The trees are stretching their branches one last time before autumn’s breeze turns their leaves to shades of gold and carries them away. Sprinklers and Tiki torches are soon to be retired and replaced by rakes and mountainous piles of leaves climbed by little feet. The excitement and anticipation of change is in the air!
Change, it can not come fast enough for some. For others, it is terrifying. How do you react to change? Do you seek it or run from it? Most of us would admit that we all have areas in our life that we know need to change, but we simply do not know how to pursue it.
The daily demands made upon mothers are enough to exhaust our minds and bodies, so how can we make room for change? We look at and admire people who have found the grace and strength to make the necessary changes to accomplish their God planted purposes, goals, and dreams. We hear the whisper of our own hearts as the Holy Spirit quickens us.
For some, it could be a simple as learning how to spend more quality time with their children. For others, it might be getting their house organized. Whether the goal be physical, like running a 5K or losing 15 pounds, or spiritual, like practicing the presence of God or developing a consistent prayer life. Each goal and each purpose is precious in God’s sight.
The two common threads in people that accomplish great things through change in this world are as follows:
1. They never give up or stop dreaming and imagining. Isn’t is interesting that Jesus said you must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Little children are always dreaming and imaging that they will do great things in their life.
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
2. They firmly believe they will succeed.
If the Lord indeed planted these dreams in your heart, then you can rest assured; He is faithful and true to lead you into successful change and victory.
For as a man thinks within himself, so he is. (Proverbs 23:7a)
For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” (Romans 10:11 NASB)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)
The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Be encouraged! Don’t give up! Hold on to your dreams during the seasons of change. Understand, just as the glory of the Lord is present when summer turns to autumn, He has you in His loving embrace as you seek change for His glory.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
My family has been spending some time relaxing and unwinding at my parent’s lake house. We are so thankful to God for this delightful little cabin in the woods. The first thing everyone notices when they come to this special place is the beauty and grandeur of the scenery. The cabin overlooks beautiful Ft. Gibson Lake. The sunsets are breathtaking. The starry night sky is like an ocean of diamonds. The sounds of nature and soft gentle breezes carry all of one’s burdens away. It is easy to be still here and know that God is God.
In our homeschooling, we have always enjoyed studying God’s creation on a grand scale. The roaring oceans, the expanding universe, the majestic mountains, these all give testimony to how very BIG our God is. Recently, however, we have been studying God’s Creation on a smaller scale in Chemistry and Physics. I am particularly amazed at God’s creative design of the atom. Isn’t it amazing that our God can create something so small, yet so very important? I believe it is safe to say that the inexpressible ‘smallness’ of God’s creation is just as amazing as the untellable ‘largeness’ of His creation.
On this trip to our cabin, I have found myself noticing God’s glory in the small things: the delicate way the sunlight shines on a single flower petal, the giggle of a child as he plays in the mud, the strength of a single ant as he carries away a crumb that dropped from my sandwich.
Seeing God’s Glory in the small things of creation has challenged me to invite Him into the small things of my own life. I think about Brother Lawrence, his life’s story, and his relationship with the Lord. It provokes me to jealousy. The key to His intimate relationship with the Lord was that he surrendered every part of his life to Him, no matter how small or large. He would even wash dishes with such an utter devotion to the Lord that the people around him would experience the glory and holiness of that moment.
He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” (Matthew 13:33 NASB)
Yes, it takes time and effort to knead yeast into flour. Even still, once the yeast is kneaded, it takes more time for the dough to rise. I find it interesting that fermentation actually causes matter to break down into a simpler form. To me, the flour is a picture of my life and the leaven is Christ. The Father skillfully kneads my life until even the smallest parts are filled with His Son. It is as if the Lord is breaking me down and causing every part of me, large and small, to know the simplicity of Christ.
Many homeschooling mothers do not understand the value and importance of their purpose and calling. Small things like laundry, reading lessons, mathematics, and grocery shopping can be holy, intimate moments spent for God’s glory. The parable above shows us that God wants to fill every detail of our lives with His Presence. If the Glory of the Lord can fill even the smallest atom, then how much more the smallest details of our lives?
