The Dig for Kids
I was given the opportunity to review an amazing new resource for families called The Dig for Kids. The first Dig covers Luke chapters 1-12 in such a way that keeps kids engaged and leaves the door open for opportunities to discuss the Bible further with your children. “Doc” takes kids through each section in search of treasure (the overall takeaway lesson from the section), and through the Dig and the Display, the kids interact and apply what they learn.
The Dig for Kids makes it easy for parents to teach children about God’s Word. Reading through Luke becomes a family activity. One of my favorite parts was the life application part at the end; it was a great way to connect what the kids just read from the Bible to real-life issues that kids face. It also reminds them of the importance of sharing the Good News with others. I also loved the Oasis, which is the review. It was smart and fun!
The Dig for Kids Luke Vol. 1 is available now for Kindle, Nook, and PDF for—get this—$4.99! You can find the website and more information by clicking here. More in the series will soon be available, including Luke Vol. 2 and Theology 101.
Lucky for you, The Dig for Kids is giving one lucky reader the PDF version for free! Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Full disclosure: The Dig for Kids was given to me courtesy of The Better Moms for review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
What Would Happen?
What would happen if instead of just believing there is a God, you take a risk and start seeking Him, wanting to truly find Him? What would happen if instead of just admiring your Christian friend’s faith, you decide to become like your friend and trust God for everything? What would happen if you prayed—really prayed and ask God to make Himself real to you? What would happen?
What would happen if you read the Bible? Not just read the little cute verses that pop up on the Internet (displayed with a pretty graphic), but sat down with the Bible and read a chapter or two of the books that talk about Jesus’ time on earth (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)? What would happen if you pushed aside what you thought you knew about Jesus and let the reporting of His life on earth speak for itself? What would happen if you truly believed that the same love Jesus had for those men and women in the Bible is the love He wants to offer you? What would happen?
What would happen if you took a step toward making a change that matters? What would happen if you swallowed your pride and made a point to attend that church you’ve had your eye on? What would happen if you really believed God had great plans for your future and that all your heartache could be transformed into joy? What would happen if you handed it to Him? All of it?
What would happen if tomorrow you woke up and instead of setting off on your tasks, you looked around to see where God was at work and joined Him? What would happen if you ignored the safety net that you make for yourself and believed, truly believed, that if God asked you to take a step of faith, He was already waiting there? What would happen if you believed the words to the song, “Jesus loves me this I know,” and trusted that He would not—WOULD NOT—let you down? What would happen?
What would happen if you embraced you were truly forgiven from all those things in your past? That Jesus took care of them once and for all? What would happen if you walked through life realizing God sees you as pure and beautiful and without one check mark against your name? What would happen if you asked Him to heal those shredded parts of your heart as only He could?
What would happen if you released everything holding you back and surrendered . . . daring to believe that turning over control to Jesus is the wisest thing to do . . . daring to trust that accepting His love will bring freedom you can’t imagine . . . daring to embrace the fact that this moment could change everything . . . everything . . . aring to stand up and walk in the knowledge that the past doesn’t matter and the future God has planned for you is more beautiful than you can imagine?
What would happen?
What could happen?
What will happen if you dare to believe . . .
. . . more than you can ever dream.
A Day of Stories
Today was a day of stories. We traveled to Poland to see Auschwitz-Birkenau. I’ve read many books about Auschwitz. Part of my novel Night Song took place there, and being there was surreal. More than 1.4 million people visit Auschwitz every year, and the place was packed with people from around the world. As we walked, we heard facts about the locations, and in my mind I scrolled through the stories I read of those who’d been there.
As I walked through the barracks, I considered those who’d walked the same path. I looked at prisoners’ photographs, and I wished I could hear the story of each one. My heart broke the most when I saw the suitcases stacked with names and birth dates of those who’d traveled by train not knowing what awaited them at the last stop. Parents were scared and worried about their children. They most likely guessed that hard days lie ahead, but no one could imagine that death waited, that only those capable of work would live more than twenty-four hours within the barbed wire.
I also teared up to see the small sweaters, shoes, and dolls from the children. Lives cut short because of evil. Little Alyssa was with us through the tour. She rode on a backpack on her dad’s back. His smart phone played Barney and happy songs flowed through her earphones. She had no idea where we were or what that place represented. Her smiling face and plump arms and legs were such contrast to the skeletal photographs plastered on the walls.
The stories from within the camp weren’t the only ones I listened to. On the drive to and from the camp we had the chance to spend time with our Czech pastor friend, Petr. His family’s story moved me. Christians during WWI, during WWII, and during the Communist regime, his family served God and others during difficult times. I could almost picture the printed pages of a novel as I listened to him speak. About my age, Petr has experienced so much. Following Christ has been downright dangerous for his family, and that amazes me.
