Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Are We Doing?

(I will just note now that this is a post for fellow Christians.  If you aren't one, this will offend you and is not an update about my family life so I will save you the time and emotions ;) 
Just want to share something on my heart as we are learning to be resolved Christians, dedicated to the Lord and His will. (We are, aren't we???)

I want to assure you that I am not sharing any of this to be used by the enemy to condemn don't allow that to happen while you read! I am sharing what God is speaking to my heart in this season. I believe He is drawing all His children "back to the basics," in all realms, to weed out the thinking that has become polluted by the world. So ask God to open your heart to what He would have you see in this.

I have had it heavy on my heart to seek God as to why I do what I my Christian my daily life. Some main themes have been arising over the last year:

Do EVERYTHING you do as if you are doing it for the Lord (1 Cor 10:31) and whatever you do in word or deed, do ALL in the name of the Lord (3:17). Do I? Is it for Him or me? For others or for me? I'm not saying not to nurture yourself, as you can only pour out if you are filled up. But, what is my innermost motivation? And is everything I am doing somehow building up or is it tearing down? In my opinion, whatever I do, anytime, anywhere is just as important as what I do INSIDE the church building on Sunday. Some believe it is okay to drink outside the church but not inside...or to dance in other places but never in the church...or to enjoy music or worship God with it outside the church but not inside. (I could go on with many examples!) According to these verses though, it should be EVERYTHING we do. Our lives and how we live them ALL THE TIME should be an act of worship. If we shouldn't do it IN the church building, we shouldn't do it because WE ARE THE CHURCH! (God is weeding out the traditions of man that have been perverted and twisted, claimed to have come from Scripture!)

Another heavy hitter this week...And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8). What do I think on? Does it build me and others up in some way or tear down? What do I read or watch? What spirits are behind those things? God showed me I must beware what is not authored by someone IN Jesus, for they are not ultimately inspired by Him. It is our duty to be vigilant, be aware of how the enemy would creep into our lives and take root...then drive our desires and get us to open doors. The enemy doesn't usually attack obviously. It is usually sneaky and sly...calculated and pointed...slow and strategic for our ultimate destruction! Are you being fooled? Ask God to show you and then boldly lay down anything He says to get rid of!  (It's for your own good!)

Every spring/summer, I begin to prepare for the next year of schooling. I seek God's plan for my children. I don't assume I know what I should do, nor do I do what I just "feel" like doing. I don't just send them off to school because that's the "norm" in our society and neither do I continue to homeschool because that is what we have been doing. I seek God's plan each year. Do you?

I am currently more convinced than ever that homeschooling is the call for me and mine. But, even in that, am I seeking God's plan or the state's plan? I have been burdened to look at why I do what I do. I am heartbroken that for the first time in our history in this country, the education skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach those of their parents! The last 30 years have brought a dramatic decline in the quality of education. Nearly 50% of adults are "functionally illiterate" and cannot handle more than the simplest math skills. SAT scores have fallen almost 80% since 1960. We are not increasing the knowledge required on student's tests, but are lowering the results and expectations! Parents and students are boasting in test scores thinking they are scholars, deluded that they have received a well-rounded education. (SCARY!)

As I have been praying and seeking, crying out, "God there has to be more to this than just teaching to pass a test..." He has led me to some eye-opening information. I have just been reading a book called What Your Child Needs to Know When-According to the State/According to the Bible by Robin Sampson (Heart of Friends...I have just read about the history of education since the beginning of written history and the fall from what God intended to what we have become and participated in is sickening to say the least. We have given in to ancient philosophy and worshiping the created instead of the Creator!

We have gotten so far away from what God instructed the Hebrew people to do in their families...with the father being a PRIMARY DILIGENT TEACHER TO HIS CHILDREN. It is no wonder that families and churches are falling apart (read Already Gone by Ken Ham!).

We have got to wake up as Christians! We have to get back to the MOST important things. We cannot serve both God and money (GOD said it not be mad at Him).