Valentine’s Day is upon us once again. I have found myself mediating on the love of our Lord. I learned something about that love this week. Did you know that the foundation of fear is rooted in insecurity and inferiority? Think of it; in the garden, Satan deceived Eve by causing her to doubt that she was secure in God’s love and to doubt her value (who she was in Christ). This opened the door to fear, sin, and separation from God Almighty. I have resolved to renew my mind and the minds of my children to the secure love of God and their value of who they are in Christ. When a revelation of these truths come (faith comes by hearing), God’s perfect love will cast out all fear and cause the roots of insecurity and inferiority to wither up and die. I am reading a book called The Way of Agape, by Chuck and Nancy Missler. In the back of the book, they listed several scriptures that tell of God’s love for us and who we are in Christ. I have made a simple mp3 recording of these scriptures. If you would like for me to email the file to you, just let me know your email and it is yours. Share it with your children this Valentine’s Day and spread the Word!
Ah, the stories of Jacob’s life. What a life indeed! His life is full of strife and wonder, even from his mother’s womb. One could reflect a lifetime on the lessons to be learned from his various adventures: deception and lies to gain his brother’s birthright, visions of a ladder to heaven, wrestling with the angel of the Lord (pre-incarnate Jesus), romance, heartbreak, and so much more.
The chapter of Jacob’s life I want to focus on is the story Laban, his devious father-in-law, and the spotted/speckled sheep. Laban knew that Jacob was blessed by God; he was bound and determined to benefit from Jacob’s blessings. He took advantage of Jacob time after time. To be blunt, Laban was a crook. I love this story because Laban finally gets what he deserves. Despite his best efforts to rob Jacob yet again, Laban comes up empty handed. Believe it or not, another reason I like this story is because it is a perfect example of how to be transformed into the image of God.
(v. 25) “After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, ‘Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland.
(v. 26) Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you.’
(v. 27) But Laban said to him, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you.’
(v. 28) He added, ‘Name your wages, and I will pay them.’
(v. 29) Jacob said to him, ‘You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care.
(v. 30) The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?’
(v. 31) ‘What shall I give you?’ he asked. ‘Don’t give me anything,’ Jacob replied. ‘But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them:
(v. 32) Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages.
(v. 33) And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen.’
(v. 34) ‘Agreed,’ said Laban. ‘Let it be as you have said.’
(v. 35) That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons.
(v. 36) Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks.
(v. 37) Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches.
(v. 38) Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink,
(v. 39) they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted.
(v. 40) Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban’s animals.
(v. 41) Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches,
(v. 42) but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob.
(v. 43) In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.”
It took a long time for me to understand the meaning of this story. However, I had an ah-ha moment this week. My husband found some beaver branches that he peeled and sanded down to make walking sticks. They had spots and speckles on them; it’s the nature of the underlying wood. I learned that when Jacob placed the peeled branches in front of the watering troughs, he was causing the sheep to see speckles and spots. Here is the formula, for you type ‘A’ people like me: See speckles and spots= conceive speckles and spots. Every time those sheep would drink, which was often, they would continually see speckles and spots. As a result, when they mated before the troughs, they conceived speckled and spotted lambs. If that will work for a sheep, then it will definitely work for you and me.
My husband had a friend in high school that continually listened to music that involved drugs. Pink Floyd, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Milkmen, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Danzig etc., these are just a few examples of who he listened to. He put this music before his ears day after day, year after year. Not too long ago, we saw his face on the news. He was arrested for growing a sophisticated marijuana crop in his own back yard. It embarrassed and humiliated his family. Have you ever noticed that men who have committed sexual crimes, also have pornography addictions? These men become what they have put before their eyes. If this principle will work for evil, then how much more would it work for good?
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. (Prov. 4:20-21)
When Jesus began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.” And He *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:1-20)
There are over forty-four verses in the New Testament that refer to God’s Word as seed. The Greek word for seed is sperma; this is where we get the English word sperm. Male or female, we all have spiritual wombs/gardens in our heart. When we put God’s Word before our eyes and meditate upon it day and night with great care and discipline, we too can produce abundant spotted and speckles lambs. I challenge you today, just as I have challenged myself, keep His Word before you day and night and keep His Words continually in your mouth.
Practical ideas for keeping the Word before our eyes and ears.
1. Audio Bible as you sleep
2. Worship music during the daily routine
3. Regular daily bible reading
4. Regular daily scripture confession-speaking God’s Word is powerful
5. Placing scripture around the house- above door frames, kitchen cabinets, bathroom mirrors
6. Triggers- make a habit of relating scripture to objects in your daily path. For example- every time you take a shower, thank the Lord that His blood cleanses us from all our sin. When you drink water, think of Jesus… Our living water. Have fun with it, trigger ideas can be endless. We just found out that a casino was being built near our home. Every time we drive by that location, that is my trigger to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is on heaven- there are no casinos in heaven!
