Children Are a Heritage From the Lord

backtoschool2School starts around here on Monday, August 24th.  Signs along the streets near schools or over the highways remind us that children are back in school, to drive safely.  Flashing lights warn us to slow down to 20 miles per hour because we are in a school zone.  Children are crossing streets under a school guard’s care.  The signs and signals warn us of the caution we should be taking as we near schools in our neighborhoods…young lives are at risk.

But does anything warn us of the ways of the world entering into the minds of our children whether at school, in front of the television or the internet, in the park, or even in the home?

“I believe that at birth, all children bear the stamp of their Creator.  Their purity and innocence is a great gift.  Once it has been lost, it cannot be replaced.  All the more, it must be guarded as a treasure which no one has a right to destroy.”   ** Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 133

“If we are going to protect innocence in a child, we need to cleanse our own hearts of pollution.  Our response upon encountering a child must be nothing less than reverence.  Perhaps because the word sounds old-fashioned, its true meaning has been blurred.  Reverence is more than just love.  It includes an appreciation for the qualities children possess (and which we ourselves have lost), a readiness to rediscover their value, and the humility to learn from them.  Reverence is also an attitude of deep respect….”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 133-134

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:1-6

Children are beautiful creations and we need to protect them.  We need to teach them God’s values and what is important to Him.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10-11

“For whatever else might define childhood, one thing is constant: it is the gathering place of life’s first and most indelible memories — the unalterable frame for all the experiences that accompany us through life.  And thus, in the end, the task of bringing up children is not only a question of effective parenting, and even less one of educational insights, theories, or ideals.  It is, first and foremost, a matter of the love we give them, which has power to awaken more of the same, even years down the road.”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 161

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:1-3

Let us pray for our children and their teachers.  I am not a parent, but I taught and now I tutor.  I want to be the image of Christ in their little lives, as well as to their parents.  I want to do the right thing for and with these children.

Father God, our children are returning to school.  I pray for their safety, their protection by your legions of angels.  I pray for a loving, respectful teacher to guide them in the matters of learning.  I pray that the parents, grandparents, foster parents, be an example of Your Son to these children.  They need You more than anything this world can offer.  They need Your salvation as they raise these young ones.  May they each and every one come to know Your Son as Lord and Savior.  Father, please give the parents the wisdom to raise their children in Your Name, by Your Word.  Teach them what they need in order to raise their children.  Open their eyes to You, Lord.  By this, they can truly raise their children in the Name of Jesus.  Oh, how I want that because I want that for the innocent ones.  Children are precious in Your sight.  Save them from this evil world, Father.  I thank You that You have a plan for them and love them dearly.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

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** Arnold, Johann Christoph, Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World, 2014, Plough Publishing House, New York
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P.S.  This book is excellent and will be doing a book review on it soon on my “The Reader and The Book” blog.

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A Brass Fire Pole

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Have you ever slid down a pole at the playground, pretending to be a fireman?  Or gone to a children’s museum where they had a brass one installed from the second floor to the first, where you put on a jacket, boots, and fireman’s hat before sliding down, landing at the foot of a real fire truck sitting inside the museum?  Or have you been at the top of such a pole and been afraid to take that leap onto the pole?

One year, while teaching in Washington, D.C., I took my K-1 class to the Children’s Museum, a bus ride and short walk away from our inner city school.  (In looking for that museum online before writing this, it looks like that building is gone now. but there is a new National Children’s Museum in Prince George County, only open a year or so now.)   It was fun and delightful for the children and for me as I watched them immerse themselves in pretending, allowing their imaginations to bloom with possibilities and dreams…careers…arts…machinery and equipment…on and on.  All of this gave these young children ways to dream as well as to escape the realities of their harsh worlds of inner city violence, drugs, sex, and other hard things, for all of us, let alone little children.

children fire engineI don’t say that we need to escape our realities for our God knows right where we are.  God is there right beside us.  But, sometimes, just sometimes, we need a break from the hard things in life.  We need the comfort of a mother’s arms, the strength of a father’s stance before and beside us, the love of family and true friends.  I watched and read Kara Tippetts and her family live death on their blog, in books, on videos, in photos.  Hard stuff.  Real life.  Kara and her family had and, now, still have all those arms, the comfort, the strength, the love near them, yet when the night falls and the family is alone, they remember that Kara has gone to be with Jesus.  The children do not have their mother.  Jason’s wife is missing from his side.  Not forever.  One day, they will all be together with the LORD.  One day.  And Kara is whole now.

