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This week we give a few life updates, plus one-ply toilet paper, a new season of parenting, and some thoughts about discouragement. Thanks for listening!
As a first grader, Emerald LOVES reading of all kinds. We’re in that phase of life where she reads every sign we pass on the road, every package at the store, and one of her favorite parts of the day is sitting down to read a book at bedtime.
The other night we sat down with The Silent Noisy Night, written by Jill Roman Lord (and illustrated by Kelly Breemer), and we both loved it. It’s a play on the idea of that silent night that we always sing about at Christmastime, only in this book, it’s a pretty loud evening. All of the animals in the stable, in the fields, and in the forests come out and baa and squeak and moo with joy at the birth of Jesus. The angels sing and the shepherds shout. Some of the townspeople even sing and dance with gladness when they hear what the shepherds have to say. In the end, the story moves to present day Christmas. The author talks about how it was impossible for all of creation to stay silent that first special night because they heard the greatest news that ever was: the Savior was born! And now, too, she says, we can celebrate His birth through our “actions, songs, and words.” She encourages children to spread the love of Jesus by sharing the joy, just like on that very first (maybe noisy) Christmas night.
The illustrations in this book are bright and engaging. The animals are cute and comical, singing and dancing on almost every page, and the children are adorable. The Silent Noisy Night would be a great, last-minute addition to your kids’ or grandkids’ stockings this year! Did you know that everyone is currently getting free two day shipping on Amazon? You don’t have to be a Prime member to take advantage. So, order today and get it here in plenty of time for Christmas. Click here to order!
Emerald and I give The Silent Noisy Night two thumbs up! It would be a sweet addition to your Christmas celebration this year.
I was provided a copy of A Noisy Night in exchange for my honest review. This post may contain affiliate links.
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Regardless of how you feel about Brett Kavanaugh or the whole debacle that is his confirmation hearing, one thing is certain: worldview matters.
I remember sitting at my desk at school as a young teenager, reading the last few pages of Anne Frank’s diary. I wondered how this dear girl, after witnessing so much tragedy and terror, could have possibly maintained her belief that “people are still good at heart.” We all love Anne Frank for her optimism and her honesty. But, the truth is that despite Anne’s heartwarming deduction that deep down we are all good, the Bible paints a painfully and drastically different story.
All over scripture we learn that our hearts are wicked and deceitful, that we are bent toward destruction, and not one of us is righteous. We are all dead in sin and sick at heart and evil in ways we can’t even admit to ourselves. Thus, our need for a Savior is clear.
Yet, the majority of this world wants the story to be different. People don’t want to hear that they need Jesus. They would much rather believe that they can be their own heroes, and throughout history the idea has persisted that people are basically righteous. Human beings keep proving otherwise, yet the sentiment holds in all corners of our society: people are good.
On the heels of the #MeToo Movement, though, we have seen a new shift in this worldview, and we see it clearly on display in reactions to Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Judge Kavanaugh. In many ways #MeToo has opened our eyes to things that we needed to see. It has granted courage and healing to women who needed to tell their stories, and I don’t think anyone would deny that all of us needed the wakeup call that has come from the movement. It’s important to recognize what many women have endured at the hands of men, simply because we are typically smaller in stature, with less muscle mass, and we are easily victimized by men who intend to do us harm. This is a truth and a widespread problem that needed to come to light and one that can impact our world for the better.
But, a disturbing and dangerous thought pattern that is emerging after #MeToo is the idea that women are good, and men are not. Articles are being written as I type that are urging all people to just believe women, and classifying anyone who doesn’t believe every word a woman says as part of the problem. And Christians are torn as to what they should do in these situations. Should we blindly believe every woman because we don’t want to re-victimize her if she has been a victim of sexual assault? How do we respond with sensitivity to those who come forward without automatically condemning men who have had no opportunity to defend themselves?
I believe the balance can be found in recognizing that we have a different worldview. Men and women are both capable of all kinds of evil, so the Bible tells us. As Christians we must live according to that worldview. When we see ourselves and each other through this lens, we can sympathize with and comfort and support women who come forward while also proceeding with caution, knowing that no one is good, not one, and women are not an exception to that truth. False accusations do happen. And, if there is a man in this world that you love and you aren’t concerned about the emerging women-are-good worldview, then you aren’t paying attention.
