Thursday, December 19, 2013

Love Language #3: Quality Time

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 4 of The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D.  Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different.  We encourage you to read each chapter entirely and post what you've learned from the study as well.  We'd love to hear from you!)

What if….

What if this Christmas instead of rushing through the stores looking for the perfect gifts, jumping from one Christmas party with the kids to the next, traveling all over town to see all of the extravagant lights, taking over 100 pictures of your kids in front of the tree to get that one perfect picture to go on your Christmas cards (which you then have to address and stamp), moving that crazy elf from one place to the next, baking every single cookie you can possibly think of (it's stresses me out just thinking about it)….what if instead, we focus on what Christmas time is all about….Jesus.  Think about what you want your children to learn about Jesus.  Now, think about the craziness that we sometime stir up around us during Christmas time.  Are we teaching them about the life of Jesus and how we should be living today?  Or is the only thing they are seeing around us chaos?

This brings me to our next love language…quality time.  Jesus' time on earth is a perfect example of the love language of quality time.  He gave His undivided attention to everyone around Him.

What if...all your children really need is you?

I know we are all trying to create memories for our children.  Memories that they will look back on and think of how wonderful their childhood was.  (They will do that, right?)  For our children with autism, we try to make it as magical as possible for them.  We go that extra mile and search things on ebay to find that toy they just don't make any more.   We search recipe after recipe trying to find the perfect gluten free cookie recipe that looks and tastes yummy.  If you are anything like me by the time I finally get everything prepared for the big cookie bake, my patience is thin.  There's a mess in my kitchen, my kids are fighting, the dog is barking and I'm done.  Think about those last few shopping days of Christmas...we take the kids with us as we travel from store to store to store, still searching for that perfect gift that we think our children need.  I spend a ton of time preparing to make Christmas morning so magical for the kids so we can all enjoy it together and what we usually end up getting is an exhausted mommy, a financially stressed out dad,  one boy who is so overwhelmed sensory-wise from all of the sudden changes that we hear lines from Toy Story all day and another who is completely overwhelmed with all of the presents and things we had to get done before Christmas.  Where, in these moments, am I showing my children Jesus?  How am I teaching them what they need to know about Christmas time?

One of the best things I can do to really impact them the most is really spend some true quality time with them.  Sure we can do some of the fun traditional activities that make Christmas special to kids like baking cookies, seeing the lights and Nativity scenes and singing Christmas carols.  However, I do believe that to truly make these moments as magical and memorable as possible for our children, we need to give them our undivided attention, which this time of year is extremely hard to do.

The following points really impacted me the most from Chapter 4:
*  When a child's love tank is empty and attention is the only thing that will fill it, that child will go to almost any length to get what she needs.  (p. 60)
*  ….while more people are talking about quality time, most children are starving for it.  Even children whose parents truly love them walk around with empty emotional tanks, and few seem to know what to do about this.  (p. 60)
*  Quality time is focused attention.  It means giving a child your undivided attention.  (p. 60)
*  When you spend quality time with children, you need to go to their physical/emotional development. (p. 61)
*  The most important factor in quality time is not the event itself but that you are doing something together, being together.  (p. 61)

So this Christmas, instead of trying to create these perfect memories of what we think Christmas should be like, let's just play and spend that special time with our children…autism or no autism, our children need to spend that time with us where they have our undivided attention.  That means, no texting, no emails, no crossing off our to-do list in our heads.  Just be with them on their level.  Take the time to really teach them about the life of Jesus Christ and how important that special day that Jesus was born truly is to us all.  I know for a lot of our children on the spectrum, it may seem like they aren't listening, but they are.  They are listening and watching.  Obviously, things still need to get done.  Make a schedule (what child with autism doesn't like a schedule?).  On your schedule, make special time with your kids where no matter what's going on or what you are in the middle of doing, when the schedule says it's time to play, you drop everything, get on their level and be with them.  (Set a timer if you need to so you remember!)  By doing this, you will speak this love language of quality time loud and clear.  In the meantime, you'll be creating some memories that will help make this Christmas very special to everyone, including yourself.

1 John 4:7,8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Ephesians 5:1-2 
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Love Language #2: Words of Affirmation

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on chapter 3 of The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D.  Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different.  Below are the things that impacted us the most.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well.  We encourage you to read the entire chapter to get the most you can possibly get out of this study.)

In Chapter 3 Love Language #2:  Words of Affirmation, we learn about the second love language, words of affirmation.  Words can impact us.  They can build us up or tear us down.

The following moved me the most:

"In communicating love, words are powerful.  Words of affection and endearment, words of praise and encouragement, words that give positive guidance all say, "I care about you."  Such words are like a gentle, warm rain falling on the soul; they nurture the child's inner sense of worth and security.  Even though such words are quickly said, they are not soon forgotten.  A child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime.
Conversely, cutting words, spoken out of short-lived frustration, can hurt a child's self-esteem and cast doubts about his abilities."  (Page 45)

What kind of words are you speaking?  We need to guard our mouths and make sure that what is pouring out of us into our children is uplifting and positive.  That's what we want them to feel.  Even if you mainly speak words of affirmation to your child, as soon as the negative, cutting words are spoken, they hold on to those.

The authors continue on page 47 with the following…

"Of course, we want to praise children we care about, but we want to make sure that the praise is both true and justified.  Otherwise they may regard it as flattery, which they can equate with lying."  (p. 47)

Be sure to read this chapter to learn how to truly praise and encourage your child.

When I think about this chapter with my son who has autism, it's hard sometimes to truly tell if he's understanding what I'm trying to speak to him.  Does he hear the words of affirmation?  I believe he hears it. He may not get that little grin that his brother gets when I speak words of affirmation to him, however, deep down in side he's storing these words to help him through the tough moments.  I love the authors also included the following:

"Long before they can understand the meanings of words, children receive emotional messages.  The tone of voice, the gentleness of mood, the ambiance of care all communicate emotional warmth and love."  (p.  46)

I believe our children on the spectrum are very in tune to our emotions.  Some days, I feel like my son is more in tune to how I'm feeling than I am even aware of.  There are moments where he will just be staring at me and say "oh, Mommy so frustrated." or "You're proud of me!"  or even "Mommy's so tired."  He knows by the look on my face how I'm feeling.  My emotional messages are either giving him his words of affirmation or throwing in the negative feelings.  It's hard because most of the time I'm not even aware of these looks on my face.  This chapter has taught me to not only be sure the words that are coming out of my mouth are encouraging and positive but also that the look on my face is showing this as well.  I don't think we have to go around smiling all of the time.  However, I bet if we spent some time noticing our facial expressions, especially while talking with our children, we will find ways to speak to them in a more uplifting way.

"Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin."  
-Proverbs 13:3

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Love Language of Touch

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 2 of The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D.  Please keep in mind that these are the things that impacted us the most.  We encourage you to read the entire chapter yourself and share what you've learned from the study as well.  Please share in the comment section below the post.)

