A Lesson in Laziness

 

Proverbs 6:6 says “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

God says “Go to the ant” to learn a lesson about laziness. So we did just that!

Visit me over at The Better Mom today where we’re talking about teaching children to not be lazy! 

Walk with the King,

A Creative Way to Share the Gospel

My degree at Moody Bible was Evangelism and Discipleship.  This technique is one we used in the subways and on the streets.  After graduating from Moody, I used it during Neighborhood Bible Clubs.  It’s so easy to gather kids around the big square on the ground and then tell them the “greatest love story of all time.” 

It takes less than 4 minutes to do – so check out the video to see how it’s done!

 

(if you are reading this in a feed or email click here to see the video)

This video took me two takes and BOTH times I messed up the word sin. lol!  I didn’t want to RE-DRAW the set-up so I just went with it.  Sorry that the word doesn’t look quite right!

I said a few verses in the video without references so here are the references:

John 3:16 – ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23- “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:28 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I John 5:12 “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

I John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

This little light of mine – I’m gonna let it shine!!!  Let’s shine together!  Please pass  this on to Sunday School teachers or friends who could use this and if you have a creative method please share it in the comments below!

 Walk with the King,

My List of Excellent Christian Parenting Books

 

My sister is back for her final Tuesday post.

 Jennifer writes:

As this is my last guest post in this series, I thank you for graciously receiving me and for all of  the additional book recommendations you gave in your comments!  It has been a blessing to share the joy of reading with you! 

            In this post, we will shift gears a little bit as I recommend my favorite parenting books for you to read.  The parenting books that I have found to be most helpful are those that are not overly concerned about strategies for changing a child’s outward behavior but are more concerned about reaching the heart of a child with the truths of the Bible.  Ephesians 6:4b says, “ . . .but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  The resources listed below balance disciplining children for misbehavior with training children in righteousness or right behavior.

The Bible - :)

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – This is my all-time favorite parenting book!  My husband and I have taught through this series four times at our church using Tedd Tripp’s videos.  This book taught us to use disciplining times with our children as opportunities to teach them about their hearts, sin, obedience, and the hope of the gospel.  The clear, Biblical communication that we have had with our children during these times has built a strong bond of trust and love between us and our children.  We have used these times to point their hearts toward the cross and to the forgiveness of Jesus as the only hope for sinners like us. This book not only gives foundations for Biblical child-rearing but also gives training procedures and methods for each stage of childhood.

 

Don’t Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman – This book often quotes Tedd Tripp and  expands on the methods laid out in Shepherding a Child’s Heart by giving practical advice from a mom’s perspective.  It was so helpful in showing how to use specific scriptures when training our children toward righteousness.  I loved the day-to-day life examples that Ginger Plowman gives in this book as it so related to what I was dealing with in our home with our children.  I also appreciated the topics covered in the appendix:  How to Become a Christian, How to Lead Your Child to Christ, and How to Pray for Your Child.

Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman – This chart-like book is a handy resource that gives scripture verses that you can use to discuss with your children specific struggles that they are having with sin or wrong behavior.  The chart is based on the scripture Eph. 4:22-23,  “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitudes of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” 

What I like about this tool is it gives verses for reproof of the sin to be “put off”, and it also gives verses of encouragement for the action that needs to be “put on”.  For example, my son Johnathan struggles with “worry”.  We have asked him the questions on the chart like “Who is all powerful?  What can God do about this situation?”.  We then had him read the verse about anxiety, Matthew 6:31, followed by a verse about trust, I Peter 5:7.  There are also additional verses that have been so helpful in discussing this struggle with him and encouraging him to trust our sovereign God in all things.

Transformed Into His Likeness by Armand P. Tiffe – In the author’s own words, this is a handbook for putting off sin and putting on righteousness.  It follows a similar, chart-like format to Wise Words for Moms but is an expanded version as it gives scriptures for over 100 different topics ranging from teen/adult problems to problems that are unique to young children.  This has been a useful resource not only in parenting but also when counseling others with Biblical advice. 

 

Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley – This book differs from other parenting books in that almost the entire first half of it deals with the parent’s own relationship with God.  We can not be effective parents if we do not have a thorough understanding of the gospel and a correct fear of God. 

This author emphasizes the importance of parents living out their faith in their homes and marriages so that children know what it means to love God and live for Him.  This book also stresses the importance of fathers as heads of the home and the importance of the home being the primary location of spiritual training.  As I read this book, I was so grateful that my own parents lived out their faith in our home and that they were a wonderful examples for me to follow as a parent.