7. Audio sermons as you drive.
If you have a creative idea of how to keep God’s Word before your eyes and ears, please share!
This morning, I opened my eyes to see that sometime in the night, a little visitor crawled in bed with me. Not feeling well, nothing comforts a child more than the presence of his mother. I look, the chubby, baby-like cheeks have long disappeared. He resembles his father more each day. My heart…. holding on to the days of his childhood, which pass by too quickly for me. Change can be beautiful and bitter sweet.
Change is ever present in the seasons too. This has been the most beautiful fall I can remember in my 30 years of living in Oklahoma. The change has been gradual. The blistering heat of summer, so unbearable, made it seem that it would never end, but it did. This week, I found myself picking the last of the fruit and vegetables in my garden. We also pulled all the remaining plants and prepared the ground for winter’s rest. Autumn’s beauty will fade into winter and segue into another kind of beauty.
As the seasons change, so does the decor in my home. I find pleasure in decorating. Candles in particular bring me so much joy. The warmth and beauty they add to my home create a simple pleasure. As the days grow colder, more time is spent inside and I want our home to be a warm, loving, and an inviting place for my family and friends to gather. This kind of change is like the Father’s love that draws us closer to Him.
Changes can be uncomfortable, even frightening because they take us out of our comfort zone into uncharted territory. Changes can also be a delight, a welcomed guest, because they bring with them the manifestation of answered prayers. Let your life prove your change of heart. Hope gives way to pure and undefiled faith. Our Father is faithful to His promises. Remember, with David, in one night, when all appeared lost and the promise of kingship seemed forgotten, this is when he became King of Israel. Hold fast and be certain that God’s Word will never return to Him void.
I am the type of person who needs concrete, practical steps to take in my spiritual walk with God. I have been asking the Lord to reveal to me what my part is, so that I can actively keep my mind stayed upon Him.
Here is some practical application:
1. Know God’s Word! Find the time to read or listen to God’s Word daily, whether it is in your commute to work or on your lunch break. Most of my Bible intake is audio because that is how I learn best. There are many free sites and applications that offer the audio Word and written Word for free. Deception is eliminated when knowledge is present.
2. Did you know we are not always aware of our thoughts? They can hijack our mind and take it to ungodly places unaware. Ask God to search your heart. One way to to recognize this is when we lose our peace.
The Bible says to let the peace of God rule our heart. When that peace turns into fear or anxiety, look at it as a warning alarm letting you know you have wandered off track. It’s time to adjust your setting. Acknowledge and talk to the Lord about it. “Lord, I am losing my peace. In fact, I am anxious right now because I am thinking about my checkbook being in the red. I cast my care upon You. What does Your Word say about my checkbook?” The Lord may remind You that one of His Names is Provider. He may give you a creative idea on how to cut out unnecessary spending. He may give you a scripture verse. Whatever Word He gives you, meditate upon it and confess the scripture out loud until peace enters your heart again. This may have to be done several times in an hour.
3. Live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit; seek His strength in prayer (Matthew 26:41). The biblical definition of weakness is actually- dependent. An individual who is dependent upon the Lord is tremendously strong.
4. If you are well aware that you are being tempted to sin, analyze why you are tempted. Ask the Lord to help you figure out what the root of the sin is. What are your motives? Once you identify what motivates you to sin, pray about the underlying reason. For example, if you lose your temper, the Lord may show you that you like to be in control. When that position is threatened, you react like a cat cornered. Now you have something to pray about.
5. We are not to feed our minds with that which will promote sinful thoughts. We are to guard our hearts—what we allow into them and what we allow them to dwell on. Job 31:1 states, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman” Romans 13:14 states, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Avoid periodicals, videos, websites, conversations and situations that will be a stumbling block.
6. We are to seek after God with our whole heart, substituting godly pursuits and mindsets for sinful thoughts or habits. This is the replacement principle. You cannot take darkness out of a room, the only way to get rid of it is to bring the light in.
7. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Do not keep company with people who complain and speak unbelief. Do not keep company with people who will tempt you to sin. We should use fellowship with other Christians the way God intended. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
I’m sure there are other practical ways to keep one’s mind focused on Christ, but these are a few ways to begin that journey. I look forward to journeying with you!
