Sunday, December 30, 2012

Train Up a Child - Bible Stories - *FREE* Audio Files

Desperate to surround my children with truth, I am constantly hunting for books or stories that are Biblically sound, or at least not grossly contradictory.  I am so grateful for the discoveries the Lord continues to lead me to. Sometimes a worn book on a shelf at Goodwill for 99 cents. Sometimes a whole series of books to add to my wishlist (the Lamplighter Books) worth their weight in gold. And sometimes overviews of the books of the Bible for children in Audio form....for FREE!!

Originally recorded by a Grandmother (and experienced Bible teacher) for her grandchildren in an effort to help them understand the chronology of the Bible, they are now available to download - for FREE!  Jolee Chamberlin  is a charming narrarator and careful to accurately approach each book of the Bible with reverance and thrill.  She engages the listener with passionate inflections and rhetorical questions like, "The people of Isreal walked through the Red Sea... on dry ground. Now, what do you think of that?"  She speaks boldly, willing to say: "Not only was that a silly thing to do (worshipping idols), it was also a very wicked thing to do."  An honesty I long for when searching through children's liturature.  Biblically accurate....straight-forward truth. Priceless! 

They are officially reccommended for children ages 5-10, but my 3 year old ADORES them and practically has them memorized. I have burned them all to CD's and play them at rest time. She wakes from her nap time to tell me about Elijah, Saul, David, Moses....etc. with a genuine understanding of the history, characters, and lessons of each book. 


Please listen to them for your children....and share them freely!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Letting Go of Birthdays

"Our object should not be to have scripture on our side but to be on the side of scripture; and however dear any sentiment may have become by being long entertained, so soon as it is seen to be contrary to the Bible, we must be prepared to abandon it without hesitation."
William Symington


When the Lord first led us to the truth behind the pagan traditions known as “Christmas”, we abandoned them without hesitation (Letting Go of Christmas).  Shocked that we would forgo participation in this “Christian season”, friends and family honored our stance last year, mostly believing we would “come to our senses” by this year and light up the old Christmas spirit! When that didn’t happen, we were encouraged to honor the season with a birthday party for Jesus by friends and church peers.

Well, we had already half-heartedly abandoned most of the traditions associated with birthdays anyway.  We rejected the idea of the “all about me” day, with “all about me” plates, napkins, and party favors.  We rejected gift giving and the expectations it fostered.  We rejected the world’s ideas of celebration, but we fell somewhere in the midst of a compromise.   We concluded that the best alternative to all the hoopla would be “a nice letter to the birthday person…praising their accomplishments for the year, showing affection and appreciation for your relationship with them, and wishing them well”…..yah, basically a Hallmark card.

This year, after the push to host or attend “birthday parties for Jesus”, we were drawn back to dig deeper on the subject.

Not surprisingly, the honoring of birthdays has its roots in pagan practice.   Birthdays were kept and celebrated surrounding astrology, mythology, and folklores.  So much has already been written about the history of these customs, it wouldn’t be prudent for me to try to rewrite it all.  Instead, I will use the information I have found to answer a few basic questions.  I encourage you to follow the links at the end of each quote to learn more for yourself.  These are some of the questions my husband and I asked in search of truth.

Does the Bible talk about birthdays?

“We find that there are birthday celebrations mentioned in the Bible. The first account is Genesis 40:1-23. Here we read of the Pharaoh’s birthday which resulted in the baker’s death. Another time a birthday is mentioned is Herod’s birthday (Matthew 14:3-11) which resulted in the death of John the Baptist.– Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays?  

 Why/When did man begin to keep birthdays?

The introduction of the Egyptian calendar became linked to astrology and fortune-telling. The keeping of birthdays, then, was important in ancient times, essentially due to the fact that the date of one's birth was directly related to the casting of a person's horoscope (Linton, Ralph and Adelin, The Lore of Birthdays, p. 12).”  – History of the Birthday Celebration  

Why Wasn’t Anyone’s (Even Jesus’) ACTUAL Day of Birth Recorded in the Bible?

