Category Archives: Our House Under God

Putting God first and Homeschooling under Him.

Finding Surrender

STOP the comparison of yourself and others. STOP letting others give their examination and assessment of your life . ONLY His assessment matters.

Proverbs 16:11 A just balance belongs to the Lord; all the weights of the bag are His concern.

Proverbs 20:23 Differing weights are and abomination to the Lord, and a false scale is not good.

Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God , and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me the everlasting way.

James 4:6-10 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to he proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep, let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

No one else can measure me. God is the measure I should use to weigh my efforts.

Weighing yourself through the world’s eyes, another’s eyes, against another’s efforts or appearance is not a righteous endeavor. Always go to the Word and measure yourself with the Truth.Let God in to judge you. Seek His measure daily and let Him have His way in your life. Be in the Word (draw near to Him and purify your hearts). Let Him be the exalting force instead of exalting yourself. Humble yourself so that He might do a good work in you and be glorified in the process.
Don’t be quick to defend yourself to others. It would be a vain attempt boast. Instead close your mouth in humility, knowing any goodness in you comes from God.  Seek God to solve the unsolvable problems that seem to make your efforts meaningless when weighed by inaccurate scales.

SO, what are His requirements?
Luke 10:27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Him,  spend your time with Him,exercise your faith and fruits of the Spirit, do His will submitting your life to Him, love others.

Matthew 10:34–39 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

God is not looking for perfection, so why are others asking for it. He wants our submission, our devotion, our commitment to Him.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from . I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus balances us when we allow Him to take full possession of our lives. When we look to others instead of Him to measure our efforts, we take Him out of first place. He should be our first love.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

He promises that if you seek Him above all else that all of the nuisances and necessities of life will be taken care of. You will find your way through life through His guidance. You will find your purpose, passion, and path.

Note: This is scripture from a devotional from Focus on the Family, titled Balance Living. It is something that I struggle with more than I like to admit. I’ve added my thoughts on today’s reading. I am not a scholar, just seeking His will and letting the Holy Spirit be my guide.

Easter Message

an-75208_640At the risk of offending my Christian friends, I’m going to leave my own kind of Easter message. If your discerning, you’ll note that this is not written to benefit my Christian friends, but at other friends I love dearly.

Easter is not about eggs, candy, or even family. Easter is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, His rising from the dead to show that He alone conquers the darkest of sins and He overcomes them all.

I will present you with the Gospel today in print, but if I know that you do not believe, and I never tell you the Gospel face-to-face. It is because I DO NOT LOVE YOU, and I am not worthy of your friendship. At some point in our relationship I must tell the you the most humbling and important message that I know.

1. We are all sinful. We lie, steal, murder , covet, commit adultery, and put ourselves before others. (See sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7) I am huge sinner! That’s right. I do it daily.

2. It doesn’t matter the magnitude of your sin, the penalty is death. Don’t let those Christians and their “God is Love” message fool you. He is jealous and He wants justice. Romans 6:23

3. It doesn’t matter the magnitude of your sin, He came to take the penalty in your stead. That is the only promise, eternal life, not wealth, not “everything your way right away.” He does not work at Burger King. Bad things in life will happen to you. Death and sickness came from man’s sin. God sometimes lets it visit us to sharpen our character and build our faith. (John 3:16-18- end of judgement and James 1:12- promise of tribulation on earth).

4. Now you are free from the burden of paying for your sins, if ONLY you believe. It is that simple. You do not have to do anything else. Salvation from death is not earned. If it were so, no one could make Him happy enough. We all fall short. Romans 15:13 and Romans 5:1-21 (Yeah, I know its long, but His Word says it best.)

I am a sinner, I have broken every one of the ten commandments and the most important of them. loving the Lord my God, and loving others before myself (Matthew 22:36-40). I’m in the center of my world on a daily basis. I am no different than my non-Christian friends. I constantly need His redemption, I constantly have to re-commit myself to Him. It’s not common for a Christian to advertise this, but it is key to the Gospel message. I am flawed, and if I were perfect, I would not need His death. I am now a willing slave to Jesus, because of the life-debt He paid for me. Understand that submission is totally against our sinful nature. Which is why you will see us struggle with the same sins. Submission is a deliberate act, no magic occurs when we believe that makes us supernaturally obey without fault.

