Before all of the problems of 2020 began I was drawn to write a Job story for children. Helping someone going through struggles is hard for all of us. The story of Job so well pictures us trying to comfort others when we ourselves do …
I am still working on our ladies ministry assignment to share images of Jesus in the Old Testament. Everything in the Old Testament is in some way a picture of Jesus so it is not a hard assignment except for deciding what topics to choose. This time I have chosen the Jewish wedding. I have never been to a Jewish wedding but the Bible gives us some information about them.
When my sons were in youth class at Gerster they participated in the True Love Waits ceremony. Some of you may have been part of that as well. It was a commitment that young people made to staying pure for their future mate. I wrote a play for the evening activities which was presented by the youth. On one side of the stage they acted out the Jewish wedding. On the other side of the stage they acted out the parallels in Jesus life.
From Genesis creation and God’s ordaining of a man and a woman to cleave together and become as one and multiply on the earth to Revelations and the marriage feast of the Lamb, it all connects. I will share a few of the picture images of Christ found in the weddings of God’s chosen people.
The bridegroom would go to the home of his bride to be and enter the marriage covenant and pay a purchase price called a dowry. Jesus came to our earthly home and fulfilled the marriage covenant with faithful believers. He died on the cross to be the purchase price for us.
The bridegroom would return to his father’s home to prepare a place for them to live together. No one knew when he would return for the wedding. Jesus also told us he was going back to his father. He said there were many mansions there. He said he was going to prepare a place for us, that where he is there we may be also. He also told us no one but the father knows when he will return.
In the wedding stories in the Bible we learn that the wedding guests were given a wedding garment to wear. This wedding garment pictures the white robe of righteousness we will be given when we enter our heavenly home as the bride of Christ.
Of course there is a great wedding feast that lasted for days and included a great procession, the ceremony and a banquet of foods. Jesus says we too will sit down at a wonderful banquet with him. It will be the marriage feast of the Lamb. These pictures of a wedding with Christ and his bride, the believers, is so amazing. And how beautiful that wedding day will be.
Revelations 21: 3-4. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”
I added a few pictures from the beautiful woodlands surrounding our home.
Our ladies group has been sharing thoughts on symbols in the Old Testament that point to Christ. I am continually amazed of the oneness of the Bible. Its only message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ from beginning to end. As I started working on my response it became more and more connected in scripture from the beginning to the end of the Bible. I sometimes get so excited about my biblical finds but I am not always able to express it well. So here goes.
Let’s start with Genesis 2:10. “Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden and from there it parted and became four river heads.” Living water was mentioned from the beginning of creation. The Garden of Eden was perfect. Rivers there would have sustained all life. We were created to be eternal beings and that source of eternity came only from God through his Son Jesus, the river of a living water.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 says, “As I went back , I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other.” And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into Arabah, and enters the sea, the water will become fresh. . . So that everything will live where the river goes. . . . They will bear fresh fruit every month because the water from them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.” The river in this passage is similar to and associated with the rivers mentioned in the Garden of Eden and in Revelations 22:1-2. The Dead Sea will become fresh water to support life-life giving water that flows from God.
Zechariah 14:8-9 says, “On that day living waters shall flow out of Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.” We know that there will be only one Lord in the entire world during the millennial reign of Christ. That is Jesus, the Living Water.
Zechariah 14:4 says, “There will be an earthquake which will create a vast east-west valley running through Jerusalem and allow the water to flow into the sea.” This event happens at the same time as Christ’s arrival on the Mount of Olives.
In John 4:10 Jesus answered the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that ask you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” In the Old Testament God is called the Fountain of Life. Jesus the Messiah is the only one who can quench the thirst for God.
Revelations 7:17 says, “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.” Revelations 22:1-2 says, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.” Everywhere you look throughout scripture we read of the living water. Jesus is that gift of living water. From creation to Christ’s Revelation we read in God’s Word about the Living Water. What a beautiful picture of our salvation!
I love writing Bible stories for children. I always learn a lot myself. I love when the stories connect the dots and tie everything together like this story of Joanna does. I hope many of you are enjoying sharing Bible stories with your children and grandchildren. I would love to hear about your storytime.
The stories of some characters in the Bible are very short. But there is so much to glean from the info we have. Tonight’s story was certainly one such story for me. I, like most of us have heard much about Jesus healing Mary Magdalene, but most of us have heard little about Joanna. This story about Joanna reminds us what giving our all really looks like.
