When More than a Football Game Brings us Together – Isaiah 60:4

I pulled the Blockhead box off the shelf when the kids were getting antsy. I understood their restlessness. Football doesn’t hold my interest very long either, although I do cherish the times when four generations of my family come together for Duck games.

Spreading the pieces on the floor where we wouldn’t interfere with the football game, I explained a few Blockhead rules. Use one hand to place your block, and don’t let go of it until you’re sure it’s where you want it. Try to play so that blocks will topple during the next player’s turn. That way she’ll be the blockhead and not you!

I don’t have anything against watching football, but participating in a game instead of being a spectator, even at risk of being the blockhead, is WAY MORE FUN. It’s also a great way to connect with the kids.

While the girls got more comfortable with each other, I realized I’ve been seeing a lot of healing in relationships lately. It seems every time I turn my head someone I’ve been concerned about is doing better.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Psalm 133:1 ESV

I know this coming together season might not always be so encouraging. These are human relationships, after all. But for now I’m enjoying a glimpse into the kingdom of God where nothing separates us.

That’s pretty sweet.

Lift up your eyes all around, and see. They all gather together, they all come to you. Your sons shall all come from afar, your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult . . .

Isaiah 60:4-5a ESV

You might call it the Ultimate Family Reunion in the Sky, that day when we see God’s people come together forever. Since Jesus paid our entrance fee we’re all invited to his place, not just to watch a game, but to see all that’s broken united and whole again.

Are you in?

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

The fantasy portrait in this blog post depicts me (in my red camping jacket) and my family heading toward the kingdom of light. If you’re interested in seeing more art like this check out my son’s work at AJoshofAllTrades.com.

Here’s 1 Tip for Choosing a Children’s Bible – Jeremiah 15:16

Every child I have cared for loves a good story, but when considering a Bible for my grandson I didn’t search for a collection of Bible stories. This time I wanted an actual Bible. The New International Reader’s Version Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids meets my criteria.

I have to admit I have it easy when it comes to finding gifts for this particular kid. He lugs his favorite books everywhere, often finding them more desirable than eating (a trait he did not get from me).

Cover image of The New International Reader's Version of The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids with a link to its website

Who ordered this book?

His Grandma Kathy likes books, too. In fact, when one arrives in my mailbox I usually scratch my head wondering what in the world I ordered now. This happened again last week as I carried a brown package as heavy as a college textbook into the house, scrutinizing the label to be sure it was for me.

Tearing the package open brought a splash of color to my delighted eyes, but I still thought there might be some mistake.

Oh yes, now I remember

Since I’m a member of the Bible Gateway blogger grid, and a #BibleGatewayPartner , they offered to send a free copy of The New International Reader’s Version Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids in exchange for a review. I jumped at the chance to see what Zondervan had come up with for our youngest readers.

Though my first impression was that the book was too beefy for children, my opinion changed when I remembered lifting my grandson’s backpack. And when thumbing through the pages I found nothing that should be cut. All its components would contribute to a great reading experience.

I was happy to see that difficult subjects lined up with truth and were handled beautifully for a child’s sensibilities. I checked the account about Adam and Eve’s sin, because really, that subject has to be clear for the whole thing to make sense. I wasn’t disappointed.

Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart . . .

Jeremiah 15:16a ESV

The font, maps, pictures–everything is geared to please my favorite 8-year-old. I’ve even used it myself for night time reading.

For kids who to read on their own or with an adult nearby, this is a wonderful resource. I received my first Bible at the age of nine, and I cherished it early on. This illustrated Bible is also one a kid couldn’t help but love.

Sample pages of the Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids depicting passages from 2 Samuel 9-10 and an image titled "David is Kind to Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth" and another titled "David Sees Bathsheba Bathing."

by Kathy Sheldon Davis


From the publisher’s back copy:

The NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids is a brand-new kind of Bible. It allows kids ages 4-8 to read the full Bible without chapter and verse numbers or footnotes that are helpful for adults but can be very distracting for kids.

This Bible presents the story of God’s people in a single column format with an extremely legible font. With nearly every turn of the page, children encounter full-color illustrations and kid-friendly maps that illuminate the Bible stories within.

Features of the NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids include

  • Bonus full-color double-sided poster
  • Over 750 full-color illustrations
  • Full-color, child-friendly maps
  • Single-column text
  • Easy-to-read exclusive Zondervan NIrV Comfort Print(c) typeface
  • The complete text of the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) of the Bible, created at a third-grade reading level just for developing readers

How One Woman Left Her Mark – Job 23:12

Have you thought about your influence continuing even after you’ve passed away? My grandmother’s legacy lives, her existence leaving a lasting impression that still speaks to me today. 

Grandma Kocher left her mark in many ways. Her first husband, my grandfather Chester Sheldon, taught school in Prosser, Washington in the late 1920s. One of our family heirlooms is a photo of him with his students lined up on the schoolhouse steps. Two of the children have x’s penciled above their heads, my aunt and uncle. Years later Grandma deepened the x’s with a ballpoint pen. 

Grandmother's treasured Bible from 1950 with separated, torn, and heavily marked pages, to illustrate how well used it was.

 

We also found Grandma’s marks on used envelopes, receipts, paper bags, and in the margins of ancient Grit newspapers. It seemed whenever she found enough white space she’d fill it with verse, sharpening her pencil stub with a dull kitchen knife. She added a poem to her recipe for making soap which attests to its ability to remove dirt from most anything—the last sentence pointing the way to Jesus for cleansing from sin.

Until I searched through her Bible, I didn’t know she’d marked it so much. This surprised me. Grandma was careful with her possessions, a habit she learned from living decades with scarcity. She saved everything, clipping zippers and buttons from worn out clothing to store for later use. Empty, hand-washed peanut butter jars lined the shelf on her back porch. One of the few toys she had in the house was a plastic surprise from a cereal box, which we played with for years. As much as Grandma loved God and learning, it’s incredible that she would add wear and tear to her beloved Bible.

But now I understand. I, too, study the most wonderful of books, applying what it’s saying to my heart, underscoring the parts I most want to remember. 

 

I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth
more than my necessary food.

Job 23:12 NKJV

 

Did Grandma know that her Bible would be appreciated by others after she was gone? Probably not. I do know that I never felt more closely related to her than when I pored through her Bible, seeing which scriptures she dwelt on the most, finding a love note and a photo of my father.

 

Here are her thoughts in her own words (taped on an opening page):

I know the precious old Bible is just about outworn. For many words are dimmed, and many pages are torn.

But to me ’tis very precious. It came from friends most dear; when days seemed dark and cheerless, has bro’t me hope and cheer.

God says to read his word, to store it in the heart. Then thro’ life’s long journey He never shall from us part.

So I thank God for my Bible, and for the dear class friends who presented this Book to me. We shall be reunited when this present world shall end.

Ina E. Kocher

 

Grandma’s Bible is also full of unreadable scrawlings, dimmed with age like the x’s in the school picture. She wrote new notes over the top of them, always learning, probing for understanding. There are tears encircling the book, probably from being bound by a rubber band to hold in its detached pages and other treasures. Her last picture taken with Grandpa is one of them. She wrote on the back, “Sam and Ina Kocher. Our last one taken together, in 1972. It is very precious to me.”

It’s sad to think of pages and photos deteriorating, Grandma’s story lost from memory. But her legacy lives on, not of paper and leather, pencil and ink. It lies in the words she hungered for, giving her strength to live as she did, leaving marks in my life that will not fade. 

Kathy Sheldon Davis