But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). (Galatians 5:16 AMP)
Lord, this is quite a promise! Do You really mean if I can learn to walk in the Spirit, I will not succumb to any of my flesh’s desires? I ask because my flesh seems to desire many ungodly things. I sure do hate to admit it, but it’s true.
Well, I know the Lord’s heart well enough to understand that He means what He says and He says what He means. Okay, it seems simple enough. I must learn to walk in the Spirit… until I ask myself the question, “How do I walk in the Spirit?” I cannot see the Spirit or even feel the Spirit, so how do I know if I am walking in the Spirit?
One of the great things I love about the Lord is that He says if we lack understanding, all we need to do is ask. So, I asked. This is what I learned…
Paul states in Romans 8:5 that where a person sets his mind will determine whether he walks “after the flesh” or “after the Spirit.” “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5 [NRSV]). Our thoughts set our course.
Other Scriptures that speak of setting the mind upon spiritual things are: Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2; 4:4; 19:14; 57:7; 63:6; 77:12; 104:34; 119:15, 99, 148; 143:5; Prov. 4:23; 23:7; Lk. 6:45; Rom. 8:6; 1 Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5; 1 Tim. 4:15; 1 Pet. 4:1
God’s Word, many times, is like a scavenger hunt. Once you discover the answer to one question, another question arises. We know now that to walk in the Spirit, we must set our minds on the things of the Spirit. So, how do we keep our minds from wandering? There are so many distractions!
I like this quote by Michael Cotright. “Just as you train a dog to sit and stay, you can train your mind to stay upon God and His Word. Sometimes you have to physically push the dog’s hind end to the ground at first and say: “sit.” Then you take a couple of steps back and point to the dog and say: “stay.” You do this over and over, day after day, until the dog learns to sit and stay at your command. A dog can learn to sit and stay for very long periods of time with proper training. A trained dog will sit and wait outside a store as his master shops. You can command your mind to stay in the same way. At first it will be quite a task. Your mind is used to wandering. When you train your mind to stay upon God and think His Word you must keep commanding it back to the Word when it wanders. Just like the dog, who at first will get back up and start to follow you, you take your mind back to the Word and tell it to stay put. The key is you must have something to focus on. You must put God’s Word in your mind when it wanders to other things. That means learning some scripture. Memorizing. Retaining. And that means learning to pray and stay focused on God.”
It’s no wonder why the Lord uses so many things we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel every day to remind us of His Word. The Lord likens Himself to seemingly ordinary things we encounter on a daily basis: water, food, light, animals, wind, shelter, etc. Perhaps He is trying to make a way for us to keep our mind stayed upon Him.
One other clue I was given was this particular scripture:
The Lord will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in Him. Isaiah 26:3
I never noticed this, but did you read that second part? It says, “Because he trusts in Him, he keeps his mind stayed on God.” That sounds like a person who has walked with God enough to knows he must look at the Lord every moment of every day if he is going to triumph. This is a person who the Lord has proven Himself strong to, and he naturally relies upon and trusts the Lord as he lives everyday life. See 2 Chronicles 16:9
Oh, my God, that I would be such a person.
I seek the Holy Spirit’s help in this. What lesson in life could possibly be more important than to learn how to keep our heart and mind focused on Him?
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21
If you are reading this, I’m sure that you too would love to hear the Lord Jesus say those words to you some day. We are all stewards of something. With what has the Lord entrusted you?
I was talking to a dear friend, whom I much admire. I was telling her that I have a desire to be a better steward to the things the Lord has called me to. I shared that I feel a bit overwhelmed at times. This friend of mine is the Lord’s steward to many, many things. She said that when she feels overwhelmed, like her many spinning plates are all about to crash, she simply goes to a list she created. This list prioritizes the many people and jobs that the Lord has called her to in stewardship. She can glance at each line and see if she has been faithful in that area which the Master had assigned her to. If not, then she knows exactly who or what needs her attention. If so, she can rest assured that her many plates are still spinning:)
I immediately made a list of my own. I am very visual, so it has already been most helpful to me. Take a peek below; I hope it is a help to you:)
I am a Steward of…..
1. Myself- I am the Temple of the Holy Spirit. I am to hold my flesh into subjection and take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually that I would be well and able to do the Lord’s work.