For the little sinners in my house, if I were not honest about my own sin, I could not be a good witnessing tool. The Word would just be a tool of manipulation. It is important for me to admit guilt, ask forgiveness from my children and then turn away from my sin. When Christians neglect to admit their own sinful nature,  the entire message of the Gospel becomes one of judgment, instead of love.

If you are not a believer, and you know that I know that, if I don’t share this message with you face to face in a loving manner, confront me, attack me, for I will need to apologize for not putting your life before my own interests.

We aren’t just celebrating his life anew, but His blood shed for me, yes even me. Jesus is enough for Easter. We do not need anything else to present the message. Deuteronomy 4:2

Now, this is for my Christian friends. If you celebrate Easter with an egg hunt and candy, is it sinful? Probably not. Paint those eggs and have a blast, but whatever you do, make Christ the center, not an afterthought, not a side note. He bought you with His blood. He deserves center stage.

Talking About Sin

tree-145819_640When we talk about sin to our kids, it is common to go straight to the Ten Commandments. Yes, do that! You cannot skip these. In addition there are 600 plus commands  to follow in the rest of the Bible, hence a very great need to study it. Amazingly enough, with all of these commands, we still have difficulty deciding what is right and what is wrong in today’s world. Do I get that tattoo?  What about dating two guys at once?  Can I watch that R rated movie? These and other question pop up and rarely, if ever do kids and parents agree.

We talk a lot about discernment in our house. Discernment allows a Christian to recognized false prophets  and false teachings even when they are cleverly wrapped in the twisted Truth( 1 John  4:1). We also learn how to recognize when a situation is to be avoided. To practice discernment we are to question everything to see that it lines up with our biblical worldview. You can truly apply the Bible to almost every situation.There are commands on how to treat your neighbor, people in the Church, the needy, your children, your elders. We know we have to study the Bible in order to form our biblical world view ( Hebrews 5:14). We need to be studying everyday and we need to be questioning everything (Proverbs 3:1-3). These are both easy to let go of. We get wrapped up in the world and our habits fall. It is important to note that all people are not gifted with discernment. That is why it is so important to have counsel from those you have noticed with this gift.

Sometimes you may not know His commands enough to apply them to a situation and you  need to make a decision about right now. Other times you may not be able to identify the situation as falling under one of the ten commandments or any other commands you have learned. We call these ” grey areas”.  What do you do? Do you say no to everything in hopes of a Puritan style life? The kids will probably think that is what we are going for (wink). Do you say yes to everything and then find ourselves fallen without a clear way to get out or worse a lifetime of consequences? (Philippians 1:9-10)

I found that my children, who have a basic knowledge of the Bible and have not had the time to develop discernment, needed something to help them weigh certain situations and behaviors. In 1 Corinthians 10:31  we are commanded, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” So we have learned to ask our children (and ourselves) when they are doing something that doesn’t obviously fit into the ten commandments, “Are you glorifying God (when you do that)?” This is a great way for kids to identify a sin quickly or weigh a “grey area” for something that they are questioning. See the practice of discernment there?

To my younger kids, I explained further to say that like clothing with tags naming the creator of that piece of clothing, we have a Made by God tag (Ephesians 2:10). When we do something, we usually have an audience. This can be said for any sin or “grey area”. The audience can be a sister, a brother, a classmate, a Christian or an unbeliever. What we do represents our Creator. Just like that t-shirt that unraveled the day after we bought it from the store, our actions speak loudly about our Creator. If our actions make someone question the awesomeness of our Creator, we have not glorified God.

   Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Proverbs for Parents

bible-102684_640 So often, I have read and then adopted the belief as my own, that the Proverbs are a great tool for teaching wisdom to your children, but today I saw them in an entirely new light. I was both inspired and humbled by the new understanding. I find myself looking at parenting as just one more avenue God is taking me in order for me to be closer to Him. My reading was primarily in Chapters 10-12, though some come from chapters 8,9, and 13. My suggestion is that you read all and let God speak to you as a parent. Don’t stop reading here. I am just a parent and still learning (and I am not nearly as eloquent as dear Solomon). This is how it spoke to me this morning.

The overlying message I saw  was that wisdom can only be willingly received when the one bestowing wisdom is righteous. As a parent, in order to be effective, I must consistently show my character as a godly one. Yes, I am going to make mistakes. As a parent, I may lose my cool, I may say something out of frustration or behave badly in other ways, and when I do, I must humble myself in apology. If my character is godly, it will be quick, it will be sincere, and an immediate change will be seen as I allow myself to transformed by His grace. My character, if godly, will be seen in the rest of my actions as well.