In Chapter 2:  Love Language #1: Physical Touch, we learn about the first love language, touch.  Some of us are huggers, some of us are hand holders, some of us constantly pat our children on their heads or play with their hair.  Some of us are not fans of physical touch.  However, our children may be craving that motherly/fatherly touch from us.  This could be their love language.

My sons are 11.  My son with autism loves to wrestle.  He loves hugs.  He loves high fives.  He loves to snuggle.  His love language of touch is definitely high up on the love language scale.  My other son, does not like hugs.  He isn't one for high fives.  He will not snuggle or even sit close to us.  This love language is definitely low on his love language scale.  However, they both still need to feel this love language.

This past week, I've been trying to incorporate this love language into both of my sons' days.  For my son with autism, it was easy to do.  We wrestled, gave high fives, sat together and read books.   For my son who doesn't like hugs, it was a little more challenging.  I would sit next to him and put my arm around him while talking.  While he was on the computer, I stood behind him and put my hands resting on his shoulders.  Just for a few seconds.  Just to show him this love language.  It was a little more challenging to do.  You know your child.  You know what is too overwhelming for them.

I love how the authors included the following in this chapter on the love language of touch:

"In the first century A.D., the Hebrews living in Palestine brought their children to Jesus "to have him touch them."  The writer Mark reported that the disciples of Jesus rebuked the parents, thinking their teacher was too busy with "important" matters to spend time on children.  But Jesus was indignant with his disciples.  'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."

If you haven't done so already, please pick up your copy of The Five Love Languages of Children and read Chapter 2 to learn more on the love language of touch.  There is a lot more information on this love language and what you can do to show your child this love language.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Life Gets Busy, Make Time to Show How Much You Love Them

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 1: Love is the Foundation of The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D.  We'd love to hear your thoughts as well!  Feel free to comment below!)

Our lives are busy.  In today's society, we seem to pile more and more on ourselves to see how much multi-tasking we can do.  Our days are rushed through.  Our lives are crazy busy.  We almost have it all under control and then we add more.

Unfortunately, because we add more and more things to our already crammed busy days, we don't really stop and enjoy everything and everyone around us.  Think about your morning this morning.  Did it look anything like mine?  Jump out of bed, quickly pour a cup of coffee, help the kids get ready for their day, pack lunches, drink a quick sip of coffee, make breakfast, constantly remind kids to finish getting ready, rush everyone out the door with a quick kiss-love you-have a great day smile.  Take a sip of cold coffee.  Everything I just did in that short amount of time was for my children.  I rush around like crazy and help them get their day started on the right foot.  I love them.  They know I love them.  However, do they truly feel how much I love them?  At what point this morning before I rushed them out the door did I speak their love language to them?

What is a love language?  Love languages are different ways you "speak" to others to show them you love them.  The five love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of services.

When I first started reading Chapter 1 of The Five Love Languages of Children, I was certain I knew which love language spoke to my kids the best.  Then, the more I kept reading, the more I realized that I have no clue which one they spoke.  Further more, if I don't know what their love languages are, then how I am showing them I love them.   I have twin boys.  One is Hunter.  He is my comedian, keeps me laughing and is my strong willed child.  My other son is Sean.  Sean has autism.   Now, Sean is going to be a little more difficult for me to figure out his love languages.  However, I know I can figure it out for both of my sons.

Below are the points that the authors made in the book that impacted me the most:

*  Speaking your child's primary love language does not mean he or she will not rebel later.  It does mean your child will know you love him, and that can bring him security and hope; it can help you rear your child to responsible adulthood.  Love is the foundation. (p. 16-17)

*  You may truly love your child, but unless she feels it-unless you speak the love language that communicates to her your love-she will not feel loved. (p. 17)

*  Every child has an emotional tank, a place of emotional strength that can fuel him through the challenging days of childhood and adolescence….We must fill our children's emotional tanks for them to operate as they should and reach their potential.  (p. 17)

*  If children feel genuinely loved by their parents, they will be more responsive to parental guidance in all areas of their lives.  (p.19-20)

*  For a child to feel loved, we must learn to speak her unique love language.  (p.20)

*  Whatever love language your child understands best, he needs it expressed in one way, unconditionally.  (p. 20)

*  …it is good to feel love and to verbalize it, but this is no sufficient to make a child feel loved unconditionally.  The reason for this is that children are behaviorally motivated.  They respond to actions-what you do with them.  So to reach them, you must love them on their terms, or behaviorally.  (p.26)

*  Your children will sense how you feel about them by how you behave toward them.  (p. 27)

*  Speaking your child's love language will meet his or her deep emotionally need for love.  (p. 27)

*  Children need all five love languages of love to keep their emotional tanks full.  This means that parents must learn how to speak in all the languages  Your children can receive love in all of the languages.  Still, most children have a primary love language, one that speaks to them more loudly than the others.  (p. 27)

It all comes down to love.  We need to show are children with or without autism, how much we love them.  Now, it is going to be a little tricky for us to discover the primary love language of our children with autism.  However, I believe it can be done.  If we all learn how to speak all of the love languages to our children, we will discover their primary love language.  Shower them with all five of the love languages and watch how they respond.  Only then, will we be able to discover the one that speaks to them the most.

Imagine the possibilities of reaching your child with autism through showing them the one thing you know how to do the best, love them.  Imagine reaching out and showing your child who does not have autism how much you love them and are here for them just as much as you are for their sibling with autism.

Life does get busy.  Let's slow down and discover our children's' love languages.  That way, when are busy mornings are over taking us and we are all rushing out the door, we can make sure we are speaking the right love language to show them all how much we truly love them.

"Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions." 1 John 3:18

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our Next Study

Join us on Wednesday November 13th as we start our next study....The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.  

Did you know that we all have a love language?  This is how we show others we love them and how we feel loved by others.  Do you know your child's love language?  It is often tricky to figure out each other's love languages especially a child's.  As a parent to a child with autism, it's even more trickier.  It's hard to give them the "love language test" to quickly find out.  Like most things, we have to be creative, patient and really in tune to them to help find their love language.  But it's possible!

With this study, I pray that we will all learn how to speak each of our child's love languages.  We will be looking at each chapter from the viewpoints of both a parent of a child with special needs and a child without special needs.  We can't forget about how much autism can effect the siblings as well.

Join us on Wednesday November 13th as we discuss Chapter 1 of  The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catching up...

