Tag Archives: Bible

Being Me, Not Better Than You – Guest Post for Lads To Leaders Entry

Likes, dislikes, good comments, bad comments. The world has always been full of people who judge one another. Today, we have the online platforms to reach people all over the world. Because of the nature of social media, people can hide behind a screen and say whatever they want, without accountability. Unfortunately, many people use their online personality to cause more harm than good. On the receiving end, people care what others think. Some people constantly compare themselves to others, especially after receiving hateful comments. Some of those people even try to change themselves to fit in. Hebrews 6:19 talks about hope being an anchor for the soul. In today’s world, where is their hope? What do you hope for?

Matthew West wrote a song that I love to listen to. It gives me hope. It is called The Me You Made. The first verse reads:

I wish I looked like Bradley Cooper

Wish I had movie star muscles like Chris Pratt

I wish my kids thought I was cooler

Wish I wasn’t just a skinny-jean wearin’ dad

Now there’s another thing I’m wishin’

I wish I didn’t say what I just said

‘Cause now everybody’s heard

All the insecure voices in my head

The first verse is addressing how he compares himself to everyone else. But in 2 Corinthians 10:12, Paul reminds us not to compare ourselves to others who use themselves as a comparison, which is conceited. The second verse of the song is where he starts talking about social media. He says:

The whole world is postin’ pictures (yeah)

Looks like everybody else has the perfect life

And we’re just watchin’ from the bleachers (yeah)

Discontent and thinkin’, “Wouldn’t it be nice?”

But comparison is the thief of joy

Trust me, I know

‘Cause for way too long, I let it steal my joy

But not anymore

On social media, everything looks perfect. Four billion people from all over the world use social media, posting pictures, videos, or memes that show off their lives. The second half of this verse quotes President Roosevelt. “Comparison is the thief of joy” means that comparing oneself to others takes away one’s own happiness. This is the part of the song where he stops comparing himself to others. Lastly, the chorus:

Hey

I don’t wanna spend my life

Wishin’ I was different

That would be a waste of time

‘Cause I know You

You love me just as I am

And I know my God don’t make mistakes

So, I’m just gonna be the me You made

Now we come to the part of the song that talks about our theme this year, Better Than. 

In Romans 3:9, it says, “Are we better than they? Not at all.” We are not any better or worse than anyone else. In this case, Paul was referring to the difference and separation between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. But the same concept applies to us today. Even though something might look perfect on social media, those people are showing themselves through a filter. Don’t put your trust and admiration into something that is being filtered. One of the reasons we can trust in God with our whole selves is because He is completely honest and open with us. Psalm 118:8 says that “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” 

We can compare everything with the phrase “better than.” We like some things better than other things. No one is better than anyone else. In Hebrews, the New Law is better than the Old. 

We should put our trust in God because He created us exactly the way we should be. There is no “better than” with people. God doesn’t make mistakes; we know because the Bible says so in Matthew 5:48, Psalm 18:30, Deuteronomy 32:4, 2 Samuel 22:31, and many other verses.

The Me You Made ends by saying “I’m just gonna be the me You made,” acknowledging that there is no way for us to be completely perfect. We are human and humans make mistakes, but God did not make a mistake when He made each and every one of us the way we are. We shouldn’t have to change ourselves to fit into the “perfect” world behind a screen.

We know that our God loves us, just the way we are, and that gives us hope.

image created by guest author

Bible Studies from Julie Naturally ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Living a life for Christ begins with knowing the word of God. Spending time in the Bible can be guided many different ways. Two studies from Julie Naturally have been a part of guiding my daily time in the Bible recently. I have been using the Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Romans bundle and the Faith Journeys Bible Study Series: Philippians.

Julie Naturally is the company run by Julie Polanco. She is striving to use her site and resources to help Christian homeschooling families. There are four parts to the Julie Naturally site – homeschooling, holy living, wholistic health, and homesteading. You can explore these, including her blog. But I am going to direct you to the Bible studies found in her shop. This is what I was using – Romans Bible Study Bundle and the Philippians Bible Study.