Joanna Serves Jesus
It was a beautiful place. There were gardens filled with sweet-smelling flowers and beautiful fountains. There were stone paths and places to sit and take in the beauty of the gardens. It was the palace of King Herod Antipas. Yes, he was now ruler over some of God’s people. He had been placed over part of his father’s kingdom. King Herod Antipas had all kinds of expensive things throughout his huge palace. It was so large it could accommodate great crowds of officials and other royal and important guests. So King Herod Antipas needed someone to help oversee such a great estate. He had put into position a man named Chuza to be just that person. He must have been a very smart man to hold such an important position. The king must have trusted him as Chuza would be taking care of the king’s money and all his elaborate possessions.
Now Chuza had a wife whose name was Joanna. Her name means Jehovah hath shown favor. What a beautiful name! Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us but Joanna must have enjoyed all the fine things around her as she took walks through the beautiful gardens, lounged in the beautiful rooms of the palace, and mingled with all the royal guests, while her husband served as steward to the king. She would have enjoyed the lovely parties, delicious foods, and beautiful clothes that came with being Chuza’s wife. But in spite of all this beauty, Joanna was aware that the king was a cruel man. He was the son of a brutal king, Herod the Great. His father had certainly left his mark on his son. King Herod Antipas was a weak king who could easily be pushed around by others. But, like all kings of his time, if there was a rule in his kingdom, he stood by it even if it was not right. Jesus even described him as being sly like a fox.
One of the bad choices came when the king was tricked into putting John the Baptist to death. John had preached and shared the news about Jesus. The king had heard many of these stories. Also frequenting the palace was his often referred to as a foster brother or as some called him Herod’s lifelong friend, Manea. Manea was a follower of Jesus also. I am sure Joanna had heard about Jesus too. Being at the palace she would have heard some of the wonderful stories of the miracles and wisdom of Jesus. Now Joanna came down with an illness. We don’t know if it was mental or physical, but it must have been pretty serious. Even with all the money and resources around her, there was nothing to help her get better. Joanna knew there was one thing she could do and that was step out on faith to Jesus who she believed could heal her. It might mean she would be persecuted or even killed by the king, but Joanna chose life. She chose Jesus. The Bible says Jesus healed her and from that day on Joanna was a new person. She did not just want to pay this doctor, Jesus, who had healed her for I am sure she could have with all her resources available to her. Instead, she gave him her whole life and all of her resources. Joanna spent her life giving all that she could to help Jesus’ ministry. She helped other ladies provide food and places to stay for Jesus and his disciples while they were preaching and teaching.
It was way too short of a time that Jesus stayed with his followers. His ministry only lasted a little over three years. It was time for Jesus to fulfill his purpose that he had come for. He would soon be sent to the cross to die for the sins of all people. But before he would go, he would be sent to stand before King Herod Antipas. Ah, yes, King Herod thought it would be fun to meet this man he had heard about. He would have some fun. He, of course, ask Jesus to perform a miracle. But Jesus said nothing. He knew that the king had seen his healing of Joanna and other miracles he had done. He did not believe then so why would it be any different now. So Jesus stood silent before King Herod. How sad for Herod that he did not trust in the one who could save him.
Jesus was crucified, buried, and then rose from the grave. Joanna went with other women to the tomb to take care of Jesus’ body. But they were met with the amazing news. Jesus was not in the grave. No, He had risen. Joanna was one of the first to carry the Good News of the Gospel. “He is not here, he is risen!” How joyous Joanna must have been when she found out Jesus was not in the tomb. And Joanna knew in her heart, of course, that is just what Jesus would do, raise from the dead! Death could not hold Him. The grave could not hold him! How amazing to be the first one to proclaim this story.
Jesus soon ascended into heaven to be with His Father, but we can be sure Joanna continued to spread the Good News. She was probably there on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came. And well, who knows, she may have even helped with Paul’s missionary journeys. Whatever she was doing the Bible makes it very clear she was serving God with all of her.
I love learning about family history, but also the history of our country. It is amazing the gems of knowledge our forefathers drew from scripture when they set out to form a new government. Sadly our children do not get to learn these stories. Today …
When things slow down we really began to think about lots of things. When we are so busy we don’t see God working in and through our lives. We are left wondering if all the things we do are even important and especially of eternal value. At a time like this we want to help, but find it difficult since we are trying to follow the stay at home order.
