Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Becoming all things to all men

I was going through the attic looking for school books for this coming homeschool year.  I have boxes and boxes of homeschool books.  Some dating back to our first years.  School books are a major monetary investment so I try to purchase things that can be handed down from one child to the next.  (As long as I don't forget where I put them.)

I came across a booklet from the Sonlight Curriculum, "The Kingdom Strikes Back".  It's a short look at how "events" (some not so pleasant) in history, aided in the Great Commission to spread the gospel to all tribes and tongues. 

This booklet picked up right where Brother Andrew's biography left off.  The books we have been reading have given us a renewed interest/energy in evangelism and discipleship.  I'm not sure where this is leading but it sure seems to me that God has given our family reading time a "theme".  My family's workplaces, colleges, and friendships have all taken on a new meaning with new opportunities to "Go share the love."

One section of the booklet quoted the apostle Paul and I had to look up the Bible verses in their entirety.

1 Corinthians 9:22  The Message (MSG)

 19-23Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Matthew 5:43-47 Prayer

Lord help me to show love to everyone.  Even to those who are unkind or who think differently than I do.  Give me Your grace, kindness and love. The grace, kindness, and love that I don't naturally possess but You do.  Change me.

43-47"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking beyond the Negative

It seems that lately I’ve been hearing about moms taking a lot of “heat” for having large families.  I’ve been there and my dismay isn’t with the people giving the heat.  When you do something different you can expect that reaction especially from the world.  My dismay is from the reaction of the moms. 
I realize there are people out there with an anti-family agenda but our reaction should never be anger but a testimony to our God.  Loads of people believe one of our nation’s biggest needs is revamping our public education system.  Many people know we have a problem with our young people …they are just mistaken as to what the answer is…they need Jesus.
Sometimes people say negative things like, “We could never afford to have children.”  “How do you survive?”  Our response should always point them to Jesus…, the Lord has always provided for us, we have always had more than enough.  If you are obedient to Him, He will supply all your needs. 
Sometimes other moms say negative things because they are going through a really rough time.  They can feel desperate and overwhelmed.  Negative remarks and comments are often a sign of pain and hurt.  If our response is a quick tart remark, the chance that they will want to follow our Jesus is not so likely.  Showing them love and understanding may not be the first thing on the tip of your tongue but it should be.  Turn their negative remarks and attitudes into an opportunity to minister and lead them to the Lord. (Reread The Hiding Place if you need too.)
As Christians, we should all try to be encouragers.  The next time a mom says “…wait til you have teenagers.” Maybe say something like, “I’ll remember to pray for you this week.  How are things going?”
Or try to make her smile by pointing out an older sister in the Lord and saying, “Look at Ruth, she raised more kids than both of us put together.  Her husband looks happy.  She still has all her hair and can speak in complete sentences.  If she can do it, we all can.” 
Sometimes seeing through the negative remarks and looking at the person within, the person Jesus loves and died for, can change a situation, an attitude or maybe even a life….the simplest response can open a flood gate and allow us to speak love and encouragement into the heart of a mom who needs it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Deciding...A Person's Will...

One of my best friends sent this to me. She is filled and led by the Holy Spirit. She is always an encouragement to me, my trusted confidant, loving me unconditionally, always pointing me to Jesus.
You really need to read this devotional in full.  Below are just the highlights that spoke to me and will hopefully peak your interest.  Here is the link to the My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers  complete day's devotional
Will to Be Faithful...
. . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . —Joshua 24:15

"..., I cannot give up my will— I must exercise it, putting it into action. I must will to obey, and I must will to receive God’s Spirit. When God gives me a vision of truth, there is never a question of what He will do, but only of what I will do. The Lord has been placing in front of each of us some big proposals and plans. ,..., Your choice must be a deliberate determination,..., The proposal is between you and God— do not “confer with flesh and blood” about it (Galatians 1:16). ,..., God allows the opinion of His other saints to matter to you, and yet you become less and less certain that others really understand the step you are taking. ,..., Openly declare to Him, “I will be faithful.” But remember that as soon as you choose to be faithful to Jesus Christ, “You are witnesses against yourselves . . .” (Joshua 24:22). Don’t consult with other Christians, but simply and freely declare before Him, “I will serve You.” Will to be faithful— and give other people credit for being faithful too."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Homeschooled Kids Out in the World

We've homeschooled all of our children.  You hear the stories of how homeschoolers are unsocialized and will be unable to function in the real world.  You worry...cause that's what moms do.  But you know the Lord and His leading and you follow Him.  So you continue to homeschool.  My children were like those little seeds you start on your window sill.  You protect them and nurture them; giving them just enough sun and water and they thrive.

Well let's kids were able to get into college, dean's list, and graduated.  They were able to get jobs.  Yes, employers like their work ethic and integrity. can't even tell they were homeschooled or can you?!? 

They are able to relate to co-workers older and younger because they were never just in a class room setting with only peers their own age and so they relate well to all ages. 

They are like the seedlings that need to be "hardened off" before placing in the garden.  You take them outside in a sheltered area to get them accustomed to the temperature changes.  You need to give them extra water until their root system is established.

