Where is your focus? Does Father God have your attention or are you focused on other things, little gods that can’t save you? Because that is what this life is truly about.
Who do you serve? Who has your focus? Who has your time? Who do you trust? What has your mind and heart?
Jesus said: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24
If you focus on material things (money, house, job, apparel, cars, computers, things you can buy, things you can make, etc) instead of focusing your time, heart, mind, and resources on Father God, it will lead you to hate and despise him.
“if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.” Exodus 23:33b
However, if you focus on Father God, that will lead you to hate and despise materialism, money, houses, job, apparel, cars, computers, other gods, people worship, cultural man-made traditions, things you can buy, and things you make with your hands. If you love him, and serve him as your master, then you will choose to literally separate yourself from things of this world. That is what the word “Hebrew” means, it is “a child of God who has separated himself from the world” and serves only the one true Creator Father God.
“Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfill.” Exodus 33:24-36
It is going to be one way or the other. But it cannot be both.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
Let us choose this day and everyday to separate ourselves from the lusts, desires, materialism, gods and idols of this world, and serve our only Father God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and choose to make him our focus by loving him first.
“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14
“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” Proverbs 21:21
“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Matthew 19:29
“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” Mark 10:21
“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8
It seems to me that God has made it very clear that he doesn’t want us to chase after cars and trucks, houses, careers, college degrees, sports, hobbies, land, animals, plants, possessions, food, unrighteousness, sins, addictions, time, money, families, vanity and body image, popularity, planets and outer space, science and technology, medical, or anything else.
God wants to be the rhythm and passion of our life. He alone is the reason for every breath we take, and every day we walk this earth. He wants us to turn to him for every plan we make and every need or desire that we have. He wants us to be content with his answers to our requests. He wants to talk to our heart and fellowship with us every day. He wants us to sing about his goodness and tell our children, friends, and neighbors about him.
The Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz is a great way to encourage children to listen and read Bible stories. We were sent The Beginner’s Bible for review and I was very excited to receive this new updated version with bright 3D art work and fun illustrations to use in our home.
The Beginner’s Bible
90 Brightly Illustrated Bible Stories
Retails for $16.99
Additional discounts up to 50% for bulk purchases
Recommended for Kids ages 6 and under (Read Aloud)
Easy Read for kids 7-8
But also great as an easy reader for older kids and ESL too.
The Beginner’s Bible was first released in 1989, and has sold over 25 million copies in the past 27+ years. 25 MILLION! That is an amazing testimony of how this wonderful gem, filled with timeless wisdom, is to share with each generation of children around the world.
Why Use An Illustrated Bible For Kids?
There are many reasons to use the bible in your home. It is so important to incorporate the truths from the bible in raising children. It is Father God’s love letter and instruction manual to all of his children, young and old. Using an illustrated Bible helps kids “picture” the events and people they are learning about. I like this illustrated version because it simplifies the learning for younger children without taking away from the message that God put there for us to learn.
In addition to advice and instructions in the Bible, you also read about the fascinating lives of the men and women who lived during the time it was written. Reading the Bible actually causes your faith, and your children’s faith, in Father God and his son Jesus to grow. The bible helps you see how consistently faithful God is and how much he loves us. It shows you the ups and downs in people’s lives and how God brought them through the good and bad experiences that people live through.
The bible teaches us how to handle good and bad experiences we go through in life and how to trust in God who hears our prayers and helps guide us everyday. The bible gives us values to live by called a biblical worldview. People still go through good and bad experiences today and we need God more now than ever. The bible tells us about his only begotten son he sent to save mankind from their sin and eternal separation from God. Jesus paid the price so that we can spend eternity with God if we will believe, love and obey his teachings.
A few ways we can incorporate using The Beginner’s Bible with kids in our every day life:
Read aloud by parents, grandparents, and older siblings.
Read along for beginners.
Independent reading for beginners.
Circle Time, Quiet Time, Bed Time
Retelling the stories using additional props such as Legos, Crafts, Puppets, Diorama, Costumes, etc.
Homeschool Projects, Home, Bible Study, Get Togethers, Sunday School
Create Lap Books, Note Books, Timelines, etc.
