Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mama, who is the devil?

The other night something happened that make me think. My son and I were talking about some random subject that came up. Somehow, that lead to the topic of sin; then the topic of the devil. I don't recall exactly how it came about but I said,"the devil doesn't want us to love God". There was a pause. My son tilted his head and squinted his eyes like he was thinking very hard. He said ,"Mama, who is the devil?"

I was taken back by this question. We mention the devil from time to time but I guess I'd never really told my son who Satan was. How often our enemy is overlooked! I told him that Satan used to be a good angel but he turned bad and his only wish is to trick people into following him so they have to go to "the bad place" where God isn't. My son asked if the devil was the bad guy, and I told him yes. He told me he would love God forever so the bad guy couldn't win. How simple, yet powerful.

So, who is the devil? Far too often we forget how very real Satan is and how well he can be disguised. We want to blame God when things go wrong...but what if that is what Satan wants us to think? Unfortunately the devil will not be obvious or unappealing. He will be very appealing to draw us in. Friends, the devil is hard at work every hour of every day trying to lure us away from the path of God. He uses so many tools to get to us; anger, jealousy, distractions, pride, lust, and even time. Satan wants us to fill our days with activities that are self serving. Sports, games, busy schedules. These things aren't bad, but when they begin to consume so much of your time that serving God or others becomes 2nd place or a burden, then it's a problem.

Jesus said,"the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few!"

It is so true! In our world we want to know what the church can do for us. Or what we will get out of worship. We are not the audience in worship....God is! Christ washed the feet of his disciples and served others. Would we wash our brothers feet or do we consider ourselves too good? Or think someone else will do it? Satan would be thrilled if you just waited for someone else to do it.....because you're just too busy.

People spend 7 (ish) hours a day 180 days a year for at least 13 years, in school. If we spend 1 hours a week for 52 weeks studying the bible....we might get in as many hours as we had for the first part of kindergarten....maybe. We need to study. The word of God is our sword and our defense against satan. We must train with it and learn to use it.

Satan is real. He wants you. He knows you. He knows your weaknesses. When we became Christians we made a decision and a commitment. We signed up for battle. Ready your sword and your armor. God is faithful to us. He loves us and wants to have us with him forever.

The Lord's church needs workers. Step up to the plate and out of your comfort zone. God will be there equipping you and cheering you on. The devil will be cringing and trying to scheme his next move. Be prepared. Stay strong and pray long.

I don't walk the line, I dance on it.

I get a lot of people with mixed feelings about the way I choose to educate my children. I have one home-schooled child and one public schooled child.

My youngest is in public (k) and my oldest is home (5th). My long term plan is to have my son at home as well. I intend to see my daughters education through until graduation.

In the minds of many, I walk the line between "good and evil". You see, a lot (not all) of parents that home school think it is horrible of me to have one of my children in public school ::dramatic gasp here::. Then, a lot (not all) of public school parents think I am"ruining and sheltering" my daughter because she is in "home school" ::dramatic gasp here::. Here is a news flash for any person falling into these categories: They are MY children, please mind your own business. But, at the same time I would like to satisfy "inquiring minds".

I believe that every family is different and I believe that public school is not for everyone just as much as home school is not for every one. I praise God that I live in a time and place where I am able to chose what I believe is best for my own children.

Why do I homeschool? Because I want Bible class to be more than Sunday mornings. I also want to teach my children so much, that I simply cannot teach them when they are gone all day. Am I sheltering my child? Absolutely. I feel she is simply too young to be lambasted with what kids are exposed to these days. I feel that if I throw her into school to deal with all the junk while she is still growing and maturing, and trying to blossom, she will drown. I am trying to equip her to deal with life when it is time. Don't get me wrong, she is not totally in the dark about issues. Rather, I chose to introduce things to her as she grows and in my way, not from another kid at school.

The world is so messed up. Today I read an article that NYC public school system is now providing the morning after pill to girls (starting at 14yrs.)for free without parental consent. It seems like they are trying to fix a broken back with a band aid. Treating the symptoms but not the problem.

Now, on the flip side, I think public schools were, at one time, a great thing, and some can still be. I have absolutely nothing against people who choose public school. It is THEIR choice and is not my place to judge. I send my son to kindergarten. For him, I think this will be a great thing. He is learning some valuable life lessons and (as far as I can tell) things are still innocent . He is having fun and is gaining some independence.

The rearing of my children is not a responsibility I take lightly. I will be held accountable for what I teach them during my life. Each of us will. I will not sit idly by while the world fights for my children's hearts. I do not pretend to have it all figured out, I am only human. There are days when I want to give up on it all and have the days to myself. But my heart will not allow it. God has entrusted me with these precious children and I must do my best to raise them according to His plan.

