Creative Ideas for Kids at home
My wife and I send our kids to a preschool where one daughter attends the class the meets in the morning and our other daughter attends the class that meets in the afternoon. This means prepping the kids for a trip, loading them in the car, driving to school, unloading all of them, walking in, dropping off, loading back up, traveling back home and unloading them, FOUR TIMES A DAY! That may not seem like much, but it is a hassle.
When the government came out with their response plan to COVID-19, our preschool shut down for two weeks, and rightly so. When we heard, my wife said, "I don't know which will be tougher, driving them back and forth to school or having them all at home all day for 14 days?" While it may be easy to look at what's going on with social distancing as a benefit for staying at home and getting rest, it can easily lead to restlessness. For families with young children, staying stuck at home can lead to hysteria, insomnia, and is a surefire way to see John the Baptist's words, "[Jesus] must increase, I must decrease" become the reality in your spiritual life (side affects are not clinically proven or researched, so don't quote me). Therefore, I wanted to help get some activity ideas for parents whose kids can't leave the nest, and I found a great resource compiled by Dan Nichols from Princess Awesome and Boy Wonder. Here's the list:
CREATIVE IDEAS FOR KIDS AT HOME
(Princess Awesome & Boy Wonder)
By: Pastor Scott Brodd
I came across another gem in my devotionals this morning from Charles Spurgeon I felt compelled to share here.
“It is only through a mediator that we poor defiled ones can ever become priests unto God. I present what I have before the messenger, the angel of the covenant, the Lord Jesus; and through him my prayers find acceptance wrapped up in his prayers; my praises become sweet as they are bound up with bundles of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia from Christ’s own garden. If I can bring him nothing but my tears, he will put them with his own tears in his own bottle for he once wept; if I can bring him nothing but my groans and sighs, he will accept these as an acceptable sacrifice, for he once was broken in heart, and sighed heavily in spirit. I myself, standing in him, am accepted in the Beloved; and all my polluted works, though in themselves only objects of divine abhorrence, are so received, that God smelleth a sweet savour. He is content and I am blessed. See, then, the position of the Christian—“a priest—standing—before the angel of the Lord.”
Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning November 27, AM reading.
Though in the valley, on The Heights
By: Pastor Scott Brodd
One thing I greatly cherish from other believers and some of the dearest moments in my own life are when we (I) catch a solid glimpse of the reality of our (my) sinfulness in light of God’s holiness and goodness. Those precious sightings of God’s glory that lead to the bold and humble confession, “Woe is me,” are what I believe ought to be a daily occurrence in every believer’s life.
Yet, there have been seasons in my own life where I stay stuck in the “Woe is me,” and fail to push my mind and heart into the gospel joys purchased for the Church by Christ on the cross, joys like I am forgiven, I am clean, I am loved, I am adopted, and I am still sent for God’s purposes regardless of my brokenness. I’ve found such a “stuckness” is like quicksand: once you initially fall into it, unless you have a friend to help pull you out, soon enough you will be drowning in depression, distraction, and a kind of false-humility that looks godly to others, but fails the test in the courtroom of heaven. True humility always moves itself into the good news of Jesus and stands in victory.
I’ll be honest, I have been in a season similar to this for some time now, in the ebb and flow of seeing my sin, experiencing conviction, and yet not seeing freedom from the pull of those worthless things for failure to seek God’s power through the gospel. In fact, this morning’s devotional began with me begging God for grace, discipline, change, and growth because I’ve seen more areas in my life that qualify me as a broken man. Usually, after my initial conversation with God in my devotional, I crack open a devotional for men called Stand Firm published by LifeWay. This morning, however, I felt the pull to randomly open Charles Spurgeon’s devotional Morning and Evening, and I read this morning’s devotional. I believe such a pull was of God, for it connected with me in many ways, and I wanted to share it with you all as well.
“Babes in Christ.”
—1 Corinthians 3:1
Are you mourning, believer, because you are so weak in the divine life: because your faith is so little, your love so feeble? Cheer up, for you have cause for gratitude. Remember that in some things you are equal to the greatest and most full-grown Christian. You are as much bought with blood as he is. You are as much an adopted child of God as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child of its parents as is the full-grown man. You are as completely justified, for your justification is not a thing of degrees: your little faith has made you clean every whit. You have as much right to the precious things of the covenant as the most advanced believers, for your right to covenant mercies lies not in your growth, but in the covenant itself; and your faith in Jesus is not the measure, but the token of your inheritance in him. You are as rich as the richest, if not in enjoyment, yet in real possession. The smallest star that gleams is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light has affinity with the great orb of day. In the family register of glory the small and the great are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your Father’s heart as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender over you. You are like the smoking flax; a rougher spirit would say, “put out that smoking flax, it fills the room with an offensive odour!” but the smoking flax he will not quench. You are like a bruised reed; and any less tender hand than that of the Chief Musician would tread upon you or throw you away, but he will never break the bruised reed. Instead of being downcast by reason of what you are, you should triumph in Christ. Am I but little in Israel? Yet in Christ I am made to sit in heavenly places. Am I poor in faith? Still in Jesus I am heir of all things. Though “less than nothing I can boast, and vanity confess.” yet, if the root of the matter be in me I will rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the God of my salvation. 
