>Helping God?


So Sarai said to Abram,
“Now behold, the Lord has prevented me
from bearing children.
Please go in to my maid;
perhaps I will obtain children through her.”
And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
Genesis 16:2
God had promised Abram descendants. Abram and Sarai had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years. They were both growing older and now were eighty-five and seventy-five years of age. I can understand their uncertainty, especially at this time in history.
I can see how Sarai might have felt as a failure to her husband, probably feeling that she was the problem, unable to conceive this promised descendant, but here is where she went wrong. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of us go wrong.
We let our feelings and our emotions override the promise that was given us by God. Sarai became impatient and decided that God needed a little help, and Abram, instead of reminding Sarai and himself of the reliability of God’s word, went along with Sarai’s suggestion of Abram conceiving with Hagar.
Hagar did conceive a son, but he was not, nor ever would be the son promised by God. When we step ahead of God and try to move forward in the power of our own flesh, we usually make matters worse. The consequences that come from our impatience rarely just affect us. They have the power to go on for generations to come.
From this point of Genesis 16:2 until today, consequences are still seen and experienced from this one choice. The impact of this is sobering. Our choices matter, not only to us, but to others, and possibly for years down the road. Our impatience—our allowing feelings and emotion to control us—can lead us down a path we may wish we didn’t have to travel.
Oh Father,
How often I have been impatient and tried to “help” You out. Each time I have reaped the consequences. How I pray that I would be stronger in my faith and that I would simply trust in You and in the power and certainty of Your Word. You have never let me down.
How easy it is to get caught up in the fear of uncertainty and to feel ignored when things are not moving at the speed at which I think they should be. Oh Father, forgive me for my lack of faith. Forgive me for not fully trusting in You. Forgive me for not being willing and able to trust in Your faithfulness. You are good, and everything You do is good. You are faithful, and I have no reason to ever doubt You. Strengthen me, my God, according to Your glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience (Colossians 1:11). You are my God and my king, and I trust in You.
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,

>Take Me As You Find Me

>I have been married for over 12 years and have been with my husband for over a total of 13 years. There is absolutely nothing about our marriage that statistically should foresee it as any possibility of being successful. According to the statistics that might pop up on your msn or yahoo news home page or even some of your christian media we should be destined for divorce.

However, these statistics do not factor in the grace of God.

There have been ups and downs in our marriage. There have been good times and bad. Life happens in our marriage. Issues, circumstances, junk… it happens.

In all this 13 years of life that has happened I can honestly and with all my heart say that I love my husband now more than I even imagined I could, even when I first spotted him and felt that flutter in my stomach as I watched him walk by and the “crush” began.

Our church put on a block party this past weekend. We had live bands that came and played. While I was sitting in the tent listening to one of the bands play, they began to play one of my favorite songs, Mighty to Save by Hillsong. I sat there and worshiped my God and then I heard the lyrics “take me as you find me, all my fears and failures…” My heart caught in my throat.

God whispered in my throat caught heart, “Nicole this is what marriage is about

I took my husband as I found him. All his fears and failures came with the package.
My husband took me as he found me. And all my fears and failures came with the package… I came with alot of failures and alot of fears that mainly were formed from these failures.

My initial desire was to hide these fears and failures in a neatly tied up package in the back of my mind tucked away in a file labeled “Do Not Open EVER!”

For thirteen years God has been pulling at the string of this neatly tied up box and I have screamed, “No God, please, no… God, don’t make me open that box”
However, God has a way of doing what is best for us… even when we can’t see how in the world it could even be in the vicinity of good much less best.
That’s why He is God and we are not.

God knew that if that box would open and the rotting contents could be opened up I would experience a breathe of fresh air in a place of my soul that had been tightly shut for years from fear and shame and not only that I would see the love my husband had for me in a whole new and secure way. I would see that he really did take me as he found me, with all my fears and failures, and he would love me with grace and mercy and compassion.

This is what marriage is about.

Everyone needs compassion, everyone needs a love that is never failing, everyone needs the kindness of a Savior, what an absolute divine thing marriage is as two people take each other and all their fears and failures and fill each others lives allowing God to use them to love this person to Him.