For the next few weeks, I am going to be posting Bible stories for children. I hope you will share my page with families who have children. The stories will make great bedtime stories. The story today is about Eutychus. I hope many families enjoy it. My sister wrote the story and I have rephrased a bit.
Eutychus Falls Out the Window
Paul was a missionary for Jesus. He was coming by ship to Troas to visit his Christian friends. It had been a busy month in Troas. It was Passover and there had been a great celebration. Eutychus knew that Paul would share stories about his travels. There would be more meals to share and all the people would take part in the Lord’s Supper which was a very special meal to help them remember Jesus.
Eutychus loved the house they met in. It was large enough to hold all the believers. They would be meeting on the third story of the house. Eutychus had lots of energy to climb the big steps and if he got there early he could get his favorite spot. He loved sitting in the open window ledges. You could see everything happening below while listening to Paul’s stories. Eutychus was always careful by the window. It was a long way to the ground from the third floor.
Finally, the news spread that Paul had arrived and so Eutychus and his family hurried to the meeting room. Paul told the most amazing stories. Eutychus loved hearing about the big uproar in Ephesus and about how Paul had escaped the riots. How funny that people worshiped the goddess Artemis and thought she just fell out of heaven. Who would make such a fuss about a clumsy goddess? Eutychus was just a kid but even he knew that silver idols were worthless and could not protect him.
As darkness arrived the big lamps were lit in the upper room. Eutychus loved watching the flickering flames. The evening meal had been delicious and Eutychus climbed up into his favorite spot on the window ledge to listen to Paul. Tomorrow Paul would be leaving. Eutychus wished he could join him on his adventures. As he sat on the window ledge his body relaxed. He was tired. He wanted to listen, but Eutychus fell asleep right on the ledge of the open window. No one noticed because everyone was listening to Paul.
Without warning, poor Eutychus fell out the window falling three stories to the ground below. When his family and friends reached him they picked him up but Eutychus was dead. They were sad. Paul had raced down the steps with everyone else. When he got to Eutychus he threw his arms around him. Paul said, “Don’t be alarmed, he is alive!”
Then everyone was so excited they forgot how late it was. They all went upstairs again and broke bread and ate together. Paul continued to talk until daylight before leaving. Everyone waved good-bye. Eutychus went home with his family and friends. They were all so happy that Eutychus was alive. They all laughed and talked about how Paul would be sharing this story at the next church he visited. Eutychus wished he could hear Paul tell the story about the night he fell out the window. Paul was a great storyteller! Eutychus was so thankful that he did not have to depend on that clumsy silver goddess for life. He knew God of Heaven had saved his life and that his story was a testimony to God’s power over death. Maybe someday he would be able to travel and share stories about God just like the Apostle Paul.
It was a cold dreary snowy day, a perfect day for a bowl of soup. Some peas, carrots, onions, peppers and potatoes roasted were perfect ingredients. The base was my homemade cajon turkey bone broth and some chunks of the turkey. It did not need any seasonings as the turkey and broth made for a delicious soup.
I was not being very productive. Midday my sister sent me a long lost picture of our Harpham family. It was so fun to see for the first time. This is my father’s grandparents Charles Wesley and Charlotte and all of their kids. Although I can’t be positive which of the girls are which I am pretty sure I know. My grandfather looks so much like my dad in this picture. My grandfather’s brother, Uncle Elmer taught at many of the schools around here. He rode horseback to school. He was instrumental in getting many of the school districts in the area reorganized into larger schools and districts.
I love the chair placed in the picture for the family dog. It must have been a very special dog.
Aunt Daisy had a special place with my father. Aunt Daisy did not have any children so she would get him Christmas presents and birthday presents. I would love to know where his iron horse is that she gave him. I think it was a bank. There was a large glass marble that she gave him. This is a picture of Aunt Daisy and Uncle Lonnie with their new whippet car.
All of the kids lived pretty long lives. Aunt Jenny lived to be 104 I believe. They said she made her own birthday cake. How amazing. What a testimony of God’s love and provision for us!
Aunt Gladys was the youngest. She was quite cute and fashionable. Her family records that she was one of the first girls in her community to get a short hair cut. I am sure she braved some criticism by some in the neighborhood.