Why are we doing what we are doing??? Are we living out lives that are driven by God and His Word and His plan, or are we driven by the lifestyle we want, think we need, or have gotten caught up in? How important is the type of house, clothing, cars, etc... to us and the way we live our daily lives?

Are the activities our children are involved in on our priority lists because God has gifted them to further His kingdom in that area or because everyone else is doing it or it is "just what kids do?"

Did God call you to work or does your lifestyle demand it? If He did call you to work, how did He tell you to be sure you are still getting quality time with your children...time to teach them His Word DILIGENTLY as He instructs?

Again, I am not trying to make anyone feel bad so don't let the enemy use me that way in your head okay! We are to share the truth God is revealing to us in love. I know the amount of time I get with my children. I know the reward and fruit I am seeing come forth in their lives. I know what is going into them and who is influencing them because they are here with me. I also know what they lack and where I see that they need training and character adjustment! I know what they actually know from the curriculum we are using and what they don't retain. But even with me, WHY am I doing what I am doing and is it God's plan or of my own?

Sadly, I have found that I don't spend enough time teaching them God's Word and wisdom and I let "school subjects" take precedence. I find myself in the "worry" that I am not keeping up with the state standards, yet God said to me, "Do I not know more than the school system!" OUCH!

He promises that IF I will acknowledge HIM in ALL my ways, HE will make straight our paths. If I will keep my focus on what HE (not the state) commands me to teach them, He will guide them and prepare them for HIS plan for their lives. (Do I want His plan??? Do I really???)

Some questions the author asks in this book are pointed and life-changing if one will meditate on them instead of become offended! What happened in your past to prepare you for what God is calling you to do now? Did you learn it from school? From your parents? From church? From different situations? God uses ALL THINGS for HIS good...and for the good of those who love HIM and are called to HIS purpose. (Are we really about HIS purpose? Do we really love HIM more than us?) LIFE is a classroom. Do you have an evaluation checklist consisting of all the things that you have learned in your life to bring you to a place to do God's will? If you do, I venture it's a prayer list and not the state standards!

Are you convicted with me? God doesn't reveal these things to us to make us feel bad and leave us without hope! He graciously opens our eyes to where we can make changes to experience His blessings most and to further the kingdom by bringing the greatest glory possible to Him.

So today, I ask you to get real and meditate on some hard things with me... Are you a humdrum Christian...just coasting through life til you get the reward of Heaven? Forget about the unbelieving sinners out there for a minute. Don't compare yourself to them! Sinners act like sinners! I am asking, as a child of the Most High, are you living your life as He said? Are you doing all you do as unto Him to bring Him glory as Jesus did or have you gotten wrapped up in "the way Americans do things?" Are you careful what you put before your eyes and ears...or what spirits you let influence you and your children through media sources? Are you vigilant about how you and your children spend your time? Are you driven by the almighty dollar or maintaining a certain lifestyle and neglecting teaching God's Word to yourself and your children diligently?

I don't need your answers. I need to focus on what I need to change! This is just for you and God to examine. As your friend though, I just don't want to keep silent about what He is speaking to me and see you blindsided by the ways of this world or the enemy who would steal from you!

Your destiny and those of your children depend on the choices you make daily and by what you value most. Don't get lost in condemnation here. Let God renew your mind and speak to your heart about what HE wants you to participate in or refrain from.

Ask Him... show me how to live all my life as worship to you Father! I believe it is in that place that you will find that truly HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light, but the yokes and burdens we put on ourselves by not doing things the way He intended weigh us down and cause us extreme stress in our bodies, minds, and relationships!

Grace is a beautiful, undeserved gift we cannot earn or pay back. It is salvation and ALL the benefits of being saved from the curse and destruction. It is also the empowerment of God to live the abundant life Christ died to give us. We cannot get lost in feeling "bad" about what God says we need to change. We need to become our doing what we have heard...what He has lovingly spoken. It really comes down to mediocrity or excellence. Oh if you are in Jesus by His blood, you are "getting in" to Heaven, but what has He called you to accomplish HERE before you get there? What has He instructed you to do that will enable your kids or future generations to be world changers and influencers? COME ON! DON'T SLEEP! Your time is NOW! Don't live a life that you will look back on and regret and say, "I should have done things differently."

