A Little Help from Our Friends

 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. ~ Hebrews 13:15

Moses was admittedly weak of tongue and all-but refused the job that God set before him in a blaze of burning glory. He doubted his own strength and abilities to complete the assignment of bringing God’s people out of Egyptian slavery and into the promised land. Little did Moses realize that his greatest tribulations would not come from the hard-hearted Pharaoh of Egypt, but the ungrateful, complaining hearts of God’s chosen people. Time and time again the Israelites cried out to Moses with complaints to which Moses replied something to the effect: “Am I God? Cry out to God!”

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The lips of God’s own, newly-delivered people did not acknowledge His name; rather the embittered Israelites questioned the intentions of the one whom God sent. Why have you brought us here to die? It was better for us in Egypt. Did you bring us here for us to hunger and thirst to death?

But in each case, Moses produced fruit of lips that acknowledged God’s name. He petitioned the Father on the people’s behalf and interceded when as yet the Intercessor, Christ Jesus, was yet to come. Moses was a godly, gracious leader who lived continually in the practice of praising and petitioning God. Yes, his temper had the better part of him on a few occasions, but his example is primarily exemplary.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.~Hebrews 13:16

Sometimes that which we are called to share is simply our strength.

Moses, shortly after exiting Egypt, appointed Joshua to gather men to fight with Amalek. Moses, with the staff the Lord had provided at the burning bush, went up to the top of a hill overlooking the battleground. He took his brother and spokesman, Aaron, and another man, Hur, with him. As the battle raged, Moses discovered that whenever he held up his hands, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.

Moses needed his hands to be lifted high towards heaven in order for the battle to be won. A stance of surrender, a stance of awe and praise towards God. But oh how we grow tired and weary in battle!

But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. ~Exodus 17:12

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Are you a Moses in your own time, or perhaps you know a fellow servant like Moses? Remember, Moses needed a rock on which to rest and friends to help him persevere in a surrendered posture until the setting of the sun.

Could it be that God has brought us into someone’s life for such a time as this? To stand alongside and declare, “I am here to serve you with the strength God has given me until the sun sets on your battle.”

May we find the practice of praise a midst our arsenal and the pursuit to serve one another in our creed. May we see each other to the sunset and our arms can rest in Him.

Do you ever wish you could keep all the people documented in the Bible straight in your head? For instance, “Who was Aaron? What was his relation to Moses?” Have you ever wondered how the pieces of the Bible weave together to form the story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration? Well, my husband Ron and his ministry assistant have written a wonderful resource that I would like to introduce to you. The book is called, Connect the Dots Making Sense of the Bible: A 50 Day Journey Through the Bible. This resource documents in brief narratives 50 of the most well-known characters in the Bible along with 12 of the vilest characters in the Bible. Additionally, there is a fifty day reading plan to develop an overview of the Bible and a synopsis of the 66 books of the Bible entitled,Connect The Dots Making Sense of the Bible: Group Guide (Volume 2).

I would love for you to visit Amazon by clicking on the link below. You can purchase their book there along with a wonderful small group curriculum guide to help your small group make sense of the Bible. I hope you will join us on the journey to connecting the dots.  Ron and Deborah have done the heavy lifting like Aaron and Hur for Moses. Will you let them aid you in the strength to stand as an equipped ambassador of God? I hope so.


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Five Verses to Help You Live For Your Eternal Home

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  • Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
  • In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10

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  • The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. John 15:19
  • He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:8-9

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  • Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:7

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On Idle

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“You can love these salt-dough cookies, but you can’t love them more than God. You can’t love anything more than God because then you would be worshiping idol’s.”

Emily ‘s quip while playing with salt-dough sounds ridiculous until you understand the heart behind it. The following Old Testament commandment has really taken root in her heart:

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. ~Exodus 20:3-6

Sunday drives to church she will ask, “Do those people love God? Are they worshiping idols?” as we pass softball and soccer fields. On the way to Clearwater Beach we pass through the Scientology capitol of the world. One of their tallest buildings always provokes the question, “Is that where people worship idols?”

