Tag Archives: Faith

New Beginnings

I’m spending time reflecting on this past year, as 2016 winds down and 2017 begins.  It has been a busy year.   Many goals have been met, and some left unmet, as life events have come and gone.

Normally at this time of year, I spend time prioritizing and writing goals and setting new routines for the year ahead.   I still have much left over from last year that I want to achieve in this coming year.   It would be easy to feel disappointed.  But if I allowed myself to be disappointed in areas I see a lack of progress, it would be non-productive at this point.

I can’t be disappointed that I didn’t get it all done, because truly no one can do it all.  It is a lie to believe that you can do everything you want to do.  Unless you are financially wealthy, there is a reality for most people that puts some boundaries and financial limitations on goals.  No one knows what tomorrow may bring or what next week or next month will look like.  We can try to shape the future, setting goals and new routines, but the truth is that the future is not 100% within our control.

If you are discouraged about a lack of progress toward your goals, don’t let it get you down.  Your value is not in the goals you achieve or don’t achieve. Your value is not in the amount of money you earn.  Your value is not even in what other’s think of you.  Look for your answers in God’s word, the bible.

Your true value is what God says about you.   You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.  He was there when you were knitted together.  He knows every hair on your head.  He knows what you need before you do.  He is always there ready to assist you in the challenges you walk through in life.

TRUST

I  have come to learn that the true measure to look at your life with is what Jesus said. Everything about life and eternity is summed up in his words.  If you want to know the truth, FOCUS on the words of Jesus in the scriptures and I promise it will change your whole entire perspective!

Jesus taught us to pray this prayer with complete trust in Father God:

“Our Father, who are in heaven,

Hollowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done.

On earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation.

Deliver us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.

FOREVER!

Amen!”         (Matthew 6:9-13)

 

Don’t Worry Be Happy!

I am thankful my life is 100% in the hands of God the Father, and I don’t have to worry about the future.   I am thankful that HE knows the future and I can trust Him completely even though I do not know the day or hour of events in my own life until they happen.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek.

For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  (Matthew 6:24-34)

I am thankful for the new year ahead.  I am thankful for new beginnings, and I am thankful that I am totally secure in spending eternity with God through salvation in his son Jesus who gave his life for me and rescued me from sin and eternal damnation.  I have hope and I have a future in HIM!

I am ready for the new beginnings that Father God ordains for my life. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  I am not the author of my story.  I am not my own god.  He wrote the story and he knows it from start to finish, and I trust him with my life completely.

I encourage you today to pray to Father God, to lay down your worries, and trust him with your life, your goals, your desires, and trust him with all of your new beginnings too.

Be blessed!

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Be Encouraged

I want to encourage you today to keep going and not give up.  Whatever struggle you may be facing in your life, trust your life in God’s hands and believe in his son Jesus.  Believe God is in control, and he can reach you right where you are at,  believe that he wants a wonderful future for you and he will protect and guide you when you put your life and your hope in him.

Circumstances do not define who you are and are not an indicator of your value.  People’s opinions don’t define you either.  Instead of these thoughts, only allow what God your creator says about you to define you.  His written word, the bible, says you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  He says he has a hope and a future for you and he will direct your path when you seek his counsel. He will answer you when you call on him, and he will show you many things that you did not know.

We are stewards of what we have been given.   We need to be good stewards of these gifts no matter what the circumstance looks like.  Some people have been given more, and some less. But no matter how much we have been given, we can be the best stewards of it today.  Because when we care for what we have, even if it is very little, we multiply the blessings it produces.

Perhaps all we have in our ability today is to choose to have joy.  That is HUGE!   By choosing joy,  you will see it multiply for yourself and it will multiply in the lives of  those around you. This simple choice can bring huge blessings into your life and give you a lot of hope beyond measure even in the toughest situations.   Being joyful is contagious and it can change the way we feel and the way others feel who come in contact with us.

Even if the only thing we have control over is the body we live in, we can choose to be the best steward of that body as we can be, and we will reap a blessing.   We are given one body to live in. We each have different gifts and talents, but we are similar to each other in that we have a body, and it is fragile at the same time it is strong.   We can learn to be good stewards of this body and multiply the blessings in our health and our emotions.

How can you be a good steward of your physical body?  We can learn how to nourish it, rest it, challenge it, strengthen it, and care for it. We can be good stewards of our body, multiply the blessings, and overcome limitations, illness, neglect, and injuries, and be the best we can be.

