Writer ~ Enthusiast ~ Ministry Leader ~
Nurturing and empowering children to stand firm on God's Word because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (Matthew 5:10)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review: The Prayer of Jabez for Kids

I was over joyed when I finally put aside the cost and paid for my copy of The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson.  Now this book was published years ago, but I have read it for the first time this past month at the suggestion of a wonderful friend.  And, I'm glad I did.  To my surprise, I found on our bookshelf in the dining room a copy of The Prayer of Jabez for Kids.  And, I felt that rush of excitement again.  I do remember purchasing this book for my now 16 year old when he was 12! I peeked into his room and asked, "you remember reading this book?" "Yeah, I think I do...yes I do, it was quick," was his reply.

Just as the adult version of this book, it is a fast read.  The most interesting segments of this children's version that caught my attention were the "Bible Snapshot."  Bruce Wilkinson has set aside several pages within the chapters to highlight a bible character of integrity and faithfulness (expanding on the bible knowledge available to the children).  I do recommend this book.

Book Description (http://amazon.com)

June 25, 2001
Bringing the #1 bestseller alive for kids ages 8 - 12 years old, The Prayer of Jabez for Kids follows the same size, format and, most importantly, the same message of The Prayer of Jabez. However, it adds terrific features that will appeal to kids such as line art cartoons, friendly designs and snapshots of key biblical characters who lived big for God. These are all encompassed in kid-friendly applications.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Body Language

No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.
1 John 4:12

I was enjoying a popular animated movie with my daughter the other day and something caught my attention.  My daughter begins to laugh hysterically with anticipation for the upcoming scene.  She shouts "he's going to run away, he's going to run away!"  And, her face is illuminated with excitement, so then I begin to wonder..."what is going to happen?"

I'll try to paint a picture of the present scene I was viewing.  Two best friends had previously had an argument, heated discussion, quarrel, tiff, moment of disagreement, or whatever term you like to use.  Clearly, they had a verbal altercation.  But, a bad situation had caused them to become suddenly separated during the argument.  With neither of the two in the sight of the other, grief set in.  Thoughts began to surface as they often do: where is my friend, is he safe, will I see him again, I don't want to be alone, and I'm sorry, I apologize.  Now, stranded and alone grief became nearly overwhelming, then almost simultaneously, they each hear the voice of the other.  Presently, what I was viewing was triumphal music playing, rays of sunshine are beaming through the clouds, birds are flying, and the friends are running toward one another with arms stretched wide and welcoming.  The smiles on their faces can be seen from yards apart with anticipation of the embrace to come.

But, remember...my daughter is cracking up in anticipation of what is about to happen.  "He's going to run away", she shouts one more time, and I can see the change in emotions of the friends, immediately (before the music change).  Because, the larger more domineering friend's arms begin to fold inward, bringing his elbows to his waistline, and his welcoming hands are now balled into a fist.  He's now charging in the direction of his friend (he was so sorrowful for moments earlier) with angry eyes and determination. Of course, with exaggerated and hilarious response, the now un-welcomed lowly friend runs in fear in the opposite direction of his beloved large friend.  And my daughter and I are each laughing with the same kind of exaggeration.

After the movie had gone off and days later, I questioned: "Aside from fear, what emotion surged through the un-welcomed lowly friend, who was awaiting that warming needed embrace of his best friend, as the body language of his friend shifted?"  Rejection, disappointment, loneliness?  How often does my body language produce the feelings of rejection, disappointment, and loneliness in someone else.  I can remember feeling that way due to the body language of a friend.  The Word of God encourages us that our expression is a reflection of God in us.  Therefore, our mannerisms and body language have a visible effect on those around us.  Although the characters in the movie were designed to make us laugh, their emotions are an example of how we adults and our children feel and act sometimes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Forgiveness Friday: A Thought About Daniel

Here's a thought I had this morning about Daniel when studying the topic of the Fiery Furnace:

Why did he forgive King Nebuchadnezzar so quickly from taking him and his friends from their home and later sentencing his friends to death?

Dou you know?