 

A Mom After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George – This book, like all of the ones above, stresses reaching your child’s heart and the importance of teaching Biblical truths.  Each chapter ends with a list of practical tips like “debrief Sunday school lessons” or “create a family prayer list” and includes “From a Dad’s Heart” sections written by Elizabeth’s husband, Jim.

Chapter 10 in this book was the most useful for me as it gave the top five things to pray for your children: salvation, their friends, their purity, their schoolwork, and their church involvement.  I have adapted this list slightly for my children and pray for their friends, their future mate, their future vocation, and their ministry.  I often pray through this list for my children after I drop them off at school in the morning or as I am falling asleep at night.

            What an awesome responsibility it is to be a parent!  I hope that these books will be a resource for you as you strive to bring up your children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
~ Jennifer

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Thank you sis so much for this entire series!  I love the depth of knowledge you have on books!  I’ve read most of the above books you mentioned and especially liked and used the Wise Words Chart and Keith and I led the Shepherding a Child’s Heart book and handbook study in our home long ago too.

I took a picture of the rest of my favorites but it’s missing quite a few I could not locate, I’ve loned out or just forgot about until after I took the picture oops!  If I made a stack of all the parenting books I’ve read - they would hit the ceiling (this is not an exaggeration – I left at least 40+ books on the shelf as I pulled these ones out) but trust me – it’s not strongly evident in my children lol! …yet right? :) 

I’ve been a major seeker of wisdom in this area and I’ve read many from the library or borrowed from friends too.  My mom once told me to slow down the reading and work on the applying. lol!  Most of these books I devoured before I started blogging – since blogging my reading time has dwindled but much of the heart of my writing comes from these foundations. 

Anyhow, I love all of Doorposts materials (but they are huge and spiral bound so they didn’t work for the pic).  I also love Sally Clarkson’s Educating the Wholehearted Child.  It is by far my favorite homeschooling book.  I love Elizabeth Elliot’s The Shaping of a Christian Family (it’s been rained on and is a mess but I’ve read it at least 3 times through – it’s her biography of her childhood years) and I have quite a few books by Dobson and Focus on the Family I enjoyed including Juli Slattery’s Guilt Free Parenting.  I think that’s enough for now! 

 Thanks for following this series!  Please chime in!  What are some of your favorite parenting books?

Walk with the King,

Devotional Books for Children

 

 My sister Jennifer is back! ——-> 

            “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.”  II Timothy 3:16, 17 (NKJV) 

 Jennifer writes:

 These familiar verses are favorites of mine, but the verses that come before these touch my heart as a mom. 

In II Timothy 3:14 and 15, Paul says to Timothy, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 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.” 

 Timothy had been taught Biblical truth even as a young child, and in the first chapter of II Timothy, we are told about the influence of Timothy’s grandmother and mother on his life. 

Paul says , “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”  II Timothy 1:5

 What an impact a mother’s faith can have on the life of her children!  It is so important to be teaching the truths of the Holy Scriptures to our young children.  There is nothing of greater importance as a mom than to show our little ones the way of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 

            There are many resources that we can use to share the truths of God’s Word with our children.  I choose devotional books that are Biblically accurate and age-appropriate.  Some teach  favorite Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments while others teach Biblical doctrine.  Our nightly reading times start with our devotional reading, followed by each child praying, and ending with a chapter from a fiction book.  My children and I look forward to this time every night and are disappointed if something prevents us from sharing this time together. 

Here are my recommendations for Bible devotional books:

 

The Baby Bible Storybook by Robin Currie – My husband and I purchased this book a week before our first baby was born, and it is perfect for infants and toddlers!  It is a board book, and the stories have activities and motions for the child to act out which holds their attention.  For example, in the story of Noah’s ark, the child pretends to hammer the ark, claps his hands when the door of the ark closes, and wiggles his fingers to show how the rain fell.  Each story ends with a simple prayer that you can say with your child.

 

My Goodnight Bible by Susan Lingo – The short sentences, rhythm, and rhyme in these stories work well for toddlers and preschoolers.  There is a Bible verse and prayer of application with every story.  This book holds children’s attention by asking questions about the illustrations like, “Who is giving the man a drink?  Point to the man.”  My children’s favorite part about this book was taking turns guessing the “Bible Word” for the night which helped them remember the main theme of the story.  I could tell as I was reading that they were thinking about what the main lesson was in the story.  It helped them focus and listen!