Even though we are in the valley of vision where we see our weak spiritual life, our feeble love and little faith, we are at the same time on the heights of God’s gospel promises. God doesn’t quench the smoking flax, nor does he break the bruised reed, meaning he won’t cast me aside and abandon his work in me. These truths pushed my mind and heart into the gospel’s joys today, and I pray this is a permanent work of God in me.
Can you see how helpful this is for me? Does this help you who are in the valley? Look to the heights, my friends, and see the light.
 Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (Passmore & Alabaster, Logos Bible Software), October 19 morning reading.
Lent: Don't dismiss it
By: Pastor Scott Brodd
For years, as a Protestant Evangelical follower of Jesus, I've dismissed Lent as a "high-church-attempt-to-earn-God's-favor" tradition and refused any and every chance to look into the value of such a ritual. I was wrong. Despite the ways I've seen Lent abused and misused, the merit of the gift of Lent still holds true, especially when understood rightly as a personal fast to prepare our hearts to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. While observing Lent is not explicitly commanded in Scripture, fasting is often encouraged and commanded as a means to communicate your hunger for God to work on your heart and in your life for spiritual growth into maturity. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (March 1st) and ends Easter Sunday, lasting approximately 40 days. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting in preparation to launch His ministry, Lent encourages us to spend 40 days fasting in order to prepare our hearts and minds for the greatest celebration of all time, Resurrection Sunday. "It is a time for fasting and self-denial, though not for denial itself. It is a period to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the Gospel. Whereas Advent is a season of ever-increasing light awaiting the incarnation of Christ, Lent is a season of ever-decreasing light approaching the cross."
One of the ministries I look to most to shepherd my heart is The Village Church located in Texas. This year, to encourage their church family to observe Lent, they have published various resources individuals and families can use to help them press deeper into the "common grace" of Lent.
One of those resources is the following video of their teaching pastor, Matt Chandler, explaining why Lent, (when rightly understood) can have a profound impact on your relationship with Jesus. I encourage you to watch it.
In addition, The Village Church has also published a Lent Guide, a free, printable ebook anyone can access. "This guide walks you through the seven weeks of Lent. Each week includes a reading from the life of Christ in the Gospel of Luke, as well as four supplemental passages to consider throughout the week. Additionally, there is a suggested fast to coincide with each week."
My wife and I have committed to observing Lent this year using this resource. It is free to download, simply click the button below. Will you join me in preparing our hearts to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus?
Beach Lake FM Church does not claim any rights to this resource; all rights reserved by The Village Church.
Armed For War
By: Pastor Scott Brodd
Just imagine this for a minute: you're behind enemy lines, in territory held captive to a ruthless, malicious adversary bent on your destruction. His ways are cunning, his tactics are plentiful, and he will not relent until you lay in ruins. He sets before you lethal traps and pits and lures you into them with those things that entice your heart. He seeks not just to capture you, but to control you and enslave you to his merciless rule. He is seeking to end you.
Who is this enemy? You might be thinking of Satan, but I'm not (though the same could be said of him too). No, this enemy is Sin, who disguises himself as your friend seeking your good but is truly your enemy seeking your demise. Just as God warns and exhorts Cain in Genesis 4:7, "sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it" (ESV), He also warns us that "when [we] want to do right, evil lies close at hand" (Rom. 7:21 ESV) and exhorts us to, "by the Spirit... put to death the deeds of the body (sin)" (Rom. 8:13 ESV).
Unfortunately, when it comes to this front of the war we won't ever step out of this enemy's territory; on this side of eternity, we will never meander into a safe zone where we can lower our defenses and enjoy our surroundings rather than examine them for enemy advances. Why won't we ever find rest from war in this life? Because...
This enemy dwells within us!
Paul candidly confessed in Romans 7:23, "I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members" (ESV). Our greatest enemy, the enemy that condemns us to judgment, still lives within us. Though we've been set free from the tyranny of sin (Rom. 6:6-7), sin hasn't been fully removed and will not be until Christ resurrects our bodies to new life. Therefore, we're in a constant war, from sun up till sun down. The moment our feet touch the bedroom floor we're in enemy territory. So how do we make war with this enemy within? How do we kill this savage tyrant?
Look to Jesus as our example. Yes, you know the story well. In Matthew 4:1-11 we read Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted into sin by Satan, the greatest tempter of all. In Satan's three hostile advances, Jesus countered the attack with the only defense we have against sin: The Word of God. I guarantee you know fully well the fact that Jesus used passages of scripture like a sword to parry the enemy's advances. My point is not to show you something new, but rather something lacking. What I mean is, do you give weight to His example? Do you give this fact enough credibility to the point where you regularly equip yourself by memorizing strategic passages of scripture (War Verses) to help you make war against the enemy's advances? This is a discipline I've stepped in and out of throughout my life, but in the times when I am regularly memorizing war verses, I find I do not sin as much and I walk in greater joy.
To help me in this war against sin, I've gathered and memorized various passages of scripture I've chosen to help me put to death the various ways sin raises its ugly head. To help you in your war against sin, below is a chart of the transgressions listed in Colossians chapter three along with corresponding War Verses, each of which I encourage you to memorize and arm yourself for the day of war. Sin is looking to destroy you. Rule over it!