"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘Bible’

The scroll that made me smile

“Hey, Mommy,” she said, “look at my new scroll!” And she proudly held up the roll of black lawn trash bags and unrolled it for me to see. (Yes, you read that right. Trash bags.)

“What do you have there?” I asked.

She explained that it was her “scroll,” and that she was right in the middle of reading the Old Testament—specifically, the book of New Corinthians. She laid it down on the dining room table and unrolled it more, exclaiming, “Boy, I sure have a lot to read! Look, it goes all the way to this piece of cereal!” (This was said while pointing to a piece of cereal still sitting randomly on the table, long after breakfast was over. Sigh. At least it let her know just how much reading she had ahead of her.)

Throughout the day she continued reading from her scroll, occasionally stopping to struggle over “a hard word” she was reading. Although she was mainly “reading” to herself, and therefore softly, I picked up a few tidbits now and then:

“You shall not praise the Lord as a guest of Egypt.”

“[something about] members of the faith”

“Always be thankful for healthy food, and for everything you want . . . like hands.”

Eventually she decided the strain on her eyes was just too great, since the words on the scroll were written “this small” (said holding her thumb and pointer finger so close together they were almost touching). She went for her glasses, and with a sigh of relief, was able to continue reading.

I love the way this little girl’s mind works. It makes me smile! I hope you are smiling today, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Have you checked out Cheerful Learning?

It occurred to me recently that I never officially introduced my other blog on this site. Cheerful Learning is all about ways to teach and interact with your favorite preschooler, whether that’s your child, grandchild, niece/nephew, or friend. It’s also helpful for Bible class teachers, preschool teachers, and child care providers looking for fresh, new ideas.

For those who haven’t visited yet, here’s an introduction to what you’ll see if you stop by Cheerful Learning:

There are fun Storybook Activities (snacks, games, crafts, and more) from children’s books like Snowmen at Night

…and How the Grinch Stole Christmas

…and The Sesame Street 1,2,3 Storybook.

There are LOTS of activities to go along with Bible stories such as The Tower of Babel

…and Noah’s Ark

…and The Rainbow Promise.

I’m working on getting up pictures from all the fun activities we did to teach numbers and numeral formation. Zero and One are already up, and more are on the way soon!

I’ll also be posting the fun activities we did to learn the letters and their sounds, including games, crafts, snacks, and much more. There are holiday activities (Valentine’s Day coming soon!) and ideas for movement/PE, visual discrimination, and fine motor skills practice.

I hope that, if you haven’t yet, you’ll come on over to Cheerful Learning to see what all the fun is about! And when you do, be sure to first check out the pages About Us, Our Story, and About Our Curriculum ; they’ll fill you in on how we do things in our preschool program, and why.

Finally, if you are considering doing preschool activities with a child you love—either as their sole preschool experience or as a supplement to what they’re learning elsewhere—you may want to read through Should We “Do Preschool” at Home? and What Do I Need?, both under Getting Started.

I hope those of you who have preschoolers will enjoy Cheerful Learning and that the ideas I post there will help you make the most of your time with your child, by eliminating the hours of planning and preparation you’d spend coming up with your own curriculum.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Because he wears the hat

The 2012 election is over. And now, we move on to the difficult task of showing respect for a man’s office, regardless of our respect (or lack thereof) of the man who occupies it…and teaching our children to do the same.

Although I disagree unequivocally with most of our newly-reelected president’s ideology, I must continue to show respect for his position.

Why?

As the old, well-loved song says, “For the Bible tells me so.”

“…for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” (Acts 23:5)

In the above verse, Paul was referencing Exodus 22:28, “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

It won’t be easy. I know there will be many issues I will feel very strongly about. I may rant and rave about those issues, and I may point out where the president’s actions defy biblical authority. But what I will not do is call him an idiot or tell everyone how stupid he is. His actions will speak for themselves, I fear, but I will not slander him, and I won’t allow my children to do so, either.

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Titus 3:1-2)

Verses like the following are hard to swallow at a time like this. But, if I stand by the Bible, I stand by the Bible, tough parts and all.

“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” (I Peter 2:17)

Dishonoring our leaders by calling them hateful names is a poor reflection on us. It violates God’s will and hurts our example among non-believers. Yes, I am angry. I want to lash out. But there are bigger concerns at stake, like my soul and the souls of those I influence, so I must exercise self-control when I speak of the president of our country.

May God bless us as we do our best to fulfill ALL His commands.

Psalm 22:28

Thanks for stopping by!

I rode the roller coaster

It was an emotional day. I rode the roller coaster of deep sadness and incredible happiness…all in one day.