Writing Practice as children copy the story onto their own notebook pages.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
The Beginner’s Bible Experience In Our Home
We have been using The Beginner’s Bible since the beginning of having children in our family. Let me see…that is over 16+ years! We received our first copy as a gift when our oldest was born. We have purchased a few more copies over the years. Our current version is still on our bookshelf and has lasted through lots of little hands, quiet times on the couch, and several moves across country. This illustrated bible for kids has been a family favorite of ours for many years. We have six kids and each one started their Bible learning with The Beginner’s Bible.
We have made it a priority to spend time reading in the bible each day. Our younger kids listen to bible stories being read to them and our older kids read the bible themselves and also read to their younger siblings.
Once a week we set aside time for the kids to retell bible stories they have learned. They can choose any props or make crafts or use Legos, etc. The older boys also like to make Lego stop motion movies to retell the events in the bible stories.
Sometimes we turn the learning adventure into a Unit Study and spend an entire month on a specific theme such as “forgiveness” or “Ancient Egypt” or “the miracles of Jesus” etc. This is a great way for the kids to learn hands on and practice sharing what they have learned with each other and also share with daddy when he gets home from work.
There are 90 stories in this illustrated Bible. That is over a year’s worth of stories if you focus on learning one new story a week. Or complete it in a year if you read two stories a week. If you want to go faster, you could read this in 90 days if you do one story each day. You can go at a pace that works best for your family.
Another great way to use The Beginner’s Bible with your kids is to include the free printables and games on The Beginner’s Bible Website (recommended for kids 12 and under). Perhaps you can print them off as you read each story or print them off ahead of time and make a folder with the printables for each story and build a story unit study. You can also add more materials to your folders as you find additional resources.
Since we love making unit studies with stories we read, we are using two to three related stories each week. It will take us about a year to do the entire book at this pace.
Jesus Rescues the Lost Unit Study
Be sure to check out a story I posted using The Beginner’s Bible called Jesus Rescues the Lost Unit Study. Unit Studies are one of our favorite ways to learn. They are cross-curricular and subjects (math, history, art, science, language, etc) follow a theme, they are hands on, and they help children retain what they have learned.
We took advantage of all of the free printables and suggested activities, including the FREE sample curriculum lesson plan called “Jesus Rescues the Lost” and created our own unit study. These resources are made especially for The Beginner’s Bible and help kids understand the stories and truths even more as the activities engage more of their senses (listening, coloring, drawing, eye hand coordination, decision making, etc) in a hands on way.
The “Jesus Rescues the Lost” Lesson Plan suggested reading three of the stories from The Beginner’s Bible “The Lost Sheep“; The Good Samaritan“; and “The Lost Son” , watching the lesson video, a list of several “Bible Verses” to read from a regular Bible, and a “Memory Scripture Verse” for the kids to memorize, as well as a helpful “Teaching Point” to focus the lesson on.
The lesson plan provided me with a master supply list for activities, and suggested optional supplies for craft projects (we made sheep puppets and a shepherd staff), printouts, and a skit for the kids to act out with props, and a take home family page.
This was a lot of fun for the kids. You could spend a week on this lesson, or take three weeks while focusing on understanding one story each week.
We used The Beginner’s Bible and Legos as a way to retell the bible story of Noah. That story includes more fun ideas on using this children’s illustrated Bible in fun hands on learning ways.
More Learning Fun
After reading the stories in The Beginner’s Bible, my kids love to watch the animated videos by the same company.
You can find these on “youtube.” There is also an APP from their website for these stories, games, and videos for your smart phone.
The videos are a great way to reinforce the learning. They are entertaining and engaging. We set aside time to fix a snack like pretzels and apple slices and my kids sit down to watch the bible stories.
Check The Beginner’s Bible website and youtube for more details on fun ways to enhance the learning.
The Beginner’s Bible
Website & Teaching Resources
Please check out The Beginner’s Bible website for wonderful FREE resources to compliment your child’s learning and enjoyment using The Beginner’s Bible.
They have free printouts for coloring pages, word puzzles, mazes, online learning games etc. Print as many copies as you need and create your own folders filled with fun learning projects to go along with the bible stories.
