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Love, Wisdom, and Boat Building

Love, Wisdom, and Boat Building

 

by Nicci Medina

Often times when there is a battle to be won, a race to be run, or a job to be done, a charge is given. I’d like to encourage all of you fellow mothers with the charge to walk by faith as you seek to raise your children in a God-honoring way, with the hope that they will place their faith in the finished work of Christ for their salvation.

Our Struggle

So often, especially as homeschool moms, we believe that if we just love our children enough or if we are wise enough to find just the right discipline protocols or just the right curriculum, that our children will turn out good and noble.  We are duped into believing it is all up to us, as if it all depended on our love and our wisdom.  Think about this with me for a moment, whether or not our wisdom or our love are able to lead our children in the right way, into the kingdom of God.  Let’s take a look at two examples in the bible who showed much wisdom and much love.

God gave King Solomon great wisdom, so much that he has often been touted as the wisest man ever. But despite all of Solomon’s wisdom, his son still turned out to be a wicked man. Indeed, Solomon himself fell into great sin.  His life is a good reminder for us that wisdom will not save us, save our children or keep anyone from sin. Surely if it could, it would have with Solomon and with his son. Solomon was a great failure in this.  Some might answer to this that he had the wisdom of angels, yet had not love?  One might argue that Solomon had the kind of knowledge that puffs up, and not enough of the love that builds up?

His father, David, however, did have this kind of love, a great love for his heavenly father.  So much love for God, that he was even called a man after God’s own heart.  He was forgiven much, therefore he loved much.  Surely this kind of love would produce a Godly child?  Yet, many would say, David also, failed to produce godly heirs.  Some would argue that the problem was in Solomon’s and David’s lives; that their actions didn’t match up with their words:  Solomon knew not to give his heart to women, yet did it. David had great love for the Lord, yet in his work of adultery, he loved his own desires more that he loved his God.

Yet, do we not all profess to know and to love the Lord, yet in our day to day failures and sins, we also deny him?  What hope then is there, for us and for our children?

Our Only Hope

Only in the cross of Christ, can we find our hope.  Remember for a moment with me, that glorious gospel that declares to us that a sinner can be made right with God, only through believing in Christ’s righteousness and Christs sacrifice on our behalf.  That glorious gospel that reminds us that we are made right with God only by realizing how wretched we are and that none of our good works will get us into heaven.  That same glorious gospel that announces to the world that a great exchange has taken place, in which Christ traded His right standing with God for our sinfulness.  He bore the consequences of our sin, so that we might become right with God.

Only in this cross of Christ, can we find any kind of hope.   Even as Christians, we wretchedly fail to know God and His Wisdom as we ought and we miserably fail to love Him as we ought. If we are hoping that our wisdom or our love will lead our children down the right path, we are mistaken.

So what are we to hope in?  Only in the cross of Christ and in the mercy of our Lord to bring our children to that same cross.   Does that mean that we don’t do anything, just sit idly by, hoping and praying that the Lord will save our children?  No, of course not.  Yes, we pray, remembering the Lord’s precious promises about prayer, but we also walk by faith.  Let me share a picture with you of walking by faith as it relates to raising children.

Faithfulness

Hebrews 11 talks about those who have gone before us, walking in faith. Verse 7, says, “By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Are we not, as mothers, also like Noah, building an ark to save our children?  Just like Noah, we have been warned of things not seen, of the impending judgment of all sinners in hell. The ark that we are building is the fear and admonition of the Lord, the very words of scriptures which are able to save our children’s souls.  Just as the Lord caused the animals to come into the ark, so it is up to Him to bring our children into His saving grace, but it is up to us, especially in our roles as mothers, to be obedient; to build the ark, which is the foundation of Godly fear and a life built around the truths of the scriptures.

In this building of the ark, this walk of faith, two things stand out.   They are the teaching and the obeying of the scriptures.

2nd Timothy 3:15-17 says, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”. I know, that as a Christian mother, your ambition is for your children to become complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. That will only come through the sovereign work of God, most often working through the scriptures.  It is my prayer that we will bank on the sufficiency of scripture, as we seek to raise our children up to be equipped for all that God has called them to do.

So the first part of this walk of faith in raising sons is in the teaching and training in the scriptures. The 2nd part is found in the obedience to the mandates of scripture in our own lives. Titus 2:3-5 talks about the older women admonishing the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” This clues us in that by not loving our husbands, loving our children, being discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to our own husbands; that by not obeying in these areas, we blasphemy the word of God. This chapter goes on to talk about how other groups in the church, the young men and bond servants, are to live. It finishes by saying that they may live this way in order to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” Let us also then, as mothers, adorn the teachings of scripture with our own obedience to them. To adorn, means to accent, to make them look attractive.  Just like a necklace or earrings would adorn a woman’s face, so also our obedience to the teachings of scriptures, specifically as they relate to a woman’s roles, will adorn the teachings of Christ, making them attractive.  Conversely, disobedience in these areas, may cause others, especially our children to disdain the word.

Let us then walk wisely, giving forethought to all the ways we spend our time, because the days are evil. If we teach the word to our children, but do not obey it ourselves, we will blasphemy this very word which will bring disastrous results into our children’s lives. So two important parts to this walk of faith; training our children in the scriptures and being careful ourselves to obey its teachings.

And of course, neither of these will be possible without prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. We will fail when we try to walk in our own strength.  And on those days that we do fail, we have an advocate, Jesus Christ, who is always interceding at the throne of grace for us.

May the Lord enable all of us to run with endurance this race of motherhood that is set before us, as we look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Might He help us to not become weary while doing good, because at the proper time, we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. His strength, His harvest, His timing. Let us plead with Him, to bring all of our sons and daughters out of darkness and into His marvelous light, that they might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those of us sanctified by faith in His Son. Join me in thanking Him for the privilege we are given to be with our children, teaching them His truths so that from childhood they will know the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make them wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Might the Lord enable all of us to line up every aspect of our lives in obedience to His word, that we might adorn the word of God, making it attractive to our sons and that, ultimately, we would see another child brought into His Kingdom. And in the end we will praise His glorious grace for giving us the faith to walk in obedience to Him, building that ark; that foundation of Godly fear and a life built around the scriptures.

Let’s Pray:

Oh, Lord let us not trust in anything, except the cross, and let us cry out night and day, that you would save and sanctify our children, making them into all that you desire them to be.

Let us remember what a miracle it is that we are saved.

Let us remember your precious promises about prayer and let us spend ourselves, laboring in our prayers, that you would move your mighty arm.

Let us not be deceived and blinded, thereby spending our time, entertaining ourselves with the things of this world.

Instead, let us spend our time, walking by faith, building that foundation, while crying out to you on their behalf.

Oh Lord, save our children from their own sinful hearts and from the wrath to come on all who don’t believe, so “that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

Dennis Gundersen No Comments

Our Only Hope in Life and Death | New City Catechism Review

The New City Catechism book cover

Our Only Hope in Life and Death

“What is our only hope in life and death?” I ask.

“That we are not our own, but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ” comes the resounding reply.

It sounds like music to my ears, as I breathe a quick, silent prayer that God himself with infuse this truth into my children’s hearts as I seek to infuse it into their young minds. “How and why did God create us?” I press.

They reply from memory, “God created us male and female in his own image to know him, love him, live with him and glorify him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to his glory.”

“Yes!” I exclaim, again silently asking the Lord to water these seeds of truth that have been planted, knowing that all-to-soon the enemy will come knocking with his own brand of truth to supplant into their minds and hearts.

Learning Truth

I’ve heard it said that the only way to tell a counterfeit bill is by studying the real thing. Likewise, in order to equip our children to discern truth from lies, we must help them study the truth. When it comes to math, we see to it that our children learn to add and subtract, but we don’t stop there. We don’t leave them in their rudimentary math knowledge, hoping they will be able to figure it out on their own. We add to that, the skill of multiplying and dividing and we drill them with flashcards, making sure they have these things memorized so they may move on to Algebra and Geometry and perhaps Calculus and Statistics.

All too often though, in regards to spiritual matters, we leave our kids with only the rudimentary knowledge. Some of us tell our children that Jesus died on the cross for them and have read them a few bible stories such as David and Goliath and given them a list of what good Christians should and should not do. We may take them to Sunday school and Church, thinking that from these, they will be fully equipped. Some of us will, hopefully, take it a step further and actually read the bible to our children on a daily basis. This is a blessed and needful thing! Yet, many have either forgotten or perhaps have never considered taking it a step further.

The Importance of Memorization

To actually study and memorize key biblical truths is an often missed, but necessary step in equipping our children with the needed lens to filter through the enemy’s lies that they will surely be bombarded with soon.

One way to do this is through the use of something called a catechism. A catechism is simply a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers used for the instruction of Christians or as J.I. Packer puts it, “The growing of God’s people in the gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty, and delight.”