Romans Bible Study Bundle

This bundle included a downloadable and printable PDF of the Bible study of Romans, a downloadable/printable PDF of the coloring pages and memory verses, and access online to a video introduction to each of the 8 weeks of the Bible study. Each week of the study has a short video introduction, about 2 chapters to study for the week, and 6 days of study questions and discussion points. In between each week’s set of questions is a coloring page and there are memory verses for each week to print also.

coloring page from Romans study

Each daily study has a passage of verses to read and ponder. The daily questions are related to the reading. The questions range from basic information recall to considering background to apply the concepts to the world of today. Some of the actions for the daily study include prayer and spending time considering how God is working in a specific way. According to the website, this study is appropriate for an older teen or woman. Plan to spend about 15 or 20 minutes daily on this study if you work at the pace Julie planned.

Philippians Bible Study

The study of the book of Philippians is a 4 week study. It does not include a video component for each week. It could be coming later as it was mentioned in the introductory pages but it was not available when I was using the study. As with the Romans study, there are daily readings of a prescribed set of verses and the discussions are related to these verses.

The discussion includes questions of various depths, background information, and statements designed to provoke thought and application to daily life and the world around. According to the introduction to the study, each day’s reading and discussion in under 20 minutes.

My Thoughts

Both the Romans study and the Philippians study did not feel deep and challenging for me. I found that it took me about 5 minutes a day in the Philippians study to read and answer the questions. In the Romans study, it took me closer to 10 minutes because the readings were longer. I prefer my daily study to be 30-45 minutes or longer.

The videos were difficult for me to follow because her speaking style was not as organized as I prefer when working on a Bible study. The quality was similar to a live video from social media, including issues with the reception in week 3 where there content is missing at about the 7 minute mark.

I found that the daily discussions had some interesting points that I had not considered before. For example, Philippians starts with a discussion about leadership in the church. It was a good, thought provoking point. There were a few of these throughout the study. Overall, I found the questions to be recall level questions or to be worded so that I was unsure what was being asked for. If you are going to print the study, I recommend printing two pages of the study per page because there is a lot of blank space on every page, much more than is needed for writing.

I would have greatly appreciated a leader’s guide to go along with this so that I could figure out where she was going with some of the discussions. Several times, I left questions blank because it was unclear what she was considering.

I added the words from Philippians 4:8 to each of the shapes in this coloring page to help me focus on that verse.

I did enjoy the coloring pages in the Philippians study. I liked that the coloring pages in the Romans study had scripture on each one, though it wasn’t stated on the page where the scripture was found.

It was not a favorite study for me and I don’t feel like it would take my girls deep enough into the text. I can really see this being good for others. I found that there were some very good ideas covered in these studies. If you are a fairly new Christian or a younger teen, I can see these studies being appropriate for you. They are also appropriate if you are looking for a simple daily study that doesn’t require a lot of effort or in depth study.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read about others who have been using these studies from Julie Naturally.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls ~ a review

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Telling Ministries LLC and HCCP for providing this product/product information for review.  Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls Gift Set is a great addition to your shopping list for any young ladies in your life that you are looking to encourage in their Bible study and growth. This is a great gift set for girls ages 8-12. It would be great for older girls and ladies, too, if they enjoy coloring scripture verses, journalling in their Bible, or just having extra space for taking notes.

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls Gift Set comes in a lovely box to protect the Bible and keep all the piece of the gift together. It includes a Bible, a set of colored pencils, and a set of stickers.

The Bible is a hard-back version printed in Zondervan’s exclusive NIV Comfort Print® typeface at 8-point print size. It contains the complete text of the Bible in NIV translation and over 600 black line illustrated verses. It also includes wide, lined margins on the pages that don’t have verse to incorporate note taking, journal entries, or reflecting. There is a satin ribbon sewn into the binding for keeping your place marked. The cover is a lovely teal color with a variety of flowers imprinted in the leather-feel cover.

Inside the front you will find a table of contents and tips for Bible art journaling. At the back of the Bible you will find a table of weights and measures. Unfortunately, there is no glossary or index, which I feel are a huge help and of great importance for young ladies of the intended age bracket as they learn to look things up in their Bibles and learn to study more on their own.

The Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls Gift Set comes with colored pencils. These are twist pencils, where you twist the end to lower the colored lead for use. They are encased in a strong plastic which should help protect them over the course of use. Included are red, yellow, blue, and purple. I found that the pages of the Bible are thicker than many Bibles but not so thick that you can substitute markers for colored pencils. I would definitely stick with the colored pencils included.

