Sunday, July 22, 2018

Armor of God Series - Gospel of Peace

I'm continuing my series of letters on the Armor of God.  As always, feel free to use these letters in whatever way you find helpful.

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."  Ephesians 6:14-15

In my last several letters, I've been writing to you about the Armor of God, which is found in the book of Ephesians in the New Testament of the Bible. If you consider that our spiritual life is similar to a battle against evil, then picture yourself as the soldier and you have to ready yourself for battle. The armor that a soldier puts on is for protection. Just like a soldier going into battle, we have to take certain measures to protect ourselves from evil in this world.

We've talked about the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, and today we are ready to talk about the next item listed in Scripture. Wearing the right kind of shoes is essential for the activity you are engaging in. Or maybe you are more comfortable not wearing shoes! I used to like to go barefoot when I was younger, but the older I get, the more important it is for me to wear shoes that support my feet.

Ephesians 6:15 talks about fitting our feet with readiness and that this readiness comes from the gospel of peace. What does that mean? I think it means we need to be ready to share the love of God and the gospel with everyone around us - even our enemies. Everyone needs to hear the good news of Christ - that He died for our sins and will forgive us our sins if we ask him to. This gospel - the good news - is what gives us peace.

Is there someone that you know - maybe in your family, your school or your community - that doesn't know about the gospel of peace? I would encourage you to share the good news with that person.

So far we've covered truth, righteousness and peace. Here are a few more Bible verses about peace that you can look up. John 14:27, Philippians 4:7 and Romans 15:13.

Here are links to the other letters in this series.

Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Learning About Ethiopia

After Peru, we "traveled" to Ehiopia!

Our read-aloud was The Storyteller's Beads by Jane Kurtz. This is a small book that tells the story of two young girls, both from Ethiopia but different backgrounds, who are fleeing the country.

I also picked up a few books that are aimed at a younger audience but are fun for all ages to look through.

Finally, we celebrated by going for lunch at the local Ethiopian restaurant. This is ,by far, the part my girls enjoy the most. We are really having fun trying different ethnic dishes.

Here are a couple videos we enjoyed:

To read other posts in this series, simply click below:

Monday, June 25, 2018

Learning About Peru

Our most recent "trip" this summer took us to Peru!

As always, I prepared us for the trip by visiting the library's online catalog and choosing suitable reading material. We ended up with a few picture books, a cookbook, a dvd and a chapter book. Our main reading (the book I read aloud each morning) was Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark.

I also found a couple books that transitioned us from India  to Peru. One was a book about libraries around the world and how they differ. It was fun to read this bit on the donkey cart library in Peru.

We also enjoyed This is How We Do It which featured a family in India and a family in Peru. It's so fun to see the similarities and differences of every day life around the world.

We ended our travel unit with a visit to the local Peruvian restaurant. They are known for their rotisserie chicken (which was a common meal for me when I was in Peru), but they were not serving it that day. We were disappointed, but it also gave a chance to try other things on the menu. And we shared the chicha morada and Inca Kola.

We also took the opportunity to look through my photos of my trip to Peru in 2010. It was my first Compassion trip and my girls were quite young. They have seen the photos before, but now that they are older, they can appreciate them and the stories much more.

Here is a video that offers some interesting facts about Peru.

To read other posts in this series, simply click below:

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Armor of God Series - Breatsplate of Righteousness

I'm continuing my series of letters on the Armor of God. Here are a couple links to the other letters in this series. As always, feel free to use these letters in whatever way you find helpful.

Belt of Truth

I've been writing to you about the Armor of God. It says in Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."  There is an enemy that wants to keep us from God, but with the armor of God we can win against sin.

Today's piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate is a piece of metal that covers your chest and specifically your heart. Being righteous means being right with God. We need to protect our hearts - the center of our lives - with righteousness. If you imagine putting a breastplate on each day, you are putting on a layer of protection to keep sin out of our hearts and lives. Because we aren't actually putting on a breastplate, we need to think of things we can do to help protect our hearts from sin. I think that if we seek God and His ways by reading his word and praying for wisdom and protection, we are actively protecting ourselves from sin.

