Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Happenings

Hi to all of my sisters in Christ! I can hardly believe Christmas is near. My family and I had a very nice Thanksgiving and I hope yours was blessed, too. We have so much to be thankful for! Whether in plenty or in poverty, the Lord provides for his own. I love this wonderful bible verse:
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Psalm 37:25
Since we have no extended family near where we live, some good friends of ours invited us to spend Thanksgiving day with them. They provided a delicious turkey, dressing and potatoes we brought green bean casserole, 3 pies, and some Jalapeño poppers (for later in the day). After our meal, we watched a little football and then played some games until everyone got hungry again and then warmed up some leftovers for a little dinner. We had such a nice day with our friends and thanked the Lord for bringing them into our lives.

We got to see the real Nutcracker Ballet performance for FREE again this year. What a spectacular show it is! Last year was our very first time seeing it and we were so excited when it was offered to our homeschool group again this year. It was a matinee performance. My husband was able to shift his work schedule so he could go with us, but my oldest son was scheduled to work that day and couldn't get the time off. We missed being with him so much but were so proud of the way he handled his responsibility.  He's becoming a man! And a good man at that.

We have a couple of Christmas parties to attend and some more shopping to do. God has been so good to us. Our bills are paid, my husband's been working steadily and no one in our family has had a single cold yet this season! Praising God!!

I hope you're having a blessed Christmas season and finding just the right thing for those on your Christmas list. I'm so thankful for Jesus coming to be born into our world to save us. Thank you, Lord! He is so worthy to be praised.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. — 2 Samuel 22:31

When A Christian Experiences Slander

slander |ˈslandər
noun the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation;a false and malicious spoken statement.verb [ with obj. ] make false and damaging statements about (someone): they were accused of slandering the head of state.
If you've even been slandered, accused falsely and generally been given a bad rap, you're not alone. It's painful. It's sad. But the one thing you must remember is that the person doing the slandering is the one who is really the one to pity. If American court systems judge it criminal to accuse someone falsely, just think of what God thinks of it. 

People who slander others are winking at sin and show clearly that they are not walking with the Lord.  This is an important piece of the puzzle. What does the Bible say about the person who cannot bridle their own tongue? Their religion is vain.  Can you judge a Christian based on their works (speech/slander)?

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. James 1:25

What you do, what you say and how you live, speaks of whom you obey. The life of a Christian is lived out through the evidence of faith.  Faith is believing that God is to be feared and obeyed and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him. Faith without obedience (good works in Christ) is questionable.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
So when a professing Christian's "works" (their words, actions, behaviors) are "worldly" their faith, according to the bible, is phony.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Phillipians 2:12
Salvation is by grace, but it is evidence or "worked out" by walking in holiness and walking obediently to God no matter what others are doing around you. Anyone not walking in obedience to God needs to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

The word from many pastors in the pulpits is that after you say a little prayer, you're all set.  But the Bible says - in a myriad of ways - that we are to examine our faith to make sure it is true.  There are a lot of unsaved Christians walking around trusting in their Pastor's assurance. That is building their house on the sand. One way to inspect your faith is how you deal with hurts and injustices.  What does the Lord Jesus Christ say we are to do when we are falsely accused and someone slanders us?
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:44
What ARE you when you're persecuted? 

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

What should you DO? 

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:for great is your reward in heaven:for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:11

You read that right - rejoice when you're persecuted! It's backwards to our natural way of thinking. When you are able to do this - rejoice when you're persecuted - it's the Lord's strength that is making it possible.

Human instinct is to fight back or get revenge when you're wronged. While speaking the truth is certainly a viable option, there is a time and season for it. If it increases discord or fury, it's wise to back off. Proverbs says "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold." But Ecclesiastes says there is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." So when you open your mouth in your own defense, make sure it is God's timing and not your own. In all matters of great consequence, making sure of God's timing is critical.

When you're patient and you wait on God for HIS timing, you grow stronger. I've found this to be true. Waiting on God makes you strong! I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and the Word of God is true.

So if there is someone in your life that has slandered you even when you are "right", don't act in haste.  Even when they hurt you and say all kinds of wrong things about you! Jesus knows what this feels like, and he says:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath:for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink:for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

When you wait on the Lord to bring you justice, you will rise up on wings as eagles. I rejoice in the Lord. He's my portion. He's my rock. He's my deliverer. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

Some people, women in particular it seems, have really gotten into trying to keep the sabbath. Trying being a key word there. After all, they will say, it's one of the ten commandments, right? Or is it?  What exactly does it say in the ten commandments about the sabbath?
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. — Exodus 20:8
Notice that God doesn't say to observe the sabbath, or to keep the sabbath. He says to remember the Sabbath. How did Jesus legally break the Sabbath?

Because he IS the Sabbath.

So when we remember the sabbath, we are remembering Jesus. Who he is, what he's done, what he's doing and what he's going to do. Remember him. And who we are IN him. Remember what he did in Egypt. Remember without him you are nothing. Remember him. Call upon him. Sup with him.

Another way of saying remember is "don't forget" or, as it's written in the KJB, "forget not". This phrasing is used 24 times in the Bible.

One of my favorite Psalms expounds on why and what we need to remember or "forget not". It's really good stuff, too. Check it out:

Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, O my soul:
and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
who healeth all thy diseases;
 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;
so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
 The Lord executeth righteousnessand judgment for all that are oppressed.
 He made known his ways unto Moses,
his acts unto the children of Israel.
 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
 He will not always chide:
neither will he keep his anger for ever.
 He hath not dealt with us after our sins;
nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
 For as the heaven is high above the earth,
so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
 As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
 Like as a father pitieth his children,
so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
 For he knoweth our frame;
he remembereth that we are dust.
 As for man, his days are as grass:
as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone;
and the place thereof shall know it no more.
 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him,
and his righteousness unto children's children;
 To such as keep his covenant,
and to those that remember his commandments to do them

Um, that is an AWESOME list of benefits!! We need to remember how our heavenly father pities us and remembers that we're just dust. We need to remember that his mercy is GREAT toward them that fear him.

So while I don't keep the Sabbath, I do remember the sabbath. I remember Jesus and don't forget his benefits. Remember what Jesus said would happen when we "Come unto" him?
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus is our rest. He's our portion. He's done all the work and has asked us to remember him. And to rest in him. Our work is to believe in Him.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Move & Sweat

This week I got back into the habit of exercising each day and I am feeling better. Exercise is good medicine. :-)

I wrote out my fitness goals today and how to achieve them. Creating a calorie deficit each and every day through diet and exercise will result in weight loss.

