Monday, April 11, 2016

Study in Ruth: Day 1

The book of Ruth, in the Bible, is an amazing story of redemption! God's sovereign hand can be seen throughout each verse. His promise of love is evident and His gift of salvation is shown in the life of Ruth. Ruth has an awesome story to tell. But hiding in the shadows of these pages is a story of reconciliation. A story of second chances and forgiveness. It's Naomi's story.

Much like Naomi, I was raised to know who God is. I knew John 3:16 and the golden rule. I knew the 10 commandments and the fruit of the spirit. I knew who God was. When I was 12 years old, Christ showed me I was a sinner and that I needed to be redeemed by His Grace through the sacrifice of His son Jesus. Actually at the time, all I knew was that He was perfect and I was not but through Jesus' sacrifice, I could be made whole! Redemption! That was my day of salvation! Just a few short years later, I was everywhere but in God's will. It's funny when I look back on those trying times. I remember little things like being somewhere I shouldn't have been and God sending another believer and we started talking about church and God and left together. Or having friends that used drugs yet I never did nor did I see them using. His hand of protection was on my life even when I didn't realize it. I will tell you more about my story as we go through this book together, but first, let's get into Naomi's story.

Read Ruth 1:1,2

There's so much to talk about in these 2 verses! We are going to take our time!

The scene is set. They lived in the days when the judges ruled. These days were dark for Israel. It was a time when Israel was not ruled by kings but by judges whom God had raised up to rule as leaders, during a challenging time for Israel. Among these were Gideon, Samson, and Deborah. This was a time when everyone did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25)

Sound familiar? Have you ever been there? Where you did whatever you wanted? I sure have and I wish I wouldn't have went through that but then I wouldn't have all this to share with you, would I?
See, God uses those dark times in our lives to grow us and bring us closer to Him!

There are still things that I take upon myself to do. Are there things in your life right now that you're not asking God to direct your steps in?

Take a few minutes and write down some things, big and small, that you are doing what seems right in your own eyes. Begin to pray over these things that God would allow you to see them through His eyes.

Try to read through Ruth Chapter 1 today. Tomorrow we are going to dig a little deeper into verses 1 and 2.

Visit my Facebook page here for encouragement and to connect to others who are longing to see God's hand working in their lives!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Homeschool Style: Sticking to it!

Story break.....

A friend of mine...when I say friend, we saw eachother at art class and often chatted about maybe I should say an acquaintance....anyway, 

she was a lot like me in her homeschooling style. Calm. Cool. Relaxed. Lots of good books. Picked a math curriculum and just went with it. You know the type. We don't do many crafts and we're part of a community so we don't have to do science projects at home! 

Then, a new girl moved to town.

Complete. Opposite. (which is ok and wonderful!)

She was crafty. She had an awesome homeschool room. She always had things planned to the minute. Complete with all the latest and greatest curriculums money could buy and all the fun stuff to go with it! I even found myself being envious over her. But my friend jumped right in. Had an addition built on to her house. Changed all her curriculum. Slowly our conversations were less and less because she was spending all her free time planning her next big idea. It wasn't long before her and her children were in tears and burnt out! 

If your style is like this new friend's with the craftiness and the planning that's AWESOME and wonderful and I say do it heartily as unto the Lord! If this is you, let me add that you're doing an awesome job and many of us wish (in ways) that we could be more like you!

But if it's not, I want to encourage you! It's okay! Do what works best for you and your family! Don't worry about what everyone else is doing!  Find your style and stick to it!

In this social media world, it is easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. How cute their homeschool rooms look. How pretty their crafts look. How clean their homes look. Etc. But that's just it....they just look that way!  They have bad days/weeks/months/years too! Don't let the pretty pictures talk you into trying to be something/someone you're not!

We homeschool all over the house.

My kid's rooms are usually a mess.

I have a daughter who is particular.

I have a son who struggles to read.

I have another soon who has a bad temper.

We're working on it! 

Things take time!

Then sometimes you find this.....

And This.....

(literally while I was typing this post :)  )

And you have a "I must be doing something right" moment!

So... how do you find your style?

You can google home school teaching style quiz and take a few of those.

You can mimic someone who is a lot like you and see how that goes.

Or...... My Favorite.....

You can pray and ask God to show you some things that line up with what He would have your homeschool to be! 

Some people are naturally structured... some are not!

Some children are naturally structured... some are not!
(isn't it amazing how those kiddos can have the same genes and be so different!?!?!)

Some people like everything laid out for them... some people like to lay things out themselves!

Some people are simple...some people are complex...some are compound complex!

