I am no longer the things of my past...I am the daughter of the Great I AM.

Exodus 3:14
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
2 Corithians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Looking in the Mirror

I can so relate to this picture. I have naturally frizzy hair... that's right I didn't say curly, I said frizzy. As a matter of fact, one of my nick names in middle school was Frizz. Thankfully, it was given by friends and I laughed instead of cried over such a statement.

It takes a lot of heat and a variety of products to remove the frizz. However, even with all that work, a humid day will quickly diminish all my effort. There have been times, when I have styled my hair and thought... "Wow! I am having a good hair day!" As I go about my day, I will feel really good about the way I am looking... then I walk past a mirror. Yea, I quickly realize it's not such a good hair day after all. At that point, I have two choices. I can ignore it and pretend like I am still having a good hair day. This option doesn't work so well. My mind is constantly occupied with thoughts of how bad my hair really is. The second option is to fix the problem. This could be either by restyling or by pulling my hair up in a bun or ponytail. Either way, I control the problem and again feel better about the way I look.

As Christians, the same thing can be said about our walk with God. We can be going about life thinking we are doing great. We may even think that we are some sort of "super Christian" because we think we are doing so well. Then.... yep you guessed it ... we walk past a mirror. This mirror may be God's word, it may be a word from the pulpit, or it could be a loved one gently (or maybe not so gently) pointing out an area they have seen that we need to work on. However we receive the message, the same choices present themselves. We can continue on acting like nothing is wrong. However, to do this, we will have to ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Speaking from experience, this is not a pleasant option. Or... we can, with God's help, fix the problem. We can repent and turn from whatever it is that our eyes have been opened to.

I am so thankful that God does not pour all of our faults on us at once. Thankfully, He grows us, and as we grow, new areas that need work will appear. Just like my hair will never be perfect, neither will my Christian walk. But Praise the Lord, He is daily perfecting me until that time when I receive my glorified body. Until then, I will keep looking in "the mirror" and with God's help, fix the areas that need fixing.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Prayer - America's Only Hope

Four years ago, our church, FBC Texarkana, under the leadership of Pastor Jeff Schreve, had these signs made. This one has been in our yard all that time. I have seen them not just in the Texarkana area, but all over Arkansas and Texas. I have the feeling that they expand even further than that.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

America, we vote in 8 days. Please pray and seek God.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Praying Men

I am so thankful for these two praying men in my life... Jason and his Dad.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Pray for All Men
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Goal

Titus 2:3-5 (NKJV)
the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Verses for my Children

Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded,in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Titus 2:6-8 (NKJV)
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Monday, October 22, 2012

He is Known at the Gates

My husband is a contractor, and we have a remodeling business. This weekend, we were part of a local Home and Garden Show. It was a family affair, as you can tell from the above picture. We began set up on Friday, and then worked the booth all weekend. It was a tiring, but blessed weekend.

We have been preparing for this show for months, but last week was especially focused on the show. On Friday, as I was praying for the show, and praying specifically for God to favor our business through this show, this verse came to mind:
Proverbs 31:23 (NKJV)
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

I realized that my job this weekend was not about promoting our business (that was Jason's job). My job was to promote my husband. My job this weekend was to be sure that our family represented Jason well. Specifically, my actions, attitude, and appearance was to compliment my husband. This should be my job everyday, no matter what I am doing.

I am forever telling my children before we go out somewhere to remember who they represent. They represent Christ, their family, and themselves... and then I tell them that they do not want to embarrass or cause harm to any of those. I also need to remember who I represent... being a wife under the submission of her husband ... I represent Christ, my husband, and then myself.

I'm sure that this is not a popular view, especially since I threw that word submission in there, but I do believe it is Biblical.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Proverbs 3:1-6

Proverbs 3:1-6(NKJV)
Guidance for the Young
3 My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Exploring God's World

Just one of the things I love about homeschooling is that we have the freedom to go and do things any time of the day or the week. Now, I do try to keep a regular schedule, because routine is what works best for us. However, we have the ability to adjust our schedule quickly when needed ... or wanted.

Another thing that I love, is that our classroom travels with us. Many times, if Jason has an appointment out of town, he will ask us to go with him. Often, after the appointment, we will stop somewhere to look around and explore. The above picture was taken while on just such a family day trip. We were on a boardwalk looking at a river... and taking pictures... when the kids noticed a bug walking on the concrete wall. Just like that, we had a mini-entomology class. I LOVE THAT!

Learning is a life long experience. Even if you don't homeschool... or even if you don't have children ... your eyes should always be open and looking for opportunities and ways to learn.