Book Excerpt: Empowering Parents

"From birth to pre-school, middle and high school, parents must make wise choices about who will influence on their children's education and also play a role in shaping their character.  It does take a village to raise a child.  The key is determining who forms that village.

As parents, it's our responsibility to know the people that come in and out of our children's lives each day.  That includes relatives, friends, and their parents, neighbors, teachers, principals, school staff, bus drivers and employees.  All of these people influence decisions that our children make each day.

Our children are precious gifts from God.  It's up to us to provide a safe environment with a disciplined structure that includes appropriate consequences to help them learn and grow to be independent adults."

From Empowering Parents: A Guide to Taking Control of Your Child's Educational Journey
Co-authored by Marsha R. Dodson and Darlene V. Willis, Ph. D

Friday, April 5, 2013

Forgiveness Friday: Encourage Yourself

"Look, the winter is past,
    and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
    the season of singing birds has come,
    and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
    and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Rise up, my darling!
    Come away with me, my fair one!”
Song of Solomon 2:11-13 (NLT)
Today, do something different to encourage yourself.  Ever heard someone say, "give people their flowers while they're still here?"  That is a phrase that has been repeated to me lately, and I wondered if I should give myself flowers.  So, I did.  Multiple bouquets of them.

Forgiveness Friday: Let God Lead You

These are a few common scenarios of an "I need to forgive" situation:

The dog runs between your steps once you have made the decision to stack your plate of snacks on top of your glass of lemonade.  Everything crashes to the floor.  Then you think to yourself, "Ugh dog...I forgive you."

You realize that you skipped lunch and now you have to run out for an appointment.  Your belly is growling, so you make yourself what you consider an awesome peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Just as you place your wrapped sandwich on the dashboard of your car, your daughter ask, "what is that?"  You hand it to her, for her to enjoy.  Then you think to yourself, "I love her...I forgive her."

You had to make arrangements with your job supervisor, because you have a medical emergency in your family.  The only day that the doctor can be seen is the same day as the new computer operating systems are installed and all staff are trained.  You have to miss it.  Then upon your return to work, the co-worker and friend Peggy Sue informs you, we have to cut your hours, because you missed the training.  Then you think to yourself, "but, I had an emergency...I forgive them."

Your best friend that you have known since you were in grade school, comes for a visit.  You spend three wonderful days together, sharing and laughing about the past.  Then casually over a cup of tea, she reveals her addiction to drugs; and as part of her recovery program, she needs to confess to all the people she has wronged.  Her confession is: that priceless diamond cluster ring from your grandmother was not lost, but she stole it years ago.  Then you think to yourself, "she is hurt...I forgive her."

The father of your beautiful children and protector in life wakes early in the morning to inform you that he no longer feels the same love for you.  And, he needs his space.  Then you think to yourself, "no...I can never forgive him."

The situations are all different, but there is one similarity: the investment of your love.  That affects our capability to forgive.  Yes, you can forgive in every situation.  It might be instant or it may take a long time.  It may be easy or it may be the hardest decision you have ever had to make.  But, YES, you can forgive in every situation.


Let God lead you. 
"I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me."
Psalms 139:7-10 (NLT)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Forgiveness Friday: Good Friday

"You can make plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail" Proverbs 19:21

 Today marks the birth of Christianity.  It is the most basic and crucial element of our history.  Jesus Christ in a moment of death and cruelty became our Salvation and Redeemer.  There is no greater example of forgiveness and one more chance.

As I reflect on the actions of the death of Jesus Christ, I'm passionately moved by His dedication and respect for His mother before He passed from this world.  He assured that she was recognized, honored, and taken care of for the rest of her life.

"While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother."
John 19:24-27 (The Message)

Can you imagine the pain in her heart to not only know that this purpose had to be fulfilled, but that was her son?  Have you ever seen your child bullied, broken hearted, bruised, bleeding and sorrowful?  The smallest bleeding scrape on the knee can ignite a pain in a mother's heart that is indescribable.  Mary was a mom who couldn't soothe and help her son to feel better; she was incapable of such a task.  Jesus knew and understood her pain and desired to assure her that she would be OK. Not only that her time on Earth would be comfortable, but Mary now had the second chance to see her son in heaven.

From the heart of one mom to another.