8/28/14

The Book Of Revelation Made Clear + Printable



The book of Revelation has always been one of the most interesting books of the Bible to me, ever since I was a child.  The imagery is just so colorful, and I love the end when Christ conquers and creates a new Heaven and earth!  It never fails to make my heart jump, and reading through Revelations always puts the day to day struggles into perspective - it reminds me that we are all part of a bigger story, and it makes me want to live more for Jesus, because someday He is coming back!

The Book Of Revelation Made Clear by Tim Lahaye and Timothy E. Parker is a great guide to Revelation.  When I first picked up this book I thought it was a regular chapter book, but I would call it more of a Bible study guide.  Each section opens with a short quiz about the Scripture text.  Then it gives you the actual Scripture, along with a short commentary about the verses, and the section finishes off with the answers to the quiz questions.  Every verse in the book of Revelation is covered in this manner.

If you have ever wanted to do a personal Bible study on the book of Revelation, this book is a great place to start.  I also think it is ideal for those who have never read Revelation before - it makes each verse easier to understand.  For those, like myself, who have studied Revelation before, I'd say this book still left me with a fresh perspective and brought attention to some things that I had never thought about.  The quizzes were also fun for me to test my memory of the specifics of each verse!

I also have to say, one of my favorite parts of the book was the appendices - Apendix A covers everything Christ says about Himself in the first three chapters of Revelation, and I liked reading through it and seeing that focused picture of Jesus that is presented in Revelation.

Apendix B is a list of all of the Lord's names throughout Scripture - I have been wanting to find a complete list like this, so I loved that a list of His names was included.  It inspired me to make this printable - click the link below to view and download it!

NamesofJesus

(Note: For Personal Use Only)


I'd definitely recommend this book for anyone who is interested at taking a deeper look at this interesting and mysterious book of the Bible.

Note: I received this book for free from BookLook in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

8/25/14

Three Ways To Help The Christians In Iraq


Saysomething


Something has been weighing on my heart over the last week, and I felt like I needed to write about it today.

I'm sure many of you are aware of what is happening right now in Iraq and Syria.  But for those of you don't know, a militant Islamic organization called Isis has been taking over many cities in Iraq and Syria.  Many minorities, including Christians, are being driven out of their homes, and people are being captured and forced to convert to Islam.  If they refuse, they are being beheaded.

The media has been picking up on this and reporting more on it, especially since a reporter, James Foley, was captured and beheaded by this same group.  But what has been somewhat disturbing to me is how little I have seen about this on social media.

I remember when the Tsunami hit in Haiti, and how many blog posts I read about that.  I read even more blog posts and tweets about some of the shootings that have occurred in recent years.  These things were tragedies, and they certainly deserved the attention they received.  And I imagine part of the response was due to the extensive media coverage and the fact that some of these tragedies hit so close to home.

But I have read next to nothing on social media about this genocide in Iraq.

I had a hard time tracking down any specific numbers of people who have been executed so far, but I did find that at least 1,900 were killed in June  - and things have only escalated since then.  I found that 400,000 Christians have been driven from their homes and now have nowhere to go (via).

I listened to a Focus On The Family broadcast on this subject last Friday, and they interviewed a Christian who is on the ground in Iraq - and you could hear the sorrow in his voice as he talked about a five year old boy, whom he had recently baptized.  The boy and his family were captured by ISIS.
And they killed them.  They beheaded a five year old boy.

That hits close to home for me.  Maybe because my son is not much younger than that boy.  But really, this should hit home for all of us, especially for those of us who follow Jesus.  This isn't just some distant conflict between people who have nothing to do with us.

These are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being slaughtered.  

These are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are crying out for someone to help.

Frank Wolf is a congressman who has been speaking out about this atrocity for months, and he sent a letter last week to President Obama (before the President approved targeted US air strikes in Iraq) reminding him of the President's own words that "preventing mass atrocities and genocide is . . . a core moral responsibility of the United States Of America".  Wolf's letter ends with words that haunt me.

