Singing Together in the Home - A FREE RESOURCE

It is a thought that can bring fear and trembling into some homes.  In others, it is a joy to think about.  What am I talking about?  Singing in the home.  Specifically singing hymns and spiritual songs together in the home.  There are some homes that have musical talent galore.  One person can play the piano, another can sing melody, and yet another loves to harmonize.  Then there are other homes where it might feel like even coming close to singing the melody of a familiar hymn properly would be a great accomplishment.

Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." 

Notice that verse does not mention any level of skill required.  We as God's people are to sing together as a sign of our thankfulness to God for His goodness and salvation.  We make joyful noise to Him, on or off key.  It is part of how God gets His Word to dwell richly in us.

Music has special way of connecting a message to our minds and hearts unlike almost anything else.  Even in a world that increasingly hates the thought of memorizing anything, people can still rattle of the lyrics of a hymn or popular song with ease.  That is the power of music.  It binds the heart and mind together seamlessly.

As long as music has existed, it has always been part of the worship of God’s people.  In fact, music’s highest work is done when it connects the words and promises of God to our minds and hearts. For music filled with the promises of God can bring mourning people comfort and hopeful people joy.   It can teach the simple and make the wise even wiser.

Living Planted has created our core resource with this in mind. A Simple Approach To Daily Devotions is an easy way for those gathered together in one home to sing together. Each week there is a hymn for the family to sing that echoes the themes of the Scripture and memory work suggested for that week.  Download our core resource today on our resources page under the heading Core Resources.  Then get started using it.  If you have questions, comment below or email us.  And don't forget to like our Facebook page in order to not miss future posts and resources.

If you need accompaniment for the hymns, you might look on this website for free resources.  You will find music (.mp3) files for most of the hymns suggested there. (We are not affiliated in any way with this website.)

Resolutions: For Christians?

Resolutions are something most people think about at this time of year.  Some end up making them while others decide their lack of success in keeping resolutions made in former years make the practice of creating new ones not worth the effort.  Those who do make them end up with varying levels of success in keeping them.  No one keeps them perfectly.

Should Christians make resolutions even though we understand the weakness of the flesh? Since we know that we will not keep them perfectly, should we bother at all?

Romans six says of believers, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life."

Martin Luther said that such dying and rising occurs day by day as the Christian confesses sin and is forgiven by God.   The book of Hebrews tells us that we are to "consider how to stir up one another to love and good works."  So, as God gives us new life each day and yes each year, it is good that we would embrace practices that lead us back to His Word and His Son Jesus.

We might say that all other resolutions we make this year are of some value, but resolutions that seek godliness "have value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:8)

Here at Living Planted, we believe strongly that daily devotions in the home truly hold value for all things.  We invite you to start this New Year in daily prayer and time in God's life-giving Word as a family or individual by using our core resource, A Simple Guide to Daily Devotions which contains a format for daily devotions and a chart that gives you specific Scriptures, hymns, and memory work to use each week.  You can start anytime with our chart, but why not start with week one of the New Year?  This resource is completely free.  Just download it and print it out on legal paper.  Or use it directly from your computer or other device.  If you start using it, we would love to hear what you think.  May God bless your New Year through His Word.

Memorizing - Thing of the past? Or something that should be happening in your home?

Memorizing is often seen in our day as something that used to be done when less sophisticated teaching techniques were not available.  Many claim that they simply cannot memorize anything anymore.  Others claim memory work is just too rote for something as dynamic as the Christian life.

The Scriptures repeatedly call (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 63:6, Psalm 143:5) for God's people to meditate upon  His Word.  And there is perhaps no better way to meditate upon a word than to have it stored in your head and heart. That way meditation can occur at any time or in any place, even when a Bible is not close. The process of committing something to memory is meditation in itself since memorization requires repetition.   Each word memorized is heard time and time again.

There are other benefits as well.  No on can take away what is in your head and heart.  Regardless of where you are or what you are doing, the promises of God will still be with you.  Also ,things memorized tend to be stored in long term memory and are not easily forgotten especially if they are memorized over an extended period of time.  Pastors often marvel at how dementia patients who have forgotten so much still have memorized Scriptures, hymns, and pieces of the liturgy at their beckon call.  Finally, as the Word of Christ dwells in us richly, it influences our thoughts, words, and deeds.  That Word is living and active inside of us.

Living Planted has created our core resource, A Simple Approach To Daily Devotions, as an easy way for those gathered together in one home to memorize the Scriptures together. We also encourage memorizing the key teachings of the Scriptures as they are summarized in Martin Luther's Small Catechism.  Download our core resource today on our resources page under the heading Core Resources.  Then get started using it.  If you have questions, comment below or email us.  And don't forget to like our Facebook page in order to not miss future posts and resources.

