Five Animals That Teach Us to Trust God 2) Chicks

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“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”  Psalms 91:4

God wants us to find refuge in him just like baby birds seek refuge under their mother’s wing. A baby bird nestles under its mother for protection and comfort. The place of safety in our crazy world is close to Jesus’ heart. When He was riding into Jerusalem during his earthly ministry, Jesus mourned over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Jesus longs to draw us close; we just have to cooperate! When we draw close to God, He covers and protects us. While we should use common sense and avoid dangerous situations, we simply do not have the wisdom or foresight to completely keep ourselves from harm. As a loving father, God has his eye on every potential danger to us and strives to protect us.

Rainbow Crow’s Sacrifice-Lesson 3 IEW Advanced U.S. History

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The first two lessons were straightforward essays. This lesson required a little more imagination. The lesson required the writer to rewrite a Native American folk tale titled “Rainbow Crow”. The teaching section of the lesson covered the vital parts to a story, alliteration, similes, metaphors, and five senses adjectives.

Audrey French

IEW Advanced US History

11 April 2017

Rainbow Crow’s Sacrifice

Once upon a time, there was a lively forest filled with friendly animals. The animals lived in harmony together in their lustrous home. The air was constantly abuzz with the happy chattering of squirrels and the melodious strains of birds. The animals spent their days searching for food, which was quite bountiful in their undisturbed forest, and playing with one another.   When winter came, pristine snowflakes began to fall from the sky. The animals were delighted and thoroughly enjoyed their new toy.

The snow continued to fall furiously, blanketing the ground in a crisp, crunchy cover. The poor animals, freezing and thoroughly miserable, wanted more than anything for the snow to stop.  Only the Great Spirit, Kijamub Ka’ong, could make the snow stop and relieve the animals from their calamitous situation. Gray Feather the owl, both wise and innovative, led the council where they determined who would petition the Great Spirit.

“We need someone to fly like the wind,” Gray Feather hooted.

“I could do it!” Goober, the gliding squirrel, squeaked.

“You can’t even fly; all that you can do is glide!” Puffy the bunny quickly contested.

“That is not all,” Gray Feather continued, “we also need someone who can please Kijamub Ka’ong, so he will meet our request.”

“I could show him the juggling act I’ve been working on!” Chippy the chipmunk shrieked excitedly, “I’m quite good!”

Gray Feather shook his head gravely, “No, we need something more impressive.”

“I could go,” Rainbow Crow strutted to the front.

“Why of course!” Goober cried, “There is no one more colorful and graceful than Rainbow Crow!”

“And no one can sing more beautifully than she in the whole forest!” Chippy exclaimed.

“If anyone can convince Kijamub Ka’ong to stop the snow, Rainbow Crow can,” Puffy declared confidently.

Gray Feather quickly agreed and emboldened Rainbow Crow for the arduous journey into the heavens with a few quick words.

“You are our prized representative, the jewel of this whole forest. May the winds of the sky speed you in your journey.”

With that, Rainbow Crow ascended into the sky.  She flew north for hundreds and thousands of miles. The wind blew all around her, causing a strong whistling sound as the breeze cascaded over her wings. Eventually, she flew up and up and up until she had flown past the sun! Soon, she stood before the Great Spirit, Kijamub Ka’ong. Rainbow crow opened her beak and stunningly beautiful strains of music came forth. Kijamub Ka’ong listened delightedly to the enchanting song.

“Rainbow Crow, what can I do for you?” inquired Kijamub Ka’ong.

Rainbow crow responded, “We who live in the forest beyond the mountains are very cold and were hoping that you could turn back the snow.”

Kijamub stroked his beard, “I cannot turn back the snow, but I can give you a gift to fight off the cold.”

With that, he plunged his stick straight into the sun and placed the now blazing stick into Rainbow Crow’s beak.

“Take this back to the forest. It is called ‘fire’. It will keep you and your friends warm through the coldest months.”

Rainbow Crow rapidly descended with the precious fire stick. The soot and the smoke from the stick quickly turned her gorgeous rainbow feathers black and transformed her supreme singing voice into a raspy croak. Eventually, Rainbow Crow arrived back home with the fire stick and the cold forest animals quickly showed their appreciation and gathered around the blazing fire. Rainbow Crow’s sacrifice of both her beauty and voice saved her friends and forever changed the world with fire.

Five Animals That Teach Us to Trust God 1) Sheep

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Sometimes, resting in God can feel impossible. Being stressed is a sign of responsibility. Because stress is a normal result of duty, finding peace in our everyday lives becomes a rare occurrence. Fortunately, God knew that convincing us to cast our cares on Him would be difficult, so he provided powerful role models for us in the Bible. No, I’m not talking about humans; I’m talking about furry four legged creatures and winged fliers. Over the next five weeks, I will be sharing five animals that God uses to teach us about resting in His peace:

First up: Sheep

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” Isaiah 40:11

David, Isaiah, and Jesus all illustrate our relationship with God like that of a shepherd with his sheep. In Psalm 23, David shows God lovingly leading, protecting, and providing for those under His care. As long as the sheep stay behind the shepherd, they are safe and abundantly provided for. When we follow the shepherd, we automatically find ourselves on the path to fulfilling our God given destiny.

