Sunday, March 31, 2024

What Are You Going to Wear for Easter? A #Devotional by Becky Van Vleet

 

What Are You Going to Wear for Easter?

For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness. Isaiah 61:10 (NKJV)

I have fond memories of getting all dressed up for Easter as a young girl back in the 1960s. Back then, girls wore gloves and hats, just like our mothers. I’ll never forget the first Easter I was permitted to wear hose and my black patent shoes gleamed like glitter. Oh, those were the days.

Fast forward sixty years. I very much enjoy watching my grandchildren dress up for Easter. Certainly, it’s different these days, but lovely nonetheless. After all, Easter is a special day. We should look our best at church. And I’m still right there with everyone else—I want to look especially nice for Easter Sunday.

However, clothes, fashions, and accessories come and go. What may be in style now may not be trendy in the next few years.

But the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness? They will never go out of style. Christ’s death on the cross allows us to stand complete in Him. When we accept Christ as our Savior, his death on the cross serves as our sufficient atonement, and we are covered with His righteousness. His birth, death, and resurrection allow us to wear the new garments of salvation.

I read a story about a little girl who was walking in a cemetery with her father. She pointed to the graves and asked, “What are they, Daddy?” “Oh, they belong to the people who have gone to heaven,” he replied. She stared at the gravestones marking the different mounds of earth and thoughtfully decided, “This is where they leave their clothes, isn’t it?”

She was right. They left their clothes in the grave. As we all will.

How thankful we can be on Easter Sunday that Christ’s death on the cross allows us to dress in eternal clothes that will always be in vogue with God.

Becky Van Vleet




Becky Van Vleet is a retired teacher and principal and award-winning multi-genre author. She has been published in Guideposts, The Country Register, and Christian Devotions Ministry. Her children’s picture books are the recipients of the 2020 Excellence in Editing award as well as the Purple Dragonfly award in 2020 and 2021. She and her husband make their home close to Colorado Springs where she enjoys gardening, hiking, oil painting, power walking, and spending time with her family, especially reading books to her grandchildren.

Becky is the author of Unintended Hero, a true story about her father’s battles, experiences, and adventures in WWII aboard the USS Denver. She is passionate about sharing the values from the Greatest Generation and enjoys speaking to high school classes about patriotism.

A member of ACFW and Allauthor, Becky has devoted her website to creating and preserving family memories and sharing family stories for the next generations through her monthly blogs. 

You can find her at: https://beckyvanvleet.com. She would love to hear from you, especially if you have a family story to share!

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorbeckyvanvleet/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-van-vleet-ms-806055181/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/becky_van_vleet_author/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beckyvanvleet/ 

Amazon Central Author Page: https://amzn.to/3INHIPB 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/125841473-becky-van-vleet

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@beckyvanvleet9907

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/becky-van-vleet

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 25, 2024

This Special Blessing for You Hardcover – Picture Book #childrensbook

 


This Special Blessing for You 

Hardcover – Picture Book, February 20, 2024

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Love on a Whim: (A Heartwarming Contemporary Clean Romance Series Set in Small-Town Cape Cod)


Love on a Whim: 

(A Heartwarming Contemporary Clean Romance Series Set in Small-Town Cape Cod)

 May 7, 2024

Living Eternally By Sharon Musgrove #devotional

 

Living Eternally

By Sharon Musgrove

 

God is not bound by time.  It is He who created time when He formed the Earth.  For it is the rotation of our planet around the sun that we measure to count our days to years.  So, the creation of man’s universe, including man himself, was not God’s beginning.  The initial opening of our eyes, our minds, our understanding of life, does not correspond at all with God’s timelessness.  But God uses this tool of time for our good.

 

The Ancient Greeks had two words for time:  chronos and kairos.  Defined simply, chronos refers to quantities or durations of time, while kairos signifies quality of time, or an opportunistic time.  The Bible shows how both concepts help us understand our lifespan in relationship to God’s infinity.

