Amazing Grace, The Movie

Some historical events are important for us to invest time and effort into teaching about them.  The children God has entrusted us with need to know of certain struggles and battles that were faced by those who went before them.

One such worthwhile story is that of John Newton and William Wilberforce and their influence on each other leading to William’s effort to end a serious injustice.

amazinggrace

A new movie coming out on February 23 will help bring to life this “amazing” story!  The movie will highlight the life of William Wilberforce and his effort to abolish slavery in the British Empire.

If you would like more information on this movie or the many resources made available including Faith Guides, guitar chords to Chris Tomlin’s version of Amazing Grace complete with his new bridge, then visit http://amazinggracemovie.com.

May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Mark Strohm, Jr.

Knowing You Jesus

Several years ago a visiting minister taught me a simple, penetrating song called Knowing You.  This past Friday DCCS third grade through fifth grade chapel sang the song.  I found myself praying that our children would learn to understand these words.

Words and Music by Graham Kendrick
Knowing You (All I Once Held Dear)

All I  once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I  have counted loss,
Spent and worthless now compared to this.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.

Now my heart’s desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours,
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.

Oh to know the power of Your risen life,
And to know You in Your sufferings;
To become like You in Your death, my Lord,
So with You to live and never die.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.

May your family life reflect the truth of this simple song.

May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Mark Strohm

Sometimes We Cannot Cure Them

For years my husband and I worked with one of our children who was plagued by very serious fears. These fears were powerful but irrational, brought on by an inherited neurological condition. They could be debilitating at times, interrupting her sleep and ours.

DSC_3057We worked hard explaining the truth to her, praying for her, teaching her Scripture and loving her. We had hoped she would get to a place where her fears would no longer have a hold on her. As she grew up, they were less debilitating, but could still get grip on her. So we continued to pray, teach her Scripture and love her.

Despite all our efforts and all our love she was never “cured.”

We got a call from her a couple of weeks ago and listened as she spoke of one night where her fear came back. She prayed, quoted Scripture and knew she was loved, and then she fell asleep. That is when it hit me, she was not cured, but God had answered our prayers. She had been given a pattern for overcoming, of walking through her difficulty in faith, knowing she was not alone. She knows that His grace is sufficient and that He will never leave her or forsake her. She is now sharing that with her friends.

“Silver and gold I do not have, but such as I have I give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

May His grace be sufficient for you and your family,
Ellen Strohm

Dangers Of MySpace

computerI have spoken to many parents about their struggle with MySpace and other social network sites. Many parents desire to allow their middle and high school aged children to participate in a healthy way and ask me just how bad MySpace is. Unfortunately, my experience and research continue to leave me very concerned about MySpace. But, there is hope for parents who would like for their children to participate.

First, let me state that you should speak with your youth group leader. He or she may or may not understand the dangers out there. Many youth group leaders concentrate on reaching the lost and orient students to be a light to the lost. I certainly would not want a youth group leader who did not have a passion for the lost. However, this passion can occasionally leave a youth group leader with a serious “blind spot” to the dangers of MySpace or other non-Christian social networking sites. I realize that you may not be able to change your youth group leaders mind, but ask him or her to support a Christian alternative to MySpace. If several students migrate to a Christian site it is likely to be used by the kids.

There are many alternatives that are now beginning to flourish. Here is a partial list:

dittytalk.com
xianz.com
mypraize.com
shoutlife.com
yourchristianspace.com
jcfaith.com
extremeyouth.com

As always, if you allow your child to use one of the alternatives, remember to teach them not to share personal information, always let you know of anything that makes them uncomfortable and never, ever arrange to meet someone without your permission and presence. For more information on safety tips visit http://cybersafetyseminar.com.

Another safety precaution is to get a filter that monitors your child’s conversations. At the Strohm household we let our children know that we will monitor all that goes and to make sure they don’t type anything they don’t want us to see! A wonderful filter that monitors conversations is called Safe Eyes. You can get more information here: SafeEyes

As always, parents must continue to monitor and watch what children are doing. Yes, we can begin to trust our children as they prove themselves trustworthy, however make sure you do not place your child where it is extremely difficult to do what is right or where they can get hurt!

May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Mark Strohm

Do You Have Room For Jesus?