Hi there,
I apologize for the lack of posts so far in October.  I've decided to take the rest of the month off from writing in the blog.  Feel free to continue on with devotionals.
I'm hoping to back up and running full force by the first week of November.
If any of you would like to join me in writing and sharing your thoughts and what God places on your heart with our studies, I'd love to have you!  I'm looking for a few people that can help reach out to others with me.  If you are interested, please email me at
Thanks so much and I look forward to starting a fresh new study in November.  I'll keep you posted on which study we will be doing.
If you have a copy of Karen Kingsbury's Miracles Devotional, please keep it handy.  We will use this devotional between studies as we move forward.
Thank you!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 11: Letting Go/Scripture Reading Luke 7:1-17 (Miracles by Karen Kingsbury)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer  and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 4:6-7

Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?  -  John 11:40

It's very rare that I don't meet a mother who doesn't worry, especially about her children.  Most mother's are quick to put their children in a protective bubble to keep them from harm.  What we, as mom's, need to remember is that God is in control of our lives.  We just need to lift them up in prayer for God's Will to be done.

In Week 11's devotion of Miracles by Karen Kingsbury, we are introduced to a mom who constantly worries about everything with her children to the point it keeps her up at night.  She's overprotective and tries to keep her kids safe at all costs.  We see that no matter how overprotective a mom can be, it can not always keep the kids out of harms way.  We also witness how this mom experiences true faith in God by praying over her child to keep him safe.

It is so easy for any mother to worry.  We want to keep our children safe and we want to be the best mom we can possibly be.  Especially when you are a mom of a child with autism.  The constant worrying about different therapies, our child's future, a public meltdown can really take a toll on our health and add some serious stress in our lives. is the one thing in our lives that can completely take over our well being and add more difficulty to a situation that is already overbearing. can take a current struggle and make it seem so much worse than it truly is.  Stress...can cause so many physical problems that can keep you from living a healthier you.  Stress and worry will cause any mother to be a little less patient, a lot more tired and a lot more distant from her child.

How do we deal with stress?  How do we keep away the worry?  Especially when it comes to our children with special needs?

We pray.  We give our children to God and cover them in prayer daily.  When that worry starts to creep  up on you, stop and pray to God about your child.  Ask Him to show you if this is an area you need to move forward from or one that you need to take your child into.  God needs us to have faith in Him and trust Him, especially when it comes to our kids.  God needs us to be at our fullest with our kids.  He doesn't want us to be slowly taken down by stress and worry.  He wants us to give our kids...His kids, the best of us.  The only way we can do that is to truly trust in Him.  Let go of our fears and anxiety and trust that God is in control.  Love our children with all of our hearts and minds and trust that God will move mountains for our children.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 10 Buckle Up: Scripture Reading Genesis 27 (Miracles by Karen Kingsbury)

"Do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."  -Colossians 3:21

In Week 10, Karen Kingsbury tells the story of a mother who tries to encourage her to son to break free from a friendship she believes isn't healthy for him.  This friendship ends up being the one that saves her son's life.  It's important to note that when his father was alive he would tell the mother that he feels that their son's friend is a positive person in his life.  Instead of praying over their friendship and letting God's Will take over, she tried to force her feelings on their friendship on their son which almost ended up costing him his life.  The mistake this mom made was trying to take matters into her own hands instead of waiting on God for His directions on which path to take.

As parents, it's very hard for us let go of what we think our children need and allow God to do what He needs in their lives.  Add in special needs, and we are desperately searching for the way to help our children.  Searching so much it wears us down to total chaos, stress, worry and desperation.  We can't understand why it's not working.  Why is my child still sick?  Why aren't these treatments helping like I thought it would?  Why can't my child make a friend?  These words will be in our heads all day long and keep breaking us down until we can no longer function and hit a stage of depression.  That's not what God wants and it's definitely not what our children need.

God wants us and needs us to be the parents he created us to be.  What if the answer to what you are searching for is you?  What if the one thing that your child needs is a parent who is not anxious, not stressed, and not worried?  What if the one thing your child needs is a parent whose total faith through all of this is in God and what He will do to help?

God wants us to bring our needs to Him.  He wants us to ask Him for help and most importantly, wait for His help.  You see, the mom in Karen Kingsbury's devotion for Week 10 didn't wait for help.  In our scripture reading for this week (Genesis 27) Rebekah didn't wait for God to move in their lives.  She took matter into her own hands.  The New Living Translation of the Life Application Bible says this in regards to Genesis 27:5-10:

When Rebekah learned that Isaac was preparing to bless Esau, she quickly devised a plan to trick him into blessing Jacob instead  Although God had already told her that Jacob would become the family leader, Rebekah took matters into her own hands.  She resorted to doing something wrong to try to bring about what God had already said would happen.  For Rebekah, the end justified the means.  No matter how good we think our goals are, we should not attempt to achieve them by doing what is wrong.  Would God approve of the methods you are using to accomplish your goals?

As I've mentioned before in previous posts, I'm not saying to stop researching, stop all therapies and schooling.   This is very important for us to do.  All I'm saying is give it to God.  Pray about it.  Keep researching however, when you reach that point of confusion, chaos, worry and stress, wait for God.  Wait for Him to move in your life and show you which path your child needs to be on.  It's hard for us to wait.  Believe me I get it.  But I can tell you after 8 years of different paths I've taken my son on because I thought it was right thing to do, if I would have waited for God to direct my paths we would have had a much easier road.  I have recently started looking and waiting for the path that God wants us to take.  It's so much easier, more peaceful and a lot more rewarding.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week 9: The Voice In The Storm Scripture Reading Psalm 107 (Miracles by Karen Kingsbury)

In Week 9's devotion of Miracles by Karen Kingsbury, we learn of a young man who becomes lost in the snow.  He hears someone reaching out to help him and helps him safely find his way home.

The scripture reading Karen Kingsbury has with this devotion is Psalm 107.  Psalm 107 teaches us the importance of praising God for all He has done for us.  We also need to share with others the way He has moved in our lives.

Bad things happen all of the time.  Storms come and storms go.  We will all have trials in life.  What's important for us to remember is that no matter how difficult or how minor our storm may seem, God is here to help us.  He will be the voice we are looking for when we are not sure which way to go.  We just have to go to Him.

We also need to remember that when God does things for you, it's important that we thank Him and also show people what He's done for us.  This way, they see how He can help them as well.

What has God done for you?  Has your child with autism made huge strides because of a path God has taken you down?  Is your family stronger than ever while facing autism because God has given you the strength to carry on?  Maybe your faith is deeper than it has ever been because God has given you peace.

Autism is a huge storm.  It's a strong storm.  At times it can be very overwhelming and blinding.  You need God.  You need His help through this storm.  And as He takes your hand and guides you down the right paths, be sure to praise Him and share with others how He has blessed your life.

Great trials in life should bring out a lot of praise for God.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 8: The Most Friends of All Scripture Reading: Daniel 1 (Miracles by Karen Kingsbury)

This week's devotion from Miracles by Karen Kingsbury tells us the story of a young man who struggled to make friends in high school and throughout his life.  His father taught him the power of prayer and how to never lose faith in God.  Because of his father, he lived a strong Christian life and his  faith remained strong even during the darkest times of his life.

This week's scripture reading is Daniel 1.  In Daniel 1, we learn of Daniel's journey into Nebuchadnezzar's court and how his unwavering faith in God remained strong and how he continued to follow God's law.