Free Stuff From The Website To Use With The Beginner’s Bible:
Read Together Sheets (print and bind these for an additional story book)
Writing Sheets (practice writing letters and numbers)
Place Mats and Posters (so many uses!)
Book Marks (everybody needs book marks!)
Online Games, Quizzes, etc
Word Puzzles Printouts
Recommended Bible Story Reading Schedule for the year.
APP for your phone or electronic device with stories and activities.
They also offer 2 lessons for free from their curriculum kit: “Creation” and “Jesus Rescues the Lost” . I would encourage you to get a copy of these free lesson plans and see how easy it is to use this illustrated Bible in your learning adventures.
If you want to purchase the complete lesson plans, they are available for an additional purchase on the Zonderkidz website and are called “The Beginner’s Bible Curriculum Kit”. After using the free lesson plan they offered, I think this would be a great resource. It would make it simple to use The Beginner’s Bible as a curriculum and the lesson planning work is all done for you.
The kit comes with a hardback copy of The Beginner’s Bible and a DVD with a year’s worth of lesson plans including 30 teaching lessons that incorporate the 90 bible stories, and a DVD with 28 animated video stories, fun activities, and lots of additional classroom use ideas. There is also a family take-home page for each lesson for kids to share with their parents and to further the learning at home.
The Beginner’s Bible Is Fun For Kids
The Beginner’s Bible is full of faith building stories and fun illustrations to enhance the learning. It is a wonderful gift for your children and grandchildren, classrooms, and kids clubs. Zonderkidz also offers resources in English and Spanish, I can Read Books, The Beginner’s Bible Deluxe, The Beginner’s Bible For Little Ones, The Beginner’s Bible Curriculum Kit, etc. as well as additional resources on their website. I think using this children’s Bible is a an essential piece for teaching young children about the stories and people of the Bible. Every page is filled with full-color illustrations that retell 90 Bible stories in a fun and engaging way.
Our younger kids love the bright colors of the illustrations in this children’s Bible. Looking at colorful pictures helps keep their attention whether they are listening to it as a read aloud, or if they are reading the stories for themselves. It is a great way to include Bible learning in our home and incorporate into our homeschool learning too. I am sure they will continue to use this treasure this illustrated Bible for many more years to come.
The Beginner’s Bible was named the 2006 Retailers Choice Award winner in Children’s Nonfiction.
Be sure to connect with Zonderkidz on their social media links for all the latest news, special offers, and resources to further the learning.
My family had a great time when we took a trip back in time and visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is such a fun way to walk through history!
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.
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.
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.
Evil becomes the ruler of the earth through Adam and Eve’s sin against God.
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.
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.
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.
Noah obeyed God and does all that he was instructed to do.
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.
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.
I encourage every family I meet to put this wonderful adventure on their to do list. It is definitely worth the trip!
Have you ever come under attack because you stand up for something? Have you been critisized because your talents and skills cause you to stand out? Be encouraged today, because God has placed talents and gifts inside you that are meant for you to stand up and shine brightly with them, expanding the light of his Kingdom, illuminating a dark world, and bring Him glory through it all.
As I listened to the words of Jesus this morning in my bible study, I realized he is saying he wants you and me to Stand Up, Stand Out, and Shine Bright. He wants you to do good and stand out so others can see his light shining from you. That is not boastful. That is not prideful. Those are the words of Christ Jesus.
Jesus told us to “DO” and to “STAND” and to “SHINE”.
To “do”, to “stand”, and to “shine” are ACTION words. They are the opposite of “take a seat”, “stay seated” and “you may be seated” words we hear spoken today. I don’t think Jesus would have defined his followers the way they appear today, seated and asleep.
If you asked the average person today how they would define a Christian, most would say something like: “A Christian is a person who follows a religious teacher named Jesus by going to a building with four walls on Sunday to sing about him, pray, and hear a bible story”. Jesus NEVER ever said for his followers to live like that. Jesus gave his followers an assignment to stand out, to do good, and to shine and illuminate the darkness. He told them to go out two by two to heal the sick, cast out demons, feed the hungry, set captives free and preach the Kingdom of God in all the earth. Yet sadly, the “Christian life” amounts to sitting in a pew on Sunday for most believers of Jesus today.