Christian men and women must stand up for victims of all kinds (men, women, and children), and we must never lose sight of the truth that we are all bent toward doing exactly the wrong thing at any moment in time. No woman is perfect. No man is perfect. And we all need Jesus desperately.
Through the forest, past the twisting, singing brook, beyond the dancing vines and under the mossy ridge of a fallen oak tree sat a tiny caterpillar. She was green, like most caterpillars, and she had the most delightful smattering of freckles that seemed to cheerfully shimmy down her fuzzy back. She, having no memory of where she came from or who she was to be, was content to travel around her small area of the forest, admiring the beauty all around her.
One of her favorite places to sit was near a little grove of spring flowers, where the butterflies met each day, showing off their amazing colors and their graceful ways. The caterpillar did run across other animals who seemed useful or nice, but the butterflies were her absolute favorite. Soon she became completely obsessed with butterflies. She determined that they were the only animals in the forest who really mattered because, after all, what could be more important than being beautiful? They brought so much glory to God with their gorgeous colors and their special ways. She thanked God for blessing the world with such beauty, and she prayed that one day He would turn her into one of these lovely creatures, admired by all for her colors, her grace, her beauty.
The little caterpillar could hardly wait to grow up, so sure as she was that she would someday become a gorgeous butterfly. Finally, the day arrived and she closed herself up into her snug cocoon. She was so warm and cozy, and she fell asleep dreaming of the brightly colored wings that she would soon be able to show off down at the flower grove.
At last she awoke from her big sleep, and she could tell that she had grown up. She began to wiggle and push her way out of her little room, in such a hurry to race to the brook and see her beautiful new self in its shiny surface. As she tried out her new wings, she was amazed by how fast she was, how lovely she already felt, and how much God must love her to create her this way, with a butterfly destiny. When she made it to the brook, she stopped short of the water, landing on the bank and bracing herself for the incredible beauty that she was about to behold. She inched one delicate foot forward, then another. Finally, she looked at her reflection.
She watched her own face as its expression shifted from excitement to shock to anger. Where were the beautiful colors that she had felt destined for? She was brown. Not just brown, but ten shades of brown. Brown like dirt. Like dusty cobwebs. Like all of the non-beautiful, boring, plain jane things in the forest. She thought God was going to bless her with amazing beauty, grace, butterfly talent, but what she got was just okay. Sure, she had wings. Brown ones. Sure, she could fly. Big deal. She could never go to the spring flower grove looking like this! She was not a glittering butterfly. She was a moth. Yes, she had to admit it. She was a tiny, doesn’t-matter-to-anyone, brown, ugly, nuisance. This is who she grew up to be. How could she be of any use to God now? She really didn’t understand why He had made her this way.
So, she asked Him.
And He answered, in His patient way: “My sweet little one, let me show you how I see you.”
Hopeful, the moth looked into the water once more, and she could hardly believe her eyes. She looked…exactly the same. The same tiny brown wings. The same boring shades of beige and tan and ecru and eggshell. The same lack of beauty. The same unremarkable form that she had been so disappointed by just moments before. She didn’t understand.
“Don’t you see?” the Lord whispered in the breezes that swirled around her ruffled wings. “I made the rich brown earth where flowers dazzle the eye and where tiny earthworms tunnel their intricate paths. I made the fuzzy spiders in the forest who decorate the trees with their exquisite webs. I made the fine grey mist that covers the craggly tops of mountains. I made the mud puddles where happy birds splash after a rainstorm.”
The little moth did love the grey misty mornings. She did enjoy watching her feathered friends play after a rain shower. Mud puddles aren’t bright and beautiful. Earthworms certainly don’t shimmer in the sunlight the way butterflies do. Yet, God made them. Could it be that mud and mist and spider webs and earthworms and even little brown moths can bring God glory, too?
“When I look at you,” the Lord whispered, “I see YOU, just as I made you. My creation. And I say: very good.”
Just then, a bouncing black bug landed on the water, breaking up the little moth’s reflection into dozens of ripples. She thought about what God had said. When the water stilled again, she noticed for the first time the intricate patterns etched in brown on her delicate wings. She noticed the cute little spots of white that splashed across her back. She saw how God had made one of her tiny antenna slightly longer than the other, and she giggled at the way her teensy mouth turned down at the corners just slightly. The longer she looked at her reflection, the more she began to see the hand of God in the unique way that He had formed her, with love and care and creativity.