 "Our (Roman) calendar is not Christian in origin. It descends directly from the Egyptians, who originated the 12 month year, 365 day system. A pagan Egyptian scientist, Sosigenes, suggested this plan to the pagan Emperor Julius Caesar, who directed that it go into effect throughout the Roman Empire in 45 B.C. As adopted it indicated its pagan orgin by the names of the months-called after Janus, Maia, Juno, etc. The days were not named but numbered on a complicated system involving Ides, Nones, and Calends. It was not until 321 A.D that the seven-day-week feature was added, when the Emperor Constantine (supposedly) adopted Christianity. Oddly enough for his weekdays he chose pagan names which are still used (Sunday, Moonday, Tiwsday, Wodensday, Thorsday, Friggasday, Saturnsday.)" (From "Journal of Calendar Reform," Sept. 1953, footnote p. 128. Italics ours.)

God's sacred Calendar committed to the Jews for preservation to our time has three months that vary in length from 29 to 30 days after a rather complicated pattern.  God 's people certainly knew the date of their birth, but they kept track of their age by calendar years, not birth dates.” – Attached to This World 

What Traditions are Associated with Birthday Celebrations?

“Long ago, people believed that on a birthday a person could be helped by good spirits, or hurt by evil spirits. So, when a person had a birthday, friends and relatives gathered to protect him or her. And that's how birthday parties began.

The idea of putting candles on birthday cakes goes back to ancient Greece. Artemis was the goddess of the moon. The Greeks celebrated her birthday once each month by bringing special cakes to her temple. The cakes were round like a full moon. And, because the moon glows with light, the cakes were decorated with lighted candles.

The reason for birthday spanks is to spank away any evil spirits and send them scurrying far into the distance. Punches, thumps, and pinches, the harder the better, are supposed to do the very same thing.

Party snappers, horns, bursting balloons, firecrackers, and other noisemakers are just one more way of trying to scare off any bad-luck spirits that may be hovering about.” -The Surprising Origin of Birthday Celebrations 


Does it Matter to God if we Observe Cultural Traditions?

Here is what God commands: “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed by them. For the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:2, 3).

After God freed Israel from slavery, He clearly instructed them, “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein you dwelt, shall you not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, where I bring you, shall you not do: neither shall you walk in their ordinances” (Lev. 18:3). God commanded that they not defile themselves with the practices and customs of the surrounding nations (vs. 24-29). “Therefore shall you keep My ordinance, that you commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that you defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God” (vs. 30).

This is an emphatic command from God. He does not want His servants dabbling in the customs of this world.”  -Are Birthday Celebrations “Christian”? 


How Can Birthday Parties Help or Hurt our Spritual Growth?

 “If our purpose is to build godly and holy offspring and loving, giving, godly children, then we should want to do NOTHING that would hinder this godly purpose – put no temptations in their pathway – do nothing to encourage them to think too highly of themselves in pride and arrogance. Rather, we should teach them to give, to serve, to be humble, to revere God and His Word, and to love others and seek to help, serve, and honor them. “ -The Surprising Origin ofBirthday Celebrations 


What About Jesus’ Birthday?

The Bible does not document the day of Jesus’ birth, nor does the Lord command that it be remembered and celebrated annually.  When the angels wondrously announced the Lord’s birth, it was in celebration of his arrival, prophetic fulfillment, and the hope He brought in to the world.  Making cupcakes with little nativity scenes and singing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” hardly evokes the reverence and understanding necessary to fully appreciate His miraculous birth.   The devil (originally assisted by the Catholic church and now by ignorant Christians) wants to keep Jesus as a baby…helpless…wrapped in swaddling cloth…and laying in a manger.  The world puts him there every year and calls it Christmas. They pull Him out of glory, back from victory, and lay him back in the manger – before the blood was shed- helpless and new. And if the nativity scene on a church lawn wasn’t already patronizing to an infinite and awesome God, the world wants us to don party hats and sing to a “baby” in a manger, while our true Lord and Savior watches from His throne.

