Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet By David Miles

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Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet
by David Miles
(Review by Tabitha Hall)

This is a Zonderkidz I Can Read Level 2 book. The story is about Elijah and his trying ordeal ministering to the people of God while King Ahab is in power. The story jumps in as Elijah is proclaiming that Israel will not see rain until God says because of their refusal to worship the Lord alone. The climax of the story is when Elijah calls for a contest between the prophets of Baal and God. And in conclusion the people of Israel remember to worship God. God sends rain once again to the land. This story is appropriate for ages 5-8 years old.

This book, with its simple sentences and bright pictures, was a delight for my son to read. He asked if he could read it again. There is Bible vocabulary (Ahab; Baal; Elijah; prophet) that if discussed before reading gives the child confidence going into the book. Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet does a good job summarizing the Biblical principles found in the story of Elijah but keeping the language at a first grade reading level. The pictures also do a good job helping tell the story but not enough to give away clues forcing the child to read the words. I would definitely share this book with friends who are looking for engaging stories but simple text for their child to read aloud.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Are Let’s Play Videos Destroying An Industry?

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I will come out and admit that I do not know much about the Let’s Play culture. How recording a playthrough of a game, with commentary, is somehow legal. Ryan Green of That Dragon, Cancer fame wrote a piece titled “On Let’s Plays“. I’m surprised by the feedback the piece has received. Some gamers seeing it as an attack on their creative rights.

“However, for a short, relatively linear experience like ours, for millions of viewers, Let’s Play recordings of our content satisfy their interest and they never go on to interact with the game in the personal way that we intended for it to be experienced.”

That Dragon, Cancer is a short experience. Maybe an hour and a half to two hours worth of content. Having the entire game ready to view online seems like theft. As would be posting the entirety of a piece of literature to read.

I understand that there are free advertising and entertainment factors to consider. But at what point are such videos infringing upon the rights of the developers/creators?

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The film industry would be dropping legal suits like they were hot if this was happening with movies. The television industry, the same. I don’t want a Bill Watterson moment to happen here. A moment where the creator steps away so that his intellectual property’s soul isn’t sold… or in this case, stolen.

Our modern drive for wanting everything free and on demand is going to cost us. I hope that Ryan’s “On Let’s Plays” piece opens up a much needed discussion.

Racing Home

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Wyatt and I raced Tabitha home last night from church. Cruising at 60MPH, Wyatt encouraged me to go faster.

“You need to go 140MPH, dad.”

“But the speed limit is 60MPH.”

“So, there are no cops around.”

Launched us into a great discussion over how there are rules to follow, even when no one is watching.

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Parenting is all about seizing those teachable moments and acting on them.

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV)

From Across the Net: “Is Guarding Your Heart Really Protecting You?”

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Andrea Lucado wrote a piece titled “Is Guarding Your Heart Really Protecting You?” Reminded me of the small choices we make everyday. In a world of texting, messaging, and social media, living a closed life is easy. Too easy.

“It reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said about the heart:

If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one…Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

As life chips away at us, it is tempting to put our hearts in a coffin in order to protect them. And the interesting thing is, we can do this and be ok. We can live life closed off to people and places and things and live a perfectly fine life.”

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We are the gatekeepers

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In Raising a Modern-Day Knight, Robert Lewis encourages dads to model positive media behavior. He says that sons are always watching and listening. Using dad’s actions as a way to filter the world.

Talk about a big responsibility.

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In my house, I’ve realized that my wife and I are gatekeepers. Curators. We preview and engage all media consumed. Not out of some crazy quest for control but out of love for our son. My experience with Aliens, at the neighbors, in first grade, not going to happen to him. This allows us to introduce age appropriate entertainment. Books, movies, television and games consistent with our Christian worldview.

Sometimes these experiences bring about questions and conversations. Which is fantastic. Just the other night we had a short discussion on Five Nights At Freddy’s, a playground topic.

I am learning that I have more influence, as a parent, than I ever knew. I want Wyatt to grow up to make smart decisions, in all areas of life. Media discernment is a great first step in establishing healthy cultural engagement.