Suddenly she felt blessed to be here, in this beautiful forest, just a little brown moth with wings, small as they were, to carry her from place to place.
If you travel to the forest you may see the little moth, although you probably won’t notice her. She still enjoys watching the butterflies at the grove of spring flowers. But, she doesn’t have much time to sit and admire them anymore. She is too busy doing the special jobs that God gave her. She learned that she doesn’t have to be red or blue or shimmery purple to bring glory to her Creator. She is exactly the size, shape, and color that He wanted her to be, and when He looks at her, He loves what He sees. Now when she slows down for just a moment and catches a glimpse of herself in the brook, the little brown moth can’t help but smile. She remembers God’s words and repeats them happily to her reflection: “Very good.”
The world we live in is confusing. Things that once seemed black and white now look more gray. We are constantly hearing voices via the internet and other media sources that tell us things that are directly opposed to what the Bible teaches. Yet, those things are often packaged in such legitimate-sounding rhetoric that it can be difficult to sort through what is true and what isn’t. If ever there was a time in history when a biblical worldview is essential to our faith, this is it.
The study of God’s word is the only way to begin to see the world through the lens of scripture. Trevin Wax and David Dockery are the editors of a brand new Bible called the CSB Worldview Study Bible, and they assembled a team of over a hundred contributors, many of whom are names that you will recognize. Some of the most respected and sought after teachers of Scripture have filled this Bible with notes and articles that are designed to help you form a Christian worldview.
The editors explain what they hope to accomplish:
Those who have worked together over the past five years to bring together this project join us in praying that the Lord will use this reference work to help Christians hear afresh the words of Jesus from what is known as the Great Commandment (Mt. 22:36-40). In this passage, we learn that Jesus calls on his followers to love God not only with hearts and souls, but also with our minds. The words of Jesus refer to a wholehearted devotion to God with every aspect of our being, from whatever angle we choose to consider it–emotionally, volitionally, or cognitively. This kind of love for God results in taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Co. 10:5), a total devotion to Christian thinking and living. We pray that the CSB Worldview Study Bible will serve Christians well, enabling them to see life from a Christian vantage point, thinking with the mind of Christ.
The truth is that the future of our world is bleak except for the hope of Jesus Christ. What if we began to see Christians with a total devotion to Christian thinking and living? According to Wax and Dockery this is the definition of a Christian worldview. Jesus defined it best when he called us to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. Imagine how it would change us, change our culture, and impact eternity if we began to process the world around us with the mind of Christ?
What I like about this Bible is that every book begins with a summary of the Christian worldview elements that are addressed. It’s the kind of commentary that you might get from a sermon, only you can get this insight in your personal study times. These sections help you to focus on truths about God and the way that He works, important doctrinal points, and the deeper principles of passages that we might otherwise miss.
Each book’s introduction also includes a helpful timeline of events to help you see how all of it fits together. And, aside from the study notes within the scripture, the real jewel of this Bible is the countless essays written by various thinkers including Russell Moore, Al Mohler, and many others, which focus on a wide variety of Christian worldview issues. “A Christian Worldview of Art,” for instance. “Biblical Models for Business.” “Is Gender a Choice?” “How Should Christians Relate to Government?” There are so many fascinating and informative choices for learning among these essays, and all are written from a conservative, biblical perspective.
I would also add that if you haven’t tried the Christian Standard Bible version, it’s very readable. I grew up with an NIV and have frequently used the ESV in recent years, but this version is accurate and easy to understand. It’s an original translation taken from the ancient texts (not from another English version), and it is translated into modern English. Give the CSB a try, and I think you’ll enjoy using it as a personal study Bible.
The CSB Worldview Study Bible is an excellent choice for Christians who are wanting to understand what is happening in our world, letting God’s word inform our thinking instead of all of the other words that fly at us all day on the internet. There are plenty of voices out there trying to deliver their “truth.” This Bible helps us focus on the only Truth–the inspired words of God.
I received a copy of this Bible in exchange for my honest review.
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