But, we're all God's creatures great and small! We're all called into this amazing journey of homeschooling! Don't let people influence you in a negative way!

So... get a a piece of paper and write you're school name at the top. Divide it in 2 sections...1)We Do and 2) We Don't. As the good Lord speaks to you about your homeschool and you learn through trial and error, write it down! Every time you entertain the idea of trying something different or new, look back at this list and see if it fits!

What's your style?

Have you ever tried something that didn't work well for your family?

What's your take on the outcome?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Homeschool Habits: 7 Proverbs to Help Keep Your Homeschool Running Smooth!

Some days are worse than others!

Let's face it! We cannot have an ideal homeschool day every day! Here lately, I haven't had a single one! Things happen. Life happens. So, what can we do to get back to the basics?  What can we do to make sure our days will run smoothly?
In my 4 years of homeschooling, I have found these 7 Proverbs and tasks to be tried in true in having a smooth running day.

1) Prayer - Proverbs 15:33 "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility."
Daily humble yourself before God in prayer and recognize that apart from Christ, you can do nothing. Call on God to help you throughout your day to keep your focus on Him. Pray for your children! Pray God will open their minds and hearts to receive what they will be learning that day and pray for any specific needs your child may have. (Here are a few posts I've written on prayer)

2) Devotion - Proverbs 4:20-22 "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. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."
I cannot stress this enough! I know this is the hardest thing for a Mommy to get done! The simplest way to make sure this happens is to wake up 30 minutes earlier!  I know it's hard but the Lord will bless your efforts! Do NOT skip this! Sometimes I let my morning get away from me and I am tempted to keep on trucking. I have to stop myself and make myself steal away for a time of devotion. Sometimes this means backing everything up 30 minutes, getting 3 kids busy on something, and hiding! Just do it!

3) Know Your Teaching Style - Proverbs 16:20 "He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he."
I didn't realize how important this is until I saw a friend try to do things that were not in her nature to do. Homeschool friends are great but we are all passionate about what we are doing individually. I am always careful to share with new homeschoolers because I have seen how easy it is to latch on to what others are doing. Handle this matter wisely and you will see the good! Know your style and stick to it!

4) Be aware of your time - Prov 27:23 "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds."
I Do Not use a timer!  I know I'm breaking homeschool protocol!  But I do not want my child's learning time to be defined by the sound of a timer going off! However,  I am always aware of what time it is and how long we've been working on a task!

5) Use a bell to regroup - Proverbs 1:5 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels."
We are constantly splitting up and regrouping throughout the day. I found a cute service bell at a local store a few weeks ago and we are loving it. When I need everyone to come back together for whatever reason, I ring the bell. Simple! It has helped with first time obedience and following directions! Keep it interesting. Don't let every time you ring the bell be for giving directions....they'll stop coming! Change it up with a "drop everything, we're going to the park"! Or hand out candy! Or sing a song. Take a walk. Have fun with it!

6) Be flexible - Proverbs 10:16 "The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin."
Leave time to tend to life because life happens whether you're ready or not! Sometimes we all just need a break! Sometimes people drop by! Sometimes the dishwasher breaks and there's water all over the Kitchen floor...true story! Don't let it ruin your day (like I almost did)! Take care of business and pick up where you left off!

7) Make lists for each child - Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
If they don't know what is going on, you'll loose them completely! A while back I found myself telling my kids over and over what we were doing that day. I started making lists for each child (read more here). It takes me about 15 minutes to make my list and three children's lists each night. They know what's going on, what's expected of them, and where to look for their next task when Mommy's not available. It has encouraged responsability and independence in our home! (You can read about my children's lists here)

I hope these verses have helped you as much as they have me! Keep strong. Keep it simple. Keep praising God for the opportunity to homeschool! It is truly a gift!

What are some verses that have helped you keep things in perspective?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

More Thoughts On Prayer: Pray Without Ceasing

With everything that is going on in our lives, I find myself learning more and more about prayer. I will admit, my prayer life is lacking. But lately I have read, studied, listened to songs, and heard sermons preached on the subject of prayer. Maybe it is that this subject is laying heavy on my heart.

Today I thought I would share with you a few more thoughts on prayer.

Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

What do you think of when you hear the word careful? I think of telling my children to be careful when they are climbing on the monkey bars. Or be careful driving in the snow. Or be careful what you say. Those kinds of things.

However, this "careful for nothing" means care free. In other words...don't care about anything! Wow...that will change your perspective! Much like in Matthew 6:25 when Jesus said "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; or what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

Take no thought! How many times have you heard these statements..."well, at least he cares" or "he don't care about anything"!!! Now, apply Philippians 4:6! Did you see it? Suddenly the positive became a negative and the negative became a positive!