Although the use of the catechism flourished in the 2nd and the 5th centuries of the ancient church, it floundered, along with much other truth during the dark ages. With the revival of truth in the time of the Reformation and the invention of the printing press, Luther, Calvin, and many other reformers brought the catechism back into use, both in the church and in the homes.

The use of catechisms to teach children and new believers waxed and waned in the years that followed and has steadily declined since the time of Spurgeon, who said, “I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times.”

Looking around at the so-called truth being dished out and so readily believed in our times, I can’t help but think that Spurgeon may have been on to something and that we may want to now, in our own times, heed his advice.

The New City Catechism

A few years ago, our family started using “The New City Catechism,” published by Crossway. It contains 52 questions and answers related to God, human nature, sin, Christ, the Holy Spirit and more, along with scripture references. I started using this catechism with my three boys when they were about 6, 8 and 13 years old. We had previously used a different catechism with my older kids, but I liked the fact that this one had both the long and the shorter versions of the answers. I had planned to memorize 1 new question and answer each week with the older child being responsible to memorize the longer version of the answer and the younger two to memorize the shorter answer.

Catechism in Our Family

Of course, things don’t always go as planned, so we did not finish in a year. My younger two decided they wanted to memorize the longer ones that their brother was doing, so we slowed down the pace and have all been memorizing the longer answers together. Once we had a question memorized we would make sure to review it weekly, in much the same way that one would drill children with their multiplication tables. Although my kids have done great with the memorizing, I’m wishing we would have gone about it a bit differently.

Because there are 52 questions and answers and the longer answers can get a bit wordy, my younger child has had a harder time recalling the answer without out a bit of prompting of the first few words.

In retrospect, I wish I would have first taken them all through the shorter answers, until they could answer quickly, from rote memory. Then we could’ve gone back through to learn the longer answers. In fact, I am considering going back through to do just that; to learn the shorter answers and be able to answer them quickly, then go back and pick up where we were with the longer answers.

Either way, I am very grateful to have started this with my children and am thrilled when something comes up in conversation and the boys are able to use the things they have learned in these catechisms to decipher the truth. We have studied and memorized much truth through these catechisms and when Satan has come knocking with his convincing lies, I have often seen my boys compare them to the light of these truths and have determined Satan’s brand of truth to be counterfeit. And for that I am grateful.

Written by Nicole Medina | Grace & Truth Books

 

Resource mentioned in this article: The New City Catechism

Throughout the history of the church, Christians have used catechisms—collections of questions and answers designed for memorization and recitation—to teach others the core doctrines of the faith. The New City Catechism is a modern-day resource aimed at reintroducing this ancient method of teaching to Christians today.

This short book lays out 52 questions and answers related to God, human nature, sin, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and more. Whether used devotionally, recited orally, or memorized over the course of a year, families, churches, small groups, and Christian schools will treasure this as a valuable tool for teaching the core doctrines of the Christian faith to children and adults alike.

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Teach Like Paul

Teach Like Paul

 

When the Apostle Paul was in Athens, Greece, he was surrounded by people who loved to tell or hear new things. The people of Greece surrounded themselves with false gods, but “to be safe” they added an altar for the “Unknown God.”

When Paul saw that they were receptive to listening to him, he started teaching Jesus and the resurrection. After listening to Paul, the Greek leaders were interested, but not really buying what he was selling.

The Greeks were concerned about bringing order to the universe through facts, math, music, and philosophy. They wanted evidence, not faith. {Which is interesting considering the gods and goddesses they worshipped!}

Many children today have no concept that there is an almighty God who loves them. In fact, they don’t even know if God is real. Or if they know He is real, they have a skewed vision of who God is.

In a world of air-brushed pictures, double-tongued politics, and a self-righteous church, it is no wonder that children have a false idea of God, Jesus, and Christianity.

Like the Greeks, our young people are surrounded by idols. These idols are loud and distract our children, and even us, to the point that we do not know what is real, or not real. {Just think of the info that runs across your Facebook feed!}

What do we do about it?

Teach them the Truth about Jesus and the resurrection.

There are more, but I see three main idols our kids face today. And they need Truth to battle them.

The Idol of Materialism

Whether it’s a “Gimme, gimme, gimme,” mentality, or an entitlement way of thinking, our kids battle a world where STUFF is everywhere.

Commercials, billboards, Facebook ads, etc. are everywhere telling our kids what they think they need. And if they don’t get what they think they need, then their friends at school will show them that they aren’t as “good” as they are.

How do we deal with the growing mountain of objects as well as a materialistic attitude?

The Idol of Government

In recent months, the United States has seen crazy things with the government. People are crying foul and others are in protest of those protesting. Attitudes and emotions have been at an all-time high. What do we tell our kids about what is happening?

The government, while great for organizing people and leading a nation, cannot save the people of that nation.

Yet how do we get our kids to understand the purpose of government, our part in it, and the church?

The Idol of Self

“Have it your way!”
“I’m loving it!”
“It’s everywhere you want to be!”
“Melts in your mouth, not in your hands!”
“Because you’re worth it!” and
Reebok’s, “I am what I am.”

All of these famous slogans have us looking at what is best for Self.

Whatever feels good, go do it. Say whatever you want, we have freedom of speech. Do whatever you want, it doesn’t matter who you hurt in the process.

With our sin nature, we don’t need anyone telling us to look out for Number One. It’s a part of who we are.

However, on top of fleshly desires, we are inundated with lies about who we are: either inflated or deflated. And neither is godly.

What now? How do we battle this?

Just like Paul did: by teaching Jesus.

In my book Walk This Way: Ethics and Sanctification Lesson for Kids, I created fun, engaging lessons that help parents and church leaders have discussions about topics that can be confusing for children. Whether you teach children in your home or at church, this book can greatly enhance the spiritual lives of those you teach.

These lessons include Dealing with Temptation, Boasting, Cheating, Being a Friend, and more. All of the topics of the book correspond with Christian Ethics of which we want our children to grab hold. We want our children to choose a Christian Worldview, but that won’t happen if we aren’t teaching salvation in Jesus first.

Our children need to know the Big “G” God in a world that consistently shouts out little “g” gods. If we can teach our children in a manner that they choose to let Jesus be Lord of their lives…then, and only then, will they choose to walk in the ways of godliness.

Let’s teach like Paul. Will you join me?

 

Anne Marie Gosnell has a Masters in Education with a focus on developing curriculum and instruction. Her life journey includes over 25 years in Children’s Ministry: Sunday School, Puppetry, Vacation Bible School, Children’s Church, Awana, and various outreach ministries. She is the founder of www.futureflyingsaucers.com where she shares creative, engaging Bible Object Lessons so parents and teachers can share Jesus with confidence. She is also the owner of the Facebook Group Bible Lessons for Kids.

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Walk This Way Anne Marie Gosnell

Walk This Way

Ethics and Sanctification Lessons for Kids

Walk This Way: Ethics and Sanctification Lessons for Kids includes 20 interactive Bible object lessons that create a fun learning atmosphere while teaching Biblical truth that enhances spiritual growth. Perfect for Sunday School, Awana, small groups, and other Children’s Ministry activities.

In this book you will discover:

  • How to define a godly lifestyle so kids gain understanding.
  • Twenty lessons for children in grades K-6 to be used at home or church.
  • Engaging dialogue that gets kids thinking critically about life topics.
  • Tips and retrospectives that help you improve your teaching skills.

It’s time to Engage our children using Bible Lessons that Enhance spiritual growth and Expand the kingdom!

Lessons included: 

  • Accepting Advice and Instruction
  • Encouraging Courteous Behavior
  • Dealing With Temptation
  • How to Handle Boasting
  • Being a Best Friend
  • Why Do We Need to Be Godly Anyway?
  • How to Deal with Cheating
  • Choose to be a Peacemaker
  • How to Lead a Child to Christ
  • Green with Jealousy and Envy
  • How Sneaky is Manipulation?
  • And MORE!

