New Features to My Blog!

Hey all!

I just wanted to highlight a few new features to my blog.

1) Please sign up to receive email notifications of my postings.  It’s a great way to keep abreast of my posts and the easiest way to find them.

2)  I have added a donation button in my sidebar.  If you’ve been helped by what you read here and you feel led by God to contribute, please use the donation button on the sidebar.  It helps to support my writings and spend more time on this blog.

3)  The sidebar also has all the BSF questions from this year and the past year easily accessible by clicking on the study of your choice.  All the questions appear in reverse order since everything on a blog is top posted.

I hope you all have a wonderful break and I’ll see ya in the Fall!!

God bless one and all!

Summer Devotional July 26th, 2017

Isaiah 35:4:  “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Reminders we need to hear often as we often forget:

  1.  We have nothing to fear with God.
  2. God will come with vengeance.  Our job is to forgive.  God’s job is to punish those who do wrong against us.
  3. God will save us.  Now.  In the present moment when all is hopeless.  And in the future.  He is with us always.  We will be with Him always.
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Summer Devotional July 24th, 2017

Proverbs 3:3:  “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Great words that speak for themselves.  Imagine if we responded to everything life throws at us with love and faithfulness.  We’d have no worries, doubts, or conflicts.

Summer Devotional July 21st, 2017

Psalm 63:8:  “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

Definition of cling:  Hold on tightly to.

The word cling brings to mind what a baby does to its mother.  What someone on the edge of a cliff does to stay alive.  When your life is in danger.  What we need to do to God.  Cause without Him we have no life.

Believe this in your heart and soul and mind even if you don’t feel it today.  Use it as a mantra.  Repeat over and over.  See Him when in the moment, anger and rage and injustice and pain or whatever else blinds you.  Feel Him.  Know Him.  Believe.

Summer Devotional July 19th, 2017

Job 37:14:  “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.”

I know “stop and smell the roses” is such a cliche, but it’s something we all need to do.  Today I encourage you to stop and take in the wonders of nature (God’s hand) all around you no matter in a big city or a small town, forest or sea, mountains or prairie.  God is everywhere in everything and we often miss Him in all of our busy-ness.  He created this world for us and we miss Him when we ignore the animals and trees and sky around us.

Pet a cat or dog.  Look up in the sky and enjoy the hawk or the gull.  Visit a park and sit and watch the grass and trees sway in the wind.  Go on a hike.  Or a run.  Take a walk with friends.  And stop when you see a blooming flower in bright orange or red or yellow or purple.  Then thank Him.  For all He’s given and all He’s done.  You’ll be amazed at the change in your outlook if you do.

Summer Devotional July 17th, 2017

Matthew 7:7:  Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”

I know this is probably a bible verse many of you have memorized but I wanted to emphasize the importance of ASK.  If you don’t ASK, odds are you won’t receive.  That’s why we ask for Christmas presents.  How else are others supposed to know what we want?

God knows.  He knows what He’s going to give you as well.  But He wants to hear it from you.  He wants to give.  He wants you to know He is the one doing the giving.

ASK, ASK, ASK, AND ASK SOME MORE.  TRUST, TRUST, TRUST, AND TRUST SOME MORE.

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Al Capone Does My Shirts, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, Al Capone Does My Homework

Al Capone Does My Shirts is a wonderful book for children about life on Alcatraz Island in the 1930’s, which is the time the infamous gangster Al Capone was incarcerated there.  This book is a Newbery Honor book for 2005.

Matthew “Moose” Flanagan has moved to Alcatraz Island when his father gets a job as a prison guard in 1935, during the height of the Great Depression.  He has a 15 year-old sister who nowadays would be recognized as special needs but in the book is considered handicapped and unfit for society who should be shut away in a mental institution.  Moose loves to play baseball and do typical activities 12 year-old boys do.  Moose and his friend, Piper, the warden’s daughter, hatch a plot to make money by having the criminals do the laundry of the kids at school.  The criminals currently do the laundry of all those on the island so their plan is to slip in the kids’ clothes and claim Al Capone did their laundry.

However, Moose’s world is consumed by taking care of his sister and her needs.  His family is trying to get his sister, Natalie, into a special school for children like her.  However, she is rejected due to her age.  Desperate, Moose writes a letter to Al Capone to pull some strings and get her in.  He does.

Cute book.  Very historically accurate.  Kids learn all about Al Capone and the infamous Alcatraz Island prison.  Great writing.  Engaging.  Fun.  Funny.  The characters are well developed.  Highly recommended.

Two sequels have been written:  Al Capone Shines My Shoes where Moose is called out by Al Capone to help him since he helped his sister get into the Esther P Marinoff School and Al Capone Does My Homework where Moose’s apartment is burned and his sister being blamed, he sets out to discover who set his family’s apartment on fire and why.  All three books are great reads and a great lesson on siblings caring for one another and standing up for one another.  Moose also shows signs of liking girls and he struggles with making new friends and keeping them.  The books deal with the discrimination of those kids different from others and the struggles these families faced.  Gennifer Choldenko does a fabulous job of narrating a tumultuous time in kids’ lives.

Summer Devotional July 14th, 2017

The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, My Deliverer.

Psalm 18:2:  “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Pray this to Him:

God is mine as I am His.  He is always behind me no matter how hard I fall.  He lifts me up and places me gently back down.  He is the one I run to.  He shields me from every evil.  He is my fortress.  Lord, you are mine.  With all my heart, all my soul, all of whom you made me, I thank you, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rocks are some of the strongest materials on this planet.  They are beautiful, enchanting, mesmerizing, and at the same time intimidating, threatening, and dangerous.  The former is God to His people; the latter is God to nonbelievers.  A rock is all of this and so much more.  Lord, be my rock today.