Perhaps all that we have today is a loaf of bread, then we can share it and see the blessing multiply in another person’s life too.

Hope, Faith, and Blessings

There is a story in the bible about a widow who only had a little flour and oil left to make one meal of bread for herself and her sons.  There had been a long drought and everyone was out of grain and out of money and she knew that their life was over and there was no hope of any food even in the near future because there was no rain to plant and grow any future crops and no money to buy food even if anyone had some to share.

So in desperation she planned her last meal.  But in the midst of her despair, God heard her and sent a messenger, a prophet of God.  He told her to go ahead and “make the last meal”, but to give some of it to him.   Do what?  This was all she had, and her family was about to die, so how could she give this away?  But letting go, and placing her trust in God and his plan for a better future for her, she obeyed the instructions.

 

1 Kings 14 : 7-16

“Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.  Then the word of the Lord came to him:  “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”  So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?”  As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”   “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”  Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”  She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.  For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”

It is an incredible story of doing our best in the midst of terrible circumstances, sharing the best (even if all we have is very little) we have to bless another person and meet their need, and putting our trust and faith in God to work out the outcome, in return, we will reap a huge blessing!

Be encouraged today, that no matter what your situation may look like,  by acting on your faith in God as your provider, healer, deliverer, multiplier, protector, and the source of life within you, he will reach into your situation and deliver you.   He says his arm is not short!  His arm is long enough to reach you right where you are.  With the help of the Lord, you can and will overcome and reap a blessing that is more wonderful than you have imagined!

Be blessed!

 

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Through the Narrow Gate

The Lord God offers you eternal life.  The only door into his eternal kingdom is a narrow gate.

The path to the narrow gate is straight.  You can’t turn to the right or left as you walk along, because it will send you in a different direction.  To reach the gate, the doorway of the kingdom, you must stay on the straight path.  The path of the road is not fancy, and it has ups and downs, hills and valleys.   But if you keep walking straight ahead, and don’t look back, you will find the gate.

 

One sure way to miss the gate is to get off the straight path.  For example, the path of personal gain and worldly possessions will lead us a different way.

Mathew 19:16-22

“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”  “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”   “Which ones?” he inquired.  Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.”  “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (NIV)

To find the gate, you must seek Jesus, the only son of God, as your savior, believe in him and repent of your sins, and follow him.  He asks that you love God with all your heart, forgive others, and love others as you love yourself meeting their needs.  He is the light of the world and he lights the path God wants people to follow.

John 3:16-21

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (NIV)

Be blessed today and seek to enter the narrow gate and follow the one who saves and gives eternal life!  His name is Jesus. 

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Noah and the Lego Ark

Got building blocks, Legos, or craft supplies?

Then get your kids busy reading, building, and re-telling bible stories!  Check out The Beginner’s Bible, or another youth bible you have on hand, for an easy to use resource for kids.  This is a great way to build family time together and a great way to incorporate daily devotions into your kids learning.  Your kids will have so much fun interacting with the bible stories and building props and seeing the stories come to life!

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Noah’s Ark is a great story to retell with Lego’s because just like your child building with blocks of different sizes, Noah was also a builder and he built a big boat with different sizes of wooden boards.  In addition to building the largest boat ever created, called an Ark, Noah was also a husband, a father, and the “ultimate prepper” and “homesteader” and he had to store feed and safely house and care for a huge amount of animals as well as his whole family for an entire year on the floating zoo-boat /house-boat called the ark.  The story of Noah and the ark can be found in Genesis 6, 7, and 8.    As they read the bible, kids will learn about the man called Noah, his faith in God, and also about righteousness, judgement of sin, and God’s plan to save a pure remnant of the human race that were willing to put their faith in him.

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God told Noah it was going to rain, and it would become a flood that would wipe out every living thing on the earth.  Noah was instructed to build a big ark (boat) and he was given the blueprints with detailed instructions to create it.  He built different size pens inside the ark and he was given instructions to save two pairs of every wild animal, three pairs of every “clean” animal,  seven pairs of animals that were to be sacrificed, and to also save his family including his wife, three sons, and their wives, by loading them all onto the ark before the start of the worldwide flood.

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God told Noah that people had become evil and violent and he must cleanse the earth and wipe them out with the flood.  He could no longer stand to live with mankind and watch their evil deeds.   God caused the earth and sky to give forth water for 40 days and nights to flood the earth.  But God promised to protect Noah’s family and anyone righteous who had faith to believe in God.  God gave Noah the plan.  He gave him the specific dimensions, told him what wood to use, and how to build it and save his family and the animals.  His sons helped him build the ark, but the rest of the world mocked him as he worked and preached and did not help him.