What About Our Birthday?

Surely, if a day set apart to honor one’s birth was not commanded by scripture for the Lord himself, how could we partake in such self-worship.  The social expectations of gifts and praise, and the participation of left-over pagan customs seem to condemn the practice anyway.  Although, we must track our age and acknowledge the annual passing of time,  a day to “celebrate yourself” for a people called to “deny [yourself] and take up [your] cross daily” seems contradictory and smells suspiciously like the world.  As for our family, our consciences can only be cleared by walking away from birthdays all together. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday's Words - Veggie Tales Nativity

Yesterday my husband and I were flipping through a cooking magazine to find some recipes and because it was a December issue, it was filled with "holiday gift ideas" and other novelties.  One of the pages had a picture of the Veggie Tales Nativity Set.  Our three year old daughter looked at the picture and turned to us with her nose scrunched up. With a dissapointed sigh she said, "Daddy....Jesus is NOT a carrot." 

"And said unto him, Hearest thouwhat these say ? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read , Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" - Matthew 21:16


Monday, December 17, 2012

Lost Catholic to Saved by Grace - Jacquelyn's Testimony

My testimony is so similiar to this one.  My heart is burdened for all those who grow up in a church, who participate in false religion, and who reject truth for tradition.  I spent 27 years of my life running from God before I finally ran TO God....and by His grace I was saved.
Jacquelyn (the young lady in the video) was saved at 18. 
Have you been saved by grace?

"And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition ... Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition..." —Mark 7:9,13

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Desperate Search for Wholesome Stories, Righteous Heroes, and Biblical Truth

As a school teacher, I exposed my students to as much literature that I could get my hands on. I even made weekly visits to the city library to compensate for our small classroom library…and my students would sometimes choose to skip recess in order to hear “one more story, please!”  A desire to hear stories, to identify with colorful characters, and learn through the circumstances and choices of another seems to be universal among children…and maybe adults as well. Jesus spoke in parables, after all. My 3 year old loves when I tell her stories of when I was young.  No fancy illustrations required. Just, “then what happened, Mommy?”

Before our daughter was born, I was desperate to fill our family library with stories for her to enjoy, so I collected books from here and there and waited impatiently for her grow in to them.  But, the Lord rebuked my indiscretion, and has instead, given me a viscously discerning eye.  Things are no longer what they seem.  I now look over books I adored several years ago (and cluelessly read to my students) and think “I would NEVER let my child read this!” In reviewing some of the classics, I no longer see frivolous tales of fun and mischief….I see two very dangerous extremes: Brazen propaganda (humanism, evolution, rebellion, magic, fantasy) or Foolish amusement (nonsensical stories with no plot, no moral, and no point). I see the devil playing with our children’s minds while we dizzily rejoice that they are reading….But, WHAT are they reading?  I stand in the children's section of the bookstore and I see goofy, naughty, silly, busy, furry, funny, and pure evil.  I see the line between light and darkness and right and wrong being blurred beyond recognition.  Does anyone know if The Cat in the Hat is supposed to be the hero or the villain? I’m still trying to sort that one out!  And, why would anyone glamorize the life of a “wimpy kid”?  Or want to tell stories to kids to give them “goosebumps” (and nightmares)? This is the devil’s work. The scripture tells us to not to be “ignorant of the devil’s devices” (II Corinthians 2:11) So, I praised the Lord for the truth he had shown me and cleared my shelves to start anew. 

