Tag Archives: sanctification

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 in 2009 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 does not mean we do not care about education, we do! We acknowledge we must be good stewards with the minds God has given us, and keep our perspective heavenward remembering “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies,” and we must remember what God delights in as shared in Jeremiah 9:23-23.

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


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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Daily Holy COMMUN{ion}

This is a picture when I was eight years old. The day I made my first holy communion but it wasn't until I was 33 that I really had my 'First' holy communion with God!

“for through Him {Jesus Christ} we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18

Do you prefer communication or communion with God?

Communication’ and ‘Communion’ have similar definitions. The first is the ‘imparting or exchanging of information or news’ and the latter is ‘the sharing of intimate thoughts and feelings…’

Communication can be cold and distant, while communion is intimate and relational and results in fellowship.

We were made to have unbroken communion, or fellowship with God.  Fellowship, or Koinōnia means: “fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse.”

Spending time with God in Holy Communion is a privilege we can experience because of what Jesus Christ has done (Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12).

For years I tried in my own strength to communicate with God; I prayed, I wrote to Him in journals, I even ‘completed’ my ‘first holy communion’. However, it was not until I was still and stopped talking, and started listening that I heard God for myself and had my first Holy COMMUNion with Him.

My religion turned into a relationship.

It was no longer a one way cold communication giving God my wish list of things I wanted, but became an intimate communion and sweet fellowship with Him. I wanted to know God. The more I sought God, the more I saw He is Holy and I am not.

God’s holiness shone so brightly I couldn’t help but see my own sin and undeserving heart to speak with the Creator Himself. But grace. God immersed me with His grace, and I understood what it meant to say, “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” A phrase I memorized at eight to make my first holy communion.

In the Spring of 2009 my eyes were unveiled and I saw how the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ cleansed me from my past and current sins allowing me to draw near to God. I saw how the resurrection power of Jesus Christ gives me power to abstain from future sin.  That day I was taken out of darkness and put into God’s marvelous light, given a new heart and title of daughter–a privilege to call the Creator, My Abba…Father.

It was the blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed me and brought me near to God, and it is still the blood of Jesus that cleanses me and keeps me near God giving me the power to ‘master sin’.

No, I have not yet‘mastered’ sin perfectly but I know my role: I ‘practice’ righteousness and God ‘perfects. I am on a journey towards perfection called sanctification and my mind is catching up with how God sees me in Christ. I’m learning the faith, power and victory to master sin comes from God alone, He dispenses the seeds of faith, Bread of Life and anointing for each day, it is up to me whether I take it.

I have tasted the Bread of Life and seen for myself the Lord is good, faithful and righteous. I want this treasure of communion with God more than ANYTHING and I desire to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ so that I may have unbroken fellowship with God the Father through His Holy Spirit to be used as a vessel of mercy and grace for His kingdom purposes.

I am learning we can’t have unbroken fellowship or commune with God if we are practicing sin; His Word says,

“If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear;” Psalm 66:18

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall until calamity.” Proverbs 28:13-14

I am learning to come to boldly to God’s throne of grace and begin the day in a God morning.  This is a discipline turning into devotion for me. With the many fatal distractions and noise in this world I am making it a practice to wake up early in humble prayer asking God to help me set my mind on the things above not on the things of this earth.  I am learning to cast all my anxiety on God believing He cares for me. I am also learning to put my agenda, expectations and ‘to do’ lists on the altar remembering my life is no longer my own. I am beginning to delight myself in my crucifixion allowing my death to precede His living breath.

This is something I must do every morning and I’m learning to do it more throughout the day. I welcome and cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He reveals and convicts me of any sin in my life helping me to confess and repent and walk by faith in His righteous ways. I am learning transparency is transforming and God heals what we reveal. God does not finger point or condemn me for my sin, but rather He is there to save me from my sin…even the future sin.

In seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first I am learning about the things I do which grieves the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit convicts me of what I am doing (or not doing) I confess my sins, repent (turn from that behavior and turn to God).  I call this daily devotion: Retreat, Repent, Restore, Revive.

  • I Retreat from all physical and spiritual distractions to be alone with God with the intent to be still and listen
  • God’s Holiness reveals and gently convicts me of any current sin and I confess and He grants me the sorrow to Repent
  • God Restores me keeping me from condemnation encouraging me I am to walk by the Spirit He put in me
  • God Revives me according to His Words of life and His Spirit; I am made alive and I am giddy to have personally heard from my Abba—not through someone else’s devotion to God or book, or blog but from Him directly. This intimacy and love I have for Him gives me a desire to obey Him.

In this daily practice I have been experiencing revival by His Word and I have been receiving His times of refreshing that comes from his cleansing forgiveness and grace. I am learning to walk in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

The more time I spend with God, the more I know Him. The more I know God the more I love and trust Him, that is how I am learning to abide in Him–I am learning to rest in His purposes, His ways and His timing.

Why am I sharing this stone of remembrance with you? It is as John said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” 1 John 1:3-4

I am praying for you beLoved reader:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen” 2 Corinthians 13:14


Sanctifying Second Chances

Pursue peace with all men

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”       1 Peter 4:8

I was giddy to have time alone with God, and was on my way out the door when my seven year old son asks if he could join me. I politely tell him, “Not this time.”

He pleads with me and I shamefully redirect his attention from investing time in our relationship to his inanimate toys.

I leave him. And I began to swat away convicting thoughts replacing them with a justifying one:

I’m home all day with the kids and they see me all the time. I deserve this time…”

I was five minutes out, and I could no longer ignore or numb the conviction of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart gently showing me I did not choose what was best.  I repented of my selfishness and turned the car around to swoop up the son of my vow.

I felt as though I couldn’t get to my son fast enough and I was full of gratitude, thankful it wasn’t too late to undo my poor decision.

I ran to his room and see him tacking a note to the door.  I got on my knees to look into his hurt eyes and speak to his rejected heart:

I came back for you! God showed me I wasn’t choosing what was best…”

As I say these words I read the note he tacked to the door, which confirmed the urgency of my conviction and his bruised heart:

“I hate Mommy!”

My heart sinks and aches of this revelation and I see his embarrassed look of regret as he tries to tear off the note and I ‘cover‘ the note with one hand and gently place my other hand on his, and say:

Oh this. Yes. I understand my son, Mommy is not perfect, and I did not choose wisely, do you forgive me?”

He nods, and hugs me tightly.

I shove the note into my pocket as a stone of remembrance to remind me not to miss out on future opportunities to sow God’s unfailing love. Holding hands we race to the car as giddy children of God, excited for the opportunity for our reconciled hearts to communicate over coffee, milk and cookies. 

***
I tell my children about God every day. I tell them about His great love and how Jesus Christ laid down His life for the world, so that we can be reconciled to have an intimate relationship with God the Father.  I tell them about the conviction of the Holy Spirit, how He will guide us into all Truth helping us to trust and obey God’s Word. I tell them how Jesus Christ is alive in me.

Yes I SPEAK of God’s love often and God gives me ample opportunities to SHOW my children this type of love…of laying down of my own selfish desires to listen to their hearts.  If you could see more than a snapshot of my life you would see I have missed many opportunities.

For our flesh, to love is easier said than shown–but not for God, God IS love! The same Holy Spirit dwelling in Jesus Christ dwells in me so the Truth is I have what it takes to love the way God has called me to love.

I’m thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness and for His Holy Spirit guiding me into all Truth, and I’m thankful we ‘get to’ show the Lord Jesus Christ to others:

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

Mother's Prayer Card April 2013 - Page 001


Wearing Or Bearing A Cross?

This beautiful prayer necklace was given to me by my husband seven years before I "pressed on to maturity" in my relationship with God 

This beautiful prayer wheel cross necklace was given to me by my husband seven years before I “pressed on to maturity” in my relationship with God and began to bear my cross

For over 30 years I would wear a cross around my neck but I would not ‘bear’ my own cross.

All those years the cross was just a piece of jewelry to me. I had said I believed in Jesus Christ but when my faith was tested through trials, it was evident in my actions I trusted in my own self sufficiency and not in God.

I had a shallow superficial faith because I never read the Bible for myself. Even when I did hear God’s Word from others I used His Word as band-aids to my ailments, an emergency self-help kit I took out whenever I was hurting or needed something.

Then one day I met a woman radiating the love of Jesus Christ and she didn’t even wear a cross around her neck! She bears her cross…For weeks I quietly watched her intently as she would deny herself daily and yet be so full of love, joy and thanksgiving even in the midst of hard trials.

I wanted what she had more than any jewelry could offer. I asked God how I can get my own flame and love Him as she did. He told me, and I have never been the same since–that was the day I breathed my last the day I “committed to the cost of following Jesus“, that was the day I BEGAN to bear my own cross.

The Bible teaches us intentional disciples of Jesus Christ are to bear our own crosses not just wear one:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”(Matthew 16:24)

The word ‘deny’ (aparneomai) means: “to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone; to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests”

The word ‘take up’ in Greek (airō) means: “to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to BEAR; to BEAR away what has been raised, carry off”

If we wish to come after Jesus Christ we must ‘lose sight’ of ourselves and BEAR our cross and follow Him.

The day I committed to follow Jesus Christ I put myself on His altar and told Him I would go wherever He would send me, do whatever He would ask of me, and talk to whoever He wanted me to talk to. I began to let go of everything that is of myself and prayed He would increase and I would decrease.

My adventure of walking closely with Jesus Christ is a novel in itself but let me share the very first radical transformation in my life.

Through His Word, God told me to stay home and raise my children. You would have to know me personally to understand why this was a huge test of faith for me.

*I was raised by a single parent Marine Daddy

*I was paralyzed with fear and insecurities to be a mom since I wasn’t raised by mine

*I saw my children less than 15 hours a week and didn’t know what to do with them on the weekends

*I believed the lies that I made a better mom working outside the home especially since my high paying job would help pay for their future tuition

*I was the mom that dropped her children off first and was the last to pick them up {it hurts to admit this but He wants me to}

*I was the biggest persecutor and made fun of stay-at-home moms {and I said I would NEVER stay home}

*I had finished my Masters degree and was making a six-figure salary and absolutely ENJOYED my job

This was a test of my husband’s faith too. When I told Him about my encounter with God and that I felt God calling me to stay home full time my husband’s response was,

“It will never happen. It is impossible.”

It was impossible for us because we had a half-million dollar home, a Harley Davidson, Mini-Van, Truck and over $100K debt. We were the rich young rulers.

To get over my own insecurities, fears and desires was one thing, having the reality of the golden handcuffs of debt was quite another. I started to sink into an area of doubt and asked God why would He change my heart but not my husbands’? I then stopped asking questions and began to be still and serve God while I waited.

I would not forget the deep conviction God gave me. I knew He had asked me to stay home but I didn’t know how it was going to happen. I stood on His Word and chose to trust God.

I look back now and see God was teaching me submissiveness to Him and my husband. I did not nag my husband. I didn’t not bully to get my way {as I used to} but I submitted to God by submitting to my husband.

Instead, I would pray Deuteronmy 6:5 over my husband’s head while he was sleeping. I would pray with my spiritual mentor that my husband would love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. Then it happened!!!!

It just took five months from the time I encountered God for my husband to hear from God too! God told my husband through His Word:

…the righteous will live by faith

Five months from when my husband heard from God we were moved from the VA/DC area to Alabama and I began my full time ministry of motherhood.

I am empowered by God's Holy Spirit to be a momma to my children for God's glory!

I am empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to be a momma to my children for God’s glory!

I am filled with humility and gratitude when I think of the day I breathed my last breath and was filled with His Spirit. I am humbled when I think about how God was drawing me for so many years even when I had been pushing Him away and denying Him. I smile when I think of my husband’s words when I told him I wanted to leave my job and stay home with the children, “it is impossible”. I smile because I remember what Jesus Christ said of the rich young ruler who wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven:

“…with people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

By God’s grace my husband and I have gone from rags to riches…from our filthy rags to God’s glorious riches!

By God’s grace I am growing in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I am learning, we bear our crosses when we genuinely say Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

And do you know what else I’m learning? We CAN NOT deny ourselves in our strength, we can not believe we have been crucified with Christ in our own strength and we can NOT press on to spiritual maturity unless God permits (Hebrews 6:3), we NEED His help, apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5)! My hope is in Jesus Christ alone, I know I can not hope to change myself or others, He is my all in all!

Yes, for 30 years I just wore a cross.

However, I realize I just ‘wore’ a cross and never bore my cross because the truth is I can’t bear my cross without the grace of God’s Holy Spirit.

It is by God’s Holy Spirit I am equipped to deny myself daily…whether it is leaving a job I enjoy, canceling ‘alone’ time because a friend is in need or pause my writing even at the climax of completion because a child wants a drink of water–His Spirit empowers me to do what He’s asked of me. I have learned the Spirit must come before the fruit.

Let God’s Word examine your hearts, are you bearing the cross or are you just wearing one around your neck? May we press on to maturity!

“For I am confident of this very thing, that HE who began a good work in you will PERFECT it until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6

I am sharing my ‘Hazardous Faith Story’ as part of a synchroblog connected with the release of Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus. To discover more about the book and to read other Hazardous stories, click here.

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