And learning should begin with the Word of God. Hide His word in your heart, and He will give you a true understanding of the things around you.

Proverbs 1:2-7 (NKJV)
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rejoice in the Lord Always

This picture reminds me of pure joy.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Look Up - Psalm 121

Psalm 121 (NKJV)
God the Help of Those Who Seek Him
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bible Teachers

In our society, we are inundated with Bible teachers. Not only can we attend church, we can watch on TV, we can listen on the radio, we can read books and magazines, we can purchase CDs and DVDs, and we can follow online. Record numbers of people can be reached... and reached all over the world. This is a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, it is great that so many people can have access to the teachings of Jesus Christ. No, because many people proclaiming to be Bible teachers are not teaching the true Word of God.

With so many teachers out there, how can we know who is teaching correctly? We need to ask God for discernment as we scrutinize the person teaching.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-23 (NKJV)
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

We need to ask some questions...

Does this person direct you to follow Jesus Christ? Or do they create a following for themselves?

Does the teaching and actions of this person line up with the Word of God? Or does it line up with the world?

Do they teach how to be a disciple of Christ and serve others? Or do they teach "how to make ME feel better?"

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NKJV)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

There is no perfect teacher, save Jesus Christ. That is why we must be diligent to study the scriptures for ourselves. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 Just because something sounds good, or even sounds right... does not mean it is right. It is only right if it lines up with God's Word. God is the final authority. His Word is true, and we cannot manipulate it to fit what we want. No! We must change to line up with what God wants.

Don't seek teaching that makes you feel good. Instead, seek teaching that challenges you to grow into the person God can use to further His kingdom.

Don't be a man follower, be a Christ follower.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Vow

I saw this on Pinterest this morning:

I don't know who the author is, but it is beautifully expressed.

I especially love the line that says, "I vow to fiercely love you, in all your forms, now and forever." I am so thankful that Jason vows to love me in all my forms... because believe me, I know, that I have some unlovely forms. And you know what? So does he... But I love him still.... And I vow to always do so.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Called to Serve Others

Let me just warn you that I am about to prove I am old... I am about to make one of those "when I was a kid" statements! So... When I was a kid, good customer service was a common thing. The motto, "the customer is always right" really meant something. My mom had several friends who were waitress, and I can remember them having to deal with some really irrational customers. No matter how rude or unreasonable the customer, these waitresses always smiled, spoke kindly, and worked hard to please the customer. Sadly, that is just not the case anymore.

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I were out running errands. I drove through a fast food hamburger restaurant. I placed my order at the speaker, and listened as it was repeated. I then drove around and paid for the order. The cashier handed me two drinks. I told her that there should be three drinks. She informed me that I only ordered two. I checked the ticket... yes, there it was 3 drinks. So I tried to hand the ticket back to her for her to confirm. She wouldn't take the ticket, but continued to argue that I only ordered 2 drinks. This went on in circles for a couple of minutes. (Please keep in mind, this was during the noon hour... traffic was backing up.) Finally, I realized that she was not going to look at the ticket... and she was not going to concede that she was wrong, so in a very sassy manner, with my finger in the air circling toward the kids and myself, and then holding up three fingers, I said, "There are three of us, we NEED THREE DRINKS!" (Maybe not my finest moment, but it HAS made us laugh several times since.) She looked shocked, and said, "What is the third drink?" I told her, and thought, okay we can finish up and leave...

Oh ... no! I noticed that my drink was marked DR. Pepper. I had ordered a Coke. So, I tried to hand it back and she informed me that she had just marked it wrong. Being a little leery, and a lot weary by this point, I asked if she was sure. She said yes, so I kept the drink. We still had not got our food. I promise, it was not a complicated order... 2 cheeseburgers and 1 oder of chicken strips. So, while we wait I put my straw in the drink and hesitantly try it. Yes, it was Coke... good... but the cashier flings the drive thru window open and said not so politely, "I TOLD YOU IT WAS COKE." Refraining from the urge to climb through the window and teach her a few manners... after all, my kids were watching ... I just smiled and nodded.

AND we are STILL waiting for our food, AND the line behind us is steadily growing longer. Finally, after about 10 minutes (no exaggeration), she opens the window and asks me to pull around to the other side to wait for my food. REALLY?!?!?!?! Exasperated, I asked, in a not so nice manner, "Why?" She informed me that chicken strips take 7 minutes to cook. (remember, it has been 10 minutes) I didn't speak, I just pulled around. However, as soon as the window was up, the kids and I were all yelling about the rudeness... the length of time... and, yea, again, the rudeness. Finally, after a total wait of at least 15 minutes, the cashier walked our food out to us. I tried smiling... not sure how sincere it was, but I did try, and thanked her for our food."