The Gift Set includes six (6) pages of black and white stickers. These are printed on paper that allows for the stickers to be colored. There are close to 40 stickers on the six sheets and they include phrases and words from scripture, plus a few pictures.

If you would like to see more about what is included, you can download a sample. You can also download and print your own color pages from some of the artwork.

one of the download pages available

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls Gift Set would make a lovely gift for any young lady. With the addition of the stickers and colored pencils, it is a wonderful way to encourage the young lady in your life to dig into God’s word and to study her Bible. This beautiful Bible will be one she is pleased to own and use.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Bible Unearthed by Drive Thru History ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Biblical archaeology can shed a lot of light on the word of God and help us understand the place in history of people and events. Drive Thru History® Adventures has been shedding light on the Bible through their videos for a while now. After the success of such series as The Gospels and Acts to Revelation (links take you to our reviews), the company realized that it would be interesting to share more about what goes on behind the scenes for Drive Thru History and feature archeaology.

We were given early access to a program series that Drive Thru History® Adventures will be releasing soon – Bible Unearthed. This program features Dr. Titus Kennedy, who is the main archaelogical researcher behind the Drive Thru History programs. Along with him, we meet Dave Stotts (of course) and Randall Niles, a writer for Drive Thru History. These three men take us through various parts of understanding the importance of archaeology and its impact on the Bible and history.

Bible Unearthed is accessed for us through the Drive Thru History® Adventures site. This curriculum site is a subscription site and requires internet access. The program is a 12 part series. Each video is supported by articles, worksheets, Bible readings, and suggested activities to help students understand the content and history. The videos run somewhere around 15 minutes each, give or take a couple of minutes. The course guide recommends each family decide how best to approach the curriculum and gives a possible schedule suggestion that covers one “adventure,” or video, per week and hits all of the included activities/readings.

The format for this series is very different from previous Drive Thru History videos, but that should be expected with a subject so very different from previous series. This is almost a relaxed discussion between 3 friends, with Dr. Kennedy taking the lead and giving the most information. As he is the archaeologist, that makes sense. He covers the following topics in the 12 part series:

  • What is Archaeology?
  • The Impact of Archaeology
  • Locating Archaeological Sites
  • The Life of an Archaeologist
  • What’s Being Discovered Today?
  • Archaeological Mysteries
  • Top Discoveries in Bible Archaeology
  • Getting Involved With Archaeology
  • Trends In Archaeology
  • Weird Archaeology
  • Accidental Discoveries in Archaeology
  • What’s Left To Be Discovered?

The focus in this series is about the impact of archaeology on understanding the ancient world, particularly the Biblical world. From the Tel Dan Stele, to the excavation of a palace of King David, to the Rosetta Stone, the connections between today and the artifacts and excavations of the ancient world bring this understanding. Each of the episodes talks about a different aspect of archaeology and touches on different people and places and artifacts. This keeps each episodes fresh and new yet ties them all together as some of the people, places, and artifacts come up over and over.

The dashboard for this course is simple to use and follow. It moves you from one episode to the next or you can cancel the auto play and utilize the different pieces of the curriculum. When you log in each time, it is easy to see where to begin, as the completed pieces have a check next to them. You can go back to whatever previous piece of the material you might be interested in. The worksheet and answer key are downloadable and printable. There are still articles being added to this course, so it is recommended to continue checking back for new additions. The articles are linked; you can click on the article title and it opens in a new tab.

one of the articles for Digging Deeper

We have found this series to be interesting and insightful. We have watched the episodes together and enjoyed them. I have read the articles and followed the curriculum myself, to add to my understanding of the information. I would certainly recommend this series to anyone wanting to learn more about archaeology, especially ancient history or biblical archaeology. It would not serve as a full high school course on its own, in my opinion, but would be easy to pair with additional resources to round out the course. (A book by Dr. Kennedy is recommended in the course guide.)

We were able to view the videos on the TV by opening the site on a smart phone and casting it to the TV. The whole family could watch then. I also watched a few of the episodes on the laptop when I was prewatching or rewatching episodes by myself or with Miss E, who is devouring the information in this series as much as I am.