I made a list of what I was really looking for…what I thought would profit a developing mind…and turn it toward truth.  And I said, Lord, I would like books that engage the imagination without filling the mind with occult fantasy….books that challenge the reader with a broad vocabulary and proper use of the English language….books that inspire the reader to heroism rather than glamorizing the victim mentality...books that glorify You, teach humility, obedience, and integrity…books that won’t distract with silliness or detract with wickedness…books that contain adventure stories that captivate, challenge, and transform the reader….books that expose the reader to accurate, interesting, and appropriate accounts of history, and foreign cultures without bending their minds away from biblical truth...books that use adventure, misfortune, and adversity to teach children to be courageous, to fight for truth, to overcome.

That list sounds pretty impossible, huh? A little too much to ask?  Maybe if I were looking at the public library - or even the “Christian” book store, for that matter.   But, with the Lord’s leading, I found them! And I want you to find them too.

Lamp Lighter Publishing is a non-profit ministry with the motto “Building Character…one story at a time….” These stories were originally written over 100 (some over 200) years ago.  When their copyrights expired they became public domain….and sat dormant until someone had the vision to bring them back to life.  Lampligher publishes these treasured tales with scrupulous discretion and helpful updates like translated words at the bottom of the page,  and scriptural references to accompany the stories.  The vivid vocabulary, culture, and history of the time of authorship are perfectly preserved and some stories include supplemental sketches and other artwork.  The lamplighter website is like the “Christian bookstore” we all wish Lifeway was.  Stories that uphold biblical truth and none of the “other stuff”.   They carry children stories, professionally recorded audio dramas, and missionary biographies. 

I would recommend signing up for the email discounts, because some of the collections are kind of pricey and it would be wise to wait for a good sale.  But, what better investment can you make?  We can’t wait to “collect them all” as the Lord allows.  For now, we have the Fireside Readings series (vol 1-3) and LOVE the short, adventure-filled stories.  As the Lord grows our family, we will delight in sharing them over and over with our children.   I hope they are a blessing to your family as well.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Searching Through Christianity to Find Christ - An Honest Word on St. Nicholas


Some Christians justify their annual mingling with the world during the holiday season with these false declarations: "Santa is harmless." "It's just good fun." "My kids know the difference between fantasy and reality." and, of course: "It's okay, because St. Nicholas was a Christian!"

*mounting soap box for official address*

St. Nicholas: 

Stories of a 3rd century born man named Nicholas have been carefully twisted in to nostalgia and magic over the last 16 centuries.  No recorded document holds the truth about this man. All we know (or have been convinced to believe) is based on legend and tradition: “According to tradition” Nicholas was persecuted and imprisoned for his faith. “According to tradition” he was released by Emperor Constantine in 324 AD. “According to tradition” he was a compassionate bishop who cared for the children. Sometime during the Middle Ages, Nicholas was canonized as the patron saint of charitable fraternities and children, and legends upon legends were perpetuated about him within the Catholic church. After the Reformation, these deviant legends of St. Nicholas were put to rest everywhere except in Holland. However, when the Dutch Reformed Christians immigrated to the United States, they brought the traditions of "Sinterklaas" with them….and round and round we go.    If Nicholas truly was a saint (a member of the body of Christ, a Christian) he would be disgusted with the idolatry and false traditions surrounding the legend of his deeds.   If his benevolence was truly wrought in humility and in submission to the Holy Spirit’s calling, he would want nothing more than to give glory to God and remind us of Jesus’ rebuke in Mark 7:9… "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."


Santa Claus: 

The acknowledgement of Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Pere Noel, Singerklaas, the Christkind, Kris Kringle, Joulupukki, Babbo Natale, Saint Basil, and Father Frost is no less brazen in its declaration than the worship of Mother Earth, Father Time, Mother Nature, or any other pagan deity. If we, as saints, are to teach our children about someone who is omniscient (knows if you’ve been naughty or nice, knows if you’re sleeping or awake), omnipotent (can get in to your house even if you don’t have a chimney, and can make animals fly) and omnipresent (can visit every child on earth in one night)….that someone should be GOD!


