Looking at the Beatitudes through the Lens of Parenting

Parenting and the Bible
source: MarcosReis07 via Flickr

John MacArthur wrote, “The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is antithetical to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness.”

Parenting isn’t about feeling good all the time.

Make it that, and you’ll have kids who run the house and don’t understand the word no. Some of my best parenting moments are when I feel the worse, I think. Holding a screaming, flailing 5-year-old who is throwing a temper tantrum – when really I just want to shut her in her room and go eat chocolate cake. Taking a deep breath and explaining to my 3-year-old onemoretime that “I need” is not the way we start sentences to ask for things. Not biting back when my 17-month-old decides to gnaw at my shoulder.

Often parenting is going against my human nature and trying to latch on to my Jesus-nature instead, asking for His power to flood me. Because seriously, there is no way I can do this on my own.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus shows us a flip-flop view of His kingdom versus the world’s. He says, “You’re going to mourn. You’re going to be persecuted. You’re going to need to show mercy and peace and gentleness when you don’t want to. But I am going to bless you for it, and it’s how I am going to work through your life.”

How many times as a parent do you feel mournful? Poor in spirit? Persecuted, even, by your children or other parents? Jesus blesses that.

The Beatitudes are everything I want to be as a parent. Gentle. Peaceful. Merciful. Pure in heart. In my study Bible, MacArthur also writes that “gentleness is supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit.”

I’ve seen a graphic around Facebook lately, with a toddler laying on top of his mama on the beach and the words, “You’re never going to be loved like this again.”

Until we see Christ, no one on earth is going to love us with the uninhibited crazy love of a toddler or preschooler. So let’s pour back that love, praying for the Spirit to fill us with mercy, purity of heart, gentleness, and peace, not giving up when we are mournful or feel persecuted or want to hide in our rooms and throw stuff at the wall.

In The Message paraphrase, Matthew 5:3 is, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Praise God and Amen!

Originally published on JessieWeaver.net. 

A History Book Your Child Will WANT to Read! {GIVEAWAY}

In Fear of the Spear

What parent doesn’t want his or her child to learn about how God has worked throughout history to save His people? But sitting down for a faith history lesson is not exactly every child’s favorite way to spend time. A dry textbook or worksheet doesn’t make history come alive. And while there are some great movies out there to help kids understand historical events, many parents are looking for alternatives to screen time that will engage their children in learning—to make them excited and want to learn. Does that sound impossible?

I can guarantee you, it is not impossible. Imagination Station books are the answer that Christian parents have been waiting for and kids have been begging for. In this book series, created by the award-winning team that brought us Adventures in Odyssey, kids take a journey through history, using their imagination. They learn about history characters as if they are friends by following the adventures of young Patrick and Beth. And because faith and values are woven seamlessly into the stories, children learn how to call upon God in their everyday choices and actions.

The Imagination Station is an invention created by the owner of Whit’s End, John Avery Whittaker, in the fictional town of Odyssey. The Imagination Station takes its passengers back in time during key points in history to places like Nazi-occupied Germany, Greenland, Egypt, Rome, and even Bethlehem. Kids learn about famous historical Christians such as Corrie ten Boom, Saint Patrick, and Telemachus.

The Imagination Station books are perfect for children just starting to feel confident in reading a chapter book on their own. Your child will be captivated by the stories and want to read every book in the series.

The latest exciting Imagination Station book takes your child to the rain forests of Ecuador, a land of tribal warriors. Patrick and Beth have escaped from volcano lava only to be separated again, and no one knows exactly where Beth has gone. Eugene and Patrick frantically try to fix the Imagination Station so they can find Beth, who unbeknownst to them has landed in the Amazon jungle. Will Patrick find Beth? Will Eugene be able to fix the broken Imagination Station? What will happen to the strange man with who was speared?

Find out in the latest Imagination Station adventure, In Fear of the Spear!

