MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – BOOK REVIEW

missionaccomplished

As a parent of kids of varying ages, from High School to Elementary School, finding new devotion books that encompasses the needs of my entire family is hard.  If I shop with my teenager in mind, it ends up being too deep for my youngest.  However, if I shop with my youngest in mind… my teenager is usually bored to tears.

When I had the opportunity to get my hands on a copy of Mission Accomplished, thanks to New Growth Press, I was very impressed.

1)  The book covers two weeks of devotions, specifically written for Easter.  This is a book I reference year, after year.

2)  Each devotion starts with scripture, that supports the devotion theme.  It is followed with sections that encourage us to think about the context of the scripture, discussion questions, prayer prompts and even songs or activities to support that particular devotion.

3)  The devotions are quick and to the point, which is good for shorter attention spans or those with busy schedules.

4) The devotions are written in a way that will engage your older children, but can be explained by the parents when needed.

Overall, this is a great book for the family who spans a broad array of ages.  That said, if your family is predominantly young children, you may want to read the devotions ahead and reword to fit the age group you are working with.  You will find some words that your children may not be familiar with (depending on the verbiage your church uses), some of the discussion questions are better suited for older children who have a background of Sunday school classes, and some of the songs referenced in the “Sing About It” portions were not familiar to me.  This devotion is definitely written for a more seasoned believer, in my opinion.

I do love this devotion, and with all of the tools we have available; simply pre-reading the devotion can help identify areas you might want to brush up on before sitting down with the family.  Since they are short, you can skim it relatively quickly and use your bible or the internet to define unfamiliar words, or even look up the music for the songs.

Do not be intimidated to pick up this devotion, even if some of the references are unfamiliar to you as a new believer.  It will help your grow, understanding the Easter story better, and more accurately.  The devotions are not overwhelming and they do a great job of tying in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

If you are looking for a good devotion for the family, one that you can learn from & teach from… check out Scott James’ A Mission Accomplished.

I RAN, AS FAST AS I COULD

cooperdog

Just a few days ago, our littlest dog escaped out the front door.  He began running.  This wouldn’t be the first time.  He usually runs to one of the neighborhood yards, and I can catch him due to his built in nature to find a tree and relieve himself.  He just can’t help himself.  So, as usual, I shut the door and ran after him.  This time he didn’t stop.  He ran for half a mile.  Me running behind him, calling him back.  Every so often he’d stop and look at me, as soon as I got too close…. he would run again.

I ran until my breath was giving out. I ran until my knees felt like they were going to buckle.  I ran some more.  I kept running because for the first time, our little dog was leaving the sanctuary of our neighborhood and heading for a busy intersection.  As much as I wanted to stop running, I couldn’t.  I had to catch him.  He didn’t know any better.  He had no idea what he was running to.

The more I ran, the more my feet ached.  I was barefoot, not having time to grab shoes as I darted out the door after him.  I was in pain.   I was scared for him.  I was angry at the neighbors, whom I know by name, watched as I ran after him…. not a single one stopping what they were doing to help.  I was angry at the cars that didn’t stop.  All of the people who would just go on about their way, watching me run… no clue that I had been running barefoot on the hot Florida asphalt for half a mile.   No clue that I was already emotionally compromised by the fact our elder dog had a stroke just two nights before.  Clueless, they drove on by.

In my head I had to answer the questions…. “how long will you keep running?”…. “when do you stop and turn around?”…. “why is no one stopping?”…. “why is no one helping?”… “what about the kids?  I left them alone.”… “what if something happens with our other dog, while I am out running after him?”.

It was then, just as I was about to give up, that she stopped.  She pulled her car off to the side to block him.  She started talking to him, to try and distract him from me.  He stopped, briefly, but then darted across the street.  Before I knew it,  I was running into the street, hand up to stop cars.  I had no idea, she was coming right after me.  We cornered him. I tackled him.  Then, for the first time, I caught my breath.  Bless her, she offered me a ride home.  She was shocked by how far I ran.  She was surprised none of the people we passed on the drive home helped me.  She said “I have a runner too”.  She knew.  She sympathized.

I imagine, that is how God feels.  When he sees us take off from the safety of his shelter, into the world.  The world that doesn’t care, that doesn’t stop to help, that just watches as we make poor choice after poor choice.  We look back at him, seeing him pursuing us.  We know that we are doing the wrong thing, yet we keep running. Further and further.  Faster and faster.   I imagine, that it pains God watch us make these decisions.  Coming after us, knowing that others need him as well.  The Good Shepherd who leaves the flock to find his one lost sheep.   I imagine, the pain I felt running pales in comparison to the pain Christ felt as he was beaten, carried the cross, and was hung.  The wages of sin.

I just wanted that little dog to turn back to me; to recognize me as that owner whom he dotes on, follows like shadow, and misses terribly when I leave.  I just wanted to bend down, open my arms and shout his name, and see him turn on his heels running back toward my arms.

I imagine, that is what God wants.

Lord, I hear you.  I’m not running away from you.  I’m running toward you.