Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Walk in a Manner Worthy of our King

As I am studying through Colossians with the Good Morning Girls, something popped out at me - mission statement for our family.  

Paul was praying for the Colossian believers and he prayed that they would

"be filled with the knowledge of His {God's} will
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding"...

Why? for what purpose? for what mission?

What a fantastic mission statement for our family!!

1. Walk in a manner worthy of our King - make wise decisions about the way we spend our time, money and energy.

2. Please Him in all respects - make an effort to live a righteous life and please the Lord. Even though we will all fail and are thankful for the grace that abounds, we still make it our effort to live godly lives.

3. Bear fruit in every good work - faith without works is dead! So we need to be busy for our Lord and doing good works {not just living a casual, complacent life}. This includes sharing the gospel {numero uno}, serving, encouraging, bearing with, forgiving, and loving on others, and doing our best to be at peace with all people. We can't just say we are doing these things, we need to bear fruit! So just do it.

4. Increase you knowledge of God - be in God's word. That is the only way to know Him. We need to make it a daily practice to be reading our Bibles and learning about God. Praying that He will open the eyes of our hearts to hear Him and understand the lessons that He has for us.

Do you have a mission statement for your family? Do you have it posted in your house? I think I may print this out and hang it in our living room so that we can keep it at the center of our decisions.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Influence from Friends

My husband and I have chosen to homeschool our darling daughters. This decision started for one particular reason, but has grown into a plethora of reasons. The main reason {now} is that we want to glorify God in all that we do.

In school, children learn much more than what the teacher puts on the blackboard. Yes, there are many controversial issues that Christians will battle the public school textbook on, for sure {evolution, young Earth, dinosaurs, God's hand in all of history}.  

We really are more concerned with the lessons that our daughters would learn in the hallways, lunchroom and bathrooms. The friendships they would develop. The influence these friends will have in their lives in regards to music, movie, TV shows, clothing, jewelry, make-up, and even the way they talk. Friends can be a very strong influence in a child's life and they should be chosen wisely. They can easily influence a person do live foolishly and take their eyes off of God.

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, 
nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
Proverbs 22:24-25

After reading "Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl" this summer, I am also more aware of how Satan can use outside influences to harm the purity and sensitive consciences of our kiddos when they are very young. The younger they are when they are exposed to "cultural junk", the greater harm it can be. What may be OK for a 13 year old to watch, is confusing and even harmful for a 7 year old.

Homeschooling has been a great option because I can basically pick who our daughters are spending time with and therefore, have a great influence on the friendships they are developing. These are typically like-minded Christians from church and our co-op. It has been great!

One goal we had for the summer was to get to know our neighbors. This has proven to be challenging. They are not believers and since the live next door, it is hard to limit the time spent with the girls. It turns out that kids these days are very eager to spend time away from their homes - at least it seems that way when they knock on our backdoor 10 minutes after they get dropped off by the bus.

We have been very diligent to supervise conversations {so far}. There have been a couple of times where the girls next door do not understand why we do things differently {homeschool, not listening to pop music or watching certain shows}. But most of this has been pretty harmless.

Until last weekend.

There was a lot of chaos as our neighbors were having a big birthday party {and somehow all the kids wanted to play in our yard}. I looked out and noticed our 7 yr old and one of the neighbor girls weren't in the backyard. I sent the sister over to get them.

My daughter came home with a funny look on her face. I asked what they were doing and she said watching Martha Speaks on youtube. When I asked if that was all they watched, the tears streamed down her cheeks. She was very upset and very confused.

And I was getting angry....

What on Earth had the girl exposed my daughter to? They watched something  on youtube that has left my daughter very upset. What could it be??

She was so embarrassed that she didn't want to tell what it was.

I was getting angrier by the second, wrapped in compassion and love for my lil' girl.

It turns out that it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but because of her sensitive conscience {thankfully}, she was knew it was wrong to watch all the same.

So I had to have a talk with the friends next door. I had to explain what it meant that we are Christians.

But that'll be in the next post....stay tuned.

Have your kids been exposed to something from their friends that you weren't prepared for? Did a friend influence them to do something they shouldn't {or should have} have done?

I can remember so many choices that I made based on the bad influence from friends. Not blaming them because it was my own decision, but they presented me with options that I never would have thought of on my own.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Top 10 Reasons I am looking forward to Fall

Ok, summer is officially my favorite season. I like it H.O.T! I love the sweet smell of chlorine, sweat and sunscreen. I love fireworks {which didn't really happen this year}! I love fresh fruit and veggies! I love playing outside!

But, I am looking forward to the close of summer and starting fall. The crisper air puts a sort of longing in my soul for what is next.....

Top 10 Reasons I am looking forward to Fall 

10. My electric bill is sky high in the summer - especially this summer! We had 50+ days over 90 - and many of those were in the 100s. I like hot weather, but I like it to be cool in the house - especially when I am sleeping. I know, I'm spoiled. So I am looking forward to the lower electric bill.

