Today’s song is one that has just been running through my head for weeks now. We taught it to our girls long ago and At Home Dad has known it since he was a child. This song is found on a CD (used to be a record!) of The Music Machine. Published by Agapeland Music, we have played this over and over for the girls since they were tiny. They have always enjoyed the songs about the Fruit of the Spirit and this is one that has just really stuck.
It is based on Hebrews 11:6 –
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
It is actually almost word for word, depending on the translation you are looking at. It doesn’t quite line up with the NIV (above) and is not quite the same as the KJV. Either way, it is a wonderful song for helping get this verse into our minds.
Enjoy the verse! And you can check out the rest of the Music Machine songs. Maybe one will fit a verse you are trying to learn or just be something your children enjoy listening to.
Books that get their start from a person or idea in the Bible can be a unique way to imagine what things might have been like during that time. The Heart Changer is one such book. Written by Jarm Del Boccio, Author (who is also a SchoolhouseTeachers.com teacher), the story imagines what life would have been like for the people mentioned in II Kings 5. This is what most people know as the story of Naaman and the healing of his leprosy.
It is a good idea to start by reading the Bible story so that you are familiar with the history before beginning this fictional recounting. The author has done a good job of keeping the details of the setting and time as accurate as possible but it is still an imagining of people and places. Historical fiction such as this does a wonderful job of helping the reader understand much more about the time and people, while still keeping the history as accurate as possible. Since the story in II Kings 5 is not highly detailed, it allowed Jarm Del Boccio, Author, to image parts that don’t affect the Biblical integrity of the story.
The story begin with a young girl named Miriam, the name chosen for the servant girl in II Kings 5. Her village is being invaded and she is captured. She is given as a gift to the commander, Naaman, who was wanting a young girl to assist his wife. She is taken to Syria where she is to serve. She struggles with some of the other servants who resent her presence. She remembers the loving training her mother gave her and treats everyone with kindness, even when they are doing less than that for her.
Eventually, she settles into the home. One day, she overhears that the commander is dealing with leprosy. She tells her mistress that there is a prophet in her home country that could help; the Lord could heal him. They eventually listen to her and travel back to her home town. After a time, Naaman is able to see Elisha and get the prophet’s instruction. He is upset that it is a menial act in a dirty river. He is convinced by his servants that he would do it if it were a much greater thing so why not do this simple thing. Naaman does and is healed. The story ends pretty quickly after that, with a little bit of wrapping up of Miriam’s story.
This is an interesting way to look at the history from the Bible, though it is important to recognize how much of it is imagined. The story is an enjoyable read and is appropriate for upper elementary through struggling high school readers. Addressing issues of loss, hurt, and forgiveness, this is a story that many readers will enjoy.
On The Heart Changer website, you can access a teacher’s guide by clicking on the white box that says “Teacher’s Guide.” The guide has a wonderful interview with the author, providing insight into the appeal of the story and how it came about. There is a section on getting to know Miriam with some information about who she was imagined to be and then asking the reader to consider some questions and ideas about Miriam.
There is a section on names and their importance, asking the student to consider different names from the story and from the Bible.
There is also a section on researching time and place. This is a helpful bit if a research paper is going to be written.
Also included are a few questions about the heart, a couple of Syrian recipes, and a page for notes. The guide is simple but effective in helping students dig deeper into the ideas and themes of the story, as well as applying those to their own lives.
Miss E’s thoughts: (age 15)
I really liked the idea of this story, the setting of Naaman’s leprosy and finding out who the servant girl might be. It is a great idea and I was really looking forward to reading this. However, I was a bit disappointed. It was missing a rich character development and there were too many secondary characters that had no significant purpose in the story.
I also wanted to get to the actual Bible story and see how it was portrayed. The Bible story part felt really short. I know that in the Bible it was only a few verses, so there was not tons of material to go off of. Still, I expected that to be featured more prominently.