In both of these stories, we see one common theme...unwavering faith no matter the circumstances, no matter the time it takes, their faith is strong.

How about you?  How strong is your faith?

I think of the story that Karen Kingsbury tells in Week 8 and how long that man waited to see how many friends he truly has.  The funny thing is, God knew exactly when he needed these friends the most.  God knew when that prayer needed to be answered.  He may have thought he needed them in high school.  However, God knew better.

Then, I think of my life and my prayers that I bring to God daily.  God, please help my son.  Show me how I can help him be the best he can be.  Give me the patience to show him the love he needs to be the boy you need him to be.  God, please help my son.  In our times of storms, which happen to be more often lately, I have to remind myself how this is God's child and He will show me what to do and how to help.  I also have to remember one important thing, it's all in God's timing not mine.   It's hard to let go, especially when it's your child.  However, having that kind of faith in God will move even bigger mountains than you could ever imagine.

So, what do I do after 8 years of praying that same prayer every day since my son received his autism diagnosis?  I pray it again.  I wait.  I play with my son.  I help my son.  I remind myself that through all of these storms that we will encounter while we wait for Him to move these mountains, He will give me everything I need, my son needs and our family needs to get through it all.

Verses from Week 8:
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.  - 1 Timothy 4:12

When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.  - ACTS 11:23

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Week Behind...

Once again, I am running a week behind.  The new year of homeschooling has begun and I am trying desperately to get things in order.

I hope to have a post up by Wednesday!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Week 7: A Time To Go Home Scripture Reading Luke 15: 11-32

(I apologize for being a week late with this devotion.  Motherhood calls and I struggled to get it written in time.)

This week's devotion from Miracles by Karen Kingsbury is based on Luke 15:  11-32, when Jesus tells the story of the lost son.  Karen Kingsbury tells us the story of a young man who left his home to become a prizefighter and how God reached out to him to call him home.  In Luke 15: 11-32, Jesus tells us a similar story of a young man who leaves home but returns to his father knowing he made a mistake.

This lesson can be applied to many of our lives today.  Too often, many people are concerned about living the life they want to live, not the life that Jesus wants them to live.  With the world we live in today, it's very easy to turn our backs on God and try to do things our way, even without realizing it.  Unfortunately, it usually takes something drastic, tragic or heartbreaking for us to look to the one person to direct our lives...Jesus.

Think about your life.  Are you living it for God and the way He is trying to get you to live or are you putting your own selfish desires first?  I think we all need to examine our hearts and the different areas of our lives to be sure it's in line with what God desires.  Let's turn our hearts and our lives over to God.  Just like the father in the parable of the lost son welcomed his son home, our Heavenly Father will do the same for you.

Luke 15:20
"So he returned home to his father.  And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week 6: Miracle of the Heart Scripture Reading: Genesis 29:31-35

This week's devotion from Miracles by Karen Kingsbury is based on Genesis 29:31-35.  Karen Kingsbury introduces us to a young lady whose life suddenly took a different turn, one that she wasn't expecting.  We learn how God still provided her the life she always dreamed of, just in a different way.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."  Psalm 27:14

When I was younger I dreamt of being a mom.  I wanted children.  I didn't care how many.  Just please give me children.  I've always loved being around children, teaching them, learning from them and playing.  I knew I would be a mom one day.

Almost eleven years ago, my life changed and my dream came true...God blessed me with twin boys.  I was so elated and thrilled to not only be a mom but a mom of twin baby boys.  That first year was tough.  My "plan" didn't quite look like I thought it would.  It was a crazy sleepless year.  Don't get me wrong, I was still very excited to be a mom but it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  After their first birthday, it started getting a little easier.  They were getting more independent.  My "plan" was looking more like I imagined it would.

What I didn't realize was that His "plan" for my life included having a special needs child.  Never once did I think my child would have autism.  I will never ever forget that day.  It happened almost 8 years ago.  "You're son has autism.  Enroll him in some occupational therapy and speech therapy as soon as you can."  Then we walked out the door not knowing what to expect next.  No one could tell me what to expect next either.  Not a doctor, a therapist, a one could tell me how high functioning he could be.  That was the scary part.  I didn't have a plan.

I quickly had to adjust my plan and find a way to help my child while still being a mom to his twin brother.  I looked into every therapy possible, enrolled in special schools, special diets, name it, we looked into it.  My plan was slowly coming together but wasn't quite falling into place.  I was forgetting something.  But what?  I pushed forward and kept researching as much as possible.  The answer to help my son was out there somewhere.

Then, it hit me and it hit me hard.  Where was God in all of this?  Why am I so quick to turn to google to find my answers and not trust in Him?  Why haven't I given this to God for my new plan?  I could remember asking God "why?  Why my son?"  What I didn't ask was "What should I do Lord?  What is Your plan?"

Psalm 27:14 reminds us to "wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

As we are finding our way through this world of autism, God wants us to wait for Him.  How do we wait?  Just like "Kate" in the story Karen Kingsbury tells us in Week 6, we need to move on.  This is our new life.  We need to find out what God wants us to do with this new life.  Is it to help other parents who have a child newly diagnosed?  Is it to be a light for the children who are on the spectrum?  Maybe it's to reach out to the siblings of children with autism.  There are so many ways that we can help and so many people God needs us to help as we wait for Him.

I quickly changed my prayers into wanting God's Will to be done.  I did away with my "plan" and kept the dream in my heart.

My dream looks quite differently than I thought it would when I was younger.  However, it's still my dream.  I'm a mom!  I get to play all day, teach, love and learn so much from both of my children.  Yes, one of my sons has autism, but it doesn't define who he is as child, who I am as a mom or who we are as a family.  It just changed my dream inside my heart into one that means so much more.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Week 5: God's Ways...Scripture Reading: Genesis 30:1-24

This week's devotion from Miracles by Karen Kingsbury is from Genesis 30:1-24.  Karen Kingsbury tells us about a couple who have struggled to have their own children for years.  They finally reach a point where they are able to put their fears of adoption aside and trust in God.  God ended up giving them a child through adoption.

How do we, as parents of children with autism, apply this devotion to our lives?  For me, the following verse that Karen Kingsbury wrote grabbed ahold of my heart...

"They're all on loan, when you think about it."  Margaret let the idea sink in.  All children belong to God.  His to give, his to take, on loan for a season."

God has entrusted us with His children.  They are all "on loan" to us.  You are the parent that God knew your children needed the most.  As parents of children with autism we are faced with many decisions and many paths to take to help our children.  I amazed at all of the new paths that are put in front of us almost daily on what we can do to help them.  How do we know what to do?  Which path to take?

We need to remember that all of our children are God's "on loan" to us.  We need to ask Him what paths we should take.

Let's look at this even further...God has trusted us with our amazing children with special needs.  He knows how much your children need you as their parents and not anyone else.  You are the parents who can help them feel better, build them up, love on them, provide them the patience and understanding they need.  No one else.  God chose you.