Don't compare yourself to others either! Walk out YOUR walk!
And let me just add to those who would say, "Yeah, good for you teaching your children yourself, but I don't have the patience." I DON'T EITHER AND NO ONE DOES! Patience is fruit of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life! It doesn't come natural! It is supernatural...above us as pathetic humans and can ONLY be given by God! WE cannot manifest it in and of ourselves, but He has given us tools to cultivate what He has put into us. Patience is a benefit (a gift) as part of being saved by Jesus. We can apply God's wisdom to grow stronger in it, but to say you don't have it and therefore can't teach your own children is a cop-out in my opinion and from my own experience. If God calls you to it, He equips you to do it...and He has called us ALL to teach our children day and night as we go through daily life with them.  Problem is, many parents and children aren't spending their hours together anymore and don't even know one another.  This leaves parents feeling like they are inept to teach their children anything and leaves children feeling prideful and wise in their own eyes and/or even fearful to allow their parents to speak into their lives.
The breakdown of the family as God created it is truly an epic fail!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Is Here and I Feel Fine!

Well, I really didn't mean for it to be this long before I posted again!  I got into an organizing-the-house spree and then my dad decided to put up an above ground pool so I have been B-U-S-Y!  Last week, I actually had a cold trying to kick me down, but overcame that and feel GREAT!!!

It is so weird to not have pain in my abdomen!  I guess when endometriosis is growing inside your body it is slow enough that you know you are becoming uncomfortable, but you excuse many of the symptoms.  I just really did not realize how much it was messing with me.  I feel like a new woman.

I also have started taking a dietary supplement called ACE, which stands for Appetite Control and Energy.  I have been on it just over three weeks.  I tried it because a person I trust a lot was selling it and posting testimonies of people she knows in person.  People have had great success with everything from weight loss to arthritis and fibromyalgia relief!  I surely didn't have anything to lose except excess weight and the ingredients are all natural.

So my experience???  I am happy to say it is helping me beyond what I had even hoped!  Of course all you women wanna know did I lose weight right?  Well, I have only dropped one pound on the scale, but I have lost 2 inches around my waist.  My rings are turning around my fingers too so I can tell something is happening.  I had lost 12 pounds during my illness and surgery, and with how I have changed my eating habits over the last year, I can maintain a steady weight, I just really want to get more off until I reach my goal.

Even better to me than weight loss though, has been my energy level rising so high.  Before ACE, I always wanted a nap in the afternoon.  Now, I just go, go, go!  Yesterday, I went to the grocery, came home and cooked six meals for my family and another, cleaned for Bible study that was at my house last night, did schoolwork with my boys, and I was still going!!!  That was NOT me before.  I also notice that my body doesn't feel as "stiff." 

I use to crave different foods and now hardly ever do I want something specific.  I go to eat a meal and I KNOW when I am full!  I eat about half of what I was eating before.  I simply don't want it!  It is so strange to me...foreign!

Perhaps best of all, is that I noticed I hadn't had a migraine since starting ACE until the one day I didn't take it.  That day I started getting a headache, but even then, it wasn't bad.

So maybe I am onto something that can bring great change to life as I know it.  I will keep you posted!

As for my guys right now...well, Tom is working and traveling as usual, though he has been interviewing for some different positions and we are praying for open doors.

Garrison is continuing some schoolwork, as he learned a great deal about time-management (or lack of it) during the year.  I say better now than in college right?  (smile for experience being a great teacher)

Alex and Trey are working on some math, and I think we will be doing a unit study on the history of the Olympic games since they are coming up and we will be studying ancient Greece next year.

We are trying to catch up with friends we don't see much during the school year, and of course, we are doing lots of swimming.

Good times :)