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Noah preached and preached to the people about God and the coming flood, but no one believed him and they did not turn from their wickedness and did not worship God. They had never seen rain or a flood before.   They did not care about doing right.  They did not turn away and repent of their wicked sins.  They did not want to trust that Noah had heard the truth from God.  They thought Noah was out of his mind to believe a God they could not see, and believe in a flood and rain that had never happened before, and work so hard to obey God and build a big boat.

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If you don’t have Lego’s on hand, make your boat with paper, or other recycled materials you have on hand, or use other toys your kids might have in their collections.  Besides building a boat, they might have mini characters, and animals, trees, etc. they can also use.  Perhaps they can also create items to represent the weather changes, the flood, and make a rainbow too.   You can use as many props as you want to add to the effect of retelling the story.

Another wonderful way to use this learning opportunity is Language Arts (have the kids read, re-write the story), Science (weather, engineering, physics), Arts and Crafts (create Noah’s Ark themed art and craft projects), Math (how many legos?,  build to scale, use grid paper and draw their own blueprints to scale, etc), Geography (draw or color a map of where Noah was from and where the ark landed), Movie Making (use props and make stop motion animation), Unit Study and LapBook, and have the kids Share their project with Grandparents, Neighbors, and Sunday School class too.  There are lots of ways this method of learning can be used and incorporated into your curriculum.

Your kids will really enjoy this activity.  In addition to building up their faith as they read the bible, kids can relate in a hands on way as they put the story in action and retell the story with their own mini-size boat.

Here are a few Noah and the Ark themed videos we found:

Noah and the Ark Bible Story Animated by Beginner’s Bible

Noah’s Ark Lego Movie Trailer

Arts and Crafts

Noah Preschool Paper Plate Craft and Story

 

Online Bible

If you don’t have a printed copy of the bible, check out Bible Gateway for a digital online version.  You can read it from your computer and your phone and digital reading devices.

You can choose from several languages and several versions to use.   They also offer free bible studies and a free verse of the day they will email you if you desire.

Lapbook and Unit Study

will update more soon.

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Creation Museum, A Visit Back In Time

My family had a great time when we took a trip back in time and visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

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The Creation Museum experience is like walking through biblical history. It is a great experience for both kids and adults.  It covers the 6 days of creation, plus many more historical people’s lives from the bible like Noah, Paul, Jesus, etc. and the history comes to life in a hands on way at the museum.  There are life size exhibits and a planetarium too.  Visiting the museum was one of the best decisions we have made for teaching our family about who God is and his amazing creation called earth and the animals and people.  Seeing the bible come to life right before your eyes is an amazing experience and it strengthened our faith.

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To plan our trip, we watched for a discounted ticket opportunity and went when they ran a special for children ages 12 and under to get in free with the paid admission ticket of an adult.  It was a great savings.   So we loaded up the family and took a road trip to Kentucky.  The museum is about an hour and a half drive South from where we used to live in Richmond, IN (and only 7 hours north of where we used to live in NC).  The drive through Indiana’s mini-mountains in South-eastern Indiana is absolutely beautiful! It was even more beautiful as we sang praise songs and listened to Nest Family Audio Bible stories all the way there and was a great way to travel as it keeps the kids attention and they learn so much.

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Besides the beautiful scenery, there are some fun places to stop and visit along the way including two reservoir lakes and several historical towns.  There is the Whitewater Reservoir, and also a much larger reservoir called Brookville Lake. The towns of Brookville and Liberty Indiana remind me so much of the historical town of Hendersonville, NC and are set up beautifully for tourists.  There are lots of little shops to see and great history to explore in these small towns with beautiful historic courthouses too.  We also crossed the huge Ohio river, that borders three states and with breath taking views.  The river is huge and divides southern Indiana from southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.  You can clearly see God’s handiwork in creation when you look at the changing landscape and the river. It is all designed beautifully.

The kids were so excited to get there.  You know how it goes: “Are we there yet?  When will be there?  I got to go to the bathroom!  I wish we were there!  Do you know how to get there?  How much longer?  Are we there yet?”  Ha! Ha!  You just got to love traveling with kids!