Friendship (Despite the Language Barrier)
It’s very cliche, but the song that’s be going through my mind is Michael W. Smith’s song “Friends.” The start of this mission trip has centered on friendships. First, the friendships of the team members. I love these people, and I’m enjoying the time with them. We’re getting to know one another better (how could you not over four days of travel, including three planes, four trains, two taxi rides, miles of walking, and at least fifty flights of stairs—all while carrying big luggage). We’ve laughed and prayed and sang together when we weren’t in transport. And then laughed some more.
We’d only been in our Prague hotel thirty minutes when John and my friends Ivana and Pavla showed up. (Bunny showed up, too!) They walked around with us for a while, and we caught up on life. The time went fast, but hugging their necks was so wonderful! This mom and daughter were campers we got to know during our first two mission trips, and then we were blessed when they came and stayed with us a month when we lived in Montana. During our walk Ivana shared about how God recently answered one of their prayers, and it was encouraging to hear that!
Thursday we traveled to Vysoke Myto and stayed with our dear friend Gabi and her daughters, Klara and Elishka. Gabi is one of the pastors’ wife, and we’ve worked together on two camps. We felt comfortable in their home (her husband and son were away on a camping trip), and we had a great time sharing God and worshiping together as a group. To sing worship songs together reminded me again how the Holy Spirit unifies. We’re believers who life half a world away, but our hearts were united in a way that only God can do.
The Vysoke Myto church also planned a get-together so we could see many of our friends. It just felt right to hug and laugh and talk with those we’ve gotten to know over the years. The best part about friendships is that we just picked up where we left off two years ago. We rejoiced to see believers from the church and to reconnect with those who haven’t made a decision for Christ and are still on their faith journey. The more I see these people. The more I want to see these people. I can’t imagine living life without them. I’m so blessed!
Then yesterday we traveled to Olomouc, and we reunited with our daughter, Leslie. This is “her” city, and we was so excited to share it with us. Over and over again we’ve heard from those in leadership what an amazing job she’s done building relationships and ministering to the people of this city. She is greatly loved here—by those inside the church and those who’ve yet to take a step inside a church building. Jesus’ love flows through her, and I’m thankful she’s dared to take this step of faith. So many times questions or doubts or fears cause us to hold back from the hard things God asks us to do. May we all be willing to take steps of faith because God indeed shows up!
Now that we are here in Olomouc, I’m excited to get to know the pastor, Petr, and his wife, Jana, better. We’ll also be working with the Czech team for camp next week, and our hearts are all focused on pouring out onto the teens at the camp. Petr and Jana are great people, and I can see how much Leslie has grown to love them during her time here. Please pray for us, that God’s Spirit will guide our teaching and leading at the camp!
Finally, I have to mention Alyssa’s friendships. Over the last few days she’s played and played with her new friends her age. Last night Alyssa and Daniel (Petr and Jana’s son) jabbered for hours as they played, and I don’t think they realized they speak different languages! That’s such a clear example of joy that crosses cultures and languages. A smile, laughter, and outstretched arms go a long way . . . crossing over when words—language—fail.
I’m eager for the new friendships that will be built over the coming week. May each one we connect with know they are special and that God’s love has propelled us to come and tell him or her so.
Bringing Light in a Dark Place
The truth is I don’t think much of spiritual warfare in everyday life. I know we have a real enemy. I know that enemy wants to thwart our efforts and discourage us, but we’re quick to blame challenges and discouragement on life and on the fact that sin is real and life won’t be easy or perfect until the day we are in heaven with Jesus.
Yesterday, I listened to Leslie and Emma talk about spiritual warfare. Emma had a horrible, horrible nightmare. And Leslie’s been having them often. They understood this was spiritual warfare and have been praying against it. They are continuing to pray.
It makes sense that the enemy would be fighting for this ground, in the Czech Republic—one of the most atheistic countries in the world. While the country is beautiful and the people are friendly, there is a dullness in so many eyes. There aren’t the smiles and laughter I see on the faces of so many of my Arkansas friends back home who follow Jesus.
Because of the gloomy attitudes and down-turned gazes, light is easy to recognize. When I look at my daughter, she simply glows. And others witness it, too.
Yesterday I was talking to a new friend, Hanza, and he told me (through a translator) that Leslie has a light in her eyes he hasn’t seen before. I told him it was the joy of the Lord, and he nodded. The light is Jesus inside her, reflecting through her gaze.