If a person, or group of people, are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, then they will do what he did and obey what he said. The churches who are doing, standing, and shining, are the churches we see growing exponentially today, just as the early church that Jesus created did. Miracles are happening as those believers pray for others, cast out demons, heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, raise the dead, and set the captives free, and thousands of lives are being fed, clothed, and transformed, and the Christian believer is a bright light in that city.
Christians, and their churches, that shine the brightest in a city, also take the most criticism from other Christians that don’t choose to shine. They have let their lamps grow dark outside of their four walls of their buildings, and they criticize those who stand out and shine bright.
This happens constantly, but I will use this one recent example to illustrate this point. I recently heard a pastor of a small church in a decaying city criticizing pastors of larger churches. He often points fingers at them and puts them down in discussions with his congregation. He says that these larger churches are not truly following God or else they wouldn’t have such large congregations of people. He says that they are prideful to have musical instruments and singers on stage and putting on a show. He says these pastors are misappropriating funds to have large budgets for their church to fly around the US and the World and put money into these large outreach efforts. He says they are showing off and worldly to draw in large crowds.
Yet while he critisizes others, his own church’s light is dying. He has no impact in his decaying city. Even though he stays busy going here or there doing this or that, he and his congregation contain no new life and no change or growth. In the community and even within the four walls of his building, there is no opportunity for the followers of Jesus to shine, even though he states weekly that they are in the midst of “revival”. They host revivals (evening sermon meetings that last from anywhere from 3 days to 7 days) monthly through out the year. I have attend several at that church and other local churches, I have spoken to these pastors and their guest evangelists, and from what I can tell, these churches are not really in revival. It is just a word that label their meetings that they host that are different than Sunday service.
Revival is basically spiritual CPR. To revive is to breathe new life into a dying or dead situation. Their church and their city continues to die despite their efforts at “revival”. It is not effective. There is no spiritual CPR happening in the revival meetings that I have seen for many years. Many years ago in the 1970’s and mid 1980’s I did witness true revivals that changed cities. But after that, except for a few dynamic on fire churches, what I witnessed across this nation was a sleeping church who’s light grew dim in their communities.
Christians speak about revival, but many have become lukewarm in allowing God to be Lord in every decision. They trade out God’s word about living: eating, raising children, marriage, healing and raising the dead, casting out demons, etc. instead for an acceptance of government guidance in regards to daily living, education of children, health care, jobs, morals, etc. They enjoy a “tax exempt” status and follow the social / political rules. They may get a pat on the back or their name in the paper if they do a good event, but sadly most churches, don’t bring positive change to their communities. Though God is honored during the service on Sunday or Wednesday, God is not the Lord of their daily living decisions 24/7. Instead the congregation often seems to hide behind the four walls of the church building, hides their gifts and talents that were purposed to expand the Kingdom within their cities, and wait…wait…wait…asleep…until Jesus returns…all the while they never realize their lamps ran out of oil and they no longer were effective to shine God’s light into a dark world.
I just want to shout from the rooftops “WAKE UP O CHURCH! WAKE UP O BRIDE OF CHRIST WHO HAS FALLEN ASLEEP. YOUR LAMPS NEED TENDING. KEEP SHINING BRIGHT AND STAND UP AND STAND OUT”.
“Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark.” Mathew 6:22-23
How do we keep our lamps supernaturally full and shining bright? Jesus is returning for a Bride who is awake and her lamp is full of spiritual oil and she is shinning bright and doing good, obeying the commands of Isaiah 58 while she loves God with her whole heart and loves her neighbor.
Jesus said to becareful because you will fail at shining if your light goes dark. That seems obvious. But he made it very clear as if it were not obvious or like we might forget if not reminded. As if we are like the man who looks in the mirror and steps away and forgets what he looked like in that mirror. He is right. We easily forget that we must not let our light go dark. Jesus said if your eyes are bad, and you let darkness into your life, you can not shine. How can your eyes bring darkness into your life? The eyes are the door that Satan uses to tempt you. When you follow through with that temptation you bring darkness into your life. So it is key to remove the darkness and temptations from in front of your eyes and look upon Jesus and obey him.