So, how can we shake the care of life? First we must look at the reason it needs to be shaken. Careful comes from the same word as anxious. Now, stay with me, if we are to be careful for nothing, that means we must be anxious for nothing. The key word is nothing! Not anxious over money, comforts, food, homes, or jobs. But if we are going to apply that to our physical lives how much more so should we apply it to our spiritual lives? That means we must not be anxious over holiness, the Bread of Life, our churches and their ministries, converts, and our Christian Service.

This means that our faith must increase. The greater the faith, the deeper the channel; the deeper the channel, the vaster the flood! That the joys of heaven might flood our souls!
Anxiety shrinks faith. If we allow the boulders of anxiety to enter our channels, then the waters do not flow smoothly. And in the words of J.H. Jowett..."If the river of God is full of water, why, then, does it only trickle through our labours?"

How then do we excavate the boulders of care and anxiety?

1) Prayer
* the word prayer in Philippians 4:6 is not speaking of the actual words or petitions spoken in prayer but more about the mood or mind set of the one praying! If we looked at every mood, every posture we make as a prayer what would our petitions be?
Have you ever tried to say something mean while smiling? It doesn't work.  Why? Because our posture is suggesting we are happy and our words that fallow are not. We cannot speak proper petitions until our position is right!

2) Supplication
* After you've corrected your posture, you may now speak. Supplication here is simply that. We are putting our motions into words. Taking our petitions to God!
Instead of worrying about things, position yourself to talk things over with a Holy God!

3) Thanksgiving
* I believe we all know what this word means. To put it simply...there is no hospitality for care and anxiety in a heart full of God's grace and mercy!
Be thankful for what He has blessed you with. And remember most blessings are spiritual not physical!

This is the key to "Go on Praying-Pray without ceasing." As Elizabeth Prentiss' Mother told her and as Paul tells us to Pray without ceasing. That every action taken might be a position in which the channels are always open and clear to the Divine.

Quick Science Lesson
*Newton's third law of motion says for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I think he got that from the Bible...James 4:8 "Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh to you."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Promises-And all of Them True!

"Go on praying-pray without ceasing."  that's what Elizabeth Prentiss's mother told her. Elizabeth was struggling with her tempor just as her mother used to. When asked how she overcame her anger, she answered...prayer!

Is it just me or has this world gone mad? Seems like everywhere I go people are mad. They're mad because they have to wait in line. They're mad because they are late. They're mad because they hit a pot hole and then thethey're mad because traffic is stopped when D.O.T. is fixing the pot hole. They're mad at the waitress because she hasn't refilled their drink. Meanwhile she is waiting on 20 tables without help. Do you get what I'm saying? People are impatient, impolite, and inconvenienced. 

Think about it...we have reduced ourselves to having to make time to do a random act of kindness. Please don't get me wrong here. A little kindness goes a long way. I believe that. But I remember a time when people waived at everyone driving by. And when everyone smiled at eachother in passing. I smiled at a lady in the grocery store today and she turned and looked behind her as if it shocked her that I was smiling at her. 

Ok I will get off my little soap box now and get back to the book. 

So her mom answered and told her to go on praying.  This brought to mind some wonderful scriptures.

I Thessalonians 5:17 "pray without ceasing." 

I Chronicles 16:11 says to "seek his face continually"

Eph 6:18 "Praying always..."

Luke18:1 "...that men ought alway to pray, and not to faint."

I believe Mama Prentiss knew her Bible don't you? All of these scriptures speak of praying continually.  Or in Mama Prentiss' words... "Go on praying-pray without ceasing!" 

Now Mamas like to teach their children something and I believe this Mama was not only teaching prayer but was teaching the promise of prayer. Remember Elizabeth Prentiss' goal is to not have such a temper. Elizabeth knew that her Mom not only gave her an answer but it was also a solution to her problem. A promise that if you do this, that will be taken care of.  

Let's look at some promises God gives us concerning prayer.  

Luke 11:9 "And I say unto you. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. " 

John 15:7 "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be opened unto you.

James 5:16 "...the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Those are great promises from our Lord.
And He can't break a promise! 

I will close this post with some words from a favorite song.


He didn't promise that I would never stumble.
But He did say He'd catch me if I fall. 
He didn't tell me He'd hear complaints I whisper.
But He did say He'd hear me when I call.

Promises Promises
And all of them true. 
He's done exactly what He said He would do.
He didn't tell me my heart would not be broken. 
But He did say He'd mend it again.