Firewatch and Bloodborne made me want to walk away from gaming

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Firewatch and Bloodborne tainted my view of video games. Both experiences left me feeling that all games are dark, violent, and depressing. Filled with language I don’t allow in my house; filled to the brim with blood. I needed space. So I threw gaming in the backseat.

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The beauty of the Wyoming wilderness contrasted against human brokenness. Dark secrets hidden in outdoor splendor. My experience with Firewatch was gut-wrenching. I felt for protagonist Henry. The reality of his personal fairy tale falling a part. I wondered at the intentions of Delilah. Her name seeming appropriate. A distraction, like the watchtower in the game itself. None of it mattered though. The profanity-laced journey was for naught. Terror and mystery ended in smoke.

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Mixed-in with my quest into the woods, were sporadic play sessions of Bloodborne. Hearkening back to the muscle-memory games of my youth, Bloodborne scratched a deep down itch. But the dark settings and constant violence weighed on me more than I could tell.

I had told my friend Scott how I was feeling, burnt out on video games. His first response was, “It was Bloodborne, wasn’t it? Shoot.” Good friends often know you better than yourself.

For about a week, video games disgusted me. I had no interest in them. This scared me. But left me with a clear head to contemplate other things. To allow God to speak truth where I needed it.

I fired up Destiny over the weekend. Had a good time playing. We’ll see where that leads.

Sense of Identity

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I see many men walking around in mid-life with a sense of yearning for things they can’t get from their wives and can’t get from their jobs, and can’t pull from inside themselves. Having listened to thousands of stories in workshops around the world, I’m convinced that what men are missing is a sense of their own identity; a very primitive and very deep sense of validation that passes from father to son. – Gordon Dalbey

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From Across the Net – “Christian Games Done Right: That Dragon, Cancer”

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Nelson knocks it out of the park with his piece titled “Christian Games Done Right: That Dragon, Cancer“.

…I want to tackle how I feel this title has been tragically misrepresented by the games media. And as a result, those who might have benefited most from playing it were turned away.

That Dragon, Cancer is not the story of Joel’s tragic death. It’s the story of his life. The difference may seem small, but it is extremely important, because it defines the very way you approach the game.

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From Across the Net: “Wrestling with Big Decisions”

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Focus on the Famly’s John Ortberg wrote a great piece titled “Wrestling with Big Decisions“. I found the following perspective helpful:

Indeed, for years after my “What should I do with my life?” conversations with God, I did not realize that what I had been actually looking for wasn’t so much “God’s will for my life.” What I was really looking for was a way to be relieved of the anxiety that comes with taking responsibility for making a difficult decision.

God is a door opener, not a celestial enabler.

Let us share your joy

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I am not exactly sure how to write this. But I’m living at that point where friends and family don’t want to tell my wife and I that they are pregnant. Somehow afraid that our feelings will be hurt after years of dealing with infertility.

More than any birth announcement, I am hurt more by silence. Robbed of that shared joy that comes from living in community with others.

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I want to encourage those around my family to share their news. Allow us to come alongside them. Please don’t be silent. Let us share in your excitement.

When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other. – Ecclesiastes 7:14a (NIV)

Please leave my wife alone

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I admire and respect my wife. For eight years Tabitha taught as a third grade teacher in her hometown. I was with her through the highs, lows, and in-betweens of teaching. Learning that our education system prioritizes/champions testing and scores. That challenges come not only from in the classroom but from outside of it. Taking the form of parents and district representatives. Through it all, her love for educating her students never died. As long as she could close her door and teach, she was happy.

Somewhere along the learning journey we had Wyatt. Tabitha found herself torn between being a mom while working as a teacher. For years, Tab’s mom gave us peace of mind by watching/raising Wyatt. But we lived in that tension of her wanting to stay home. We didn’t think that we could live without dual incomes and the insurance her job provided.

After much time and prayer, we made the decision to keep her home. A decision that has not always been easy but has been good.

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Something weird happened when Tabitha became a stay-at-home mom. A cloud of lies settled in that said, “she must not have anything better to do” OR “she needs to be doing something”. My wife became the dumping ground of low paying jobs and babysitting requests.

