America, Look Up

The importance of America returning to Christian principles and Traditional Family Values


November 2015

Book Review: The Very First Christmas by Jan and Mike Berenstain

Mike and Jan Berenstain hit a home run with the Berenstain Bears “The Very First Christmas.”  This was the first time I chose to read and review a children’s book, but with six kids, who could ask for a better critic.

As soon as I ripped open the envelope, both of my little girls grabbed for the book.  My seven year old and 2 year old are ardent fans of the Berenstain Bears.  I happened to arrive home in time for the youngest one’s nap, so we cuddled up together and I read the book.

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the book’s content.  I’ve noted in other Berenstain stories that the books teach a moral lesson, but I didn’t expect this book to be so Biblical in nature.  In a culture where some wage war on Christmas, booting nativities from the public square, “The Very First Christmas” teaches the true meaning of Christmas in a manner making any Christian parent proud to read it to their children.

I was especially impressed that the authors didn’t lump the Wisemen with the Shepherds at the manger scene.  In “The Very First Christmas” the Wisemen deliver their precious gifts to Jesus at the house where he and his family lived.

I would recommend this book to any parent wanting to share the true meaning of Christmas!

I Want to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

Raphael-2012-Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-TurtlesSomething humorous happened in Children’s Church on Sunday. The lesson centered on the lives of David and Jonathan, and the meaning of being a good and trusted friend. The kids learned that a part of being a good friend involves getting to know your friend better, so we participated in a personal inventory. I asked questions like:

“What is your favorite food?”
“What is your favorite holiday?”
“What is your favorite color?”

My last question of the morning was,

“What do you want to be when you grow up?’

In our church, we combine kids aged 3 years through 4th grade. Though that may seem like a wide age disparity, children’s church usually runs fairly smoothly, with the older kids willing to help the younger. Well, when I asked the last question,

“What do you want to do when you grow up?”

I received the following answers: teacher, physician’s assistant, artist and then a three year old boy shared,

“I want to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.”

I almost giggled. (On the inside I laughed)  I noticed some of the older kids smirking and whispering about his answer, but no one made fun of the little guy. He seriously wanted to be a Ninja Turtle.
Later in the day, I thought of the following verses:

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” I Corinthians 13:11

The older children knew becoming a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle wasn’t possible. Why? Because as they’ve gotten older, they’ve started putting childish ways behind them. Sadly, that’s often not the case for many Christians.  In the Kingdom of God, some never grow up spiritually. Many times I’ve asked young people, believers in Christ, what they want to be when they grow up. They share dreams of pursuing a medical degree, a teacher’s certificate, or becoming a lawyer. Others speculate they’ll skip college and go to work in a field where degrees are unnecessary. Seldom do I hear,

“I’m just waiting to see what God wants.”

I wonder if God ever considers our choices silly. I wonder if He ever smirks. Not because He’s poking fun, but because we’re missing out on His plan for our life. We might as well aspire to be a Ninja Turtle if we ignore the plan and path God has for us. Two of my favorite verses speak to this truth:

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We might enjoy the role of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but we will miss the blessings that God desires to bestow upon us. So let’s strip off the green cape and goggles, stow them back in the costume trunk, and focus on God’s plan for our lives. When we do, we’ll find out that His agenda trumps being a muscle bulging tortoise any day.

Book Review, Wilderness Rising by A.L. Shields

I must admit, I did something I usually frown upon…reading book two before reading book one.  That being said, I found ‘Wilderness Rising’ by A.L. Shields to be a fantastic thriller.  The story centers upon a young woman wrongly accused of murder and terrorism.  A US fugitive, Bethany flees to Europe and ends up seeking out the legendary ‘Pilate Stone.’  Other organizations seek the stone as well.

The ‘Wilderness’ a group of atheists kidnapped a friend of Bethany and are holding her friend for ransom…the ‘Stone.’ The Wilderness hopes to prove the Pilate Stone says nothing corroborating the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and proclaim to the world that Christianity is a fraud.  On the side of good, the ‘Garden’ hopes the stone is found to prove to the world that the claims of Christ can be trusted.  In both groups’ minds, Christianity’s security hinges upon the inscription supposedly penned by Pilate.

As Bethany gets closer to finding the Pilate Stone, her life is now in danger.  Will she find the stone?  Will it prove Christianity or will the stone deliver a fatal blow to believers around the world.  Well, that’s for you to discover when you read, ‘Wilderness Rising.’

By the way, I definitely plan to pick up Book One in the series, ‘Church Builder.’

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