So, as we are eating our lunch and continuing our errands, we have a discussion about all the things the cashier should have done if she were offering true customer service. It did turn into a good teaching moment... and a good laugh as we replayed the story for Jason to hear.

Sadly, this instance of poor service is not the only one around. It seems more and more common for employees, in any service industry, to be rude, unhelpful, and sometimes offensive toward customers. Now please keep in mind, there are still some very good employees out there, and for those, I give my gratitude.

So what has brought about this trend of poor service? And lets face it, it is not just in the service industry, it is in life. In my opinion, it is the shift away from traditional Christian values. Jesus set the example for us to serve others.

John 13:12-17(NKJV) So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Instead of looking for ways to serve others, we EXPECT others to serve us. We are living in a "What's in it for me?" ... "I want it my way" ... "It just feels right." ... type of society. If we are always looking for self fulfillment, then we are going to miss out on the blessings promised by Jesus -> "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

So, what can we do? Well first of all, when we are in a position to serve others, do it well. Serve cheerfully, and allow others to see Christ in us. When we are not in that position, look for ways that we can serve others. As Christians, we should know, it is not all about us... It IS all about Christ.

We are called to serve others. "So whatever we do, do it all to the glory of God."


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lesson Learned Through Life Application

I realize that I often share about my kids, and the lessons I learn from them. These posts usually involve something good they do, or some great insight they share. It would be easy to read this blog or my Facebook page, and decide that I have the perfect children. Of course, isn't that always the case... we tend to share the good not the bad. Well, to keep things balanced, let me share a lesson Ethan learned yesterday.

As part of his school work, Ethan copies one of "George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation." After he copies the rules as written, he is then required to re-write it in his own words.

Here is yesterday's rule: "The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon." Ethan was having trouble with understanding. After some discussion, he wrote this, " Your body language should match the circumstances you are in." Even as he wrote it, I could tell that it still did not "click" with him. It wasn't long before a life application for this rule came about...

Ethan was doing something that I asked him to stop. He did stop, but it was after he did it a few more times first. (This is a bad habit we are working on.) When I realized that he was not going to stop immediately, I turned and picked up a wooden spoon. (In our house wooden spoons have many purposes... including being a good paddle when needed.) Now, I did not intend to spank over this infraction, but I did want him to realize I was serious. Usually, if I pick up a spoon, he will sit up and take notice to what I am about to tell him. For some reason, this time, he did not. He decided to try and make a joke out of it. He began acting goofy while I was talking to him. This did cause him to get a whack on the backside with the spoon. Then I had his attention.

So after we finished the discussion on stopping immediately when asked, we discussed his behavior while I was speaking with him. I explained that his gestures while I was disciplining did not match the circumstances he was in. He now understands the rule he copied... he also understands not to act goofy while I am lecturing him.

Life application is often the way God teaches us the meaning of his word. We can read scripture, and sometimes it just makes no sense to us. Then when some event takes place in our life, that scripture will come to mind. Then we can understand, and then we can cling to the word of God to get us through whatever the circumstance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Creaking Bibles

Recently, Ethan and I were discussing a family that we have invited to church several times. This family has visited a few times, but they do not attend anywhere regularly. Ethan commented that he did not believe the son was really saved, even though he proclaimed to be. I quickly reprimanded him for judging and told him that just because his family did not attend church regularly did not mean that he was not saved. To which he replied, "Mom, his Bible creaked when he opened it."

That statement has left a lasting impression on me. What does a creaking Bible say about a person? It says that the Bible is not opened, read, or studied often, and therefore belongs to a person with little to no spiritual growth.

It is my prayer that I never have a creaking Bible. Rather, let it be like this quote from Charles Spurgeon:

Source: pinpal.in via Marya on Pinterest

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What Should We Teach Our Children? Respect

The reason I even started praying over this series, "What Should We Teach Our Children?" was because of a headline I read in our local paper. An historic cemetery, not too far from where I live had been vandalized on several occasions. The authorities had finally caught the culprits, and the ring leader (and oldest member of the group) was 13. There were 6 total kids involved, two under the age of 10. All of the criminal activity took place late into the night/early in the morning. I just sat there in disbelief for a moment... then in repulsion. There are so many questions that came up. But here is the where my mind finally landed. These kids have no respect for others. They have no respect for the family members who have loved ones buried in this cemetery. They have no respect for the caretakers of the cemetery. They have no respect for the people who visit or drive by the cemetery. The have no respect for the property of others. They have no respect for the authority of their parents. Which leads me to the point of this blog... Are we teaching respect to our children?