Loner Kills at Planned Parenthood Clinic. Talk about it at home.

You have probably heard about it.  Maybe your kids did also.  Just last week another mass shooting.  There are many things that could be talked about in regards to this killing.  But one thing that seems to come up time and time again in these tragedies is that the killers are loners.   The New York Times reports this about the latest loner acting out in violence.

Van Wands, 58, whose wife owns a local saloon, said there were two types of people in the area: the old-timers who put effort into getting to know their neighbors, and the newcomers who wished for solitude. Mr. Dear, he said, fell solidly into the second category.
“That’d be one that preferred to be left alone,” he said.

Living Planted has a resource to help you discuss from a biblical standpoint the dangers of living isolated from other people . Download it now and use it in you home.   Get all of our resources at this link.

A Thanksgiving Day Resource For Your Home is always happy when good resources are produced for use in the home. Thanksgiving is a time when all Christians know that prayer and thanksgiving to God should be at the center of our celebrations.  How to do this while managing all of the other details of providing hospitality on this day is sometimes the hard part to figure out.  LC-MS (the church body to which both founders of Living Planted belong) Worship has produce a resource that looks very easy to use.  Print it out for each guest now before all the other demands of the day come crashing down.  We heartily recommend it.

How to talk in your home about the Wisdom Revealed in the Scriptures

Daily prayer and teaching in the home must be both regular and constant.  It must be regular in the sense that it is done at regular times each day.  Our core resource at Living Planted is aimed at that time.  But it also must happen in spontaneous, less planned, situations.  Most parents are better at one of these approaches that the other.  For some regular scheduled time of prayer and teaching is as easy as putting it in their planner and doing it.  For others, such regularity is a struggle each day to accomplish.  However, often those who are good at such regularity struggle to converse with their family in a more informal way about the faith.   Those who struggle to make regular time often find informal talk about God quite easy.  Today we would like to call attention to one of our resources aimed at helping encourage Christ-centered prayer and teaching to occur at random times in the home.  

Wisdom Revealed (Volume 1, Volume 2) is our resource that seeks to bring the wisdom contained in the book of Proverbs into open discussion in the home.  All wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, faith in His saving work through Christ.  But the wisdom God offers to His people does not end there.  It always returns there, but never ends there.  Each volume of Wisdom Revealed contains three proverbs, each followed by a brief discussion of the wisdom contained in it.  After reading one or all three of these proverbs and their explanations, simply engage in discussion about how this wisdom is seen in life and can be further lived out in life.  Confess to one another how each member of the family has failed often to live according to the wisdom given.  Return to Christ for forgiveness.

This is just one way to get your family discussing the Wisdom of God in your home.  

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Student Resource Officer Vs. South Carolina Student - Talk about it at home

When we see something as unbelievable as the video going around the internet today, we are tempted to simply take sides and pass judgement.  That rude girl had it coming.  The officer is a ruthless beast who needs to be taken down himself.  We stop thinking and just react.  Far better that we might stop and let this incident send us back to the Scriptures to remember what God has said about how those given authority and those under authority should act in regards to each other.  If you want to do just that, please use our one page resource to talk through what the Scriptures can teach us.  View other resources we offer on our webpage.

Back to the Future - Set Date to 1937

Many of you know that today is the date that Doc and Marty came back to the future  in the movie of the same title.  After visiting the past, all things were well in the future. Perhaps the same can happen in regard to daily devotions in the Home.  Read these excerpts of a sermon preached  in 1937.

"If the question were to be asked: which exercises the greater influence upon the other, the church upon the home or the home upon the church there would no doubt be many different thoughts given, some in favor of the greater influence of the church, others in favor of the greater influence of the home. And most likely, it would still remain a question to be tabled for further discussion. That the church and the home influence each other is a fact that no thinking person will bear to gainsay. Every church will influence the members of that church, and the homes of that member. Or their home life will influence that particular church or congregation to which he or she belongs.   What kind of influence that will be whether wholesome or unwholesome depends much upon what kind of a home and church it is. The magnificence or beauty of a church building, in itself, but what the members of the church stand for, what is being taught and preached to them is of vital importance, for accordingly it will influence its members.  Only that church will have desired Christian influence on the home of its members that is guided solely by the word of the Head of the church, Jesus Christ and him crucified; that uses as its motto: "Speak O Lord for thy servant heareth.""

"Your new church, dear members of Immanuel congregation, should be a mighty and wholesome influence for your homes and family life if you will but permit it to be that and where is the Christian to be found who is not interested in the welfare of his home and family.  For the home and the family is of divine origin, a divine institution, and the Christian home is one of the most important institutions on earth. It's existence, it's welfare, it's problems are matters of vital concern to the church, to human society, to us as individuals, to our country and to the world at large. Just imagine a world without homes."

