LifeLetter Cafe LifeWriter Susan Shipe
is the mother of three adult children, grandmother (a/k/a Mimzy)
to 20-year old Hannah and 14-year old Simon, and the wife of one man
and together they love on their beloved dog, Sam!
Susan and her husband, Lowell, attend Community Church
in Mountain City, Tennessee and she enjoys writing, reading, organic gardening,
traveling, and spending time with her family.
The Cafe is excited to announce the release
of Susan’s first children’s book 52 Commands of Jesus For Children.
Here is a brief overview in Susan’s own words,
The Commands of Christ is a Bible teaching our pastor taught for one solid year.
His syllabus came from the Institute in Basic Life Principles, Inc.
This book is a 52-week devotion-journal for parents to use with their children.
Each week teaches a command and character quality.
Parents, use the scriptures and the questions
to probe the deep things with your children, in your own style and convictions.
All scripture is taken from the New Living Translation
and most of the scriptures are quotes from Jesus Christ Himself.
So LifeLetter Cafe is excited to share this recent interview with Susan Shipe
to dive deeper into the story behind 52 Commands of Jesus For Children.
Enjoy her answers below in the latest 7 Questions Sunday!
Today’s 7 Questions
LifeLetter Cafe: What was your primary inspiration/motivation behind the “52 Commands” project?
Susan Shipe: Our pastor taught the 49 commands of Christ over a period of several years. Each one being rich in content – in 2013 I began looking for material on these commands geared toward children. None. I began the work and filed it after writing the first six. This past winter, after writing and publishing 40 Days of Lent (a devotional), I inquired of the Lord ‘what should be next?’ He quickly responded, “FINISH THE COMMANDS FOR CHILDREN!” ‘Yes, Lord.’
LifeLetter Cafe: Your focus is Christ-like character development and your target audience is children – how does this impact your preparation and process in creating a manuscript?
Susan Shipe: In all honesty, I was intimidated writing for children. THIS IS IMPORTANT, LIFE-CHANGING material and I felt inadequate. I have written for children before – short stories based on Biblical truth and focusing on the stories “between the lines.” I have written a story on the birth of Jesus and a story about Malchus – the man who had his ear cut off! But, the commands of Jesus, red words from the Gospels, needed to be spot on – no room for error. Yet, I did not want to insert my own deep doctrinal beliefs – I wanted each parent or facilitator to use her or his passion to teach the command and the character quality that coincides with it. 52 Commands of Jesus for Children is a ‘jumping off’ place for parents and teachers to take the children as far as they can based on the ages and maturity of the child/children being taught.
LifeLetter Cafe: You are sticking to the Red Letters – which ones jumped off the page towards your own heart like never before?
Susan Shipe: Week 45 teaching the 45th command “watch and pray” with the character quality “endurance.” About ten years ago Holy Spirit planted thisendurance word deep within my spirit – it hasn’t left yet so He must have seriously meant it. What does endurance look like in 2017? Two thousand years ago in a garden of great angst, Jesus the Son of God asked a couple of men to watch and pray with and for Him. They fell asleep. Their temptation? They were tired. O! God! May I not be asleep when the Spirit speaks deep things with me OR simply, tells me to get out of bed, get on my knees and pray. I WANT TO ENDURE!
In our heart we surrender, we ‘give-in,’ we sell-out to God;
then we abide or live in Him, in His words and to His commands;
we use persistence to press on – never giving up.
– Susan Shipe –
LifeLetter Cafe: What takeaways can parents expect from this book for their own kids?
Susan Shipe: Oh, for sure, there are lessons for the parents within the 125 pages of this book. In fact, oft times I say to the parents and teachers, “How much more can we teach this truth than by being a living, breathing, walking example of this particular character quality?” Our children are reflecting us, whether good or bad, they do as we do not necessarily as we say. My father was a dishonorable man and one of his favorite things to say to my sister and I? “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” THAT IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE to kingdom living and teaching, is it?
LifeLetter Cafe: What excites you about a devotion-journal format coupled with a coloring page?
Susan Shipe: It just seemed to be the thing to do with this book. And, who doesn’t like to color? In fact, I am coloring all the illustrations in my personal copy! For parents and teachers of more than one child, additional pages can be downloaded from my blog site. One of the character qualities is “flexibility” and the coloring page is of a young girl doing an amazing backbend – I believe that image, coupled with the command of make disciples and the character quality of being flexible, will resonate and paint a picture in the minds of the reader.
LifeLetter Cafe: Can you share one of your favorite lessons from the book?
Susan Shipe: The last lesson: Bear Much Fruit with the character quality of Surrender, from John 15.7-9. Jesus speaking, “but if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings glory to My Father. I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love.” The character quality is three-fold: surrender/abide, persist. I close the book with this: In our heart we surrender, we ‘give-in,’ we sell-out to God; then we abide or live in Him, in His words and to His commands; we use persistence to press on – never giving up. To that? I can only say, “Yes, Lord!”
LifeLetter Cafe: For families having a hard time creating and sustaining a quiet time with their younger children, what suggestions might you offer?
Susan Shipe: 52 Commands of Jesus features one command per week for an entire year. Personally, I think Sunday evening would be the perfect time to BEGIN the lesson in order for the exercises to be incorporated for one full week. Each lesson has three to five sections, simple sections, for teaching and sharing. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for families to sit at the dinner table three times a week with the devotional book in the hands of a parent, each child with a box of coloring pencils and a color page, and after dinner they linger five to ten minutes with The Word and each other! How pleased The Father would be!
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