>More on Friendship

>I still have notebooks and computer files full of the info I gathered as I pondered and researched the idea and art of friendship. It’s not doing anyone any good in these files and notebooks so I am copy and pasting and typing handwritten pages like crazy so I can share this stuff with who ever is interested because I do know from personal experience how very important true and lasting friendship is in our lives :-)  

[According to a study documented in the June 2006 issue of the journal American Sociological Review, Americans are thought to be suffering a loss in the quality and quantity of close friendships since at least 1985. The study states 25% of Americans have no close confidants, and the average total number of confidants per citizen has dropped from four to two

The conventional wisdom is that good friendships enhance an individual’s sense of happiness and overall well-being. But a number of solid studies support the notion that strong social supports improve a woman’s prospects for good health and longevity. Conversely, it has been shown that loneliness and lack of social supports are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections, and cancer as well as higher mortality rates. Two female researchers have even termed friendship networks a “behavioral vaccine” that protects both physical and mental health] ~ web article 


“The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once described friendship as “a sheltering tree.” What a beautiful description of that special relationship. As I read those words, I think of my friends as great, leafy trees, who spread themselves over me, providing shade from the sun, whose presence is a stand against the blast of winter’s lonely winds. A great, sheltering tree; that’s a friend.
David was leaving the great city of Zion—the city named after him, the City of David. As he came to the edge, at the last house, he stopped and looked back over that golden metropolis he had watched God build over the past years. His heart must have been broken as he stood there looking back, his mind flooded with memories. All around him the people of his household scurried past, leading beasts of burden piled high with belongings, running for their lives.
He was at the last house, and he needed a tree to lean on. Somebody who would say, “David, I’m here with you. I don’t have all the answers, but, man, I can assure you of this, my heart goes out to you.” When the chips are down and there’s nobody to affirm you and you run out of armor and you have no reputation to cling to, and all the lights are going out, and the crowd is following another voice, it’s amazing how God sends a sheltering tree.
All of us need at least one person with whom we can be open and honest; all of us need at least one person who offers us the shelter of support and encouragement and, yes, even hard truths and confrontation. Sheltering trees, all!
Thankfully, David had a grove of such trees. As a result he made it through the toughest and loneliest hours of his life.
Do you? If so, it is a good time to call them up and thank them for their shelter. If not, it’s a good time to get a shovel and plant a few. You’ll need every one. Just ask David.”
~ Swindoll


The seven points below came from the same web article that I shared at the very beginning of this post. I went through and researched the Word and added the Scriptural references to each of these points. I love how mankind sometimes thinks they have come up with some grand idea and gained some awesome strategic plan and indepth insight for a good and happy and fulfilling life all on thier own, when God has had all the instructions for this life already laid out for us, in writing nonetheless, for over 4000 years.

To Have A Friend – Be A Friend

1) Desire best for other
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil 2:1-4)
2) Sympathy and Empathy
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Rom 12:15)
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corin 12:26)
3) Honesty
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9)
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy (Prov 27:6)
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices ( Col 3:9)
4) Understanding and Compassion
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. (Rom 15:7)
5) Trust and Emotional Support
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1-2)
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves (Rom 15:1)
6) Give and Take
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality (Rom 12:10-13)
7) Don’t judge one another
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”  So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. (Rom 14:1-13)


“wounds from a sincere friend are better than kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). If God has placed someone in your life who is willing to challenge you about your spiritual shortcomings, take a lesson from David. Listen carefully—without getting mad—to God’s messenger, and admit your mistake. Then, like David, you can ask God to remove the stain of your guilt, and joyfully sing of His forgiveness (Psalm 51:9,14).

When was the last time someone pointed out some painful truth to you? How did you respond? Why is it sometimes most difficult to confront people close to us about their spiritual shortcomings?
~Jennifer Benson Schuldt