I know how overwhelming and hard the days (and the nights) can be.  I know you have probably asked "why my child, why our family, why me?"  God knows you, knows your child and knows your family.  He knows the strength, the love and the happiness you can give your child.  He chose you.  You can do this.   

Our children are on loan to us from God.  We need to care for them as He needs us to.  Ask God what He needs for you to do for your child and for Him.

"They are the children God has graciously given your servant."  -Genesis 33:5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Miracles: Week 4 A Series Of Miracles Scripture Reading: Luke 1:5-25

This week's devotion is from Luke 1:5-25.  Karen Kingsbury tells us the story of a couple who never gave up on the love they have for each other and they knew that no matter what they would one day be married and have six children.  The obstacles that were thrown their way didn't stop them from believing what they knew God promised them.

What has God promised you?  Are you being patient in all of our obstacles as you wait for His promise to come true?

Luke 1:5-25 tells us about Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth.  Zechariah and his wife were very old and even though they wanted children, they were never able to have any children in their early years.  One day when they were very old, an angel appeared to Zechariah and told him of a promise from God that he will one day have a son and he will name him John.  Zechariah did not believe the angel because of how their ages and he didn't understand how it was impossible.    The angel then told Zechariah because he doubted God, he will not be able to speak until the baby is born.  God delivered on this promise and Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had a baby boy and named him John.  John the Baptist.

I ask you again, what has God promised you and are you trusting in God to deliver this promise or are you doubting it can be done?  When you start doubting whether God will come through with His promises, please remember this verse...

Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking it is impossible.  But with God everything is possible."  Matthew 19:26


But with God everything is possible.  Don't lose hope on the promise that God has placed in your heart.  Know that God is with us and is helping us through this time while we patiently wait for His promises to come true.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  - James 1:17

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Join Us Next Week!

Hi All,

We hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July holiday! Please join us next week for the next part of this study.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Miracles: Week 3, Heaven's Perfect Timing Scripture Reading: Matthew 2

This week's devotion is centered around Matthew 2.  Karen Kingsbury tells the story of a girl who travels home from college in the midst of a horrible storm.  God speaks to her by urging her to stop and eat.  In the end, we learn because she listened to God's urging, she avoided a deadly accident.

In Matthew 2, we learn how God appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee Egypt.  God knew that Herod planned on killing Jesus as soon as he was born.  Joseph listened and saved Jesus from dying right after he was born.  After Herod died, God once again appeared to Joseph in a dream.  He told him to return to the land of Israel.  Joseph listened.  Matthew 2:23 says "So they went and lived in a town called Nazareth.  This fulfilled what was spoken by the prophets concerning the Messiah: "He will be called a Nazarene."

What is God trying to tell you to do? Are you listening?  Think of how differently our world would be today if Joseph didn't listen and stayed in Egypt.  Think of how differently the life of the girl Amy from the story mentioned above would be if she wouldn't have stopped for something to eat.

I believe God is constantly whispering in our ears what we need do, where we need to go and how we need to live our lives.  (Just be sure to know what His voice sounds like so you can hear him loud and clear.)  It's amazing how if you really look around you, God is closing doors for you and opening the next.  Looking back at my son's journey through autism since his diagnosis 7 1/2 years ago, I can see where God has purposefully closed doors for us so that the next one can open.  Therapists who moved away and couldn't work with my son opened the door for the next therapist to come in and help him master out goals that only she could have done.  Doctors who stopped taking our insurance closed the door for a therapy that God wanted us to stop doing but opened an incredible door to one that will provide more gains.

We have to listen for His guidance.  He's trying to help each and every one of us.  The first step in all of this is to know His voice.  Spend time with Him.  Read your Bible.  Even if it's for five minutes each day.  You will be amazed at how much easier it is to hear God's voice.

I trust in you, O Lord; I say "You are my God."  My times are in your hands.....Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.  -Psalm 31:14-16

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Miracles: Week 2, Scripture Reading Acts 27: 13-26

This week's devotion is centered around Acts 27: 13-26.  Karen Kingsbury tells the story of a doctor who is approached by a little girl begging her to come save her mom.  She leads her to her mother just in time to save her.  After the mom thanks the doctor, the doctor says she could have never done it without her daughter's help.  Her daughter died a month earlier.

In Acts 27: 13-26, we learn about a storm that is constantly battling a ship and it's crew.  Finally, after the third day, Paul stands up and tells the men they should have listened to him on which way to go. Then, he encouraged them to not be afraid and to trust God.

Think of the different storms in your life and how they can persistently tear you down.  Some days it's like hurricane force winds attacking you in every direction.  Other days, it's a rocky storm throwing you in every direction.  We know we need to get out of the storm but we are too scared and don't know which way to go.  Sounds like the men on the ship, right?

We need to remember Paul's advice and take courage and trust in God.  Every one of us out there has storms.  Some storms seem worse than others.  However, we all have storms to go through.  There's only one way to calm these storms, and that is to trust in God.  Find the way he needs you to go in your life.  Spend time with Him so you can hear the direction He wants you to go, not the direction you want to go.  The key is to spend time with Him.  Read your Bible, attend church, and pray consistently throughout your day.  Go to Him before you go to anyone else.  He will not steer you wrong.

Looking back at the story that Karen Kingsbury told in Week 2 of the doctor and the little "angel", this doctor was overworked, tired, and probably feeling like she was in the middle of one strong storm.  Then, a little girl knocks on her door.  She stands courageous and follows her because she just knew God needed her to follow her.  That's what we need to be able to do.  Go, when God asks us to go.  Stay, when He asks us to stay.  Be there for others, when He needs us to.  The only way we will know what He needs is for us to do is to listen for Him to tell us.

Your Word and guidance will never steer us wrong.  We are very quick to call on others for their guidance before we call on you.  Our storms in our lives are strong and sometimes come on very quickly.  You know this and only You know the right path for us to take.  Please help us stay faithful in the storms as you guide us in the path we are to take.
In Your Name we pray,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Miracles: Week 1, Scripture Reading Psalm 124

This week's devotion  is from Psalm 124.  With this devotion, Karen Kingsbury tells of a story of two girls who were in trouble and how one of the girls was able to clearly hear from God to get to safety.

After reading the scripture and then the devotion, I re-read Psalm 124 to find how this applies to my life.  The following verses immediately stood out to me:

"Blessed be the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart!  We escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap.  The trap is broken, and we are free!  Our help is from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth."  -Psalm 124:6-8

We can all relate to these verses.  Although, we are all most likely not being physically "trapped" by something or someone, Satan throws his traps on us daily.  Being a parent to a child with autism brings many "emotional traps."  Traps of worry, anxiety, heart break, doubt. Traps of not trusting God and trying to handle things on our own.  Satan knows how important our children are to us.  He also knows how to "trap" us with our worries.