9. Bonfires, roasted marshmallows and warm wassail. Here is my favorite recipe.

8. Sweatshirts, jeans and hopefully a new pair of boots. Yes, I used to be a cowgirl and I have been turning on the twang again. Yeehaw!

7. Pumpkin picking and hayrides. We live less than a mile {walking distance} from a wonderful pumpkin farm and we love to visit each year. It is such a blessing!!

6. Pumpkin rolls - need I say more? Yummy goodness!!! I could {literally} eat a whole one by myself.

5. Fun crafts - like these awesome Fall Wreath ideas over at Tip Junkie. This is what will be hanging on our front door very soon!

4. Cute hats, scarves and gloves {isn't my model beautiful?}.

3. Beautiful Autumn leaves. It is like the glory of God touching the leaves and erupting in a beautiful splendor of color. And if you happen to see the autumn leaves with a gorgeous red sunrise / sunset - simply breath-taking!!

2. Chili - I love chili! You know, the kind that makes ya sweat. Do you have a favorite recipe? I usually make a venison chili {thanks to my hunter hubby}, but I also like turkey chili and buffalo chicken chili. Mmmmm, my mouth is watering already!

1. The number one reason I am looking forward to the first that all the ragweed will DIE!!! My nose and eyes are in a terrible state and this horrible weed {which I am sure was created in hell itself} needs to go.

Do you have any fun projects lined up for the upcoming season? I'd love it if you wanted to put a link in the comments so that I can see what you are making {or planning to make}.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Excess baggage

At our church's family conference this past summer, the speaker {Pastor Jerry Wragg} spoke about grace, love and unity in the body of Christ. In the last session, he specifically spoke in the different opinions believers have when it comes to the gray areas of the Christian life.

Although the Bible is the full council of God and the tool we need answer all of life's questions, it doesn't always say specifically "thou shalt do this" or "thou shalt not do that". That is what he referred to as a gray area.

Note: if the Bible does specifically say to {or not to} do something, that is not gray; it is black and white and our job is to obey {although that is sometimes easier said than done}.

An example is submitting to and respecting your husband. It is clear that we are to obey this command and that it is important since it is mentioned in more than one place. That doesn't make it easy, does it?

An example of a gray area is entertainment. The books we read. The songs we listen to. The movies we watch. Concerts. Sporting events. Spare time. The way we spend our money.

Pastor Wragg got me to thinking about these areas where we may not agree as believers. Some choose to live a more conservative lifestyle and others choose liberty.

The first and most important thing is to love one another, despite our differences. I listened to another pastor this morning point out that God could have made us all robots that follow Him without even thinking and without any personality differences. But He didn't and the church is a beautiful medley of differences in shape, size, color, age and sound. We glorify God when we live each other despite our different opinions.

When making entertainment choices, you might consider the following questions:

Is this something that will enhance your walk with Christ or drag you down? Is this something that promotes a sinful lifestyle?

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. {Ephesians 4:20-24}

Does it leave you thinking certain sinful choices are not so bad {desensitization}? Does it celebrate something for which Christ died {violence, sex outside of a traditional marriage, cursing, blaspheming, disrespecting parents or government, lying, stealing, taking glory away from God}?

Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. {Romans 1:32}

Are you an influence to others, especially Christians that are early in their walk with the Lord and may be more vulnerable to temptation? Would your choice in entertainment be considered a stumbling block for another?

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.  {Romans 14:13-15}

As followers of Christ, we do not want to live sinful lifestyles and we certainly do not want to give approval to those who practice such.

We also don't want to make *seemingly* harmless choices that may hinder our walk with Christ or the walk of a younger Christian.

Some choices may not seem harmful, but they are just excess baggage on our walk with the Lord. Jesus came to make our burden light. Won't you follow after Him and leave the popular books, songs, TV shows and movies behind?

Even though these are personal choices and we shall not judge another by our own personal standards, we should seek the Lord's guidance when making decisions on how to spend our spare time and money.  

I mean, do you want to be found watching that show  when Christ returns?

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. {Luke 12:40}

What do you think? Is there a show that you watch {or used to watch} on TV that promotes sinful lifestyles and maybe you have felt the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to turn the TV off?

Have you ever walked out of a movie theater because of sinful content?

How do you teach your children to make wise choices?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Did It!

Wow - I never dreamed those 3 little words would melt my heart, but they do.

They remind me that my daughter is getting older.

They remind me that she is getting so strong and capable.

They remind me that I won't have her with me forever.

This makes my heart sad and happy all at the same time.

I dropped her off for Sunday school and she crossed the road all by her big self. She quickly turned around and proudly yelled, "I did it!" I was so happy that she wanted to share that moment with me and a bit teary-eyed at the thought of her growing up so fast! {sniff sniff}

The older I get {or maybe it is the older my kids get} the more emotional I become. I hate to see how many kleenexes I'll need when they graduate!!