Endorsements

WOW! That is all I can say! This is a book I have kept on my desk for the past month because it is FULL of great material! Anne Marie takes some ofthe most difficult topics and makes them approachable for EVERY teacher/parent. In a world that is shouting at our children that whatever they FEEL is right – then that is right…Anne Marie helps you pass on scriptural principles in a way that helps children follow GOD’S plan for their lives. ~ Brian Dollar (Talk Now and Later)

This is a great resource for in the home and in Children’s Ministry. Each chapter is made up of a Bible lesson, Object Lesson, and Life Application. The content is good and it even though some of these topics aren’t commonly addressed in Children’s Ministry, Anne Marie presents them in a way that is both teacher-friendly and easy for students to understand. I love that you can go to her website for even more resources that coordinate with the book. ~ Lindsey Whitney (Top 50 Instant Bible Lessons for Elementary)

Who said quality, impactful teaching had to be difficult? One of the most effective ways to help children understand abstract spiritual concepts is to link them to a concrete physical object or experience. This book helps you do both! Its a super collection of some of the timeless truths kids need, but presented in a way that makes learning engaging and fun! There are even downloadable resources to add to the content of the book. I highly recommend this book, especially for those times that you need a 20-30 minute lesson outside of normal curriculum-based programs.(Wed night, Sunday evening, special event child care, etc.) The kids will go home talked about what they did AND what they learned! ~ Karl Bastian (Kidology)

About the Author

Anne Marie Gosnell has a Masters in Education with a focus on developing curriculum and instruction. Her life journey includes over 25 years in Children’s Ministry: Sunday School, Puppetry, Vacation Bible School, Children’s Church, Awana, and various outreach ministries. She is the author of What God is Doing: Old Testament Object Lessons for Kids, and she is the founder of www.futureflyingsaucers.com where she shares creative, engaging Bible Object Lessons so parents and teachers can share Jesus with confidence.

Dennis Gundersen No Comments

Gift Ideas for the Entire Family

Gift  Ideas for the Entire Family – The BIG List! 

When it comes to buying a gift for someone you love, a book is a good choice! Sharing a book you love is like sharing a little bit of your heart with someone else. And who doesn’t love help completing their personal library?

With these things in mind, we’ve put together some of our favorite volumes to help you take the guess work out of buying a book as a gift.

 

17 Gift Ideas for the Christian Reading Family  

16 Gift Ideas for the Christian Reading Family

The Rhyme and Reason Series – Author Catherine Zoller knows how to reach children with the message of the Bible!  She understands the importance of reading aloud to children and filling their lives with the Word of God. Her Rhyme and Reason series does this very thing with beautiful and entertaining colorful illustrations as she retells the stories of books of the Bible, in rhyme!

The Pilgrim’s Progress– The cloth cover is a beautiful work of art. Inside, the volume contains 171 well-crafted illustrations from an original 1891 edition. Share with your family the greatest allegory of the Christian life ever written.

The Holy War The story: Righteous and honorable King Shaddai and His Son Immanuel are the kind rulers the city of Mansoul, always directing the lives of the city with justice and equity. But the ruler of darkness – Prince Diabolus – has his own plans for the city. With the assistance of his evil captains, he plots the destruction of the once happy town.The first to fall to his deceptions is Captain Resistance, so that Mansoul is now open to Diabolus’ wicked lies about their king. Diabolus knows that he may only possess Mansoul if the people open the gates to him by their own choice; and soon, sadly, through the vantage point of Eargate, the inhabitants believe his lies and the city falls. So begins this story of treachery and deceit, foolishness and pride, but forgiveness and final redemption. The fact is, as Bunyan intended it, this is the story of a sinner saved by the grace of God.

Dangerous Journey– One of our best pictorial “gift” books for children 6 to 12 years of age. Beautifully illustrated with full color, artistic drawings on every page, most of them full page or even double-page spreads! The plot is faithfully preserved but the artwork makes this book a rare and special piece of work in itself, very detailed and full of action. This beautiful volume has long been a favorite, first introductory version of The Pilgrim’s Progress for parents to familiarize their young children with the story.

A Theology of the Family – This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are 56 authors featured in this volume, among whom are: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the 21st century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

Building on the Rock Series– Full set of all 5 devotional books in the Building on the Rock series. Each contains a true story from history which is used to illustrate truths of Scripture. For children 8-12 to read, and makes great read-alouds for ages 4-7.

The Baker Family Adventures– Meet Mr. and Mrs. Baker and their four children: responsible Phil, sensible Abby, daring Andy, and inquisitive Tom. The Bakers are a Christian homeschooling family who love helping others, and they seem to have a knack for finding people who need help. In the seven (7) volumes of the Baker Family Adventures Series by C. R. Hedgcock.

Reformation ABCs – This informative book by historian Stephen J. Nichols offers kids of ages three to six an engaging way to learn about that pivotal era in church history – while they learn their ABCs! Featuring charming illustrations by Ned Bustard, this book introduces families to a host of important figures, locations, concepts, and events, including John Calvin, justification by faith alone, Heidelberg, Westminster, and more. Families will be able to see God’s hand in the Reformation and how he used it to shape his people’s understanding of his Word.

Barn Chronicles Series – Winner of the 2013 Christian Small Publisher’s International Book of the Year Award (Children’s Category, 8-12 years) | “The Barn Chronicles are the best books I have ever read! They are full of fun, adventures, celebrations, broken legs, and heaps more! I would love to live in a barn like that and live on that property with a river, animals, swings, eels and everything else!” — Maria (10)

Jack and Jenny Series – Full of adventure, suspense, and all while learning Biblical truth and applying the Word of God to daily life, the Jack and Jenny Mysteries are a new and exciting set of six (6) volumes for readers 8-12 years of age. Greatly reduced to a bargain price when bought as a set!

The Knight’s Map– In this allegorical tale, theologian, pastor, and author Dr. R.C. Sproul continues his life’s work of making deep biblical truths clear and understandable to children of all ages. The Knight’s Map is the story of a knight who undertakes a perilous journey, but his course is full of people who give him bad advice and send him on wrong turns. In the end, he must decide whether or not he will trust the map provided by the King. Beautiful, full color illustrations by Richard Lawnes reveal this rich, textured world and discussion questions with Scripture references help parents guide their children into the deeper meaning of the story.

The Priest With Dirty Clothes – In this new edition of his classic story, The Priest with Dirty Clothes, Dr. R.C. Sproul continues his project of illustrating theological concepts for children. In this book, he teaches the concept of imputation, which lies at the heart of the important biblical doctrine of justification.Using the story of Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1–5) as his jumping-off point, Dr. Sproul weaves a classic tale about a young priest who is invited to preach his first sermon before the king and his court. But on his way to the palace, he falls from his horse, getting his clothes hopelessly muddy. Jonathan finds that he needs powerful help if he is to stand before the king. This edition of The Priest with Dirty Clothes includes all-new illustrations by Justin Gerard.  Also includes a new “For the Parents” section to help them bring out the truths of the book for their children.

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New – A Page-Turning Storybook of Theology for Kids In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them. Truth is for kids, not just for adults! So The Ology gives kids of all ages a beginner’s theology book to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. Arranged within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth in The Ology is also connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are on display and easier to understand. Designed for six-year-olds through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations for use with younger or older children, so that entire families can enjoy it together.

Christian Biographies for Young Readers (Simonetta Carr) – The Christian Biographies for Young Readers introduces children to important people in the Christian tradition. Parents and school teachers alike will welcome the excellent educational value it provides for students, while the quality of the publication and the artwork make each volume a keepsake for generations to come. Furthermore, the books in the series go beyond the simple story of someone’s life by teaching young readers the historical and theological relevance of each character.

Kingdom Tales (David & Karen Mains)Like the Terrestria Chronicles, each Kingdom Tales from Terrestria book was written to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ as King and challenge the reader to love and serve Him. The stories are fast-paced and captivating, but each was written to deliver a powerful message and draw your heart to the King. Unlike the Chronicles, which are sequential and should be read chronologically, the Tales are stand-alone books and can be read in almost any order. Books 2 and 3 belong together, and Books 4 and 5 should be read together. It is our prayer that the Kingdom Tales from Terrestria will challenge your entire family to serve the King of kings.

The Jungle Doctor Series-Paul White was an Australian missionary doctor in Africa early in the 20th century, who gained great skill at teaching the Bible through creative stories based on his missions work. These tales have a timeless quality which has captivated readers for three generations now.  When Dr. White returned home to Australia, his stories were discovered and published with an enthusiastic, world-wide reception.  Children of all ages delight in the Jungle Doctor series, which are written for readers about ages 9-13, but adults love their creative stories, and they make superb read-aloud stories to children from 5-8, who will have no difficulty understanding them!  The full collection is 19 volumes and we have compiled them into three collections for easy purchase: Volumes 1-6 as an introductory set. Volumes 7-12 for more. And Volumes 13-19 to complete your entire collection!  The Jungle Doctor series are exceptional for family reading.

Great Composers Series: Complete set of 16 books! (Opal Wheeler)- For the first time in decades, a treasure is back in print: the complete set of all 16 Opal Wheeler volumes on The Great Composers — and now offered as a set for a terrific sale price! Each volume is an enlarged, lay-open, beautifully illustrated paperback. Each book also contains a skillful biography of the composer, which young people from 4-15 will enjoy. Illustrations are found on almost every page, and many of the compositions of the composer.