Light is easy to see in a dark place—but that also makes it a target for the spiritual forces of darkness that do not want to give up an inch of ground. Won’t you pray for the followers of Christ here in the Czech Republic, both the Czech Christians and the others who come here to serve?
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. Colossians 1:13 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that You are the Light of the World. The only light we have flows from You being in us. Fill us, Lord. May your light and love be seen by everyone we meet. You are Lord, and I pray you strengthen our spirits to fight against the rulers and authorities of the unseen world. May you send your heavenly angels to do the battle around us, preparing peaceful ground for us to walk on.
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Isaiah 60:2 (NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)
Lord, may you be glorified in our words and our actions today. Although darkness covers the earth and the people of this earth, rise among us. May your glory appear over us. And may those who are living in darkness take steps to the light. May they confess those words, “Jesus, you are the light of the world.” And through their confession may the light of life fill them.
In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men. John 1:4 (NIV)
“While I [Jesus] am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5 (NIV)
I [Jesus] have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46 (NIV)
And for those who may not yet have a relationship with Jesus, here is a prayer to pray. (You do not have to use these words exactly, but this is a guide for you.)
Dear God in Heaven, as Your Holy Word, the Bible, says, I believe that Your Son, Jesus, is the only way to eternal life and the light of the world. Lord, I do not want to stay in darkness, but I desire to walk in Your light. Come into my heart. I acknowledge that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins. I need Your forgiveness. I release my control to You. Fill me with Your light, Jesus.
I believe Jesus shed His precious blood on the cross and died for my sins. You said in the Bible in Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. At this moment I accept Jesus as my personal Savior.
I thank You that according to your Holy Bible I am saved, that at this moment You are writing my name in Your eternal book, and that I can look forward to eternity with You. Even more than that, I know that on this earth You now live inside me, and Your Holy Spirit will fill me and guide me. I accept that. I am thank for that. My heart rejoices over that fact!
I know your unlimited grace has saved me from my sins. May my salvation never give me license to sin, but may Your Spirit inside me always lead me to repentance. Fill me with Your Light and transform my life so I might bring glory to You. Protect me from the enemy of the world who wants to discourage me or bring me harm.
Thank You, Jesus, for your sacrifice and for the gift of eternal life. Amen.
Mission Trip Goal List
- Take a photo of Alyssa on the Charles Bridge.
- Try a traditional food that seems odd to me.
- Have a conversation with the most unsure teen in the room and listen to his or her heart.
- Share my favorite Scripture verse (Zephaniah 3:17) and why it means so much that God sings over me.
- Play a crazy game, knowing I’ll fail at it miserably.
- Hike to the top of a tall hill.
- Teach Alyssa ten Czech words.
- Encourage another mom.
- Share Jesus and what a relationship with Him means, as many times as the Spirit prompts.
- Give away a copy of one of my books to a random stranger.
- Jot down my experiences every day in my mini journal.
- Pray as I walk the Prague streets—that hearts as hard as cobblestone with be softened and that a great revival will come.
Get to Know Tricia
Other than Jesus, who are your favorite disciples or New Testament figures? Is there one you’ve particularly identified with?
I’ll be answering YOUR questions every Friday! If you’ve had a question burning on your mind to ask me, click on the picture below and use the contact form to shoot me an e-mail with your question. Then check back next Friday for a “Get to Know Tricia” post and see if I answered your question!
The Truth about Writing Someone Else’s Story | One Author’s Opinion
If you’ve had any amount of success in writing, then you’ve most likely been approached to help someone write his or her book. Or to write someone’s story for that person.
Being Available to God | Part 6
Today’s post is the last post in my “Being Available to God” series. If you missed any of the previous posts, check out one, two, three, four, and five!
“And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence.”
P.S. My store is live until Wednesday! Be sure to get your signed copies of donated books before they’re sold out. All proceeds go to fund my upcoming mission trip to the Czech Republic. Visit my store here, and find out more information about the literary garage sale here!
It’s Real Life Photo Assignment | God’s Creation
|Photo by Julie Nease|
A big thank-you to everyone who participated in this week’s photo assignment! God’s creation is truly amazing. Sometimes we take it for granted, so seeing our Creator’s creation from a different point of view was refreshing. You can check out the other photos, including the ones for the past photo assignments, here.
This week’s assignment is Vacation! You have until Friday, July 20, at noon PDT to submit your photos to the group pool (and don’t forget to join the group, too!). Next Saturday, I’ll feature my favorites here!
|Photo by my intern, Caitlin|
|Photo by Mary in Missouri|