I wanted to leave you with this last quote because I love the questions that she asked at the end. Why is it that we seem to find it harder to address the spiritual shortcomings in someone we are close to? Usually, if we are in the least bit evangelical we are willing to point these out to a stranger, but a close friend or family member we will not. We will walk around the issue, it will be the white elephant in the room, we will leave them drowning in their sin and groping in their darkness and pretend like we don’t see it. 
It reminds me of when you are talking with someone and there’s a “visitor” in their nose or a hunk of food stuck in between their front teeth and you just act like you don’t see it while you talk to them and then you let them walk away and continue to keep these things in their nose and teeth because you are afraid of embarrasing them by pointing it out. Then do you not usually turn to someone else and say, “did you see that bugger in their nose, I could hardly keep a straight face, it was flappin every time they breathed!” (Hmmmm sounds a little like the way most of us deal with sin in a “friends” life as well doesn’t it) 
Which is more embarrassing?
To be told by a friend, “hey there’s a bugger hanging out of your nose. You might want to take care of that before you talk to anyone else” or to have someone let you go on and talk to fifty more people and then you finally step in front of the mirror and are completely mortified because you have just talked to over fifty people with a bugger hanging out your nose?
Just some things to think about… a bugger is not going to lead to death or consequences that are devasting to bear, but well sin and spiritual darkness… now that’s a different story. Isn’t it?  

>Saved By Faith


“‘Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
your reward shall be great.”
Abram said,
“O Lord God.”
Genesis 15:12
God is so good to us. Here He is revealing even more of Himself to Abram. God lets Abram know that He will be a shield to him, and Abram replies with “O Lord God.” Abram had come to recognize God as a God, and then he learned that He was the God, El Elyon, God Most High.
Now Abram calls Him Adonai Jehovah, his Master and God. Abram is finally before the Lord in total belief and submission that He is his God and Master, and Abram’s belief is reckoned to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). In the Hebrew the word believed is “aman,” and it means to render firm or faithful, to be true or certain.
Abram is saved by his faith in God, by his belief in His word. Abram has now put all his trust in the One he knows is faithful. Abram is justified by faith, and this salvation experience is recorded by God. It is recorded in His Word so that we may know that our relationship with our God comes through our faith in Him. In Romans 4:2324 we read, “Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
In Genesis 12, God gave Abram a promise. When Abram had fully taken hold of that promise, God cut a covenant with him. This covenant is known as the Abrahamic Covenant. This covenant still stands today. It still holds true.
God made Himself the guarantee of this covenant. He passed through the pieces of flesh; Abram did not. This covenant was the gift of God and was God’s to keep. Before God passed through the pieces of flesh, He told Abram about the four hundred years his descendants would spend enslaved in a strange land, and He also told him that He, God, would bring them out. Isaiah 48:3 reads, “I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” We know now on this side of history that God did exactly what He said He would, so we can trust that when God says something, He means it.
Oh Father,
You are an awesome God, totally trustworthy and in control. You are our faithful God. You know the beginning and the end. You determine our times and places. You raise up, and it is You who brings down. You alone are God, and You alone are worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Oh Father, what peace we have when we finally surrender to You in abandoned obedience and in complete confidence in Your sovereignty.
Oh Father, thank you for making the way of salvation by faith in You. If it were according to my deeds or according to my ability to keep Your command without fail, I know I would be forever lost from You. You have made it according to faith, according to my personal surrender to You. How I thank You. May I be able to say with truthfulness that You are my Master and my God.
In Jesus’ name I pray,