Worries like:
"Am I doing everything I possibly can for my child with autism?"
"Should I keep homeschooling him or enroll him back into the public schools?"
"How will we find the money to do this therapy?"
"Is he too old for this help him?"
"Am I doing enough?"

These thoughts over take us and we are consumed with every trap Satan can throw on us to keep us connected with our children.  We spend more time researching and finding things out on our own, instead of trusting God.

How easy is it for us to forget the Jesus broke that "trap"!  We are set free!  We don't need to worry about our children.  He will provide.  However, instead of praying and asking God to help us, we want to carry it all on ourselves which keeps us from doing what God truly needs for us to do.  If we are so overwhelmed with worry, doubt and anxiety then we can't focus on what God needs for us to do in our lives at that given moment.  In other words, if I am filled with worry and doubt, how am I going to do the work Jesus needs me to do for others?

Yes, worry, doubt and a lot of other emotional traps will come our way on daily basis.  We must remember what Psalm 124:7 says....the trap is broken and we are free!  Free of worry, doubt, anxiety.  This can be us if we remember to give to God and keep pushing forward!

Dear Lord,
You are such an amazing God who knows exactly what is going on in all of our lives.  No matter what happens in our lives, you are not taken by surprise.  You know what's best for us and what we can do to help others.  We all fall short of trusting you 100%.  We ask that you will help us relinquish all of the emotional traps that Satan sends our way, and show us how to always hear from you.  Thank you for our amazing children and all of the wonderful blessings you send their way.
In Your Name we pray,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Next Study

We finally found it!  It may have taken quite a bit longer than expected but we found our next study. We are going to do something a little different with this study.  It is a 52 week devotional.  We are supposed to read a devotion each week.  (This may change due to vacations or we may double up on some weeks when we have time.  However, we will give you notice of this.)

Our next study will be Miracles: A 52 Week Devotional by Karen Kingsbury.  Each week, we will be given passages from the Bible to read, learn and reflect on.  There will also be a short story with each passage.  

We will start this devotion on Wednesday June 12th with Week 1.  So grab your Bibles and a copy of Karen Kingsbury's Miracles:  A 52 Week Devotional!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our Next Study

Please pray with us as we try to find our next study.  We hope to start this soon.
Thank you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chapter 10 Mark and Onesimus: A Tale of Runaways

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 10 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.  We'd love to hear your thoughts as well!  Feel free to share in the comments section below the post.

"I am sending him to you...with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.  They will make known to you all things which are happening here.  Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him)...They have proved to be a comfort to me.  Colossians 4:8-11

Chapter 10 begins with the story of the Italian  cruise-liner that hit a reef off the coast of Italy and  began to sink.  We are told of the ships infamous captain who ran away from his ship and abandoned everyone on board.  This captain was clearly not a hero.

However, John MacArthur tells a story about two people who did "run away" and God was still able to use them and turn them into unlikely heroes.  Below are John MacArthur's thoughts on Mark and Onesismus, our runaways.

*  Heroes, by definition, are people who do not run away.  They stay with courage and conviction to stand and face difficulty, accepting hardship and embracing self-sacrifice.  They are willing, if necessary, to go down with the ship.  On the other hand, those who flee in the critical moment are viewed not as heroes, but as cowards and failures.  p. 190-191

*  That is what makes our final two heroes so unlikely-they were both runaways.  Yet, in spite of their weaknesses and failures, the Lord rescued them; transforming their testimonies from tragedy to triumph.  As He does with every sinner whom He saves, God pursued both Mark and Onesimus, and when He caught them, He turned their frailties and flaws into strength and success.  p.  191

*  When it mattered most, Mark had shown that he lacked personal courage, trust in God, and fortitude.  In the face of critical opportunity, he buckled and went absent without leave, abandoning his post and forsaking his mission.  p. 195

*  Mark would restore his reputation with the most influential and demanding apostle Paul.  p. 196

*  As a young man, he had faltered in the field and fled in shame.  But later in life he had been graciously restored to ministry usefulness-and even elevated to the sides of the two greatest apostolic preachers.  p. 198

*  As preeminently fulfilling as that reality was, God would grant Mark a far greater honor.  He would be inspired to write one of the four histories of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ-the gospel of Mark.  p. 198-199

*  How appropriately ironic that the man who had once abandoned his evangelistic responsibilities by deserting Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey would one day write a gospel that has since reached billions of people with the good news of salvation.  p. 200

*  Though they (Mark and Onesimus) came from two very different backgrounds, the two shared a common feature: in the past, they had both deserted their responsibility and run away.  Mark had been a runaway missionary; Onesimus a runaway slave.  p.  201

*  Now that Onesimus had become a believer in Christ and been reconciled to God, he had no choice but to go back to his master and be restored as his slave.  p.  202

*  A former runaway slave, he was restored and forgiven, eventually becoming a significant Christian pastor and a force in the early development of the New Testament canon.  p. 209

*  What joy there is for us as believers-to know that in spite of all our failings, we can never outrun God's grace or His plan to use us far beyond what we could ask or imagine.  p. 211

What are you running from?  What is God placing on your heart to do that you haven't taken that step to do for whatever reason?  I think of autism and how much it can and will change your life.  Are you allowing God to use you to reach others who need Him but haven't quite found Him?  I'll be honest with you, sometimes it's very hard for me to sit down and read our chapters and write the post.  (Hence the reason we've been posting every other week.)  During the time in which I am struggling to do the study, God grabs ahold of my heart.  He reminds me of the peace that He has given me in regards to my son having autism.  He shows me the ways that I need to be going with my son with therapies, medicine and diets.  He quietly nudges at my heart and tells me that there are parents of children with autism who don't know Him.  They can't find His peace, His comfort, His direction.  They don't know where to start and where to look.  So yes, it is easy to run the other way.  Never open my book to read. Never write the post.  However, I think about that one parent out there who is searching for something to help them, to help their child.  

What if you are that "something"?  What can you do to help reach all of these of children on the spectrum who are desperately seeking for answers.  I encourage you to take the time to pray, study His Word and find out what you are running away from that God has planned for your life.

I love this book.  I have learned so much about a lot of people from the Bible that I may have never even stopped to learn about.  If you have not read this chapter or this book yet, I highly encourage you to do so.  It is amazing how I can use these examples of unlikely heroes in my day to day life.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chapter 9: James: The Brother of Our Lord

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 9 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on this as well.)

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.  But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.  -Galatians 1:18-19

I really struggled with this chapter.  I'm hoping that by the time I'm done writing this post I'll have a clearer picture of James and the reasonings behind him being an unlikely hero.