"...friends just because we are members of the Christian congregation it is no absolute guarantee that our homes will, as a result, remain Christian as a natural consequence. Joshua, the writer of our text experience this in the fullest measure. The people to whom he was speaking were people of the true church visible.  They were God's chosen people; they had been taught more true religion and they had more spiritual knowledge than any other nation on earth at that time. Yet their lives did not prove it and the reason for this was that they disregarded the precepts and teachings of the Church. In spite of the teachings of the church, they had forsaken the true God and had turned to the service of idols. Their church life was a lie, where they lived not at home what they confessed to believe and to do as church members.  Joshua realized this and told them that they could no longer continue in that dual life. Choose this day whom you will serve. Either choose God whom you confess as church members or choose the devil whom you serve it home.  For we read in verse 14 and 15 etc and then he adds the memorable words: "But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord."  My friends, today choose this motto of Joshua for your very own. Serve the Lord, not only at the church, but also in your homes. Let your new church mean more to you than a mere place for you worship a short hour during divine service.  Permit its teachings to reflect in your homes and in your family life and you will never regret it for then you have the assurance of God's blessing resting upon your home."

May these words from the past make there way back to the future.  The entire sermon can be viewed here.  Visited our website for resources to help you live the Christian life at home.

Praying Together in the Home - FREE RESOURCE

I remember one Professor of mine telling us about a friend that he particularly cherished. He said that this particular friend was always pretty quick to get past chit-chat about nothing and get to talking about things that really mattered.  He told us that the way he did it was to ask this question, "What are you praying about these days?"

Our prayer life with God is an intimate part of our life with Him.  There are things we mention in our prayers that we would never dare utter aloud.  If a stranger asked us what we were praying about, we might well think the question quite intrusive.  We would tell them, "None of your business." But when someone asks who cares about us, we know that they want to know about the things in our life that are truly bringing us the most trouble or joy.

We often think of prayer as a exercise between each individual and God.  But it is truly never quite that private.  The Holy Spirit gives us words.  The saints of God throughout the world and those with Jesus in heaven add their petitions.   All those petitions find their way together unto the throne of God.  And God's people have always gathered to pray together, whether in tabernacle, temple, or church building.  The life that we have with God we share together.  And so the conversation we have with God, we share with one another as well.

It should be the same in the homes of God's people.  We not only talk to God individually but also talk to Him together.  As we do this, not only do we get to share our thought, joys, and fears with God, but we share them with one another as well.  This enables us to bear one another's burdens and share in each other's joys.

As we pray in the context of hearing God's Word, God's peace is given to us in His Son and through His Spirit.  We share that peace together in the home as we live out life together.

 Living Planted has created our core resource, A Simple Approach To Daily Devotions, as an easy way for those gathered together in one home to pray together.  Download it today on our resources page under the heading Core Resources.  Then get started using it.  If you have questions, comment below or email us.  And don't forget to like our Facebook page in order to not miss future posts and resources.

Reading Scripture Together: The Christian Life at Home - FREE RESOURCE for in home devotions!

Each individual in the home is different.  God shows forth His endless creativity by making not only each fingerprint unique, but each personality unique as well.   This diversity can be a wonderful source of strength in the home. One person's strengths can cover up the weaknesses of another.  But no doubt, it can also be a source of frustration and tension. Diversity in the home not only exists in ways that foster harmony, but in sinful ways that cause division.  

In the Christian home, there should be an underlying unity that persists regardless of all of the other differences we see. Besides sharing a common living space, we also share a common spiritual bond given to us in the waters of Baptism.  What we share in common does in reality transcend our differences. Through God's grace, we learn that each person in the home is an awful sinner with an awesome Savior.  

While this is true, it is not something that we truly take to heart each day unless we are in the Scriptures.  This is why it is important that everyone in a home, whether it is just one person or a whole crew, gathers together to God to hear His truth.  As we read the Scriptures together, we are reminded of that which is common among all of us, regardless of age or personality.  The Scriptures bear witness to our need of a Savior and to that Savior we have been given.  They also teach us the whole counsel of God, call us to repent, and train us for righteousness.

Those in the home read the Scripture together because there we find God's words which reveal to us the One who has brought us together in His Son.  Living Planted has created our core resource, A Simple Approach To Daily Devotions, as an easy way for those gathered together in one home to read the Scriptures together.  Download it today on our resources page under the heading Core Resources.  Then get started using it.  If you have questions, comment below or email us.  And don't forget to like our Facebook page in order to not miss future posts and resources.