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Home at Last Deborah Raney

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November 27, 2007

I’ve gotten behind on posting about my Beth Moore Bible study, and I need to catch up! I still continue to learn and be amazed about the book of Daniel.

A couple of weeks ago, I went out to eat with some of the ladies in our group, and we ended up talking about dreams. This study has made us so much more aware of how God can use dreams as a way to communicate with us.

Do you ever wake up with a certain image or word stuck in your mind? Perhaps this is something you dreamed about — and the word is what’s left behind.

I really believe God can speak to us through our dreams, if we’re sensitive to His Spirit. If you’re like me and you always forget your dreams, you can keep a notebook and pen by your bed and jot them down as soon as you wake up, even if it’s the middle of the night!

At the beginning of the week 8 homework, Beth Moore writes:

I’m praying that your passion to study this fascinating book will continue to grow and your life will bear much fruit as a result. Your God is accomplishing awesome purposes in you, Dear One. Have the confidence to thank Him for it. Nothing about this adventure is accidental in your life.

When I read that, I felt like she was speaking directly to me. What an adventure!

One thing that struck me during the homework is learning what the word “parable” means. Parable comes from the Greek word, paraballo. (See why it would be so helpful to know how to read in GREEK!) Para means “near” and ballo means “to cast or put near.” Beth explains, “A parable uses something familiar to help us understand something heavenly or spiritual.”

Isn’t that amazing? I shared this definition with a group of about 50 homeschooled kids and parents in a writing workshop I gave a couple of weeks ago. I told all those kids that God has a wonderful plan for their lives — and that part of His plan is for them to tell stories that will help others understand the Good News.

After my workshop, several kids came up to me and told me they were writing novels! It was fun to encourage them — and they spurred me on as well.

How about you? Are you writing your own parables? One of my main purposes for this blog is to encourage all of you moms out there to tell your stories! Preserve them for future generations. If you’re not writing your stories, who will? The best way to preserve a story, of course, is to get it published and in the hands of multiple readers!

Dear Father, Thank you for the gentle reminders you give us to keep writing, if we have stories burning inside of us. Show us the best places to submit our writing so that we can work under editors who will help us grow. I pray we would not give up in our quest to tell others about you! Amen




November 26, 2007

Advent wreathYesterday at church, our pastor reminded us that next Sunday begins the new Advent season in the Christian calendar. Are you prepared for celebrating Advent in your home?

This is the week to try to get an Advent wreath set up so you can start your family devotions on the first Sunday of Advent. I found this picture online, and you can see how simple it is.

You probably already have a wreath you can use — so just add pink and purple candles to your grocery list, as well as a big white candle to go in the center. You can also pick up a special-made Advent wreath at a Christian bookstore, which would help support those hard-working bookstore owners.

I’m not sure what we’ll use for our devotional this year. I may look around online, or we may use one of Arnold Ytreeides’s Advent books for families. The trilogy includes Jotham’s Journey, Bartholemew’s Passage and Tabitha’s Travels. We haven’t read Tabitha’s Travels yet, and it looks like a good one — it contains a story that continues each night, and you can supplement your devotional time by including songs, Scripture readings, or other activities appropriate for your kids’ age levels.

We’ve also started the tradition of praying over the families whose Christmas cards we receive. [Sidenote: It is getting SO expensive to mail out Christmas cards! I seriously thought about not doing it this year because the price of stamps has gone up again. But I’m just not ready to give up this traditional Christmas greeting, despite the cost.]

Does anyone know if Arnold Ytreeide has a website? When I did a search, I couldn’t find one — I just see other bloggers chatting about his books — and lots of people searching for used copies, since they’re out of print. Here are a few sites that mention recommended books to help celebrate Advent. Feel free to add your own:

Prattling Pastor’s Wife
LaCelle Family Ministries (focus on Jotham’s Journey)
Teaching Mom.com’s Advent Read-Aloud List
Library Thing
Victory Coaching’s newsletter contains reviews of all three Ytreeide Advent books




November 21, 2007

I want to thank all of you who’ve emailed me with your encouragement. So many things are up in the air about where my “home on the web” will be, or if I’ll even have one.

Yesterday was both a happy and sad day for me. I attended the “Thanksgiving Feast” at the preschool where my children have all attended. This was the 8th year in a row for me. In many ways, nothing has changed — the food is always the same, the songs haven’t changed much, there is an energetic joy in the room filled with happy preschoolers, parents, grandparents, and teachers.

Yet for me, I knew this would be my last — next year, we won’t have any children at this preschool. What sustained me was the thought that I can always write about these happy times, when the kids are older and I have a quiet place to sit and reflect. Which I don’t have now.