So a deficit of 1,000 calories per day (burning off 300-500 in exercise, reducing calorie intake by 500-700 per day) will result in a 2 pound weight loss per week. I'm focusing this week on just getting some exercise each day. So far, I have made time to workout each morning for 45-60 minutes. I've "walked" the equivalent of approximately 13 miles so far and plan to walk another 3 tomorrow.

I love the Leslie Sansone videos. She makes them fun, gives great motivation and encouragement throughout and they are not wimpy workouts. I'm always sweating good by the end.

I also like The Firm workout videos. Their aerobic routines are a too little complicated for my taste, but the overall workout is very, very effective. They incorporate several sets of strength training all the major parts of the body and do little stretches throughout the workout which is nice.

One thing I learned this year is that when you sweat, you lose minerals. So supplementing with vitamins and minerals is super important when you begin a fitness regime.  I'm taking Youngevity's Mighty 90 liquid vitamin/mineral supplements and they are awesome.

Another goal is to begin increasing my fruit and veg intake each day.  Adding just a cup or two of a vegetable to lunch and dinner dramatically affects weight loss. It fills you up and provides good fiber (helps with bowel regularity and cleansing).

Losing weight is often like trying to knock over a Coke machine. It's rare you'll knock it down in one push. You have to rock it back and forth a few times and then it goes over.  I've tried a few times in the past to lose my extra weight and got discouraged and stopped trying.

This time, I'm quite determined to succeed. I'm also relying on the Lord this time and acknowledging him in all my ways. That includes my fitness goals.

A couple of my girlfriends are on the same journey so we are helping one another with support and accountability. We're trying to come up with a penalty/reward system but haven't really had any good ideas yet. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below!

Chime in! Do you workout with exercise videos? Which are your favorites?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cast Your Care

On any given day, stress can come and hit us between the eyes rather unexpectedly. I'm sure you know how that goes. You're going along in your normal routine and them, wham!, an issue arises out of thin air and you feel the stress mount. It's the stuff of life. It isn't always possible to fix it or make it stop. Sometimes we just have to get through it. How does a godly woman cope with life on life's terms? Read the instruction manual.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  1 Peter 5:6,7
Humble yourself. It's very humbling to admit fear, defeat, incompetence and failure. We have to rely on the Lord and cast ALL our care upon him.

Does this mean that he'll fix everything up for us? Not always. Not even very often. Because he knows that we learn and grow best in times of frustration. He wants us to learn to turn to him, trust him completely and humble ourselves under his mighty hand. But he gives us great hope:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation:but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Being a stay at home wife and homeschooling mother can feel like walking a tight rope at times. It can challenge us right down to our core. We are completely responsible for our children's day in and day out lives, the upkeep of home and hearth and guiding what can sometimes feel like a three ring circus. And if we're doing so without the support and help of extended family as many of us are, the challenge is intensified.

But we have an ally, a friend and a high priest who knows all about our struggles and he's there 24/7. Get to know him intimately. The One who made the earth, the stars and everything that is, cares for you and me and is ready and willing to be our comfort, our joy and the lifter of our heads.

Life is hard sometimes. But God is good.

Have a blessed day, sisters in Christ.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunshine On My Shoulders

Did you know that the bone disease, Rickets (soft bones) is on the rise?

When I was a new parent I actually got a lot of my health information from tv news. Crazy I know. They would have "experts" come on and give the latest greatest health trends and I'd actually believe them! ha. Until I began reading about health for myself and found much of their advice faulty.

One thing they have been far, far too officious about is sunscreen. The result is many parents have been afraid of letting their children get a drop of sunlight on their skin without a layer of sunblock on first.

The problem is that sunshine is good and produces vitamin D in the skin on contact. We all need that  necessary bone building vitamin and a little sunshine is not going to cause skin cancer as we've been made to fear that it would.

As little as 20 minutes a day of sun on your face and arms is more than enough. You can also boost vitamin D by eating fish, eggs and cod liver oil.  The time to bring sunblock into play is when sun exposure is prolonged between the hours of 10am and 2pm.  But before 10am and after 2pm, the risk for sunburn decreases quite a bit so those are safer hours for prolonged sun exposure.

What did people do in days before sunscreen?  They wore long sleeves, brimmed hats, skirts and pants and sought shade in the heat of the day.  But today we're so all accustomed to immediate gratification that we seek to blur out old-school rules like wearing wide brimmed hats. (Unless they're in fashion, of course. :-)

I kicked myself for not getting outside in the beautiful fall weather yesterday. I had so much to do inside that I never did make it outside. One of the drawbacks of living in suburbia is a lack of fields and natural surroundings to meander on.  When I step outside, it's sidewalk city.  I'm not complaining, just explaining. There is just less incentive to get outside. We live in a lovely quiet and peaceful neighborhood, and I'm so thankful for that. But I do hope to have a nice peace of land to putter around on one day. ;-)

So what is the point of this post today? Get yourself and your kids outdoors without sunblock at least a 2-3 times a week so they can make vitamin D. The kind our bodies produce is much better than any pill you we take. It's ideal and straight from our Creator! Supplementing with cod liver oil during the winter will help when it's too cold to get outside.

I plan on making a habit of walking the block in the morning and getting some sunshine on my shoulders with my boys. It makes me happy. :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Keep Your Perspective

If you were to be offered a glass of water OR a thousand dollars in cash, which would you choose? Most of us would choose the cash. But what if you were were lost in the dessert, dying of thirst? We would not think twice about choosing the water.

Our perspective is relative to our circumstances. When we keep our perspective fresh, our attitude and viewpoint will reflect gratitude. Are you happy in your homemaking? Do you wake up smiling, glad you have the privilege of loving your husband and children and guiding your home today?

I believe that homemaking is the most important job there is.  Even above science, politics, medicine, engineering, and so forth. Why? Because homes are where little people are brought up and shaped into what they will become. It is where we nourish the soul and train the spirit.

Today, there are far, far too many women who have foolishly exchanged their most high calling for a bag of tin. Some children begin their latchkey careers as soon as five. I see them every day walking down the street, backpacks strapped on almost as big as they are, heading for the elementary school. My heart breaks for them. They do not know what it's like to cuddle in the morning with mama as she reads them a story.  They'll miss out on learning about real life because their day to day life is a classroom with 2 dozen other kids their ages, force fed information.