We are human and fear creeps in and takes over sometimes… afraid to leap forward and grab that pole … afraid to trust God Who works all things together for good to those who love Him … fear that we will not be caught when we lean back against the unknown.  Fear holds us in its grip and we can do nothing.  The brass pole stands before us and we are frozen with fear.

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The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower.  Psalm 18:2

He is right there … ready to catch us …ready to hold us … ready to be All to us and for us.  We are called to trust … TRUST.

The LORD is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7 

The child in each of us needs to slide down that brass pole right into the arms of the LORD, into His Word, into His Truth, into forgiveness, away from sin, away from all that holds us back from the beauty that God wants for each of us.  Slide … slide onto the path that He has just for each one of us … JUST.FOR.US!  Can you sense yourself taking that quick leap onto that sturdy brass pole, wrapping your arms and legs around it and just go…go…go…to God.  I can feel the strength of this pole and the love awaiting me when I reach His arms.  Yes, LORD, I am coming to You.

And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My Name, receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me.  Mark 9:36-37

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest. **

Abba Father, I felt Your call upon this life of mine.  I know that You want me wholly.  Guide me away from all that defines my life as worldly, as sinful, as not-of-You.  Mold my heart to be more and more like Jesus… that I would forgive when I need to and to whom I must.  Abba Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of my many misplaced steps in this life.  I came to You as a prodigal.  You were there with arms open wide and waiting for me to step into them.  Thank You, LORD.  Thank You.  I came sliding in, at first with hesitancy, with fear, because it seems a long way to You.  I slide … I go and I come to You again and again.  Your arms are warm and filled with such love.

Father, I know this for myself.  I pray for those children whom I once taught in Washington, D.C. and ask that Your love guide them into Your arms if they are not there already.  I pray that they will recall the day at the museum and the brass pole.  For those who came down without fear, I pray they come sliding into Your arms, seeking Your face, Your forgiveness, and Your love.  For those who were afraid to go down and walked back down instead, erase any and all fear and trepidation, LORD.  I pray for family and friends who do not know You and ask the same for them whether they have played on a brass pole or not.  Give them one and may Your message be clear so that they will desire You, and only You, and come sliding to You. 

As I am sliding to You, LORD, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus, Your Son.   Amen.  

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Photo: http://www.kansasfirefightersmuseum.com/main/

**Safe in the Arms of Jesus: lyrics by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915), music by William Howard Doane (1832-1915)

Second Photo: by Wendy Pramik   http://www.examiner.com/article/learn-about-fire-safety-slide-down-a-pole-at-the-central-ohio-fire-museum

Fourth photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdkahn/5758603835/

 

100 + Whole-Hearted Books To Fight Back the Culture | Guest Post

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I would like to introduce Jacqueline of “Deep Roots at Home” as my guest on “The Reader and the Book.”  From her blog, she writes: “For 40 years, I have been a wife to my husband and a teacher of our children in the home. Now a new season has come, and with the blessing of my husband, I write this blog as an encouragement to myself and others. (Titus 2: 3-5) How important is this role of speaking into the lives of younger women! The habits of the home in one generation become the morals of society in the next. As William Ross Wallace said: ‘The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.'”

She has a post on her site that was relinked a month or so ago to where I found it.  Being a teacher and children’s librarian who has taught reading and encouraged children to read, read, read, I am pleased to be able to share this post with you.  It is a list of some of the best books for children from Preschool through 10th grade.

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Many of you have asked for a reading list of great story books for children, the kind that contain wholesome adventure and inspire a young heart to courageous living. I have been busy and did just as you requested. What fun I had compiling it!

If you want even more, there is Sarah Clarkson’s Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families. From timeless classics to modern favorites, from picture books to adventure novels to read-aloud favorites, more than 1,000 wonderful stories for young people are recommended.

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We are all aware that there is a battle raging in our culture for the minds and hearts of our children, but how do we as parents prepare them to live in the world? How do we teach values and build character at home on a day to day basis to equip them for a lifetime?