 

12 Gifts for Your Pastor

Gifts for Your Pastor

The Pastor’s BookA Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral MinistryPastors are tasked with the incredibly demanding job of caring for the spiritual, emotional, and, at times‚ physical needs of their people. While seminary is helpful preparation for many of the challenges pastors face, there’s far more to pastoral ministry than what can be covered in the classroom. Designed as a reference guide for nearly every situation a pastor will face, this comprehensive book by seasoned pastors Kent Hughes and Doug O’Donnell is packed full of biblical wisdom and practical guidance related to the reality of pastoral ministry in the trenches. From officiating weddings to conducting funerals to visiting the sick, this book will equip pastors and church leaders with the knowledge they need to effectively minister to their flocks, both within the walls of the church and beyond.

Biblical Doctrine – Doctrine isn’t just for theologians—it’s important for every Christian because it shows us who God is and how we should live. Systematizing the robust theology that has undergirded Dr. John MacArthur’s well-known preaching ministry for decades, this overview of basic Christian doctrine covers topics such as God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, salvation, and more.

Foundations for the Flock, In recent years Conrad Mbewe has become well known as a preacher around the world. His clear exposition and powerful application of Scripture has earned him a broad and attentive international audience. But what many do not know is he is also a prolific author in his own country of Zambia. He has written numerous articles and booklets to address the spiritual needs of his nation and its churches. The theme of this book is church life, so every part of it deals in some way with this theme.

Looking Unto Jesus– Explains how the Lord Jesus Christ carries every aspect of the great work of man’s salvation, from first to last.  And why must we turn our eyes from everything that diverts us from “looking unto Jesus”?

Lectures on Revivals of Religion– Sprague’s experience of genuine revivals, his faithfulness to Biblical theology and his balanced view, eminently fitted him to write what Dr Lloyd-Jones describes as “The outstanding classic on this vital and urgently important matter”. The chapters cover such themes as The Nature of a Revival, Obstacles to Revivals, Divine Agency in Revivals, General Means of Producing and Promoting Revivals, Treatment due to Awakened Sinners, Evils to be Avoided in Connection with Revivals, etc. It also contains an appendix with 20 letters about revival from various important pastors of the 19th century.

Puritan Paperback Series – A treasury of Puritan writings! The Puritan Paperbacks includes 52 volumes.

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, J. C. Ryle – Ryle’s Expository Thoughts can be used as a help in family worship, or as an aid in pastoral visitation, or simply as a companion to the Gospels in the private reading of Scripture.  Ryle’s work has long been ranked some of the most edifying commentary ever penned on the gospel books and will never fail to enrich the reader, whether a new and young disciple or a seasoned elderly saint.

Works of John Knox- Unfortunately for many years hardback sets of Knox’s Works have been virtually unobtainable by, and inaccessible to, the general public. Now, to mark the 500th anniversary of his birth (probably in 1514) and the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first definitive edition of the Scottish reformer’s Works (1846-64), these rare volumes have been reprinted. The present republication of the reformer’s writings provides a unique and remarkably affordable opportunity for a new generation of students to rediscover and get to know the real John Knox.

Works of Jonathan Edwards – This two-volume collection of Edwards’ works features important sermons of the Great Awakening as well as Edwards’ memoirs and other essays. First published in 1834, here is what makes this new edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards the best available: More readable. This edition has larger, more readable type than previous editions. More complete. This edition contains all matter included in the first collected American edition, various original extracts from the diary and papers of Edwards, several smaller pieces printed originally in a separate form, and a memoir by descendant Sereno E. Dwight. For anyone interested in the roots of Christianity and revival in colonial America, The Works of Jonathan Edwards is a fundamental resource.

A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith– This exposition was originally published in 1989 to mark the 300th anniversary of the publication of the Second London Confession, which also became known as the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. Today, Reformed Baptists worldwide hold this Confession in high esteem and many churches continue to regard it as their official statement of faith. In this extensive exposition, the author Sam Waldron shows that the 1689 Confession is a masterly statement of the historic Christian faith. He writes in a direct and lucid style that will help ministers, students and laymen alike to a clear understanding of this Confession and to its relevance and application to our modern age.

A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life – A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life offers a groundbreaking treatment of the Puritans’ teaching on most major Reformed doctrines, particularly those doctrines in which the Puritans made significant contributions.

Works of John Bunyan – John Bunyan is best known for his famous allegorical works. He was prepared to suffer the hardship of imprisonment, in order to expound these great works. But his exposition of them was not confined to allegory, and in his many other works, like, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ and An Exposition of the First Ten Chapters of Genesis, we find Bunyan writing as the outstanding pastor-evangelist he was. These three quality volumes, first edited by George Offor (1853 and 1862) constitute the only available standard edition of his works.

 

7 Gifts for Boys Who Read

Gift ideas for boys who love to read

Boys of Grit Three Volume SetOne of the best Lamplighter sets for boys, at a reduced price!  The Boys of Grit series includes:* Boys of Grit Who Changed the World* Boys of Grit Who Became Men of Honor* Boys of Grit Who Never Gave Up

Men of Grit Christian Fiction Series – Gritty adventure novels that captivate the imagination and inspire boys to embrace their calling as Christian men.Enter the 1830s, a time brimming with mystery, unexplored territories, burgeoning technologies, Old World fighting tactics, and the ever-present need for manly men of honor and courage. 

The Kingdom Series – The full 6-volume set of Chuck Black’s acclaimed Kingdom Series. A gift set for a child who loves adventure that he will read again and again. This may be the best fictional series for children we have ever seen. Wholesome, captivating adventure stories, written in the style of an allegory, full of heroism, knights, and battles, packed with Biblical symbolism. Every city, knight, weapon and battle symbolizes something found in the Word of God!

Scout! Books – In The Scout Series, the reader leaps into an era early in the 20th century in the Netherlands in all its beauty.  You explore the wondrous Dutch countryside with young Tom, his amazing dog Scout, and his friends Carl and Bert.  In this seven-book series by Piet Prins, Tom and his friends help free their village from Nazi occupation, even saving lives!  They get to track down smugglers, burglars, and poachers, and just run into all sorts of dangerous adventures. All three young men are solid Christian youth, but remain eagerly adventurous boys.  They do their best to obey their parents and live to the glory of God.  Yet they’re real and not perfect – they experience turmoil of conscience and heart when tempted to do wrong, and learn to walk with God in the daily details of life.

Tales of the RAF – Join Harry on the airfield when the thundering fighter planes soar to intercept the enemy. Through sheer determination, the brave RAF pilots have made it impossible for the German Luftwaffe to gain an edge in the air above England. These are ordinary men, who do extraordinary deeds — the kinds of deeds that make men heroes!

God is Better Than Trucks – Do you love trucks? Trucks are powerful, big and fun, but God is better than Trucks!  From A – Z, find out about Ambulances, Bulldozers and Car Carriers – and about how God is better than all of them. Full color pictures everywhere in this large book, and memory verses on each page too, to reinforce the point that God is stronger, faster, smarter, and better than them all!

Concord Cunningham Scripture Sleuth– Are you ready to catch villains, solve puzzles, and crack cases that stump normal detectives? Grab your Bible and get ready to do some Scripture sleuthing, with Concord Cunningham. Concord investigates an exciting new mystery in each chapter. But instead of revealing the solution at the end of the chapter, Concord gives readers a Bible verse to look up. The Bible verse holds the final clue to that chapter’s mystery, so readers must open a Bible, find the verse, and look for the clue.

 

 

16 Gifts for Homeschooling Families

Gift Ideas for Homeschooling Families

The Journibles– Each book is organized so that you can write out your very own copy of Scripture. You will be writing the Bible text only on the right hand page of the book. This should make for easier writing and also allows ample space on the left page to write your own notes and comments. From time to time a question or word will be lightly printed on the left page; these questions are to aid in further study, but should not interfere with your own notes and comments.

My Grandmother is Praying for Me – Are you a grandmother? Or maybe you know a grandmother, are married to one, or fondly remember your own. Whatever category you are in, authors and grandmothers Kathryn March, Pamela Ferriss, and Susan Kelton invite you to join them in becoming actively involved in the lives of grandchildren. The world continues to change, and sometimes it seems that the generation gap has never been larger. But one thing always holds fast: our children and grandchildren need to know and live by the wisdom that God has outlined for them in His Word.

Keep A Quiet Heart – For almost two decades, Elisabeth Elliot wrote a newsletter, which, in her own words, contained “not much news”, but rather, brief letters to cheer and encourage those who wanted to read her thoughts. This book is a collection of the most useful and loved articles from those years. These 100 brief writings have become one of recent history’s most valued devotional books. Most of them focus on learning to know God. Nothing else comes close to being as important as that. She expresses that she truly believes, not a day passes that does not present us opportunity to know Him better.

Streams in the Desert – L.B. Cowman’s classic devotional book still sustains and reassures readers through many of life’s dry and desolate places. In 365 daily devotional readings, the author (who preferred to be known as Mrs. Charles Cowman) thoughtfully and prayerfully chose the Scripture and penned or selected the meditations she knew would provide wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration to weary desert travelers. Her words are still relevant in today’s world, for anyone who is thirsting for reassurance and guidance from the Word of God.