– this includes spending a great deal of time in fellowship with the Lord through study, prayer, and worship
– this includes healthy living
– this includes making sure I enjoy everyday life
2. My husband- I am to be his partner, his helper, and a blessing to him all the days of my life. I am to love him.
3. My children- I am to care for them. I am to train them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I am to love them.
-this includes homeschooling
4. My home-planning meals, doing chores, being a wise steward of finances, decorating, organizing, etc. My home is to be a safe place for my family… A place of wonderful memories. It is also to be a place where outsiders are welcomed in the spirit of hospitality.
4. My friends, extended family, and church family- I am to serve, encourage, teach, work with, enjoy, and love them.
– this includes making room for fellowship
– this includes nursing home visits
– this includes my girls in youth
-this includes the women’s ministry
-this includes my CHEER responsibilities
5. I am to always be ready, in and out of season, to serve and share Christ with those that do not know Him.
Most didn’t even notice her. Many overlooked her purpose. She was not strong like the bowstring cable or beautifully curved like the back of the bow. Nevertheless, she was a valuable part of the mighty recurve. I am speaking of the quiver and this is her story.
The quiver was proudly fastened to her magnificent bow which was held in the archer’s strong hand. The archer appreciated her; he understood the purpose of the quiver. He was the one who formed and fashioned each and every part of the bow. In his hands, the recurve with its arrows, was a powerful weapon and an unstoppable force.
The archer knew the heart of his quiver. He knew she hoped that one day she would be full in number with unbent, accurate arrows, arrows that would fly free, purposefully hitting their target. She wanted to teach them and prepare them for the day of their release. The archer knew she would safely secure them until they were ready. All of this would happen one day, but today was not that day.
Not long thereafter, to the quiver’s great delight, the archer placed and secured five arrows, one by one, inside her. Now, with her quiver full, she held fast to each of her arrows. The quiver loved each one of her arrows dearly and arrows returned her love. They felt secure in her embrace. She held tight to each one because they were her greatest treasure. She shared her dream with the arrows and told them of the archers mighty hands. She taught them about their magnificent bow.
The arrows listened with excitement when she told them of the day that the bow would be drawn and they would be released with mighty speed and precision. “There will be nothing like it!” she explained, “You will cut through the air, covering a great distance and at a tremendous speed as you land on your precise target. This is your destiny, this is your purpose. You will be free. This will all happen one day, but today is not that day.”
Not long thereafter, a strong hand picked up the bow and reached for the first arrow. It was the archer’s hand. Excitement welled up inside the little arrow’s heart because he knew his day had come to be released. But much to his surprise, the quiver held him fast and would not let go. “Today is not that day.” she told her arrow. The quiver was afraid.
The archer was patient and understood the quiver’s fear. He waited for another day which quickly came to pass. When he reached to take the arrow, the quiver held even tighter.
The archer said, “Do not fear. Let them go and watch them fly. Release them into my mighty hand. My aim is flawless, my target before us. It is their destined purpose.” “I’m so sad to see them go; I love each and every one. What if they are not ready for their release?” she replied. The archer smiled and said, “You were my gift to those arrows. I gave you to them. I secured them to you because I knew you would show them the way. To love is to release and let go. Let go and see your arrows fly.”
The quiver knew that he spoke the truth. Hope began to rise up in her heart again. She knew that she would never be at peace until she released them one by one. She trusted the archer, for he was her creator. His aim was flawless and his target before them. Today was that day, the day her arrows would fly.
One by one, she let them go and watched with amazement as the archer released her arrows. Fear was replaced by faith. Happiness reigned instead of sorrow. Each arrow cut through the air with hairsplitting accuracy. The arrows were filled with rousing joy as they were released into their freedom and purpose, but no one was filled with more joy than the quiver. Even though her arrows were no longer fastened to her side, her heart would remain bound to them forever.
Do you remember how exciting and wonderful life seemed as a child? I grew up in the Windy City. Still to this day, the humming of trucks, the high pitch of squeaking breaks, the laughter of neighbors, and the honking of car horns comfort me (strange, I know). I even find delight in old, musty, run down “ma and pa” shops and the smell of exhaust. This was all beautiful to me as a child.