So, I don't really walk the line. I dance on it with mismatched socks and parachute pants!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Adding memories to my library...

This weekend my family and I are going camping. We don't get to go or do things away from home very often. Needless to say, I'm excited. Cooking over the fire, visiting an apple orchard, playing with the kids, cuddling with my husband.

My goal this weekend is to make memories. Before I can think about it my children will be grown and gone. Time passes faster everyday! Also, we don't know what tomorrow will bring. I may not be here, or my husband, or any of us. Life is so terribly short and unpredictable. We must make the most of each and every day, because it may be our last.

While I am a very goofy person at times and love humor and jokes, my heart is drawn to a very serious nature. Today, I explored an old cemetery. I find it interesting to look at the names, and dates. This person lived during the civil war. That person lived to be 102. It can be interesting, but I also do it to keep my feet on the right path in life. I saw the grave of a 10 yr old girl, the same age as my daughter. It broke my heart. I saw the grave of someone that shared my first and middle name. It made me think. I saw the grave of a husband and wife, and their infant child buried next to them. It made me want to hold my family. I saw the grave of a woman who outlived her husband by 44 years. It made me ache for my husband to get home. So many lives and stories.....silent yet crying out! I can imagine what they might say to a passer by. Be thankful! Stay true! Forgive! Love!

Some one once said the most important part of a headstone is the "-" between dates. That little dash holds so many secrets.

I walked away from the cemetery breathing deeply the cool air. My heart filled with renewed gratitude for my daughter, son, husband, life. I thanked God, that because Jesus defeated death, I need not fear the grave.

This weekend, I will live. I will love my family and my God with every breath. I will make memories to treasure and keep close to my heart always. God's creation will be all around and I will drink deeply of all my blessings. I will kiss my kids and my husband. I will run, play, laugh, and smile. Oh yes, I will live...... everyday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oh be careful little mind what you think.

Here we are again. Another day has passed. My kids are in bed and my mind is running much faster than my body.

I want to write about something that's been on my mind lately. It kind of goes along with my post about judging others, but not quite.
Friends, I sometimes think we judge Jesus. What I mean by this is, we try to smash Him into a mold to fit OUR ideals and tell others what God thinks of them without considering who He really is. Often people think of Christ as walking highly among the people, not associating with "riffraff", cheats, liars, thieves, prostitutes, or the like. So in turn we set ourselves up on a pedestal and pat our backs while we look down our noses at these "sinners". Those people who obviously can't be as good as we are. We parade around telling people what we are against....but not what we are for. We tell them what they are doing wrong but never stop to see what WE are doing wrong. How. Dare. We.

Christ was a servant to His friends. He washed their feet! He is the ultimate example of humility. He sought out the sinners and brought them love and grace. Many times people would gasp and point fingers because our Lord took time to share Gods love with those that everyone else condemned.

We are ALL sinners. (rom 3:23) But thank the Lord that we can all be forgiven. After living on this Earth and living a very humble life, He died for us.

Don't get me wrong. I fully understand that "Evil company corrupts good morals." What I'm saying is everyone deserves love, and a chance. Who can truly look around at the people you see and say they don't deserve to go to heaven? Who will throw the first stone? The people around us need us to show them the love of Christ so they CAN have a chance to go to heaven. When we turn up our noses and walk away we have sentenced them and judged them.

There will be those who refuse. There will be those who accept. How can you tell by merely judging from the outside. Only God knows the heart.

As Thanksgiving (the forgotten holiday) approaches, I challenge you. Invite someone who will be alone to be part of your family. God will provide you with what you need to carry out his work. Have faith, be bold, and love all.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An ordinary day in an ordinary life

I'm not sure why I wrote this and it certainly doesn't cover everything in the day. But I thought it might make some of you smile. :-)

I snooze my alarm until the last possible minute, hoping for a fog delay or some other random delay to allow me just a few more minutes in bed. It doesn't happen. So I draaaaaag my behind out of my bed. I get myself dressed then go get my youngest up to get ready for the bus. Meanwhile my oldest skips merrily through the house singing in a Mary-Poppins-like tone about the day before us. I roll my eyes so far I can almost see my brain. I'm not a morning person.

I try to clean.

I make breakfast. I try to convince my son (youngest) to try something besides peanut butter and jelly for his lunch. He laments and refuses. I roll my eyes and pack his usual.

I try to clean.

My daughter (oldest) asks for a run down of the day (as she does every day) with great expectations. I tell her we have school. She droops. Then quickly recovers and continues singing random made up songs in an opera like voice.

I try to clean.