I am not going to get into the roles of the father and the mother here as they are different and could easily make two more separate posts Proverbs 10-12 specifically speaks of the righteous behavior that is needed for wisdom to be soaked up by another. God is this righteousness. Our goal is to imitate Christ, though we are lacking and still attempt to do as God commanded in Deuteronomy 6:7, teaching the way they should go in every hour of the day. If we are actively doing this, the Word that we use to teach will keep us accountable. For how can we constantly teach the Word and not be affected by it ourselves? Proverbs 12:15 points out that a wise parent will always seek counsel (and 12:1).

The mouth and lips are mentioned several times in chapters 10-12. It is not pointing out the obvious that we will use our mouths when teaching of wisdom, but instead telling us that what comes from the mouth is the a way that we perceive what is righteous (Proverbs 10:32, 12:17). It is also pointing out the product of one that is righteous. The words of the righteous give life. Proverbs 11: 30 uses the words, “tree of life.” This is the “fruit” of our righteousness, children that seek the Lord for life ever-lasting. Those hearing will hear, understand, and receive the Gospel. The mouth is….” a well of life, delivers from death, promotes health,  is truthful, shall be established forever (Proverbs 10:2 11, 11:4b, 12:18b-19). The righteous will direct them aright and will deliver them (Proverbs 11:5-6). The righteous will…cause those who love (me) to inherit wealth… they will receive blessing, life, and favor (Proverbs 8: 18- 21, 34-35). The wisdom bestowed will lead to leadership (Proverbs 8: 15-16, 12:24). Our words of wisdom (if mirrored by our actions) lead our children to the truth of salvation.

Righteous parents have power in their words of truth. They have a powerful influence because of the daily model of wisdom in their child’s life. Because they spend time in the Word themselves, parents have the understanding needed to teach wisdom. They understand submission and obedience and the shedding of personal desire. They understand confession and repentance, that we are human, that we will fail, and we continually need Christ’s redemption. They understand the accountability of the Word of Jesus Christ. That the more we meditate on it, the more we understand, and the more we will rely on the Word to keep our path straight. A full life with Jesus is dependent upon the time we spend with Him in prayer and in Word. If we lack understanding, if we only have knowledge, but do not apply this knowledge in our own life through word and action, we will be ineffective in teaching (Proverbs 10:13-14). However, if we are righteous, we will constantly feed them through the Word, and we will be able to influence our children’s desire away from sin (Proverbs 10:3).

While punishment is sometimes appropriate, the most of these proverbs focuses on teaching and correction.  Proverbs 13:18 and 10:13 point out that punishment would only follow wisdom and correction that has been ignored. This teaching is done without arrogance and glorification of oneself. (Proverbs 10:14, 12:23) A parent must be humbled as a sinner, equal in God’s sight, both equally sinful, and equally and gracefully forgiven.  Proverbs 8:22-31 shows that God’s wisdom is seen from the beginning of time with His grand creation, yet He finds his delight in the sons of men. God does not hold His wisdom over our heads like a feat that can never be accomplished. Remember His humility in the flesh. He is not an arrogant disciplinarian. He is constantly there guiding us, teaching us, correcting and rebuking us, showing His love in His patience and kindness though we falter daily. How can a parent not be moved to mimic this character of God for their children? Only if we parent with humility, will we see a product of wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). 

The proverbs compares righteousness to good citizenship (Proverbs 9-11). Let’s take that idea into the home. Through a godly parents wisdom, their children will be delivered. The Gospel will be heard, understood, and received ( vs. 9).  A godly parent will be the cause of happiness in the home (vs 10). The godly parent blesses the family with his/her mouth building  up the family  and encouraging them with their words. (vs. 11). They spread peace and joy (Proverbs 12:20)

The proverbs tell us that seeking wrath in our parenting is not our goal, but we should always parent while seeking God’s goodness and God’s approval of our own behavior (Proverbs 11:20, 23, 27)  The godly parent will only be satisfied if they produce the fruit of the same kind, a child who walks with the Lord (Proverbs 12:14) A godly parent will fear the Lord and hate what is evil, keeping it far away from him, not acknowledging it, not owning it (Proverbs 8:13, 9 :10).

