Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy 20th Anniversary, My Beloved!!

It is with great joy and gratitude that I (David) wish my precious bride a very happy 20th anniversary!!

Jill, I not only am grateful for the growth in godly womanhood that I have seen in you since we took our vows before the Lord in 1990, but I have heart-filled thanksgiving for how you have helped me grow in my roles of provider, protector, prophet, and priest of our dear family!! You are my dear help-meet and I am so very blessed to have you as my cherished wife!! May the Lord grant us a very fruitful and productive life in every area as we seek to honor and glorify His Name in our dominion work!!

I love you, Jill!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dominion and Dragons - Ye Olde Essay Contest Entry

This entry to the Vision Forum essay contest is from Jordan (age 15) and is titled "Dominion and Dragons".

My father diligently trained me in many things, but most especially in sword fighting and taking dominion.

“I am raising you differently from this world for a reason. You must learn to take dominion,” he would often say. “Find the area where you can do the most good for Christ’s Kingdom. When you have found it, put your whole heart into it. And remember, Christ has assured the victory!”

When I came of age, my family commissioned me for battle. I was given a full suit of armor and a sword.

“Remember,” my father said, as he presented me with the sword, “to always use this weapon on the side of righteousness. Never use this sword to suppress the truth or oppress the poor and widowed. God sees all, my son, and one day He will judge you.”

Several years before, someone let a dragon into the village. It began as a small, harmless-looking animal, but appearances were deceiving. The dragon rapidly grew into an evil, fire-breathing, tyrannical monster. A few of the villagers were concerned about the dragon’s presence, but most did not seem to care. One fact was certain, however: no one was willing to fight the dragon. In fact, several influential knights, who could have driven the dragon from the village, condoned or supported it. One even went so far as to say, “The dragon is harmless. We can be knights and have a dragon in our midst, as long as we control it.”

The only problem being, of course, that a dragon cannot be controlled.

The villagers who were inclined to fight the beast were silenced by these comments coming from their leaders. The dragon was allowed to continue destroying homes and farms. Whenever another house was burned to cinders, the villagers would either pretend nothing had happened or blame it on anything-- except the dragon.

My father had told me of this dragon. “One day, God will use a faithful warrior to slay this beast.”

This saying from my father was in my mind as I walked through the town. I halted in the village square.

“People of this village, listen!” I shouted above the tumult of the market. “We must band together and slay this dragon!”

“I like this dragon! And who are you to be telling me what to do?” a young fool scoffed.

“Get out of here!” demanded a shopkeeper, waving a stick threateningly.

“I speak the truth! The dragon will destroy your families!”

I have not found out who threw the first pebble, but it is certain that the crowd began to pelt me with them. I turned and ran, hotly pursued by the villagers’ rocks.

“Foolish peasants,” I muttered, when I was safely outside the village. “I should leave them to be justly devoured by that dragon. They do not merit any help from me.”

As I said this, some of my father’s sayings flooded into my mind.

“Son, we did not deserve Christ’s sacrifice for us. We must reach out to those whom we might consider undeserving.”

“We should not let our notions towards someone bar us from helping them.”

I knelt as tears flooded into my hands.

“Father in heaven,” I prayed, “give to me the courage to forgive those people in yonder village, even as Thou hast forgiven me. Amen.”

With this prayer, I felt a sense of peace wash over my troubled soul.

“Come and help us,” pleaded a princess dressed in blue.

“You must fight this dragon! If you do not, we will die,” said a regal-looking figure with a crown.

I awoke with a start.

“Lord, do you want me to do battle against this beast? He is fierce, and I am neither strong, nor rich, nor experienced.”

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect through weakness,” came into my mind. I donned my helmet, and went to meet the dragon.

“Prepare thyself to die!” I shouted into the dragon’s lair. “The Lord Sabaoth has sent me for the express purpose to kill thee!”

“Fool!” the dragon spat contemptuously. “I have killed many a better knight than you.”

“If I die,” I proclaimed, “be assured that another more powerful than I will arise and destroy you.”

He rushed out of his lair and charged at me. His sharp talons cleaved downward to cut me in pieces, but my sword blocked them. He let out a hideous roar, and a jet of fire blazed from his mouth. I ducked as the flames flew past my head. From my kneeling position, I lunged at the dragon’s chest, but his bony scales guarded him from my thrust.