Proverbs 119:9-11 says, "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

Pray. Read the Bible. Memorize scripture. This is how you seek God and protect yourself from sin.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Learning About India

Recently  my girls and I "traveled" to India. By traveled I simply mean we immersed ourselves in stories and videos that gave us a glimpse into the culture and life of this great country. 

Together we read the book Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. This book is about a young girl who is given away to be married at the age of 13. As we read, we googled facts and places mentioned in the story to verify and learn more. It piqued our interest and is what caused us to dive deeper into this country and its culture.

Using the book Give Your Child the World by Jamie Martin and our local library search catalog, we soon had several more books about India to read and study. (Side note....there is a summer book club using this book as it's launch pad! For more information, head HERE.)

Although Compassion no longer works in India, I really liked the concept of the book Same, Same but Different  by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw , where two boys exchange letters and learn about each others lives - the similarities and the differences.

Because my girls are older (ages 11 and 13), we also got several non-picture books. I didn't read them all, but I read most of them. CAUTION: Sold by Paticia McCormick deals with the subject of human trafficking - particularly in the sex industry, so caution is advised if handing this book to a younger child. Also, there was some swearing in Chloe in India by Kate Darnton.

There are several titles in the Christian Heroes, Then and Now series that are based in India: Ida Scudder, Sundar Singh, William Carey, Amy Carmichael and David Livingstone. These highlight Christian heroes, and although I haven't read any of them, I'm sure they are safe reads for older children.

Our library also had the following two dvds and we enjoyed watching these. The Going to School in India one was particularly fascinating and featured several different types of schools all over the country.

Finally, we ended this focus on India with a buffet lunch at a local Indian restaurant. We enjoyed sampling various dishes and talking about some of the things we had learned.

Next stop on our world tour - PERU!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Armor of God - Belt of Truth

I've just started a new series of letters to send to my sponsored kids. This series is on the Armor of God and last month I sent an introductory letter. This month I'm focusing on the belt of truth.  As always, feel free to use this in any way that is helpful.

Hello friend! How are you?

In my last letter I introduced you to the Bible passage from Ephesians 6:10-18. I would encourage you to read those verses regularly - every day even. You can read them as a prayer. When I was younger I read them every morning with my mom before going to school. When we got to verse 13 and it says to stand, we would stand. Then we would start pretending to put on the pieces of armor that are listed in the following verses. 

Today I want to talk about the belt of truth, which is the first piece of armor listed in these verses. Do you have a belt or have you ever worn a belt? I'll be honest...I don't love wearing a belt because it can be uncomfortable, but sometimes it really helps me keep my pants or skirt up and that's important! 

I like the image of wrapping our waists in truth. When we put truth in place like a belt, we keep everything else in place! For a soldier wearing armor, the belt served as a place for them to hang their sword. If you read ahead in these verses a little bit, you'll see that the sword of the Spirit is described as the Word of God. John 17:17 says "Sanctify them by your truth. Your Word is truth."

When we know what God's Word says, we know truth and we can stand firm in that truth in times of trouble. I don't know about you, but I find this very encouraging. Just like a belt holds everything together, so does the truth. In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  And in Colossians 1:17 Paul tells us "He is before all things and in him all things hold together."

Jesus is our truth. Jesus holds all things together. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Learning About...a Series for Teens

I was so inspired by Hannah's Learning About (insert country here) series, that I decided to do my own series aimed for older kids. My girls are currently aged 11 and 13 and are ready to dive a little deeper into learning about the rest of the world.

My plan is to focus on countries/areas where Compassion ministers first - especially countries where we sponsor children. We'll read a book (or several) about the country, watch videos if available, learn about Compassion's work there and ideally incorporate food from that country into our study. We live near a city with a lot of ethnic food options, so I'd love to visit some ethnic restaraunts and enjoy authentic food. 

This past school year (the one we are just wrapping up), my oldest daughter learned every country in the world. The goal was to be able to draw the entire world and label each country by the end of the year and below is her final map. 

My younger daughter will attempt this same thing next year, and I'm hoping that our study of the world will be enhanced by this experience. Who knows....maybe we'll even get to visit a country different than ours during the year. 

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