I Am His and He is Mine

Happy Easter!

Today I’d just like to encourage all of you to cultivate a heart of gratitude.  For what God did by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.  Ask for nothing today but only praise Him.  After all, you don’t need anything else.

Know God through Faith.

Grow a circle of believing friends.

Discover God’s calling for your life.

Make a difference in this world.

I am God’s and He is mine!

God bless each and every one of you!

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Stop What You Are Doing Right Now and WATCH THESE VIDEOS!

If you ever wanted a deeper understanding of the Ten Commandments, watch these short videos (average of 5 minutes for each commandment).  They will explain the commandments and what they mean in simple, easy-to-understand terms.  Both my kids and I learned a ton!

Some of what I learned:  That coveting does not mean wanting what someone else has.  It’s more than that.

That Do not Murder does not mean do not kill (blame ‘lost in translation’ for this error).

That Do Not Steal is more than just personal property.

That we are only commanded to honor our mother and father.  That does not mean we are commanded to honor other human beings. (Note definition of honor–different than respect).

Do Not Misuse God’s name does not mean to not cuss.  It means to kill in God’s name.  This is the only commandment that is unforgiveable.

Remember the Sabbath is for us to rest–to be more than a worker, to be free or we are slaves, and to make slavery impossible.  It also strengthens the family as we are forced to spend time with other human beings.  And animals were granted dignity as well.  And all of this affirms God.

Without God who brought us out of Egypt, there is no moral compass.  With one God, we are all equal.

All of the commandments are for the function of society and to keep it prospering.  Otherwise, we are doomed.

This is just a bit of what I learned.  I cannot recommend this site enough.  It’s run by Prager University and is presented by the founder of Prager University.  It is not a university per se as we know it; just a site free to all with five minute videos discussing issues of the day (including theology) founded by Dennis Prager, a conservative radio talk show host and columnist.

I can not speak for the site; all I can recommend are these videos.  If nothing else, you’ll gain a different perspective on the commandments, perfect to go along with the Life of Moses.  I watched these alongside my kids and because they are short and sometimes entertaining my kids were engaged the entire 50 minutes.

Click HERE for the videos.  Enjoy!

New Year’s Resolution: Read the Bible

I found this nugget on Fox News this morning and had to share.  Its argument for reading the Bible is the best I’ve ever read.  So consider this a challenge to read the entire Bible in 2015.  No other resolution will change your life as much.

God bless!

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/12/26/resolved-read-bible-in-2015/?intcmp=features

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) and the Truth Chasers Club

I normally don’t promote other products or ministries or otherwise on this site.  But this one I will make an exception.

(Note:  I was not approached by this organization to write this or otherwise promote them as I often am nor was I offered any compensation in any way.  This is a review and an opinion based on my experience and should be viewed and read as such).

I was told by a friend about 3 years ago that there’s a club called the Truth Chasers Club where kids receive bible studies in the mail.  She got me the information and I enrolled myself and my kids in it.  Ever since then, we have been receiving bible studies in the mail.  I have since dropped due to time constraints, but my kids LOVE it.  They love getting mail and they love doing their lessons.

The lessons are based on age and grade so the younger kids have less reading and more hands-on activities such as coloring and book marks.  As the children age, the lessons increase in size and content as well.  Every time the kids receive their old lesson in the mail with hand-written notes and it graded along with the new lesson.  You only receive a new lesson when you’ve returned the old one (unless you are like us and you lose yours–then after a month or so they send you a duplicate one!).

I normally don’t pay much attention to these as the kids do them on their own, but this last lesson is the one that has prompted me to write and recommend them.  The lesson was on death and what happens to a believer when he or she dies.  It compares the body to a house in which the soul lives and when you die, the house is buried but the soul immediately goes to be with Christ.  It is accompanied by a lovely illustration of this.  It was awesome in terms of explaining death to little kids, which is always a challenge!

These lessons are FREE!  Let me say that again:  these lessons are free (much like BSF or Bible Study Fellowship) as their mission is to promote Jesus to children around the world.

I visited their website (www.cefonline.com) and they are doing much more than the Truth Chasers Club to promote Christ.  They train children and adults in evangelism and also do after school Bible clubs known as the Good News Club.  I cannot attest to any other part of their work except for the Truth Chasers Club for that is all I have experience with.  However, they have been around since 1937 and seem to have a great reputation for spreading God’s Word and the Good News.