Isaiah uses the sheep analogy in the verse above, displaying that God tenderly notices the specific needs of the members of His flock and carries those who are too weak to walk on their own.  Jesus takes it a step further in Luke 15:1-7, showing that the Good Shepherd will search for just one lost sheep that strays from the flock.  Just like the sheep, God wants a relationship with us where we allow Him to carry, lead, provide, and protect us.

Contentment for Christmas

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Christmas has become retail’s favorite holiday. Celebrations, decorations, and Christmas carols accompany mass spending, often to the point of debt. According to a Forbes article published in 2016, “Parents are predicted to spend $495 per child this year, which is nearly $100 more than they spent last year.”1

With Christmas spending rising year by year, we have drifted far from simple Christmases. Despite out of control spending habits today, America was built on the foundation of simplicity.

In the book Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder recounts what she and her sister, Mary, each received for Christmas one year: a tin cup, a candy cane, a heart shaped cake, and a penny. This would be a very disappointing Christmas morning in today’s world, but both Mary and Laura were left speechless with joy. Previously, they had been sharing a tin cup, so having their very own was a real treat. I own at least four reusable water bottles and innumerable coffee mugs, yet I have never thought twice about how privileged I am.

Simple Christmas gifts remained the norm for decades to come. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus, the father, purchases an air rifle for each of his children, named Scout and Jem. That was it. Jem and Scout were, like Mary and Laura, positively overjoyed. Thus, the 1930’s proved to be no different from the 1800’s.

The old fashioned gift giving philosophy still lives on in unique individuals today. For instance, my Grandma French is always careful to fulfill a need with both her presents and her presence. Several years ago my sisters and I were spending the day at my grandparents’ home. I was using one of grandma’s pens and commented how much I liked it. Sure enough, for Christmas I received an identical pen. The fact that she remembered that miniscule fact makes me feel treasured, even though the gift was not of a high financial value.

People used to be purposeful with their gifts. Gifts were meant to fulfill a practical function. Now, we aim for quantity instead of quality, hoping that the combined glory of the gifts will make the receiver happy.

However, the more we receive, the less happy we seem to become.

Yes, gifts are a great avenue to show our love and appreciation for one another, but perhaps we have caved to obligation. If we do not purchase extravagant gifts, then we feel as though we have failed in proving our love. History shows that love certainly is not proved just through gifts. Laura, Mary, Jem, and Scout, as well as many others all felt their family’s love through the time spent together, whether at work or play.

In some instances, material gifts are more of a burden than a blessing. Perhaps a more meaningful gift would be writing someone a letter of encouragement to let them know how much they mean to you. Or maybe you could arrange a time to go to lunch or spend time together. Love is shown in our daily actions, not in a once a year gift spree.

Our culture of extravagant gift giving has also fostered an attitude of entitlement. If we do not receive what we asked for, if we are not wowed by the gifts under the tree, we feel short changed somehow. The commercials we see on television and the ads in stores strive to convince us that our lives our incomplete without the latest products and gizmos. If that was not enough, our social media feeds show families enjoying the perfect gifts. That leads us to naturally believe that we deserve the same treatment. In reality, any gift we receive is a blessing beyond belief.

1 Timothy 6:8 says, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” Anything that our family or friends give us beyond food, clothing, and shelter is a bonus, not something we are deserving of or entitled to. Perhaps the best gift Christmas can give is a change of perspective, an attitude of gratefulness. We can use this season to realize that many do not receive any gifts for Christmas, thus developing appreciation for the abundance we have. Our relationship with God and attitude of gratitude are the best assets in life. As 1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.”

We know that the greatest gift of Christmas is Jesus Himself. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Whether we have a little or a lot, we can be satisfied because the Creator of the Universe has given His Presence to constantly abide with us. Christmas is when we received God’s presence ever abiding with us. Outshining any material possession, we have a permanent present: God’s peace and forgiveness.  And that is a solid reason to be content.

 

Trouble in Jamestown-Lesson 2 IEW Advanced U.S. History

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This lesson also focused on outlining and note taking. Strong verbs, quality adjectives, and -ly adverbs were also reviewed.

Audrey French

IEW Advanced US History

8 March 2017

Trouble in Jamestown

After Spain had tremendous success in establishing colonies and discovering riches in the New World, England wanted to participate in this new undertaking. A group of London merchants rendered the funds for two trips to Virginia. Everyone had humongous hopes and dreams for the trip, which included founding a brand new settlement, finding gold, and bartering with the Native Americans. Unfortunately, the first group to actually set foot in Virginia found nothing of the sort. In fact, unlike Spain’s venture in the New World, they discovered a hostile, unpleasant land with unfriendly Indians and no riches to be seen.