My mother was a single mom and she worked two jobs while going to college to become an architect. We didn’t have much, but I never knew it. I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s and great-grandma’s apartment. Grandma Kay had magical toys. In reality, they were just old barbie dolls and a worn out plastic airplane, but in my eyes, they were priceless. I would be whisked away into the far away lands of my imagination for hours. When I would see my great-grandma, she would always let me take one gumdrop out of her crystal bowl; the red ones were my favorite. I would savor each single gumdrop. It felt like a drop of heaven was deposited into my mouth and it always filled my heart with joy.
As a child, I had an appreciation and excitement for each and every day. I loved each moment of everyday life and found even the simplest of things beautiful. I was also very content with that which I had. I remember the feeling of complete rest and security in my mother’s arms. I didn’t have a care in he world if I was in her embrace. My faith in the words of those I trusted was flawless and pure, without an inkling of doubt.
I’m not sure what changed. As the years went by, I began to become blind to the beautiful things of everyday life. As a result, joy was more distant, as was a thankful heart. The cares of the world clouded the beauty before me and my heart was slowly hardened to the glory of the Lord that fills the earth.
Doesn’t it stand to reason that Christians should be the happiest people on earth, full of peace and appreciation for all the gifts God has given? This hasn’t been the case in most of my adult life, but that has changed. I recently found myself praying a deep heart felt prayer…. “Lord, grant me childlike faith.” I cannot put into words what happened as a result of that prayer, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was granted to me. It was as if scales fell from my eyes and I began to see beauty everywhere.
When the grace of God opened my eyes to beauty, I found myself delighting in the slightest breeze, hearing the songbird, gazing upon various shapes in the clouds, laughing with my children, playing with kittens, and breathing in deeply the fresh outside air. I even started to take pictures again, something I used to be passionate about.
My heart is beginning to take residence in the here and now instead of the yesterday and tomorrow. Even though Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, He also said, “Before Abraham was….. I Am!!!” Wow! Our God is the God of NOW. I choose to live in the beauty of the moment with Him. I choose to practice His presence. I open my eyes to His faithfulness in all that I do. This is true beauty, this is childlike faith.
“The beauty that is seen is partly in the one who sees it.” -Christian Bovee
One of the things I enjoy is collecting quotes of Christians from varying time periods. I love to hear what great individuals have said who have accomplished great things, but I focus on Christians that have walked in wisdom and with a clear vision of truth. They spur me on in my own walk with the Lord. Even when the author is unknown, his/her words are a reflection and window into their heart. The Bible says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Words can be like a light to us on a dark path. In our own walk of the narrow path, it is beneficial and wise to study the lives of those who have traveled before us. We can save ourselves much grief by listening to the warnings and experiences of these people. Enjoy gleaming from the hearts of these wise men and women.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you.”-unknown
“When a deep Injury is done, we never recover until we forgive.”-unknown
“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” -General Patton
“He who is void of the power to forgive is void of the power to love.”-unknown
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” -unknown
“We waste most of our time trying to get God to do something He has already done—or praying for God to do something He told us to do.” –Jacquelyn ?
“I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.” -John Wesley
“If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, I have never seen a brave man. All men are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.” – General Patton
“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.” — Abraham Lincoln
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”- Corrie Ten Boom
“When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.”–Corrie Ten Boom
“There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.” –Teresa of Avila
“Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means for getting something for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself. “–Oswald Chambers
“Notice, we never pray for folks we gossip about, and we never gossip about the folk for whom we pray! For prayer is a great deterrent.” –Leonard Ravenhill
“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” –Brother Lawrence
“You cannot create intimacy, you have to make room for it!” -Erin Blain
“When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine.”
~E. Stanley Jones
“Unless we are intentional about giving God glory throughout the day, our days unintentionally give way to grumbling.” Ann Voscamp
“Happiness is not getting something but being given to Someone.” -Ann Voscamp
“The beauty that is seen is partly in the one who sees it.” -Christian Bovee
“That which is striking and beautiful is not always good; but that which is good is always beautiful.” -Ann Enclos
“It is easier to build a boy than to mend a man.”- Ralph Emerson
“The soul is healed by being with children.” -Fyodor Dostoevsky
” Our Lord Jesus Christ, the word of God, of his boundless love, became what we are that he might make us what he himself is.”-unknown
“I would rather a thousand times be five minutes at the feet of Christ than listen a lifetime to all the wise men in the world.” -DL Moody
I was well educated in learning how to be a good teacher in college. So, I was reasonably confident in my ability to succeed at homeschooling…..even though I was the only person I knew that home-schooled.