I can imagine the conversation between the Innkeeper and Joseph. Keep in mind, the Innkeeper was not likely sitting around doing nothing. I am sure he had loads of things on his mind. No doubt he had an Inn filled with people and plenty of unfinished tasks. Perhaps he had pressing financial responsibilities that drove him to capitalize on the present circumstances and not on the needs of the couple before him. It is true, the Innkeeper did try to help by giving Joseph and Mary a place with the animals but for the most part he seems more concerned with present circumstances.

While the Innkeeper was busy fulfilling his duties, while he was attending to the cares of the world, he failed to notice his Inn was the host location of a very special and historical event, an event which would change history for ever.

I wonder if the Innkeeper’s story is not too different from ours. We are busy with the business of this world. We have cares, responsibilities, and many distractions. We too fail to make room for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We place Jesus in the “barn” of our lives – out back somewhere but where He does not get in the way.

This Christmas I challenge you to stop, take a look at your life and consider where you and your family have “placed” Jesus. Put away some of your distractions and bring Jesus out of the barn and make room for Him in the forefront of your life!

May God’s grace and peace be with you in a special way this Christmas,
Mark and Ellen Strohm

A Mothers Persistence

There once was a boy filled with exuberance and life. Everything he committed himself to he did with gusto. There was a major flaw behind his blue eyes and million dollar smile, the boy did not obey his parents. But this boy had a powerful ally called mother.

In middle school the playful, party loving boy was exposed to the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Had he obeyed his parents he could have been spared the incredible struggle that was to weigh him down from those days on. Yet his ally would not give up. She sent him to special discipleship programs and on missions trips, all in hopes that a loving God would get a hold of the exuberant boy. Due to his ally’s persistence and prayers, one day the boy prayed and asked God for salvation. From that day on there was a hope deep within him, but his former disobedience clung to him causing his new walk with the Lord to be a daily battle.

Some days the boy would win the battle and live in freedom. Some days he would lose the battle and live in defeat. But the boy’s ally would not give up. She prayed. She advised. She removed him from friends who were poor influences. The boy’s daily battles continued, yet his ally never gave up.

The boy’s battles are now over. They ended at the age of 17, coming to an end late one evening while riding in a friend’s car. While his story is full of “what ifs” and “if onlys”, one thing is clear. This boy had a mother who loved him and never gave up. Her persistence paid off. Despite his inner battles and the consequences of poor choices he was able to come to a saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. It was a battle to the end. I don’t know why he struggled so much, never able to gain complete freedom while here on earth. But this I know, had it not been for the persistence of a loving mother his untimely death may have been all the more tragic. Thanks to a persistent mom he has freedom today.

“Never give up, never, never give up.” (Winston Churchill)

The law of the Lord is a fountain of life. Proverbs 15:27

May God’s grace and peace be with you,

Mark and Ellen Strohm

Teach A Love For Reading

read1One of the building blocks of an excellent education is reading. It opens up an amazing world of action and adventure. Breathtaking journeys have been undertaken, uncharted areas of the globe discovered, magnificent new friends met, all through reading.

Unfortunately, many children sit on the sidelines unable to read fluently enough to participate in these wonderful adventures. If your child does not devour books, fear not there is hope, try these strategies to entice them. Fluency comes from practice.

First, expose your child to carefully chosen books. If your child needed to gain weight you would not place dull, bland food in front of him. Instead you would fill his world with tasty and inviting food. Not only should you choose well written and well illustrated stories, you should match your child’s interests with books that coincide with those interests.

Next, read to your child. Nothing develops a better love of books and the stories and adventure contained within them than joint participation. It is up to you to read the book in such a way that heightens the author’s work. When reading to your child, express your surprise and excitement. Ask your child to guess what will happen next. Talk about why certain twists and turns surprise you. Talking through the story together helps your child create categories in his or her mind which strengthen comprehension and increase the joy of reading.

Always model reading. If you desire to entice your child to read you will need to do the same! Your child will learn by example. Be a good example by reading yourself. Talk about the books you are reading, express your pleasure or disappointment in the stories and material you read.

Finally, create specific reading times. Make a family reading time when you turn off all media distractions and read together. Additionally, in our family we rewarded our children for getting into bed on time by allowing them to stay up an extra thirty minutes to read. Each of my children learned to love this “extra” reading time.

All four of my children learned to love reading. While two seemed to naturally devour books, two needed extra prompting. Using these simple strategies you should be able to pass on the joy of reading to your children just as my wife and I were able to do for our children.