Daily Readings by Matthew Henry – A gift edition, beautifully presented in a genuine leather binding. Matthew Henry is one of the best known of our spiritual ancestors. His Commentary on the whole Bible is still an all-time classic, the most popular and used Bible commentary in history and a family staple book for all who seek to apply the Word of God.

Teaching from Rest– Those who have made the decision to homeschool their children have done so out of great love for their children and a desire to provide them an excellent education in the context of a warm, enriching home. Yet so many parents (mainly mothers) who have taken up this challenge find the enterprise often full of stress, worry, and anxiety.

Baker Family Adventures – Meet Mr. and Mrs. Baker and their four children: responsible Phil, sensible Abby, daring Andy, and inquisitive Tom. The Bakers are a Christian homeschooling family who love helping others, and they seem to have a knack for finding people who need help. In the seven (7) volumes of the Baker Family Adventures Series by C. R. Hedgcock.

Modern Homesteading – Cody and the Wranglerstar family decided to leave a comfortable city life in 2010 and start their adventure in the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Now popular pioneers among a growing movement of people seeking independence from debt, freedom to raise their family with values and faith, and the peace of a simpler, more meaningful approach to life, they detail their journey on the Wranglerstar YouTube channel to hundreds of thousands each week.Discover their personal story, what worked, what didn’t, and what you can learn from their mistakes. Explore detailed “How to” sections throughout the book, providing hands-on knowledge and practical tips for just about anyone. Master techniques you can use to help you in your home, garden, and life with these full-color drawings, photos, and illustrations.

Family Worship Bible Guide – Hand in hand with your Bible, this Family Worship Bible Guide presents rich devotional thoughts on all 1,189 chapters in the Bible, including searching questions to promote conversation, to help you with this responsibility. Use this resource every day alongside Scripture to read each chapter’s major takeaways aloud and then discuss them with your family. With the Holy Spirit’s blessing, this book will transform you and your family!

Spurgeon Stories for Children – All five (5) of Tony Hutter’s collection of stories from the children’s ministry of Charles Spurgeon! Terrific read-aloud stories for children 12 and under.

The Children’s Character Building Collection– One of the best gifts you could ever give a child are the eleven stories of our renowned, classic 19th century Children’s Character Building Collection.  And this new printing of the collection is the highest-quality edition of them ever done. All 11 volumes have beautiful new art, hand-painted covers. This is our all-time favorite set of children’s stories from last century, and all with fresh artwork that captures the feel of that era!

Candle in the Window Lamplighter Theatre – Inspire your entire family with a beautiful portrayal of how God can use a simple candle in the window to bring hope for the future and an encounter with the Light of the world.

A Peep Behind the Scenes Lamplighter Theatre– You will be transported back in time to the world of the traveling theatre. Written in 1878, A Peep Behind the Scenes quickly sold over 2.5 million copies. Now, over a century later, it comes to life as a powerful audio drama! You will meet Nora, who, enticed by the lure of fame and blinded by the romance of the theatre, soon grasps the reality of what life is like behind the scenes; Augustus, who thrives in the very small world of himself; Rosalie, whose faith shines bright in a very dark world; Betsy Ann, convinced that nobody loves her because nobody ever did, until she meets the Good Shepherd, Who goes to extremes to seek and to find those are lost.

The War Between the States – The definitive history of America’s Uncivil War. Few events in America’s history have been as controversial as the bloody War between our southern and northern states, and no other event has so changed our citizenry and our government. John J. Dwyer’s The War Between the States offers over 700 action-packed pages of war-time drama that will forever change the way Americans view the Civil War.

The Little Lights Series – Includes all 14 illustrated books for young readers, or those who love being read to aloud – and at an amazing set price for hardcover volumes!

Great Composers Series: Complete set of 16 books! (Opal Wheeler)- For the first time in decades, a treasure is back in print: the complete set of all 16 Opal Wheeler volumes on The Great Composers — and now offered as a set for a terrific sale price! Each volume is an enlarged, lay-open, beautifully illustrated paperback. Each book also contains a skillful biography of the composer, which young people from 4-15 will enjoy. Illustrations are found on almost every page, and many of the compositions of the composer.

 

6 Gifts for Girls Who Read

gifts for girls who like to read

The Secret Bridge – An epic story like The Secret Bridge deserves a beautiful, leather-tone embossed cover. This is a story that promises to captivate the entire family. This provocative story, written later in life by our beloved Amy Le Feuvre, reveals a depth beyond that of her previous works. Readers from all walks of life will be moved by her sensitivity to the tensions of the human spirit.

The Orphan Queen– Who is this child? And who are her parents? Her demeanor suggests a royal heritage, but perhaps she is simply exercising pride and control of others. Meet Margelte, a most unusual child who mysteriously wins the hearts of those who disdain her.Her secret is the relationship she has with a powerful God who watches over the fatherless. Filled with spiritual truths, this story will keep you enamored as you vicariously experience Margelte’s suffering and her surprising reward in the end.

Circle C – A full set of all six (6) volumes of the delightful Circle C Beginnings Series, by Susan Marlow. Your young children will so enjoy meeting young Andi Carter, the key character, who is eager to grow up and experience the exciting Wild West of the late 1800s.

The Three Gifts of Christmas – From Jennie Bishop – author of The Princess and the Kiss and The Squire and the Scroll comes this much-loved Christmas story! Children and parents alike will enjoy this timeless story, revealing the truth about what the best gifts really are.

The Chosen Daughters – Six outstanding biographies which girls will deeply enjoy, while learning the stories of great women in Christian history.  Buy as a set for a reduced price!

Annie Henry Set – In the Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution series, Susan Olasky gives young people an exciting look at life during America’s War of Independence. The series follows the life of Annie Henry, daughter of the famous patriot Patrick Henry. In the midst of Annie’s adventures and frustrations, her faith is growing—and Annie is learning more about her need for God as she faces the challenges of growing up.

 

6 Gifts for Your Wife

Gift for wife who likes to read

Jesus Himself – The thoughtful chapters of this book have been the fruit of long meditation on The Resurrection story by Sir Marcus Loane, who made it a lifetime study.  The way they recount that wondrous story comes across with a freshness and loveliness that is full of heart-warming fascination. Some of the most beautiful and heart-warming commentary we’ve ever read, through the eyes of resurrection eye-witnesses.

The Valley of Vision– This is our most popular gift-book ever – the black, deluxe bonded leather edition of the classic collection of Puritan prayers and poetry. The Banner of Truth’s most popular book since its release in 1975, now in a rare and beautiful leather edition, with gold edged pages.

A Gospel Primer– Do you know how to preach the gospel to yourself daily? God did not give us His Gospel just so we could embrace it when we were first converted. He presents it to us every day as that gift which gives us everything we need for life and godliness. This new expanded edition contains a section titled 31 Reasons to Rehearse the Gospel Daily.

In Trouble and in Joy– Author Sharon James has a gift for writing biography that inspires and compel the reader to spirituality. The four women who are the subjects of her book knew that contentment and happiness did not depend on good health, a fulfilling job, or a happy family life. Joy could even be known in the midst of great trial! Relying on many select extracts from their journal entries, poems, letters and resolutions, we can read the hand of God training these women of God to live for His glory, whatever the cost to themselves personally.

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael – For girls in our highly secular age, here is a biography of one glad to leave earthly pleasures for the joy of serving God wholeheartedly. Her personal discipline and readiness to give of herself presents a stunning, noble example for today’s girls. Amy Carmichael labored 53 years in India, without “furlough,” and her work resulted in the salvation of many from debauched lifestyles in idolatrous temple worship. Here is a book that will challenge any Christian in any walk of life to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Jesus. The missionary life is, in fact, the normal Christian life for every Christian, for every Christian is an ambassador for Christ. As such, this biography will be a great help to any reader in focusing their hearts and minds on the God-given task before them (1 Peter 2:9)–whatever their walk of life.

Luther in Love -Discovering that love and marriage are complex, sacrificial, and yet intensely beautiful, Katharina von Bora, fearful of discovery, secretly pens a memoir of her forbidden marriage to a Mr. Martin Luther, with his dangerous life and turbulent legacy. This is the story of their trials, tragedies, and their joys and triumphs.

 

6 Gifts for your Husband

husband reading

Seal of God – Part memoir, part evangelism story, SEAL of God is a story that follows Chad’s journey through the grueling Naval Ops training and onto the streets of Fallujah, where he witnessed the horrors of war up close. Along the way, Chad shares his own radical conversion story and talks about how he draws on his own experiences as a SEAL to help others better understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice and love.