This was a good fiction book, without enough basis to call it historical fiction. It was a little young for me, but for a younger reader, or a delayed reader it would be excellent. I think that it would also be a good fictional resource for introducing the Bible story of Naaman’s leprosy.
I don’t think that I had ever read a book set directly in a Bible story. I’ve read a few set right before or right after, and they were really good. With only this book to base off of, I don’t know which I prefer, but I don’t think that I will be completely closed to reading another book like this one.
Lori, At Home.
Be sure to click the image below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew and read more reviews of The Heart Changer from other families.
The girls put up some bulletin boards to go along with the Vacation Bible School theme this year so I thought I would share those with you. They are also working towards the year-round bulletin board program with Lads to Leaders.
Our VBS theme was Trails of Faith and the main focus was on Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
One of the wonderful times in education is when a light bulb goes off, a concept is understood, and things comes to life. Drive Thru History® is a company that does this well; they bring history to life. Utilizing video, history, geography, archaeology, artwork, computer graphics, and in depth research and commentary, the Bible comes to life in their newest DVD release – Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”: The World of the First Christians.
Drive Thru History® is not new to the scene. They have been around for a while, bringing us through ancient history, American History, historical Bible lands, and the Gospels. You have likely read a couple of our reviews for some of their other products, including The Gospels and their online curriculum site Drive Thru History Adventures. This is one more product in their line that helps us see and understand history.
Acts to Revelation is an 18 part mini-series. Dave Stotts is the on camera personality, and boy does he have one. He keeps things interesting with his quirky sense of humor. His witty commentary combined with the video is fast-paced and intriguing. Through it all, he brings the word of God, the Bible, to life. In this series, he travels throughout the Mediterranean region to show us the places and sites of the Bible, particularly Acts to Revelation. He visits the places where churches spread the Christian faith and influenced history.
Using the book of Acts as his road map, David visits places such as Ephesus, Corinth, Berea, Philippi, Jerusalem and finally, Rome. These are the places Paul and his companions visited during his three missionary routes. Traveling the paths of Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Luke, Timothy, and others as they visited churches and encouraged new followers of The Way shows us much about the way these men would have traveled and the people would have lived, including the challenges and dangers they faced. We visit the place where Demetrius the silversmith and his fellow craftsmen took Paul to put him on trial in Ephesus and to Philipi where Paul and his fellow missionaries met and taught Lydia, baptizing her and her family. The episodes take us all the way from Israel and the close of the Gospel accounts of Jesus through to the isle of Patmos and John writing about the seven churches in Revelation.
Acts to Revelation uses archaeological sites, historical accounts, and geography to illustrate the Bible and to show the accuracy of God’s Word. These visits along with quotes from primary source documents, such as the Bible and the history written by Josephus, help us understand more about the life and times of the early Christians. We get to walk the way the disciples and early Christians did as the Good News of Jesus spread far and wide. This is a beautiful thing because the more we understand the Bible, the better we know God.
The outside of the study guide.
The inside cover of the study guide with two of the discs. The third is on the back cover of the guide.
The three discs arrived in a nice hard-back booklet style DVD case. There are three separate places for the DVDs, which is nice so they aren’t stacked and getting scratched. This case includes a full-color, glossy paged study guide that contains over 115 pages right in the case. There are six pages for each episode. For each episode there is a beautiful two-page picture related to the episode, a summary of the episode, a “side road” informational paragraph that covers an interesting place or person from the episode, a quote from the Bible, a few questions, and some additional readings from the Bible that will illuminate even further what is shown in the episode. This study guide also includes answers for the questions in each episode.
There are many ways Acts to Revelation can be viewed. As a family, we are watching one episode each morning to start our school day and are most of the way finished. We watch the video, use the study guide to ask a few questions, and then read the passages from the Bible that are suggested. This gets us through the series in about a month, as we have a four day school week. It is possible to use this as a personal Bible study, taking notes about personal thoughts related to the episode and then reading the suggested passages.
