Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: Cracking the Covenant Code by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

I think it is safe to say when you purchase a resource from Precept ministries it will be of the most excellent quality. This particular study for kids was no different than that. I did this study with my children as their home school Bible curriculum. It was a wonderful study on the covenant God made with those who believe in Him by faith through Christ.

We all found our hearts being stirred toward Christ and His great love for us. This study was also very exciting because it covered the adventures again of the fictional yet lovable characters Max and Molly as they traveled this time through Israel. We learned some great things through this about the geography of Israel as well. Also, this book has many puzzles through out to keep it interesting for the children as they process the information.

I love these studies. They are challenging yet not too difficult for kids with an average reading ability. They keep us all in the proper depth of Scriptural study. Most importantly they stir our hearts toward Christ as I stated above. You can get your copy from Precept here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Psalm 119- Week 19



145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes.

This is a cry of a man who does not keep the Lord's statutes out of obligation but instead out of love. Do you follow His word because of love or obligation? I have recently been pondering what does "with my whole heart" actually mean? Oh to engage with God in that way continually. What bliss!

146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.

When in trouble of any kind what is your first response? Do you cry out to God in prayer? David was a man who intimately knew he could cry out to the God who would save him and he did often. Then as God saves us we get to share His amazing grace and love with others. 

147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.

When we rise in the morning who do we go to for help? Who do we put our hope in? Often times I put it in myself. Oh Lord, may my hope and cries be directed to You alone!

148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.

I was awakened last night. I found it extremely difficult to return to sleep. I was thankful for the quiet of the night and the meditation it gave me on His word. How often do we get this quiet before Him and His word? Let us pause more to just be with Him.

149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.

I love that we have a Father who adores us so that He delights to hear our voice. He never tires of hearing us speak to Him. I love that! He is the One and Only who gives life and life to the full.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true.

Though the evil one would have us forget who we are or who we belong to he is indeed far from God and His truth. We must not believe those lies. God is near and all His words are true. Let us hide them in our hearts.

152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.

Hands down God does not change. His ways are eternal. His word is forever. We can be thankful for this!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Aspergers is like Wall-E

Or at least that is what my sweet young nine year old asperger child tells me. I love the sweet look on her face when she can relate to someone else. It is the most precious thing. She excitedly told me that Wall-e was a lot like her.

Here is her list:
1-He is very curious.
2-He finds it hard to make friends.
3-He is exploring a world that seems foreign to him.
4-He is afraid of loud sounds and shakes when he hears them.
5-He is nice.
6-He is fun in his own way.
7-He collects things that look cool to him.
8-He can record stuff and that is kind of how she can remember things.

I always find it so interesting how much she is reflective of her own abilities and characteristics. She is so good at understanding what she can and cannot do. What she will find easy or difficult. I love this because it helps me know how to best approach certain issues with her.

She is beautiful and wonderfully made. I rejoice in that! I love how she lights up when she identifies with someone like herself.

On a serious note though and since I have not written a post on aspergers in a while I wanted to add an exciting development for her. Last year I was so afraid she would not learn how to read fluently and with accuracy. I went back to basics and taught her words by using pictures. Since her mind works in a visual way that does not forget I knew this would help. So now she can take those words she learned along with the pictures and recall them when she sees them with no corresponding pictures. It is amazing how well it worked. Of course we could not cover every word or do pictures with abstract words but something clicked and she can now work those other kind of words out. So much so she is reading currently "The Hobbit" which is on a seventh grade reading level. It brings tears to my eyes the vast difference. I am so proud of her hard work and determination. I also believe one reason she is reading "The Hobbit" so well is due to her intense interest in the story. I have heard this often about helping kids with aspergers but only experienced it now. Our next books may have to be "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

I write this to give you hope. If you are working with a struggling reader like I was, keep working and keep searching until you find what works for them. Each child is an unique individual and with encouragement they will finally get it. It will just click at the proper time for each individual child.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Review: The Secrets of Intercessory Prayer by Jack Hayford

I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no charge for the purpose of an honest review.

I have to be honest, I want to read any book I can find on intercessory prayer so of course I was interested in this one. One interesting thing I find is that many books on this topic are written by people outside my normal denominational line of thinking. However, I like to read them anyway because they challenge me to see things at different angles. The most important thing is that Christ remain the center and I believe this author succeeds in keeping Christ first and in the center of all.

It was not exactly what I thought it would be when I first read the title. I guess I thought it would be a book more about creative prayer ideas or strategies but this was not what it was about. Instead the book talks about how, why, and when we are invited to partner with God in prayer for others. It takes a look often at community and how to pray for those in the community at different places. It gives many Scriptural examples.

I did find the chapters, Comforting On Another in Prayer and Praying for Someone You Don't Want to Pray for very helpful and healing for my own life. They are very insightful and filled with the love of Christ. Overall this was a decent book on prayer for those in community.

To get a copy of this book from Amazon you can go here.Secrets of Intercessory Prayer, The: Unleashing God's Power in the Lives of Those You Love

Monday, November 5, 2012

I Took My Daughter On Her First Mission Trip

Besides our day to day ministry my oldest had a chance to "go" outside her everyday culture and serve alongside me this week. We went to work in the projects with the kids there for a music camp. I was a bit afraid making the decision to take my girl but she has always wanted to go on a trip so I could not think of a better way to start.

I explained to her on the way that she cannot expect the same behavior from these kid as she would her peers. She must be able to love them in and among their dysfunction. She must be the hands and heart of Jesus (though I realize we all should be this way around whoever we encounter). She was ready not knowing what to expect.

Now this child of mine has the propensity to try to hold on to rules because rules are safe. She is uncomfortable when rules are broken. I was not sure how this was going to go for her because I knew going in that rules would be broken here. I have worked with kids in this environment before. Kids desperately need clear guidelines and relationships with the authority in their lives that is firm but loving. Many homes are single mother homes lacking a positive male influence in this environment. Many of the mothers are working hard to support their family alone. Many of the kids are at risk for gang involvement. What they need is Jesus. How wonderful it is that people are lead to go into their culture and love them to Jesus declaring His praise.

We were helping some kids make some crafts and they were pretty unruly. We were with a 3rd and 4th grade group. A girl said, "He was screaming like someone being raped." My heart crushed when I heard that. This is something that 3rd and 4th graders should not know about let alone it being a common off the cuff comment. My heart broke for I thought I may have just been given a small glimpse into her world. A world that is not safe and the sacred involved with sex is not respected here so much so that children know about violent things like rape. It opened my eyes so I can pray better for them, for their purity.

It was a blessing to serve them. They need people who will care. People who will not leave them. People who will be there long enough to break through the tough exterior. My daughter loved this work. She wants us to go back. I know we will. I was thankful for that. I wonder if you just take a moment to look around, what kind of ministry might you find in your own city? What other cultures are present right in your "backyard?" Will you go? Will you take the gospel to them even when it may be uncomfortable? What things are you doing right where you are? I would love to hear! Let us encourage one another in our work for the sake of the gospel.
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