Song of Creation by Paul Goble — Book Review

Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, this book for children age 5-10 is beautifully illustrated by the author, Paul Goble. With bright, delightful pictures that youngsters and parents will love, Goble shows every element of creation — birds and animals, day and night, ice and cold, sun and moon, winds and water, plants and air –worshipping and glorifying God, the Creator of it all. It’s a good reminder that God’s presence is all around us.

Each page includes a few verses in smaller type, reminding the reader that they can add verses and ideas of their own.

Children will enjoy and quickly pick up on the liturgical statement that is repeated over and over:

bless you the Lord: praise Him and magnify Him forever.”

However, parental involvement will be needed to unpack the meaning in a way children can understand.

VERDICT: 4 STARS

For more books for children see:

The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell–Book Review

Great and Small Prayers for Babies — Book Review

God is Hope by Amy Parker–Book Review

Words of Praise

If you belong to a liturgical church, you’ve probably heard this word: doxology. Doxology is defined as:

“an expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service.”

It comes from the Greek word, doxa, which means glory, splendor or grandeur, and logos, word or speaking.

The doxology which I am most familiar with was written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, a priest in the Church of England. What a great way to start the day! Feel free to sing as well as listen!

Doxology: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (with lyrics) – YouTube

For more about the liturgy see

The Laity and Liturgy:

Learning from the Liturgy

Liturgy as Prayer

He Makes Me Glad

I don’t know why, but this song has been rolling around in my mind lately.  I couldn’t find much background on it, but it seems to be based on Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

It reminds me to be glad, even in the midst of death, disease, disappointment, anxiety and chaos.  The presence of God is always with us and He makes me glad.  Listen and rejoice.

He Has Made Me Glad – YouTube

Learning to Give Thanks

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall.  The weather’s getting cooler, and it makes me realize that Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.  Why not start giving thanks early?  Why not give thanks daily?   I try to list my blessings of the day right before I fall asleep.  If you haven’t made this a habit, here’s a way to get started, according to Christian author Priscilla Maurice:

“Begin with thanking Him for some little thing, and then go on, day be day, adding to your subjects of praise;  thus you will find their numbers grow wonderfully;  and in the same proportion, will your subjects of murmuring and complaining diminish, until you see in everything some cause for thanksgiving. If you cannot begin with something positive, begin with something negative.  If your whole lot seems only filled with causes for discontent, at any rate there is some trial which has not been appointed you;  and you may thank God for its being withheld from you.  It is certain that the more you try to praise, the more you will see how your path and your lying down are beset with mercies, and that the God of love is ever watching to do you good.”

For more on giving thanks, see these posts:

Are You Giving Thanks for the Right Things?

Giving Thanks for God’s Mercy

Martin Luther on Thanksgiving

 

The Great Farmapalooza by Jill Roman Lord — Book Review

What’s a farmapalooza?  Well, according to author Jill Roman Lord, it is a host of animals making a joyful noise unto the Lord!  This sturdy 8″x8″ board book is filled with colorful illustrations depicting common farm animals, along with the sounds they make.  There are 11 flaps which toddlers will love to open in order to discover the animal hidden inside.  Each animal is grateful to God for both what they have and what they are.

This book will certainly appeal to young children,  and can be easily used by parents as a tool to teach the names of animals, the sounds they make, and the concept of thanking God for everyday blessings.

My only concern is the size and weight of the book.  Some children will find it a bit heavy and unwieldly.  It will probably be best used sitting on the parents lap with some help turning pages.

VERDICT:  4 STARS.  Nothing unusual, but attractive and fun.

If you would like to purchase this book follow the link below:

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/the-great-farmapalooza-P005824877

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.

For other books for children see these posts:

Great and Small Prayers for Babies — Book Review

GraceFull by Dorena Williamson — Book Review

The Silent Noisy Night by Jill Roman Lord — Book Review

The Quiet Crazy Easter Day by Jill Roman Lord–Book Review

 

 

First Things First

This Christian song has been on my mind for days now.  When that happens I can’t help but think that God is trying to get my attention.  It was written by Rick Founds and from 1997-2003 was the song most often played in Christian churches across the country.  It’s not a surprise that Rick wrote it during his morning devotions.  It reminds me of something a friend of mine often says:  the first part of prayer and worship should be praise.  January is the right time to think about our priorities and putting the most important things first in our lives.  So listen, praise God and make Him your priority in 2019.

