And Z is for…

Our last Weekly Memory Verse: Z is for…
“Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgements, O Lord. For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” -Psalm 97:8

Hymn of the Week: “Children of the Heavenly Father” (Carolina Sandell Berg)

Children of the heavenly Father safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven such a refuge e’re was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish; In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil evil things He spares them; In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever from the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth, and their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely to preserve them pure and holy.

Y is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: Y is for…
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them.” -Nehemiah 9:6

Hymn of the Week: “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” (James M. Black)
When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the Roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

X is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: X is for…
“eXalt the Lord our God; worship at His footstool! Holy is He!” Psalm 99:5

Hymn of the Week: “Jesus Shall Reign” (Isaac Watts)

Jesus shall reign where e’er the sun Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

From north to south the nations meet To pay their homage at His feet;
While western empires won their Lord, and eastern lands attend His word.

To Him shall endless prayer be made, and endless praises crown His head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue Dwell on His love with sweetest song,
And infant voices shall proclaim Their early blessings on His name.

W is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: W is for…
“When you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars –all the heavenly array– do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” Deuteronomy 4:19
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This verse ties in perfectly with our current study of the sky. This week we are beginning a survey of the signs of the Zodiac and how the ancient Hebrews viewed them before their meaning became perverted through pagan astrology. From scripture we know that God created the stars “to be for signs [from the Hebrew “avah” or “a mark,” as in the signs Moses used before Pharaoh] and seasons [from the Hebrew “moed” or “a fixed or appointed time,” never seasons of the year] (Genesis 1:14).” We also know He set the stars in their appointed places rather than just scattering them randomly across the sky (Psalm 8:3). God also named the stars (Psalm 147:4). He didn’t delegate this job to Adam like He did the naming of the animals. “The grand truth is that God made the stars for a witness to mankind of a coming Redeemer who would save fallen man from the clutches of the enemy, destroy the enemy and his power, and finally establish a kingdom of righteousness and light (Fleming, 12).”
But God also warned man repeatedly, as in our memory verse above, not to be lured into a false reverence for these created things and ignore their true purpose, to bring glory to their Creator. Of course, that is exactly what happened to His story in the sky. The real hero, the coming Messiah, was replaced by pagan personas and the stars themselves became their own source of meaning and power. This is astrology as it was millennia ago and as it is today. Here are a few quick facts to introduce our study:
1. The term Zodiac is from the Greek and means “a circle.” It’s root is from the word “zoad” which means “a way or path or going by steps”
2. The Biblical term for the Zodiac is “Mazzaroth” which means “the separated, the divided, or the apportioned”
3. Looking at the stars themselves which make up the 12 signs of the Zodiac it is only with great difficulty that one can imagine them to make up the intricate pictures and stories associated with them. And yet, they are universally found across all cultures to possess nearly identical names and meanings. Clearly, there had to be a common knowledge and understanding of these signs prior to the great dispersion of people mentioned in scripture. It is this ancient understanding and interpretation that we will be exploring in the next few weeks.

Boys enjoying the sunshine with a buddy.

Boys enjoying the sunshine with a buddy.


Hymn of the Week: “There is Sunshine in My Soul” (Hewitt/Sweney)
There is sunshine in my soul today, more glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky, for Jesus is my light.

O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, when the peaceful happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face, there is sunshine in my soul.

There is music in my soul today, a carol to my King,
And Jesus, listening can hear, the songs I cannot sing.

O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, when the peaceful happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face, there is sunshine in my soul.

Mom & Sam with Sunshine in our Souls

Mom & Sam with Sunshine in our Souls

V is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: V is for…
“Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior…For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” -Isaiah 45:15-18

That's us.  A pale blue dot caught in a ray of sunshine.

That’s us. A pale blue dot caught in a ray of sunshine.