That being said, they have encountered resistance and concern from parents ministering to their children (which CEF says they always have permission from the parents to do).  I have no opinion on this matter as I don’t know much about it.  However, all of this is recent and in today’s increasingly secular society and the push against Christ, you have to approach it as such.  In my mind, you can’t do enough to expose kids to Christ.  Again, I have no opinion on any other work CEF does other than the Truth Chasers Club.

In conclusion, I do recommend the Truth Chasers Club.  I have seen nothing that goes against what the Bible says as truth and my kids love it.  It has valuable lessons and fun kid activities.  And it’s free!  Just another compliment to your Biblical teachings at home and at your church, much like BSF is intended to be.  Invaluable if you live in remote areas far from church and community or lacking such amazing bible studies as BSF.  Check them out and decide for yourself at www.cefonline.com  You can enroll online.  Let me know what you think!

Why Is It We NEVER Give Ourselves Enough Credit?

I just applied for a homeschool writing position with another blog.  They asked for a brief list of credentials and three writing samples related to homeschooling.  They offer a bit of compensation so I thought “Why not?”

So I list my resume per se:  I am almost done with my YA edit.  I write novels.  I wrote a newspaper column.  I blog.  I homeschool my kids.  Used to be a public school teacher.

Then I begin a search for my writings on homeschool.  I have a few here on this blog but they are old.  Then I suddenly remembered my newspaper columns I wrote.  I wrote a ton of homeschool stuff then.  So I drag all those up and copy and paste.

While I am copying and pasting, I am reading them.  I think, “Wow, these are pretty good!”  Then I think, “Actually, these are REALLY good.”

It made me realize:  I can write.  I am good at something in this world besides changing diapers and chauffeuring kids to soccer practice, music classes, swim lessons, etc.  I do have something to say that’s not kid-related.  And I have something important to say that doesn’t begin with a negative i.e. “No!” or “Don’t!” or “Stop!”

I think we as women and moms get so caught up in the outside world validating us that we forget that we don’t need validation from the outside world.  We forget God has stamped us as His from the moment we were born.  We forget we have everything if we have Him.  And we forget that we are enough; we are good; we are important.

God knows this.  So why don’t we?

Easy:  It all comes back to Him.

I forget this every day of my life.  I have to constantly remind myself of Him and the Cross.  And when I do, when I acknowledge Him in my mind, then I can acknowledge myself in my mind and it becomes a little easier to believe I am important after all.  I stand a bit taller.  I believe in myself a bit more.  And I give myself credit where credit is due.

Whether or not the outside world ever recognizes me is unimportant.  It would be nice, don’t get me wrong.  But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  All that does matter is Him.  I work for Him, through Him, and by Him.  Period.

Ever Notice Your Calling is Not Your Choice?

I’d love to take the path most taken: put my kids in school, work out at the gym, sip coffee with friends, go shopping, take vacations, and lead a normal, suburban life.

But I can’t.

And I don’t have a choice about it.

I must follow where God leads and that’s not exactly the way I’d go and certainly not the easy route that’s for sure.  I’m called to write:  a path full of rejection which I’m not good at taking.  I’m called to homeschool–a bit out of the mainstream but growing by leaps and bounds as more and more parents realize what a classroom full of 30 kids is really like compared to 3 kids.  I’m called to be a wife and mother and care-taker of animals.  And I’m sure I’m called to other things; I just can’t see them at the moment.

Not that my life is hard.  In fact, I’m very, very blessed.  I have a hard-working husband who supports me in all I do.  I have wonderful, healthy kids who are growing up strong in the Lord.  I have 2 dogs and 2 cats to care for.  I have a home, cars, God, and love.

Yet for those who are blessed, more is expected.  I am called for more and I can’t quit until it’s achieved.  My calling is also not my own.  I don’t think I would have chosen it.  In fact, I know I wouldn’t have.  I would have chosen to be born to royalty (or at least to millionaires) and led a cushy life for the my brief time here on Earth.

But I wasn’t.

I was called to lead an ordinary life in a not-so-ordinary fashion.

All because of God within.

It drives me, propels me, forces me to do so.