If you ever want to see an example of total lack of respect between parents and children, go hang out at your local Wal-Mart(or if you don't have one of those, whatever the discount, low budget, shopping chain is in your area). The first type of parent/child relationship that will jump out at you are the ones that have no respect for each other. It is sad to see the way some parents talk to their children, and in turn the way children talk to their parents. Another parent/child relationship you will see is the one where the child gets everything they want... sometimes just by asking, but most of the time by throwing a fit and demanding that the parent buy them something... to which the parent capitulates. You can also see children running all over the place, tearing up things, and the parents have no clue where they are... until they are ready to leave, then those are the parents yelling at their kids and fussing about why they had wondered off. Finally, let me add a parenting disclaimer... Wal Mart can bring out the worst in parents and children alike. And even the most respectful of relationships can have an off day while shopping in the busy, not so polite crowds. That is when you remember to ask for forgiveness from your children when you lose your cool at Wal-Mart... Yes, I speak from experience.

Ok, so now that you have a good visual image of children who are not taught respect, what should we as parents do to teach our children respect? Well, lets start with scripture...

Ephesians 6:1-4(NKJV)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

We need to teach our children what God has to say to them. Children obey your parents. Honor your father and mother. Why? So that it may be well with you. They need to know that God tells them why... too often we just state the first part and don't tell them why. AND we need to tell them that God also speaks to the parents and tells us we are not to provoke our children to anger, but that we are to train them. That is our job, and we will have to answer for the job that we have done.

Respect is earned. The way we treat others determines what they feel and how they act toward us. Just like love, respect is taught more by actions than by words. Teaching respect starts at home, and then carries over into the world around us. Do your children see you treating others with respect? Do you treat your children with respect? Again, these are not questions I can answer for anyone but myself, but I hope I have given you something to consider.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Should We Teach Our Children? Love

Mark 12:29-31(NKJV)
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

I want to start my series on What We Should Teach Our Children with what Jesus said is the greatest of the commandments ... Love... We are to love God, and we are to love others.

Love is not something that can be taught with words only. It must be taught by our actions and our reactions.

Our children must see us loving God... daily, not just on Sunday mornings. It is easy to sing praise to God and say that we love Him when everything is going great. Can we sing praise and love Him while in the midst of a storm?

Our Children must see their parents loving each other... all the time, even when we disagree. Are we affectionate to each other? Do we speak with respect to each other? Do we speak well of our spouse to others? Do we tell each other that we love them while in the presence of our children?

Our children must see us loving them ... again all the time, even when they make mistakes. Do we hug and kiss and cuddle our children? Do we tell them we love them? When we correct them, do we do it in a loving manner? Do we reassure them that there is nothing they can do that would cause us to stop loving them? Do we spend time with them, encouraging them, helping them, training them, having fun with them and yes, loving them?

They must see us loving others... even those who are unlovely. We all know people who can grate on our nerves... Do our kids see us loving these people? What about the snarky cashier at a drive through restaurant? or the person standing behind us in line at the grocery store? Of course, we are not going to say, "I love you" to these people. However, the way we react to these people either reflects the love of Christ... or it reflects the world. So, how do we react to these irritating people? Do our children see us reacting with love?

I know this post is full of questions. Questions that I can't answer for anyone but myself.... and yes, there are some areas in love I need to work on.

So here is the bottom line, if we want to raise our children to love others, we must demonstrate love to others. We must get away from self-seeking love, and offer self-sacrificing love.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Should We Teach Our Children?

As a homeschool mom, I daily consider what to teach my children. Of course, math and reading are a must! And then there is history... a true history, not a revisionist history, Science from a creationist point of view, grammar, spelling, writing, typing, art... the list goes on. However, there are many things that I should be teaching my children that are not in my lesson plans... though they should be.

God commands us to "train up a child," and though academics are definitely a part of that training, I believe there are bigger things that we, as a society in general, are missing when we are raising our children. Over the next few posts, I am going to do a series on "What We Should Teach our Children." The topics will include, but not be limited to the following: Love, Respect, Loyalty, Discernment, Perseverance, Diligence, Contentment,Patience, Service... The more I pray about this, the longer the list becomes. I am not sure how many of these topics I will cover, but all of these are areas that have been put on my heart.

Please pray for me as I start this series. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment.


Monday, October 1, 2012

A Quick (and Funny) Peek at my Morning

My kids don't seem quite ready to let the weekend go, and it has left me feeling like this...

Source: via Kerry on Pinterest

Hope your Monday is going smoother than mine. May your week be productive and blessed. God Bless you!