For the past few weeks, I've been reading Ellen's Oh, Snap! blog series and learning how to take better pictures.
I took advantage of nice weather yesterday and spent several hours taking pictures of Lauren (and later Lauren with a friend) playing outside. This picture is perhaps my favorite:
If you're interested in seeing some of the other awesome pictures I took and hearing about what I've learned from the Oh, Snap! series, I invite you to come read my guest post on Grace Tells Another Story today.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013
One of the passages my children are memorizing for this year's Leadership Training for Christ Sword of the Spirit award is Psalm 121.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains -- where does my help come from?I'm thankful that God surrounded me with mountains in all four directions. In fact, the picture above was taken less than a block from my house.
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -- he who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you -- the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm -- he will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.
When I have tough days, I can look out a window and remember that my help comes from the Lord -- the one who made heaven and earth.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
When we were living in Germany, our preacher used to say that the only way to take a Bible verse in context was to know the whole Bible. Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn clearly knows the whole Bible, and her depth of Bible knowledge is evident throughout her two Devotions from the Torah books.
Devotions from Genesis moves through the book of Genesis, a few verses at a time. The devotional readings are divided into relatively short sections that flow smoothly from one to another. I could pick up the book to read a few pages before coming to a stopping point or I could continue reading through the discussions of several chapters of scripture.
Perhaps my favorite parts of the Genesis studies were the Hebrew name studies. In Genesis 21:33, God is referred to as El Olam, which means eternal strength or perpetually powerful. "The God who is the great, mighty one from the beginning of the world, and is without end" (page 91). The devotional thoughts then turned to Psalm 90:2, "Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God." Names were important to people in Old Testament times, and this book showed me how the names of God introduced in Genesis are echoed throughout the scriptures.
Devotions from Exodus follows the same organizational format as the first book in the series and covers the first half of Exodus (Exodus 1-20). This book shines because of the way it ties together historical knowledge to the events that are taking place. As each plague is described, I learned how each of the ten plagues was a direct attack on a specific Egyptian god or belief. For instance, the darkness of the ninth plague confronts the belief in the Egyptian sun god known as Ra, who was also believed to be the father of Pharaoh.
Throughout both of the Devotions from the Torah books, Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn points out parallels between Old Testament stories and the life of Christ hundreds of years later. John 11:53 tells, "From that day on they planned together to kill him," just as Joseph's brothers plotted to kill him. Eventually both Joseph and Jesus were sold, Joseph for twenty shekels split among ten brothers and Jesus for thirty pieces of silver given to Judas. In Exodus, God provided manna from heaven, and in John, Jesus tells us that "I am the bread of life." There is much wisdom to be gained from the scriptures found in the Torah, wisdom that reveals God and wisdom that points us to Jesus.
I highly recommend both of these books. They aren't books to breeze through quickly; they are books that help you dig into the scriptures. And as you dig, you'll uncover truths that will both challenge and encourage you.
Devotions from Genesis and Devotions from Exodus are available from Amazon in either paperback ($12.59) or Kindle format ($8.95).
The author of these wonderful books has graciously allowed me to give away three sets (a PDF copy of each book) to my readers. You can enter the giveaway by simply leaving a comment below. I'll draw three random winners at 10 pm on Wednesday December 11th.