We also have used a portion of one episode for a small group Bible study that included children, knowing the video aspect would really bring alive the study. In that episode, Dave visited a grotto that the ancients believed to be the entrance to the underworld. He tied it in with Paul’s visit and preaching and it was a startling way to really bring into focus on how the people would have viewed Paul’s teachings. This was a great example and did just what was expected – it pulled the children right into God’s word. We were contacted by one of the children’s mother later to get the information on where to order the DVDs because her five year old son had not stopped talking about it. He gained a lot of understanding and he is five!
We are thankful to have access to powerful teaching tools such as Drive Thru History® and the series Acts to Revelation. It brings to life places that we are not able to travel to and helps us all relate more to the life and struggles of the first century Christians who believed in spite of all of the dangers and challenges they faced. What an encouragement to us today.
Lori, At Home.
Visit the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking on the link below so that you can read more reviews from other families who have been viewing Drive Thru History®‘s Acts to Revelation series for the past few weeks.
This is a bit late because I spent this weekend with the youth from our church, listening to classes, thinking about, and considering the topic of “Unashamed” at the Challenge Youth Conference.
What do you think about what you first see that word? Unashamed
I certainly don’t associate it with a discussion about faith.
But y’all – I was challenged this weekend. Challenged by many thoughts and ideas presented, and by the discussions we had with the young ladies we were chaperoning.
Some of the thoughts I wrote down, I would like to share with you. I will credit the men who I am quoting but please do realize that these were all in a much larger context and setting. They all have to do with the idea of being “unashamed” in your faith.
Wes McAdams in discussing being Unashamed to Confess.
Whose “with-ness” do you value most?
Admitting to being “with” Jesus WILL put you at odds with people.
Every time God stated to not fear, it is because He is with the person being told that.
Fear often keeps us from stating who we are “with” because we don’t want to be alone. But we are NEVER along. God is always with us. Do Not Fear!
Don’t let who you sit with means more to you than how much God loves you.
Let your heart be saturated with God’s love.
Lonnie Jones and Ben Hayes in a discussion and Q&A about ministry with teens and the larger body of Christ.
Emotions and thinking don’t often play well together.
Love is not staring at someone eye to eye; it is standing shoulder to shoulder with someone and looking forward together.
Emotions are information, not instructions. Understanding that difference really helps in being able to communicate during difficult times.
Students need to have these 3 perceptions about themselves.
I am capable.
I am significant.
I can affect the outcome.
With those three perceptions, they learn four important skills.
systemic (more of you than me, group dynamics)
judgmental (decision making based on values, not peers)
Consider the importance of the ministry of presence, just being there.
The Lord’s Church is an organism, not an organization.
Students need to be taught the whole Bible, the big picture. Without that, they cannot learn how to apply it to their life or to talk with others about it. (Facts, concept, application)
Travis Bookout in talking about Unashamed to Wash Feet.
Pride is a cancer that kills your relationship with God.
Sometimes, kind things don’t change people. Judas betray Jesus with clean feet.
Only the cleansing Jesus offered can clean. Judas walked out of that upper room with clean feet but he himself was not clean.
Greatness can be accomplished with ordinary means.
Accept kindness with gratitude and allow it to change you. Then turn and share it.
Ben Hayes on Unashamed to Stand Before a Pagan God.
Battles & blessings & battles & blessings & battles & blessings . . . a constant cycle that we will undergo. Ex – Philippians 4:11-13
The time to make a decision about how you will stand and who you will stand with is not in the midst of a difficult situation. You have to have made that decision long before.
When we trust God in all the little things in our lives, it becomes easier to trust God with the big things when they come our way.
Trust in God; ignore the ungodly; offer yourself as a living sacrifice; impact those around you – seen in Daniel 3 (Nebuchadnezzar’s observation) and John 14
Trust leads to the ability to ignore the outside voices and the ungodly. Ignoring leads you to being willing and able to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God’s will. Being that living sacrifice is how you impact the world.
David Shannon spoke on Unashamed to Own My Lord.