"Mr. President, say something; do something."

I want to pass that challenge on to all of my American brothers and sisters in Christ.  We can't stand by while Christians are persecuted in such hideous ways throughout the world, and specifically in Iraq and Syria right now.

Say something.  Do something.

------

I think one reason I've heard so little in the blogging community (at least in the corner of it that I'm a part of) about the genocide that is going on in Iraq and Syria is that we feel helpless.  What are we supposed to do to help?

I know I have felt pretty lost on what to do about this, but I have put together three ideas for things we can do for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted in Iraq and Syria.  This is what I've got.

------


1.  Write your congressman.  There is obviously not a lot that we can do physically to help stop this genocide unless our government steps up.  Thankfully the President did authorize targeted air strikes in some areas last week, but I think it is important to let our representatives hear from their constituents that we want them to act on behalf of these minorities who are being killed.

I feel like writing your congressman can be a bit intimidating - maybe that is because I feel like my words have to be super-eloquent.  But it doesn't have to be hard - just a basic letter will do.  Here is what I wrote (feel free to copy my words or adjust them however you want):

To Congressman _______,

I am sure you are aware of the genocide that is being performed against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria at the hands of ISIS.  This is an atrocity, a gross human rights violation.  Religious liberty is one of our foundational freedoms in this country, and I believe it is our moral duty as Americans to speak out against and put a stop to such horrific violations of that liberty.  President Obama also recognized this in a 2012 speech when he said that "preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America."  I urge you to do what you can to put a stop to the genocide in Iraq and Syria, and to support any action on behalf of those who are being slaughtered there.  Thank you for your attention to this crisis.

Sincerely,

Name
Address

You can visit this website to find your representative and get a link to your representative's website - typically each representative's website will have an email link somewhere on the first page.


2.  Donate to help the 400,000 Christian refugees in Iraq.  Focus on The Family announced last Friday that if you donate to their office in Egypt, they will make sure the funds go directly toward relief efforts.  I trust them to get my money where it supposed to go.

You can donate by calling 1-800-A-FAMILY, and telling them you want to give to help the Christians in Iraq.

American Christians are probably the Christian group that has the greatest resources for sending help, and I think that means we also have the greatest responsibility - so if you are a believer, prayerfully consider donating to help our brothers and sisters in Christ!


3.  Pray.  Sometimes I feel like I'm not really doing very much by praying, but in reality, prayer is one of the best things we can do.  We may not be able to see the effects, but it is making a difference.

Rev. Canon Andrew White, a guest on the FOTF broadcast asked for prayers for three things specifically, and I thought this was a great guide to use.  Here they are.

-Pray for protection.   Pray for the Lord to put his hand of protection over the Christians who are being persecuted in Iraq, to rescue those who are in captivity, and to protect those who are fleeing ISIS.  I love to pray through Psalm 91 for protection, especially the following section:

"Because he loves me", says the Lord, "I will rescue him.  I will protect him for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him.  I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation."

Psalm 91:14-16

Let's pray those verses over our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

-Pray for provision.  Pray that organizations will be able to get relief to those refugees in Iraq.  Pray that God will put it on the hearts of His people to provide monetary help to the refugees (and consider donating yourself, if you haven't).

-Pray for perseverance.  One of the saddest things to me was hearing that many in Iraq are losing hope.  Pray that the Lord would be with those Christians in Iraq, and make His presence obvious to them.  Pray for Him to strengthen their hearts and give them courage to stand.  Pray for Him to fill them with peace and hope in the midst of this horrific trial.

Will you join me in praying daily for our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering right now?

-------

I'd love to read about any other ideas or resources you might know about - comment below!