>Homeschool Mom Encouragement


This was in our cover school’s newsletter. It’s an article from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine,  thought I would share :-)
I think I’ve come to realize after all these years that first and foremost, I want to be a “heart and soul homeschool mama.” That’s all that really matters. My house is a mess (stop by unannounced and I probably won’t answer the door – my living room is a disaster). Take a look at my kitchen; normally you will be hard pressed to find the counters. My couch (what couch? Where’d it go??) is overrun by clean laundry waiting (patiently and forever) to be folded and put away. Hey, at least it’s clean! My bedroom door stays closed, because, well, never mind. I won’t even go there because to describe the clothes behind closet doors, make-up spilled on the counters and a toilet that looks a little…well….not as white as it used to, would just be embarrassing. Seriously – my house is pretty messy. For the most part it’s really sanitary – I have an obsession with “cleaner wipes” as we call them. My kids are constantly wiping down furniture and doorknobs, tables and chairs and the counters when we can find them. I love to cook and wash my hands too many times. We’re clean. We’re just . . . slobs.
Epic success!
So I am not a “house cleaning super mama.” I gave up that dream long ago, like four minutes after I said, “I do.” Nor am I a “brainiac homeschool mama”. My kids have gaps, holes and stops in their education. They did alright; the two that have graduated went on to do a few semesters at college and got straight A’s in everything they took, even all the math (yuck). Well, Lukey got ONE B (history). Other than that, they are 4.0 college boys. So something went OK in the homeschooling I guess. But yeah, there are holes. We didn’t dissect a frog – ever. That is just sick and I am not going there. My house is gross enough as it is and knowing us, someone would lose a liver in the clean laundry and we’d never find that frog. One of my friends ordered a cow’s eyeball and it was delivered via MAIL (oh my gross). She rolled that puppy right onto her kitchen table and sliced and diced away with her kids. Then they stored the thing in her fridge.
OK. Well, then.
I am not a “braniac homeschool mama” – sorry, just can’t do it. First of all, I’m not a brain like my cow-eyeball wielding friend. I have another friend who is a homeschool mom who also happens to be our lawyer. Her  child probably could have graduated when he was 13. She’s a constant stream of brain-power and she imparts it all to her lucky boy who is almost as smart as she is by now. Crazy. I can’t do it. I am simply not equipped. But we did the basics and had loads of conversations and put the time into a bazillion documentaries and traveling around on business, plus read books aloud when we could. We also did loads of reading comprehension.
Epic success!
I am not a “fashion-ado homeschool mama.” I’m chubby! My hair gets brushed (and I am serious) two to three times a week at best. It’s frizzy – why would I want to comb it out? Then it would be an afro that would touch the ceiling and put people in danger of being static-shocked. My babies would get lost in it. So keep it tight, leave it alone, slather it with gel if someone is coming over – good enough. I’m like a female version of
Ronald McDonald and I am NOT the only person who’s told myself that. So fashion is not really me. I’m not beautiful like some of my homeschool friends who look so well-put together. They have gorgeous manes that they probably comb out every day. Their shoes match. And their teeth are straight and white. Makeup? Can you believe some people wear it daily (more maniacal laughter – sorry). Fashion Gena is just not in existence. Never has been. This homeschool mama cannot even match her necklace to her shoes (although I did try once). My hair is kinda clean and I wear deodorant.
Epic success!
I am not a “field trip homeschool mama.” OK these mamas are great but I cannot keep up with them! They have a field trip experience for every other day of the week. Their kids have been to the Grand Canyon (mine have not). Their kids have visited flight museums and experienced Jamestown and all the reenactment festivals for both sides of the Civil War (mine haven’t). They can recite the Gettysburg Address and know all the historical/educational landmarks of Philadelphia (mine don’t). Busy, busy learning by experiencing. They’d fly to every planet for a field trip if they could. And my hat is off to them!
Look at the investment they are pouring into their children! Hands on learning – can’t beat it. Just wish I had time for such a thing (I think). Sounds exhausting and I’m tired even thinking about it. I am not a “field trip homeschool mama” like several of my better friends. But we have traveled when we can, visited faraway places in books and get out here and there.
Epic success!
What kind of mama am I? I don’t have the corner on a clean and lovely home. I am not a brain who can pontificate over my children pouring set-to memory knowledge in their craniums (I don’t have that much stuff memorized!). I am not that well put together – Mrs. Ronald, remember? (I stopped dying my hair red because the resemblance is then even more uncanny and it’s disturbing). And I am not constantly whisking my kids away to the Alps for PE or to the Golden Gate Bridge or Crater Lake for geography. I am a “heart and soul mama.” I’m here for them when they need me, relationships are first and foremost and I want them to know the Lord their God with all their heart and soul. I want to get to their hearts and have an impact on what happens with their souls. I want to bare my own heart, and I want us to build on that as our family continuously draws closer to each other and to the Lord.
It’s the Lord who reaches the heart and soul, and He uses us Moms in many ways to do it. By REGULARLY speaking to their hearts and guarding their souls we are creating an atmosphere for flourishing growth. Is that a perfect picture? If comparing it to fine art, it may look very abstract or even Impressionistic in style (crazy swirls and wide brush strokes) and sometimes quiet messy, but keep walking (even if you’re not as organized as you’d like to be) because it IS a form of fine art, divinely inspired and very much a part of His sovereign plan for our lives. He directs our steps if we follow Him. And He values your children even more than you do. He loves them. He loves you.
Keep walking.
(Reprinted from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine)