Want to know more? Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews on Bible Unearthed, the soon-to-be-released series from Drive Thru History® Adventures.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Hard Times To Seek God

Habakkuk knew hard times. He knew, even more than we do, the difficulty of living among those who don’t seek God. His world makes ours look nice. Both worlds, though, need the message that Habakkuk shares from God – I am here, I know what is going on, I see you, I hear you, and I will act at the right time.

Dannah Gresh has written a heart-reaching Bible study engaging the reader with the book of Habakkuk and the life of the prophet of God. Habakkuk: Remembering God’s Faithfulness When He Seems Silent (Moody Publishers, September 2020) is an in-depth look at what was happening in the days when Habakkuk was seeking God and how he sought the Lord. He didn’t sit quietly. He was hurting, aching, and desiring for action NOW. God knew and responded. He told Habakkuk, in 1:5, “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

In this study, Dannah encourages us to do the same – look and watch for the Lord is going to act. Throughout the 6 week study, we are encouraged to follow Habakkuk 2:20 “The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Be silent and listen. Be in your watchtower, as Habakkuk was in 2:1. Seek, search, and watch.

Dannah writes about six habits of living by faith, especially in times of difficulty and trouble, that we see born out in the life of Habakkuk. These six habits are keys that help us understand God when we have a posture of hurt, a heart full of pain, and cannot see the sunrise. Dannah reminds us that this is okay and by examining the life of Habakkuk and his relationship with God, we are given an example of how to seek God when He seems silent, how to sit quietly to seek him, to look for him, to listen for him, to fear him, and to praise him. Set up in two distinct parts, the study covers How to Pray When You’re Devastated and How to Hear God Through The Hurt.

This study brings together weekly podcasts or videos (same content, available online), daily readings from God’s word, readings and discussion questions from Dannah, and in-depth Bible study. The printed study is a beautifully printed book of about 225 pages and is soft-bound. The textured cover is printed in calming purples and greens. The beautiful book guides the study along day-by-day. It is truly a peaceful and beautiful study in all aspects. I would enjoy having a answer guide for those moments when I just can’t figure out what answer is expected for a given discussion question but that is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

My personal study has been greatly enriched by going through this study. It has brought about peace when I didn’t know I was seeking it. Looking at how Habakkuk wrestled with God in the silence was touching and I know this study will help me in the future when I am struggling. I found the podcasts and videos powerful and each time I listened, I shared statements from it online with my friends because they touched me. Her personal insight and struggles have really enlightened this study and shown how God can touch those who seek Him through His word, through Bible study, and through others who love Him deeply.

I can’t say which I enjoyed more – the daily study or the podcasts. Both were enriching with this study. I greatly appreciate how deep Dannah reaches into the Bible for this study. So many Bible studies are superficial and their daily study is intended to be a few minutes. Dannah’s is not like that and is so rich that it takes about 30 minutes of daily study. And that is without spending too much time in meditation on the word of God and the ideas for the day. This is what I desire in Bible study – rich, deep, and changing. Dannah gives us just that. I am excited to see what she comes out with next because I have been changed by this study and want to have God continue to change me through more study like this.

About Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh is the bestselling author, speaker, and founder of True Girl (formerly Secret Keeper Girl), America’s most popular Christian tween event. She has authored over twenty books that have been translated into twelve languages, including And the Bride Wore White and Lies Girls Believe (co-authored with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth). Considered one of the leading experts on the subject of sexual theology and parenting tweens and teens, her resources have equipped over one million moms and leaders as they seek to raise their girls in confidence and Truth. Over 400,000 have attended her live events. Dannah is the co-host for Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Revive Our Hearts as well as a popular guest on programs like Focus on the Family and Family Life. She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and the TEDx stage. She lives on a hobby farm in State College, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bob, and over twenty animals.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

“That’s not something Jesus would say.” – Comparison Girl ~ a book review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the I READ WITH AUDRA in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Comparison Girl - a challenge to listen to Jesus and learn to _pour out_ rather than _measure up_

Right from the start, Shannon Popkin has me nailed. And probably most of us. We compare ourselves to others – all over the place, in all sorts of situations. We are listening to the wrong voice because we are under attack. Jesus would not ask us to measure ourselves against someone on this earth to decide if we are good enough, right enough, or any other kind of enough. Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up
World tackles each of us – this comparison girl – and guides us to hear a different voice. (There is a giveaway link at the end of this review to win a copy of the book.)

