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 pyrite. Fools gold. Some children begin their latch-key careers very early. Usually five, but some as soon as three. I see them every day walking down the street, backpacks strapped on almost as big as they are, heading for 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 fluorescent lit classroom with 2 dozen other kids their ages. And the force fed, Godless "schooling" kills the imagination and the EVIL agenda destroys souls.

I speak from experience.

I was a single mother before I was born again, and I supported my first child by myself up through first 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 cleanly and tried in my own strength to do it all.

Then one exhausted day, I was just so tired. Something had to give. So I prayed asking God in childlike faith for exactly what I wanted and needed: a godly husband, a loving home and a happy future. Within a week, a wonderful man walked into my life and 6 months later, swept me off my feet. We dated in purity, grew in our childlike faith together and were married 6 months after that. God had answered my prayer and I became the stay home wife and mother I'd always dreamed of becoming. We both had personal revelation from God that we were going to get married that we didn't tell each other till years later, which was pretty cool. 

But here's the thing. Jesus Christ responded to my humble cry and came into my world, revealed himself to me and I finally understood and BELIEVED that he only is my only source and portion.  And I've been His ever since. 

Has every day since then been homemaking bliss? Nope. Have I always emitted gratitude, patience and love? No, sadly I haven't. Newborns are rather messy. They drool. They cry. They mess their pants. Newborns can't even walk. It's important to take tender loving care of newborns. Many newborn Christians come from a broken family, as I did. Many women don't have a proper base of homemaking skills and examples in temperance and love to draw from.

But just as little children have keen eyes and observe and do like those around them, I watched every other homemaker I came in contact with. I emulated them, made plenty of mistakes and learned all I could about happy homemaking. Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is truly 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 living water to quench your thirst, meat to nourish your hunger, 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.

But in addition to this, we must be moderate, patient and temperate and lean on 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 week.  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.

Early Rising:
5. She riseth also while it is yet night
Exercise:
7. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
Shop:
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

      Morning
6am Coffee, wake up, Bible reading, prayer
Grocery Shop (quick trip to Sprouts 2 mi. down the street)
Workout, lift weights, stretch, invert
Shower, dress
Breakfast, vitamins, herbs, fiber, lecithin, plexus
Make bed, start laundry, tidy kitchen
Homeschool/projects
     Afternoon
Lunch, 2nd dose herbs & vitamins
Homeschool/housework/Co-op/P.E./Debate/field trip
      Evening
Make/eat dinner, clean kitchen
Prep coffee and lunches for next morning 
Family time
Take a Bath or enjoy some tea and read/sew/draw/watch tv
Kids Bedtime
Time with my husband
10pm 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 too 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.