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At the museum, there is a large 70,000 square foot building with a huge bronze dinosaur outside, surrounded by beautiful gardens and landscape, ponds, wooden bridges,  wrought iron and stone fences, and a tall fort with a zip line that crosses the entire museum grounds.  It is a very family friendly place.  The zip line costs extra and we did not buy a ticket for it on this day.  But someday we hope to be able to take the zip-line and explore the museum gardens from the tree tops as it looks like a lot of fun.

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The first thing we did was snap a picture with the dinosaur outside.  It had just rained and suddenly the sun was shinning really bright and we couldn’t hardly see at all.  It is funny how sometimes light can get so bright that your eyes cannot focus your eyes.  But once we got inside the museum, the lighting was perfect and there was so much to see.

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Archaeology is just one of their specialties at the museum, and they have lots of artifacts from biblical times. They have lots of fossils and a life size example of just about every kind of dinosaur.

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They have a replica of earth from the beginning, separating layers of the heavens, creating the stars, day and night, the Garden of Eden, the creation of Adam, and animals, and Eve.

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There is so much detail put into this museum that I bet you could go a hundred times and see something new each time that you didn’t notice before.  Actually they expect that you will need more time to see it all, and when you buy a ticket it is good for admission for two days in a row. Many visitors stay overnight nearby and come back the following day to explore some more.

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The museum is a combination of exhibits about science, history, astronomy, engineering, chemistry, Hebrew culture, our Christian roots, and so much more all rolled into one experience.

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Each room of exploration leads you into the next phase of creation and history designed by an amazing God who loves us and his handiwork is so obvious. Nothing is by chance! Everything was authored by our creator.

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This is such a fun way to walk through history!

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If you remember the story of creation, there is a tree that Adam was instructed to never eat from called the Tree Of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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There is a deceptive serpent hiding in the garden who convinces Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

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Eve tells Adam and he also believes the serpent’s lies and eats of the fruit, even though God had specifically told them not to eat of the fruit of this tree.

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Evil becomes the ruler of the earth through Adam and Eve’s sin against God.

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They disobeyed God, and once they realized what they had done, they tried to hide their sin from God.  But God called them out on what they had done, and he forced them to leave the Garden of Eden.  From that point forward mankind must make a blood sacrifice to ask God for forgiveness of sin in their life.

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From this point forward, life becomes a struggle to survive. Later in the museum we return to the issue of man’s separation from God, and that he sent his son Jesus to reconcile us back to God through his own sacrifice. From that point forward, man no longer needs to offer a blood sacrifice for his sin because God sent his son Jesus who paid the price for us all who will believe in him and ask for forgiveness.

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As the world becomes populated, people and fallen angels do evil and wicked things.  God tells one righteous man, a prophet named Noah, his plan to flood the earth and wipe out wickedness.  He instructs Noah to build a large boat called an ark and preach to the thousands of people who will listen to board this boat to survive.  But everyone mocks Noah and won’t listen to him.  God instructs Noah to bring his family (including his wife, three sons and their three wives) and also 2 of every unclean animal, and 7 of every clean animal,  plus supplies, and to board the boat.

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Noah obeyed God and does all that he was instructed to do.

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After the ark is completed, Noah and his family board the boat with the animals and God shuts the door.  It rains for 40 days and 40 nights and floods the whole earth.  It takes almost a year for the water to recede.  Eventually the boat comes to rest on Mount Ararat.   Later one of the birds Noah sends out brings back a branch with a leaf and Noah knows that is safe to release the animals and his family from the ark.

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The museum has a lifesize interactive display of Noah and the ark.  You can hear the men talking and see them working as they build the ark.   The museum also owns a bible based theme park about an hour down the road from the museum.  They are building several life size recreations from the bible for the theme park.  One of those is called The Ark Encounter and it includes a life size ark, another museum and restaurant inside the ark, and a zoo.  We went to see it while it was under construction, and we plan to make trip soon now that it is open to the public.

Check out this short video we made of the awesome dinosaurs we saw!  The kids really enjoyed this entire trip and the highlight for them was seeing the dinosaurs.

And if you get hungry during your visit, the museum offers a jungle cafe to eat in and there are many picnic spots outside around the gardens and ponds.

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I encourage every family I meet to put this wonderful adventure on their to do list.  It is definitely worth the trip!

Be blessed!

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Casting Stones

“Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Said by the wisest man who ever lived.

He is the living word of God, and his name is JESUS.

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(photo source: Morning Star Ministries)

Over the years, I have heard many Christians say mean things about other Christians.  It is sometimes heart breaking to hear their judgmental reasons for choosing leaders, churches, politicians, based on who they think is a better Christian.  But the Savior himself said we are not to judge others, instead we are to forgive them.

