Studying God’s Word at Home: Growing Up in God’s Word

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(Disclaimer: I received this curriculum free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Whether you homeschool or not, as parents, the MOST important task with which we are charged is to instill the word of God into our children’s hearts. It is not an option. It is not something we can hand off to someone else. It is a command, and should be treated as such.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

 “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.”

bibleread

Many times it can be extremely difficult to find non-denominational Bible study material that is age appropriate or unfilled with doctrinal fallacies. So, when I was given the opportunity to review a new curriculum written and published by members of the Lord’s church, I JUMPED at the chance! To say I was excited would be a huge understatement. Pryor Convictions Media’s Growing Up in God’s Word is a breath of fresh air. It is written by Heather Pryor who has been a Sunday school teacher for over twenty years and a homeschool mom for eighteen. Experience is a great teacher, and it is evident throughout this curriculum that Mrs. Pryor has learned a very effective way to teach the scriptures to children.

I was given the choice of several titles:

Genesis

Exodus

Life of Christ, Part 1

Life of Christ, Part 2

Acts, Part 1

Although they all sounded fabulous, it was an easy choice. My son just put on Christ in baptism a few months ago and became a New Testament Christian. I decided that a study of the early church would be timely, and what better way to study this than to delve into the first part of Acts?

Acts_part_1_coverI was not disappointed when I received the curriculum and saw just how thorough it was. In fact, I knew I had “struck Bible study gold” after reading the introduction page. Heather encourages teachers to be excited about studying God’s word, to not be afraid if you don’t have all the answers, and my favorite advise by far, to NOT “dumb down” the Bible for your children. This was music to my ears, and I immediately knew this was going to be a fantastic study with my son that was well worth our time.

As a homeschool mom of the past thirteen years, I have gone through my fair share of curriculums. What makes or breaks a curriculum in my mind is it’s ease of use. Acts Part 1 is VERY user friendly. It is laid out in way that would be very difficult to misunderstand. There is even a suggested schedule. The beauty of it all is this. It is a suggestion, and this curriculum can be easily adjusted to meet your needs.

If I had to choose my favorite thing about Growing Up in God’s Word, and I have many, it would have to be the fact that it goes straight to the source, the Bible. While this may seem like a huge or difficult task for younger children, Heather takes the “eat an elephant one bite at a time” approach and it really works. After reading several verses, you take to time to make sure the student understands the text, ask questions, and allow the student to expound on what they have read. This method is extremely effective and sets the stage for your child to become a true student of the Word. It actually teaches them HOW to study which in my opinion is something that even many adults struggle with.

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The enrichment work in Growing Up in God’s Word is just the cherry on top.

Putting Down Roots: Memory Work

Farther Afield: Map work

Harvest Fun: Games and Activities

Food For Thought: Puzzles

Fruits of Our Labor: Crafts

All of these just further plant the word of God deeply into your child’s heart and develop stabilizing roots so they shall “not be moved”. My child, and I’m sure yours will, too, especially LOVES the Fruit of Our Labor. It is an excellent way to put that positive connotation on Bible study. We really enjoyed making “tongues of fire” cupcakes.

PicMonkey Collage4I highly recommend to all my homeschooling and non-homeschooling friends to check out Growing up in God’s Word and all the other resources available at Pryor Convictions Media. It a great resource for the church and a great blessing to parents hoping to help their children grow up in God’s Word.

Shanna

 

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Dear Weary Christian,

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Dear Weary Christian,

You are tired. That is more than evident from the look of sheer exhaustion you wear on your face. You feel used, abused, and so very alone. You are a war torn soldier fighting a two front battle, day in and day out. The world detests you, your morality, and the doctrine that defines you. You desire to turn to brothers and sisters in times of distress, but unfortunately, in so many instances their support is nonexistent. In fact, you still bear scars from the back biting inflicted upon you in the past. You don’t want to give up, but it seems you are closer to that sad reality each and every day. You cry out in despair, “Does anyone care?!?”

Tear

Weary Christian, you are NOT alone. Even when your cry seems to remain unanswered, it is heard. When you longingly search for a friend and can visualize none, there is One Who sees you so very clearly in your time of need.

1 Peter 3:12

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

and his ears are open to their prayer.”

He understands every single care that may burden you.

Hebrews 4:15

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,

but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

He loves you and does not want you to bow down under the burdens of life. He implores you to let Him carry the load for you.

 

1 Peter 5:7

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Message Stones

 As a loving father is unwilling for his child to suffer unaided, He provides His children sweet rest.

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

contemplate

You have in Him a friend like no other.

John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

When you feel helpless and alone, He is right there to help.

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.”

When you are weak to the point of being unable to carry your own weight, he will hold you up.

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed,

for I am your God; I will strengthen you,

I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

When others forsake you, He remains.

Deut. 31:8

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you;

He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

When others let you down, His promises will never fail. Abraham fully understood the steadfastness of God.

Romans 4:28

“Fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

He also wants you to remember you have flesh and blood support here on this earth. Even when Elijah the prophet felt like the “last one left”, God reminded him this was not the case.

Romans 11:4

But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men

who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

Weary Christian, how CAN you be alone when you are part of one body?

Romans 12:5

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

group

And if you are a member of one body in Christ, you are the not only the giver of love, but the recipient as well.

1 John 4:7-8

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God,because God is love.”

Weary Christian, the promise we have in Christ alone is enough to sustain, motivate, and carry us through every hard won battle.

John 14:2-3

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

sunbeam

No other words can bring you more comfort weary Christian, because in that prepared place you will NEVER be weary again, Christian.