He didn't tell me my cross would not be heavy. 
But He did say, that He my load would bear.
He didn't tell me, He'd grant my wants and wishes. 
But He did say, He'd hear my earnest prayer.

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Change Not!

Since the fall of man in the garden, things started changing from perfect to imperfect. 

I was thinking today on the things in life that change:
Seasons Change
Leaves Change
Weather Changes
Time Changes
Jobs Change
Buildings Change
Homes Change
People Change
Age Changes

Even those things in life that seem to be constant can change in an instant.

Just last weekend, we remembered the passing of a loved one. Death changed that constant!

Those people in our lives that have always been there are taken home to glory and our lives are forever changed!

Maybe a home that you've lived in much of your lifetime can be taken in an instant by fire causing your living situation to change!  
Maybe an illness keeps you from doing something you've always done. Causing your lifestyle and habits to change!

Like that time you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and your life was FOREVER and ETERNALLY CHANGED!  AMEN!!!!

Today,  in the spirit of Thanksgiving,  I thank God for salvation. I thank Him for His word.  His truth.  His Grace.  His Mercy.  His Hope.  His Blood. His Presence.  His Peace. Always!

And, specifically today, I thank Him for His Consistency

Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

He changes not!

When everything around you is changing, He changes not

When life is hard,  He changes not

When troubles come, He changes not

He will always be the same!  He Changes 

He will always be a shoulder to lean on,  He changes not.

He will always show compassion, He changes not! 

What is changing in your life today? Remember, He changes not! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What to do When You Are Overwhelmed!!!!

What To Do When You Are Overwhelmed!

Women have a lot to do! Don't we?

For instance. ..these are just some of the many different hats I wear on a daily basis!

Preacher's Wife
Homeschool Mom
House Keeper
Travel Agent
Fashion Consultant

With all the hats we wear,  it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

So, what can you do to fix that you ask?!?!

I have no clue!

But, I have found something that works for me when I get the "I've got so much to do I don't know where to start" attitude.

1st - Tell yourself that you can't do it!


Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Ok...common verse...I can do all Christ!
Through Christ is how to do anything. Because without Him I can't do anything. I am nothing. But, read on...

Philippians 4:17-20 "Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Amen! I have exactly what I need to do what I need to do because I am a child of the King and He alone supplies all my needs!

So, after you read this, take a deep breath...

2nd - Make a list...
a list of every routine you have to do...I mean everything.
(I say routine because there are certain lists within these lists that had to be accomplished)
It may look something like this although much more detailed!
Get Dressed
Brush Teeth
Read Bible
Start Supper
Kids Up
Post Office
Library (Lego Play)
Clean Up
Pack for trip
And So On And So Forth!

Then Prioritize!
Read Bible
Get Dressed

3rd - Tackel these routines one at a time!

This is one reason we feel overwhelmed! We think everything has to be done perfectly and timely.  But,  the fact is, it doesn't!  Can you go to the past office while the daughter is at piano? Or why not just do that tomorrow?

Yes Lego Play at the library is fun!  Yes it is only twice a month!  But,  couldn't you just skip that today and just come up with a fun challenge to do at home with your own legos?

We are busy...but, most of the time, we don't have to be!  There's always something you can drop!

4th - Look back and say God, you were right. You are always right. 

He always supplies exactly what we need when we need it. Notice I didn't say what we want. But, what we NEED! My God is a mighty God.

I am reminded of an excerpt from one of my favorite books...Morning Devotions by Susannah Spurgeon by Charles Ray
She refers to Romans 8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

Mrs. Spurgeon says this "...He gave his most precious treasure; could he withhold any lesser good from you? He has given you pounds; will he refuse you pence? No; while faith is thus quickened into lively exercise by the Spirit of God, the cadences of exulting praise must ring out, clear and loud, 'How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?'...Think well, my hear, what 'all things' mean to you! If you have Christ, then along with him, and included in him, you possess 'all things'. All spiritual blessings, rich and precious, are laid up for you in this divine storehouse, and God's choicest and most excellent gifts are here waiting for your faith to claim them. 

Rejoice, my soul, that Christ and 'the things of Christ' cannot be divided. Pardon, peace, sanctification, close communion with Jesus, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - are not all these gathered together 'with him' as a cluster of ripe grapes on a choice vine? Having him, you have all else. There is not a need or desire of your inner life which cannot be triumphantly met by faith's unwavering challenge, 'How shall he not?' Nor is there a necessity of your temporal state which cannot equally claim the blessing of possessing 'all things' in Christ."

And I was worried about getting everything done!?!?! Thank you Lord for picking me up, wiping off my sin of doubt, and putting me back on solid ground. Back on the rock that is Jesus!

God Bless!