There are two places of existence – In Christ or in the world.
Joseph of Arimathea had to take a stand and it likely cost him everything. He probably struggled with that stand for a long while. But when it came down to when it mattered, he stood with Jesus.
Courage is when your trust in the Lord is greater than the fear you face.
Lonnie Jones with the idea of Unashamed to Confront Our Brethren When Living Faithless Lives.
If being God’s child is not enough for you, nothing will make you happy.
Numbers 14 is a verse of great power “If the Lord delights in us. . .” – God does delight in us so why do we doubt or fear His power?
It is not us against them; it is God against them. We just have to stand with God.
When you feel insecure or ashamed, it is because you have forgotten that you are being carried on your father’s back. Deut 1:21
We don’t have a bigger impact on the world because we don’t take it.
Being ashamed is just unbelief wrapped in a different name.
Shame and disbelief belong together.
Faith and unashamed are together.
Y’all, this is just what I had time to write in my notes and process. I am hoping we can get a hold of recordings of these sessions because they were packed with so much! I know that as an adult I gained a lot by attending Challenge Youth Conference 2019 (CYC). I hope the teens all gained as much as I did.
Of course, through it all ran the theme of unashamed. Which brought this hymn to mind often this weekend. Click the title to listen to it at Great Songs Chapel.
Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is just that – a devotional book created just for those young ladies who are going through their pre-teen and teenage years, as they strive to grow into women of integrity, women of God. Published by the well-known company Zondervan, this is a lovely book that will visually appeal to just about any young lady.
Hardbacked with a foil-enhanced image of flowers on the front, this is a comfortable size. It is not a heavy book, even with the number of pages it contains to have one page per day of the year. The ribbon bookmark is secured in the binding and matches the lovely flowers just perfectly.
Each page has a motif that matches the cover, only without the foil enhancements. The day is a fancy font and it is a day (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) rather than a date (January 1, January 2, etc.) so that this devotional series can be picked up and begun at any time of the year. The Bible verse for the day is printed in pink (which is a tad hard to read for these old eyes) but complements the colors perfectly. The devotion thought is printed in black, making it stand out well. The end of the page has four lines for whatever the young lady would like to use it for: journaling, doodling, adding reference verses, etc. It is a visually beautiful book.
Let’s talk a bit about each devotion. As I mentioned there is a scripture followed by a few short paragraphs regarding something from the verse. These are fairly simple, without any challenging language or difficult sentence structures. Each devotion takes less than 10 minutes to read, think about, and discuss. My oldest would do each in about five minutes, which is a bit short for devotion times, in my opinion. Most of the devotions end with a real-life application of some sort, such a failing a test, dealing with someone who is unkind, or being afraid. Some of the devotions end with a challenge of some kind, such as the devotion regarding Naboth being killed by Jezebel that challenges the girls to not feel overwhelmed but to pick ONE thing and try to do it. (Day 264)
One thing I really like about this set of devotions is the number of women that are discussed. Your normal heroines are most decidedly included – Ruth, Esther, Mary, Naomi, Hannah and Sarah. However, there are some not so commonly thought about women included as well and that makes this an over-the-top good book, because even bad women can be good examples (of what not to be). Take Jezebel, Hagar, and the mother of Jephthah (the book uses her to reinforce that God can use any circumstance for His plan). While these women might not be ones that you would think of to say “be like her”, you definitely can use their lives to discuss what TO be and that is what this devotion does. Other women in this study include Zelophehad’s daughters, Manoah’s wife, Caleb’s daughter Aksah, and the woman Jesus healed from 12 years of bleeding. There are many, many role models here.
Our Use As A Family – We used this devotion book daily as part of our morning time. I would read the verse from the book and then the devotional thoughts. We would discuss the things that the girls caught in the reading and then address any thoughts or questions they would have. We would do 2 or 3 of these each day. An example of some of the discussion we had involved Noah and his family. The girls wondered about other family members that would not have been on the ark – any other children, any daughters, his wife’s family, his daughters-in-law’s families, any grandchildren. It sparked some interesting thoughts and ideas. We pulled out the Bible to read more of the account and discuss what it really entailed for Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law to be on that boat. Heartache must have been a part of it yet these women were there.