Still, the settlers forged ahead and created a settlement in Virginia, which they decided to name Jamestown. Unfortunately, one of Jamestown’s deadliest problems would be completely self-inflicted. All of the food grown and collected by the settlers of Jamestown was placed in a common storehouse. Consequently, many of the apathetic settlers simply refused to work and instead mooched off of the work of others. These people who refused to help grow food were far more interested in hunting down riches than farming! Since few people worked to collect food, the supply quickly diminished to nothing. Thankfully, one of the leaders in Jamestown, John Smith, took control of the issue. He insisted that those who refused to work would be deprived of food. This rule worked well, but John Smith was not able to enforce it for long. A wound inflicted by a gun powder explosion forced him to return to England. The settlers had lost the enforcer of the rule that was keeping them alive, and soon the people of Jamestown were back to a state of starvation. The settlement was in serious peril.

Despite all of these setbacks, the Virginia Company refused to give up on its venture in the New World. As a result, they commissioned even more settlers. Promising these settlers fifty acres in exchange for seven years of work, the Virginia Company managed to convince thousands of England’s poor to complete the journey. More than nine thousand settlers traveled from England to the United States from 1610-1622.  Sadly, these poor adventurers soon became indentured servants. Tobacco growth flourished in Virginia, and the greedy stockholders needed people to tend the crops. The travelers, now indentured servants, were used for this arduous toil. Despite the promises made, only one out of twenty eventually received the land and the freedom that had originally lured them to the New World. Most did not even live to see a better life, as diseases like dysentery and malaria ran rampant, and often the indentured settlers were mistreated to the point of death. All things considered, England’s first venture in the New World was nothing but trouble in Jamestown.

The Cowardly Guard Dog

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Last night, I was blissfully oblivious to my surroundings until my mom burst in, “There’s a police helicopter circling. They are announcing over the PA system that there was an armed robbery at Circle K and the thief is loose in this area!”

I peeked through my closed blinds and spotted two police cars right on our corner. There were more police cars with flashing lights at the end of the street. According to our online neighborhood forum, the police were patrolling the alleys with search dogs.

Our backyard is a cache of hiding places, so we sent our Doberman outside to stand guard. If this crook were to jump our fence, she could surely handle it, right?

Dobermans are notorious for being vicious guard dogs, but our dog missed that memo. We were expecting her to patrol the perimeter of our fence, growling fiercely. Instead, she stood lazily on our patio with a sleepy, confused expression on her face. Instead of protecting her home, she was thinking about going back to bed. Sleepy dog won over patrol dog that night. The moment we let her back inside, she tried to climb into bed with me.

Bella is 65 pounds of pure muscle and teeth. She was born to be a protector, but when thrown into the action, she missed her opportunity. This reminds me of the average Christian today. We may not be pure muscle and teeth, but we have been outfitted with an impressive suit of armor.

Ephesians 6:14-17 says, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”

Friends, we are in a war. Not the cacophony of strife and anger in the political and social realms, but a much deeper spiritual one. The strife and anger is only a result of a deep battle and divide. Our actions as individuals are a direct result of what we believe about God. 1 John 3:10 says, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”

As children of God, do our actions show our identity in Christ? Or do we, like Bella, cower when the battle arrives at our door?

While most believers scatter at the sight of danger, there are exceptions. In fact, some of God’s kids are proactive in searching for the battle!

One example would be Jonathan and his armor bearer. In 1 Samuel 14, the Israelites were faced with the looming Philistine army. Besides being outnumbered, Jonathan was the only Israelite who had a weapon. 1 Samuel 13:22 says, “So it came about, on the day of the battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.”

Despite the obvious problems, Jonathan was unconcerned by these seemingly impossible to overcome obstacles. He knew who his God was. 1 Samuel 14:6 says, “Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

So they struck out for the enemy camp and soon encountered opposition. Twenty Philistines rushed Jonathan and his armor bearer, and they killed all twenty of them in succession.

This was only the start of the miracle. 1 Samuel 14:15 recounts what happened next, “And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling.”

When the Israelite army finally appeared at the place of battle, they found a fight already ensuing. The befuddled Philistines were locked in full on war with each other!

No man could take credit for this victory, as verse 23 says, “So the Lord saved Israel that day,”

These two men set the victory in motion by their confidence in God. In order to see God work in our lives, we have to take the first step of faith. Jonathan knew how powerful his God was, and then he took definitive action on that belief. If God had not come through, Jonathan and his armor bearer would have died. Standing on faith, they took a risk, and God loves risk-taking faith.

When the terror comes, stand boldly. We are never alone. The same God who saved Israel is constantly with us. And because of that, we can live out our destiny, showing courage rather than cowardice.