Jesus said if you love him, you will obey him. He said to shine bright, stand out, and beam as brightly as you can like a lighted city on a hill, and a lamp on a high stand in your house. Think about that for just a minute. Has your power in the house ever gone out and you had to light a candle or use a lamp for light? I have had this happen many times in my life, and I put that candle or lamp on the highest table in the center of the room so that the room is lit up and I can see where to go and what I am doing. That candle or lamp can shine so bright that we can even cook a simple meal, or play games by it’s light. However, if I placed that light in a corner of a room, it would not light up the room well enough for us to see.
When we stand out and shine, we send forth HIS light that is in us so that God will be glorified. Others will give God praise when they see you doing good and shining bright. Christians who stand out, who shine bright, often come under attack from both other Christians and non-Christians. It can be a hard and lonely choice to stand out, and would be much easier to hide, or sit on a pew and let others do the shining. But to obey Jesus (not your denomination, not your pastor, not religious rules or traditions), as a child of God, you must be placed on a high place and stand out so that everyone around you can see what is around them with the light that you are shining forth. The darkness of their situation is transformed and lit up by the light you shine. You are the lamp that must shine bright while you are doing good. Don’t get burned out doing good, don’t fall asleep, and don’t hide your light or let it go out.
Think about it. If every Christian obeyed the words of Jesus and stood out on a high place and shined forth God’s light while doing good, surely this world would experience true revival. It would look a whole lot different. Surely multitudes of people would come to Jesus and give God praise for the good they see you do and the church would truly experience a spiritual CPR revival and grow exponentially.
“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” Mathew 5:14-15
Wake up, stand up, and be the light of the world, giving light to everyone while we stand out and shine bright while doing good.
Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation
Written by Jay Schabacker
Hard back book
$18.95 (currently 25% off regular retail $24.95)
For all ages
Jay Schabacker has an amazing story to tell. He is both a scienctist and a follower of Jesus. He believes that God is the Creator and he created everything with a purpose. Jay has numerous educational degrees and has worked for NASA, and also in Business Management, Church Leadership, Authored books and curriculum, and taught numerous workshops. But most important of all is that he loves the Lord!
In Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation, he gives us a beautiful full color glimpse of the universe God has created during the seven days of Creation in Genisis.
Book Table of Contents (Abbreviated)
Chapter 1 – The First Day
The Foundation of it All
What Keeps Things Going?
Chapter 2 – The Second Day
Creation of the Atmosphere and Water
Quenching the Thirsty Earth – The “Rain Cycle”
Chapter 3 – The Third Day
Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation
The Importance of Vegetation and Plants to Humans
Chapter 4 – The Fourth Day
Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars
Many Benefits of the Sun, Moon, and Stars
Chapter 5 – The Fifth Day
Creation of the Birds and the Fish
Why the Birds and the Fish were Created
Chapter 6 – The Sixth Day
Creation of Land Creatures and Humans
The Amazing Uniqueness of the Human Being
Chapter 7 – The Seventh Day
The Sabbath is the Day of Rest
Jay is an aerospace scientist and worked on Nasa’s Appollo Moon Project. Through amazing photographs and scientific and biblical truths, he helps us to see the richness of God’s creation as can be understood once a person can see the amazing pieces of the puzzle. For many, it can be difficult to understand how God could have created the universe and created it in seven days. But Jay takes us through the process and shows how science lines up with the scriptures. The photography that Jay shares is amazing. This is a book you will want to leave out on display to share with folks who stop by your home. It is stunning.
How We Used Puposeful Design:
I read through the book with my children. We spent a couple of weeks learning about each day in creation. There is a lot of science, scripture, and a lot of beauty packed into this book. We love learning about space and I was very impressed with the space photos.
I was really greatful for the free downloadable curriculum too. The curriculum broke the book down into teachable units with questions, discussions, and a few activites to further the learning. I printed everything off and stored it in a handy three ring binder for easy use. There were also certificates of completion that correspond to each day of creation in the Young Explorer’s Club curriculum and a final certificate of achievement too. These are nice progress achievments to add to your studnets portfollio.