Last week we learned that of all the types of galaxies the only kind that could be host to any kind of life is a spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way. And life could not just exist any where in this kind of galaxy. It has to be in an outer arm, like where our own solar system lies. The week before we learned that of all the different kinds of stars in the universe only a non-binary, non-variable, medium-temperature star like our own sun is safe to orbit for a life-bearing planet like our own. And earlier in the year we learned that planet has to be just the right distance from that just-right star located on an outer arm of that just-right galaxy. Oh yeah, and make sure the planet has the perfect mass, perfect rotation, perfect atmosphere, perfect tilt, perfect magnetosphere, a perfectly placed moon to keep the oceans from stagnating, and other planets placed just-so to keep it from being bombarded by asteroids. Yes, God indeed formed the Earth, not in vain, but especially to be inhabited. He is the Lord, and there is none else!

Hymn of the Week: “Unto the Hills” (Campbell/Purday)

Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes;
O whence for me shall my salvation come, from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
From God the Lord who heaven and earth hath made.

He will not suffer that thy foot be moved: safe shalt thou be.
No careless slumber shall His eyelids close, who keepeth thee.
Behold our God the Lord, He slumbereth ne’er,
Who keepeth Israel in His holy care.

Jehovah is Himself thy keeper true, thy changeless shade;
Jehovah thy defense on thy right hand Himself hath made.
And thee no sun by day shall ever smite;
No moon shall harm thee in the silent night.

From every evil shall He keep thy soul, from every sin;
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching, He whom we adore
Shall keep thee hence-forth, yea, forevermore.

U is for…

This Weeks Memory Verse: U is for…

“Until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18

A Psalm 113:3 Moment

A Psalm 113:3 Moment


Hymn of the Week: “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” (Matheson/Peace)

O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

T is for…

This week’s memory verse: T is for…
“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” -Daniel 12:3

This verse reminds me of another part of the great missionary story I made mention of a couple weeks back. Over 10 years prior to the overthrow of the Kapu system, a young Hawaiian boy witnessed the awful slaying of his parents by an opposing tribe. He escaped with his baby brother on his back but they were overtaken, the baby was pierced fatally through with a spear while they were in flight, and the boy was captured and taken to be raised by the very man he saw murder his parents. Not a pleasant start to my story, is it! This boy’s name was Opukaha’ia and eventually he was found by an uncle who was a high priest, and taken to be raised by him into the priesthood. At the age of 16, Opukaha’ia offered himself as a servant to a ship’s captain that had harbored there and left Hawaii not caring where he went. In 1809 he arrived in New York and there Providence led him to the steps of Yale University where he was taken in by Timothy Dwight, the president of the school and a devout Christian. Under his care and that of many other educated Christians, Opukaha’ia, already a gifted scholar in his own right, received an education that today would be the equivalent of earning a Ph.D. More importantly he learned the Good News of Jesus Christ and set about immediately on translating the Book of Genesis from Hebrew into the Hawaiian language to take back to his people. Opukaha’ia, now called “Henry,” traveled throughout New England pleading with churches to send missionaries to his island home.

Henry Opukaha'ia portrait from wikipedia

Henry Opukaha’ia portrait from wikipedia


Sadly, Henry’s life was soon cut short from disease, which brings me to the part of the story that I was reminded of by this week’s memory verse. It is said that when Henry died there was such a radiant glow of joy on his face that they cut a window in the top of the casket so that the thousands and thousands that attended his funeral could see this evidence of Christ in him. His memoirs were published immediately after his death and became the most widely read book in New England. This proved not only to be a great inspiration to the Mission Board but the sales of the book were exactly what was needed to finance the first group of missionaries which left aboard the brig Thaddeus in October of 1819. You may remember from the previous post that at the very time of their departure the Hawaiian people were overthrowing their old religion and the Lord was preparing the way for His gospel to be sown among Henry’s people! Those island fields were indeed ripe for harvest!

Hymn of the Week: “Nearer, My God, to Thee” (Adams/Mason)

Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!
Even though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be, Nearer my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee.