I read an article about a young Christian man who made a serious mistake when he was young. At the time he made the mistake, he came forward and repented of his mistake and sought forgiveness and help from his church and family.  However his life and the lives of those he hurt was deeply scared by his actions.  Though several years had passed, and because his family is famous, he experienced more than his share of haters from the Christian community who had no understanding of the situation when they found out about his past.  The pressure on his life is intense due to their fame.  Even though he is surrounded by his family and many loving people of the Christian faith, his life will never be the same, and the public is ruthless, mocking, and unforgiving.  The crazyist thing about the whole “scandal” is the ungodly response of the Christians is worse than how the un-churched public treat him.  They do not act like Jesus Christ.  He had a problem, he confessed and was forgiven, yet the Christians accuse him of his past sin and of practicing fake Christianity.

Was Peter a fake Christian because he denied Christ 3 times?

Peter fell down in his faith and committed a terrible sin.  He denied the one and only son of God who had shown himself to him, his closest disciple.  If Peter, who was with Christ 24 hours a day for three years and saw everything he did from the beginning to the end, could sin and deny him, isn’t anyone capable of doing the same?  Jesus said to his followers: “If you deny me to others, I will deny you before my Father”.  Was Peter denied entry into heaven?  No.  Because when he repented of his sin, he was forgiven.  Peter was a true Christian, even though he made the same mistake three times, and Jesus Christ chose to build his Church upon the work Peter would do in sharing the gospel,

Let me ask you Christian…are you without sin?  Are there sins you have committed over and over?   Are you a closet sinner and hide the truth?   What is going on in your home?  Is there divorce, stealing, fighting, adultery, lust, pornography, lies, drug abuse, gluttony, hatred, cursing?  If Christians are divorcing at the same rate as the rest of America, and only 1 out of 20 Christian kids remain in their Christian faith after they grow up, then I believe this indicates a basic fact that there is a whole lot of ungodly sin going on in the lives of Christians today.

How many Christian families in church don’t even establish any boundaries at all for their teens?  From the article: “By 17 years old, 48% of teenagers have had sex. One out of every three teenage girls gets pregnant before the age of 20.  And it doesn’t count as consent just because you’re both under 18.  Another 26.5% of 15-19 year old girls are giving birth to kids – and those are just the ones that aren’t having abortions.”   Many of these kids live in Christian homes. Don’t tell me you don’t know. There are kids in your church right now that are sexually active and some are getting pregnant.   Let us take it a step further. How many teachers, leaders, and even pastors were sexually active before marriage? How many are guilty of other sins we overlook because they are in a position of authority, yet we don’t give each other grace for a similar offense?

Are you without sin?  Jesus said “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”.  No one is without sin, and no one should cast a stone at others.

Let us be careful how we judge.  Christians need to be mindful, because the same measure of grace and forgiveness we extend others, will be extended to us. God is not mocked.  Christians need to be mindful and careful of judging (stoning) others.  Jesus told us to say “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” when we pray to Father God.  He also told us to forgive 70 x 7 even when a person does the same thing wrong over and over.  He said we are to turn the other cheek and forgive them.  He also told us to pull the log out of our own eye before we remove the speck from our brother’s eye.  He wanted us to practice forgiveness in our daily lives and not let the sun go down before we had forgiven and let go of resentment and anger.

It is interesting that several spiritual heroes who sinned are listed in Hebrews 11. These people certainly wouldn’t get to speak at Christian conferences today, and they probably wouldn’t fit in at any of the local churches.  They would be seen a backsliders.  In fact, most of them would probably be straight up kicked out of church.

Abraham lied and sold out his wife twice.  He also committed adultery with his employee and got her pregnant.

Sarah scoffed in unbelief when God said she would have a son.

Jacob was a schemer and deceiver who completely ripped off his brother of his inheritance.

Moses was a murderer and was easily frustrated.  His unbelief kept him out of the Promised Land, though he helped free the Hebrew people from Egypt and did many mighty miracles for the Lord.  He still got angry and doubted God at times.

Rahab was a prostitute who slept around.  Yet she became the grandmother of King David.

Gideon was power hungry, and he built many idols of worship and led the kingdom of Israel astray after God helped him succeed in battles and free the Hebrew people from the Philistines.

Samson was a sex-addict and couldn’t control his anger against the Philistines and caused innocent people to die as well as his own imprisonment.