 A Child’s First Bible by Kenneth N. Taylor – Although small in size, surprisingly this book contains 125 Bible stories.  The stories only have five or six sentences and are geared toward preschoolers.  I liked how the stories were ordered chronologically and  flowed into each other as they do in the Bible.  It contains some less familiar stories from the Old Testament like Absalom striving for King David’s throne, Naaman being healed, King Joash rebuilding the temple, and Hezekiah destroying idols. 

 

Family Bible Library by V. Gilbert Beers, Ph.D., Th.D. – This is a ten volume set, and each volume contains 30 stories.  This is the resource that I have used the most with my children, and  I believe that we have read through the whole set three times together.  They are wonderful for elementary age children.  The stories are detailed and are followed by short history or geography lessons about Biblical times.  The questions that follow the stories help children to think about what was read and apply it to their lives.  Often the questions lead children to examine themselves in regards to their own faith and the gospel. 

My parents purchased these books from a college student who came to their door selling them in the 1970′s, and our mom read these to me and my sisters when we were growing up.  Unfortunately, this set is out of print, but there are a few used sets available on-line. 

 

A Faith to Grow On by John MacArthur – This book is a wonderful tool to teach Biblical theology and doctrine to your children.  Twelve main topics are covered in this book: God, Creation, Sin, Bible, Jesus, Salvation, Worship, Prayer, Church, Forgiveness, Evangelism, and Heaven. It answers questions like “Is there only one God?”, “Is the Bible true?”, and “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers right away?”  Each devotional shares the answer to questions like these, gives key verses to read, talks about life application, shares an added activity to do, and ends with a prayer starter. 

 

Character Sketches (Volume I and II) by the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, Inc. – This is what I am currently reading to my children for our devotions, and I have been pleased that the content is deeper than other books that we have used and holds the interest of my almost 11 year-old and 13 year-old.  Each story begins with a character trait illustrated in the world of nature by telling about an amazing animal in God’s creation.  These essays are then followed by a Bible story that also illustrates the same character trait.  These books were given to me by my in-laws.

 

The 12 Ways of Christmas by David Jeremiah – This book was given to us by our church’s youth director, and we enjoy reading one devotional for each of the twelve nights leading up to Christmas.  The twelve truths in this book, like wonder, giving, humility, and simplicity, help us focus on the true meaning of Christmas during the busy, holiday season.

            I hope that you and your children will find a quiet time to spend together learning about God’s word.  There is nothing better that you could devote your time to with your children!

~ Jennifer

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Wonderful Jen! Thank you!!!

Two of our favorite little people Bibles were “The Jesus Storybook Bible – Every story whispers his name” and “The Big Picture Story Bible” published by Crossway. I also loved the Baby Story Bible you mentioned above – those were precious days!

 

 Now Alex (age 9) and Alexis (age 7) each read out of their Adventure Bibles and we read daily out of our Family Reading Bible.

 

 Alex just purchased the One Year Sports Devotional for kids with his own money – that blessed this mama’s heart to see him spend his own hard earned money on something worthwhile like a devotional! We also have the Character Sketches Volume 1 which the children love!

Chime in: What are some of your favorite devotionals for kids?

Walk with the King,

List of Recommended Chapter Books For Children

It’s Tuesday which means my sister Jennifer is back with us again!!! Woohoo!!!

Here’s her list of recommended chapter books for children!  Jennifer writes:

My favorite part of the day with my children is when we turn on the little lamp on the side table, prop up the pillows, and snuggle together with a good book.  I began reading chapter books to my oldest child, Johnathan, when he was about 4 years-old.  The first chapter books that I read to him were talking animal books like Mouse and the Motorcycle, Charlotte’s Web, and Cricket in Times Square since these seemed to hold his interest at a young age. 

            Once Julianna was old enough to join us for our read-alouds, we made it a part of our bedtime routine.  This often means that they begin getting ready for bed soon after dinner so that we have a half hour to read a chapter book and a Bible devotional book.  This also limits the amount of television that they watch in the evenings.  We have encouraged our children to be readers by limiting their amount of “screen” time which includes the TV, video games, and computer to a half hour on school nights and an hour on weekend and summer days.

             It has been increasingly challenging to find the time every evening to read together as my children near the teen years and have more evening activities.  We have continued to make it a priority to read at least three or four nights of the week, and sometimes we’ll read earlier in the day if we know that our evening is going to be busy. 