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs, Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee.

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, Upward I fly,

Still all my song shall be Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee.

E pili i ou la wau,
E pili i ou la wau, E ku’u Iesu.

S is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: S is for…
“Steadfast love will be built up forever;
in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” -Psalm 89:2

Copywork Wall

Copywork Wall


Hymn of the Week: “Be Thou My Vision”

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art-
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

R is for…

This Week’s Memory Verse: R is for…
“Rejoice with him, O heavens;
bow down to him, all gods.” -Deuteronomy 32:43
DSCN3262
I wanted to share a little story with today’s verse. It has to do with this picture; not the water fight going on in front but the wooden statues surrounding the temple structure in the background. Here in Hawaii we are surrounded by the the culture of idol worship. They are systematically rebuilding the very temples that they tore down with their own hands less than 200 years ago. Literally yards from our house is a temple to a fish god, and between us and the heiau at the end of our beach where they offered human sacrifices is a compound dedicated to the rebuilding of these structures where you can watch with your own eyes men hard at work carving idols from wood. But this story is about the particular heiau in the picture which was the personal place of worship for Kamehameha the Great. Six months after his death the cruel kapu system of the Hawaiian people was overthrown by their rulers. The highest kahuna in the land, Hewahewa, was the first to set torch to the heiaus, saying “I knew the wooden images of deities, carved by our own hands, could not supply our wants…My thought has always been, there is one only great God, dwelling among the heavens.” This same priest knew a new and greater God was coming and even told the new king that the one true God would land on the very rock in Kailua Bay now known as “The Plymouth Rock of Hawaii.” And he was right! Missionaries from Boston carrying the gospel of Jesus Christ were at that very moment nearing Hawaiian shores. Upon their arrival another Hawaiian prophecy was fulfilled that the One True God would arrive in a small black box in a language they would not understand. Do you know that the very first thing those missionaries brought ashore was a black Bible box written in English! Within 20 years there were more Christians per capita in Hawaii than on the Mainland gathering together in what were the largest Christian churches in the world at that time, with a single church totaling 7000 members. The Light of World had truly shown on the Islands and heaven was indeed rejoicing!

Hymn of the the Week: “The Light of the World is Jesus” (Philip Bliss)

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin; The Light of the world is Jesus;
Like sunshine at noon-day His glory shone in, The Light of the world is Jesus.

Come to the Light, ’tis shining for thee; Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see; The Light of the world is Jesus.

No darkness have we who in Jesus abide, The Light of the world is Jesus;
We walk in the Light when we follow our Guide, The Light of the world is Jesus.

Hele mai no, kou Lama no ne’i, Lama maika’i e ‘ike a’e ai,
Makapo au, ua ‘ike no na’e, Ka Lama one’i o Iesu.

No need of the sunlight in Heaven, we’re told, The Light of the world is Jesus;
The Lamb is the Light in the City of Gold, The Light of the world is Jesus.

A-Z Review Week

Periodically I leave a gap in our verse memorization to make time for reviewing what we have learned so far (as well as to compensate for the fact that we have more than 26 weeks in a school year). This week I also took the time to explain more fully exactly what our A-Z Memory Verse System is. This has been posted as a new page at the top of our site replacing our Reading List Page which I had failed to keep updated, anyway. We do have a new hymn however, so read on and if you haven’t done so already, make sure you add your favorite hymn to our ongoing list by clicking on the Hooray For Hymns icon at the top of this page!

Another Psalm 113:3 moment in Hawaii.

Another Psalm 113:3 moment in Hawaii.


Hymn of the Week: “The Wonder of It All” (George Beverly Shea)

There’s the wonder of sunset at evening, the wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is the wonder that God loves me.

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all! Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all! Just to think that God loves me.

There’s the wonder of springtime and harvest, the sky, the stars, the sun;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is a wonder that’s only begun.