It breaks my heart that there is so much misunderstanding and misinformation out there. Christians do not hate gay people. We are not afraid of them. We are simply concerned for their souls. We believe deeply in God’s plan for the family as outlined in the Bible, and want to be able to uphold those teachings and to encourage others who do so, too, even at personal cost (such as damage to their businesses). We certainly don’t believe that we are perfect. We are simply trying each day to do our best to live in a way that pleases God…not by our own standards, but by His.

It breaks my heart that there are such crazy double standards in place. I must be tolerant of your views, but you don’t want me to be able to give voice to mine? What?!?  Our constitution gives us the right to free speech. More importantly, God’s Word tells us to “speak the truth in love.”  It’s part of growing up!

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:14, 15)

There was so much more that saddened me…but this is a blog about why I smile, and there were plenty of reasons for that, too.

I smiled each time I read another account of someone’s visit to Chick-fil-A. The same phrases popped up in every e-mail and facebook status I saw:

“cars wrapped around the building”

“hour-long wait”

“could hardly get in the parking lot”

I smiled because they were all followed by statements like, “But I didn’t mind at all!” and, “It was so worth it!”

I smiled about the fact that even in the crowded restaurants, people were patient and kind. And, the employees were still friendly and gracious, just like always. (My son said, “In the midst of all that, they didn’t lower the quality of their service. That’s impressive!”)

I smiled because I had to squelch my desire to hug everyone waiting in line at Chick-fil-A and tell them how proud I was of them for standing up for what they believe is right, and for doing their small part to encourage that in others. (Can you imagine if I’d given in to that desire?)

I smiled because, as I sat among tables full of friends in our church fellowship area at supper, surrounded by red and white bags and cups, I heard no gay bashing, no people bashing at all, no death wishes…nothing at all like the comments I saw repeatedly by some of those who opposed customer appreciation day and the moral stance behind it. I simply heard sweet fellowship and expressions of joy over the opportunity to stand up together and make our voices heard.

I smiled each time I heard someone say, at supper, “Yeah, I ate there for breakfast, too.” Or, “I went yesterday and today for lunch.”

I smiled as I read of those who don’t have Chick-fil-A restaurants in their area, who supported the company anyway by buying gift cards to send to friends and relatives in other parts of the country.

I smiled when I saw two other fast food companies–Chick-fil-A’s competitors, in other words–who showed public support for a company whose leader was willing to take a stand.

I smiled as I read news reports of stores running completely out of food supplies that had been stocked for the whole week.

I smiled because while reading this article, I noticed this interesting comment: “With regards to Cathy’s statement on same-sex marriage, Bloom said it appeared to have been a ‘bad business decision…’”

Hmmm…I’m pretty sure the buycott outweighed the boycott!

I smiled when I read my friend’s account of standing in line at a Chick-fil-A restaurant where the waiting crowd burst out singing “God Bless America.” (I got chills again just typing that!)

I smiled because I’ve been reminded that my children can still grow up in a world where there will always be people who stand up for truth, no matter how many tell us to be silent, because we still believe in the words of Acts 5:29: We must obey God, rather than men.

What made you smile this week?

Thanks for stopping by.

So glad I found them

Today was a long day…a busy, exhausting day. But today, as every day, there were so many reasons to smile, and I’m thankful I was able to find them. (I hope you found reasons to smile as well, and I hope you’ll share them in the comments below.)

Today I smiled because I found this hanging on my nine-year-old daughter’s wall:

(It was completely her idea, and discovering it in her room made me happy.)

Today I smiled because my 16-year-old chose to use his free time to do this:

(Where did he get this talent? And even more baffling, when did his hands get so big?!)

Today I smiled because I know there won’t be ANY days like this in heaven. 🙂

Today I smiled because a sweet friend offered to help…and insisted that I let her.

Today I smiled (guffawed, rather) because my 14-year-old caught me off guard multiple times with his unexpected, witty comments.

Today I smiled because we found these while cleaning out the garage, and the girls got such a kick out of them.

And as the day was drawing to a close, I smiled once more at this conversation with my three-year-old:

Remington: One day, God said to me, “Remi, you and I are going to catch an octopus.”

Me: Remi, do you remember how God talks to us?

Remington: How?

Me: Through the Bible. We read the words in the Bible, and then we know what God is saying to us.

Remington: Ohhhhh…..

Me: So…Does the Bible say that you are going to catch an octopus?

Remington: (with a big smile) YES!!

You just can’t reason with a three-year-old.

What made you smile today?

Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas: To celebrate, or not to celebrate?

And the answer is…..YES! And, NO!

HUH???

Let me try to confuse you more explain…

If the question is whether I celebrate the Christmas holiday season, the answer is ABSOLUTELY! We put up a tree and lights, decorate the house, enjoy special treats, get together with extended family, exchange gifts, and hang our stockings every year. We love this season!