I found some other old photos. I think they are from Aunt Bertha Arnett’s family. Sometimes old photos are not very clear but the little girl with her banana is very clear. So cute! Not sure what is in her other hand.
I love the old photos. They tell so much about our history and families. It is amazing what you can glean from a photograph. I have so many pictures in my boxes that did not get labeled and so go unnamed. I wish I had some way to make the connections. I love reuniting old photos with families. I so appreciate the person who shared this picture of my family. I have to wonder if he was related or just a family friend to have this picture in his possession. Thank you for sharing.
We headed out this morning to visit my sister. We are on a special project. She had finished one of the sets of quilt blocks we found at the farm. It was ready to be hand quilted. We searched the blocks recognizing pieces of mother’s dresses, our dresses and our grandmother’s dresses. After much deliberation we concluded the blocks were made by our grandmother. She did not use a sewing machine and the blocks were hand pieced. Some pieces may have been flour sack fabric. We chatted and stitched all morning. The light streaming in the room through the windows, winter birds feeding at the feeders and the beautiful sound of hymns were the backdrop for our project. I loved the new sign hanging on her wall. It inspired conversations about childhood stories.
We only paused a bit to share lunch with our hubbies and then back to stitching. It was a glorious day. The troubles on the world stage seemed worlds away.
After lunch we were back to our stitching. Our conversation led us to our families and a commitment to pray daily for them. My sister shared a scripture with me that is so perfect for life today.
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high sounding nonsense that comes from human thinking and from “spiritual powers” of this world rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:8-9. NLT
An overload of streaming news sometimes keeps our thoughts concerned and distracted. But more and more I realize that God is working in the lives of people and leaders all over the world, fulfilling His prophecies every day. And we are oblivious to it drawing our own opinions, criticisms, or approval.
(A picture of the beautiful sunrise from my living room window.)
This scripture will be my prayer every morning of this new year.
Sally the Cow is launching. YEAH!! Some of you have preordered already. Thank you so much. It has been fun seeing and hearing about your preorders. What a joy and a blessing to share this experience with you. I have already had two requests to come and share Sally the Cow. One of those is for one of my grandkids class. How fun for both of us. If you haven’t preordered you can do so at the address below. I appreciate any sharing you can do. I set a goal of 50 preorders, but I hope it exceeds that number. Pass on the lauch info so Sally can reach as many as possible.
I had the opportunity to share my book today and I really enjoyed it. As the story was read, the child pointed out excitedly all the little creatures in the pictures. Then I caught a tear as the mom read the last pages of the story. So I felt that the connection I had hoped to create with Sally and her readers was a success.
Sally will be released November 22. Be sure to call or message a review to Amazon. This will give even more reach for my book. I can’t do it without you. Thank you.
Being a grandparent is a blessing beyond words or measure. They are a wonderful gift from God. I give thanks each day for these beautiful babies.They give me more than I can ever give them. They make me laugh at the sounds of their sweet voice. They cheer me up no matter what is happening around me. They give new life to the ordinary activities of my day. They give me new purpose and meaning to the things I do.
When they arrive or we go visit them they come running and jump in my arms. I love them so much! I find that I am quite protective of them and probably over concerned when they get sick.
My country kids are always outside usually barefoot, adorned with a little dirt here and there hugging their dog Bailey or one of their cats. I suggested to my son they might get sick running around that way. Of course he gave me that look and said, “They’re fine mom”.
Recently I was looking for a picture of my children with one of our farm pets. As I sat on the closet floor surrounded by boxes of pictures, I began going through the box labeled Farm Pictures. As I thumbed through I found no pictures of the pet I was searching for. However, I found picture after picture of my precious sons outside sometimes
no shirt, no shoes and loving on their cat. I could only smile at each picture and realized my son was raising his children just as we had raised him.Now I have to say, they turned out to be wonderful husbands and dads. So I can say a little dirt, bare feet and loving on their pets may be a good recipe for happy healthy kids. I am excited watching these precious grandbabies of ours grow up. Feeling blessed tonight.
Another of my works in progress. I always loved the children’s book “Country Mouse and City Mouse. It reflects a great picture of each experience. I myself am a country girl. I grew up in the country and hope I get to live my life out in the country. My children grew up in the country as well.
However, they both did not end up in the country. So part of my grandchildren are country kids and the others are city kids. The differences are striking.