8/22/14

Combatting Selfishness In Little Ones



I remember the first time my kids got in a real fight (my oldest is three, so it wasn’t that long ago).
We were enjoying a peaceful morning when suddenly it was disrupted by screeching. I rounded the corner and found two of my kids, each holding one end of a toy – and they were yanking it back and forth and yelling at each other.
Wow, I thought, this is like a scene out of a movie!
That was probably not the best or most mom-like first thought to have, but I was caught off guard. After I got over my initial shock, I took the toy away and we sat down and had a talk about sharing and being kind to each other. At least I recovered well, right?
The truth is, I shouldn’t have been surprised at my kids’ behavior. Selfishness is something that is ingrained into our fallen human nature. Selfishness comes naturally to kids – it is unselfishness that must be nurtured and taught…


To read the rest of my thoughts on combatting selfishness in kids, check out my post on TommyNelson.com!

8/20/14

Sharing A Blessing

One thing that I want to teach my kids to do well as they grow is to look for opportunities to bless others.

This is easy to do when someone is going through a rough time, or even when they are in the midst of exciting events in their lives.  But what about just every day, ordinary, for-no-reason opportunities to bless people?  I want them to grow to be the kind of adults who will buy their sibling something just because they love them, who will write their friends an encouraging note, who will call their grandma just to tell her they are glad God put her in their life.  I want them to not just think of the grand gestures, but the little ways to make someone else's day a little happier.

DSC 5735blog

A resource that I am really excited about for this is the book Share A Blessing from Tommy Nelson.  This book makes it so easy for kids to think of others and send some of those every day encouragements to those they care about!  This book contains 24 notecards or postcards that kids can write a quick note on, and it also includes 1,000 stickers (yes, 1,000 - I didn't mistype) that they can use to decorate the cards (or whatever else they want).  I was looking through it, and I would have loved this book as a girl!  I think they need to make one for adults.

DSC 5736blog

The book is definitely more geared toward girls (lots of pink and flowers and hearts), but I think girls are generally the ones who send cards.  Boys seem more likely to just hang out and play games, call someone, or punch someone to say "I love you" (though I don't recommend the punching - I'm just saying).  So I think Gwen will be the one who will really love this as she gets older!

DSC 5743blog

It's recommended for children ages 8 and up, but I'm not letting that stop me.  I think I'm going to let the kids put together a card now, maybe for someone we don't get to see as often.  I think both of them will really enjoy it - because even though Wyatt is more into cars and dinosaurs than flowers and hearts, did I mention that there are 1,000 stickers in this book?  When you are three, any stickers are way better than no stickers.  We're going to have fun with it, and it's the perfect training tool to teach being thoughtful toward others.

Click here to check out some of the cards in this book!

Note: I received this book for free from Tommy Nelson in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

8/18/14

My June Cleaver Moment

Photo 8blog
It was late afternoon, and I had the windows rolled down.  I could hear the birds chirping outside the window, and the leaves were rustling with the breeze in that ever-so-slightly dry way that signals that summer is winding down.

I had just finished whipping up a batch of cream cheese frosting for the carrot cake I had made.  I had chili simmering on the stove.  Clyde was positioned on my hip, and I managed to get the beaters off the mixer with one hand.  I took a lick of the frosting to taste it, and then I called Wyatt and Gwen over and gave them a taste.

They bounced up and down while I let them lick the beaters dry, and then we heard Derek's truck pull up the driveway outside the window.

"Daddy's home!"

Little feet running toward the door.

Happy squeals and shouts of "Hi Dad!", as I followed the kids to greet Derek.

And I had one of those moments.  One of those "I can't believe this is my life" moments.  My mind flashed back to several years earlier, and a guest post I had written for my blog friend Anna where I talked about a June Cleaver moment like this.  Greeting my husband with the sound of little feet and a baby on my hip.

And suddenly it didn't matter that my June Cleaver moment included me in sweatpants.

It didn't matter that Clyde had been crying all day and that was the reason I was holding him while making frosting.

It didn't matter that the rolled-down windows had led to a shortened nap time when a thunderstorm woke up two of the kids.

It didn't matter that the chili and cake had been my sole accomplishments that day.