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels Set – J. C. Ryle – Ryle’s Expository Thoughts can be used as a help in family worship, or as an aid in pastoral visitation, or simply as a companion to the Gospels in the private reading of Scripture.  Ryle’s work has long been ranked some of the most edifying commentary ever penned on the gospel books and will never fail to enrich the reader, whether a new and young disciple or a seasoned elderly saint.

Holiness Day by Day – A one-year devotional, Holiness Day by Day takes you deeper than other, shorter devotionals, stimulating stronger commitment and spiritual transformation. Each reading is carefully chosen and compiled from Jerry Bridges’ best writings.

A Theology of the Family – This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are 56 authors featured in this volume, among whom are: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson.

Matthew Henry Commentary – From Genesis to Revelation, Matthew Henry successfully combines practical application, devotional insight, and scholarship on the entire Bible. Henry has profound insights on the content, message and nature of God’s divine revelation. Perfect for all readers of the Bible who want a comprehensive commentary. Includes the entire text of Matthew Henry’s original multi-volume commentary in modern, easy-to-read type.

A Long Line of Godly Men Profiles (10 volumes) – From Spurgeon to Luther, certain lives throughout church history are remembered as special testaments of God’s faithfulness. Through preaching, teaching, hymnody, and their courageous choices, they illustrate what God’s grace can accomplish through a life submitted to His purposes. With Dr. Steven J. Lawson as the series editor, the Long Line of Godly Men Profile series offers readers an opportunity to learn from these exemplary lives




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How Can I Train My Child’s Character?

How Can I Train my Child’s Character?

How Can I Train my Child’s Character?

by Pam Guenther

He’s ___________ [insert bad character trait here] and I
can’t punish it out of him. What do I do now?

Children do not outgrow bad habits like laziness, selfishness, and pride and you can’t punish it
out of them, either. I’m sure you can imagine, or may have even experienced, how you can
force a child to work but you cannot force him to be industrious. You can force him to give
something away but you cannot force him to be generous.
If you’re a parent and you’re anything like me, your days are already full of schooling, working,
chauffeuring, changing diapers, getting dinner, getting kids in bed, and the list goes on and on.
How in the world are you supposed to find time for life lessons on character while all of that is
going on? And if he won’t outgrow the bad habit and you can’t punish it out of him, what is there
left to do? The answer is actually quite simple: the best way to train character lies in habits. You
can use habits; you ARE using habits to some degree whether you know it or not, to train your
child’s mental and moral character.

Moral Habits

First and foremost is obedience.
We all have someone that we must obey: a parent, a boss, the government, God himself. The
sooner your child learns to obey the one or ones to whom obedience is due, the better life will
be for him as he gets older. From the get-go, or starting right now if he’s already older, expect
quick, complaint-free obedience the first time he’s asked to do something. If not, a sure but not
unnecessarily harsh consequence, given out of duty and not of anger, will effect a change.
Temper

The best way to deal with a bad temper is to avoid its development in the first place. Respect
your child’s time and activity. Don’t micromanage him. Give him a heads up when you will need
him to do something else instead of demanding it without warning. If you see him start to lose
his temper, divert his attention quickly to something else before he has a chance to do so.
If he has already developed the habit of a bad temper, you must be very vigilant to divert his
attention elsewhere as soon as you see the signs of an explosion coming on. It’s best to do this
without his awareness that he is being “treated.” If he is older and has a well-established habit
of losing his temper, you may have to employ his mind and will to divert his attention and avoid
losing his temper.

Fear and Courage

Keep your child from unnecessary fears while giving him the mental strength to face the
unavoidable evils of life in this fallen world. Children need to see hardiness and delayed
gratification by example. Let him make mistakes and take the natural consequences where you
can.

Justice and Generosity

Handle your child and his possessions with justice. Don’t force him to share his things. When he
feels that his possessions are valued and safe, he is free to share them on his own. One way
that we manage this at our house is to keep “stuff” to a minimum and have many common
things. The child will have his own special things that he is free to keep put away when people
come over and not share.

Let him see you serving others and find some area of service that you can do as a family. Let
your child help you make a meal and take it to a new mom, take your son with you to help a
family move. Whatever way in which you serve, include your child and talk to him about what
you are doing and why.

Much more could be said about all of these and other moral character areas such as truth,
pride, pretense, manners, and order but let’s touch on a few mental character areas.

Attention to task

Keep a young child’s task time short and expect full attention to the task for that short time.
Teach him that one time is not as good as another. Give your child ample time to complete a
task without dawdling and if he finishes early, that time is his own to do as he pleases.

Activity, Industry, and Leisure

Being busy for the sake of busyness is useless and even dangerous. We should spend the bulk
of our time on important but not urgent tasks and teach our children to do the same. Industry
(energetic, devoted activity to any work or task) is contagious and capable of drowning out
harmful thoughts and activities. Teach your child to do as much for himself as he can, as early
as he can. This may require some planning and forethought on your part. Give him opportunities
for meaningful leisure: learn a musical instrument, participate in a sport (team or individual),
and/or have good books and music available. Channel surfing and random time browsing the
internet are not meaningful leisure activities.

Homeschool

In the first decade or so of his life what a child learns is not nearly as important as learning to
love learning and how to learn and think. Keep the lessons short and varied so that he has lots
of time left for meaningful leisure activities (mostly aka playing outside).
Make learning as agreeable as possible. There are so many good and real books available that
there really is no need for dry and boring textbooks or drill and kill. Use real books and firsthand
accounts, hands-on activities, and real-life experiences as much as possible to bring the
lessons home.

Train my childs characterThese are a few short thoughts on what I learned from Charlotte Mason on Habits and wrote
about in my book “Habits: The Mother’s Friend.” Learning how to use habits to train my
children’s character has given me the tool that my parental toolbox had been missing. I hope
that you, too, have found a nugget or two here that you can use.

Dennis Gundersen No Comments

Luther in Love

Luther in Love

Luther in Love Grace and Truth Books

I bet you’ve read a few books about those we call Heroes of the Faith which seem to speak so highly of them, they seem to come off as nearly superhuman.  You can’t imagine how you could ever match up to the achievements of these people!  This 500th anniversary of the Great Reformation is a time during which we’re all going to hear a lot about Martin Luther, the famous German reformer who nailed those 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg church and ignited a theological revolution.   Well, a sweet book has just been published, and one of its sweetest features is, the very human way in which Martin Luther is portrayed in this volume – Luther in Love – which will make you laugh at the foibles and also the human side of this giant of a man.

Here’s a fellow who thought he would never get married, and he lived like the ultimate bachelor in his monastery – including not changing the bed sheets for a year, which his new bride Katharina von Bora couldn’t help but notice on their wedding night!  Luther had been so utterly absorbed in his work for the cause of reforming the churches that he took very poor care of himself and neglected many of the simple pleasures of life – not to mention the hygiene!  Many of you married ladies will understand quite well that his health took a great turn for the better after marrying Katharina, which of course had the added benefit of lengthening his very worthwhile ministry.

A Good Wife

More than this, many features of their unique and fascinating relationship will put a smile on your face, as you read of this lady who had hardly ever been around men, marrying this man who had hardly spent any time with women!  But once married, they were a constant delight to one another, and as you can see depicted on the book cover, their home became one known for much song and joy together, as Luther played the lute to entertain them and they relished life together for the glory of God.

But Katharina wasn’t afraid to correct Martin, either, when needed such as on the occasion when he had been so grumpy and disgruntled for so long. Weeks on end! She decided to start dressing all in black. When Martin asked her why she was dressing as though there was a funeral, she notified him that God was dead! “You foolish thing!”, he shouted, “why this foolishness?” But, Katharina persisted, “It is true. God must have died, or Doctor Luther would not be behaving with such sorry.” She snapped him out of his blues with this reproof. Yes, all of us are just men and women of ordinary flesh and similar weaknesses, and Luther in Love puts this on display concerning one of history’s most admired theologians, while showing the inestimable blessing of a good wife and how even the best of men have their lives improved by one!

Recommended Resources:

Luther in Love 

Luther and His Katie: The Influence of Luther’s Wife on His Ministry

 

 And for your children — 

 

From Dark to Dawn: A Tale of Luther and the Reformation

Reformation Fire: Martin Luther (a Trailblazers volume!)

 

Dennis Gundersen No Comments

The Delight of Discovering the Unsung Heroine

The Delight of Discovering the Unsung Heroine

Chosen Daughters Series Grace and Truth Books

 
If you’ve ever noticed that the stories of Christian history seem to present the same personalities to us over and over, you’ll understand why our family has found the new Chosen Daughters series to be a source of delightful reading.
 
The Bible which tells of Abraham, David, and Moses also includes in the honor roll of the faithful some lesser-known characters named Barak, Jephthah, and Samson (Hebrews 11:32).  The Apostle Paul was a member of the most elite group of Christian leaders ever – the Apostles – but went out of his way to tell us of the valuable contributions and ministry of ladies named Dorcas, Phoebe, and Priscilla.
 