May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Mark and Ellen Strohm

read2

Pass On A Blessing

Today, at staff devotions here at Delaware County Christian School, several teachers were reflecting on the “daily blessings” they hear parents pronounce on their children. When parents pull up to the curb of Delaware County Christian School, our teachers often open the doors and help the students out of the car. This gives them an opportunity to hear the last words parents say to their children, most say “I love you” or something similar to that. However, a few pronounce a blessing, typically the same blessing each and every day! “Be an eager learner”, “Be a blessing to others today”, “May God make you a lighthouse today, shining His love” are among the daily blessings children hear.

How do their children respond to these blessings? Some smile, others seem to ignore them. But the teachers notice, if ever a parent forgets, nearly all children will ask their parent for the blessing!

What are your daily last words to your children? I know you are likely careful to say “I love you.” Each child needs to hear those precious words many times a day. However, you can be purposeful in passing on a blessing to your child. A simple, daily blessing pronounced over your child as they get up, are on their way or go to bed can build on what God is doing in your child’s heart and life. I encourage you to bless your children!

May God’s grace and peace be with you!
Mark and Ellen Strohm

P.S.
Another way to be a blessing is to place sound, biblically based books, movies and other materials in front of your children. Check out our sponsors who offer many wonderful materials.

Thankfulness Is Always In Season

Your children are precious. The time spent teaching and training may be great and take a serious commitment on your part, but it is worth your effort! One quality that does not occur naturally in children is that of thankfulness.

In Luke 17 we read this story:

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Even for adults it is not natural to return to say “thanks”! It takes purposeful effort. Let me encourage you to make “thankfulness” a part of your family’s routines. This Thanksgiving is a great time to emphasize being thankful.

Did you know that you can use Bible Gateway to help you study Scripture? Simply type in the word “thank” in the form below and find out how many Scriptures come up with “thank”, “thanks”, “thankful” and “thankfulness”. You will see that we are to give thanks for God and His righteousness. Thanks should be given for His love, which endures for ever. As you scan down the list of Scripture you will notice Psalm 107 and Psalm 136 which emphasize thankfulness. You will see several Scriptures giving thanks for others. Jesus gives thanks for food and for communion.

Why not try for yourself? Type “thank” in the form below. Read over the Scriptures and begin to share them with your children.

Lookup a word or passage in the Bible


BibleGateway.com

May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Mark and Ellen Strohm

Marvels Are Not Always Marvelous

The Roman aqueducts were a technological marvel. Eleven aqueducts poured water through hundreds of miles of tunnels and raised archways. The Romans created this distribution system which was second to none. But there was a cost. In an effort to get the water to travel through low areas, lead pipes were used to create sophisticated siphoning channels. Once water made its way to the city, those wealthy enough to pay could have personal pipes, often made of lead, bring the water directly to their homes. Experts have surmised that lead poisoning affected the youth of Rome, limiting their mental capacity for life.

Today, the United States has developed technological marvels every bit as awesome as the Roman aqueducts. Computers, video games and all manner of media bring a flood of information and entertainment into our homes. Yes, there are advantages to occasional exposure to media. But they too have come with a price. Media and television have taken their toll on today’s youth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had this to say about television for children prior to age two:

“While certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant caregivers for healthy brain growth and development of appropriate social, emotional and cognitive skills.”1

The AAP also gives this warning:

“Research has shown primary negative health effects on violence and aggressive behavior (6 cited studies); sexuality (4 cited studies); academic performance (1 cited study); body concept and self-image (3 cited studies); nutrition, dieting, and obesity (3 cited studies); and substance use and abuse patterns. (1 cited study)”2

Miroslav Kovacevic, MD FAAP, a Board certified Pediatrician and professor at Loyola University points out:

“Researchers at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, Washington (article was published in a recent issue of The Journal of Pediatrics) reported a direct link between TV watching and attention deficit disorder in children. Study showed that three hours of TV watching a day made children 30% more likely to develop this disorder. In fact, calculation brought forward in this article is even more alarming: each hour in front of the TV increases a child’s chances of attention deficit disorder by 10%!”3

I wonder if this technological wonder is not much different than the Roman aqueducts; a marvel to many but a menace to our children.

May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Mark and Ellen Strohm

1. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;104/2/341
2. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;107/2/423
3. http://www.webpediatrics.com/newsletter.html