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a trip to the zoo + numbering the days

In the midst of another busy week/weekend we had the chance to go to the zoo! :) My mom came for a visit and took us there. It was a fun treat, and I so love that my kids get to visit the same zoo that I visited with my grandmother: :)

My, how life goes by. They're growing up so fast!

I blogged this picture six years ago:

Something crazy happens to your kids from the ages of 8 to 14 that makes you start to wonder where the time went:

And it was Naomi's first trip to the zoo. She didn't seem to care much quite yet. ;)

But Ivy loved it. :) We came a bit underdressed for the chilly day, and her Granna went to buy her a pretty pink sweatshirt, but Ivy chose this striped scarf instead (which fits her personality to a T):

It was actually chilly enough that my mom treated us all to hot chocolate- our first of the season! 

It was a fantastic day! 

For the rest of the week it was back to usual. I am still nursing this little lady every couple of hours through the day (and most of the night, ha). She is growing like crazy and weighed 15+ lbs. the last time we checked. 

These littles keep me hopping. Most days I feel like I have been transported back to 2007 when I three 3 and under... and even 10 years later with more experience it's still challenging. :)

Only this time, these three littles are now our big preteen and teenage helpers:

2007 (blog post)
It's almost hard to believe it happened so quickly.

What I said about having so many littles 10 years ago means even more to me now than it did then:
I would be lying if I said that having three small children is easy- but when I look at each one of their precious faces, I remember that raising them is a daunting task because it so very important. Every single day I am helping to shape them into the adults they will become. It's such a great responsibility that it's scary- and yet at the same time I am so honored that God has allowed me to have these great little children.
I'm over halfway there with the first three, and our time together is growing shorter and shorter. I pray the Lord teaches me and gives me a heart of wisdom to number the days I have left with them.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 
Psalm 90:12

The Sweet Gospel online study (introduction)

Welcome to the introduction of our study of The Sweet Gospel! What a blessing it is that we get to study the Bible openly and freely together! :)

This week marks the beginning of our study. You won't need to have read anything, so don't worry if you haven't received your book yet! (You also can find most of the information from the book online here and print it out for each week, or if you would like it all in one place but can't afford a copy right now, email me at mandy@biblicalhomemaking.com!)

why should we study the gospel?

We study about the good news of Jesus because it is the "power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes!" (Romans 1:16). It is the most crucial information we can ever communicate!

Because we sinned and violated God's law, we have no way to give God back the glory and obedience that is owed to Him. From the beginning of the world with Adam and Eve, we have chosen to follow our own desires and disregard what God told us to do, and because He is a just judge, we are destined to be cast out of His kingdom forever. Because we refused to obey the one true God and believe in His Son, we justly deserve to be condemned for our refusal to believe and obey Him.

If you do not believe in the name of the only Son of God, the Bible tells you that you are already condemned! (John 3:18).

This is serious. You will be condemned and sent away from the presence of God forever in Hell.

But God made a way for you to be right with Him- by sending Jesus, His one and only Son, to live as a person like you except without sin, to take your death and punishment in your place, and conquer death by rising from the dead!

All you have to do is put your faith in His Son, Jesus. The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household!!" (Acts 16:31).

This IS the best news you'll ever hear!!

God's free gift to you is pardon from your sin and eternal life with Jesus Christ!!

You can't earn God's forgiveness. You could never be good enough, you could never be sorry enough, and you could never come close to the perfection that is required by God and fulfilled by Jesus alone. 

All you have to do to receive salvation from the wrath of God is to put your faith in the Son of God! And when you do, the Lord saves you and makes you a new person- His child!

"The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel," Jesus calls to you from His Word in Mark 1:15! 

And that wonderful, life-altering call is what we will be talking about for the next several weeks! :)

the purpose of this study

I pray that this Bible study will help you understand the gospel Jesus is calling you to believe. And if you understand it and know it already, I pray that you would examine your heart to see if you truly believe and are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). And if you are in the faith already, I pray this Bible study will be a tool for you to proclaim the most wonderful news to those who do not yet know! 

Here are the topics we will be discussing over the next few months:

Week 1 - The Bible: Who, What, When, Where, How 
Week 2 - God: Loving and Eternal Creator 
Week 3 - Man, Sin, and the Fall 
Week 4 - Jesus: God in the Flesh 
Week 5 - The Perfect Sacrifice: Why We Needed It 
Week 6 - The Gift of Salvation and Repentance 
Week 7 - Leaving Behind the Darkness 
Week 8 - Believing and Following Jesus Now
Week 9 - The Holy Spirit: Our Gift 
Week 10 - Grace Upon Grace: When We Stumble 
Week 11 - The Transforming Power of the Gospel 
Week 12 - Seeking God's Will in Our Lives 
Week 13 - Walking in Joy with an Eternity Mindset

this week's video

Here's this week's introduction video (running time: 18:27). You can join me live next week at noon CST over here if you wish!

what's next

If you have the book, read the introduction in pages 1-10 over the next week. No homework but praying that God will give us eyes to see and ears to hear what He says in His Word! :)

Next Wednesday, November 22, I'll introduce "Week 1: The Bible" before we move on to reading that chapter. (Just like in school, you don't have to read the chapter until I explain it first.)

I'm praying that you will have a fruitful week soaking in the good news of Jesus and thinking about what it means for you!

Thank you for joining me for the introduction to The Sweet Gospel! :)

find it at:
all profit to go to the HeartCry Missionary Society,
"that His name be made great among the nations"

tomorrow is the big day!! :)

Our study starts tomorrow!! YAY! 

Lord-willing, I will be posting here and will be doing a live video on Facebook at 12 CST tomorrow that you can catch if you're over there (technology is SO incredible these days!), and if all goes as planned, I will be posting a recorded video here as well for our introduction to The Sweet Gospel!! :)

Just as if we were meeting at my house in real life tomorrow, you need nothing to start, and then we will start reading after our first session together! Just come and we'll chat about the plan for our next few weeks together and introduce why we are studying the Gospel! :)

I can't wait!! 

and the weekend giveaway winners are...

And the randomly selected weekend giveaway winners of The Sweet Gospel are:

Sharon Rollet
Monica Elizabeth Hartman
Kristin McKelvey Shockley
Karen Reep
Stephanie Lanier

Congratulations!!! I'll be notifying you by email or FB message!! :)

Thank you to all who entered!! :)

weekend giveaway: 5 copies of The Sweet Gospel

I'm celebrating the launch of The Sweet Gospel by giving away five copies!! :)

We're still scheduled to begin the introduction to the study next week! :) And if you win but already have a copy, you can always give it to a friend who might like to join in! :) The winners will be chosen late Monday night, 11/13/17! :) 

To enter, just leave any comment below!
(either with your email address, or signed in through Facebook so I can get back to you! :)