>El Elyon


And Melchizedek king of Salem
brought out bread and wine;
now he was a priest of God Most High.
Genesis 14:18
Here we learn a new name for God, El Elyon, or God Most High. Abram, maybe for the first time, meets someone who knows God. Have you ever been somewhere where you were the only believer in Jesus Christ? At work? At school? At home even?
Have you ever experienced the lies of Satan, those fiery darts, whispering in your ear, saying that you are a fool for following Christ? Whispering that what you experienced isn’t even real. This Jesus isn’t real. This salvation isn’t real. This promise isn’t real. Have you heard them?
After these moments of persecution and attack, how does it feel to step into the presence of other believers in Christ? Do they confirm to you that what you feel in your heart, in your mind, is indeed the truth? Can you imagine the joy and breath of fresh air that filled Abram as he stepped into the presence of Melchizedek?
Through Melchizedek, Abram learns that the one he calls Lord is the possessor of heaven and earth. Abram learns that it was God who delivered him from all his enemies. Abram meets Melchizedek, a theophany of Jesus Christ, his name meaning “king of righteousness.” This king of righteousness was king of a city named Salem. In Hebrew, the word salem means “peace.” Melchizedek was the king of righteousness who was the king of peace. Melchizedek was not only king; he was also the priest of Salem.
This Melchizedek brings Abram bread and wine. Jesus tells us in John 6:48 that He is the bread of life. At the Last Supper, Jesus lifted up bread and said that it represented His body (Matthew 26:26), His body that was given for our redemption. Melchizedek also brought out the wine, representing the blood of Jesus, the blood of the covenant (Matthew 26:28), which was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins.
Melchizedek then blessed Abram. As great as Abram was and is, there remained one greater, for the greater always blesses the lesser (Hebrews 7:7). Abram then paid tithes to this Melchizedek. Hebrews 7:3 speaks of Melchizedek and says he was “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.”
Jesus Christ is King of kings and He is our Eternal High Priest. He is “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:17). Jesus Christ is not like the Son of God; He is the Son of God. Jesus does not just tell us about God Most High; “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3). What a beautiful picture of our coming Christ can be seen through this king and priest of Salem.
Oh Father,
You have never left us without a witness. You have been unfolding Your glorious plan throughout history. Unfolding Your mystery to mankind, never leaving us without a reminder of who You are, our great and awesome Creator, possessor of heaven and earth, our El Elyon. Oh Father, the longer that Abram walked with You, the more of Yourself You revealed to him. My Jesus, reveal Yourself to me. As Abram bowed before Melchizedek, this king and priest, I bow before You. You are the King of kings, and You are my High Priest. Blessed be You, my God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
In Jesus’ name I pray,



The Lord said to Abram,
after Lot had separated from him,
“Now lift up your eyes
and look from the place where you are, northward and southward
and eastward and westward;
for all the land which you see,
I will give it to you
and to your descendants forever.”
Genesis 13:1415
Abram was seventy-five years old when he and Sarai and Lot set out from Haran and went toward the land of Canaan. There was a famine in the land of Canaan, and so Abram set out for Egypt. On the way, Abram looked at Sarai, his at-least-sixty-five-year-old wife, and instructed her to tell everyone that she was his sister and not his wife; of course, we discover in Genesis 20:12 that she actually was his half sister.
Today this conversation would go more like, “Sarai, it’s really not a lie; technically you are my sister.” Even a “half-lie” is a lie and brings consequences in its telling. Abram feared that his wife’s beauty would lead to his death, so that Pharoah would be able to claim Sarai as his own.
Sarai obeyed, and Pharoah took her in as his bride.
Let’s just stop and pause here for a moment in our day of plastic surgery and Botox and rest in the fact that this sixty-five-year-old woman, plastic-surgery free, was desired by the greatest ruler of that day. Ladies, let us wake up and remember that true beauty comes from the inside out: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
God, of course, was not going to allow this lie to go far because it was through Sarai that Abram was to have Isaac, the one through whom the promised seed of redemption would carry. God sent plagues, and Pharoah released Sarai, and Abram knew that he had disobeyed God and acted out of fear. But Abram didn’t run from God; he ran to Him.
In Genesis 13:4 we read that Abram went to “the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.” Abram went back to the altar he had built when he last called on the name of the Lord. There he sought forgiveness and direction.
Throughout their journeys, both Abram and Lot had increased in livestock and servants, and the time came for them to separate. Abram gave Lot the first choice and decided that he would take whatever was left. Abram had just experienced the sovereignty and provision of his God, so his faith had grown to know that God would give him all he needed, whatever the place might be.
Lot chose and headed off toward Sodom, and then God finally showed Abram the land that was to be his and his descendants’ forever. God waited until Lot was out of the picture before He revealed more of His promise to Abram.
In this revealing, He once again reminded Abram that he would have descendants; he would have a child. God also added the promise of forever. This land that God was giving to Abram would be his and his descendants’ forever.
Oh Father,
How many times have I made bad choices out of fear? Rash decisions usually come with serious consequences. How thankful I am that You love me unconditionally. How thankful I am that You are able to take my mistakes and turn them into something useful for Your glory. Oh Father, when I fail, when I am afraid, when I feel abandoned and alone, may I always run to You and not away from You. Father, when times come that lead to a separation from family and friends, may I be able to trust in Your sovereignty and know that You are in control. I see in Your Word that sometimes we have to be separated in order for You to bless us and bring us into spiritual maturity. However, we are never separated alone; we are separated unto You, and You are all we will ever need.
My Jesus, I love You, and it is in Your name that I pray,