I speak from experience.

I was a single mother before I came to the Lord and I supported my first child by myself until she was in 2nd grade. I was blessed to be able to send her to a private Christian school, but it was still heart wrenching to leave her with other people to care for so I could earn enough to pay the bills. I lived conservatively, quietly and clean and tried in my own strength to do it all.

Then one exhausted day, I gave my life to Jesus and prayed. I asked the Lord in faith for exactly what I wanted and needed: a godly husband, a loving home and a happy future. Within weeks, the Lord miraculously brought a wonderful man into my life who swept me off my feet. We dated in total purity, grew in our childlike faith together and were married a year later. The Lord had answered my prayer and I became the stay home wife and mother I'd dreamed of becoming. In this way, Jesus Christ had come into my world, showed himself strong and that he was my only source and portion.  I've been His ever since.

Has every day since then been homemaking bliss? Nope. Did I always emit gratitude, patience and love? No, sadly I did not. Mainly because, coming from a broken family, I did not have a base of homemaking skills and examples to draw from.

But with keen eyes, I watched every other homemaker I came in contact with and put myself on a speed track for on-the-job homemaking training. I learned as I went and made mistakes along the way.  Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman has been a process, just like anything else.

But it starts with the heart. No matter how tough your circumstances start out with, you can become a virtuous woman if you desire to be. You can make your home a haven no matter how small it is. God made us with nurturing and nesting instincts for this purpose.

So look at your home as a canvas that you can paint a lovely picture on. Read the manual — the King James Bible. Within its inerrant pages, you will find light for your path and perspective for your journey.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Daily Routine

The Lord calls us to be temperate. Many people think this must mean self-control, but it does not have much to do with self. The word "self" is not found in the Greek translation of the King James Bible.

From kjvtoday.com —
The word for "self" is not in Greek.  The Greek "εγκρατεια" is derived from the word "κρατος," which means "strength" (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary).  εγ-κρατεια literally means "in-strength" or "strength within" (as opposed to outward physical strength).  "Self-control" gives the wrong impression because it is not the "self" that gives this control.  εγκρατεια is a fruit of the Spirit, which means the Spirit is the one who does the controlling.  Many Christians who struggle with temptations soon realize that the "self" cannot provide this control.  Thus a focus on "self-control" is futile.  What we need instead is "Spirit-control," which is the very point of the passage in Galatians 5.  A Spirit-given "self-control" is inherently contradictory.  Temperance is an accurate translation because the word does not focus on the self.

Isn't that interesting? The Lord himself gives us the Holy Spirit and it is in HIS strength that we are strong. Not our own. Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. So we musn't rely on our"selves" for the strength to do what must be done. We need to look to our Saviour for strength. Most of us can physically do what we need to do in a day. But we don't, not because it's physically impossible, but because our will is selfish and weak.

We need to turn to the Lord in faith and he gives us his faith, his will, his heart, his mind, his STRENGTH. Through Christ Jesus, we CAN.

I'm embarking on a journey toward better health, fitness and strength and making more room in my daily schedules and routines to do what is necessary in order to achieve my goals. I have done this in the past, but I think I did much of it in my own strength.

Is it possible to do what I need to do?  Can I rule my own spirit (cause it to come under subjection to the Lord's)? The Bible says I can.
Proverbs 25:28 - He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. 
Is it possible to be moderate in exercise, food choices and finding time to spend with the Lord each day?
Philippians 4:5- Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
What do I need in order to make this into a habit? Should I expect it to be instant or gradual?
I Peter 1:5,6 - And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.  
Should I take my actions and choices seriously —  as though my life depended on it?
1 Peter 4:7 - But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
 Does temper (anger) have anything to do with temperance (restraint)?
Proverbs 16:32 - He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
There is a soft gospel being preached all over these days. A very hedonistic, self-indulgent doctrine that is leading many astray. It is contrary to the word of God, but many people don't know that because they are not in the word of God enough to be able to spot discrepancies when the hear them. The cure for this is to study and read the Bible daily. Every single day. It doesn't have to be a loooonnngg time. It can be a few verses that you read and then meditate on throughout the day. This is what I do.

But in addition to this, Christians must be moderate, patient and temperate and we must do it in the strength of the Lord. This means that all I do and say must travel through a filter. Because I am not my own; I was bought at the highest price imaginable.

Should we as Christians check with the Lord about every aspect of our lives?
Proverbs 3:5,6 - Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path. 
I want to acknowledge the Lord in all my ways more and I've written out a schedule for myself that seems like it will incorporate the areas I seek to strengthen - on paper anyway. :)  But with the Lord, all things are possible. When we trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts and acknowledge him, he'll direct, lead and guide.

So the schedule I've written out below is a run down of an average day at my house and the various tasks that could come up any day of the weak.  But the main thing is that I have inserted the things that were lacking - time for prayer, reading, shopping for healthy food and exercise. The part that I need the Lord's strength and help on is that the only time they fit into my day is early!

In Proverbs 31, these are all areas of a virtuous woman, which I didn't consider or think about until after I made my list! ha.

Get up early to get things done:
5. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
Get some exercise:
7. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
Get groceries (the early bird gets the [best deals, etc]"worm"):
14. She is like the merchants 'ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

Okay so here's my schedule that I pray the Lord will strengthen me to perform.

Basic Daily Routine

5:45   Coffee, wake up, Bible reading, prayer
6:10   Grocery Shop (quick trip to Sprouts 2 mi. down the street)
6:30  Workout, lift weights, stretch, invert
7:30   Shower, dress
8:00   Breakfast, vitamins, herbs, fiber, lecithin, plexus
8:20   Make bed, start laundry, tidy kitchen
9-11   Homeschool/projects
11      Lunch, 2nd dose herbs & vitamins
12-4   Homeschool/housework/Co-op/P.E./Debate/field trip
5-7     Make/eat dinner, clean kitchen
6:30   Prep coffee and lunches for next morning, time with family
7        Take a Bath 
          OR 
7        Have a cup of herb tea/reading/sewing/drawing/newsletter
8        Kids Bedtime

8-10   Time with my husband
10      Lights out

I'm excited to lean on the Lord for strength to accomplish all that he would have me to do. I know he's plenty strong enough and will show himself mighty in this area of my life. Praise his name!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Says Who?