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Comparison Girl is a brand-new publication from Shannon Popkin, published by Kregel Publication. It is about 200 pages of Jesus-focused study. Using the Bible to help guide our thinking and understanding, we visit the words of Jesus to learn to listen to His voice. Designed as a 6-week study to be using individually or as a group study (recommended by author), there are also videos to accompany the book for those interested.

Mrs. Popkin describes learning to hear Jesus’ voice by reading what she calls his red-letter comparisons. See, as she reminds us, Jesus himself uses comparison to direct our thinking to the type of attitude that chooses to “pour out. rather than the type of attitude that constantly compares to see how we “measure up.” Looking at the red-letter comparisons Mrs. Popkin found some of these “pouring out” attitudes:

  • The greatest among us is she who serves.
  • She who exalts herself will be humbled and she who humbles herself will be exalted.
  • She who is first will be last. She who is last will be first.
  • and more

The teachings of Jesus are where we need to find our comparisons because Jesus leads our thinking to be like His thinking. And isn’t that the goal? When you know the voice of your shepherd, you follow none other. This is what Mrs. Popkin found in her studies of the red-letter comparisons of Jesus. So, she wants to direct us to hear Jesus’ voice and to recognize the lies of the hiss coming from Satan.

The analogies used are strong and really get the point across well. (in lesson 1) I especially enjoy the picture of the measuring cup. After talking a bit about how we tend to measure ourselves against others, Mrs. Popkin then has us mentally tip the cup so that you are now “pouring out.” When you are pouring from the measuring cup, the lines are no longer of any significance. We can no longer “measure up” because we are too busy “pouring out.” That image resounds well with me. And this is just one example of how practical application is woven throughout this study.

There are 6 chapters plus an introduction and a conclusion. Each chapter is designed to take a week, with five parts in each. Each part has a good bit of scripture woven in. There is a reading to start each day. Don’t skip these as they are the foundation of the thoughts for the day. Woven throughout each day’s lessons, there are many more scriptures. I pulled each one up to read and follow the thinking. Sometimes reading the greater context of the scripture, more than the single verse or part of a verse quoted, I got a greater understanding. Looking up and reading the scriptures drawn on for the lesson really does help push that lesson deeper into your heart.

The conversational tone and practical application, plus the raw revealing of the author’s own insecurities and failures in the areas she is talking about make this a very easy to read study. It draws the reader in and help you feel comfortable opening your own heart a bit and taking a look at which voice you are truly listening to. What a good study this is.

About The Author:

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 9.24.28 AMShannon Popkin is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s Word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She regularly speaks at Christian women’s events and retreats, encouraging women of all ages to put their hope in God.

Popkin is also a regular contributor for the Revive Our Hearts True Woman and Leader Connection blogs. Her articles have been published by Family FunFocus on the Family MagazineMOMsense and others. She is the author of several books, including Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the BibleInfluence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), and Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World.

Popkin and her husband, Ken, have been married for more than twenty years and live in West Michigan. They have three children—one in high school and two in college.

Connect with Shannon Popkin by visiting www.shannonpopkin.comfollowing her on Facebook (shanpopkin)Instagram (shannonpopkin), or Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 9.24.58 AM

Visit the link to enter to win a copy of Comparison Girl by Shannon Popkin, hosted by “I Read With Audra.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Keeping The Faith: A Study in Jude ~ a book review

#freeproductreceived
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through Side Door Communications for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Keeping The Faith title

Jude has been an interesting book of the Bible to me, mainly because it is so short. It is easy to skip right past it or to read it but just move right on. For precisely this reason, I was interested in using the six week study on the book of Jude titled Keeping The Faith: A Study In Jude. It is written by Lianna Davis and is published by Moody Publishers.

Keeping The Faith is a rich study of the text of Jude and how it works together with so many other passages in the word of God. Mrs. Davis helps us view the text of Jude as it weaves together in meaning and language with other things God has spoken in his Word.

Keeping The Faith is a 6 week study. Each week has an introduction and five daily studies. The introduction is meant to help us view the weekly idea and prepare our minds to focus on that in each of the daily studies. The 5 daily studies each have a narrative written by Mrs. Davis and questions designed to get the student reading and considering more deeply the ideas.

