Monday, June 29, 2015

Am I Living in God's Will?

I watched a movie recently by Messianic Jewish pastor Jonathan Cahn. In this video, he talks about the Shemitah, the release. I won't get too much into the movie, but definitely encourage you to see it if you can or read the book, The Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Cahn.

Anyway, in the video, Cahn talks about the next Shemitah and the fact that THIS Shemitah is also a Jubilee according to the Jewish calendar. I realized then, that I do not fully grasp the significance of this coming year! Jubilee is the time that all debts are cancelled. In the Shemitah, the Israelites were commanded to sow, reap, harvest and sell for six years. But in the seventh year, they were to do nothing! It was a time to let the land rest and for one full year, they were not to plant or harvest anything and if they did, it would bring judgement. Shemitah also means the fall or collapse, the result of God's judgement. But God says in His Word:

He will take care of us! The things that are happening in the United States and world today are not things that have caught God off guard. He knows the beginning from the end. He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind. 

Now is the time to focus on living the life He planned for each one of us. Are there things in our lives we're doing that are against His Will? The Word says the things of Earth will shake off, but the things of God will remain.

So while things events of the past several weeks may be disturbing or cause you to be angry, know that the Lord is, and always has been, in control. He is our refuge and our shield; a strong tower to run to in times of need.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

Last Sunday, a man visited our church for the first time. He was overwhelmed by the presence of the anointing there and at the end of service commented that the teaching was powerful. It was then that I realized how comfortable I had become with being at church in the presence of the Lord, but not feeling the passion I once had.

I asked the Lord to forgive me for allowing that flame that was ignited many years ago when I was a new Christian to die down. The fire wasn't out completely, but it wasn't as big and bright as it had once been. His mercies are new every morning, though! So I prayed that He would reignite the passion for pursuing Him again.

The Lord meets us right where we are, too. Just like the father of the Prodigal Son, all He wants is for us to come running back to Him. If you feel as though you've become comfortable with the Lord and the fire has died down, ask Him to refresh that in you, to renew the passion He put in you when you first became a Believer!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

As a homeschooler, one of the things you are probably wondering is how you can know for sure what your children are retaining once you teach them a new skill or cover a new topic. Testing can be intimidating to some children, so how can we find out where our children are in their learning? This is where the teacher becomes the student...literally.

Once you have been working on a skill or topic for a few weeks, turn the tables on your child. Ask him or her to teach you what they have been working on. This allows them the freedom to explain things, show through demonstration, and correct you as you display what you have "learned."

Take a walk around the neighborhood or to a local park and talk about what lives there and how your children know that. Allow your child to tell younger siblings how things work. Putting the freedom to explain things in their own words will give your children confidence, give you confirmation of what they know, and provide an opportunity to correct misinformation.

Enjoy the summer learning opportunities! Never stop learning!!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Praying Through to Your Dreams and Goals

We've talked about how to create a vision board and, as it says in Habukkuk 2:2, keep the vision in front of you. But it is so much more than just keeping that dream and goal where you can see it every day. It takes faith to see that dream become a reality, and it takes fervent, effectual prayers, too.

When we pray for our dreams and goals, we have to first understand why we have those dreams within us. If you look back on your life, you will begin to see patterns. You might realize that you've always been writing because you enjoy it or you understand how mechanical things work and build things even since you were a child or that you have been playing a musical instrument of some kind for as long as you can remember. Those are talents God gave you and there are dreams that go with those talents, too.

When you pray through your dreams to see them come to fruition, you are operating your faith in conjunction with God's will for your life. His favor can increase you in your dreams and goals more than you could ever hope, think, or imagine! He wants you to succeed and achieve those things He put inside you. You were created for a purpose!

Today, if you're wondering what that purpose is, pray and ask the Father to reveal it to you. If you're lacking dreams and goals and vision, ask Him to give you new dreams. If you don't know what direction to go or where to start, pray and ask Him to reveal that to you. After all, He is the revealer of secret things (Daniel 2:47, NKJV).


Monday, June 15, 2015

When Your Spirit is Stirred

I've often read in the Bible of how a person's spirit was stirred or agitated or filled with joy. Until recently, I thought I had experienced that myself. But then I the Lord showed me I hadn't quite listened as I perhaps should have. It's important to also seek discernment when you begin feeling agitated in your spirit. Sometimes it's the Lord speaking to you and convicting you. Sometimes, it's His way of getting you to listen and act!

My husband had an doctor's appointment for his knee. It was an old injury, but started flaring up again. We entered the office and I immediately began to feel a stirring. It wasn't all that different than just feeling strange in a new surrounding. But the longer I stayed in that office, the more agitated I became! I immediately knew it was the prompting of the Spirit. I told my husband that I didn't feel right about being in that office and that I was going to sit out in our truck. Unfortunately, the feeling didn't subside when I went outside. In fact, it grew more intense.

My hands began to shake, and I felt as though I needed to leave the area and pray. I went back in only to give my husband his truck keys and walked to a local fast food restaurant. There, I opened the Bible app on my phone and began to read. Galatians says that what we sow, we also reap. But those who sow to the Spirit will reap everlasting life. It was a comfort to me because in that moment when I was feeling so agitated, I knew that my spirit was responding to God.

The Lord is speaking to us, especially in situations that we should steer clear of. Sometimes we get a thought in our minds that says, "Get out of there!" Sometimes it is an agitation within. Are you listening? Are you ready and willing to obediently act on the prompting of the Spirit or the voice of the Father? Don't hesitate and don't be afraid. Remember, He didn't give us spirits of fear but of power and love and of sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).


Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

Over the past few weeks, life has been busy for our family. In fact it's been so busy that I only recently realized that I wasn't spending time in the Word like I had been. I have stopped doing my Bible College lessons, too. When did that happen? I don't even remember stopping school! But it happened...

Getting back into regularly reading my Bible was tough at first. I had to make a conscious decision to just do it every day first thing. Getting back on track with my school is the same way. There are just times we have to make up our minds that no matter what, we're just going to do it and not get hung up if we miss a day here and there. It's more than getting back into the habit of reading again. It's purposing to spend time with God to cultivate a relationship with Him and making the time to talk and listen to Him.

Soon, we'll be back on track with our time with the Lord and getting our priorities set. Don't worry about how or when to start. Just do it! Right here, right now. Read your Bible. Get back into school. Open that book once more and finish reading it...or writing it!

Wherever you are, God doesn't want you to play catch-up or try to get back all the ground you've lost. He just wants you to start devoting yourself to Him again, making Him a priority in your life, and taking the time every day to being with Him. It easy...just do it!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Thinking back to when you first made the decision to homeschool and seeing where you are now is a big difference, isn't it? You probably talked to that one friend who had been homeschooling for several years looking to her for answers and helping to show you that you could in fact educate your children at home. She listened to your struggles, gave advice on curriculum choices, and even offered practical ways of teaching your children. She mentored you in all things homeschool. And whether you realize it or not, you're heading in that same direction.

You probably know a mom considering homeschooling or a new mom who maybe needs some encouragement. If you think back, you've probably even talked to that mom and shared your struggles, talked about what curriculum you're using, and explained some of the ways you've worked with your own children to teach them certain skills or concepts. You're mentoring that mom! 

See, no matter where you are in your homeschooling journey, there's someone else who is farther into their journey than you and someone who is not quite where you are. This goes for all women, not jsut homeschoolers! Consider the Titus 2 women:

We learn more than just how to love our husbands and children and keep house. We learn from other women how to mentor other women! Remember, someone is always ahead of where you are, but someone is also where you used to be. Someone needs to hear, "It's going to be okay! You can do this!"


Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

Recent news events have had me feeling argumentative, challenged, and persuasive. They bring out that side of me that wants to fight with those who condemn one person while praising another. They see one side of things, not necessarily right or wrong, just not the whole picture. They want justice for events of years ago and cheer transformations of the world. I feel a burning, churning even, inside that tells me this isn't right!

But no matter how any of us thinks a situation should play out or who should get awards in this world, the rewards of the Father and the forgiveness and love He has for everyone are what are most important! I have grown so weary of those who feel it their plight to take up a cause...that doesn't even exist! I have grown impatient with Christians calling for repentance of fellow Christians...when they cannot possibly KNOW if the fellow Christian has already repented! I have grown irritated by the constant double standard for the sins of the lost and those of Christians!

 I posted on Facebook recently that "being a Christian doesn't mean I've NEVER sinned or that I won't ever means I've been forgiven, repented, and Jesus paid the price of my sin (Romans 6, for the wages of sin is death...). It means that my past is behind me and my focus is on what HE desires for my life..."

Billy Graham once said, "it is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love." How then can we continue on this path? Yes, we should hold others accountable. But those within our sphere of influence are who we should begin with. Oh, that we would live our lives more like St. Patrick of Ireland, showing what living for Christ looks like instead of demanding this or that from others!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

I love the beginning of the schooling year! All the school supplies, the new books, enthusiastic children ready to learn. Then toward the end of the year, after challenging days of getting kids to just do one page of math problems, I sometimes find I need a break. But I don't want to let the love of learning wane in my children. That's when we begin reading...together!

The Bible is the best place to start, too. There are children's versions available so even younger children will be entertained and engaged. And older kids are in a position to engage in conversation about what God's Word says. Finally, beginning your day by reading the Bible together sets the stage for good attitudes in you and your children, whether you are schooling year round or taking the summer off.

Your children are still learning during this break time for you, you're teaching them to put God first, and beginning the day with daily devotions. Remember, homeschooling doesn't always mean Language Arts, math, science and social studies! Sometimes, it means learning life lessons, character building, and life skills that will endure throughout their lives.

Enjoy reading the Word with your children...TOGETHER!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Never Too Late To Start!

This past month seems to have flown by. And I've realized that I haven't been spending as much time in the Word as I should or really as much as I've wanted to. The things of the end of the school year seemed to consume my days. I allowed myself to get busy, too busy to make time for God.

Although I didn't make it a point to spend time with the Lord, it's not too late to start making time, specific time, to listen to my Father God. If you've gotten busy the past few months and maybe missed some days or even weeks of devoting time to the Lord, you can start right where you are, right now. Change one thing at a time. Here's what I've started doing...

In the morning, I used to check Facebook on my cell phone. Now, I check my Bible app first. I get to read the Verse of the Day and infuse my spirit with the Word of God before I even get out of bed. I've also taken to getting rid of Facebook pages that aren't encouraging me in the Lord. Finally, I weeded out people on Facebook who I didn't really know and who weren't edifying my walk in the Lord and my values and beliefs. Those things are all distractions and they had to be eliminated in my life to make room and make time for God!

So consider what s distracting you from your time with the Lord. What can you delete from your life, your social media pages, and even your friends? It's never too late to spend time with him and becoming who He wants you to be. If you're going to start sometime, why not now? If you're going to start somewhere, why not here, right where you are?