>Missing the Point

>So I have just finally calmed my ten year old daughter down after her meltdown.
What was the cause of the meltdown?
Scripture verses!
Yes, that’s right… Scripture verses.

We have a particular Wednesday night program that we do at our church for the children. The purpose of the program is wonderful. It is focused on Scripture memorization and the leaders are to work with the children to help them understand the Scriptures they are memorizing. The point is to hide God’s Word in their heart. It is a good program and I understand that it must have guidelines and such. There must be a plan that makes and markets it as this particular program in order to differentiate it from all the other programs.

One of the leaders who worked with my daughter told me how nervous and uptight my daughter was as she tried to say her verses. She lovingly told her to relax and remember that this was the Word of Peace.

Now my ten year old is a perfectionist and she is also possibly a little ocd. So when the leader, who is also dear friend, mentioned this to me a red flag of concern went up. When we came home tonight and was getting the girls ready for bed my husband asked what verses they said. Our youngest spirted hers off with her careless giggles as she recited three verses back to back. Then our ten year old, under the pressure, oh my, I do believe the child broke out in a cold sweat. She couldn’t get past the first part of the first verse…

Right then I knew we were having a problem… she was missing the point…

As I was kissing her goodnight I tried to explain to her that memorizing Scripture was for her. It was not to get points or a signature. She was learning these Scriptures so that God could bring them back to her when she needed them, whether it be for a problem she was facing or a problem someone else was facing. She was learning these Scriptures so that she could know when God was telling her what she needed to do and where she needed to go in all the how’s and why’s of life.

Yet she lay there crying because she was under the understanding that she was incompetent because she could not say these verses the way she thought this program said she had to in order to receive the approval of the program… a signature… a point.

Oh my are we missing the point?

This is not the view that I want my child to have of the Word of God. Learning it should bring her joy and peace not frustration and stress. Have we maybe pushed the “programs” a little too far?

“I have a respect for tradition but I have a passion for the truth.”
~ Uncle Johnny from Seven Days in Utopia