Our culture today is thick with judgment. It is everywhere we go and the irony is startling. Heathen people proclaiming what is right and wrong, what is correct and incorrect, what is tolerant and intolerant.

Newscasters will freely offer their 2 cent frowning comments after a story that has political correctness overtones. They will chime in to reinforce the cultural shift toward tolerance. Tolerance toward what exactly? Where is the universal meter that guides their views on what is right and what is wrong. When confronted with the P.C. police, we need to humbly yet boldly ask, "Says who?". Who is the one making these broad sweeping judgments of what is right and wrong?

For those whose faith is in Jesus Christ, our final authority is God and his word. That is "who says". That is why and how we know right from wrong. That is why we can call certain behaviors wrong. That is why we can call sin, sin.

But for the ungodly, this is not so. They do not acknowledge God, but in fact hold his statutes and judgments in unrighteousness.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20
The Lord said that we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Our walk with the Lord is on display to those around us daily.

We are a witness to the One who lives within us:
when we give a loving response instead of an angry one.
when we give a soft answer that turns away wrath instead of a smartalick remark.
when we give generously to someone in need instead of pinching pennies.
when we speak the truth in love, instead of saying it bitterly or staying quiet to "keep peace".

Our behavior and conversation reveal who we are trying to please. Is it our hero, our brother, our Saviour, our King, our Messiah our deliver, our redeemer, our GOD? Or is it people. We fear what people can do to us.

They might fire us from a job.
They might talk bad about us to others.
They might remove us from their group, clique, club, or "circle'.
They might flat out reject us.

But there is only ONE whom we must fear:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:5,6
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear:
what can man do unto me. Psalm 118:6
We have a reason and a measuring stick for right and wrong. Says who? God.
We must be bold in our culture today. We must ask those who cry, "intolerance!" one question.

"Says who?"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween — Evangelism at Your Door

For years my family has been like most Christians at Halloween — we simply avoided it.  We turned of the porch lights, the front room lights and even posted a sign saying "No tricks or treats".  Halloween and all it's gruesome origins represent is evil and should be avoided.

However, Ray Comfort (Living Waters ministry) introduced a different approach to Halloween - evangelism. After all, you've got heathens coming right up to your door every year — why not turn the devil's day on its head and spread the gospel?  Why indeed. So that's just what we did last year.

It was quite an different experience keeping our lights on, buying bulk candy and most importantly, stocking up on great tracts. We took turns answering the door and simply said hello, smiled and put the tracts and the candy in each bag. A bit of a weak approach if you ask me, but we're just starting out. :-)

I hope that this year we'll be bolder and speak more as we have opportunity.

We bought two sets of tracts from Living Waters this year that were specially designed for Halloween. I think they are great and I hope you'll consider, as we did, reaching out to the lost who will be coming to your door in a couple of weeks.  Unless you live in the boonies like we did a few years ago and then no one came to our door which was nice, too.  If you want to to get these special tracts, they are sold on www.livingwaters.com.  There is still time to order them and get them before Halloween! We also love Chick tracts, especially This Was Your Life. Very effective and powerful presentation of the gospel!

Be bold in your faith and in speaking to others about their eternal destination.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Creativity

When I was a kid, I used to sketch and draw for fun. My favorite subject to draw was people. It was fascinating to put pencil to paper and watch someone "come to life" right there on the page. Especially once I got  their eyes right and it was as if they were looking right at me. Weird but cool!

But as I got older and life's responsibilities descended upon me, I stopped doing much of anything in the way of art or creativity. I found tiny outlets here and there but nothing substantial. I felt like I was wasting the talent God gave me. But I had little ones to raise and a whole bunch of home keeping skills to learn that I hadn't learned growing up, so my focus was definitely not on myself.

But now that my children are older, I'm revisiting my creative side. There are lots of great helps on internet and I've had fun poring over the beginner paintings.

Creativity is not just about art, however. We're all born with the innate ability to create and I think we are happiest when we allow ourselves time to develop creatively. To dip our brush in some paint, sculpt something with clay, design a room, capture a beautiful moment behind the lens, etc.

There are a multitude of ways to express creativity, but the important thing is to take some time to express it. With the internet you can explore all kinds of different methods - art journaling, scrapbooking, painting with acrylics, oils or watercolors, quilting, needlework, knitting - there are so many outlets.  Blogging is a verbal creative outlet for some. And while I'm not a very "creative" writer, I do enjoy writing as a form of creative expression and an outlet for the thoughts on my heart.

But currently, I'm exploring painting. I've always been fascinated by it but too afraid to really try. Paint can be very expensive and I've never really known what I'm doing. There are a half dozen unfinished canvas paintings in my basement that sneer at me whenever I happen by them.  But no more.

My dining room table is cheerfully covered with all sorts of goodies - canvases, sponges, brushes and acrylic paints. I'm going to do a painting today with my younger son and I'm so excited. :) It's a composition I found on the internet that looks impressive but seems simple to do.

How about you? Do you make time in your busy life to express your creativity? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Woman's Thoughts

If we want to have good attitudes on a daily basis, then we need to take a good look at the thoughts we think on a daily basis.  The Bible says:
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23
What you think about is who you really are. If you're in the habit of letting your thoughts dwell on the negative — how hard something is, how mean someone is, and so forth — that habit will manifest itself in many ways that will eventually shape you and lead to a life you didn't plan on.

Many people "end up" in situations and with dispositions that they never dreamed of — and it all started with their thoughts. The thoughts we think in our heart, are revealed in the choices we make, the words we speak and a the attitude we keep.

The good news is that we have God's Word and it tells us exactly how we can regulate our attitude. How can we make it more consistently pleasing to God and others?
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6

The Word of God also tells us what to think about.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phillipians 4:7,8
God is giving us basic directions for life here.
  • What should you do when you're frustrated, upset, sad made, defeated, overwhelmed, angry, etc: pray, give supplication (asking humbly) with thanksgiving. The result? The peace of God keeps your heart and mind through Christ. 
Notice the "hearts and mind" part of that passage? It all starts with our thoughts — our command and control centers.
  • God expects us to choose the thoughts we think about not just think about whatever pops in there. People filter their water more than their thoughts. 
When we get into the habit of running our thoughts through God's filter, we will have His peace:
  • is it true?
  • honest?
  • just?
  • pure?
  • lovely?
  • good report?
  • virtuous?
  • praise worthy?