My city kids have lots of fun. They spend their family time at the zoo or discovery center. They learn lots about the animals in the zoo and make friends with the animals. They have opportunity to explore many things at the Discovery Center. They love the library and have a great toy store that provides lots of play areas. Their play yard is the park right down the road with slides, swings and climbing bars.
My country kids have lots of fun too. They spend their family time searching out bugs and critters. They turn over every rock looking for ring neck snakes, toads, frogs and bugs. There is always a tub with rocks, ring necks, toads and frogs in it. They are becoming little experts on critters. They catch them and watch them for a while and then release them. They ride their chuck wagon all around the yard. Their play yard is in the backyard; a sandbox, a trampoline, a swimming pool and a great tree swing that all four can swing on at the same time. They spend summer evenings out by the fire pit roasting marshmallows and listening to the night sounds of the night critters.
My city kids are always dressed ready to go out among the public. They always have shoes on and if windy their hats and jackets. My country kids wear their play clothes, a little dirt and sometimes no shoes or shirt because their exploring takes place on their 10 acres. They might dash out in cool weather without hats or jackets. They love playing in the rain, muddy puddles and the snow. Sometimes my country boys’ potty training often happens in the backyard, not something my city kids could experience.
Thankfully the important things are the same. Both my country kids and my city kids get to go to church to learn about Jesus. So thankful their parents take them. Both of their dads play in the praise band and both moms help teach at church. At bedtime they are read stories and have prayer time. They have family meals together most days. And they are loved soooo much. The differences in their daily routines are insignificant when God is the center of the family, because the only thing that matters is that God is the head of the home. It is beautiful to watch each of them grow and learn. When my 6 year old grandson comes to spend the night he says, “Nana, I brought my Bible you got me. ” What a joy!! Come bedtime we get it out. One of their favorite stories is the talking donkey. Precious memories.
This morning we are headed to Sedalia to the Missouri State Fair to take the grandchildren. Going to the fair was an annual event for our family. We seldom missed. Most years our extended family went also. Going in the pick-up was the most economical. Everyone loaded in the back of the truck. We threw in lawn chairs water jugs and a big picnic lunch. It was an all day affair. As we drove across the parking lot which was just a grassy field there was always some big trees sprinkled around. My aunt would call out to one of the guys parking cars, “I’ll give you a quarter if you let us park in the shade.” It always brought lots of laughter but little results.
Of course checking out the livestock, the produce and the canned goods was a priority. Growing up on a farm it was always fun looking at all the different animals. We had a Guernsey milk cow and most of the rest of our herd was Hereford. So it was fun to see all the different kinds of cows. Daddy loved going through the mule and horse barns.
For many years my uncle had a snow cone trailer which he set up at the fair each year. We knew that if we got to go to the fair he would give us a snowcone. What a treat. It was an exciting time! We didn’t often get a treat like that. We always checked out the Baptist Building too. By the time we left we had a bag full of pens, yardsticks, and other small free treasures.
I don’t remember the year, but one year our family was chosen as the Farm Family for Benton County. It was a real honor for mother and daddy. We were young enough that we just thought it was great because we had extra fun at the fair that year. They hosted a big lunch for all the farm families. It was set up under a big tent. We got some free rides at the midway and got a tour of the fair on the tram. Mother and daddy did not care too much for the midway. We usually got to ride the big ferris wheel. Would love to find a picture of our family as the farm family. I’ll have to check out the newspaper and extension office to see if I can find one.
John was in 4-H when he was about 12. He raised lots of chickens. He had some Black Crested Polish, Rhode Island Reds, Black Cochin, Silver Laced Wyandotts and Buff Orphingtons to name a few. He had about 40 breeds. He always took a hen and a rooster or a trio, two hens and a rooster of each kind to the State Fair. If there were no other of that breed there you would get grand champion for that breed. So he was always assured some ribbons. No one else had some of the breeds. He got a dollar for a blue ribbon, 50 cents for red, 25 cents for white and 5 dollars for best of show. One year he won 22 dollars worth. He felt really rich.
Well we enjoyed our day at the fair. There were so many great things for the kids to do. Our only incident was a 3 minute downpour on the midway. We came home with free hats, pencils, books, orange peelers, beach ball and lots lots more. A successful day I would say. Great job, Missouri State Fair.