Another family discussion we had was in regards to Hagar and Sarai. We talked about trying to take control of something away from God and how difficult it can be to wait on the Lord’s time. We also talked about how in the process of taking control of the situation, something came between Hagar and Sarai. So we talked some more about friendships and how to mend hurts. Day 23 talks about Hagar being ugly to Sarai after Hagar became pregnant and how that affects both of them.
Our Use As A Mother-Daughter Time – Miss J and I were also reading this at our bed time readings. We had the book of Charlotte’s Web going so we just added a couple of these devotions to our time together each night. It was easy and only added a few minutes but it added a lot in terms of discussions and bonding. Miss J always had a comment to make about the reading (contrary to what it looks like with her quote below!). She often asked to read the passage from the Bible or to continue telling the story from the Bible. Some days, when she didn’t have much to say we might read three of the devotions. Other days, we would only get through one. This time allowed me to tailor the thoughts a bit more to her 9-almost-10-year-old-thinking. And it worked well.
A Heads-Up! Day 237 is a discussion of sex. No anatomy discussion or anything like that but it does talk a bit about the difference between martial relationships and extra-marital ones. The context is David and Bathsheba. For some this might be a deal breaker; for others, they just want the heads-up. So here it is. . . I have not read every single devotion so I cannot tell you for sure if there are other days that may have topics your young lady is not ready for.
The recommended age for this is 13-18. Middle school and high school girls could easily use this independently but I think it is appropriate for younger girls as well, just pre-read if you are concerned about content.
Thoughts from Miss E: I think this is a really good book but I would enjoy it more if the devotions were a little bit longer. It felt like there wasn’t enough space for there to be a fully-formed thought on some of them. It felt like it didn’t go deep enough to really be a devotional and I would enjoy it more like that. Also, I like the fact that they included lots of lessons on good role models. Ruth and Naomi had a number of lessons each. Even though Ruth only has 4 chapter in the Bible, the devotions captured different characteristics of each woman and had a single devotion for each of those characteristics. I really liked that. I would really like to have seen this include an index that grouped the devotions by topic such as getting married, choosing your career, handling disappointment, and others. That would make this useful in more ways.
Thoughts from Miss L: The ones we have done as a family have been good. I have enjoyed them. It doesn’t take a long time for each devo to get to the point so each one doesn’t take a long time.
Thoughts from Miss J: I liked it. The flowers were very pretty. It was nice to read together.
Sometimes, we need a different approach to our daily time in God’s word. Beloved: 365 devotions for young women from Zondervan is just that – geared specifically to preteen and teen girls who are learning what God’s will is for their lives.
Beloved is a beautiful hardback book. The cover is just lovely with pink metallic flowers and lettering that shimmers in the light. At just over 5″ x 7″, it fits comfortably in hand while reading. The pages are beautiful, as well, continuing the lovely flower motif from the cover through the entire book on each page.
Each devotion is just a single page, so it doesn’t require a long time to read through the scripture and accompanying thought. The page has the day, the scripture printed, a few paragraphs on the scripture and four lines at the bottom to journal your own thoughts, if interested. There is also a matching satin ribbon that is bound into the book to mark your place.
Finding Godly role models is a wonderful things and this lovely book highlights many of them – from women we recognize such as Mary, Elizabeth, Ruth and Naomi to many we don’t think of immediately such as Zelophehad’s daughters, Manoah’s wife, and Caleb’s daughter Aksah.
My girls have found this to be a beautiful book and were interested in sitting down with it right away. We are going to be using this as part of our morning devotions as a family. As we take a look at different women in the Bible and how they related to God, they will hopefully find much encouragement to grow into the women God has created them to be.