I was so impressed with this book that I decided to take it to our Homeschool Coop class. We did a focus on space exploration and studied about the lights in the heavens specifically the creation of the SUN, MOON, and STARS and how they give us light and control the seasons. We studies the verses in the bible about DAY FOUR of CREATION found in Genesis 1:14-19. This book went with our study perfectly.
I brought the free downloadable curriculum questions I had put into my binder, and gathered up a few props to go with the book including coloring pages, flash cards, space display, earth and moon in space puzzles, space sensory bin, and more to our class.
The kids really enjoyed looking at the photographs of space in the book. They also enjoyed creating their own space exploration to learn more about the amazing universe God has designed.
Wouldn’t it be cool to visit some of the places in space that God created like the moon? I think it would be cool too to go into space with a scientist who believes in God and understands the scriptures and who is experienced with planets, moons, stars, and galaxies and see all of it first hand.
The kids pretended that Jay was joining them for a space adventure and divided into two teams (5 white astronauts and 5 orange astronauts) to create an exploration all terain vehicals with Legos to explore the moon, and create a space exploration diorama. Kids learn so much more and remember what they have learned when they can use several of their senses in the learning process. Sharing the pictures from the book, putting together a puzzle of the moon and the earth, creating vehicals and pretending we were taking a trip to explore the moon that God created made the learning experience all the more memorable.
I love this book! I would encourage every homeschool family and Sunday School Class and Bible Study group to get a hold of one these books and learn about our amazing Creator and his Purposeful Design in Creation.
Did you know that offering praise to God can bring blessing?
God inhabits your praise, and exchanges your praise for blessings.
We frequently speak by faith that Jesus said “where two or more are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst of them”. We speak this forth knowing with confidence that Jesus is wtih us when believers gather together and he hears our prayer and intercedes for us.
But did you know that Father God also said that he inhabits (dwells/lives in) the praises of his people? God is there with you and he is physically dwelling inside your praise.
There is also an exchange that happens when we praise. An exchange is when you give something and receive something back. There is a promise of blessing according to Psalm 112:1 “The Lord will bless EVERYONE who praises him and gladly obeys his teachings.”
That is awesome! You can receive blessings today, right now!
There are at least 477 verses in the bible that mention praise. That is a whole lot and it is very clear that God wants us to know about praise and what pleases him.
My earnest prayer is that you will take time today, and each day, to give him PRAISE and be BLESSED!
Did you know that PRAISE is mentioned in the bible 477 times? Praise is very important to God. The bible says that God inhabits the praises of his people. Imagine that for just a minute. God inhabits…your praise…
Webster’s dictionary says that inhabit means “to occupy as a place of settled residence” and it means “to live in”. source
Webster’s dictionary also says that praise is an “expression” and it means “to glorify”; “to esteem”; “to express a favorable judgement, or to commend”; and that it is an expression of “love, thanks, appreciation, respect, in spoken or written form”. source
Praise is God’s home. Let me say that again, just incase you missed it. Praise is God’s home. God dwells in praise. God lives in YOUR expression of praise whether you vocalize it (speak, sing, shout, pray, mutter, mumble, groan, hum, etc) or write it out. How awesome is that ?!
Do you celebrate when you offer praise? I noticed a key theme in researching the bible about praise. It should be filled with celebrations!
Praise should include: shouts of joy, shouts of praise for all that God has done for us, prayer, offerings, lift your hands to God, praise him by dancing, playing instruments, play the harp and the tambourine, trumpets, stringed instruments, and woodwinds, cymbals and clashing cymbals, new songs, thankful heart, celebrate God’s wonderful deeds and victories over evil and enemies, sing songs and praise his name every day and announce “He has saved us”, sing praises to God in every nation of the earth, and so much more. If you don’t believe me, do a search of the bible’s 477 verses that contain the mention of praise and find out for yourself.
In addition to telling us He lives in our praise, He also offers us a promise. He will bless us because we obey Him and because we praise Him.
“The Lord will BLESS everyone who PRAISES him and who gladly obeys his teachings”. Psalm 112:1
One of the most amazing leaders of praise and worship of the Lord God mentioned in the Bible is King David. David sang, wrote, danced, layed prostrate, prayed, and played instruments in his worship of the Lord. The bible says that God was pleased with his praise and worship. Even so much that when others mocked him praising God, they brought a curse upon themself. His own wife mocked him one time when he sang loudly, clanged cymbals, and danced naked before Lord in public and she was cursed. God was that protective of David’s praise. Wow!