I take my son out to the bus stop and wait for the bus. I remind him right up to the last minute to behave and NOT to pee on trees on the playground. The bus arrives and I smother him with kisses and I love you's and send him off.

I try to clean.

I check on the chickens and I'm greeted by a bunch of ninja type noises.....bwaaaaaaaaa. One day I suspect they will bust into ninja moves. For now they watch and wait.....

Back in the house my daughter has some random project out and spread over the entire couch. I tell her it's time to get our school work done. She sighs and plops at her desk. We do our Bible study. We start math. She keeps popping up with random stories. I tell her to focus. She pouts. We go through much of our school work this way. I grade papers. We discuss lessons. Then it's time for lunch.

I try to clean.

We go to the kitchen and she makes a little something for her and I make a little something for me. We joke and giggle. We make voices for our pets and act like they are speaking to us. I roll my eyes at myself.

I try to clean.

Now we finish up book work for school and move on to crafts, music, or a project, etc. And my daughter sings more. I begin to feel like my life is a musical.

I try to clean.

It's time for my sons bus to arrive. I head out and wait. His bus arrives. I can tell by his exit what his behavior was. If he got into trouble his head droops and he drags his sulky feet over to me. If he's been good he bounds off the bus. He says he's hungry. I roll my eyes and tell him he's ALWAYS hungry. We go inside where he is greeted eagerly by our dogs. He eats a snack and says he is STILL hungry. We do his homework.

I try to clean.

I realize dinner is quickly approaching and I haven't planned anything. I go stand in the pantry and wait for a vision or light from heaven to show me what to make. It doesn't happen, so I eventually figure something out on my own.

I cook dinner. My husband gets home. We eat dinner and talk at the table. After dinner my son takes off outside and I look out the window to find him whizzing on a tree. I roll my eyes.

I try to clean.

My daughter shows off a dance or song she made up. I try not to laugh. My son plays in the dirt. My husband and I talk.

I try to clean.

Soon it is time for bed. We send the kids for their showers/pajamas. My daughter wraps herself in two towels and a floor length robe when she gets out of the shower and tries to tip toe through unnoticed. My son streaks through the house in his underwear giggling. My son tries to convince me to let him sleep with his army hat on and with his toy gun. I tell him no. I send them to brush teeth. I walk into the bathroom to find them acting like fountains squirting water out of their mouths....."trying" to hit the sink.

Then it's bible stories and prayers. I tuck them in and smother them with I love you's and kisses.

I look at the house and it looks like nobody has cleaned all week! I scold myself for not cleaning more. I try to clean, but I'm pooped. I draaaaag my behind to bed. I pray. I think of my family and the day. I tell myself tomorrow I won't hit the snooze button so many times.....

.....I snooze my alarm until the last possible minute.....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sticks in spokes will break your bones and words can always hurt you.

As most of you know, I have been following a strict vegan-like diet that my neurosurgeon recommended. I was to stay on that for 6 weeks, which I did. I lost 10 lbs in the beginning then went up and down 4 lbs for the next 5 weeks. I also decided that I was going to start training for a half marathon, next fall. I was SO happy when my six weeks were up for that diet and I could drink milk again! And eat yogurt! It's the simple things you miss.

Today I went for a follow up with that Dr. Today, he threw a stick in my spokes. During my walk/jogs my lower back has started hurting and I've been getting sharp pains going down the backs of my legs. SO, despite my best efforts, the Doc insists I stop all walking and or running until I get an MRI on my back and he looks at the results. ::sigh:: But wait! There's more! Not only did he put the kapoot on my training but he also wants me to try the diet AGAIN, but with new restrictions. Woo hoo! Oh, no I don't think I'm excited about that. In my head I can almost hear the doctor snorting he's laughing so hard.

I got to sit through another talk about my weight. I just love when you KNOW something is a problem and yet people insist on telling/reminding you. It always improves your self image ....not. I know, I know, he's trying to help. That's why I'm going to listen to him and give it my best shot. The worst that can happen is it DOESN'T work and I can tell him with a clear conscience that I gave it my best shot.

So I feel like I was going along and doing pretty good then....wham! I got a stick in my spokes and it stopped me dead in my tracks. It is disheartening. It makes me want to turn around and flip my tail in the air and walk away like a sassy cat. It makes me want to just forget it all.....but I can't. It's not my nature. No, instead, I'll get bummed for a few days, and sulk around the house while I talk myself into not giving up. I don't know when to quit. I feel like giving up trying would be giving up all hope. Even after I fail again and again there is that small hope that drives me on. The hope that THIS could be the time it works.

I am insane. Why? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. That's pretty much me. I like to think of myself as "ruggedly independent" (stubborn). It can be a good and bad quality, it just depends on where it is applied.