His claws slashed at me again.

We both thrust and sliced at each other, but with no clear result. At last, I saw an opening in his defense. I set my teeth and thrust at his chest. When I had attempted this before, his scales had protected him, but now my sword seemed sharper. Is it not odd? Swords usually dull with usage. The scales offered no resistance, and my sword penetrated. The beast let out a hideous roar, and flames came again from its mouth, but it was mortally wounded. The dragon sank down on the grass and staggered near a lake, but finally became still. I took off my helmet, jabbed my sword into the earth, and poured out a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord of Hosts, who had seen fit to use me to advance His kingdom by killing this beast.

When I had finished, I looked up to see two people in front of me. One looked like a king. He was a nobleman not only in attire, but also in bearing and in manner. His daughter (or so I presumed she was) had clearly taken after her father in this regard. They looked vaguely familiar. Finally, it burst upon my memory. They were the people I had seen in my dream, pleading for someone to slay the dragon. The king at length broke the silence.

“For many years I have watched this dragon. I fought against him several times, but to no avail. Now may the Lord of Hosts be praised in that He has raised up a deliverer.” He drew his regal sword.

“Now,” he said, “by the authority given me by the Lord God, I admit you into the Order of the Knights of Divine Providence. May you teach men to observe all that we have been commanded in Holy Scripture.”

As we watched, the river bank crumbled under the prodigious weight, and the dragon plunged into the lake.

Here my tale ends. I tell it with reserve, for I would not appear to be boasting of my own exploits. There was no earthly means by which I could have prevailed. To God alone be all the glory for this victory! And to thee, dear reader, I address a word before I close. May this story of how God used a young knight to slay a terrible dragon inspire you to fight against the powers of evil. God is not concerned with our results, only that we obey him faithfully.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Arthur's Fight - Ye Olde Essay Contest Entry

This next story entered in "Ye Olde Essay Contest" was written by Aidan, age 13. It is titled "Arthur's Fight".

Back when there were heroic knights and fierce dragons, there was a castle that was in great danger. It was in danger because there was an enormous dragon coming close to the castle. The king was nervous about the dragon, because he knew that this beast would burn down the whole city to ashes, so he decided to arrange a meeting with his knights in the Great Hall. They hurried in after the king, dressed and armed for any battle. “Noble knights,” the king announced, “We have a fierce dragon that, if it comes close to our castle, will burn it down. Will any of you attack this beast?” Sir Richard replied with, “If we attack it, we will be worse off than if we just wait to see if the dragon passes by.” “That is not safe for our people!” exclaimed Bartholomew the archer incredulously. “I would go fight this beast, but I need to take care of my family.” “Sir George,” the king questioned, “Will you attack this mighty beast? You may use whatever weapons you wish.” “Nay,” he replied, “I am no match against a mighty dragon.” The king asked all of his knights, but none would go.

The king sat dejected in his chair until his daughter came in. “Father,” she asked, “what is wrong?” “Not even one knight will fend off the nearby mighty dragon,” he replied. “Why not Arthur the squire?” she suggested. “He is brave and has even fought in battles before.” “Perfect!” the king exclaimed. He bounced out of his chair and bounded down the hall to find Arthur. When he found Arthur, he asked him if he would take the task of fighting the dragon. “I will, your Highness,” he said humbly. “When shall I attack this creature?” “After sundown,” was the king’s answer. “Try to find it before it awakens. Otherwise you will have a difficult fight. But make sure you do not fall asleep.”

So Arthur walked into the weapons room. “What shall I fight with?” he asked himself. The halberd was too unwieldy. The bow and arrows would not be sharp enough. The battle-ax was very heavy. The daggers were short. And the broadswords were huge. Then he spotted a sword just the right size. He picked it up, grabbed a shield and a helmet, and set off.