 

In Genesis chapter one, we read about the early days (chronos) as God builds life as we know it, creating order out of chaos and developing living things out of dust.  With the notation of evenings and mornings we get the pattern, day one (tick) . . .day two (tick) . . . through day seven (tick tick tick tick tick).

 

Yet underlying the task of constructing a world, a sense of perfect timing (kairos) is also present.  We see this in Genesis chapter two, where a narrative begins that suggests God was using the right moments for specific activities.  This delineation of time is marked, not by numeric, but by the adverbs “when” and “then” indicating relationship to particular moments.

 

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” 

Genesis 2:5-7 (ESV – emphasis mine).

 

Just as Genesis is told from these two ways of looking at life, God uses both to help us understand the life He wants for us.  God uses the days on the calendar to reveal patterns that point to both endings and beginnings.  Counting helps us look toward the future, that we might persevere through difficult times, giving us hope for renewal.  Additionally, we see how God’s eternal Kingdom works, in the now and in the later. 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)

 

Perhaps the most obvious place in the Bible that brings together both clocks of duration and opportunity is the book of Revelation.  This is the juncture of the world’s collapse and the rise of the new Kingdom.  It’s the end of times and beginning of times all in God’s perfect time.

 

As Easter approaches, and people around the world commemorate the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, it is the perfect time to look at the cross as the holy juncture of chronos and kairos.  The intersection of quantity and quality. 

 

God invites us to lean into His sense of all time.  Just as He existed before we took our first breath, He is welcoming us into a life that extends beyond our last exhale.  Jesus showed us how to use our days on earth for good, and when we trust Him in this gift, we enter an endless life...unbound by time.

 

Let’s use this Easter as a personal intersection of quantity and quality time, where we reset our intention on God’s good, eternal living.

 

 

 Author Bio:

 


Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.    

 

She has had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.

 

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young women.

 

Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

 

Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children. 

 

Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry. 

 

~*~

Connect with Sharon:

Website: Sharonmusgrove.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Sharon-Musgrove-Untethered-102208978041060

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharonmusgrove_untethered/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Strong: Psalm 1 Board book #CHILDRENSBOOK

 


Strong: Psalm 1 

Board book – 

February 6, 2024

Thursday, March 21, 2024

An #Interview with Kevin Hippolyte, Jared Kennedy, and Trey Kullman, Authors of Faith Builder Catechism

 

An Interview with Kevin Hippolyte, Jared Kennedy, and Trey Kullman,

Authors of Faith Builder Catechism

In this digital age, it can be difficult to keep kids’ attention, especially during family devotional time. However, kids have always loved asking questions, and they do like a challenge. Faith Builder Catechism: Devotions to Level Up Your Family Discipleship gives kids both with fifty-two questions and answers in a fun and interactive format to help them “level up” on biblical truth. This weekly devotional will help families press pause on screen time and develop healthy discipleship rhythms.

 

Faith Builder Catechism was written by three dads, Kevin HippolyteJared Kennedy, and Trey Kullman, all raising kids in a digital world, experienced in children’s and family ministry. They understand what captures kids’ attention. 

 

Q: You are part of a team that has written a devotional that connects building faith to the world of video games. How do these two things connect?

 

Most of the video games we love involve some sort of exploration. Your character dives into a dark cave, sneaks through a castle, or darts across platforms to discover something new or find whatever treasure you’re chasing after. As you progress through the adventure, you learn how the world works, build skills and strategies to navigate obstacles, and start to master some areas of the game.

 

Similarly, building faith in our kids requires exploration. We want to spend time journeying through the Bible to show them truths about who God is, who we are, and how he designed us to live. We learn about the church and kingdom he’s building, and what he calls us to do. The growth comes through walking alongside our kids through these foundations of the faith. As we do, we help them to see the glow of God’s goodness and to discover a longing to pursue the treasure of faith in Christ themselves.


Q: For some, the word “catechism” can be intimidating, giving the impression of lots of memorization or a sense of formality. Can you explain what catechism actually is?