In Conclusion:
Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa…and he was concocted by Lucifer himself to become a distraction and idol to those seeking temporal delight.  Don’t fall prey to the devil’s devices.  Seek truth and focus wholly on Christ alone.  Flee from the ways (and traditions) of man and seek the kingdom of God. There is no Nice or Naughty List, Virginia. But, there is a Book of Life and I pray that your name will be written there.

READ MORE: Letting Go of Christmas
7 Questions Christian Parents Should Ask Before Putting an Elf on the Shelf

Sunday, December 9, 2012

7 Questions Christian Parents Should ask Before Putting an Elf on the Shelf:

1. Do I want my children to believe truth, know the importance of honesty, and have the blessed assurance of salvation someday?
2. Am I prepared to compromise that possibility with a lie about Jolly ole St. Nick and the promise of temporal joy for every girl and boy?
3. Am I prepared to cement that lie as I add a secondary falsehood (with a little felt hat) on my mantel piece?
4. Can I commit to perpetuating these lies daily by moving the doll around the house and encouraging the children to share their dreams and wishes with the enchanted tattle-tale?
5. How do I feel about teaching my children to conjure up magic through their own authority and action (naming the elf or touching the elf)?
6. Am I okay with persuading my children to “behave” through means of dishonesty and controlled paranoia rather than training them up in the way they should go?
7. What will happen to my children’s hearts (and all the the truths I shared about Christ) when they find out it was all a lie?
"The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” – Proverbs 20:7



Friday, December 7, 2012

Searching Through Christianity to find Christ - An Honest Word on the Veggie Tales

So, you victoriously talk your child out of purchasing a Batman video by convincing him that these Veggie Tales DVD’s are “just as cool”…and “they’re Christian!”.  You sit contently in the other room, feeling all fluffy inside thinking, “at least he’s learning something good”, as your child watches, listens to, learns from, and instantly adores a concept, a creation, a carefully constructed cast of edible characters…harmless, right?  Over the next few weeks, your child talks endlessly about  Jim and Jerry Gourd or sings silly songs while he is supposed to be brushing his teeth…and you smile and think, “Oh,’s sinking in.”  So, you let your child pick a few more Veggie Tales videos  like “St. Nicholas” (Which is full of subliminal Santa Claus propaganda) and “The League of Incredible Vegetables” (which promotes the modern world’s pagan deities: super heroes) and you let him watch them back to back before dinner. When your child sees Junior Asparagus on a commercial, in a toy store, or on a t-shirt, he beams with joy, as though seeing a long-lost friend…tied securely through heart strings and the genuine trust of a child.  You pat yourself on the back, proud that your parenting has led him to such a righteous bond and buy him a Veggie night light, lunch box, and underwear.  You stop reading Bible stories with him so often, because you figure Bob and Larry have that covered.  His Sunday School teacher explains that he interrupts her reading with confident interjections like, “No. That’s not how it goes. It was the French peas…” believing her version to be the mixed up tale, rather than the animated “truth” you lovingly allowed him to memorize every day during naptime, and you laugh, amused by his loyalty.   One day he sees a Veggie Tales pirate ship with all the movable characters.  His eyes glaze over and he stares longingly at the box (ignorant to the evil history associated with pirates and the demonic symbol displayed on the ship’s sail) he does not politely request the idol-adorned item as Laura Carrot would do, but instead demands it loudly.  When you refuse, he digs his heels in with the most logical argument he has, “but, Mom….it’s Christian.”

There is no greater opportunity for the devil to dress himself in sheep’s clothing than when we mindlessly accept something because “it’s Christian”.   The title “Christian” is defined in the book of Acts as a “follower or believer of Christ” and was used specifically and pointedly for those who chose to follow after Jesus.   And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” – Acts 11:26

According to this New Testament definition, our modern version of the word Christian seems to be way off base. If a Christian is a person (a soul) that chooses to follow Christ…then how can something (an inanimate object) BE Christian?  It can’t.  Just as a book can not BE Jewish.  It can clearly promote Jewish doctrine, but it can not BE Jewish.  And so, a cartoon (or bracelet, toy, t-shirt, or cd) can not BE Christian.  Only those who confess Christ, are saved by grace through faith, and submit to following Him, can be called Christian.  Those clever creations from Big Ideas Inc. are witty, amusing, entertaining, and catchy…but they are not “Christian”.    In fact they are a subtle indoctrination in to the wonderful world of lukewarm Christianity.