Below are the points that John MacArthur made in Chapter 9 to describe James as an unlikely hero:

*  As the second-born, James had lived with and felt the differences between himself and Jesus longer than his other siblings.  p. 176

*...Jesus personally appeared after His resurrection to James (and possibly to the other brothers also).  What a stunning reunion that must have been!  Undoubtedly, it was the moment of James' conversion and explains why he was among the believers in the upper room.  p. 177

*  Although he had known Jesus for over three decades, he did not believe in Him until his risen brother graciously appeared to him and saved him.  p. 178

*  Because James had become the focal point of the church leadership at Jerusalem, any significnat church-related matters needed to go through him.  p. 178

*  James's ministry, along with the twelve apostles, was critical in setting the church on the right foundation.  p. 181

*  In many ways, James was the first model pastor.  Unlike the twelve apostles, who eventually left Jerusalem to take the gospel throughout the world, James never left.  p.  181

*  He was characterized by commitment to the truth but also by compassion for the consciences of his fellow Jews who were still sensitive to the traditions of Judaism.  p. 182

*  James was a man of true humility.  p. 183

*  James was a righteous man.  p. 183

*  James was a loving pastor. p. 183

*  James was a man of the Word and prayer.  p. 184

*  James was a theologian.  p. 184

*  James was a man who practiced what he preached, and who lovingly led that initial generation of believers in Jerusalem to do the same.  p. 185

*  Like his neighbors in Nazareth, James was filled with incredulity and contempt when his older
*  In many ways, James was the first model pastor.  Unlike the twelve apostles, who eventually left Jerusalem to take the gospel throughout the world, James never left.  p.  181

*  He was characterized by commitment to the truth but also by compassion for the consciences of his fellow Jews who were still sensitive to the traditions of Judaism.  p. 182

*  James was a man of true humility.  p. 183

*  James was a righteous man.  p. 183

*  James was a loving pastor. p. 183

*  James was a man of the Word and prayer.  p. 184

*  James was a theologian.  p. 184

*  James was a man who practiced what he preached, and who lovingly led that initial generation of believers in Jerusalem to do the same.  p. 185

*  Like his neighbors in Nazareth, James was filled with incredulity and contempt when his older half-brother claimed to be the Messiah.  p.  187

*  James stands as a hero for providing godly leadership in the midst of that critical struggle and bodily affirming the gospel of grace, while also declaring that the Holy Spirit will produce righteous works in the lives of those people who are truly saved.  p. 187

As I'm reading over these notes and this chapter again to prepare to close out this post, I find my answer to why James is an unlikely hero.

On page 188, John MacArthur writes:

"The Lord created, called, saved, and equipped James for usefulness in manifesting His glory.  He does the same for all believers (Romans 8:29).  Like James, we were all filled with contempt and hatred toward God at one time.  But if we have come to saving faith in Christ, we too have each been forgiven and equipped for spiritual service.  Our salvation has been fully secured by grace through faith in Christ.  Now, as James emphasized in his epistle, we must put feet to our faith-faithfully living in submissive obedience to the Word of God.  In such living, our own story will unfold to the honor of the Lord Jesus, who is not ashamed to make us part of His family (cf. Romans 8:16-17)."

Let me repeat that small but power phrase from above...we must put feet to our faith.

In other words, James is a hero because no matter what his life was like or who is brother was, he moved forward with what God had planned for his life.  God worked through James.  James didn't run the other direction.  James "put feet to his faith" and did some amazing work for God.

So, I ask does your faith look?  Are you moving forward with what God has planned for your life or are you stuck in "sibling rivalry" looking at what other people have wishing you had it?  Being a parent to a child on the spectrum brings us a lot of challenges.  One of them is wishing for a child that didn't have meltdowns at ten years of age.  It's easy for us to look at another family and wish for what they have.  However, that's not what God wants us to do.  He needs for us to move forward with our lives and our children and help them become the children that God needs them to be so that they can be world changers for God.  I encourage you to take some time and dive into His Word.  James was a man of the Word and of prayer.  He knew God's plan for his life because he spent time with God through reading the Bible and praying.

...The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. - James 5:16

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chapter 8: John the Baptist

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 8 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well.)

As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John:  "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? .... A prophet?  Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.  For this is he of whom it is written:  'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.'  Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist."  -Matthew 11:7-11

In Chapter 8 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur, we learn about our next unlikely hero, John the Baptist.  The reason John the Baptist is an unlikely hero according to John MacArthur, is because "nothing in his life fit the model associated with greatness".  (p. 152)  That is, until he "cleared" the way for the Messiah.

The following are the points that really showed how John the Baptist was an unlikely hero:  (I do encourage you to read the full chapter to completely understand who John the Baptist is.)

*  Nothing about his lineage, his contrary social behavior, his external appearance, or his diet suggested that he should be considered anything but odd.  (p. 152)

*  Nothing in his life fit the model associated with greatness.  (p. 152)

*  Incredibly, the Lord not only declared him to be a great man, but the greatest man who had ever lived.  (p. 152)

*  He was the greatest person who had ever lived up to that time, both in terms of task and privilege.  (p. 153)

*  As the preacher privileged to announce the arrival of the Messiah, John's calling was more lofty and sacred than that of anyone who had come before him.  His was the first prophetic voice to echo throughout the Judean hillside since the prophet Malachi went silent four hundred years earlier.  (p.  159)

*  Like his predecessors, John faithfully pointed people forward to Christ, but unlike the other Jewish prophets, he lived to see the fulfillment of his words.  (p. 159)

*  After millennia of anticipation and prophetic promises, John was selected for the unparalleled privilege of being the Messiah's personal herald.  (p. 159)

*  ...the herald's responsibility was two-fold:  to proclaim the king's coming and to prepare the way for his arrival.  (p. 159)

*  ...through his Spirit-empowered preaching on repentance and faith, he sought to remove the obstacles of unbelief from the hearts of sinful men and women.  (p. 160)

*  John declared that if the people would turn from their rebellious pride and embrace a life of wholehearted obedience, they would be ready for the Messiah.  (p. 160)

*  He preached with such conviction and authority that some who heard him thought he might actually be the Messiah himself.  But John quickly dismissed such misguided rumors.  (p. 161)

*  John knew his position and his task.  Thus he never sought honor for himself, but only for the One whose coming he proclaimed.  (p. 161)  

*  The faithful forerunner had fulfilled his mission to proclaim Christ's coming and prepare the way for His arrival.  (p. 164)

*  After this point, John intentionally sought a diminishing role as he continued to point people away from himself and toward Jesus Christ.  (p. 164)

*  Without question, John was a true believer in the Lord Jesus and a loyal prophet of God who had proven himself faithful.  (p.  166)

*  Throughout his life, John exhibited genuine humility, passionate devotion to God's revelation, and a Christ-centered focus.  (p. 167)

What do we learn from John the Baptist?  How is he one of our heroes?  I believe that it is because still to this day, John the Baptist is preparing the path of the Messiah to us.  Through his life, his story and his faithfulness to God, we learn how to find Jesus.  Look back at the one point above that John MacArthur made:

John knew his position and his task.  Thus he never sought honor for himself, but only for the One whose coming he proclaimed.

Do you know your position and your task?  Are you seeking honor for yourself or for God?