 

While the word catechism might sound fancy or weird, it’s actually a pretty simple idea. You can think of a catechism as a set of short, easy-to-remember questions about the basics of the Christian faith. Churches have used them for centuries to help folks interested in Christianity wrap their heads around what it means to follow Jesus. 

 

We wanted to build a catechism that was not only effective in teaching kids the foundational truths of Christianity, but one that they’d enjoy interacting with. The questions and answers are written in language you and your kids can understand, the devotions are connected to video games that will draw your kids into the truth they’re studying, and it’s paired with a visual flair that’s engaging and interactive. Let’s set aside the idea of a formal, intimidating catechism and warp ahead to the next level of excitement and engagement as we learn together!

 

Q: Faith Builder Catechism is designed as a 52-week devotional. How much does it take a family to complete the devotional each week?

 

One of the things we wanted to avoid with this devotional was the pressure for parents to carve out a ton of time over multiple days each week. We wanted to create a resource that serves as an easy win for parents, especially those who’ve never had any sort of discipleship rhythms with their kids before. You don’t need a Bible degree, an acoustic guitar, or a stocked craft closet to jump in with Faith Builder Catechism. Just the book, a Bible, and around ten minutes. The devotional includes ice-breaker style “Power-up” questions and “Think about It” questions” to help your family reflect on each devotional or passage.


 Q: Why is it important for families to set aside a specific time for devotionals and developing healthy discipleship rhythms?

 

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It’s hard to experience growth in any area of life without setting aside consistent time to work on it. My body isn’t going to get stronger just because I buy dumbbells. I have to set aside the time to pick them up and work out consistently. Our discipleship is the same way. We must carve out the time to dive into God’s Word regularly, or we’ll be hard-pressed to grow in our knowledge, understanding, and dependence on the Lord.

 

Of course, families are busier now than they’ve ever been. That’s why we’ve designed Faith Builder Catechism to draw you back to the foundational truths of the faith together week after week. For some families, it’ll initially be difficult to find the one small block of time each week. But as you start building the habit, you’ll find it easier and easier to make a family discipleship time happen with less complaining, distraction, and temptation to punt it for something else.

 

If we want to grow in our love and adoration for God, we must be intentional about drawing near to him. Building this weekly rhythm is a great first step in that process.

Q: What age range is the book written for? How can families whose children range in ages adapt the content to make the devotionals work for everyone?

 

Faith Builder Catechism is geared toward kids in middle elementary (2nd/3rd grade) through middle school. It’s designed for parents to work through the book with their children, but older kids should be able to engage with it independently as well. 

 

If your family has multiple kids who are close in age, they’d do great reading it together. You could also work through the book separately with multiple kids if you think they’d benefit from more individualized attention and opportunities to share their thoughts and questions, as they go. You know your family best so you should feel the freedom to adapt any of the questions to dive deeper with older, more mature kids, or simplify things for younger kids who have less experience exploring spiritual things.


 
Q: How does Faith Builder Catechism carry the video game theme throughout? 

 

The “power-up” questions and devo sections typically always involved something video game-related. Two of the three of us classify ourselves as “old,” so we’ve got lots of gaming memories to share from the old, pixelated days of the Atari up through the current generation of consoles and games.


 
Q: Do you only use video game references, or do you also use other cultural references that are relevant to kids?

 

While the bulk of our illustrations are pulled from video games, we use all sorts of other things to connect kids to the truths we’re learning about. We touch on movies, TV shows, legos, toys, science, etc. to help kids make meaningful connections to the catechism devotionals.


 
Q: What are the elements that make up each devotional? Can you walk us through a single devotional?

 

Each lesson kicks things off with the actual catechism question and answer. Next, we’ve got a memory verse that you can work on throughout the week. The power-up question comes next and gives both parents and kids a chance to talk together answering a fun icebreaker-style question. Then we’ve got a Bible passage to read together that leads us to the actual devotional piece of the lesson. Families will read through that together, then dive into a Think about It question, and finally pray together to close.