I wish that the avoidance of idol worship was on the forefront of every believer, myself included. While professing Christians would gawk at the idea of bowing to a carved or wooden image, we daily encounter a world full of idols of the heart and mind.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.~1 Corinthians 10:14 (read the full chapter here)

Take a moment to consider the possible idols that we are tempted to worship in our day:

  • image
  • wealth
  • popularity
  • esteem
  • sensual pleasures
  • entertainment
  • food
  • sports
  • leisure
  • science-emphasized here because the claims of Darwinism are based on philosophical assumptions/preferences rather than repeatable scientific facts, laws, or discoveries contrary to Bill Nye the Humanism Guy’s* rants (here).

What comprises our idle time in action and in thought likely exposes idols our hearts most naturally drift towards. What comprises most of our waking time? What or to whom do our thoughts turn while driving, daydreaming, the free time in our mind?

 I have felt in the last two weeks a need to read the Bible more. I am constantly reading, but reading about the teachings of the Bible and reading the life-giving words of the Bible are two separate things. Indeed, if the the Body no longer knows and teaches God’s word, we are no better than salt that has lost its taste.

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When our minds are full of God’s Word then we open the door for meditation on God’s Word: the thinking on verses throughout our day. We equip ourselves with the Truth we need to return to during idle moments so that we make the most of our time. We will see the world and its lies exposed.

What thoughts does your mind turn to when on idle? What changes do you need to make in order to love God with all your mind and glorify Him with your thoughts? I am asking these same questions of myself friend.

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Bill Nye the Humanism Guy is a perspective piece written in the Jan.-March 2013 Answers Magazine

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Harvesting Hearts with Principle


Every mom and dad likely agree that parenting is one of the hardest tasks of a lifetime. Tending the soil of little hearts, growing them into Christ-followers with convictions, character, and principles that will weather all seasons of life, takes perseverance and commitment. Even then, it is Christ and the choices of our children that will give the increase.

To do my part, I desire to memorize and convey to my children Biblical truths which teach the principles behind the discipline in our home.

Hebrews 12 teaches that just as an earthly father disciplines his son so too the Heavenly Father disciplines us for our good, “that we may share in His holiness (vs. 10)” Even when our little pumpkins have left the patch, they will not leave the strong, tender hands of their Father.

 

In the book, Help for the Harried Homeschooler, Christine M. Field writes a wonderful chapter on discipline and encourages parents to focus on “principles and relationships, not rules (p. 57).”

 A rule says, “Don’t kill.” The principle is “Love your neighbor.” A rule says, “Don’t be disrespectful.” The principle is, “Honor your father and mother.” ~Help for the Harried Homeschooler, p. 57

 

Here are 10 verses to harvest hearts with principle. Perhaps this will encourage you to write your own list that addresses issues specific to your children. Our children are still preschool age. With that in mind, parents of teenagers might add more verses about honoring God with their bodies and respecting their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

1. “Honor your father and your mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise) “That it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” ~Ephesians 6:2-3

2. “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” ~Philippinas 2:14-16

3. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Matthew 22:37-39

4. The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ~Matthew 7:12

5. “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”~1 Thessalonians 5:18

6. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

7. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

8. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” ~Colossians 3:23

9. Persevere “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”~Galations 6:9

10. Pray “I lift my eyes unto the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” ~Psalm 121:1-2

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Secrets of True Beauty

In preparation for my freshman year at Auburn University I was quizzing a godly woman who had gone to the plains of Auburn before me. It was only perhaps a five or ten minute conversation after church one Sunday night, but the words of wisdom shared have reverberated over the last 13 years. After recommending a few sororities at Auburn as I was preparing for rush, the woman looked at me and said, in essence, “Most importantly use this time to seek God. ‘Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.'” (Proverbs 31:30)

Those words took root in my heart.