Even when I have no desire to.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20:  “…You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”

I am God’s.  And I’d have it no other way.

The Consequences of Studying the Bible (Or of Doing BSF–Whichever You Prefer)…

I’m doing another Bible Study outside of Bible Study Fellowship (yep, I’m nuts).  But this one is not quite as intense.  It’s more of a social gathering for ladies if you will.  Hence, I told myself, “Why not?  It won’t take up too much time.”

It’s actually my old Bible Study group at my church before I discovered BSF.  It’s been years since I’ve been.

Here, at this study, I am much more confident in what I am saying when I talk about the Bible. It’s not all Greek to me anymore.

However, last week, I did get into an “argument” for lack of a better word with a young gal at my table who held the common belief that God is not a God of wrath.  She just couldn’t believe the God of the Old Testament.  She tried to say how Jesus changed all of that and basically we’re not bound under the Old Covenant any more.

Well, having done the study of Isaiah, I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut (not uncommon for me) so I challenged her on her beliefs.  I explained that you can’t negate the God of the Old Testament just because the God of the New Testament is ‘nicer’.  God gets just as angry at His people today as He did in OT times.  I’m pretty sure God is angry when I sin.  Sad, yes.  But He’s definitely not holding a cheerleading party when I turn from Him.

Yes, we now live under the New Covenant but that doesn’t mean the Old Covenant can be shoved under the rug and  forgotten.  It’s important that we know the differences.  That we know how God’s people lived back then.  So then we can truly appreciate what Jesus did for us and how now we all can stand with God by His side upon death.

There are still consequences for our sins.  Yeah, we’re not gonna be sent to Babylon (mainly because Babylon doesn’t exist anymore–not because God couldn’t or wouldn’t do something similar today) but we all pay.  And that is because God is unhappy with us when we sin.

The Book of Revelation explains what will happen when Jesus comes again and most of it is not pretty for unbelievers.

I think people today do not “fear” God.  They embrace the loving God (and this is predominantly preached at my church) and ignore the God who disciplines us.

God is to be feared.  We need to be humble before Him.  For He is Lord and Ruler of us all.  He is to be revered.  Most people today do not understand what it means to fear God.  It doesn’t mean we are scared of Him or His ways like we’d be scared of a ghost or a goblin.  It means we fear Him because He is omnipotent.  He is in charge.  He is in control.  And we are mere ants in His world. We exist solely at His will.  We could not exist at His whim as well.

If we do not fear God, we will not obey Him.  We fear Him because we know we are to be judged.  Yet, God forgives us.  God also loves us and protects us from evil.

Psalm 130:3-4:  “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”

Genesis 22:12 releases Isaac back to Abraham because Abraham “fears God.”  This is the first mention of fear in the Bible.

In Matthew so far (and in most of the OT), we have seen when an angel of the Lord appears, most are frightened and the angel must say “Do not be afraid.”  This tells us we probably should be afraid.

I’m not saying I fully understand it because I do not fully understand God.  All I know is that I should be scared of God.  For He is my Creator.  And He could destroy me if He so chose in an instant.

Back to my story.  I’m pretty sure I offended most at the table, speaking of God’s wrath and how we cannot dismiss it because it happened in the Old Testament.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t earn any friends that way.  And needless to say I skipped this last week mainly because of it.  I don’t think many liked what I had to say.  I will acknowledge it probably didn’t come off as nice as this since I am a writer, not a speaker.

But I said it.  I said what little I knew of God.

Why did I say it?  Because I had studied it in BSF.  The study of Isaiah was all about how God’s people made God angry because they turned from Him so many times.  And how God’s wrath was brought upon His people.  His people deserved His wrath as we all do.  We’d all be better off if we remembered this fact every morning and every night.

Why else did I say it?  BSF exists to equip us to serve others.  To gain a knowledge of the Bible in order to bring others to Him.  To serve others in the community and the world.  It is my responsibility to tell others what I have learned.  My first BSF leader said if we graduate from BSF, we are basically receiving a degree in theology for free.  This has always stuck with me.

Was I called to say it?  Who knows?  But I would have been thumbing my nose at BSF if I hadn’t.  And that I will never do.

Yes, we are blessed because we live on this side of Heaven, after Jesus’ death.  But those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a repeat of God’s wrath.  Babylon was NOT a fun place to be.