 
Q: How can a family continue to have conversations throughout the week about the devotional? 

 

While we wanted the bar of entry to be low for the weekly devotional, we also wanted to make room for the conversation to continue through the week. After all, it’s not helpful to read deep truths about the faith and then forget them. We want to hide what we’re learning about God in our hearts.

 

The easiest way to do that is to find ways to rehearse the catechism question and answer and memory verse together each week. Maybe it’s Post-Its on the bathroom mirror to read over as they brush their teeth, or next to their console so they can repeat it each time they fire up or power down their game. You can also make use of time you’re already spending together to reflect on the week’s lesson—over dinner, during carpool before/after school, walking the dog, etc. Be as creative as you want to be, but most families find the most success working these conversations into time they’re already spending together instead of trying to schedule a time to review/reflect.


 
Q: As parents, we know what it means to have a Christian worldview, but how can we help our kids understand what that looks like in their daily lives?

 

In a culture that’s hostile to the things of God, kids need a Christian worldview that helps them to see reality clearly—as God sees it. Our book helps kids build a biblical vision of the world brick by brick as families work through God’s glory, God’s kingdom, the gospel, God’s grace, and God’s church and mission. The truths kids will learn in each of these sections help introduce them to a faith that they can hold fast throughout their lives. These truths will help them to stay strong as they face life’s joys, fears, longings, excitement, and frustrations. The questions, answers, and devos will help kids to hide God’s truth in their hearts. Simply knowing these truths won’t save them, but the devotionals will point them to a Savior who can. 


 
Q: Tell us about Gospel-Centered Family and the resources available to families through the website.


 Gospel-Centered Family provides resources for parents as well as children’s and student ministry leaders through three avenues. First, our website offers books (like Faith Builder Catechism), how-to articles, book reviews, and more. Next, our weekly newsletter from Trey includes a personal devotional along with a round-up of helpful links from around the web that touch on parenting, discipleship, ministry leadership, and ridiculous parenting memes/reels. Finally, we offer a children’s ministry coaching cohort that meets twice a year to help leaders think through ministry vision, building/choosing curriculum, team building, leadership development, classroom management, and much more. You can find links to all of these resources at www.gospelcenteredfamily.com.

Faith Builder Catechism:
Devotions to Level Up Your Family Discipleship

By Kevin Hippolyte, Jared Kennedy, and Trey Kullman

ISBN 978-1-64507-290-4

September 25, 2023 / Retail Price $17.99

Religion / Christian Education / Children & Youth

Read a Preview

About the Authors

Kevin Hippolyte serves as director of student ministry at Sojourn Church Midtown. He’s also on the board at Hope Collaborative, a trauma-sensitive community development organization serving students, internationals, and neighbors. He lives with his wife, Kelly, and son in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Jared Kennedy serves as an editor for The Gospel Coalition and is the cofounder of Gospel-Centered Family, a ministry that helps churches and families share Jesus with the next generation. He’s the author of Keeping Your Children’s Ministry on MissionGod Made Me for Worship, The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, and the Beginner’s Gospel Story Book series. He’s also helped to develop two VBS programs, Proof Pirates and Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet. He and his wife, Megan, and their three girls also attend Sojourn Church Midtown.

 

Trey Kullman served for more than five years as a family pastor and is now managing editor of Gospel-Centered Family. He and his wife, Annie, and their three children also live in Louisville, Kentucky where they attend Sojourn Church J-town.

 

Together, they host Gospel-Centered Family’s Press Pause podcast. Learn more at gospelcenteredfamily.com, on Facebook (Gospel-Centered Family)X (@GCF_com), and Instagram (@gospelcenteredfamily).

While the City Sleeps (Women of Midtown)

  While the City Sleeps  (Women of Midtown)  February 13, 2024 by  Elizabeth Camden   (Author) Amid the hushed city, two hearts must navigat...