Does it matter that their names don’t ring a bell of fame as resounding as those of Daniel or Joshua or Joseph? We’re each given gifts which with to serve our Lord and His people.

So, after seeing countless biographies of many of the same women in Christian history, ala Amy Carmichael, Susanna Wesley, Sarah Edwards, Katrina Luther — what a blessing to have volumes telling of the devout lives of Margaret Wilson, Olympia Morata, Edith Cavell, Juliana von Stolberg, Queen Jeanne d’Albret, Johanna and Henriette Kuyper … and you ask “Who?”

Like me, perhaps you’ve never heard of these ladies before. But now they are beloved sisters to us in the faith, whose stories we’ve loved reading and sharing with others.

Because it’s a joy every time to get an opportunity to discover the special contributions of the unsung heroines.

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Old Children’s Books and Character Building

 

5 Ways God Forms Character Through Literature | Character Building Literature

5 Ways God Forms Character Through Literature | Character Building Literature

My wife Naomi and I first heard of homeschooling in the 1978, at our church in Oklahoma.  We were stunned.  “Is that legal?!”, we exclaimed.  Well yes, it is, we were informed.  It did sound like a neat idea.  We could teach our own children what we actually believe and not turn them over to strangers to be taught what they believe. How about that?  We went for it.

But one of our first questions was, “How will we choose books without the school?  Where are we going to get the books we need?”  Well, for math and English skills, there was always the local Tulsa school book depository, where many old texts were stored and anyone with an interest could pick up these allegedly “outdated” texts at no charge.  And we kept hearing from the veteran homeschoolers, “Look for those older books. They’re better.”

That puzzled us at the time.  Why are these homeschoolers saying the older books are better?   

In the 38 years since then, we’ve learned a lot. So much that, we now publish about 40 books ourselves from the 1800s.  Most of them, children’s stories from that era.  We’ve found those to be remarkably different than many a children’s story of today, even the ones written by Christians. They were written at a time when a Christian worldview permeated our culture more; and so they just fit the aspirations of Christian parents who want their children to grow in godly character.  And how does that show itself?

Well, I’ve noticed at least these five features in children’s books from those past eras which seem to me a striking match for some of the ways the Bible itself says God forms character in His children. These traits are noticeably present in those 19th century books:

1) The Word of God is Given Prominence

The Lord tells us that taking in His own Word has a prominent role in building character in us; and the children’s stories from the 1900s are flat-out loaded with the Word.  They quote it, apply it, illustrate with it, they keep it in front of a child’s mind all the time.  If you try to talk to kids about good behavior, right and wrong, family values, all that good stuff, but you leave the Bible out of the conversation, you’re evaporating the Spirit’s power.  You’re delivering do-good-ism with the power cord unplugged.

2) Good (and bad!) Examples are Vividly Presented

Children don’t learn about character from theory; they have to see it in practice. Chances are, so do you. You’ve probably heard only a few life-transforming sermons in your times;  and you have forgotten a thousand sermons. But that person who has really had an impact on you from the example of his life, the way he walked with God, and the way he portrayed that to you — that is someone you remember.

And children’s books from the 1800s have this tendency to put the power of good and bad example in front of the reader in potent ways!  Ways not found as much in literature today. The good guys were very notably good, and the bad guys – well, they were decidedly bad, and you couldn’t miss it!  The design of the book was that you wouldn’t miss it.  Let books that keep these examples clear be the constant companions of your kids.

3)  Growing Through Worthwhile Work

Children grow – and again, really everyone grows! – in part by having some worthwhile work and service to others in their routine. If a child is going to amount to any kind of adult one day, he’s going to need parents who teach him to serve for the benefit of others as part of daily life.  And the children’s stories from the 1800s tended to show children in setting where their help was needed – it was vital!  They contributed valuable work to the household. It apparently wasn’t child abuse then!

Of course, if you know even a little about American history, much of this was because, in many past times, every member of the family had to pitch in if they were going to make it.  So that’s why the stories were written that way. They show that, character consists in part of, what you are day in and day out, doing the commonplace duties of life.

4) Growing in the Midst of Suffering

It doesn’t take being in the Christian life for very long before you start to notice that God builds character in you through trials. His Word is quite frank about that, and even though we may not like it, it’s really just comparable to how exercise makes you stronger. The trials He sends our way make us wise up and walk more closely with Him.

And older literature for children from the 1800s faced the truth that God sent trouble, pains, trials, suffering, for good purposes. The families depicted in such stories are commonly found in situations which test their faith. Tough times; and the children are found right in the midst of it all, taking up their share of the burdens, bearing their cross too. From which, the children who read it learn that a genuine walk with God will require that we can’t always shun pain – sometimes, the only path to honor God means we’ll have to walk right through it. But – even when that’s happening, we must add:

5) Making Plain the Wonder of God’s Grace! 

No matter what we’re going through, God is treating us better than we deserve. That’s one side of it.  Our endurance for Him never makes us heroes – He’s always the real hero of the story of our lives.

But the other side of this truth I meant to point to is: stories for children can’t just be obsessed all the time with what we’re supposed to do, how we should behave, being obedient and all that. At some point, we’ve got to be faced with the admission that, we’ve still got plenty of sin in our lives and we need His forgiveness. We’re not going to be right with God based on our good deeds!  I’m saying, excellence in Christian character will never be achieved without understanding grace.  The most godly people I know are those who have a firm grasp on the fact that, it’s not about me and how good I am … it’s always been about God and how good He is to me.

Many a story that is filled with wonderful, moving lessons about behavior does not tell a child anything about the grace of God. And we’ve got make sure that our children get it: that we are made right with God by the mercy of Christ to us, contrary to what we deserve. We can’t ever live well enough to earn His favor.  We don’t gain it by our good deeds, and make sure you feed them Christian stories that do not neglect this.

So use books to plant sound thinking.  Gospel-focused, grace-filled, Christ-honoring thinking!   Fill your family library with books like that, and pour on this blessing in your home.  Because really, you’re doing more than providing an education: you’re preparing someone to know God, for eternity.

Recommended resources:

The Children’s Character Building Collection

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What’s a Depressed Christian to do?

Depression

Often, I’ve heard it asserted that there’s no way a Christian should ever be depressed, and that if you are, it’s a sinful state of mind  and you just need to repent. Is this true? Or is it just one of many conditions of life we experience, and in which we can live and walk to the glory of God?

Funny, I never hear anyone ask, “How can you be a happy Christian in this world, and not be in sin? In a wicked, troubled world like this – I mean, how could you be right to be content and happy?”  Of course we don’t ask that. So why do we ask it – or worse, just assert it to be so – about depression?

It seems to me we haven’t taken seriously the many conditions that the Scriptures show us godly men and women going through. Everything from cast down to crushed; distressed, grieved, lowly, broken-hearted, mourning and sorrowful, undone and “woe is me!” – it sounds like an experience of some sort of depression is pretty common among people who know the Lord.

Depression’s causes are likewise numerous: deferred hopes and ambitions; situations that never get better; heart-crushing problems that turn into lengthy trials that just won’t ever go away; severe mental or physical strains that tax our humanity and health, robbing us of sleep and sapping our strength. But sometimes, we can just get depressed because God is at work in our lives, humbling us and sanctifying us.

None of us wants to stay depressed. How do you pull out? The longer a time of depression goes on, the more earnest we become to find a way out, and sometimes that earnestness turns into a desperation that goes looking in the wrong places. Some turn to isolation; some turn to bed; some turn to alcohol or drugs; some turn to people instead of isolation (too many people); some turn to sex; some turn away from God. Some turn to God.

How will you, in a time of depression, make the correct turn? Here are a few proposals that I know have helped others. Not a comprehensive to-do list, because I know that the last thing you feel capable of when depressed is something to do. You yearn more to be delivered or rescued!  I’ve found that, on the track of these ideas, the Lord has rescued many.

1st, Resist the Temptation to be Annoyed or Angry at God

Because the key is Him – turning to Him.  If you’re embittered at Him, letting anger get a foothold in your heart because you’re depressed, you’re not going to turn to Him. So you won’t find the powerful Deliverer you need.  Calm yourself with the realization that my anger at Him does not solve anything; it alienates me from Him and keeps me from trusting the One who can help me. If you do get angry with Him, you always take it back in repentance later anyway, right? So what’s the point? Know that, while I don’t understand at all now what He is doing, a big step one is to not turn bitterly away from the God that I must cling to for help at this time.

2nd, Believe that God’s Plan of Suffering to Make you like Christ is a Good Thing

When suffering stuns us, pause and face that biblically evident fact again: God’s plan is to make me like Christ, and that will include suffering, just as it did in His life. You and I have no conception of how much suffering it takes to transform us to only be even a little like Christ.

