these lesson plans and make them available to other churches.

Sometimes we have only one child. Usually three or four. A couple of times we’ve had 9 children, and that is exciting when that happens. But we still do the lesson and work the program as much as possible for one or two children as we do eight or nine. Or 12, or 20.

Each child deserves our best effort and the full impact of the lessons.

You see, I grew up in a little country church. We didn’t even have indoor plumbing. The congregation faded away, until it was just our family and a couple of other people before the church closed.

Yet we always had Sunday School. We sang choruses in the opening and had class time. Our teachers prepared the lessons for us even though we were the only ones in the class.

The foundation of my faith began in that little church with those dedicated teachers.

I hope that the lessons we teach will be the foundation on which our children in my local church will build their faith, also.

God is on the Move!

The link to a song by this title is below. The lyrics are very meaningful to me. As evidenced in my own life in the past two days, God moves when we surrender to Him and move from the darkness into the light.