I basically duplicated the public school classroom in my home. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that something was missing. First of all, the home and public school are two totally different entities. Second, TU didn’t teach me how to school a kindergardener with a baby and toddler under foot. Also, They don’t hand out degrees for learning how to love your husband and train your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
For years I stumbled my way through schooling, my marriage, my walk with the Lord….. Not that I have arrived, but I sure am not where I used to be.
I found myself in an endless cycle of competition with other moms in the race for teaching knowledge. For example, if I knew someone whose 6 year old could name all the Presidents, then I would go home and drill my 6 year old until he knew them too. If I knew someone’s child who could read at 4 or 5, then I would have endless reading lessons with my 4/5 year old …… Which, by he way, only led to much frustration because my kids were unable to do so at that age.
You see the Bible speaks of two different types of wisdom: the wisdom of the world, which is foolishness in God’s POV, and then the Wisdom of God… Which is foolishness in the worlds POV.
I was seeking the world’s version of wisdom. In our culture, education is everything! Why? Well, the end result of why our culture deems education so valuable is really the love of money. If you have a good education, then you will get a good job, then you will have a good paycheck and be secure as you live happily ever after.
But. The Bible tells us to seek wisdom above all other values, even if it costs us everything! In my own life, I began to hear the call of Wisdom crying out to me. I began to see my desperate need for her, in my life which included my homeschooling. I was tired of putting my hope for my kids to have a secure future in and through education…… Not that education isn’t important or valued by God, but There was a Holy dissatisfaction within me for putting my trust in it. I read in the Bible how God took a simple young man, Solomon, and crowned him with wisdom. I desired it for myself and I saw that the Lord would grant it to me and anyone else if they simply asked.
The Lord used the HOW teaching approach as a launching pad in setting my homeschooling upon a solid foundation.
I discovered that True wisdom is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action based on knowledge and understanding. This is impossible apart from studying Gods Word. The fruit of wisdom is one and the same as the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The primary purpose of education is to train the whole person for lifelong faithful service in the knowledge of God. Christ is our Wisdom, if our children do not know Him, then they can’t have wisdom.
Let me ask you a few questions:
What’s the purpose of learning correct grammar if one doesn’t ever learn how to bridle their tongue or understand that the power of life and death is in the tongue?
What’s the purpose of problem solving if your child doesn’t learn that he can do all things through Christ Jesus and to do them for Gods glory?
Why teach them how to calculate percentages and tithe, if they don’t understand that obedience is better than sacrifice?
When God’s wisdom rules your schooling, education comes to life.
History- instead of being a bunch of historical facts to memorize, it is the workshop of God, it’s significant bc it’s the story of people, people He created, how they came into being, what they did.
Science- instead of learning about the existence of the universe, becomes an orderly study of Gods creation. God created the heavens and earth to receive and reflect back the glory and honor due him….. All scientific elements shout out praises to the God who made them.
I remember the day like it was yesterday….. The day we Said yes to Wisdom….. It was as if we Circumcised our schooling by cutting off the worlds ways of wisdom. We truly set apart our schooling to be holy unto God.
I put the fine China on our table and made a feast for our family. I created individual invitations in calligraphy for each of my children, rolled up like a fancy scrolls inviting them to wisdoms table. I explained to the kids that from now on, we were giving our schooling to the Lord and seeking wisdom above all else.
Like I said earlier, anyone that knows me, can tell you that I had not arrived…. I still have much to learn, but now my confidence is in the Lord alone and nothing else.
I want to encourage you to heed to wisdoms call as well and to let Christ, our wisdom, reign in your homeschooling journey too:)
If you are interested in the curriculum that God used to launch me onto the path of wisdom in my homeschooling, click the link below.
I have been seeking and practicing the gift of discernment. For many weeks now, I have been meditating about and studying this gift. This particular scripture has been leaping off the page to me all week.
John 5:9 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
The Bible also tells us to walk as Jesus walked. I realized….I do not ask the Father what He is doing, nor do I see what He is doing like Jesus did. So, I began to prayerfully ask, “What are you doing right now Lord?” and “What are you saying right now?” He has been showing me. I realize that this is a huge part of the gift of discernment…. discerning the Lord’s work. Once I see what He is doing, I know what to do in cooperation with Him.