Look what else John MacArthur wrote on page 160:

John declared that if the people would turn from their rebellious pride and embrace a life of wholehearted obedience, they would be ready for the Messiah.

Are you ready for Jesus?  What do we need to learn in this life now to prepare us for eternity?  What selfish pride and desires do we need to get rid of to be able to live the life that God has prepared for us? It's very easy for all of us to proclaim the desire to be baptized.  It easy for us to put on the religious rituals.  However, our hearts need to be in the right place.  We are all sinners.  None of us are perfect.  The only thing we can continue to do in this life is admit our sins, ask for forgiveness and strive to become a better person.

I think it's awesome that so many heroes in the Bible continue to teach us today.  John the Baptist is such a hero.  His faithfulness to Christ is such a great example of how we should live today.  Not questioning...not in it for ourselves or our honor...but in it for His glory.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 7, Esther:  For Such A Time As This, of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.  We encourage you to share what you've learned from this study as well.

I'm not going to lie to you, it's taken me a lot longer with this book than anticipated.  I love the book.  I'm learning a lot from it.  However, this is not a quick read.  It is an important read.  Something you should take your time reading and praying over for God to speak to you through these "unlikely heroes."  Esther is one of these "unlikely heroes" that I've had to read over several times.  I love her story.  I'm not going to retell her story.  However, below are some of the things that John MacArthur writes about that jumped out at me the most about Esther.

*  The book that bears her name was not written by Esther, but about her.  (p. 129)

*  Even if it cost her life, Esther would do whatever was necessary to protect her people.  (p. 139)

*  Esther's risky and courageous action had not only saved Mordecai's life, but also canceled a decree to destroy the Jews.  (p. 144)

*  God Himself is the only explanation for the survival of the Jews in the midst of such hatred and opposition.  (p. 147)

*  But His presence comes through more powerfully and more dominantly because it is so obvious that only God could sovereignly ordain everything in the story of Ester.  (p. 147)

*  Though it is silent to His name, God thunders through the book of Ester.  The Lord's unseen power is obvious, sovereignly ordaining every detail to preserve His people.  There are no miracles in the book, but the remarkable protection of the Jews through God's providential control of every circumstantial detail of people, places, time, and action is nothing short of miraculous- revealing the Lord's infinite wisdom and omnipotence over all things.  (p. 148)

*  The book of Esther might be compared to a chess match, in which God and Satan (working behind the scenes) moved real-life kings, queens, and nobles.  It looks as though Satan, using Haman, might put God's plans in check.  But the Lord-who has absolute power over Satan-checkmated the devil's schemes by positioning Mordecai and Esther to find favor with the king.  (p. 148)

*  Queen Esther, along with Mordecai, were the human instruments God used to rescue His covenant people from total destruction.   Esther, who came from humble beginnings, was an orphan in a foreign land hundreds of miles from Israel.  As such, she truly was an unlikely hero.  (p. 149)

Why is Esther considered an unlikely hero?  God was able to use her.  Someone whose life as a child was completely the opposite of her life as Queen.  She knew the risk involved in approaching the king. However, she also knew the importance of saving her people as well as going to God.  Even though we don't read about Esther praying to God, however, we see her faith in the following verses:

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:  "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will fast likewise.  And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"  -Esther 4:15-16

As we all start our days, complete with the ups and downs of autism, let's try to remember to be more like Esther when facing our fears.  Yes, we may at first let our fears get the best of us.  What's important is for us to take the time and pray.  Give it to God and let Him help us through our toughest days.  I know it's hard to remember to do this throughout the day.  However, if we start strengthening our relationship with God, everything else will just fall into place and get that much easier.  Including autism.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This Week's Post

I am running a few days behind.  I hope to get this week's post up soon! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

See You Next Week!

Please join us Wednesday, January 23rd, for the next chapter of our study.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chapter 6: Jonah: The World's Greatest Fish Story

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 6 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well.  Please share with us in the comment section below this post.  

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you."  So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.  -Jonah 3:1-3A

In Chapter 6 of Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur, we learn about our next "unlikely hero", Jonah.  Why is he an unlikely hero?  He was punished for not listening to God.  So, how is he a hero?

Below are the points that John MacArthur made that stood out to me the most.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, if you have not read the chapter, it is important for you to read the entire chapter to get a true meaning out of it.  It is beautifully written and Jonah's story is explained in great detail in ways that I've never heard before.  I encourage you to take the time to read the entire chapter.  Below are just a few of the points that meant the most to me.

*  Yet God worked through him to conduct a campaign of preaching that brought hundreds of thousands to salvation.  p. 115

*  The book of Jonah teaches us that even when the preacher is reluctant to see sinners saved, God is not reluctant to save them.  The Lord's compassion for the heathen was set on clear display as a striking contrast to Jonah's callous diffidence.  p. 115

*  Spiritual rebellion reaps what it sows, as God reproves and corrects those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6).  p. 115

*  In the midst of his misery, the humbled prophet cried out for deliverance.  p. 117

*  Drowning under the weight of God's hand of judgment, Jonah prayed for deliverance and compassion from the Judge Himself.  p. 119

*  When the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, he would be sure to obey.  p. 119

*  Like Jonah, we might be tempted to allow our own fears, prejudices, or selfish interests to inhibit our gospel witness.  But when we prioritize the gospel message over our own personal agendas, we bring glory to God as we advance His kingdom purposes throughout the world.  p. 124

I ask you, what is the Lord asking you to do that you may be running from?  Is He placing something on your heart, a way to share His word to others, that you find excuses as to why you can't?  Will you learn from Jonah and obey the Lord's word right away instead of hiding?

We all have busy lives.  If you're reading this, you most likely have a child who has autism.  You have therapies, recipes, supplements, playing, doctor's appointments, lack of sleep, etc.  You have a very busy life.  However, God still needs you to spread His message to all of the hurting people in our world today.  Maybe it's your child's therapist, a doctor, the lady you buy the supplements from at the store.  Perhaps it's another parent who has a child on the spectrum who doesn't know God.  There are a ton of people out there who don't know God.  They don't realize the peace they can have in their lives if they would take the time to get to know Jesus.  They don't know God.  God needs us to open these doors to them and introduce them to Him and all of his amazing powers.  He will still help us with our storms that come in and out of our lives.  We just have to trust in Him.

I love how John MacArthur closes up Chapter 6...

Although we are not Old Testament prophets like Jonah was, we have been given a mission similar to his.  As New Testament believers, our charges is to take the gospel to those who are lost, proclaiming to them the reality of coming judgment and the hope of salvation. (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).  When we resist this responsibility, whether out of fear, pride or a preoccupation with trivial things, we fall into the same trap that Jonah did.  But when we are faithful to obey the Lord in this way, we experience the wonderful blessing of being used by Him to further His kingdom.  There is no greater joy than seeing sinners embrace the good news of salvation.  As the apostle Paul told the Romans, quoting from Isaiah, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!"  (Romans 10:15)   - p. 126