I joined the same sorority that she had , and I am so thankful for that experience. Many of my friendships that I formed there spurred me on towards love and good deeds in Christ Jesus. However, it was the words of Proverbs graced on me that truly made my college experience. God used that 10 minute conversation and a lifetime of teaching from parents and church volunteers before her to impress upon me the need to study and learn God’s word.

While at Auburn, God placed many woman in my life who continued to pour out godly wisdom and sound teaching to lead me in the way that I should go. Women who were busy with families and small children of their own who made the time to mentor me.

If  I could give women of all ages the secret to true beauty, I would most assuredly utter the wisdom of Proverbs 31:30 and Matthew 6:33:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised…Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

As well I would tell each woman to believe the words of Psalm 139 and their truth in her individual life:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Then in light of this knowledge, it is important that women of today heed the call of 1 Corinthians 3:16-17:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-17 we are to put on our new self. That is we are to “put to death what is earthly” in us and put on our “new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of our creator.” (Colossians 3:5, 10)

My challenge to you today is to look around you. What women or young ladies has God placed in your life? Are you studying God’s word so that you too can reach out to them and share the truth? It may be in a mentor relationship or a word aptly spoken at a given moment of opportunity that God will use you to impact eternity.

Is there someone that God has placed on your heart to minister to? If so, perhaps today is the day that you should take the first step in that direction. If not, then this is a season of preparation for ministry opportunities to come.

In a world with many inaccurate air brushed messages of skinny beauty, true beauty stands out among the crowd. Let us be women of true beauty found in the fear of the Lord.

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Making Memories Set Apart

Please welcome our friend and Pastor of Family Ministries, Dr. Aaron Walp, today at This Temporary Home.  I know his teaching will encourage you to love God with all your mind. Thank you Dr. Walp for being our guest.

 

Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde

I have heard it said that you are a compilation of your collective memories. That is, due to your unique life experience you are who you are. For me, I never enter an ocean, lake, or bathtub without considering the remote possibility that Jaws may be in there waiting on me. The smell of hay triggers thoughts of hard work and great friends, as we spent weeks filling two barns with hay for the oncoming winter. The colors of fall propel my mind to moments of anticipation for the upcoming hunting season. And several large novels could not contain the memories of my life.

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It is said, that no culture is more consumed with memories than the Jewish people. For example, they have a tradition of reciting specific scripture verses called the Shema. It is three texts from two books of the Torah. The first section is from the book of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and is a command to love God and teach this love to one’s children. The other passages, Deuteronomy 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41 address the need to obey God’s commands and remember them daily. The faithful recite these passages once in the morning and once at night, and if they have children, they will involve them in the prayer.

In essence, the chosen nation is both remembering as well as making memories for themselves and their children. The idea is that while experiencing times of need, abundance (yes, especially in good times), anger, and temptation, the child’s memories of what God has said will be what they use to make their decision on how to respond. If all one has to recall is humanistic answers, they will likely fail the test set before them, the daily test of life.

God desires His creation to love Him in return for the love He has shown and shows us. He has created a world with such precision that modern science cannot even begin to grasp its complexity. He has built in incomprehensible beauty, intellectual depth, and inconceivable astrological features that boggle and confound the greatest of minds. He is aware of life’s difficulties, unfathomable heartache, miserable moments, and the decisive pull of our sinful heart to run from Him. And it is because of this that He lovingly asks us to make memories that are set apart from this dead world filled with difficult days. He wants His children to be able to focus on things which only exist in the Savior, Jesus Christ. That is, things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Nothing in this world can fulfill this incessant desire for completeness but the word of God. And it is one’s memory of His word through reading, studying, and memorizing it daily that one reaches this pinnacle.

For more information about Aaron Walp, D. Min., please check out his blog at http://walpapologeticrants.blogspot.com/ or find him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/

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Because It Is True

“I want you to read the Bible to me because it’s true.”

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Nearly two weeks ago Ron and I adjusted our bedtime routines with the children. Before bed we would read a chapter book with Emily and three or four picture books with Joshua prior to reading a Bible account. Our dearest Emily has fallen in love with reading. She will sit for hours listening to us read; that is until we reach for the Bible at bedtime.