David was an adulterer and a murderer,

Eli completely failed to parent his sons and they became evil in the sight of the Lord and abused people.

And yet the author of Hebrews tells us to consider all of these people and imitate their faith.  To follow after God just as they did. To walk the same path they did.  Why?

Not one person is any better than the other.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.   Not one person is any better than this young man or Eli, or Sarah, even Peter, Jesus favorite disciple. They were just people.  They sinned.  Yet they asked for forgiveness from God, and God in his grace and mercy, used their lives in a mighty way to be a blessing, to strengthen our faith, and further the message of God’s Kingdom.

Be blessed!

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Before Anything Else

We took a ride late one afternoon and treated our kids to some fun playtime at the park.

on the road

While driving home from the park, two of the kids had a squabble on the back seat.  As we were trying to talk them through it and get them to settle down, I noticed there was a man walking along the side of the highway.  As we approached him, I felt a nudge in my heart to pay attention to him.  But the squabble in the back continued and I felt distracted.

Mathew 6:23

“But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.”

I caught just a quick glimpse of him as we passed him. I wasn’t sure, but I thought his side profile looked elderly, and he was carrying two packs, maybe duffel bags or back packs, in his hands.  He looked tired and as if he could barely carry them, and as if his strength was giving out.  He was walking very slowly.  He was in the middle of a rural area of farms and at least 15 miles from town.   He was headed in the same direction as us, but it would take him a long time to get there and it was starting to get dark.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.”

I don’t know how far up ahead we had drove before we slowed down and turned around and headed back to pick him up. By the time we made it back to him, another vehicle was stopping to give him a ride.

My heart sank.

I felt that the squabbling in the van had been a distraction from what was really important.  I was distracted from hearing what the Lord wanted us to do.  We had missed God’s divine appointment to help this elderly man get to his destination.

I knew without a doubt that God had a timing for this man to be picked up. It was as if he had been issued a “bus or taxi pass” for such and such a time at such and such a location.  He had caused us to be at the exact time and location to pick him up.  But I wasn’t listening close enough to hear that God wanted me to stop and get him and fulfill the “get a free ride pass” the Lord had issued him.  I was the taxi the Lord had sent him, and I missed the call.

Even though I realized the message moments later, I missed the divine appointment.   However, this man did not miss the appointment. God sent another laborer in my place.

Hebrews 13:21

“I pray that God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen.”

May we always listen to the nudges God puts on our heart before we listen to anything else, and may we always be ready to do His good will.

May you be blessed!

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Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

We took a day trip last week and enjoyed listening to the newest audio drama release from  Brinkman Adventures.

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The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3

5 Hours of Adventures

Recorded on 4 CD’s.

12 Episodes

Each episode is approximately 25+ minutes long.

For ALL Ages

Retails for $27.99  (purchase by donation only, whatever amount you feel led to give)

MP3 download version also available.   See web site for more details.

What is included:

These are short stories told in audio drama style of mission trips taken by real missionaries. They are full of suspense, daring escapes, and total reliance on God for provision and safety and making a way where there is no way.   They are inspiring and faith building.   They challenge you to believe and share your faith in Jesus Christ, to believe in the God of the impossible, Jehovah, and his love for mankind.

These stories are full of the kind of exciting adventures my kids loved!

This set contains 4 Disks.  Stories on each disk include:

Disk 1

  • Ep. 01 – God’s Mule.
  • Ep. 02 – Mountain Mover.
  • Ep. 03 – Silent Ambassador

Disk 2

  • Ep. 04 – Translating Trouble
  • Ep. 05 – Man-Up
  • Ep. 06 – Acorns & Oaks

Disk 3

  • Ep. 07 – A Saint’s Story Pt 1
  • Ep. 08 – A Saint Story pt 2
  • Ep. 08 – A Saint Story pt 2 (2)
  • Ep. 09 – Untouched

Disk 4

  • Ep. 10 – Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
  • Ep. 11 – Missionary Tourist Pt 1
  • Ep. 12 – Missionary Tourist Pt 2

How We Used The Brinkman Adventures, Episode 3:

We enjoyed these CD’s so much!  We took it with us on a day trip to enjoy the beauty of the fall and listen to amazing stories (testimonies) of God working in peoples lives. The kids were on the edge of their seat the whole time we listened to these stories on our trip.  They wouldn’t let a moment go by when one disk ended, they immediately wanted me to put the next disk into the player.