3rd, Don’t Settle for Any One Answer

Depression begs and screams for an answer. The depressed heart yearns for something to solve the problem. And that makes you susceptible to hastily grasp an answer and settle too easily, thinking “That’s it! This is why I’m down.”  Be patient. Go ahead and grab it – but keep looking. Take each idea that seems to be The Answer prayerfully before the Lord and ask for wisdom, to see if it’s really as helpful as it sounds. For instance, a change of diet or exercise may make a difference – but you also may need to address that strained relationship you haven’t made efforts to reconcile. Or, maybe you have taken those steps, but ignored some sin in your life that you know in your heart is to blame. The point is, our quest to find one specific cause might not help; it may be several features of life simultaneously.

4th, If you Need Household Help, Humble Yourself and call out for it

Too many Moms and Dads simply bear too much of the load themselves at home and other family members aren’t taking part in the work. Make sure your child training includes having your children learn to serve others, taking on a fair share of the work load. Identify chores or tasks that would take a load off you and get children to do them; even graciously ask your husband if there are areas he would take on for you, if that’s a possibility.

5th, Find new Ways to Serve

This may sound like the contradiction of the previous point, but the remedies to depression can be both remarkable and unexpected. Being overwhelmed with too much to do can be part of the cause (draining you) but likewise, being too wrapped up in your own world and not serving others can also be part of the cause (leaving us dissatisfied with life that seems empty). One of the best benefits of being freed up from some household tasks (by having others do more of a part) is, it can free you up to minister to others in fresh and satisfying ways. Maybe delivering meals to that elderly family; making time to be mentored by that older woman (or being a mentor); or participating in some church ministry team.

6th, Wallow in the Word: Nourish, don’t just Read or Study

We sometimes find ourselves in a spiritually weak or low condition because we have tended to limit our diet of the Word too much; and we often focus only on the points we like or prefer. We overdose on certain truths in the Word while others are totally neglected.

When you’re down, you definitely don’t just need short devotions – that is, little Bible snipits (often verses out of context). But you may not need intensive, in-depth Bible study either!  You’re just not mentally up to that. But here is something you do need: every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Try soaking in long portions of Scripture. Find everything you possibly can for your faith to grasp onto; to find it, I suggest you devour the Word in great volume. Read long sections without studying them – just hose yourself down in the Word. You’ll find truths, perspectives, insights, and help you have ignored for a long time.

7th, Get Outside!

This won’t be for everybody (there are people who don’t enjoy the great outdoors much ….. Ok, I don’t understand those people). You may like it more than you think, if you get out into it. Because I don’t mean you need to walk a trail, explore a cave or get on a surfboard – just find a pretty nearby park, maybe even a spot on your own property, to sit outside and rest. Enjoy God’s gifts. Charles Spurgeon said “Next to our need for the Word of God is, a need to feel a blast of cold air in your face off the lake.”

This is so different than the shallowness of “I need a vacation!”  No – you don’t need a long break. You need regular breaks.

There’s a lot more to be said on this subject than this brief post can provide. Seek help from the body of Christ – your church. There are sure to be others there who have been through depression, and God comforts each of us in our afflictions, 2 Corinthians 1 says, “so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

 

 

 

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Family Worship by A.W. Pink

There are some very important outward ordinances and means of grace which are plainly implied in the Word of God, but for the exercise of which we have few, if any, plain and positive precept; rather are we left to gather them from the example of holy men and from various incidental circumstances. An important end is answered by this arrangement: trial is thereby made of the state of our hearts. It serves to make evident whether, because an expressed command cannot be brought requiring its performance, professing Christians will neglect a duty plainly implied. Thus, more of the real state of our minds is discovered, and it is made manifest whether we have or have not an ardent love for God and His service. This holds good both of public and family worship. Nevertheless, it is not at all difficult to prove the obligation of domestic piety.

Consider first the example of Abraham, the father of the faithful and the friend of God. It was for his domestic piety that he received blessing from Jehovah Himself, ‘For I know him, that he will command his children and household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment’ (Gen. 18:19). The patriarch is here commended for instructing his children and servants in the most important of all duties, ‘the way of the Lord’—the truth about His glorious person. His high claims upon us, His requirements from us. Note well the words ‘he will command’ them, that is, he would use the authority God had given him as a father and head of his house, to enforce the duties of family godliness. Abraham also prayed with as well as instructed his family: wherever he pitched his tent, there he ‘built an altar to the Lord’ (Gen. 12:7; 13:4). Now my readers, we may well ask ourselves, Are we ‘Abraham’s seed’ (Gal. 3:29) if we ‘do not the works of Abraham’ (John 8:39) and neglect the weighty duty of family worship? The example of other holy men are similar to that of Abraham’s. Consider the pious determination of Joshua who declared to Israel, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (24:15). Neither the exalted station which he held, nor the pressing public duties which developed upon him, were allowed to crowd out his attention to the spiritual well-being of his family. Again, when David brought back the ark of God to Jerusalem with joy and thanksgiving, after discharging his public duties, he ‘returned to bless his household’ (2 Sam. 6:20). In addition to these eminent examples we may cite the cases of Job (1:5) and Daniel (6:10). Limiting ourselves to only one in the New Testament we think of the history of Timothy, who was reared in a godly home. Paul called to remembrance the ‘unfeigned faith’ which was in him, and added, ‘which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and thy mother Eunice.’ Is there any wonder then that the apostle could say ‘from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures’ (2 Tim. 3:15)!

On the other hand, we may observe what fearful threatenings are pronounced against those who disregard this duty. We wonder how many of our readers have seriously pondered these awe-inspiring words ‘Pour out Thy fury upon the heathen that know Thee not, and upon the families that call not on Thy name’ (Jer. 10:25)! How unspeakably solemn to find that prayerless families are here coupled with the heathen that know not the Lord. Yet need that surprise us? Why, there are many heathen families who unite together in worshiping their false gods. And do not they put thousands of professing Christians to shame? Observe too that Jer. 10:25 recorded a fearful imprecations upon both classes alike: ‘Pour out Thy fury upon…’ How loudly should these words speak to us.

It is not enough that we pray as private individuals in our closets; we are required to honor God in our families as well. At least twice each day,—in the morning and in the evening—the whole household should be gathered together to bow before the Lord—parents and children, master and servant—to confess their sins, to give thanks for God’s mercies, to seek His help and blessing. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this duty: all other domestic arrangements are to bend to it. The head of the house is the one to lead the devotions, but if he be absent, or seriously ill, or an unbeliever, then the wife would take his place. Under no circumstances should family worship be omitted. If we would enjoy the blessing of God upon our family, then let its members gather together daily for praise and prayer. ‘Them that honour Me I will honour’ is His promise.

An old writer well said, ‘A family without prayer is like a house without a roof, open and exposed to all the storms of Heaven.’ All our domestic comforts and temporal mercies issue from the lovingkindness of the Lord, and the best we can do in return is to gratefully acknowledge, together, His goodness to us as a family. Excuses against the discharge of this sacred duty are idle and worthless. Of what avail will it be when we render an account to God for the stewardship of our families to say that we had not time available, working hard from morn till eve? The more pressing be our temporal duties, the greater our need of seeking spiritual succor. Nor may any Christian plead that he is not qualified for such a work: gifts and talents are developed by use and not by neglect.

Family worship should be conducted reverently, earnestly and simply. It is then that the little ones will receive their first impressions and form their initial conceptions of the Lord God. Great care needs to be taken lest a false idea be given them of the Divine Character, and for this the balance must be preserved between dwelling upon His transcendency and immanency, His holiness and His mercy, His might and His tenderness, His justice and His grace. Worship should begin with a few words of prayer invoking God’s presence and blessing. A short passage from His Word should follow, with brief comments thereon. Two or three verses of a Psalm may be sung. Close with a prayer of committal into the hands of God. Though we may not be able to pray eloquently, we should earnestly. Prevailing prayers are usually brief ones. Beware of wearying the young ones.

The advantages and blessings of family worship are incalculable. First, family worship will prevent much sin. It awes the soul, conveys a sense of God’s majesty and authority, sets solemn truths before the mind, brings down benefits from God on the home. Personal piety in the home is a most influential means, under God, of conveying piety on the little ones. Children are largely creatures of imitation, loving to copy what they see in others. ‘He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments’ (Psa. 78:5-7). How much of the dreadful moral and spiritual conditions of the masses today may be traced back to the neglect of their fathers in this duty? How can those who neglect the worship of God in their families look for peace and comfort therein? Daily prayer in the home is a blessed means of grace for allaying those unhappy passions to which our common nature is subject. Finally, family prayer gains for us the presence and blessing of the Lord. There is a promise of His presence which is peculiarly applicable to this duty: see Matt. 18:19,20. Many have found in family worship that help and communion with God which they sought for and with less effect in private prayer.