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Want to win a copy of In Fear of the Spear? We have five copies to give away. To enter, leave us a comment. Have you or your kids ever listened to an Adventures in Odyssey episode? My daughter is fairly obsessed with them and listens to them on CDs all the time! One of our favorite sets is the Platinum Collection.

Winners will be selected by random on Friday, February 12. USA only, please.

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Book Review: P. Bear’s New Year’s Party

P. Bear's New Year's Party

P. Bear’s New Year’s Party by Paul Owen Lewis is lauded by elementary school teachers as one of the best educational resources for teaching kids how to count and tell time. Available as a hardcover, a board book, and in paperback, this 32-page book can grow with your child. It’s perfect for a large age range, but tailored to 3-7 year olds. The elegant illustrations rely solely on black, white, and red for a vivid, timeless visual portrayal of the fictional tale that finds a dashing polar bear hosting a black-tie affair for New Year’s Eve. With every strike of the clock leading up to midnight, a large number of animals corresponding to the clock face shown on each page arrive at Mr. P. Bear’s door.

pbear2

The author does several things exceptionally well with this book. First, he spells out the numbers, so kids learn to recognize them outside of numerals. Next, he introduces young readers to exotic animals. (Orcas, pandas, and penguins are among the unusual animals invited to this polar bear’s party!) Third, every group of animals corresponds to the number on the clock face, helping kids make a connection between counting and time. Last, the strategic use of only three colors throughout the book brilliantly brings the pages acutely to life, with the color red highlighting the most important nuances. In addition, P. Bear’s New Year’s Party also expands children’s vocabulary, introducing new collective nouns like flock, herd, bunch, and pack.

The book also provides an opportunity for parents to share New Year’s traditions and explain the significance of a year’s time. From newborn to first grade, this book is one that can be pulled out repeatedly. With every read, your child will discover something new.

Review by Lindsay Williams

Our Big List of Snow Day Activities

Snow Day Activities

This week we had two “snow” days here in Chattanooga. We didn’t see any snowflakes, but it did get cold enough to ice over the roads and thus it’s probably best everyone was able to stay home.

The first day, my husband was home, and we just dawdled around. We played games, let the kids play with toys, watched TV. But by the end of the day my 7-year-old daughter was going crazy. She is not a very good homebody. I decided if we were going to survive day 2, we had to have a plan – especially since Daddy had to work (he teaches private school).

The kids and I came up with this big list of activities for us to do. No saying, “I’m bored!” They could just go to the list and pick a new activity! They loved this idea, and I think it’s something we’ll pull out for many at-home days. My kids are 7, 5, and 2, so these are more suited for younger kids, but you can brainstorm with your own children and see what you can come up with.

(No) Snow Day Fun

  • Have a pretend snowball fight (with socks or wadded-up paper)
  • Wear pajamas all day
  • Watch TV
  • Turn heat up, wear bathing suits, lay on towels, watch a beach movie, and drink smoothies
  • Play with play-dough
  • Draw and decorate a giant picture of a snowman (we used a piece of a cardboard box)
  • Tickle each other
  • Paint
  • Play with dry-erase books and crayons
  • Make believe
  • Dress up
  • Make cookies
  • Sleep in! (Every parent’s dream)
  • Build a “bouncy house” (put blankets and pillows all over the floor of a room and jump around on it)
  • Play with magnet people
  • Play with marble racer
  • Build train tracks
  • Take naps
  • Read
  • Be lazy on the couch
  • Play games – Spot It, Trouble, Uno Moo
  • Make something with cardboard boxes
  • Jump on the trampoline
  • Play with chalk blocks
  • Put on a show
  • Have a parade

Obviously, you won’t have all the same toys we have. I chose toys and games for our list that had been put away for awhile, so they were more exciting for the kids. But I hope this will give you some ideas for your next at-home snow (or no snow) day.

 

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful holiday tomorrow!

Three New Releases in Children’s Christian Books

Looking for a new book to engage your young readers and help them grow in faith? Check out one of these three brand-new releases!