In Him,

Shanna

Foodie Friday…..Soups On!

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Well, as we know all too well, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow letting us know we are going to have to trudge through this extra cold winter just a little while longer. This reminds me of two things:

1. Every season is set into place by our Creator, and He said all His creation was good. Therefore, I should have little problem finding some redeeming quality for even the coldest season of all.

2. I really believe that one of those redeeming qualities is getting to prepare and eat comfort food!I_Make_a_Good_Soup_-_Says_Potato_Pete_Art.IWMPST6080

One comfort food that my family thoroughly enjoys is loaded potato soup. It is super easy to make, but is very filling and satisfying even on the coldest of days.

Loaded Potato Soup

5 lbs. of russet potatoes

4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 can of evaporated milk

2 cans of cheddar cheese soup

1 can cream of celery soup

salt to tastepotato

Wash, peel, and dice potatoes. Place potatoes in large pot and fill with water just to top of potatoes (Do not add too much water). Add bouillon cubes and salt to taste. Boil until potatoes are tender. In a separate bowl mix soups and evaporated milk. When potatoes are tender add soup mixture to potatoes (Do not drain water!). Bring to a simmer to heat through and you are ready to serve!

Now comes the part that adds the REAL comfort- the garnishes!

shredded cheesecheese (2)

crumbled baconCrisp it

With a side of crusty bread or my home made rolls

bread

I am so thankful that our father gave us the ability to taste and enjoy eating good food and finding a little bit of comfort therein. However, I am even more glad that He gave us a spiritual feast of “the bread of life”.

John 6:35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Fill yourself to receive real comfort, and never hunger and thirst again.

Shanna

Photo By Unknown (artist), Stafford and Co, Netherfield, Nottingham (printer), Ministry of Food (publisher/sponsor), Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (publisher/sponsor) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Following Your Arrow……Where Will It Point?

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If you know anything in the world about me, you know that I LOVE music. No, really, I LOVE it. Nearly all my childhood memories are in some way centered around music. Rumor has it that musical ability was high up on my list when searching for a potential mate. (By the way, that one was definitely a big check and mate!) When I became a mother, I could not wait for my children to utter their first words just so I would know if they would be able to sing. I have spent COUNTLESS hours and an UNBELIEVABLE  sum of money on music lessons for each of my four children. Musical theater is in our blood, we love four part harmony acapella, and for all intents and purposes would rather sing than eat.

Hymn Book

I have always enjoyed music from a variety of genres. However, as of late, there are very few songs in the world of popular music that are appropriate for Christians to listen to, and at the risk of alienating some, there seems to be even fewer in the country music scene. I have limited exposure to either of these, but you pretty much have to live under a rock, or at least shun social media all together, to not hear of controversial things going on in the music industry.

I didn’t watch the VMAs but couldn’t miss the headlines about Miley Cyrus’ vulgur performance. Likewise, I didn’t watch the Grammys and see Kacey Musgraves perform “Follow Your Arrow”. This country music hit was listed at number two on Bilboard’s list of the top 20 songs of 2013. Honestly, I knew absolutely nothing about this self -proclaimed “love whoever you love” ballad until this past week when a few of the lyrics  inevitably made their way into my Facebook feed. To say, I was shocked and apalled all at the same time would be a huge understatement. Call me old fashioned if you must, but I pray I never loose my ability to blush.

blush

Jeremiah 8:12

“Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
    No, they were not at all ashamed;
    they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among the fallen;
    when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.” 

According to the lyrics of this song, you only live once so you might as well do whatever you want, or in Ms. Musgrave’s words, “follow your arrow wherever it points”. Do what makes you happy, and forget about what anyone else might think about you or your lifestyle. It all sounds good, in theory, right? The idea of following your arrow wherever it points reminds me of the words of Solomon.

Psalm 127:3-5

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

bow_and_arrow

I am no archery expert, but I fully understand that arrows do not just soar through the air on their own. They are intentionally placed in the hand of the archer and very carefully aimed at a target. Even though I have never actually used a bow and arrow, I have it from very reliable sources that success is not easy for the beginner. In fact the words that came up over and over again were practice and consistency. The key to your arrow going where it needs to go, time and time again, is purposing not to give up and continually making sure your arrow is accurately aimed. In other words, the holder of the arrow must constantly keep his eyes fixed and arrow pointed at the bullseye.

bullseyeEvery decision we make, every word we speak, every path we follow is an arrow we are intentionally releasing into the world. When aimed at the appropriate target, much good can be accomplished. We must not grow weary of aiming our arrows in the right direction.

1 John 5:3

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.

And his commandments are not burdensome.”

Arrows are sharp and can inflict irreparable damage .The potential for harm, both to ourselves and others, is great If we choose to release our arrows with no regard as to where they may fall. For this reason we are reminded in Matthew 7:13-14.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

narrowpath

According to the aforementioned song, when the “straight and narrow gets a little too straight”, well just follow your own path. Just close your eyes to the truth, and follow that unaimed arrow where ever it may happen to land. Unfortunately, we know the chances of that arrow hitting the correct bullseye are slim to none. The wise and prudent archer knows to keep his eyes wide open and always fixed on the prize at which he aims.

Ephesians 1:18

“Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,

that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you,

what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,”

We have a target to aim for that is a “glorious inheritance”. We must persevere and continue to aim our arrows toward that goal. We must consistently hold that arrow and point it in the right direction. Where is your arrow pointing?

Shanna

Photo By: Popperipopp (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons