It’s Not about Education…but Sanctification

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
With eyes wide open and gasps the women say almost in unison,

“Oh I can NEVER do that…you must be a very patient and organized person…” 

The temptation to broaden my shoulders and receive the compliment subsides with the realization of the opportunity to share the truth of my weaknesses and Christ’s power.  These women were referring to my conviction to homeschool.

I have fought the desire to write about homeschooling because I see how this subject can divide and stir others to conviction, and some to condemnation if they don’t remember they are in Christ.

Let me begin by saying as Christians we are on our own personal journey with Jesus, and that’s what distinguishes Christianity from any other ‘religion’. Ours is not a legalistic following of rules but rather a grace-filled living relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.  Daily we have access to the Wonderful Counselor. Only God knows our heart and yieldedness to Him, and only He knows the plans He has for us and our family so it’s best to get our convictions from His Holy Spirit and not other people.  I write to encourage and share God’s story, our testimony…

I first felt a conviction to stay home with my children five years ago when God’s Word was illuminated in my heart as I read:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

At the time we lived a double-minded life, building façades and chasing mirages, seeking the things of the world and the things of God at the same time. I was more committed to life in the corporate secular world than the seeking a relationship with God.

When I read the verse ‘teach these to your children‘ I contended with God ‘reminding’ Him of my insecurities as a mother, let alone one that can teach them things about God.  At the time we had a Jesus loving Nanny for the children and she was teaching them to love God and love others, I felt it was sufficient to delegate this responsibility.

Eventually we partly yielded as a family and downsized to one income and a smaller home.  At the time my children were 2 and 4 and I had NEVER stayed home with them longer than the 4-6 weeks of maternity leave when they were born.  This was a huge adjustment for us to say the least.  After a few weeks alone with my children I had repented of all the ‘gossip’ and defiling words I said about all of ‘those stay at home moms’ and I was looking forward for the big yellow bus to come and take my son to kindergarten when the conviction came yet again…this time I was reading John 17:6-7.  For context, this is Jesus praying to the Father about the disciples He was given. I dared to ask that day,

LORD who do you give me to manifest Your name?

He answered, and I cried.  He already gave me two–my children.  I immediately wrote their names in my Bible praying someday their names will be in His book.

Since it was Eve that was deceived by the serpent in the garden I went to my husband and asked him to pray about ‘something’ I felt God calling us to do.

What is it?” He asked bluntly.

I held my breath cringed and clenched my teeth and barely managed to say, “homeschool our children…”

Without hesitation or surprise my husband said, “I have already been praying for three months and I’ve already researched curriculum.”

So began our ‘homeschooling’ adventure.

Let me be painfully transparent: This ‘adventure’ is HARD for me.

I am not naturally patient or kind. I do get jealous when I see other kids (especially younger) more advanced than my children, and yet I do brag to make myself feel better when my kids can do something no one else can.  I can be arrogant, and act unbecomingly. I have sought my own agenda many times, and I’ve been easily provoked to anger or giving up, and I have kept many records of my children’s wrongs. Yes, this ‘adventure’ has been a refining crucible daily revealing my need for my Savior Jesus Christ.

I remember one ‘spicy’ day when I was a ball on the floor weeping and asking God, “Why? Why am I doing this?” His gentle peace washed over me and I heard Him speak to my heart,

until Christ is formed in you…”

I look up in the Bible and see Galatians 4:19:

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--“

Context: This is Paul writing to the Galatians but this was a reminder to me. At first I thought, “Yes, of course, until Christ is formed in my children…” but God said,

My daughter, until Christ is formed in you, for that is my will and purpose.”  That’s when I heard,

It’s not about education, but sanctification.” Jesus is LORD

 

We no longer call it home-education’ we call it ‘home-sanctification.’  God is the Principal, the Teacher, the Head-Master and we are all His students.  This has helped me renew my mind and gain an understanding of the purpose of our lessons:

We learn our ABC’s to learn to read
We learn to read so we can learn to Read the Bible, God’s Holy Word
We learn to Write to capture and record stones of memorial of God’s faithfulness
We learn Grammar to communicate the Gospel to others
We learn Math to be good stewards of time, talent, money and resources
We learn History to learn about the faithfulness of God and consequences of sin

We learn Biology to learn about God’s creation

We learn Geography to pray for the lost to be found and strength for the missionaries

That’s it.  These are the basics of what we are learning in our household–we can’t handle extracurricular studies outside of these subjects right now.  I’m learning to be OK with that and not strive to drag my children where I want them to be or where I see other kids.  I’m learning to be like Jesus and to meet them where they are at.

I’m learning to yield myself to His Spirit so He can lead and guide us into all Truth daily.  I’m learning the greatest ‘lesson planning’ is done on our knees after confession, repentance, cleansing and revival in our hearts.  I’m learning that when I boast and share my weaknesses with my children and others, the power of Christ is manifested in me and God is glorified.

Our family’s vision is Jesus Christ. Our most important desire for our children is that they know and love God with all their hearts soul, mind, and strength and love their neighbors as themselves.

This is my holy conviction written on a stone of remembrance for those days when I will forget why I am doing this….for sanctification, not education: May Christ be formed in me…

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Thessalonians 5:23


10 + 5 = Redeeming Love

B and A

If you try to intertwine two people full of insecurities, selfishness, and pride with a deep hunger and desire for ‘love’ and purpose, you will have a shallow relationship that will never fulfill. Billy and I know this first hand.

Most people don’t know our marriage died in 2001 when we were both separated from God and decided to separate from each other.  It. Was. Over. Hearts were hardened and hurt, and shame and regret kept us apart. Even when we got back together and ‘tried’ to make our marriage work it was for selfish and prideful reasons. But God…

Little did we know in 2009 we would experience a LOVE that would change us from the inside out. This love was not from one another, but from God. In 2009 God breathed His Spirit into our lives and marriage and we began an adventurous journey with God that has brought us into a deeper love with Him and one another.  We are learning marriage is not about us, it’s about God.

Marriage is a picture of Jesus Christ and the love and fellowship He has with His Bride (the Church). We are learning God unites us together in a covenant relationship with Him as One.

We are learning walking down the aisle to the altar doesn’t end on your wedding day but it is a daily walk to God’s altar as you offer yourself to Him as a living and holy sacrifice. We are learning the most intimate experience we can have with one another is prayer at God’s throne of grace and waiting, watching, and rejoicing in His answers.

Our hope is not having a perfect marriage, or a life without trials and pain, but our hope is in Christ alone, we know from experience we cannot do this without Him.  We had 10 years of marriage without consulting or seeking God’s kingdom and it was very difficult to love apart from God. But God is the Wonderful Counselor and Healer of all.  Just as we are made alive to God in Christ Jesus, so our marriage is alive in Christ Jesus for His purposes. God has made us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, and that is how we are able to live by faith.

This is His marriage and we rejoice and give glory and honor to God.
It is the love of GOD THE FATHER that helps us to love,
it is the blood of JESUS CHRIST that cleanses us from all unrighteousness helping us to have daily counsel and fellowship with the Father,
it is the HOLY SPIRIT Who convicts, teaches and guides us on the paths of righteousness, for His Namesake.

To. God. Be. The. Glory.

15 years. 10 years without God + 5 years with God = Redeeming Love

Thank you God. Bless the LORD O my Soul

*Psalm 103

{I realize there are hurting hearts out there. Those who have experienced deep loss either from death, divorce or division. I have prayed for you. My intention to share this day is not to stir you to jealousy or discontent but give credit and glory to God and lead you to the One who heals all. I pray He becomes your all in all and He is enough. I pray you experience the love of God as you never had before, His love is better than any love a human can give.  I pray you know there is NO ‘happily ever after…’ just ‘joyfully eternal life’ and you can have this now…just turn to God and let Him love you.}

Giving Thanks

 


Declaration of {In} Dependence

Today America celebrates ‘Independence day.’ A day when we declared independence from the British empire.  The preamble to our Constitution reveals our desire to ‘form a more perfect union’ and ‘establish justice‘ ‘insure domestic tranquility…’ It began as a noble effort with the acknowledgment of God, our Creator; Somewhere along the way we began to declare independence from God too, telling Him we no longer wanted to be ‘under’ Him nor did we need His ‘help.’  We have decided to make our appetite our god and glory in our shame setting our minds on earthly things, not on the things of God.

For too many years I celebrated the Fourth of July without any regard to God.  I placed my hope and thanks solely in our political forefathers and our military instead of seeing them as ordinary people with an extraordinary God. I know better now.

Daily I declare my dependency on God, and ask you to join me.

We need God but we can’t go to God without coming to Jesus Christ. It is the cleansing flow of the blood of Christ that allows us to call God our Father, and gives us fellowship and sweet daily communion.

To be in Christ is the most perfect union–a union with God the Father by His Holy Spirit. Jesus is the One that holds all things together, apart from Him we can do nothing. He is the One who establishes justice and ensures all tranquility.

I am praying God sends revival to America, only then will America have unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  We have ignored God for too long. Are you living in dependence to God or are you living independent from Him?In Dependence to God

God is not dead, He’s still alive and He is looking for contrite confessed hearts turned towards Him to cleanse and revive. Cry out to Him for your sins and the sins of our Nation Beloved and don’t stop…

“…now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 7:7-8 (Read Luke 7:1-8 for context)

“He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all thing , and IN HIM all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

I am the Vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruity, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (Jesus)


A Message of Living Hope

The Dove brings us a message of living hope

When you see an image of a dove with an olive leaf do you think of peace? I do.

I also view the dove with an olive leaf as a message of living hope.

Hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

For Noah and his family, the dove with an olive leaf represented hope of the flood water receding, hope of getting off the ark and onto dry land. It was a message of hope for the physical salvation of Noah and his family.

Looking closely you will see it was also a message of hope for the spiritual salvation of this sin flooded world. It was a message of hope for you.

The Olive branch foreshadows the event at the foot of the Mount of Olives, also known as the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus prayed so fervently His sweat became like drops of blood as He submitted to the will of the Father.

Jesus took on the punishment of sin and death giving us access to the Holy Father by one Spirit. We know that Jesus Christ rose on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of the Father still praying for us who believe.

For those that have been drawn by the Father with cords of compassion and flooded by His grace, they can see their sin sick heart and need of a Savior. This grace beckons them to confess and repent turning from their sin to a life of righteousness in Christ. These are the Christians, the ones with a different kind of hope.

It is a living hope of having a ‘joyful confident expectation‘ of eternal salvation that comes by faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.

The Christian knows:

Maybe you’ve lived long enough in this sin flooded world to see we can not place our hope in education, a job, a program, our family, the government, in riches, or in yourself.

Maybe you have been tempted to feel hopeless and depressed asking yourself, ‘is that all there is?’ or ‘why am I here?’ or ‘why can’t I stop doing ____?’

I’ve been there. I write to testify there is only one place where you can place your hope where you will not be disappointed. It is in Jesus Christ alone.

Beloved, there is not much time left.

Remember the words of Jesus:

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.” Matthew 24:36-41

Jesus also tells us we will be able to recognize when the Kingdom of God is near:

“…Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is no near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.” Luke 21:29-31 (*Read Luke 21:5-31 to know what ‘these things’ are)

Beloved, just as the Bible says:

“…there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and wicked…” (Acts 24:14). We will live in eternal unhindered fellowship with our God our Father or eternally separated from Him.

Come into the safety of the Ark of Christ and your life will be hidden with Christ in God. May God draw you to Himself today, and may you watch and wait in confident expectation for triumphant return of our Beloved Messiah Jesus Christ!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

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Striving Raven or Abiding Dove?

Jesus Christ is LORD!

Imagine entering into an ark, a vessel of safety for you and your family in which you built obediently with the wisdom and direction of God. You know God will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights just as He has said. But you don’t know how LONG you will have to WAIT for the surface of the ground to be dry and when God will allow you to ‘go out of the ark’.

There were two birds that were sent out to see if the flood water were abated. These birds can represent how our minds might behave when we wait for the ‘flood’ of our circumstances to subside: the Striving Raven or the Abiding Dove.

“Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out the raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth.”     Genesis 8:6-7

Since the raven never returned to the safety of the ark, Noah sent out another bird, the dove:

“Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself.” Genesis 8:8-9

Do you see the difference between the raven and the dove? The raven is like our flesh, striving and flying, never resting in the ark of safety that has been given but being self sufficient to the point of exhaustion.

The dove represents abiding peace, life and rest which comes when we RETURN to the safety of the ark. There is rest for your soul in Jesus Christ!

Are you like the raven, flying ‘to and fro’ striving to fly above this sin flooded world in your own strength? Or are you like the dove returning to the place of abiding rest in Christ?

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…” Romans 8:6

If you are a Christian, you have entered into an ark of safety–you have peace with God through Jesus Christ. No matter your circumstances, be still and don’t try to ‘save yourself’ but continue to place your trust and faith in Jesus Christ. May you rest in the finished work of Christ being an ark, a vessel for the Holy Spirit to rest in by continually abiding in Christ.

**This dove also brings a message of abiding hope…{this post is to be continued….}


Creative Cause: A Call to Help Orphans

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Create: (Hebrew: bara’)to shape, fashion, create (always with God as subject)

Creativity: the use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.

“In the beginning God CREATED…”

Only God can truly ‘create’. It was God that created the heavens and the earth when it was formless and void, and is God who makes us new creations in Christ Jesus:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

We are made in the image of God, and we have been entrusted with the talent of creativity. We write, we paint, we speak, we sing, we sew, we sculpt, we weld, we take photos, we make jewelry, videos, music…

There will be an accounting of how we used these ‘talents’. Did we invest them for God’s kingdom sharing them with others pointing them to the One who gave us this gift, or did we timidly bury them away?

Recently I discovered an opportunity to share the talent of art to help raise awareness and support for distressed orphans in Africa. Yes, the needs in the world are plentiful and it can lead us to a state of paralysis where we do nothing because we don’t know where to begin.

I am learning we begin on our knees–in a paralysis of prayer. God will show you how to be faithful where you are at, and with what He has entrusted you. If you are an ‘artist’ might you consider stewarding the talent of creativity God has entrusted you and invest it for His Kingdom through ‘Art for Orphans’?

Here’s how it works:

1. People donate their original artwork/photography.

2. People buy the artwork at afo.rethinkcreative.org.

3. We give all the proceeds to support orphans in Zambia.

More information for your prayerful consideration can be found at: http://afo.rethinkcreative.org/

May we give God the FIRST FRUITS of our creativity, believing He will do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine after all, it is according to His will:

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27


A Heart to Hear Your Calling and See Your Purpose

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You have a calling and purpose in this life.

God has prepared good works for you to walk out.

If you don’t find out what they are, you will spend your life going ‘to and fro’ looking for ‘your place.’ You will be restless, frustrated, angry, joyless and without divine peace. You will try to be like those around you to fit in, and doing the good works God has prepared for others to walk out.

You will never feel that you are in the right place, and you will be filled with insecurity. You may begin to look at the lives of others and compare yourself to them, and your heart will turn green with envy because they are so peaceful and joyful and content and: You. Are. Not.

You will not walk out your calling and purpose in this life which includes the prepared ‘good works’ from God unless you have:

But you say, “where is God, I can’t see Him, I can’t hear Him? He must not exist.”

It is our sin that separates us from God. Sin is all the bad things we do and say, and we try to hide from God in the darkness ashamed because we know we do not deserve His love…not after all thing things we have done. The wages of sin is death, and that is what you feel like: the walking dead, physically alive but spiritually dead.

"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
*Image Credit: Full of Eyes

We have a pulse-less heart unable to know and love God, we have deaf ears and blinded eyes.

Beloved, it doesn’t have to be this way. God is real, and He has forGIVEN us, and helps us to walk out the ‘good works’ by giving us:

  • His Word (the Bible): to teach, reprove and train us in righteousness
  • Jesus Christ: it is by His blood we can draw near to God the Father
  • His Spirit: guiding us and sanctifying us in truth sealing us until the day of redemption

How do you have divine peace? How do you have joy? How do you have the security that gives you rest?

You must be born again of the Spirit of God.

Confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved. Come to Jesus Christ, his cleansing blood will heal you. His love has covered all your sins and they are no more.

His Spirit will wash you and renew you, and you will be born again: given a new heart to love God, a pure heart so that you can see God, and you will hear a voice tell you the way to walk. You will have daily COMMUN{ion} with God resulting in deep fellowship and security. Then you will see the ‘prepared good works’ God has for you to walk in and others will see the divine peace, joy that rests on you and you will fulfill your calling and purpose: To. Glorify. God.

God is calling you…to give you a new heart for you to hear and see Him, He does this every day…is today your day of salvation? You can continue to survive in this world or be revived

I’m praying for you dear reader…God is real and He loves you!

Bread to strengthen the Brethren: Ezekiel 36:24-28; Matthew 11:28-30; Ephesians 2:1-10; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 50:15


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