Voyage to the Star Kingdom by Anne Riley and Amy Grimes – A parable of sorts, introducing children to Heaven and the fact that life doesn’t end after death. The “Star King” does thing His own way, and the people in this story must learn to trust Him. This self-published book was released January 8 and appeals to children of all ages, as well as their parents!

Blotch by Andy Addis – Another parable, this time about sin and how Jesus takes it away. Blotch lives in a kingdom where everyone has spots on their skin from times they have done wrong. Blotch decides to find someone who can get rid of the spots, and sets out on a journey. For ages 8-12.

One-Sentence Storybooks: Bible Animals by Nancy I. Sanders – Help your 3- to 5-year old learn how to read with these one-sentence storybooks. This 10-minibook set focuses on Bible animals. Using repetition and illustrations, children will learn new vocabulary and sight words. Each story has a devotion, prayer, and reading activity as well. Released December 24, 2015, from Tyndale House.

 

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful week!

One Year Classic Devotions for Family {GIVEAWAY}

From the listing: “Many parents are searching for ways to bond as a family while encouraging spiritual growth in their kids. The One Year Classic Family Devotions provides a full year of devotions and activities designed to strengthen family time and deepen spiritual awareness. Each devotion includes a story about children and other family members, fostering personal connection with the content. Lessons come from the child’s perspective at times and from the parents at other times. An activity page is included every seven days as an additional source of ideas for families to use in their time together.”

Do you want to have family devotions but struggle with where to start? This is a fantastic resource, from the creators of the One Year Bible and One Year Devotions for Women, Men, Boys, Girls, and so forth.

Here is an excerpt from The One Year Classic Family Devotions.

OY Classic Family Devos

The Old Mansion

Read 1 Samuel 16:6-12.

“I can hardly wait to see the old mansion!” exclaimed Ashley. She and her family were on their way to visit Grandma and Grandpa White, who had recently become caretakers of a large estate. As they drove, Ashley talked about her day at school. “There’s a new girl in my class—her name is Addie—and her clothes are totally not with it!” declared Ashley. “I was sooo embarrassed when our teacher asked me to show her around the school.”

“What does it matter if she doesn’t wear the latest fashions?” her brother Aiden asked. “What she’s like is more important than what she wears.”

“Oh, you just—” began Ashley, but Mom cut her off.

“Aiden is right, Ashley,” said Mom. “It sounds like you have an attitude problem.” Ashley scowled but said no more.

Several hours later, Dad turned down an overgrown lane that led to a large old house. Ashley frowned. “This can’t be the right place!” she exclaimed when she saw the house. “This looks more like a dump than a mansion!” But when her grandparents welcomed them and led them inside, Ashley could hardly believe her eyes. The floors glistened, and carpeted steps curved from the hallway to the second floor. “Oh, wow!” she exclaimed. “I can’t believe how nice this is! The outside looks so run down.”

“Yes,” said Grandpa. “The place is being restored, but the firm that was hired for the outside work can’t begin until next month. That’s why there’s such a difference between the inside and outside.” He smiled. “This house is a good example of why we shouldn’t judge by appearance.”

“We talked a little about that on our way over here,” said Mom. “We sometimes forget that God says the heart of a person is much more important than how they look or dress.”

Ashley looked around at the beautiful house and then out the window to the overgrown front yard. Mom’s right, she admitted to herself. I did judge Addie by the way she looks on the outside, and that was wrong. When I get back to school, I’ll try to find out what she’s really like.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Do you accept or reject people because of the way they look? Remember, God says it’s the inside that counts. A kind attitude is more important than the latest fashion. Think about someone you know who’s left out because of their appearance. Will you be a friend to that person? Find out what they’re really like. Do it for Jesus. – Lenora McWhorten

TO MEMORIZE:
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. John 7:24 (NIV)
Don’t judge by appearance.

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Want to win a copy of The One Year Classic Family Devotions? We have five to give away. Use the Rafflecopter to enter!

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Weekend Links

Happy New Year! Have a wonderful week.