paper-166853_640In contrast, the one who cannot be effective in teaching wisdom, is the parent that needs no counsel. This parent has all the answers and seeks no wisdom from the Word, from other godly parents, through the Church, or through prayer (Proverbs 11:14, 12:15 ). Chapter 11, verse 3 warns that if we are unfaithful followers that we will destroy those who we lead (and 12:18).  Countless verses emphasize the truth and sincerity of the words of a parent. Parenting should not be done with trickery or  manipulation.  In contrast the ungodly are characterized by their lies and deceit, honoring themselves, and twisting the truth to suit their needs (Proverbs 10:31-32, 12:10)

In chapter 11, verse 10, it is mentioned that an ungodly person’s reputation taints the perception of even the tender acts he attempts. (“But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” ) Often the struggling parent lashes out in anger, nullifying any wisdom that might to come from their mouth., therefore knowing the truth and speaking  it are pointless, when anger dominates parenting (Proverbs 10:11). Our words cannot be used to destroy our children, for when they do forgiveness is seemingly out of reach for them (Proverbs 11::9). A parent’s lips should not breed anxiety in a child, which may lead to depression or a perception of oneself that is unforgiving. (Prov. 12:15). If our righteousness produces the fruit of the tree of life, what is the alternative? We condemn them to an everlasting life of torment and separation from God. With all of our biblical knowledge, without applying it in our own lives are deemed ineffective and worse, destructive.

Proverbs 11:25-26 The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?…” Penn Jillete

As parents, our integrity comes from using God’s standards as our own. To use them we must know them through study. To know them we must apply them, allowing God to transform our character. Whether it be teaching, correction, or punishment, all should be done as a humble believer, acknowledging our own sin, and the grace and forgiveness that we have found in Christ,  bestowing the same on our children. It is then, that the words that we speak in wisdom will be heard and understood, leading out children down the paths of righteousness (Proverbs 11:1-6). The idea is, that we need to look at ourselves as the ones who need the counsel of the wise, so that we are then able impress that knowledge on our children. It is not just the wisdom of the Word, but the wisdom of the Word working in our life. That is full wisdom. That is what will be understood and received by our children.

Forcing Religion On Your Children

This is so wonderfully and thoughtfully written. A perfect example of how a purposeful parent thinks. Props to the author!

A Homeschool Mom

My wife recently brought to my attention a statement she read online by an opponent of “religion” (who was obviously directing their criticism toward Christians). Because it’s a criticism frequently leveled, I thought it deserved some response.

When faced with the accusation that you “force your religion on your children”, the first thing to do is ask the critic to clearly explain what he means by “forcing or imposing a belief or religion” on others.

FORCING A BELIEF  – Could I “force” you to adopt the belief that a triangle has four sides by holding a gun to your head? You might verbally state that a triangle has four sides in order to save your own hide, but would you actually believe it? The fact is, one could not even force himself to adopt such a belief. I could not “force” myself to believe that 2+2=7 no matter how much…

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Keeping Faith in the Midst of Our Troubles

bad-19907_640Ephesians 6: 10-17 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,…

What is happening in the world today? Look at our government, our schools, our economy, our  Church. Looking at all the headlines, can get you worrying. Questions begin to cloud your mind, blinding them from simple truths and great comforts. It is easy to start reacting, to try to solve the worlds problems, or at least your world’s problems all by yourself.

What foods are safe for my family? Why is the government limiting my freedoms? What is happening in our economy? (If you are like me, you don’t quite understand it, but you know we are in trouble, like 1929 kind of trouble.) Why are the police harassing ordinary citizens? Why is my church teaching prosperity Gospel and getting away from the Word of God? Why is the school teaching half truths and untruths? How do I protect my family from these things? Can I prepare for some of these things? What if something happens to my preparations? Can I quit my job and homeschool? What if my spouse loses their job? Can I afford Health Care?

What can I do? What will I do? What if it is not enough?