After walking for hours, he lay down and fell fast asleep. Meanwhile, the king and his daughter were worriedly hunting for him because he should have been back hours ago. Arthur woke up seeing that the sun was already up, and was feeling a cold-blooded creature with scales on top of him. “This must be a large snake to have a tail this massive,” Arthur mused. But when he saw its head, he decided that it was a dragon, and it was wondering what Arthur was. He hurriedly threw his sword at the beast’s head, but it caught the sword between its teeth and breathed fire at him. Arthur threw his helmet at the dragon next, hoping to possess his sword again. This idea worked because the dragon dropped the dented sword out of its mouth and batted the helmet away. The helmet flew at Arthur’s head, but providentially, Arthur tripped over his shield and the helmet flew harmlessly over him, startling the dragon when it clattered to the ground. So, Arthur got up off of the ground and, as the dragon lunged at him, thrust his sword through the dragon. There lay the once mighty dragon, conquered by a squire. Arthur looked up to see the king and the princess running to meet him. When they asked him how he won he answered, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The king was so pleased that he knighted the brave squire right there. The king, the princess, and Sir Arthur happily walked back to the castle, never to be bothered by the dragon again.

The End

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Brave Squire - Ye Olde Essay Contest Entry

Each of our children (except our newest little blessing) and I (David) submitted stories to "Ye Olde Essay Contest" from The Vision Forum. The assignment was to write a compelling story that told the tale of what was depicted on the cover of their 2010 catalog. Pictured on this cover was a king knighting a young man who was kneeling beside the tail of a dragon who had obviously been slain. Looking on this knighting ceremony beside the king is a fair young maiden. Click here to view this catalog (which contains many God-honoring books, DVDs, CDs, and toys that all make great gifts).

While none of us won the contest, we all enjoyed writing these stories. We even had a special night where each of the authors read their stories (complete with a make-shift podium) to our beloved family audience. We all agreed that essays sounded very true to the author that penned them. We hope that each one of them will be a blessing to you.

This first story was written by 8-year-old Amara and is titled "The Brave Squire".

Once upon a time, there was a big dragon who scared all the people that lived in the king’s village. The dragon was very fierce, and breathed fire. He also showed his teeth to everyone. The king wanted to have the dragon be fought. But the knights were afraid, so they went to the king. The head of all the knights began. “Your Majesty, someone needs to fight the dragon, but we are too scared of it with its fire and teeth.” But Jacob the squire was not very afraid. He had been practicing as a page to fight and finally became a squire.

“Well, who will fight the dragon?” asked the king.

“I do not know,” said the knight. “I suppose you will have to find someone, Your Majesty. Good-bye.”

The knights left the castle and went near the stable. “I see you are taking good care of my horses.”

“Thank you,” said the squire. And they passed by.

After a while, the king walked to the squire. “There is a big dragon, and no one is going to fight it.” With that, he walked away.

The squire hurried to his sword and helmet, and practiced against a tree. Late that night when the squire was back in the castle, he saw some fire coming out of the forest. “Now I wonder why that is,” thought the squire. So he walked to the forest to get a better look. Then he saw the big dragon. “I must fight it.” He grabbed his weapons and started fighting.

The squire fought all night with the dragon. In the morning, the squire won! The king watched closely as Jacob fought the dragon, without Jacob even knowing it.

“Jacob!” said the king.

Jacob, hearing this, ran to the king and asked, “What can I do for you?”

“Come to my royal garden. Then I will tell you there,” replied the king.

As they walked, Jacob thought, “I wonder what we are doing?”

“We will see the princess there,” said the king. “Here we are,” he announced as they came to the princess.

“Hand me the sword, princess,” he whispered.

“Yes, sir.”

“Now,” the king announced, “I am going to knight you.”

Jacob knelt to the king. So, the ceremony started. The king began. “I knight thee Sir Jacob.”

And everyone in the village felt safe.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's Not Too Late!


You need to sign up for Evenings with Victoria Botkin. The Botkin Family is a wealth of godly wisdom. We women need to be bolstered in the truth. She is uncompromising in regards to what God's Word says, she is an encourager, and she has a sweet, gentle way of speaking. I have already been so blessed by the one session we have had so far.

The session runs for 9 weeks every Monday evening. She has had one session already, but you can still sign up and get the missed session (and any session thereafter) as a download. I have actually re-listened to the session to make sure I have gleaned all I can. I am confident I will do this with every session.

Here is where you can read comments from others, plus listen to a sample of this past Monday's talk: http://visionarydaughters.com/

Here is where you can get more information, as well as signing up: http://westernconservatory.com/evb

David and the boys did the same thing on Saturday mornings with Geoff Botkin. Great stuff. I think they plan to do another men's session later on.

Ladies, we need all the help we can obtain to become the women God intended us to be. Seize every opportunity you can in order to get that help.

God bless you.