So what does this have to do with my kids? I’m glad you asked! He showed me that just because I see a work that needs to be done in my kids, it doesn’t mean it is the proper time to play the roll of ‘Mama Holy Spirit”. My job as their mom is to consistently give them encouragement and model a pure heart. I also need to provide consistent consequences (in love and patience) for those areas that they are not obeying me in. The law is a tutor to point us to Christ, so likewise, when they come to the end of themselves and their disobedience….. my rules and consequences will eventually point them to Christ because the are based on God’s Word.
When I yell or get angry with my kids, I realize, that I am doing it because I am afraid. The Lord lovingly chastised me for this because it is rooted in unbelief.
This is the most important part of what He showed me. If He is not doing the work, then my work is a waste of time. He also showed me that there will always be a scripture or more to bear witness in my heart to the work He is doing.
That has proven true this week. I have seen it in my kids. My constant nagging falls on deaf ears. But, when I asked the Lord, “What are you doing with Marshall, what are You saying to me about him Lord?” He showed me that he was trying to teach Marshall the value of hard work. That in all that he does, to do it for the glory of God. I have to say, I don’t understand why God is teaching Marshall this because in my reasoning there are way more important issues….but who am I to question God? I know His plan is perfect. I have seen Marshall do his chores without being asked this week. He asked if he could get paid for doing extra jobs for friends and family. I have never seen him work harder. He also deep cleaned his room…wow…a 13 year old boy eagerly cleaning his own room without being told. He has really impressed me this week; that is because the Lord was doing the work in him, not me. So, I have been cooperating with the Lord and teaching Marshall what the Word says about hard work. Marshall is receiving it…he has understanding because the Holy Spirit has touched his heart on the issue, not me.
I don’t have to worry about the other areas in Marshall’s life that need improvement, or in any of my kids. I can trust that in due time, in His perfect time, if I continue to discern what the Father is doing, I will be ready to cooperate with the Work of the Father.
One thing for certain…. in this manner… only the Lord can receive the glory! That’s the way it should be!
Today was a challenge. I am realizing how very weak I am. I am realizing the depth of original sin and the enormous feat Jesus accomplished when He paid for my sins. I can relate to Paul when he said he was the chiefest among sinners. My eyes are now opened to the enormous task it is going to be to learn how to renew my mind and eventually learn how to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. I realized that the process of renewing one’s mind and heart is much like cleaning out a dirty closet.
When that closet is full of junk, yet the door can remain closed, life seems so much easier, but is it? The answer is no. It is difficult to function in doing even the simplest of tasks. Where is that matching sandal or my favorite skirt? What should take a few moments, takes many minutes or even more! The entire day is off now because so much time was spent rummaging through that mess in the closet. One realizes that if the daily routine is going to be productive and run smoothly, that closet has to addressed!
So, eventually the time is found to begin the dreaded task of cleaning and sorting. Of course, in order to clean a closet effectively, everything has to be taken out and each item has to be dealt with one by one. For a while the rest of the house is overcome with clutter and it doesn’t look like any progress is being made at all….. Quite the contrary, it looks like things are getting messier! But, with some patience, perseverance and a little organizational skills, things being to move in the right direction. After the job is done, a deep sense of satisfaction arises and life is good. Getting dressed is easier now and even the day seems to flow better because of the time that was invested in cleaning out that messy closet.
So back to my day. I have made a decision to stop pushing down the mess in my heart. We Christian women do that, you know? If we feel an emotion that we know is ungodly, we push it deeper down into our heart and ignore it. Out of sight out of mind, right? No! If one does that long enough, life is not pleasant at all! The Lord doesn’t want us to ignore our emotions, but rather to acknowledge them and deal with them. One cannot have an emotion, good or bad, without a thought. The Lord wants for us to get to the root of our mess. If an emotion is unpleasant and causing us to lose our peace, then it is probably because we are not thinking correctly….. According to God’s Word. It is an opportunity to renew our mind. He calls His children to a great exchange: our stinkin thinkin for His Perfect truth. Through patience and perseverance our minds and hearts can be clean. Don’t be afraid of dealing with the mess.
Think of it like gold being refined by fire. The heat and pressure of the flames cause all the impurities to rise to the surface. The Goldsmith will skim the impurities away, so don’t lose hope. I am going to have to take my own teaching to heart today. I choose not to be ashamed of my weaknesses; I trust in my Lord and His strength to purify and renew my heart and mind.