This list of questions varies and continues to grow in each and every mind if left to itself. Everybody asks questions like this, but what we do after asking is what is important. I have learned that if I ask a question like this, it is usually because I am afraid. I need to hand it over to God immediately. If it doesn’t stay with God, if the question slips back into the forefront of my mind, I have to give it back to Him continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

There are so many unknowns. Some things we can change. Seek God’s guidance and then do something.  Others we have no control over and we must leave it to Him. These questions and others, can drive us crazy if we do not have faith in the Lord. So what do we do? If the world causes us to worry, what does a believer do? The short answer, and the one I tell my own children time and time again to answer many questions about what believers do, “Read the Word, and pray.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, James 1:5-8)

I once heard someone say, if you believe the beginning of the Bible when it says God made this earth, the skies, the seas, surely the rest of the miracles and promises are as easy to believe.  His creation was awesome (Psalm 104:24). It spoke of His power. This was a great way to emphasize the believers faith in what the Bible says, all of it. In following this idea, the Bible also tells us to go to Jesus for forgiveness. While creation was His most powerful deed, forgiveness is, by far, His most loving deed. He loves and cares for us and shows this by providing for our greatest need (Ephesians 2:4, Philippians 4:19, Psalm 40:17, Luke 11:9-13). Why should we worry that He will not take care of our basic needs. After all, He promises it (  Proverbs 10:13, Psalm 23:1).

bible-53753_640Matthew 6: 25-34 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

The Bible is a constant reminder to us that He is in control (Proverbs 19:11, Job 12:10, John 16:33). That we have agreat need of Him. When we try to do things on our own, we come to ruin (Psalm 37:8, Proverbs 28:26) . The Word keeps us close to Him. It gives us comfort that He is with us. He is taking care of us. The  Bible tells us worrying doesn’t produce anything worthwhile (Matthew 6:25). We are to lay our troubles upon Him. We are reminded that troubles come to sharpen us (Colossians 1:11).  It points us back to Him and it points others to Him. Keeping faith during our troubles makes our faith stronger and builds faith in others. For when the unbeliever or those lacking faith see that we continue to bow our knee to Him in prayer, and we continue to seek understanding through reading of His word, even in our troubled times, He is able to use us to show His power and His management of our lives (Psalm 55:22). It encourages others to look to Him in their own troubles, relying on Him, thus repeating this process, building others up faith, sharing stories of answered prayer, encouraging others that God is near (Proverbs 27:17). God is glorified in our troubles and in the resolution of them. He will meet our needs, if you are following Him, submitting to Him,  and giving honor to Him (2 Corinthians 12:10). The time will be His, for His time is best. His time brings glory to Him most (1 Peter 5:6-7).

In Him you will find peace, a happiness, only He can give. In Him, I can be sure( Romans 15:13). If only I am trusting in Him, not in the things that I do. In the deceptive “prosperity Gospel” being taught in so many churches today, I would hear that, “I have what it takes in me. If only I try hard enough, keep a positive attitude, be good to myself, I will see that the success I am searching for.” This lie makes it difficult on a person, especially those new in Christ, so willing to hear that Christ promises us all of our hearts desires, but Christ is missing from this message. In taking all that we know back to the Gospel, we can know that we need to rely on Him for everything. If I am to do anything about my situation, or the world’s situation, I am to do it after seeking his guidance, after seeking His will.

If I look at a troublesome situation, I first ask, is what I desire part of His will. Is it God’s will for a husband to support His family?(Ephesians 4:28) Yes, then a job will  be provided. Does a man have to look for the job? Yes. Should he spend 24 hours a day looking for a job while the rest of his life is left unattended to, not taking rest for food, or leading his family? No. Why? Because taking care of the body,being a Christian leader and a protector to his family is also part of God’s will (1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Peter 3:7). How can a man protect his family if he is not taking care of himself physically. How can he be a leader in His family if he is not reading the word, gaining instruction and wisdom to impart to his family? It is his job to be the strong voice of faith in the midst of family troubles like the loss of a job. His continual reading and teaching of the word, impresses upon his children that God is in charge. This faith allows God to do His work,  first to take care of their basic needs while the husband is looking for a job and then by providing a job at the right time (Ecclesiastes 8:6). The faith of the father turns the children and wife to look to God in their own personal troubles, again letting God take care of their  needs. Why would God not meet a basic need? You have to ask yourself, “Have I put my faith in Him or in the hoops I have been jumping through? If my needs were to be met now, would He get the glory or would my efforts?” (Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 2:13)

I’ve seen His works over and over in my life. He has given me much more than I deserve. My faith lacks often and when He convicts me of this, I am shamed and return to Him. Sometimes I return quickly. Other times I am stubborn. I still have areas in my life that I haven’t fully given over to Him. These areas still have needs to be met. That sends a sobering message to me. I know it is because I haven’t fully trusted Him to do His works in that part of my life. I know it is because I am trying to do it on my own.  Resolution in that area is being held captive by my pride, my stubbornness, my need for control. I know the needs will never be met until I turn them over to Him. What is left to do but pray and keep returning to the Bible?