But, if the question is whether I celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Christ, the answer is NO, I don’t.

Gasp!

But Amy, I thought you were a Christian! (See, I knew what you were thinking.)

Please be fair and stay with me to the end here, OK?

Yes, I am a Christian. It’s the most important relationship in my life. And, because I am a Christian, I strive to live by God’s teachings as outlined in His Word, the Bible.

And do you know what the Bible says about Christmas? Nothing. Nada. Zip. (Really. Go look it up! ) You won’t find any mention of Christmas, or any commandment to celebrate the birth of Christ on any particular day (or at all….stay with me…) and you won’t find any indication of when Christ was born. (But, even secular historians agree that it wouldn’t have been in December.)

So my big question is, “If God wanted us to celebrate Christ’s birth on a certain day or in a certain season, don’t you think He would have told us so?” He’s pretty specific in other areas, so it’s hard for me to imagine Him leaving this out if it were really important to Him. In fact, the Bible teaches that the most important thing we should observe is not Christ’s birth (although I’m so glad He was born!) but His death and resurrection:

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”  I Cor. 15:2-3 (emphasis mine)

And that death, burial, and resurrection should be celebrated every first day of the week (not once a year), according to multiple Scriptures.

For what it’s worth, I am glad about the fact that so many people turn their attention to Jesus at this time of the year. I think it’s great that people are reminded to think about the One Who gives us all good gifts. But, friends, please don’t criticize me for not doing something that God Himself has not commanded us to do!

I don’t ever want to be guilty of the same thing as those who were called “hypocrites” in Mark 7:

And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (verse 7)

You see, Christmas is a fun time of year, but celebrating it is a tradition of men, not a commandment of God. (Look up the holiday’s origins and I bet you’ll be surprised! It all started among the pagans, and then became customary for the general public after spreading through Catholicism.) The Bible gives no indication of anyone in the early church celebrating Christmas.

The very next verse after the one quoted above says, “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” It seems to me there are an awful lot of people sleeping in each first day of the week, but then walking around telling everyone that “Jesus is the reason for the season” once December rolls around. It just doesn’t make sense!

Why celebrate at all, then? Christmas, like many other human holidays, is a wonderful time to get together with friends and family. It’s a great time to teach our children about Acts 20:35, “…and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” It’s a fun opportunity to catch up with those we don’t often hear from throughout the year, and to enjoy family activities like baking and decorating.

But Amy, you just said there’s no mention of Christmas in the Bible!

That’s right. And that’s why I would never try to tell another Christian that they HAVE TO celebrate Christmas, just like I’d never tell someone they have to celebrate Valentine’s Day! I would never insinuate that someone would be sinning by not observing this human holiday in some fashion.

I also cannot agree with those who say it’s wrong to celebrate Christmas in any way. Giving Christmas gifts is like giving birthday gifts.  It’s great fun—just don’t claim you’re doing it because God says we have to!

I hope I have spoken the truth in love. I sure don’t want to offend anyone out there. But I do hope after reading this some will be more careful about giving looks and comments that indicate that anyone who doesn’t celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th is “not a good Christian.”

Now it’s your turn. What do you believe about this subject? More importantly, can you back it up? I welcome your comments below, as always; just please be sweet and respectful with your words.

And if you notice there’s not a nativity set in my front yard this month, don’t get the wrong idea. I’ll be worshiping Him with fellow Christians on Sunday morning, and trying to live my life for Him all week. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!


Just letters, numbers, and words…or is there more?

She looked up at me through her smudgy little sunglasses and said, in all seriousness, “I have to read all the numbers in my Bible. That’s why I have to wear these glasses.”

It struck me as funny, this revelation that when she sees us reading our Bibles, her perception is that we’re just looking at the numbers. Of course, at age two, she’s still a little mixed up about the difference between letters and numbers and words. But it also made me wonder if there was more to that idea…

When we read the Bible, hopefully we’re not seeing “just words.”  Hopefully we realize that those “words” are the inspired Word of God Himself, and that they should affect us and change us. (II Timothy 3:16-17) Ideally, we’ll be a little different after each time we read them.

If you went to church this morning, did you go away changed because you were exposed to God’s words? Will that be the only time all week you open His Word? I know at times I’ve been guilty of listening, nodding along, and then forgetting what I just learned instead of going home and working all week on becoming better because of those words.

There are no special glasses that will make it easier. We have to do the “work” of both reading and applying to our lives.  But a powerful change will take place in us when we see them as much more than just words on a page.

I love that little Remington already wants to read her Bible. No wonder Jesus tells us to become like little children!

Thanks for stopping by.

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