>Author and Perfector


Now the Lord said to Abram,
Go forth from your country,
and from your relatives
and from your father’s house.
To the land which I will show you.
Genesis 12:1
From Adam to Noah we have nine generations, and from Shem to Abram we have nine generations. From father to son, the story of the garden, the story of the fall, the story of the flood, the story of the tower and the story of the redemption promise have been passed down.
Now God chooses an ordinary man, Abram, and separates him from all men on the earth. Abram was an idol worshiper in the land of the Chaldeans, a Gentile we might say; no one special in status or power. When God called him out, he would become a man forever changed. God’s call on people seems to have that effect.
God calls Abram out and tells him to leave his father’s house. God tells him that he will show him where to go. He tells him that He is going to make Abram’s name great and that he, Abram, will be a great nation and all other nations would be blessed through him.
Abram had done nothing to earn this call. It was a gift from God, a gift of God’s own choosing, set before Abram as an offer, as an opportunity. I am sure Abram had no clue as to the magnitude of this promise.
We know from the Scriptures that Abram took God at His word and that he set out as God had commanded well, almost as He had commanded.
Abram set out with his immediate family in tow, but they only got as far as Haran. This was only the first of many mistakes that Abram would make on his journey, but God remained faithful to His word. God had given a promise way back in the garden, and here we really start to see the fulfillment of this promise set into motion.
Abram, a man set apart by the word of God. Abram, a man God would use to bring a nation into existence—a nation that God would set apart to display his glory. A nation set apart to carry the seed, the promised seed of Genesis 3:15. A nation that has made mistakes, that has forsaken her God, but even as Abram’s mistakes did not negate God’s faithfulness, neither has Israel’s.
We too are set apart by God’s Word and by his call. Jesus tells us that we did not choose Him but that He chose us (John 15:16) and that He appointed us to go and bear fruit. God appointed Abram to go. Abram went, even though he stumbled along the way.
We too stumble along the way. Sometimes we feel as though we will never catch our balance or walk on steady feet, but this I know: just as He never forsook Abram, He will never forsake us.
God never took back His promise; Abram’s mistakes did not ever negate God’s Word. God could have simply ended his life and started over with someone else, but our God finishes what He starts. The work that He began in him in the Ur of the Chaldeans, He carried out all the way into the Promised Land. May this truth give you hope and bring you peace.
Oh Father,
I know that You began a good work in me, and though I may stumble and fall along the way, You will finish what you started in me (Philippians 1:6). You will pick me up and dust me off when I fall and put me back on the correct path. Yes, most of those stumbles and falls will come with grave consequences, but You will even supply me the strength to move on with and through those consequences. My Father, as Abram stopped so often along the way to worship You and to call upon Your name, may I too never forget that my first priority is my total devotion to You. You are worthy of all my worship and praise!
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,

>Don’t See! Don’t Touch!

>We develop a very narrow definition of what we call “likeminded” people, based on the outworkings of our values and opinions. Now we are on a path to exclusivity when we will no longer associate with those who will be with us in eternity. Is it possible we have lost sight of fellowship based on love and devotion to Jesus, and have substituted personal standards and a narrow view of Christian liberty?

There are several serious consequences of raising children in a home marked by pride and judgment. Children may grow up also judging others. Or, they may hide their real values, acting as though they embrace our values, when, in fact, they are simply seeking to avoid discipline and lectures at home. Or, they may see the shallowness of our legalistic faith that consists primarily of “avoid this, wear that, attend this,” and not be attracted to it in the least.

I am convinced that the most contagious parenting is living a heartfelt faith before your children. Fruitful interaction is not about what you do to your young people, but who you are with them. It’s about having a real faith in God, and expressing it in a real relationship with a real person–not about methods and self-working principles. God intends that the side-effect of loving Jesus and enjoying the grace of the gospel will be that all people–including our children–will be touched by the Savior in us. I pray in Jesus’ name that as you read these words you will experience the grace of God in a fresh and new way. ~ Reb Bradley

These are just a few paragraphs pulled from a really good article, Homeschool Blindspots by Reb Bradley. A friend of mine posted it on her facebook page.

As a Homeschool Mom this is stuff I need to hear. You see we didn’t choose to homeschool our children so that we could put them in a bubble. We chose to homeschool for several reasons but complete life sterility and quarantine was not one of them.

We homeschool to teach them from a Biblical worldview. In this teaching we discuss other worldviews and weigh them against what the Word of God says. We want to open our children’s minds to life outside themselves, not close them up in their own artificially formed reality. We don’t run from the tough issues and from the many different beliefs and cultures around us and in our world. We try to talk about them in an informative non-judgmental way.

(Of course this is something that I have learned as I have grown in my walk with the Lord. I tell people now that I was one of those borderline obnoxious believers when I first surrendered my life to Christ. If you didn’t look like you felt like I felt then I felt you weren’t saved and it was my dire responsibility to tell you how I felt about how you needed to really get to know Jesus because by my evaluation of you, you obviously did not… I am thankful that God placed me amongst those who were willing to tolerate me, be patient with me, and love me though my growing pains and who continue to love me… because I certainly am not fully mature yet)   

I have learned in my growth that this walk with Christ is more about what we do, not what we do not. Usually if we are just focused on the “do” of loving God with our whole heart and getting to know Him, then the “do not’s” take care of themselves. It’s kind of like when you fall head over heels in love with that “one”… everyone else just ain’t all that important anymore. They have lost their ability to impress you, because you have found “the one” and your focus is getting to know them more and spending every possible spare moment with them. You don’t have to walk around and place do not see and do not touch signs on everybody else in order to stay away from them… you just simply don’t even think about them in that way anymore because your heart and eyes are captivated by “the one”.