I am here today, as her husband, to tell you, whoever you are, that my wife’s freedom comes at a cost. She doesn’t have to watch your kids; she doesn’t have to take that babysitting job for the church. If she does watch your kids, she has made that decision to help you out. Not because she has to but because she wants to. As a husband, I love being able to give my wife that freedom. That ability to be a mom, a wife, whoever else she wants to be.

Whether we have just one child or many, that does not change her role. Whether we choose to homeschool or send Wyatt to public school, that does not change her mission. She is still a mom; she is still my wife. I am proud of her. Please leave her alone.

 

GALAK-Z

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GALAK-Z is an 80’s spaceship anime stitched onto the vest of a first responder. Much of the game is spent traveling, waiting for a call to action. Once an enemy sighted, all out chaos ensues due to poor controls. The game fails to stick the arcade-gaming/skill-demanding gameplay. This results in a fun-looking game that feels more like work.

GALAK-Z is not the paramedic, firefighter, or police officer you want coming to your aid.

wavesplinter2/5 – Downtime and floaty controls create a soul-sucking galaxy. 

Wave SplinterTitle: GALAK-Z
Developer: 17-Bit
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $19.99

War, Projects, and Escape

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Saturday

A gang of birds nested underneath my patio, uninvited. They pooped on anything they could poop on. Tabitha and I declared war this weekend. Sealing up any space that provided refuge to these tiny feathered terrors.

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Job complete, we claimed victory. But we soon found that our invaders have no plans to leave. They have roosted themselves on the support beams. Beady-eyed hatred in their perched gaze. The rain of fecal matter has returned with gusto.

I know that we’ll win in the end. The big guns are about to come out… whatever “big guns” are.

Spent the rest of Saturday working on a smaller project that morphed into a larger project. One could say that I made things brighter in our front bathroom; one could also say that I installed a light.

Sunday AM

Taught Ecclesiastes 8 in small group. Camped out on verses 12-13:

12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.

The keywords of “fear God” and “reverence” led us to Psalm 128:1

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.

We then applied fear with obedience and looked at 1 Kings 11:1-13. At this point in the story, Solomon has intermarried to the tune of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. He has gone against what God has told him. Showing neither fear, reverence, nor obedience to Him. We talked about how God is a God of justice. How Solomon’s disobedience carried consequences. This discussion paralleled the last half of Ecclesiastes 8, where Solomon comments on justice. We noted that justice does not always occur in our time frame, but God will exact justice in His time.

Sunday PM

Fired up the Honda and cruised to The Caldwell Zoo.

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Enjoyed the cool breeze, walking around the zoo, and just chilling out.

Great weekend.

My Name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody

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My Name is Mahtob is written from the perspective of the daughter from the book and motion picture, Not Without My Daughter; Mahtob Mahmoody. She shares her memories of how her mother and her escaped Iran and made it back to the United States. Only to live the rest of their lives in fear that her father would come and take Mahtob back to Iran. Her story also included how she forgave her father for what he did and continued to do in her life. She tells of how her mother, family friends, teachers, and the Lord helped her reach a place where she did not hate her father for the wake of destruction he caused.

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The recurring theme throughout this book is forgiveness. Her mother, realizing that Mathob was growing bitter, sought out ways to help her remember her father as a person, not the monster he had become. And also showed her that her heritage was not a bad thing, but something to be celebrated. Another recurring theme in this book is the fact that neither Mahtob nor her mother would say anything ill of the man who kidnapped them.

My Name is Mahtob was a page turner from the very beginning. My heart ached for the five/six year old girl who ran away with her mother from her father. I wanted to protect Mahtob, as a young adult, when her world was shattered once again by her father. My favorite part was in the last few chapters. Mahtob is still affected by the abuse her father caused but time and distance has made her realize a few things:

  • She has sorrow for a father that let his “dysfunction rule his life”.
  • That her own adaptability was due to her father’s absence in her life.
  • Her memories of her father were not “distorted” by others.

I thoroughly enjoyed my journey into Mahtob’s life.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.