Fall Afternoon

I know we will listen to these audio drama’s again and again.   We have been audio drama fans for many many years.   When our children were very little we first began listening to christian missionary CDs and audio bible dramas for kids.  It is such a fun way to learn to listen and go on an adventure by listening and imagining all the places and people and events being described.

Here are a few examples of the fun stories we listened to:

In the first story, Ep. 1- God’s Mule, the missionary Tomas, secretly transports bibles to closed countries and has to rely on God to help in big and small ways to accomplish this impossible task that could land him in prison or even killed.

In the second story, Ep. 2 – Mountain Mover, another story about Tomas, he secretly smuggled 4,000 bibles in 14 years, then 5,000 bibles in one trip, and 10,000 bibles in another trip in 100 suitcases that the authorities never opened and their machines broke just as he and his team approached the lines to be inspected.  God showed his power in mighty ways to protect Tomas and make a way for the impossible.

In the third story, Ep 3 – Silent Ambassador, a young girl named Evyline becomes a kid with a mission.  She puts a kids club together and organizes the collection and filling of 200 shoeboxes of supplies for Operation Christmas Child.  When they learn about what she has done, she gets to become an Ambassador for the charity and travel around the country speaking on their behalf and also travel to the Dominican Republic to deliver the charity’s 100 millionth shoebox.

Story after story, 12 stories in all, each one will inspire you and your kids to live bigger and bolder and more outrageous for God.  They will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and trust God to do the impossible to help you spread the news of his kingdom.

Further the Learning:

Play It Out:  One of the best parts of being a kid is getting to play.  Role play, active play, imaginative play, you name it and play is just fun and a great way to learn.  My kids were so inspired by the stories, they wanted to act out some of the adventures at the park.  We had been on the road for several hours and were headed back home but decided to stop and let them stretch their legs and their imaginations.  This was a great opportunity for them to imagine crossing bridges, climbing mountains, escaping dangers, and reaching areas of the world with the gospel.

Fall at Park

Map It:  Print out or draw out a world map.  Have the kids locate where in the world the mission assignment takes place.  Then have them learn more about that country and the culture of the people who live there.  If it is known what country or state the missionary came from, have them mark that too.  They can then find out what it cost to travel to that country, live there, and what kind of finances a missionary would need to complete the assignment. Perhaps this will inspire them to help raise money for missions.  At the bare minimum it will expand their understanding of the geographic locations of different peoples around the world.

Art It: Draw It/Color It/Paint It.  This activity does so much to help a person’s mind understand and remember the story.  We have found this activity to be very inspirational.  You can start with a blank page and let the kids draw the story, or give them a printed coloring page (many free ones available online) and have them color either during or after the story.

Unit Study: We loved these CD’s so much that we are going to go around the world in 12 weeks with them. We are going to create 12 mini unit studies and take 1 audio drama a week and listen and study the country the missionary went to and the people who live there.  We will fill in a map, make a timeline of events, make a recipe, a craft, and pray for the missionary and people they are reaching every day that week.  We will start on a small scale and do this for 12 weeks, one missionary story a week,  starting in January.

Curriculum:  There are so many areas you could incorporate these stories on CD with your curriculum: Bible, Language Arts, Culture Studies, Geography, History, Travel, Politics, Religion, Public Speaking, etc.  I would like to create some lesson plans and put something together for next year for a year long missions focused curriculum.  Perhaps we can turn Brinkman Adventures into a year long missions unit study, or keep it to the 12 weeks and fill in the rest of the year with their other audio volumes 1 and 2.  I found some great resources online for kids to learn about missions including worksheets, crafts, and lots of activities.  Also on their website are short written stories about each missionary and more information about their real life experience.  Brinkman Adventures also offers a curriculum called Ignite for ages 8-12 for $49 suggested donation.  This looks really good and may be an option for folks who don’t have time or feel comfortable to make their own lesson plans.

Invite Friends: I could really see this as a 12 month course and do this with a homeschool coop either in a local area or online with other families.  It would also be great to do with a bible study and with a youth group.   If doing with a bible study or youth group, I would definately check into Brinkman Adventures pre-made curriculum.  I am considering putting an online coop together and get several other homeschool families together on this with us, each family getting their own CD’s, and then we can follow some lesson plans to further the learning and put our faith in action, and finally do a blog hop online where all the families can share our experiences together. Let me know if you want to participate in this project.

Stay tuned for a future updates on this project.  Perhaps we can get missionary companies to offer a give away here or perhaps we can even help them raise funds for their missions outreach and needs.  Let me know if you want to participate in this adventure.  I think this has the potential to be life transforming if we can catch the vision for it!