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The narratives often quote other authors, bringing together some great minds to help the student see the bigger idea and bring it together in daily life. It runs 2 or 3 pages, some a bit longer. It is a simple read most of the time, yet it prepares the reader to delve into the idea deeper with the questions.

The questions often focus on Bible passages and how they tie together. Looking up these passages is essential for proper understanding of what is being asked. The questions also require thought and self-assessment, considering the application to the individual’s life.

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Keeping The Faith focuses on “keeping.” What are you keeping, as a contender of the faith for Christ? The weekly topics are Keeping in Truth, Keeping in Grace, Keeping the Soul, Keeping the Body, and He Is Able To Keep Us. This is not a straight verse-by-verse working through of the book but rather tying the verses together through these ideas and strains that run through all 23 verses of Jude.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this study and working through it with my Bible by my side. I appreciated that aspect of it – it is necessary to have your Bible open and look up the various passages to fully gain the idea being addressed.

I do wish it has focused less on the denominational aspects. There were some truly denominational things in the book; she often referred to the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” and “Article of Affirmation and Denial.” She also asks questions worded in ways that bothered me quite a bit. These included statements such as “As a lay Christian. . . ”

I wish these were left out because we should be focusing solely on God’s word. Mrs. Davis does a fabulous job of keeping God’s word center stage for most of this study but by including these and referring to them, she causes me to question a lot more about where her information comes from and the direction she was going with things.

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Two other things that would be helpful: a different color text and I a guide of some sort to go along with the questions. The text was a light blue for the questions and difficult to read. Some of the question purposes were not clear and so I struggled to find an answer or a way to answer that made sense.

Overall, I enjoyed this study of Jude and was able to gain from it. If you are looking for something to guide you through the book of Jude, this would be a good one. Just proceed knowing that there is a denominational influence. And enjoy the study of Jude.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Venturing With God In Congo ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Venturing With God

Missionary stories are fascinating to me and to my oldest daughter. The amazing difficulties that they persevere through in order to share the word of God, the Bible, and the message of salvation with others can be very inspiring. That was the appeal of this book by Darrell Champlin. Venturing with God in Congo is a hardback book of 290 pages that shares some of the stories of the author with his family and coworkers in Congo over the course of about 10 years, before having to be evacuated due to danger from the revolution. It is published by Conjurske Publications.

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The book begins with the author talking about his childhood and adult life. Mr. Champlin discusses how he felt called to missionary work and how deeply that was taught for many of his generation. This section is followed by a similar discussion from his wife, Louise Champlin. Mrs. Champlin is the main editor of this book as it is compiled after the passing of her husband, though he wrote the stories themselves. And then, the stories begin.

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While the stories are fairly chronological, they are independent of each other. There are stories of people, places, events, and animals. They are engaging stories that really bring alive the life of people from the inland, native villages of Congo. Through these stories, the reader learns of the beautiful, tough country, the lifestyle, the living quarters, and the difficulties the missionaries and the people they taught go through day by day.

Living in stick and mud huts for several years, the family learned to live on a diet of mostly cassava leaves and flour, supplemented by a bit of meat from hunts. This meat could be anything from snake to elephant, though it is devoid of the common types of meat in an American diet. They learned to cook over small fires and do laundry in the river, while watching for animals that could be dangerous. They learned to build using what was available in the jungle.

But, the focus here is on the people. The attempts these missionaries made to live with the people of Congo in order to reach them with the gospel. And there were many successes. The beliefs that had to be overcome in order to do this were significant, as is always true in a culture that doesn’t know the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were family issues that had to be understood and worked through. But, they were able to convert many to Christ and these converts stood strong, often in the face of opposition.

One of the strongest stories to me was of a young man who had converted and was studying at their school. He was always there. Always! When he stopped arriving, they were concerned but knowing the ways of the jungle, knew he could have just been delayed. When week after week went by, they grew worried. Finally, after weeks and weeks, he arrived back at the school ready to continue learning. What they found out about him was that his father had illegally killed an elephant and was to be punished for it. The young man knew his father would not survive the punishment as jail there tended to include daily beatings. So, the young man petitioned the judge to allow him to take the punishment of his father. It was allowed. So after the time for his father was served, this young man went back to school to learn to preach God’s word. Now, if that isn’t truly taking the gospel of Jesus to heart, I don’t know what is!

