Something to look forward to…

I have always been a person who needs something to look forward to. It could be anything; an upcoming event, a task to be completed, or even a goal to reach. If I don’t have one, it doesn’t take long, and I’ll set one for myself.

When I got married, I remember feeling that now I never need something to look forward to again, because I’m set for life looking forward to being with my husband every single day for as long as we both shall live.

I found after a while, however, that I still DID need something tangible to look forward to, and so my constant search for the next thing continued.

This week, I reached a point, where I felt as though I have nothing to look forward to. I guess it’s because hubby and I don’t know what the future holds at this stage, where we will be, or what we will be doing a couple of months from now… and I felt rather down, not having anything specific to set my sights on.

As I was in this somewhat depressed state (I must confess) I suddenly found myself thinking, “No! As long as I am on this earth, I ALWAYS have something to look forward to – the Coming of my Lord!!!”

I know it sounds kind of super-spiritual, but with that awesome Day ever ahead of me, it just doesn’t matter if there isn’t a party, meeting, date, birthday, event, dinner, festival or wedding on my calender… it honestly doesn’t.

I am not living for those things… I am living to see my King face to face, to please, enjoy, serve, and bring glory to His Name on this earth, and hopefully in my lifetime, to be caught up in the clouds in His loving arms to the joy of all who are His, and the horror of all who aren’t.

Yes, that is something AWESOME, and WORTHY of looking forward to, and I pray that it would be ever before me as I live my life…

Click on There is a Day… to hear a beautiful song that has been a great encouragement to me!

After that, we who are still alive and are left

will be caught up together with them in the clouds

to meet the Lord in the air.

And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:17

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Eternal Child Raising

Raising children is such a challenge, as any parent, or even observer, will no doubt attest to.

Raising children in the knowledge of the Lord adds an extra dimension that one would think would make parenting even harder, but in actual fact, since this side of child-rearing is clothed with God’s grace and joy, it actually makes the task easier. Weaving the truth of Scripture into everyday life is a privilege, and an activity that very often ministers to me, as a parent, at the time, even more so than it affects my children. In the long-term, though, it is their memories that will hopefully be immersed in the recollection of the overall holy picture of life, and their character that will testify to our efforts.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been greatly encouraged by reading some wonderful exhortations by theologian J.C.Ryle, of important truths to instill into our sweet descendents:

Training Your Child Means Watching Over Their Soul

The overarching view that we as parents should have in the midst of each and every discipline, correction, encouragement, and word that we share with our children, should be to have their eternal souls in mind. How easy this is to forget, but how life-changing and home-changing the panorama of our children’s souls can be. I have been reminding myself of this gem as I have been interacting with my precious ones over these past days. This exercise takes time, patience, and a sense of urgency that motivates us to invest in our children as though their salvation and eternal souls depend on it.

Training Your Child To Know the Bible

Ryle puts it so perfectly. We need to “see that your children read the Bible reverently, train them to look upon it, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, written by the Holy Spirit Himself—all true, all profitable, and able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ.”

Training Your Child to Have  a Habit of Prayer

Prayer is something that even tiny little ones can do before they learn to read and write. It is a habit that we can teach our children that will reap many rewards. The great thing about prayer, is that God is faithful to answer prayer, and when our children witness that, it encourages them to pray all the more. Let’s exemplify a life of prayer, where we pray at every opportunity, and rejoice in the blessing of our direct communion with God in daily life, while our children look on, and learn.

Training Your Child to Love the Body of Jesus

We can get our children excited by going to church each week, explaining that wherever God’s people are gathered, He is there with them! “Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word of God preached, and that it is God’s ordained way of converting, sanctifying, and building up the souls of men.” I’m so thankful that our children truly love going to the congregation meetings, and I pray that they always will.

To close in Ryle’s capable words: “I know that you cannot convert your child. I know that they who are born again are born, not of the will of man, but of God. But I also know that God specifically says, “Train a child in the way he should go,” and that He never gave a command to men and women which He would not give them the grace to perform. And I also know that our duty is not to stand still and dispute the command, but to go forward and obey it. It is only when we move out in obedience that God will meet us.”

May we all do our best, fervently, energetically, faithfully, and persistently to serve our families, and ultimately the Lord, in raising our children in the disciplines of His Word, in His strength! Amen!

