A Hearty Recommendation

Well, a month or so ago I had high hopes of writing lots of posts on things that have been swirling around in my mind, but for now the time it would take is better spent elsewhere. For now. But I did want to pop in and give a big, hearty recommendation for the Faith Comes By Hearing recorded New Testament. Wow. I became familiar with it through Ann Voskamp’s blog, and we bought a set for the kids for Christmas. I can’t give a big enough recommendation for this dramatized audio Bible. You can get it as a “Bible stick”, MP3s, CDs, or a few other options. It’s available in several different translations. We bought the ESV in CDs. For us, CDs work well because we can put one in each of the vehicles, one in the downstairs stereo, and one in each of the kids’ rooms, if we want. We’ve been listening to them nonstop in the car and throughout the house. The kids are listening and asking questions. Just today in the car we were listening to the crucifixion story and I got these questions: “What does “strike” mean? What does “flog” mean? What does “crucify” mean?” When I play a CD, the kids stop what they’re doing, and they listen! And Dan and I keep hearing and thinking about things that we hadn’t thought about before. They’re very well-done, with sound effects and different voices. (Just listen to the excerpt on the site. Who wouldn’t want to listen to that?) My brother-in-law and sister-in-law ordered these, and they’re just as delighted with them as we are. If you’re wondering whether there’s anything negative about it, here are my thoughts: There are a few times we’ve asked ourselves, “Would Jesus have really said it that way?” and a few of my family members are bothered by the evil voice of Satan (since his voice would not necessarily sound evil.) Because it is dramatized, the readers have had to make some decisions about the tone of voice a character would have used. You may disagree with the tone of voice used at times, but I think they do a superb job.

Five out of five stars. I should be on their marketing team, because I am totally excited about this audio New Testament.

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Our Advent Calendar “Snowballs”

Because it’s the first day of December, it’s also the first day of a special tradition in our house. When my husband was a little boy, his mom made “snowballs” out of white construction paper, numbered them 1-25, and wrote a Bible verse per day on the backs.  She used Luke 2 (the Christmas story) for numbers 1-20 and then used other gospel verses for days 21-25. (I have Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8, John 3:16, Isaiah 9:6, and II Cor. 9:15 on mine.) Dan’s mom taped the snowballs on the cabinet doors in the kitchen. Every day the family would recite the verses, adding a verse each day, and by Christmas day, my husband and his brother had the Christmas story memorized. Each year his mom pulled out the snowballs, taped them again on the cabinet doors, and the family looked forward to reciting the Christmas story together.

We brought this tradition into our family too. This is the third year of using our “snowballs.” (We still call them snowballs, even though mine are shaped like ornaments. Also, rather than writing the verses on the backs, I made mine so they open. I put magnets on the backs of mine and stick them on the metal door that leads from the kitchen to the garage.) The first year we used our snowballs, my 4-year-old daughter delighted her grandparents by reciting Luke 2:1-20 to them over the phone. Their little tradition of getting God’s Word into their kids’ hearts had trickled down to the next generation.

Deuteronomy 6:6-10 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. ”

Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 10:32 am  Comments (2)  

*Cough! Cough! Cough!*

I’m blowing the dust off my blog today. I’ve got lots of ideas swirling around in my head that I’d like to share. So…..if anyone is still out there, stay tuned for some posts from me coming soon!

Published in: on November 28, 2009 at 9:26 am  Comments (1)  

The Jesus Storybook Bible-A Giveaway

My most popular blog post ever is one I wrote about my favorite Bible story books for young children. I get hits weekly, if not daily, from people who are looking for good resources for teaching the Bible to their young children. One book I mentioned was The Jesus Storybook Bible. This storybook is unique in that every story mentions Jesus. I’ve not seen another Bible story book that helps us to see Christ in the Old Testament like this one does. This book is truly gospel-centered and gospel-focused. I highly recommend it to you.

Zondervan is releasing a deluxe edition in October. You can go here to learn more about The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Published in: on September 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm  Comments (1)  

How We Should Be Talking to Our Kids

Ephesians 4:29-30 “Let no (not a single one!) corrupt (rotten; worthless) communication (more than your words–your tone of voice, your expression, etc.) proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying (building up spiritually; encouraging), that it may minister grace (help; kindness; good will; favor ) unto the hearers.”

I’d like to address a topic that has consumed me lately: the way parents ought to talk to their children. I think this Ephesians passage is a good place to start: as parents, we ought not let a single word come out of our mouths that will tear down our children. Instead, every word should be spiritually encouraging, edifying, and helpful to them.

One way I believe parents “corrupt” their children is in the way they handle discipline situations. Most of us would probably agree that it is important to teach our children to obey and to correct them when they do not. But some parents seem to believe that obedience can be taught at any cost: through yelling, screaming, belittling, manipulating, etc. Oftentimes, we employ these “corrupting” methods because we are viewing their disobedience as more of a personal offense against us (“Why do you put me through this?” “Why do I have to tell you this over and over again?”, “Can’t I just have some peace and quiet for awhile?”) rather than an opportunity to teach and guide our children.

From John Younts’s book, Everyday Talk:

“Parents, when you give in to anger, resentment or self-pity at your children’s bad behavior, you make yourself the center of the problem. You are loving yourself first and most. You must love your kids enough to show them the danger of their behavior. They need to see that their first problem is with God, and only secondarily with you. … You must be more concerned for them than for yourself, and you must be concerned most of all for God. By modeling patience, love, self-control–and all the fruit of the Spirit–you teach your children how extraordinary God is.”

From Tim Kimmel’s Grace-Based Parenting:

We need to “realize that (our) children will struggle with sin. …Consider it an honor to be used by God to show (your) children how to find true forgiveness in Christ. (Don’t be) intimidated by the dialogue that brings the discussion of sin into the light. In fact, (be) grateful to be able to come alongside (your) children with an unconditional love during some of their toughest hours. ”

I believe there’s a better way to correct our children when they’re disobedient, rather than anger, manipulation, exasperation, or belittling. And I believe it’s the biblical way:

Proverbs 16:20-24 “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. 21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning (persuasiveness). 22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. 23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Proverbs 15 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly… 4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. 18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.… 28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”

If you are a parent, grandparent, youth worker, or anyone who leads children or teenagers, I urge you to shed the tough-guy, heavy-handed approach and adopt the gentler, more pleasant, biblical approach which, perhaps, has not ever occurred to you before. The “corruption” that comes from yelling, belittling, or manipulation may not be evident  until your children are older and no longer hiding their true problems behind a facade of outward obedience.

*I’ve struggled over how to construct this post for days, and I’m still not satisfied with it. I think this is a HUGE issue, and I keep seeing and hearing antecdotes that make me want to share God’s Word far and wide on this topic. Maybe at some point I’ll be articulate enough to do it justice, but for now here is my feeble attempt to share the treasures of what God has been teaching me lately. May it spur you on to further thought and study.

On Priorities

I read a few good posts this week about priorities that I’d like to recommend to you:

Wendy Alsup blogs about “Accomplishment vs. Relationship

And Carolyn Mahaney has two thought-provoking posts about a mother’s priorities here and here.

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

When I’ve Been Falsely Accused- Part 3

While I’m discussing false accusations, I can’t help but think of the One who never, ever sinned against anyone, yet took the punishment for the sins of the world. His was the ultimate false accusation, and He responded with the perfect example of humility.

Isaiah 53: 7-10 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”

I Peter 2:21-24 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

My false accusation pales in comparison to Christ’s. And He endured the agony from that false accusation for my benefit! May I respond more like Him as I express the gratitude I owe Him!

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 2:41 am  Comments (1)