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The heart of the book is what Mr. Champlin wrote above. Many stories in here serve to strengthen and encourage, but they also are just so we can know what others go through in order to serve God. It is intended to help the reader serve God more boldly. Not every one will be a missionary whose lives are in danger often but every one can be a missionary on the street where they live, with those they are in contact with. And that is why stories like this are so important.

I definitely recommend this book. I would love a better map as I like to follow the places the stories take place. I looked a couple maps up online but they don’t really use the same village names. Also, they are often post-revolution maps, so they don’t contain all the villages and places that were burnt and destroyed.

I do know that some of the stories are tough to read and might not be appropriate for a child who is sensitive to the suffering of others or who is frightened from reading stories of danger. Both of these are possibilities for the readers of these stories but that should not prevent us from reading them.

Be encouraged.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about the stories from Venturing with God in Congo.

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Psalm 95 – hymn

Psalm 95

Okay, I am honestly not sure if this counts as a hymn but it is a song that we have sung for a long time. I have taught it to just about every Bible school class I have taught because learning scripture through music is so natural for children.

Psalm 95:1-5
Come let us sing with joy to the Lord,
Let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation,
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving,
And extol Him with music and song.
For the Lord is the Great God.
The Great King above all gods.
In His hands are the depths of the earth.
The mountain peaks belong to Him,
The sea is His, He made it.
And His hands formed the dry land.

This past week, we were studying Psalm 95 at our bible study. We took a look at these verses and focused on what the instructions here are all about.

This call to worship is a direct one. Come.

Don’t wait, come.

Sing. Not just sing but sing with joy. To the Lord!

Extol Him in the process.

Because He is worthy.

He has created all that there is and that includes you and me. From the top of the top (mountains) to the deep of the deep (sea), He made it. He spoke it into being and has a purpose for it. See Genesis 1 if you want to read more on God creating all that is. It is a beautiful story that is worth reading again and again.

Psalm 95:1-5 is not a somber, plaintive call to worship. It is joyful. It is celebratory. Because we should celebrate who God is and what He has done for us. For me. For you.

And because of that, we should obey His word. Don’t delay. Read and believe. Confess your sins before men, repent, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. He tells us that when we are obedient to Him and follow these steps, He washes us white as snow, the sins are no more, and we are given the gift of eternal life with Him. What a blessing. And definitely something to sing in a joyful way.

So, today, sing joyfully to God, being obedient to His word, and sharing it with others.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Love One Another

Love one another for love is of God.

This song has been running through my head today and it is based off of I John 4:7-8. The words:

Love one another
For love is of God.
He who loves is born of God
And knows God.
He who does not love
Does not know God.
For God is love.
God is love.

In our songbook, this one is titled The Greatest Command and has three other melodies for the other voice parts to sing with some different but related words.

But I have sort of stuck on the “love one another” part.

Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Well, what are those? We find them throughout the New Testament but they often fall under one of two options:

1 – Love God.
2 – Love others.

(See Matthew 22:37-40 for one example of this.)

Love. It is a theme that we cannot ignore. Yet, it is so easy to do let it go by the wayside. By getting busy or distracted, we can easily be taken away from seeing the needs of others and stretching to meet them.

My youngest spent some time one day this week, hours really, working on a project or two. I didn’t know what she was doing but she just asked to have the art materials. So, she got the boxes and worked, and planned, and figured. And this is what she came up with:

It is an example of love to me that she thought about doing for others with her time. This sits in an area where I see it several times a day. It makes me smile but even more reminds me to serve others through acts of love.

These acts don’t have to be gigantic. They can be small. My middle daughter likes to surprise me with little notes on my pillow thanking me for something I might have done for her during the day. I try to show my husband that I love him by taking care of things he might need before he needs them, such as clean uniforms for work or getting his food bag packed for work, making his bread for sandwiches or picking things up so he won’t trip on them when he comes home in the dark from work. I can write notes to someone who made me smile or who is having a hard time. Small acts matter.

I encourage you to find small acts of love that will encourage others each day. Big gestures are great – being one of the greeters at the church building where you worship so visitors will feel welcomed, taking a meal to someone in need, or giving extra to a specific need such as sending to a missionary who has a particular project. But sometimes, the small acts of love make a bigger impact so don’t forget them.

What are you planning to do today to love one another?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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