Social Media

Be sure to follow Brinkman Adventures on their social media links for all the latest news and product updates.  They currently offer three volumes on CD sets with amazing missionary stories.  They also have a pre-made curriculum with lesson plans called Ignite that looks great.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Brinkman-Adventures-152895116079/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrinkmanAdventures/videos/

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

Check out what other homeschool families on the TOS Review Crew had to say about using Brinkman Adventures in their home.

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Faith Of Our Fathers Movie Review

I have an great movie to tell you about called Faith of Our Fathers from FishFlix.com.

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Fish Flix is a wonderful family friendly company on a mission to bring you the greatest movies that inspire your faith at affordable prices.  They have hundreds of great movies to choose from.  Most of their movies are very affordable and priced between $5 and $20.   They have movies that appeal to everyone of all ages: Family movies, Kids movies, Action, Romance, Feature Films, Dramas, Christian History, Apologetics,  and more.  They offer free shipping on orders over $35 and they also offer a 10% off coupon for signing up for their newsletter.

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Faith Of Our Fathers

Full Length Feature Film

Star Cast Starring:  Stephen Baldwin, Si Robertson, Kevin Downs, Robert AR White

$9.99 on sale ($14.99 retail price)

The movie takes place in both the past in Vietnam and the present in America, and connects them with a common thread as two sons try to find out what happened to their dads who were soldiers during the war.

Three men meet in the Vietnam War 50 years ago.  Two of the men had kids and a wife waiting back home for them and they wrote letters to their families.  Over the course of time, the two men formed a friendship on the battle field.   One man loved God and took his bible with him everywhere during battles.   Others on the squad were annoyed by his faith.   The other soldier was a strong fighter and didn’t know God and didn’t want to know God.   Both men formed a bond and in the end as one led the other to Jesus, they gave their lives for each other on the battle field.

25 years later, their grown sons, named Wayne (Robert AR White) and John Paul (Kevin Downs), are searching for answers.  Their paths cross when John Paul locates Wayne’s number in the phone book and calls him.  But Wayne refuses to talk to him.  John Paul travels across the country to meet Wayne who doesn’t want to meet, but finally gives in to the encounter by agreeing to share the letters for $500 a piece if John Paul will travel to the Vietnam Wall Memorial with him.  He had started on the journey to see the wall years earlier but was forced to stop because of a traffic accident that killed his mom and he had been to devastated to complete the journey.

On their journey, they have several problems and while John Paul turns to God regularly to solve his problems, Wayne doesn’t want anything to do with God and keeps screwing up his life. The dynamics between the two sons is very similar to the relationships of their fathers.  Along the journey they read the letters one at a time and the scene goes back and forth between Vietnam and the battle field, and the roads of America and problems / stresses they face in our culture.

They both eventually find peace and healing after meeting the third man, played by Stephen Baldwin, who was their dads’ Sargent in Vietnam.  He served with and was in charge of their dads.  He knew both men and saw their death.  He put in the missing pieces for them and encouraged them to complete the journey. He gave them a gift and his message of grace, and his kindness melted Wayne’s heart to receive the gospel.

All along it was John Paul planting the seeds of faith as he lived out his struggles in front of Wayne, but it was the third man who had known both their fathers that watered the seed with love and honor of their father’s memories, and as he shared his faith with them his message brought healing and caused that seed of faith to sprout in Wayne’s heart.  This is an awesome story of healing wounded relationships, faith in God, hope for a better tomorrow, and loving each other as we face battles both in war time and in our day to day living.

Movie Trailer

We absolutely loved this movie!  There are eight of us in our family and as you can see everyone took a spot on the couches or floor with blankets and popcorn for an evening of inspiring entertainment.

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The older four children loved the movie.  The two youngest kids sat next to daddy and they fell asleep about half way through the movie as it was past their normal bedtime.

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I can also see how this would be a great addition to American History studies, Cultural studies, and bible studies too.  We are Duck Dynasty fans and it was fun to see Si Robertson being his usual silly self acting as a store clerk in this movie too. Our whole family enjoyed this film and would recommend it for everyone.

Social Media

Be sure to follow Fish Flix on their social media sites for all the latest news and updates.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fishflix
Twitter: https://twitter.com/christiandvd
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fishflix/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Fishflix/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/familychristianmovie

FishFlix.com Review No 2

Check out what other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about using movies from Fish Flix in their homes.

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