The older kids are in work and college environments where they come in contact with non-believers.  Some of those are in authority positions, some are fellow peers, some are customers that are always right.  But my children have been trained and "hardened off".  They weren't isolated in a green house all this time.  We discussed hard issues.  We discussed the reasons of why we do and believe certain things.  We don't give the answer "just because".   We give them Bible verses, encouragement, examples and resources.

Some of the new plants in the garden don't make it to the stage of producing fruit.  They wither, are eaten by rabbits, or are overcome by weeds.  I can't tell which ones this will happen to before I set them out.  But I can tell you what happens to the ones that make it.  They produce fruit....Abundantly.  Not of their own accord, strength or wisdom but because they are obedient to the Master's directions. 

I had a conversation with one of my kids last night that went like this:
"Does anyone know you are a Christian at work?" 
"Oh, yeah."
"There aren't many Christians there."
"How do you know?"
"I ask."
"You ask? Do they stay away from you after that?"
"Mom, I don't go around and take a survey.  I get to know them.  They are my friends.  I eat lunch with them.  I care about them.  You taught me to love them.  Then I ask.  It's only natural.  In fact, there was a college intern the other day, that had so many questions about God and Christianity.  I wish I would have had a Bible to give her."
"I'll give you one to carry in your truck. Pray for God to give the opportunity.  Don't do it without Him on your own.  There will be no fruit.  Wait patiently for His timing."
"How will I know?"
"Pray and be prepared.  You will be surprised."

As a parent I watch for signs of wilting and neglect....and at the direction of my Lord will jump in (holding back is harder, trust me).  The reasons they obey and believe God, will have to become their own not their father's and mine.  That can take some time and sometimes some wilting, unconditional love, and lots of forgiveness.

I still trust in the same Lord that directed us to homeschool. He is still involved in our children's lives.  I see Him working there.....when He's not busy working and transforming me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Update on the renewing of your mind post

My husband left for work that Thursday morning unsure of how to handle the situation but was praying. 
The man who did the wrong had agreed to mail a check to make things right.  That was weeks before and no check.  My husband called him again and he again said he would send a check.  Another week + went check.  Then the Thursday morning with all the worldly ways and thoughts of how to handle this situation came to our minds and discussion...then the Corrie ten Boom story...and then praying and thinking.  My husband called home before lunch.  He needed to tell me an unusual happening....he got a phone call....out of the blue.  It was from the man who was to send the check.  The man apologized that so much time had lapsed and met with my husband along with the cash on Friday.  We did nothing but pray and wait.  Our daughter came over for supper and car repairs last night and we were able to give her the money.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A renewing of your mind...

Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Thinking a new way...not our natural way but a new way.  God has been speaking to my husband and I not by sermons or special speakers but in unusual ways that we "just happen" to come across. 

For instance...yesterday was music lesson.  I picked up the nearest book to take along to read.  It was the "Tramp for the Lord" book by Corrie ten Boom with Jamie Buckingham.  I've already read this book or so I thought.  I opened it to chapter 11 "Lights from Darkest Africa" and started to read a story I must have skipped.  I only got half way through the story until the music lesson was over.  I book marked the page and thought nothing of the story again until this morning.  My husband and I were discussing a problem where in a business deal someone took advantage of our daughter and cheated her.  My husband spoke to the men and they were now giving him the run-around. As we were discussing how to handle this...The story from Corrie's book came to mind.  I read it aloud to my husband.

In Africa. there was a Christian man who lived in a hut along with his large family. This man's neighbor hated him and every evening set the Christian's grass roof on fire.  The Christian was able to put out the fire each time.  The Christian never said an unkind word to his neighbor and showered him with love and forgiveness.  This made the neighbor hate him even more.  One night there was a wind and the fire spread to the neighbor's house.  The Christian put out both fires and in the process badly burned his hands and arms.  The chief of the tribe found out and had the neighbor arrested.  When Corrie was told the story she was relieved that the family was no longer in danger.  But the Christian man, holding up his burnt hands, prayed, "Lord, I claim this neighbor of mine for You. Lord, give him his freedom and do the miracle that in the future he and I will become a team to bring the Gospel in our tribe. Amen." 
A few days later, Corrie led the jailed neighbor to Christ.

The way the Christian handled the situation would not be the world's way of handling the situation.  There had to be a renewing of his mind for him to think and react this way.  Not natural but supernatural. 

Matthew 6:32 - 34 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

May the Lord continue to renew my mind to think first of His kingdom.

The Skate Park Finally Happened

My youngest son has been begging to go to the skate park for quite some time now (years).  Well, blessings and many thanks to Chris for taking him.  He had a blast!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Ice Cream York Side

One Sunday evening, we got bored with the same old routine by ourselves.  So we decided to travel to York to meet up with my younger sister and her boys.  She looks like me, huh?!?

my sister

We also met up with our daughter Becca.


This always involves food and quite naturally ice cream, coming from generations of ice cream makers.  We visited the competition.  There's a little ice cream drive-in all by itself in the middle of the countryside.

Dad getting the latest news from the newspaper reporter.

The view is breath taking, well worth the drive. 

My father grew up not far from this place. 

The cousins got bored.

My other two girls took photos of the surroundings.
Like this sunset....beautiful.
Maybe we should move to York. hmmmmm....