I am not giving up. I won't let this battle be won by the opposing side. We all have daily battles. We all have something we must conquer daily. We will keep on keeping on knowing we aren't the only one. Don't give up. Go open your bible and read Psalm 29. Our God is a strong God. He will help us through if we just seek Him.

I'm rooting for you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Floods, fears, and faithfulness

One of the great things about Home School, is being able to take time to answer questions that might relate to the topic but are not THE topic.

For example, this morning my daughter and I were reading about Noah's ark and the flood, but that lead us to the book of revelation.

We were reading about the floodwaters starting and all the people left behind because they were wicked. I asked her to consider how frightening it must have been for Noah's family. I can just imagine people screaming and running, realizing how true Noah's words had been. Realizing it was too late. They had listened for 100 years and never believed. Few people actually stop to think of this moment in history and how tragic it really was. I told her it will be much the same when Christ returns. People think they can wait until the last minute to make things right. It will be too late. This provoked her to ask about some things she had read in the book of Revelation. She said it was frightening. I TOTALY agree.

Keep in mind that she is 10 years old, but she has always been a deep thinker. The book of Revelation is complex and I don't have all the answers. However, I told her that the entire book can be summed up in two words--God Wins.

People on Earth are obsessed with taking sides. Democrat or Republican. Liberal or conservative. This team or that. This school or that. When it comes to God, however, people often think of God as the one choosing sides. We like to put Him in a nice box and use Him to justify our motives by proclaiming that He is on our side. We are foolish people. God cannot be contained, nor does he chose silly sides. God IS a side. YOU must chose to be on HIS side. We are to follow HIS rules. He created us, not the other way around.

I try not to be "hell fire and brimstone". Yet, there are things that need to be told. There are MANY joyful things we focus on but today was sober.

My daughter was stirred by what we had talked about. She said she was afraid that she wouldn't make it into heaven. She welled up with tears and and we hugged tight. I stroked her hair and thought of how much I was like her at that age. I remember the fear. Even as adults, we fear. Don't worry, I didn't just leave her afraid.

She has been baptized and takes her Christian walk very seriously. So, we talked about grace and mercy. We talked about Gods immeasurable love and His amazing grace. Even as adults we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the mercy of God. Even as adults, we fear death. Christians should not fear death, if we are faithful. Christ defeated death. If we follow Him, he will save us from deaths sting.

Finally, we talked about how important it is to teach others about Gods love, so others don't have to fear anymore. Others need to know that these things are real. We all need to share the good news with others.

After our lesson, we prayed together. We cried. We hugged. Then I tickled her ribs and she giggled. We smiled and with hope in our hearts set back to work. I pray you have hope in your heart.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Word Power

Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:21 ASV)

Wow. Just wow. Read that scripture and let it sink in. The power of the words that come out of our mouths. It has sparked many sayings. "I stuck my foot in my mouth." "Tongue tied." "Cat got your tongue?" The list goes on and on.
One of the first things that came to my mind was the song we sing to our children. "Oh be careful little mouth what you say..." What powerful advice there is hidden in the song meant for children but applicable to all.

The Bible is flooded with scriptures on the power of words and the tongue. Most of the passages cautioning us on the amount of harm we can cause with our words.

Our words are like tools. What the tool is used for, depends on you. Are our tools used for building, improving, protecting? Or are our tools used for tearing down, ripping apart, and destruction. While we may want to believe that we are using our tools for good, it may not be the case. We are all guilty of speaking behind someone's back or stating our unkind opinion about a person to others. It's hurtful, and just wrong.

We can "paint pictures" with words. Have you ever painted a picture of someone either to themselves or someone else? Of corse. Every time you speak to them or of them you do. What type of image do you want to leave in the mind of those you speak with. Parents, we help to paint the way our children see themselves. Much like painting, once you have made a stroke of the brush with words, it cannot be taken back. We must consider what we say, carefully.

Today, someone used their kind words to encourage me. They used their tools to build me up and they painted beautiful strokes on my heart. It meant the world to me. To that person, I thank you. Thank you for believing in me.

You can literally change the course of a persons life by what you say to or about them. That is really powerful. God blessed us with the ability to communicate so we can talk to Him and our fellow man. What God gave us is good and we must use it for good. We must not pervert it or use the very thing meant to build each other up, to tear each other down.

Whoever you are, I believe in you. Our Lord God believes in you, He made you! I pray for everyone who reads my blog. Know that I may not know you, but I care about you. Know that God does know you, and He will always care about you. He loves you enough to Give up His Son for you. I'd say you're pretty special.

Let's get our brushes in hand and our tools at the ready. We will all paint pictures today, will you paint Love? We will all use our tools today. Will you build hope?

Go encourage someone today.