Because in that moment, I remembered.  I remembered how much I wanted a moment just like this in those early days.

I think as moms it can be easy to get so caught up in the daily tasks that we forget to look around and see what we have.  We can focus so much on all the things that are going wrong that we forget to notice the things that are right.  In moments of frustration we shoot up prayers that the Lord would just let our day go smoother, and we forget to shoot up prayers of thanks for frosting faces, babies that just want to be with mama all day, and husbands that work to make it all possible.

The light turned on in that moment, and I looked around and saw that I had the things I most wished for all those years ago.  Any remnants of frustration melted away, and instead of feeling like crying because I hadn't even had time to get dressed properly before Derek got home, I felt like crying because I remembered.

I remembered that I didn't always wish for perfect days.  I always wished for these sweet little people that fill my crazy days now.

I stopped right then and thanked God, because I remembered that I have what I always wanted, and it's okay if it's not picture perfect.  It's a beautifully blessed life that He's given me, and somehow the imperfections make me like it even better.

8/15/14

Clyde At Four Months

DSC 5961blog

My sweet Clyde is four months old as of this past Monday!



The biggest accomplishment this month - Clyde can roll over both ways!  He has been rolling all over the floor since he figured it out, and he no longer sleeps on his back - both of those things freak me out a little.  I can't quite tell if he likes the rolling or not, but I think he is doing it on purpose.  At night he usually rolls over to his side now, and then sometimes over onto his stomach - I usually try to turn him back if I see that, but he doesn't always stay on his back.


He is laughing so much more this month, and it is adorable!  He thinks it's funny to be surprised, but only if he is expecting to be surprised - so peekaboo is a big hit.  If he is not expecting to be surprised, like with a sudden loud noise, he cries.


He is totally a mama's baby - he loves me.  As long as I'm holding him he is happy as can be, and he calms down almost as soon as I pick him up.  When I put him down, his eyes follow me around the room, and as soon as I look back and talk to him his face just lights up, even before he smiles.  Sometimes when I'm trying to feed him, Clyde can't focus because he keeps looking up at me and grinning in the middle of his meal.  I kind of love it that he only has eyes for me!  I only have a little time while that's still true, so I'm taking full advantage.


Even though he is very attached to me, he is also really attached to Derek.  The other day Derek handed him off to a family member, and Clyde was just bawling, so Derek took him back and Clyde calmed right down.  He definitely loves his daddy!  I love seeing his eyes light up when Derek plays with him, it's so cute.


Clyde also loves playing with Wyatt and Gwen.  I feel like he is even more aware of them this month, and when I lay him down on the floor with Wyatt and Gwen while they are playing, he is happy as long as they are in sight.  They also like playing with him - I caught them trying to "tickle" Clyde the other day (he was loving it). Wyatt shows Clyde his cars by stacking them on Clyde's stomach.  The other day I had Clyde in his car seat while I got things ready to go, and I came back to find that Gwen had given him her doll to hold.  Wyatt and Gwen both love their little brother.


I think Clyde might be a little musical, like Wyatt.  I was singing to him the other day, and Clyde was just giving me the biggest smile.  Wyatt has always loved music, and I'm wondering if Clyde is going to be the same.


He is using his pacifier less, and sucking on his fingers more.  He hasn't found his thumb - I'm not sure if he's going to.  His knuckles seem to be doing the trick right now.  He has this little blankie that is similar to the one Wyatt is so attached to - and Clyde loves his blankie already.  He loves having it touch his face while we are driving around.


Sleep has been okay - he has been waking up a little more.  He probably goes a 6-7 hour stretch at first, and then another 4 hour stretch or so - not bad, he has just been waking up for that first feeding earlier.  I feel like he has been doing way better when I first lay him down though - if I put him down awake he will cry for a little while, but then he'll go to sleep by himself.  For a while there he either had to be nursing or have his pacifier to fall asleep, so I am happy that he is starting to figure out how to fall asleep without that.