Ron decided it was time for a change. Our desire is that the Bible would be the most treasured book for our children. Therefore we reserve chapter books and picture books for nap time and throughout the day, but give the Bible center stage at bedtime.

This Wednesday we were home late from church. It was bath night and we were tired. So what if we skipped one night of reading the Bible before bed? There is always tomorrow right?

Emily did not share our sentiments. She was crying and asking Ron to please read a chapter of Luke to her.

As Ron joined me on the couch I joked, “What kind of parents send their kids to bed begging for them to read the Bible?” He was simultaneously thinking, “What kind of pastor am I to not read the Bible to my kid when she is asking?”

When I tucked her into bed (for the second time that evening) Ron picked up his iPad and said, “I am going in there. I cannot send her to bed when she is asking me to read the Bible to her.”

Through tears Emily says, “I wanted you to read the Bible to me because it’s true. I wanted you to read the Bible because you said you would read it every night.”

What if we were at the mercy of some literate adult to read the word of God to us? Consider how starved for the truth we could be.

Tonight we are attending a high school graduation. I know that in fourteen very short years our Emily will be walking across a stage, receiving her diploma, and completely responsible for choosing to read and follow God’s word on her own. Then two years later, Joshua will follow her lead. After that point we will not know what time they go to bed, where they have been all day, nor exactly what temptations they are facing.

Sowing the seed of God’s word now prepares them for the independence that lies ahead. Because it is true, this home and this time we have is temporary, it is our desire to equip them to live for Jesus all the days of their life. After all, we are planting wheat fields, not beanstalks.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

~Deuteronomy 6:4-8

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Expectations of Perfection

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“Have I mislead them?” The question resonated in my mind shortly after posting Looking Back Over a Decade. In this post I wrote, “Perfection is a lie and a snare. ‘Be holy as I am holy.’ Not, ‘Be perfect as I am perfect.’” However, in Matthew 5:48 Jesus instructs his disciples, “You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” Leviticus 19:2, Deuteronomy 18:13, and 1Peter 1:16 say, “Be holy as I am holy” and “You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.”

Are being perfect and holy the same thing?

From studying these scriptures I would answer, “Yes.” In Matthew the word perfect aligns with complete or mature, blameless. The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible teaches that Jesus is not speaking on “degrees of excellence, but of the kind of excellence which was to distinguish His disciples and characterize His kingdom.”

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for  the prize of the upward  call of God in Christ Jesus. Let  those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything  you think otherwise,  God will reveal that also to you. Only  let us hold true to what we have attained. ~Philippians 3:12-16 (emphasis mine)

We may be tempted to reason, “Why should I work for something I cannot obtain?” First, Christ commanded it. Secondly, our idea of perfect is misconstrued.

Today in the western world perfection looks contrary to living a perfect and holy life. Perfection exudes an image that we have it all, can do it all, and can be the best while doing it. I am a frustrated perfectionist on so many levels. I know the exhausting disappointment that striving for perfection brings. The truth is that the mark for me is unattainable and my attempts silly. I am willing to wager it is the same for you.

Being perfect, holy, complete is a working out of obedience and a working in of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Striving ceases at the cross. Obedient abiding (John 15:5) is the road that leads to a blameless, holy, mature life. That is what our Father calls… perfect.

For the times when our inner landscape is less than our outward appearances and attitudes of holiness His blood covers our sins and His Spirit is waiting to work steadfastness into our souls.

God Himself truly is the “standard” of righteousness. If these individuals are to be righteous, they must be as God is, “perfect,” that is, mature (teleioi) or holy. Murder, lust, hate, deception, and retaliation obviously do not characterize God. He did not lower His standard to accommodate humans; instead He set forth His absolute holiness as the standard. Though this standard can never be perfectly met by man himself, a person who by faith trusts in God enjoys His righteousness being reproduced in his life.~ The Bible Knowledge Commentary

Shall we take a walk to His cross?

Click here to view this video in your reader.

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Creation: Why does it matter?