            Here are some of our favorites.  We tend to read all of the books by a favorite author or in a series.  I am sure you will recognize some popular titles and hope that you will find a few new titles to read to your children!

 

Homer Price and Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price by Robert McCloskey – Both of these books take place in the small town of Centerburg in the simpler times of the 1940′s and tell about the funny adventures of a boy named Homer and his friend Freddy.  My kids loved the humor, the interesting characters, the tall-tale-like stories, and McCloskey’s illustrations in these books.

Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott – Many people are aware of Little Women, but they don’t realize that there are two sequels to this classic.  Little Men and Jo’s Boys focus on the silly antics and touching interactions of the children who attend Professor Bhaer and Jo’s Plumfield School for Boys.  These books led to many valuable discussions about values and life’s lessons with my children.  I would recommend waiting to read these until your children are slightly older since there is some romance in the first and last books of the series.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater – This humorous story tells about a house painter, Mr. Popper, who suddenly finds himself to be the owner of twelve penguins.  This one had my children laughing out loud!

The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Both of these classic stories deal with overcoming hardship, loneliness, friendship, and kindness.  Although the main characters are girls, boys will still enjoy the mystery and adventure of these classics.

Books by Beverly Cleary – Socks, Muggie Maggie, Henry Huggins, Henry and Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona, Runaway Ralph, and so many others – Beverly Cleary’s writing has a way of entertaining and amusing children with the everyday happenings in children’s lives and includes boys as main characters as well as girls.  I would exercise some caution when reading books about Ramona since much of the humor comes from her misbehavior and sibling rivalry with her older sister Beezus.  Be prepared to have discussions with your children about how Ramona could have handled situations differently.

Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – My personal copies of these books are well-worn as we read these together, and my daughter read them several times by herself.  A family favorite!

 

Sarah Plain and Tall, Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect than the Moon, Grandfather’s Dance by Patricia MacLachlan – If you like the Little House books, you’ll also enjoy this series about the the Witting family on the Western Frontier.  It begins with Anna, Caleb, and their widowed father accepting a mail-order bride, Sarah, into their family and then follows the family as it grows in size and in love!

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson – This is a sweet story about a homeless, old man who befriends the three Calcet children, their dog JoJo, and their widowed mother who come to live under the same bridge as him.  The themes of this book focus on friendship, responsibility, and family.

 

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright – This Newbery Medal Award Winner is about the everyday life of a ten year-old girl named Garnet during one summer on a Wisconsin farm in the 1930′s. 

 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – This is the only book of the Narnia series that we have read as my children tend to enjoy classics and historical fiction over fantasy, but they loved this story about  four children’s journey into the magical land of Narnia where they encounter the evil White Witch and the majestic lion, Aslan.  This books lends itself to sharing the gospel with your children!

Anne of Green Gables Series – This classic series follows the childhood adventures of the imaginative, orphan  Anne Shirley as she is adopted by a brother and sister who live on Prince Edward Island.  My son even enjoyed the humor in this one and found a boy character, Gilbert, that he could relate to. 

 

Chapter Books My Children Read Independently:

 

Easier Chapter Books:  The Cul-De-Sac Kids (mysteries) by Beverly Lewis, Little Animal Ark by Ben Baglio, Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown, and Cam Jamsen books by David A. Adler.   

 

My 10 year-old daughter really enjoys the Grandma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson and the Mandie mystery books by Lois Gladys Leppard.  When my son was this age, he was a big reader of animal stories like Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight, Angus and Sadie by Cynthia Voigt, Animal Ark books by Ben M. Baglio, and many of the books by Bill Wallace.  They both enjoyed Ginger Pye, Pinky Pye, and Rufus M. by Eleanor Estes.

 

Some titles my 13 year-old boy has currently read are Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and other books by Mildred Taylor, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.  These books should be read with parental guidance as they do center around more mature topics like racism, death, and war.

 

Two excellent resources that can guide you in choosing books for your children are Gladys Hunt’s Honey For a Child’s Heart and Sarah Clarkson’s  Read for the Heart. Both encourage you, as I would, to read to your children to reach their heart!
~Jennifer

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OH Wow – I LOVE this list and will use it!  I needed something like this – thank you sis! 

My son Alex (age 9) is enjoying the Narnia series and is in book 4 – Prince Caspian.  He also enjoys the Sugar Creek Gang series and is on book 12.  

Please chime in – what are some of your favorite chapter books that you have read to your children or your children are reading on their own?

Walk with the King,