When our thoughts are soft and in accord with God's plan for peace and joy, our daily habits will reflect his glory. Our frame of reference will be on the awesomeness of God and not the nothingness of man.

Let's think on good things today.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Homeschooling

My mom homeschooled me and my siblings  back in the 70's when it was illegal to do so. I remember ducking when the doorbell rang and going completely silent so whoever it was would go away. It didn't matter who it was — if it was during school hours and we didn't invite them, my mom didn't have the luxury to see who it was. Our friends understood and eventually joined us in homeschooling  for a couple of years.

So keeping the blinds and curtains closed and not being able to play outside "during school hours" was a normal part of our school years and it was a very serious thing. The consequences for being caught truant from mandated public school were grim. So we were very careful.

When I got married, I knew I wanted to homeschool my own children. They were lucky enough to be born when homeschooling had been legalized and was becoming more and more common. Today, there are millions of homeschoolers - and our numbers continue to climb. But the threats to homeschoolers have not altogether disappeared. 

We are still the object of suspicion for people who can't understand why we would deprive our children of the public school institution. There also exist more than a few cunning school officials who target homeschoolers to jump through more hoops than necessary when they pull their children out of a public school.  Which, in my opinion, every parent should do. I am extreme that way. :) I also believe every person should repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. There are some instances where grouping people into an "everyone" category is right and necessary whether they think so or like it — or not. 

When we started homeschooling, the state we lived in required that, unless I had an AA degree, I had to take a "homeschooling qualifying course". I was glad I took it because of all the information I received about homeschooling. I was given a wonderful introduction to homeschooling naturally and it has stuck with me. 

My primary goal was to bring my children up in the fear of God.  My guiding verses were:

For what does it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36
Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest upDeuteronomy 6:8

The command there is not academic. It is a command to teach by example loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and might. Those are the things we are to teach diligently. That is what we are to talk of when we sit, walk and lie down and rise up. That's all throughout the day. But it's not being a Bible thumper. It's not religious piety, religious rebukes, religious acts and religious talk. Nope. It is modeling Christ in our actions. It is saying "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" when we are wrong. It is giving and receiving grace. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts.  Raising children to love and fear God begins with a parent who truly loves and fears God. 

I began reading and singing to my kids in the womb. I continued singing to them with lullabies at bedtime and singing other songs during the day. I read to them daily and we colored in coloring books, played board games and played with blocks, numbers, magnet letters.  The world was our classroom. Everything was a learning experience and my children loved it. They didn't realize I was teaching them to love to learn.

When they were 4, I taught them to read using "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons".  The title says lessons, not days. :)  I followed my child's ability level and when they were overwhelmed, we took a break for a few days and sometimes a week or two, before continuing on to the next lesson.

If I had it to do over again, I would have waited to start that book with them until they were 5 or 6. Why? Because they could read magazine covers and billboards and whatever else - appropriate or not - at an age when their understanding levels were too immature to process it. So unless you live in the boonies and your world is very, very sheltered, I would recommend teaching children to read at age 5 or 6.  Even age 7 or 8 would not be bad.  Sometimes late really is better than early. (Raymond Moore wrote a book about that.)

Homeschooling is not a classroom. It's not separate from life. It's not about grades. The things we remember most are from what we are most interested in. How much time was wasted in school careers when we could have been exploring what we were fascinated by?

Give your children the freedom to learn and explore under your guided and loving supervision. Give them some boundaries, though. As children, they are not wise.  Just as you would not send them to play out in traffic, you must not simply throw open the doors of the world. Seek wisdom yourself and never neglect to ask the Lord for help.   And keep learning yourself!  Show your fascination at something you've just learned. Haven't learned anything new lately? It's never to late to start.

That's homeschooling. 



Friday, October 10, 2014

What I'm Meditating on Today ... The Work of God

There are a lot of ideas on what doing "the work of God" is.

What is yours?

There are some Christians who think it is serving their family. And that's certainly noble and needful and right. But is it, biblically speaking, "the work of God"?

There are some Christians who consider serving the community, the church, the local shelters, political campaigns, kids programs to be the work of God.  Volunteering our time and care to others is certainly loving others as we love ourselves. But are these things the work of God? Not according to scripture. So what is the work of God? Simpler than we think.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. John 6:28-29
Why do people want to complicate things so much when God has made it so simple. The work of God, according to Jesus Christ himself, who IS God, is to believe on him. Believe. How do you believe?  The same way you're believing on countless things every single day. We believe the chair we're sitting in will hold us up, otherwise we wouldn't sit in it.

If I saw a crickety old chair in someone's house and maybe wiggled it a bit with my hand and saw some loose joints, I would not trust it to hold me up. I wouldn't sit in it. I wouldn't "believe on" it.

Jesus Christ came, fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies and appeared to thousands after his resurrection. The miracles he performed after his resurrection were so many, that his disciple John said the world couldn't hold the volumes of books it would take to write them down. That's mind boggling. Books of miracles, not just an article or a write up, but books! 
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things:and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:24-25
Why did the Lord Jesus do so many untold miracles after he rose from the dead and before returning to heaven?  For those who would believe on him. Those people who saw with their own eyes the glory and power of the Son of God became zealous. They were willing to be martyred. They fervently shared their faith with one another so that the church would be strongly established, rooted in faith and grounded in love. The New Testament was written by eye witnesses. They believed and saw.

So doing the work of God is believing on him whom he has sent — Christ Jesus.  Believing on him is not something that comes and goes.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:4
Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is constant, like breathing.

Believing on him means doubt is nonexistent.

Believing on him means fear has no place.

Believing on him means I am single minded, walking in the light and abiding in him. 

Believing on him means that through the power of his resurrection, I have power over sin, freedom from death and authority to do what he has asked me to do. It's the very least that I can do for all He's done for me.

Believing on him means my spirit is at rest.

Believing on him means I don't try to earn a thing.

Believing on him means, while I don't intentionally sin, I don't try to be "good enough". My own righteousness is as filthy rags.

I don't try to "prove" my faith by my works. My works are a result of my faith.

The work of God is to believe on him whom God has sent.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Monday, August 25, 2014

So Much Ter Be Done

I have been too busy to blog much lately. There have been so many different areas that need my attention and concentration — and that is life. :)

I am enjoying the life that God has given me - whether things are going great or poorly. I'm alive and that is worth rejoicing about. I hope you, my cyber friends, are enjoying the life that God has given to you.