So I decided that my job as a homeschool mom was just to glorify God in all that we do. To magnify the glory of His majesty and praise Him in all things.

I also learned that it was to be honest with my kids. It meant to be real with them. It meant when I knew I had been short tempered, easily frustrated, and flat-out wrong in my behaviour toward them or another I was to confess it and ask their forgiveness and maybe even ask them to pray with me. I want them to see how God works in His amazing grace.

We also did not choose to homeschool in order to segregate our children to only people who look like us and believe like us. Due to the lack of diversity where we live our children would be more segregated and closed minded from being in public school. We enjoy the opportunity that homeschool gives us to expose our children to different cultures and to show them the beauty in each individual, in every nation, tribe, and tongue. We want our girls to know that mankind is not the enemy, they are they the mission. God’s desire is for all mankind to come to Him and be saved.

We also did not choose homeschool in order to protect our children from different denominational beliefs in the body of Christ. We have chosen to expose them to these differences and point out to them the foundational principles that we all hold alike and are teaching them to hold to these and those that do not hold to the foundation of Christ are not Christian at all.

  “Therefore I make known to you
that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says,
“Jesus is accursed”;
and no one can say,
“Jesus is Lord,”
except by the Holy Spirit.”  
1 Corinthians 12:3
I write so that you will know
how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God,
which is the church of the living God,
the pillar and support of the truth. 
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
   He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:15-16
Our church is an elder governed Southern Baptist church, but my girls have family and very good friends whose church is Catholic, or Church of Christ, or Assembly of God, or Methodist. Our girls have attended these churches with their friends and family and we have discussed the differences and we always come back to the foundation and this is where we stand and this is where we love. 
We also chose to homeschool so that we would actually see our children. My husband works 12 hour swingshifts. He was up and gone to work before the girls even were out of bed and then he got home in just enough time for a late supper and to send them off to bed. If you add church attendance and ministry and any sports or extra curricular activity in there… well we just had no family time at all. We have a very short time with our children… we homeschool so that we can take advantage of it.
We vacation when it’s convenient for our family… not when the school board says we can. If my child is sick I can care for them and I don’t have to pay a co-pay for a doctor’s excuse so that I won’t be turned over to a truancy officer. I suppose these are some of the “rebellious reasons” for our choice… but we just had a hard time swallowing being told what we “had to do” concerning our children. It was like we dropped them off at the door and then all of a sudden we became accountable to the teachers and school instead of the teachers and school being accountable to us. Yeh… we didn’t like that too much. 
The very last thing we want to do as parents is teach artificial life… I don’t want my girls to follow me. I want them to follow Christ. I don’t want them to pursue a tradition. I want them to pursue Truth. I want them to ask questions and seek answers. Because guess what I am still learning life and love myself. I am still growing in grace and knowledge of the truth of God. I just might teach them something wrong. I just might learn something new and have truth revealed to me and need to change in order to line up with Truth… my girls need to know that’s what real learning is.
We homeschool so that our girls won’t be shoved into a mold, so that they might learn that they are the clay in the hands of the Master Potter and they must allow themselves to remain soft and pliable and workable in His hands… and no one else’s.
So as a believer, as a homeschool mom, I desire to protect my girls. I desire to set standards that are expected to be kept, to discipline them according to the Word and I must be careful to not run around with my constant, “don’t see! don’t touch!” which I have learned always comes from the root of fear that they will live the same regrets that I do… or be hurt in a way that I was… or even worse than I was.
I have to remember that I cannot control them… I am to lead them in the way of godliness pointing them always to Christ and His Word and then I must trust God to carry the one’s that He formed within my womb. He loves them even more than I do or am even capable of loving them in this flesh… that in itself never ceases to amaze me.
If you have died with Christ
to the elementary principles of the world,
why, as if you were living in the world,
do you submit yourself to decrees,
such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 
(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 
These are matters which have,
to be sure,
 the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion
and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body,
but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
Colossians 2:20-23