A chapter ends … a new one begins.

I feel the same way about this blog. So much is up in the air. I want to eagerly press forward with some things in my writing world — yet the little people in my home need me more than anyone else right now.

I want to thank you for your friendship, prayers — and patience! As I’ve thought about losing my blog, I’ve been sad thinking that it’s the only link I have with many of you who have become personal friends over the past two years, scattered though we are.

More than anything, I want to finish up writing about my Beth Moore Bible study journey. That will be four more posts, I hope.

Meanwhile, I’m thankful to have family Thanksgiving celebrations to look forward to.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

By: Heather Ivester in: Beth Moore,Blogging,Parenting | Permalink | Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving



November 5, 2007

As I type this, I’m escaping for a few minutes into the clean world of letters on a keyboard. What a relief!

A terrible stomach bug has moved through our house. Ugh! One of those preschool bugs. All seven of us have caught it. Good thing I’m not contagious through your screen, or you’d hate me.

My two-year-old came down with it first. I had thought maybe she’d just eaten too much Halloween candy — but it turns out that was only the beginning of what has kept my washing machine in constant use!

At any rate, I’m determined to make it through this Bible study journey, and here we are on week 8.

A few of us have already started to discuss what we’re going to study next — after the Christmas break. We’re first browsing through our church’s media supplies — to see if they’ve already purchased a study we can use. (We really enjoyed Mary Kassian’s Conversation Peace last spring and would like something like this again.)

This week was a short session for us. We didn’t have any discussion of last week’s homework! All we did was watch the video because several of the women in our group had to leave early to be downstairs for the preschool costume parade (including me). But we decided this was the best option instead of canceling.

The homework in our workbooks focused on Daniel 7, exploring the four beasts from Daniel’s dream. I’m so glad we’re studying this book chapter by chapter because I wasn’t overwhelmed at all. I recognized the four kingdoms that the four beasts symbolize.

There is a neat chart on p.138 that we filled in, showing the four empires and how they’re symbolized in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream from Daniel 2 and later in Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7. The empires are:

Babylon — golden head, lion with eagle’s wings
Medo-Persian — silver chest and arms, lopsided bear
Grecian — bronze belly and thighs, leopard with wings
Roman — iron legs, beast with 10 horns

I really enjoyed this homework, especially toward the end of the week as Beth explained very clearly the difference between amillennialism, historic premillennialism, and dispensational premillennialism. I’ve never really understood these points of view in such detail, yet I LOVE using my brain to think through these things.

Our homework includes charts that help it make more sense, and I’m definitely going to keep this workbook handy as a tool to be able to teach this someday (maybe to teens). Beth makes the point again and again that brilliant scholars disagree on these issues, and we would be wise to study the different points of view on our own.

As the week wraps up, Beth says, “You can do this, Dear One! Ask God for focus and a supernatural ability to learn … Where the healthy mind is concerned, exercise prolongs sharpness. If Scripture is brain food, eschatology is an energy bar on steroids.”

I’m still processing what we learned from the video — the history lessons are so cool to me. I went through 12 years of public school and 6 years of a public university education — so I’ve never studied world history from a Biblical point of view. Oh, I wish something greater for my children!

The people we’re learning about now are leaders of the Gentile Empires that ruled over Israel, known as the Beautiful Land. So we’re studying Alexander the Great, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, as well as Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. Some of these names are familiar to me from world history classes I’ve taken — yet I only learned what I needed to know to pass a test. Now that I’m learning about the impact they had on Christianity, I’m fascinated.

More than ever, I WISH I could read the Bible in its original languages. If you’re young and haven’t gone to college yet — PLEASE don’t waste those precious years when your only responsibility is to learn! Study Hebrew and Greek!

Someday, when my kids are older, this is what I plan to do. I’m not all that great with learning languages, but I loved learning Japanese, so why couldn’t I force my brain to learn how to read Hebrew and Greek? When I read my Japanese Bible, I’m amazed at the deeper meanings I can pick up from scripture. I know that my understanding of God’s Word, limited only to English, is like drinking a watered-down Coca-Cola (you know how it tastes when the ice melts!).

I want the REAL thing!

God, thank you for giving us a hunger and thirst for your Word that comes from your Holy Spirit, inhabiting our minds. Thank you for the joy we’ve found through this study, that has unlocked some of the secrets of the Scriptures. Give us the energy and health to finish up this journey through Daniel! We love you, Lord, and want to know your Word more so that we can know YOU more. (And please help this stomach bug to move quickly through our house — and be gone!) AMEN.