We must be careful not to put our wants, likes, and desires as our main focus. We'll always see areas of our life that don't match some or all of our desires and dreams. The world promotes the idea of living for your dreams, shooting for your dreams, you should be happy, you deserve the best, etc., etc., etc. And there's nothing wrong with having goals and plans and pray God will bless us. But the treasure of my heart is not here on earth and never will be.  It's with the Lord:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
If you have someone who loves you, you are blessed abundantly. If you have food, clothing and shelter, you are quite rich. If you have the Lord living within you, you are heir with Christ! That is where my treasure is - it is with Christ. What we do, let us do it for him.

Do those dishes, make that bed and fix that dinner in gratitude. Thanking God for your life and for the people he's put in it. You're not 6 feet under. We're here and our value is in how we are useful to God. We're useful to God when we are useful to others. :)

The Lord showed us by example that we are to serve one another when he wrapped himself in a servant's cloth and washed the feet of his disciples. A lowly servant's task.

Walking in the light, abiding in Christ means treating others around us with love and patience and kindness and going that extra inch or mile. It's what we're called to do and we do it for the Lord.

If you are weary of life, or tired of the mundane, get alone with the Lord and let him fill your cup.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7-8

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Choices and Being Perfect

Today will be filled with choices. Choices can become tiresome and sometimes I wish I didn't have to make SO many choices. What to fix for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. Choosing how to spend free time. There are many delicate areas of life where choices can feel excruciating to make. But still, they must be made. We're never free from choices. They are relentless.

The choice of what to say and not to say and what to do and not to do are what really count. We can't count our good intentions. If someone meant to say thank you or meant to send a birthday card, or meant to help you with something ... or or or ... we all know that it is only what is done that matters. 
Only what actually transpires. 

A lot of trouble begins from wanting to control other people and circumstances going on around us or in the world at large. But we typically don't want to control the one thing we can control, and that is ourselves. But God calls us to do just that.

Phil 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 

It's funny how we get the two reversed isn't it? God expects us to control our responses.  How we react to life, people, situations, and most importantly, to His commands is huge. 

But God actually goes further than this and commands us to be perfect

To understand what perfect means, the Bible actually defines the term.  The King James Bible has its own built-in dictionary and by studying the context where a particular word is repeated, we can understand the definition of that word.  

The word perfect is interesting to me.  It's elusive, like the sky. We can see it in God's creation to an extent. Taking into consideration the curse and the fall, I still see the perfection of God in his magnificent creation every single day. His perfection is astounding.

I've always found it amusing when people are compelled to explain why they aren't perfect. Like they'll actually say, "I'm not perfect, but" or "well nobody's perfect" etc.  It reveals that subconsciously they know that perfection IS the standard. God's standard. They know they should be perfect, but have failed to be so. They have fallen short. (Romans 3:23) As we all eventually do. I just find it curious that some people find it necessary to actually acknowledge it out loud. 

Below are 30 of the 94 places where the word perfect appears in the King James Bible. It would be beneficial to look up and read them all, but I'm just using these because I thought they were the most pertinent to this subject.

People and Perfection

Genesis 6:8
Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Genesis 17:1
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.


Job 1:1
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Matthew 5:45
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Psalm 37:37
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
for the end of that man is peace.
 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together:
the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

II Corinthians 13:10
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

God's Perfection

II Samuel 22:31
As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is tried:
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Psalm 19:7
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Matthew 5:45
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Perfect Heart and Way

II Samuel 22:33
God is my strength and power:
and he maketh my way perfect.

I Kings 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

I Kings 11:4 
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods:and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

I Chronicles 28:9
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

II Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly:therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

II Chronicles 25:1
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.

Psalm 18:32
It is God that girdeth me with strength,
and maketh my way perfect.
 He maketh my feet like hinds 'feet,
and setteth me upon my high places.

Psalm 101:2
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:
I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
A froward heart shall depart from me:I will not know a wicked person.

Proverbs 11:3
Riches profit not in the day of wrath:
but righteousness delivereth from death.
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way:
but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them:
but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

Made/Kept Perfect

Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever:
for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.

II Corinthians 12:7-9
...there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Philippians 3:10
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:27-29
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

II Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 5:8-9
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

James 1:2-6
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

James 2:19
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Revelation 2:2
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die:for I have not found thy works perfect before God...(6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


So we see from Scripture, there are few key aspects to being perfect. There is:

1) having a perfect heart toward God.

2) being made/kept perfect through trials.

3) perfection through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Lord's perfection is imputed or accounted to them that believe on his name. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags and will never be enough to atone for our personal sin. To clarify, you are only held accountable for YOUR sin. Not your father's, not Adam's, not your neighbor's. Just yours.

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son:the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die

Scriptures indicates that being perfect begins with the heart and spills out into our thoughts, intentions, understanding and beliefs and actions. When our heart is convicted, convinced and determined to follow Christ, obey his commands and walk uprightly, the mind follows. The mind is the command center. It is where our actions begin. So it is possible to behave perfectly but it takes a stupendous amount of inner control and patience to maintain it 100% of the time.

That is where trials come into play. As we mature and grow in the Lord, he is constantly perfecting us through trials. When you're going through a trial, look to Jesus. Rejoice in that you are being made perfect. Rejoice that when you're weak, his strength is made perfect in you. And that a heart that is set perfectly upon God is what he wants. Our total devotion, nothing in the way.  Just as it is with our spouse. I want to be my husband's Number one earthly priority  (God being his first). And he wants to be my number one.  When that kind of priority is met and intimacy is flowing, our marriages are in unity and in perfect peace. If/when we mess up, or make mistakes, the goal is to make our heart toward each other rebound as quickly as possible. Marriage is such an amazing and mysterious typecast of Jesus and his bride. :)




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams

The famous actor, Robin Williams has died. It is sad when anyone dies, I think. We always wonder what their last moments were like here on earth and what their first moments are like in the hereafter.

I read that Steve Jobs' last words were, "Oh, wow. Oh, wow!" Makes you wonder.

Some die tragically, some heroically. But Robin Williams' death will never be thought of in positive terms. He chose to cast a dark shadow over it. However, he is being hailed beloved, talented and even genius. One person said, "As funny as he was, he's truly one of the all-time greats, he was even better as a person. He was even more fantastic. One of the loveliest, sweetest, kindest guys I've ever worked with. ... It's a major, major loss for everybody."