One of the best ways is to choose and read books that will champion and uphold what is noble, good, right and true. Most of these will be found at your library, or you can request they get it in for you.

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Sarah Clarkson says,

“The first thing a young heart needs is an education in all that is good.  The classic children’s stories are a persuasive picture of beauty and goodness.  They create an inner world that is a secret world for children’s souls, showing them through thrilling stories and stouthearted characters exactly what it means to be noble, good, and even holy.”  My parents…began with the great story of Scripture, filling my mind with the hero tales of the Bible.  To this they added the innocent beauty of classic children’s books, never underestimating the power of a good story to affirm and further illuminate the truths they were teaching me form Scripture.  I was formed in my earliest childhood by an imagination filled with stories, Biblical and classic, that set my appetite for all that was righteous, true, and lovely.  “Great literature also guides children through the second and harder wakening to an awareness of what is wrong.  Insightful stories gradually confront children with the power of sin as it enters the tale of their lives and the stories they love.  Characters like brave Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia or David Balfour from Kidnapped who value what is beautiful and defend what is right will teach children that evil is something to resist and help them perceive the choice that must be made between right and wrong.”

~S.C. from Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families

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I love this picture of two young boys. It captures the essence of reading – the gentle power and immense soul-stirring delight a great book can offer. I see evidence of the way a well-crafted story lights up the heart of a child. The boys’ expressions reflect the newness of deep thought, the hearty joy in discovering new horizons, the heart and soul expanded by beauty. The dappled sunlight hints that the story is opening their minds to the mysteries of the world God gave to mankind and of their own place in it.

“Books can become powerful companions – teachers that will fan the flames of your child’s heart and mind to life! Great stories, first in the Bible and then in classic literature can tune the inner workings of the heart from which, even in adulthood, one will make decisions and form values.” ~S. Clarkson

What follows is a listing of just a few of the beloved books that we have read over the years. These are books that our children will be reading to their own children some day:

IMPORTANT NOTE:
The age designations for this list are only approximate. A child’s listening level will often be several grades higher than their personal reading levelit is OK to choose books from an older list if you’re planning on reading aloud to your children. I began reading aloud to our children from chapter books (such as Mr. Popper’s Penguins) before their third birthdays. Often I would take one at a time until they were hooked on wonderful stories and snuggling on the couch! Don’t underestimate your child’s ability to comprehend or listen to fairly advanced material.

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Preschool (read-aloud)

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The Hat, by Jan Brett (boardbook)
Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, by Richard Scarry (our favorite pre-reader ever)
Good Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
Aesop’s Fables, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Storytime and the Millers, by Mildred A. Martin
The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Read-aloud/Grade 1 (beginning reading)

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Grade 2 (excellent read-alouds as well as early readers)

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Grade 3

Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
Sarah Whitcher’s Story, by Elizabeth Yates
Thee, Hannah!, by Marguerite De Angeli
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh
Paul Bunyan and His Great Blue Ox, by Wallace Wadsworth
Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress, by Oliver Hunkin
Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter
Twig the Collie, by Craig Massey
The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
Mountain Born, by Elizabeth Yates
Stuart Little, by E.B. White
Story Times With Grandma, by M.E. Yoder
More Story Times With Grandma, by M.E. Yoder

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For more through Grade 10 and beyond, please continue reading over at Deep Roots at Home …

http://www.deeprootsathome.com/100-whole-hearted-books-to-fight-back-the-culture-a-giveaway/

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I hope you will look earnestly at these titles for your children.  ~ linda

Give Yourself to Jesus

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For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  
Matthew 1:23

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  Luke 2:14

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I am grateful, Father, for the beautiful Gift of Your Son.

May I believe with the eyes of faith.

May I see with the eyes of my heart.

May I hear with the ears of my soul.

I come to the manger with the heart of a mother.

The Cross is before me on which I nail my sins, knowing that I am forgiven.

I walk the path You have for me when I stay by Your side.

I am so glad I am Yours…

and am thankful that You are always weaving me into the one You created.

Thank You for leading me to Christ Jesus.

In His Name, I pray.

Amen.

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Thank you, sweet friends, for visiting me here at “Being Woven” as you do and for blessing me with love and comments.

May your Christmas be sweet and your hands be open to receive our Blessed Savior.