One day my pastor was talking about how many times God repeats truth in the Bible. All the times that we read the Word and the texts seems redundant and laborious to get through, I remind myself, what my pastor was pointing out that day. We are slow learners. (Of course the story of the Israelites and their constant waning faith, gives me great comfort. I am not alone.) God reminds us because it is an important message. God reminds us because we need reminding. God reminds us because we are so stubborn and reluctant to hand over our lives to a creator who has proven Himself all powerful and loving. I have to  stay in the Word and remain on bent knee until every part of my life is submitted to Him.

I will continue this discussion in later posts about building faith in your children through answered prayer and also one about a desire our family has for God to keep us on bended knee.

Homeschool Forgiveness

We decided to homeschool for various reasons, most of all, because we felt what the children learned in public school conflicted with the biblical worldview that we talked of at home. You might assume that I am talking about the secular curriculum, but it was actually what the children were learning about themselves as human beings and what they were learning about their own behaviors.

sad-219721_150Many typical childish behaviors (1 Corinthians 13:11)  were handled by shaming and unforgiveness. Labels were being placed on the children and they could not get out from under those labels. I was a teacher at the school and often ask to sit quietly by the behavior specialist while she talked with my son. I listened to her ask the same questions over and over. While he answered her questions correctly each time and had answers that were biblically sound and responsible.  Confused by the repeated questions, he would look at me questioningly  (Psalm 119:8, Colossians 3:21). I encouraged him to answer the questions again, not sure what more she was looking for. Forgiveness was superficially given (Romans 12:9) after a substantial amount of shame and confusion was place on him. I learned later that the once loving teacher that was previously my daughter’s teacher, was sending him out of the room for typical, but repeated behaviors, because she was suffering from headaches. He was out of the class more than I was aware, going from teacher to teacher, feeling abandoned and unforgiven. He was making no friends, and hated the work he saw no point to. The only thing he loved was story time, yet he continued to speak out of turn, excited about the book, annoying the teacher further. He was ready to learn, but not ready for school, not for what they were teaching him (Psalm 34:11, 2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 5:29). I do feel the need to state for the record that we do believe in active parenting. Correcting, teaching, and consequences belong in our discipline, but forgiveness is not to be withheld from our children (Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 29:17).

My oldest daughter, who was one of the top in her class, acing the standardized test, was bored to tears and spent much of her time listening to teachers nagging about her reading  or doodling when she was supposed to be listening to a  new lesson. She would often come home with marker doodles all over her body as evidence of her times of boredom. Scoldings were followed by straight A report cards with marks for  behavior. The marks were a blight in her eyes. I could see the handwriting on the wall. My children were doomed to hate learning and what fire they had developed would lose their flame if continuing on that path. They were also learning lies about themselves. They were learning that they should be perfect (Romans 3:23). That they were unforgivable (Mark 3:28). That they were different from the other seemingly obedient children and a lost cause and could be discarded easily. My heart was breaking.

love-of-books.jpgForgiveness is needed in our house. The lot of us are awful sinners  in Israelite fashion, grumpy getter-uppers, egocentric and lacking faith that our daily needs would be met. Truthfully wants and needs are sometimes really difficult to discern from another. On a daily basis we apologize to each other and dole out forgiveness left and right. It is important to me to apologize as soon as convicted. I want my children to see that I am not perfect, that everybody needs forgiveness. I want them to see they were not different but the same as those around them, flawed by original sin. I want them to be able to apologize with ease when it was there turn. I want to forgive them freely without hesitation,and have them learn the love of Christ through me so they could in turn, show the love of Christ to others (Micah 7:18-19). Forgiveness feels good (Acts 3:19) I also need to admit my own inadequacies as a parent in order to be a better one, to hold myself accountable verbally admitting my own sin to myself. In doing so, I allow God to continue to transform me through my confessions (1 John 1:9) . I have much to learn and I slide back often (Ephesians 2:10).