A New Song– Earth and All Stars

“O Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.”  Psalm 98:1

As I was lying in bed the other night, unable to fall asleep (don’t worry, my doctor says it’s just age-related) this song kept running through my mind.  The theme comes from Psalm 98, and I find it uplifting and somewhat humorous.  The lyrics were written by a Lutheran minister, Herbert Brokering for the 90th anniversary of St. Olaf’s College (Minnesota — the land of Lutherans!).  For me, they express the joyful experience of seeing God and praising Him in everything around us — he made it all!  Here’s what Brokering had to say about his composition”

“I tried to gather into a hymn of praise the many facets of life which emerge in community.  So there are references to building, nature, learning, family, war festivity.  Seasons, emotions, death and resurrection, bread, wine, wind, son, spirit … have made great impressions on my imagination.”

If you don’t know this hymn, I’ve attached the link below.

Sing a New Song

“Happy New Year!” is the common cry of the day, but I prefer to wish people a blessed new year. Not everything that happened in 2017 was happy. On an international and national scale, there were natural and man-made disasters of all sorts, leaving many people homeless and some mourning those dear to them who were lost. On a personal front, my mother died on Easter 2017, I had unexpected heart surgery in July, and without having planned or thought about it, as a result of the surgery, I went from being a classroom teacher to an administrator.

But there have been blessings: My second granddaughter was born in May; the change in job is definitely better for my recovery (way less stressful, and fewer hours!), and I am finding that the new job is actually where I am supposed to be at this time in my lfe. I recognize God’s hand in all that has come to pass.

So as we enter a new calendar year, with no idea what may be in store, may we always remember to praise God, and with the psalmist, sing a new song:

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Have a blessed new year, knowing wherever it leads you, God is with you always.

 

At All Times (Again)

In a previous post, I blogged about how as friends, we are told to love “at all times” (Proverbs 17:17).  I happened to notice recently that that there are some other things the Bible instructs us to do all the time.

“I will bless the Lord at all times;  his praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul makes its boast in the Lord;  let the afflicted hear and be glad.”  Psalm 34:1-2

Hmm…I guess if I am constantly blessing God, I’ll remember that all of my gifts come from Him (I won’t be arrogant) and others will be comforted by the way I handle my problems and troubles.  Sounds pretty good.

“Trust in him at all times, O people;  pour out your heart before him;  God is a refuge for us.”  Psalm 62:8

It’s nice to know there is Someone who will always listen, Someone I can count on, if I just remember to trust and turn to Him whenever I need solace. This should keep me from worrying so much.  Another good idea.

“Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.”  Psalm 106:3

The word “blessed”  means extraordinarily happy.  Doing what’s right, not only benefits those around me, I’ll be happier myself. I won’t get tangled up in deceit or be consumed with regret and guilt.

All of these verses from Psalms are summed up in the following New Testament passage:

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances;  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

In other words, spend your time with God.  Pray to Him, praise Him, lean on Him, listen to Him.  He loves you and is  waiting to be your friend, AT ALL TIMES.

 

 

Making the Most of Time

If you read through Chapter 5 of Ephesians, you’ll get some advice about spending time.

  1. Be imitators of God;  walk in love and sacrifice yourself for others
  2. Stay away from immorality of all kinds (this includes silly talk, covetousness ,impurity and drunkenness, not just the “big” sins)
  3. Give thanks to God for everything. Praise Him with music.
  4. Don’t be deceived by false teaching, or associate with those who are.  Look to Christ for the truth about things
  5. Be filled with the Holy Spirit

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of the time because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:15

If we’ve studied the Bible, learned from Christian teachers and pastors, we really have no excuse for wasting our time.  We know what it is to serve God;  we know certain things are His will, and others are clearly not.  Often we just choose to do something else. Often we tell ourselves, everyone does it, it can’t be so bad. We think there will be plenty of time to repent and  make things right with God.  Sadly this is not always the case.  And the further we walk away from God, the harder it is to come back.

The best advice for spending time?  You hear it every Sunday at the end of the service:

Go in peace, serve the Lord! 

If you do this, you can be part of God’s redemption story.  What better way to use your time?