Those are all very nice things to say about anyone. 

But on August 11th, he added one trait that no one seems to be willing to admit to: murderer.  Suicide is self murder.  Premeditated, ugly, horrifying, merciless murder. And it's a serious sin. Everyone instinctively knows this. Yet those who take their own lives are typically given sympathy.

Matthew 5:21
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

There are so many other ways that a suffering person can utilize the life they've been given. Taking it is a flamboyant, permanent act of tantrum. Famous people have it more difficult because many of the alternatives to self-murder would undoubtedly put a major dent in their pride. But to some, apparently a dent in their pride is worse than death. A staggering thought.

So here are my thoughts...

When a person kills themselves, we think that the motive is usually some form of self-loathing, depression, severe anxiety, inability to cope with the stresses in their life, etc. Sometimes drugs, alcohol or pharmaceuticals are usually involved. Sometimes there is a mental or hormonal imbalance. In some instances, demonic influences.

But if we brush away these circumstances and uncover the heart of the matter, what we will find is sin, guilt, self and pride. Depression, drug abuse and anxiety are merely symptoms of an over-inflated view of SELF.

Let's look at them one at a time:

SIN:
Romans 3:21 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Sin is a deliberate act that crosses the conscience. (Conscience literally means with knowledge. Con = with. Science = knowledge.)  So sin is a willful, intentional act of wrong doing.  God holds each one accountable when they first sin with knowledge.  James 1:14 - But every man is tempted [to sin], when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticedWhich brings us to the next one:

GUILT:
Once sin enters, a person then lives in a continual state of guilt. They have sinned against God and they know it. Guilt is a powerful motivator. It has prompted every religion in the world. Christianity is not a religion, but rather is the gift of God. Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Guilt attempts to salve the conscience. But self-atonement is a futile act in self deception. And an abominable affront to God. (More on that in a minute.)

SELF:
Old number one. Being selfish is very "natural" but it is not Godly. Selfishness always gives way to sin.  There is nothing that will kill a man so soon as having nobody to find fault with but himself.
2 Timothy 3:2-4 - For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy...

PRIDE:
Proverbs 29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low...We were formed by the hands of God, given his breath of life and sin the first chance we get. We are debtors to whomever we obey. When we sin, we become the "legal" property of Satan, the Prince of this world. But God loved us SO much that he paid our ransom with the highest price he could pay — the shed blood and death of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. With this in mind, what can any of us possibly have anything to boast about?  Absolutely nothing about ourselves. I can only boast of Christ and his shed blood for me. Pride is the mask of one's faults.

So what is a depressed, troubled, seething person to do when faced with the temptation to commit self-murder? 

First of all, they need to repent toward God for salvation. That is number one. There is no hope in this life or the one to come without the cleansing blood of Christ covering you. For those covered in the blood, this earth is the only hell they will ever know. For those who die without receiving the precious sacrifice of Christ, this earth is the only heaven they will ever know.

Secondly, they should make some changes in their lives. Suicide is never the answer!

I thought of ten alternatives to suicide. Chime in the comment section below if you have anymore to add.

  1. Give up your life. And I don't mean end it. I mean give it. Spend it on someone other than yourself. Make it your mission to help someone else, even if it's just one person, achieve all their hopes and dreams. Give it away. 
  2. Join the U.S. Military.  Fight for your country. Go to the front lines. At least if you're killed, it's in the line of duty and not at your own hand.
  3. Become a missionary. If you don't value living your life for yourself, pour it out for others. Let God spend you like a coin in his pocket.  
  4. Move. To a different state, or a different country. Changing where you live brings new scenery, culture and experiences along with a whole new perspective.  
  5. Change occupations. If a job is causing loads of stress, trouble or trauma, change it. No matter how hard you've worked to arrive where you are, give it up. Better to be a happy janitor than a tormented physician, athlete, movie star, politician, etc. 
  6. Downsize.  This is especially pertinent for the wealthy who are in financial crisis. Sell your expensive house, car, etc. Start a clean life. 
  7. Volunteer.  Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, etc.
  8. Join the foreign legion.  I know nothing about the foreign legion, but it's old school. It's what people did back in the day when they had no other ideas for utilizing their lives. 
  9. Fly to Iraq. Find a way to help the refugees who fled from being forced into an Islamic state. 
  10. Become a spy.  CIA, FBI, etc.  I don't know if they'll take just anyone. But someone who is at the end of their rope might prove a useful tool.
You get the idea. The point is, quit living for yourself. Find a better life. Make your life better. Join a better cause than Planet You. For someone rich and famous, doing any of these things would require them to give up their pride. That would be totally unfamiliar territory. No telethons and charity drives here. Just total and utter abandonment of their fame and fortune traded in for peace and usefulness. 

But death is final. There is no going back. And it's not our responsibility to call the shots of when it is to be over. When an unrepentant sinner dies, the world grieves the loss of its own.  But when a blood bought saint dies, heaven rejoices at the welcoming of another citizen.

The two worlds are starkly different. They don't blend - even slightly.  It is an all or nothing fight with evil principalities and powers of darkness against the Kingdom of God. Every breath we take is a chance to choose life.  Surrender ourselves to the cross of Christ and his crucifixion. But the exchange is indescribable. Life eternal with the everlasting God. His love for us is greater than we could ever imagine. He loved us so much, he became one of us, so he could save us. Wow. Just WOW. 




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Family Begins with Marriage

There are a lot of couples who say that they "became a family" when their first child was born (or adopted). They will use phrases such as, "we are trying to start a family". But ladies, the fact is that your family started the day you wed your husband.

A husband and wife, by themselves, constitute a family. You were two, now you're one. ONE. It doesn't get any closer to that. In fact God places more unity, more familial bonds and more importance on the unity of a man and his wife (singular) than any other relationship including parenting relationships. Because children are passing through. They are a part of your family. But their arrival does not create a family. This fable is actually a notion perpetuated by the media. Talking heads. The power of the tongue, the printed news and the "experts" who elevate themselves above God's holy word.
Genesis 2:24 - Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were blood relatives. Adam stated she was "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh". He was marveling that there was now another like him because he had been the only human on earth up until her arrival. And he immediately declared that they should leave their father and mother (even though they had no "earthly parents") and the two shall be as ONE. The two of them were the first family.