My dad was a Praise and Worship leader most of his adult life. I loved growing up watching him lead the assembly of believers in praise. It was really special to be a part of the congregation singing praises to the Lord with him. He was so gifted in music and could harmonize in any key. He died when I was 25 and I cherish those memories of my youth singing with him in church.
I too have served the body of Christ as a Praise and Worship minister. I joined a Praise team in Kansas City when I was just 14 years old. I continued participating in church choirs, high school and college choirs, and served on Praise and Worship teams for most of my adult life. It has been one of my greatest joys in life. My heart was and is always to lead the assembly of believers into a place of true worship of God as David did. To sing and praise and please God in our worship of who He is. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. His love for us never changes. His mercies are new every day. He is the beginning and the end. The is the creator. He is the author. He is the provider. He is the healer. He is the king. He is the warrior. He is the savior. He is the deliverer. He deserves our highest praise everyday that we are blessed to take a breath.
Do you need help getting to a place of praise? First of all, pray and ask God to help you in your praise of him. Then spend some time learning about what God says about praise in the scriptures. You will truly be inspired, and maybe even shocked if you have never praised him before, or if you have been part of a religious culture that has rules and limitations regarding praise.
Get encouraged by the example and testimony of other believers who are offering praise and worship to God…
One of the most amazing Praise and Worship Leaders I have ever witnessed in my lifetime is Rick Pino. I was blessed to be in the crowd of Christian worshipers in August 2008 at Greenville, SC at a Youth Conference with over 5 Thousand people, both young and old. That is OVER 5,000! The songs we sang rang out to the heavens! He led us for hours in the most sincere atmosphere of praise of Father God that I have ever experienced in my life. His genuine worship of God was contagious and everyone caught it.
That must have been what it was like to praise and worship Father God when King David worshipped. The bible says David was a man after God’s own heart. God was pleased with David’s worship.
TRANSFORM YOUR PRAISE
Do you want an experience of praise and worship like that? Do you want to be so overcome with praise of God that nothing else matters? Do you know that if you don’t praise God, that rocks will cry out in your place? He is that holy and deserving of our highest praise, that all creation including rocks will praise him! AMAZING!
He longs for our sincere praise. He longs for our hearts to worship him in spirit and in truth. He wants to encourage “normal people”, you and me, to live supernatural lives, to receive supernatural blessings, and experience supernatural praise and worship of the only supernatural God.
My three favorite songs from Rick Pino’s albums I purchased back in 2008 at the youth conference are “Mighty Warrior” , “We Have The Best Dad” and “I Can Hear The Sound”. I love these songs! They truly transform your perspective and your praise.
Mighty Warrior: The Lord is with you mighty warrior, so rise, mount up, mount up on the wings of eagles, mount up, so rise, the Lord is with you mighty warrior”.
We Have The Best Dad: We have the best dad in the whole world!
I Can Hear Can Hear The Sound: This song is absolutely one of my most favorites. He sings in this song that he “can hear the sound of the river coming down.. its coming down…your sons and daughters will prophesy…it satisfies…come and drink from the rock…I can hear the sound.”
ABBA: Abba, I belong to you…you wont leave us as orphans…Abba…I belong to you…
PIONEER: I love this song called Pioneer. “There is a wilderness calling you, and you are the pioneer to keep pressing forward, only a fire (of the Lord) goes before you, your own frontier, you are a pioneer.”
You and I are pioneers on the path of life, telling those in our circle of influence (our wilderness) about God. And if we don’t cry out with praise to God, the rocks will do it in our place. Yikes! I don’t want a rock to do what I was created to do! God longs for me and for you to praise him. He longs to dwell with us in our praise.
Are you ready?
When you transform your praise, and worship in spirit and in truth, you please the Father, He will dwell with you, He will bless you, and your life will be transformed through your expression of praise.
Give praise a try. Lift your hands, lift your heart, celebrate, pray, worship the only true living God, and sing out…”Abba, I belong to you…”