We had to start supplementing with formula this month, because my supply is just not keeping up with him.  I'm thinking about trying the tea to see if that helps.

My favorite thing about Clyde right now - his smile!  My mom calls it his "million dollar smile", and it really is - his smile just fills his whole face! I love it.



------

My Sweet Clyde,

Little Guy, you are just so precious!  This month you seem to be doing much better as far as the colic goes, and I am seeing more and more of your personality.  You definitely love attention, and you are happiest when someone is holding you - and when you are happy, you are really happy!  You have such a great smile, and you are generous with it.  I love that you are so smiley, and seeing you grin at me makes my heart jump a little bit.  I think you look a lot like your daddy, but I can also see bits of me in there too. You are such  perfect blend of the two of us, and I can see that more as you grow, but I think your smile is your dad's.

I love that you are a snuggly baby, and those quiet snuggle times are some of my favorite moments with you.  You have these dark eyes, and you are always watching my face, with a scrunchy nose smile ready whenever I look your way.  You make me feel like the most important person in the world with that smile.  I love you, Sweet Boy.  I love these little days with you.

Always,
Mama

8/13/14

Why I Love Board Books (And Giveaway!)

Can I just say how much I love board books for this age?

So many of our books end up looking like this.  And it's just sad.


I know the books are here to serve us, not the other way around.  These are just things, so I try to be laid back about when pages get ripped accidentally.  I try to teach the kids to be gentle with the pages of their books, but their little fingers can only be so gentle at this stage.  It's not like they do it on purpose.

Of course there's the whole "I ripped a little corner of the page, so let's just rip the whole thing out" philosophy that Wyatt ascribes to, but we're working on it.

But I have to say, my book-loving heart drops a bit at the sight of a colorful page lying on the floor.  So board books?  They make me happy.

Do you remember those Little Critter books I reviewed several months ago?  I used to love Little Critter books growing up, and I love that Tommy Nelson is publishing some faith-based versions of these books!  The only thing I was bummed about at the time?  The pages were regular old paper.  I retired those books to our bookshelf until the kids get a little older.

I was expecting to do the same with this next set of Little Critter books, but when I opened the package, what did I see?  Board books!  These books come in a board book version!  I was probably a little overly excited about this.

DSC 5722blog

I loved both of these books.  In "Being Thankful", Little Critter is wishing for everything he doesn't have, until his grandma shows him that we need to be thankful for the things that God gives us.  She reminds him by giving him a blue "thankful rock" to remind him to be thankful for what he has.  I thought this was a really cute story to show kids where they could be more thankful.  And how cute is the thankful rock idea?  I know it's just a story, but it reminds me of those rocks that people carry around and rub when they get stressed out.  I think a thankful rock is a much better and more meaningful idea.

DSC 5724blog

In "We All Need Forgiveness", Little Critter is forgiven multiple times throughout the book in small ways, even while he is unforgiving toward others.  Then he makes a big mistake and messes up his school play, and thinks his friends will never forgive him.  His mom reminds him that we need to forgive each other just like God forgives us, and Little Critter sees that he needs to forgive others when they make mistakes as well.

DSC 5733blog

Both of these books were sweet.  The illustrations are fun and detailed (which I know I always loved as a kid), and I like how these books teach lessons by making the right and wrong behavior really obvious to kids.  Wyatt definitely likes listening to the story and we talk about how Little Critter could be nicer/do better as we read.

I especially love that these versions also include a lesson about God as well - being thankful to God, and teaching about how God forgives us.  It makes me feel good knowing they aren't just reading a fun book, but are learning important truths and values as well.

DSC 5718blog

And they are board books!  I don't have to worry about whether these ones will last until they are old enough to read!  Cue my sigh of relief.

You can preview these books yourself here and here!

Note: I received these books for free from Tommy Nelson in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Tommy Nelson has also offered a copy of these books to one of my readers!  Enter below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Blog Widget by LinkWithin