 

 A single visit to the ocean on one vacation will likely not be enough to produce a deep love and appreciation for God’s creation. A single museum visit or concert will probably not instill a deep understanding of how God’s creative image inspires people to create. But moment by moment, as we take time to reflect on creation, sketch a favorite mountain scene, write a poem of praise, or admire the new buds on a tree–and share all of these things with our children–we have the opportunity to cultivate an appreciation for God’s creative greatness in their souls and invite a grateful, in-his-image creative response. ~Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood, p. 195

 

 

 

As in stooping low we serve, bending the knee we humble, and pouring out we teach, so in quiet observation the created studies the creation and creating overflows. Man cannot help but attempt to create beauty from the beauty observed in creation.

Every gardener knows that in digging down deep, planting a seed, and tending to it regularly new life springs forth from the ground. In the same way newness of life is observed in those who abide with their Creator God. When we hide His word in the soil of our hearts a seed is planted and a harvest is sure to come.

Chance it to say that most outward, outright sin begins as inward iniquity…sin of the mind.

To take the inward iniquity of man and simply deny the outward temptations will not work forever. We must hide God’s word in our hearts that we may not sin against God. Scripture memory gives us a replacement thought, a living Word, to combat inner uttering and outward pulls toward our weak flesh.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. ~Matthew 26:41

Even a father in the faith, Paul, cried out,

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ~Romans 7:15

We are no better and no worse than Paul… and neither are our children. That is why we must teach them God’s word and creation science so that when they are old they will not be easily persuaded to leave the path.

I am very far from having all the answers. However, we are as close to the scriptural truths as we place ourselves.

We must, in the words of Bro. Bill Anderson, put ourselves at the spout where the blessing comes out. Both you and I must do this. Meditation and memorization of God’s living word will bring us closer to this point. Involving our children in this will bring them closer with us.

Today, as we were outside playing in the dirt from which we came, I proceeded to recite the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:1-20 that I have attempted to memorize the past weeks. At the beginning of the first attempt, Emily asks, “What are you doing?” “I am reciting the scripture I have memorized.” “Like me in Cubbies?” she replied. “Yes, except my verses are all lumped together.”

She and Joshua heard me recite this portion of Scripture around four times as it took that many takes between questions from the children, a settlement of property dispute over a bubble-wand, and other happenings.

In creation, the created was creating and the Creator was glorified.

My children were watching and then followed my lead. Emily picked up her camera and began recording Joshua and the leaves, trees, and grass around her. She also prompted him to recite one of her Cubbies verses. Joshua, in turn, was given my camera and snapped shots of the “birds.” As he aimed the lens at the trees, we watched birds fly in and out as they were singing their praises to God.

 

 

 

Many in our culture would have you believe that religion is for the spirit only. The God who created us made us both intellectual and spiritual; therefore we must teach the Bible, creation, science, math, and everything else under the sun in relation to God, the truths of the Bible, and the evidence of Intelligent Design.

I was first introduced to such thinking above in the book,Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcy. I was not sure that I was smart enough to read this book…the verdict is still out. However, I finished it. When the final page turned I was met with a quest to learn more, study more, and become more of a worker approved rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

In order for our little children to grow up and not depart from the faith we are teaching them, we must give them the tools they need to defend their faith against our culture, “scientific” theories such as Darwinism, and other worldviews they will encounter.

This begins with a solid foundation of hiding God’s word in their hearts.

Next, we continue equipping them via instruction at age-appropriate levels while engaging them in activities within God’s created order.

By providing evidence of God’s work in nature, it restores Christianity to the status of a genuine knowledge claim, giving us the means to reclaim a place at the table of public debate. Christians will then be in a position to challenge the fact/value dichotomy that has marginalized religion and morality by reducing them to irrational, subjective experience.  ~Nancy Pearcy, Total Truth, p. 178

Here is our video with recitation of the Sermon on the Mount. For the non-blogger friends of mine, it is called a vlog. So, listen and watch til your “vlogging” hearts content. Thanks, if you make it through its entirety.

 

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