For those of you who believe your children get a lot of “Christian teaching” from Veggie Tales… you’re right.  Your children are taught much about Christianity through these talking vegetables (and fruits).  Mostly they learn the following:  Christianity is funny….it’s silly….sometimes it doesn’t make sense….Christianity has weird stories that sound similar to the ones from the Bible, except way better….Christianity keeps up with modern culture by doing witty spoofs of familiar worldly idols…Christianity uses humor to mask the seriousness of old testament truth ….it cares not for the gospel and the fundamentals regarding salvation…Christianity doesn’t have much to do with Jesus….but, it promotes consumerism and idol worship through the marketing of cleverly advertised merchandise at the Christianity store …you can even buy Christianity candy and Christianity T-shirts! 

And, really….what else could you possibly want your children to learn about Christianity?

Now, if your intentions are to make sure your children enjoy their childhood, are entertained rather than educated, are amused rather than convicted,  have no sense of biblical truth, but at least learn a little morality, then the Veggie tales (and other ridiculous “Christian” paraphernalia) are perfect for you…carry on and forget I mentioned anything at all. No sense getting in your way (or should I say the devil’s way).

But, if your intentions are to act in responsibility to the stewardship you have been given as a parent, to train your child up in the way they should go, to teach truth, to live faithfully, and to prayerfully guide your children to salvation…then you have no business mingling with the world’s idea of Christianity.  Your children, especially, who have not developed filters, discernment, or self-restraint…have no business amusing their flesh with Laodicean compromise.

There is only one gospel.  Paul did not sing, and dance, and announce, “Boy, have we got a show for you!” before speaking of salvation.  He very boldly, and very reverently spoke the truth.  Which is what we, as Christians (proper use of the word) are called to do.  And we, as parents have an obligation to protect our children from anything less than that.

Even Phil Vischer himself  - founder of Veggie Tales – has rebuked the use of these videos (books, cds, action figures, backpacks, socks…) for Christian education and has started a new ministry with videos called, "What's in the Bible" ( I have not reviewed these yet).  Knowing how closely he played with fire according to Proverbs 30:6 (“Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”) Phil gave this statement:

“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, ‘Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,’ or, ‘Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!’ But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality.” –Phil Vischer, founder of Veggietales

But, what’s wrong with morality?  Nothing.  Morality is the fruit of the spirit.  Aesop’s Fables and the Brothers Grimm can teach morality….but  nobody is pretending they’re “Christian.”  The danger in Veggie Tales (and most of what is sold in a “Christianity Store”) is a false sense of security.  Don’t let the devil catch you with your guard down. This is warfare. Your children’s souls are the bounty.

Of course, one mystery still remains:  Before cartoons, illustrated Bible Stories, and talking vegetables, how did children ever learn that “God made them special and He loves them very much?” 

….Somebody must have read them the Bible.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Truth - Hard to hear in a Laodicean Age

These words (translated) are inscribed on an ancient Cathedral in Lubeck Germany:


You call Me Master, and obey Me not;

You call Me light, and see Me not;

You call Me Way, and walk Me not;

You call Me Life, and desire Me not;

 You call-Me Wise and follow Me not;

You call Me fair and love Me not;

You call Me Rich and ask Me not;

You call Me Eternal, and seek Me not;

You call Me Gracious; and trust Me not;

You call Me Noble, and serve Me not.

You call Me Mighty, and honor Me not;

You Call Me Just, and fear Me not;

If I condemn you, blame Me not.

......a warning for American Christianity?