So it is today. Nothing has changed in God's plan. When a man and a woman wed, a family is created. When children come along, they are added to the family.
Matthew 19:9 - And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Perhaps the misconception that a family is only complete when children are born has contributed to the rise in divorces?  Surely the watering down of the meaning and Author of marriage has contributed. A man and woman bound by Holy Matrimony should never allow anything to come between them. So remember that while your children are blessings and miracles from God, and they have your utter devotion to their care and upbringing, your family did not start with them.

It started when you said "I do".
"To keep the fire burning brightly there's one easy rule: Keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart — about a finger's breadth — for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule" — Marnie Reed Crowell

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Garden

I get so excited every morning I look out the back door and see my garden growing.



I think we might actually have a harvest this year. Originally, I had started my seedlings indoors in April. And a day or two after I transplanted them in early June, we got a unexpected hail storm.

This thing took us all by surprise on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It was the loudest storm we'd ever heard! We had to yell to one another to be heard over the noise pounding on the roof. (Which now has to be replaced.)  The balls were one inch in diameter and they demolished my newly planted seedlings. :-(  This is a shot of my son holding one of the hail balls.



My flower pots in the background were covered in "white" when the storm was over and I went and scooped as many out as possible, which must have helped because they survived.

A few days later, I bought some replacement veggie plants from Home Depot and I was delighted to find that they had heirloom plants! I got tomato, basil, rosemary, tobasco pepper, rhubarb, zucchini and yellow squash. This time my husband made some hoops from PVC pipes along the planter box and I bought some painters plastic. That did the trick. Every time it even looks like a storm is coming, we cover them up. They have grown to be nice BIG plants and they are starting to have some fruit on them!


The blue tarp at the top was what we tried using at first, but it was just too cumbersome to work with and it didn't let in any light. But I left it up there because it provided them a nice amount of shade when they were new and delicate. It also holds the hoops together nicely. Not the prettiest sight, but it works. :-)



I learned that plants also like epsom salts. Just a small amount mixed in some water and sprayed on the leaves. They love the magnesium in there I guess. But it made their leaves a deep rich green color. I am going to give them another dousing of that soon because it's been about a month since the last one.

Basil, Rhubarb (and Zuchinni at the far end)


Some tips I learned about growing tomatoes is they LOVE calcium. I ground up some clean, dry eggshells in an old coffee mill till they were a powder and put a handful in the hole and then the tomato plant on top and planted as usual. And plant them DEEP, covering the bottom two or three branches into the soil. Then once they are set, never let their above soil leaves touch the soil. EVER. This is how disease and rot spreads in them.


My zucchini plant is getting huge! I was so happy to see a bee buzzing around this morning pollinating all the flowers. :)
Zuchinni 

I also sprinkled some crushed eggshells around all the plants to ward off slugs. It's a raised planter (like 3 feet off the ground) so I doubt we'll see any slugs, but I'm ready for them just in case!

I also have some potted lobelia and petunias growing nearby that will draw some bees around so the vegetable flowers will get pollinated.




How about you - are you growing anything this year? Do you have a huge garden, acres of crops or a small planter city garden like me? Do you have any tips for me about growing container vegetables? Leave a comment if you care to share. :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

12 Random Things About Me

  1. I drink coffee but I sometimes think I shouldn't. I worry about the calcium it might be leaching from my bones. But, alas, coffee I love. Black or with cream. Or mocha-fied. Iced or hot. But never with "cream and sugar". Yuck. Who puts sugar in their coffee? To me that is like sugaring your eggs. Just don't do it.
  2. I'm neither a morning nor a night person. My life has no room for such a luxury. I've learned to adapt to late nights here and there and early mornings. But usually, I'm sleeping by 10pm and up 6am. I said up, not awake. There have been mornings I've made my husband scrambled eggs for his breakfast just minutes after rising. I wake up about 20 minutes later. :)
  3. If I could travel in time, I'd live in the 1950s. (And stay there! ha.)
  4. I love crafts. I have tons of craft supplies for beading, scrapbooking, painting, wood crafts, sewing crafts. But I rarely find the time to do any crafts! Thinking about hosting a crafting party soon.
  5. I used to be painfully shy. I decided in my late teens - early twenties to subdue it and be more outgoing.  But I have to "force myself" to engage in conversations with others. Most of the time, I'd rather be a wall flower. 
  6. I dream of living on Vashon island in the Pacific Northwest (described so lovingly and humorously by Betty MacDonald) and running a cute little coffee and sandwich shop with my husband.  I see myself wearing a wide brimmed sun hat and sailing, digging for clams, and putzing around town in the summer with my wonderful husband. And lighting snugly fires and cuddling up for cozy dinners in the winter.  Having family for the holidays and weekends and feeding everybody. 
  7. I love playing Freecell on the computer. Once I discovered I could win every game, it's become my favorite. I play when I need a mental break because I when I'm playing, I can only think of  black on red and ace through king! So it's an instant relaxer for me.
  8. I love to decorate and I decorate other peoples homes in my head. But I feel like the most uncreative person in that arena and so boring. Which is why I'm constantly rearranging things here and there in my own home. I am never fully sure if something looks good or not. I constantly doubt and wonder how anyone ever knows just where to put something in their own house! But still —  I love to decorate! :)
  9. I love to laugh and on occasion, if I think of or remember something hilarious, I will laugh out loud. On the flip side, I've been known to cry on the spot if I recall a painful memory for too long. 
  10. The longer I live, the more intensely I dislike being out of the city. My idea of getting away from it all is quiet spot on an ocean beach. For me, there is nowhere so nice as the ocean and salt air. Some people are enthralled with the mountains, but when I'm there all I can think about is where the bears might be hiding and when the next mosquito will strike! ha.  Someone raised on a farm might feel similarly about a city environment. I was raised in the suburbs of one of the biggest cities in America and the urban jungle is what I know. And while I understand big cities and feel pretty comfortable in them, I do prefer the suburbs. What can I say? I like sidewalks and trimmed, green lawns. Someone has to! :)
  11. I've never been in a play or acted before, but my husband thinks if I ever tried, I'd be a natural. I can see why some actors say they are shy in real life. Acting seems like a fun creative outlet. For the record, I would only ever consider acting in a way that honors the Lord.  So if the Kendrick brothers ever come knocking, who knows?
  12. I've ridden an elephant. I was about 10 years old so all I remember was being HIGH up and the seat was very wide. Fun experience though!
Chime in. Anything randomly interesting about you?