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

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The BIG picture!

Hubby and I are going through a stage of praying and seeking what God has for us to do next in our lives. The possibilities are endless, since we are not tied down to this earth by any specific school, house, or thing. However, once we narrow it down, at this stage, there are two more realistic options; one is to stay in New Zealand and minister to Israeli’s here, and the other is to return to Israel, and do “we don’t know what yet” there.

My husband is leaning more towards the one option, and I’m leaning more towards the other, which has led GOD to lead ME more into His Word to train me to be willing to submit!

Today, within a fleeting moment, God renewed my mind without any forewarning, but with all foreknowledge, to see the BIG picture… and it was enough to change my perspective on everything!

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The big picture is that this Earth belongs to God. He has, by His gracious Hand, ordained that I be born into it at a certain point in history. By His goodness, He has given me everything that I need to live and thrive and grow, and most importantly from among these, He has granted me salvation!!! And one day, at the moment of HIS choosing, He will take my breath away, and at that very instant, I will be with Him in Eternal Glory; to behold His face, to bask in His holy presence, to dwell in His house, and to serve Him forever.

That’s the big picture, one that I am a part of.

So, to zoom out again… here I am, during the short years that I have on this earth, and for these few years, all that matters, is that I am serving him with my whole life, that I am dying to my sinful will, that I am following His Word, His desires, and His standard!

Where I do that – as far as I’m concerned = Not top priority

What I am doing while I’m doing that – as far as I’m concerned = Not top priority

Living for Him, with Him, under Him, engulfed by Him, immersing myself in His Word, focusing on His grace, His mercy, His love, spreading His salvation, drawing joy from His strength, and seeking His will, being faithful with the treasures that He has given me, THESE are my TOP PRIORITY!

I can do these any time and any where. I SHOULD be doing these ALL the time and EVERYwhere…

Lord, hear my heart, and may YOUR will be done… Amen!

But godliness with contentment is great gain. – 1 Timothy 6:6

The Right Race

At the beginning of last week, I started my sweet children on a new system in their homeschooling. It involves doing more work within a space of three weeks, so that we can all have every fourth week OFF!

It also entails my demanding less of them as far as academic quantity. The mistake that many homeschooling moms make, and I plead guilty as one of them, although I never would have admitted it, is that the homeschool world is somewhat of a race… are my children ahead of others? Do my children achieve more than others? etc.

But, it is NOT a race, and even in the unlikely event that I am mistaken, and it IS actually a race, I have withdrawn from that race, and am thoroughly enjoying the far less stressful sidelines.

My children are loving it too! They have so much more free time. What they have done with their free time has really surprised me. I envisaged, once they got to the point of having more time on their hands, that they would argue more, help around the house less, complain of boredom, or just be prone to selfish activities.

However, this could not have been further from the case. They are busying themselves with reading, cooking, chores, learning to type, doing some jobs for me, pretend playing in the sandpit, and setting up shop with almost every piece of possession that we have, all in the living room, adjacent to the dining room table, on all the dining room chairs, half an hour before dinner is served! But that doesn’t matter. They are being industrious, productive, learning to be hard workers, and experimenting with filling their hours with things that count, and that teach them to get along with others, serve where necessary, and relax in between.

I am so very very thankful to God for “the new system.” We are all truly loving it.

And so, my mind wonders whether instead of running the wrong races in life, does Scripture guide us into which race we SHOULD be running? The writer of Hebrews is the inspired penman:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12:1-3

Yes, this is our course, this should be our focus,

and this is the race that I want US to run!

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Habits…

I am always aware of the habits which I have, both good and bad. The good ones, I’m thankful that I have set in place either with the help of my parents many years ago or by necessity, and the bad ones most likely have been due to laziness, lack of discipline, and bad choices.

As a mom who loves her children dearly, and who longs to prepare them for their future life on this earth, should God allow them the privilege of time, and should our Lord tarry, I have been striving over the past weeks to pursue instilling good habits in my children.

I know that good, basic habits learned in childhood are an asset beyond measure in the life of a child, the purpose of which are to continue effortlessly and naturally into adulthood. I want to spare my children the struggle of opening their eyes in the morning, and making the mistake of choosing to check emails rather than open the Word of God. I want to help them to keep a tidy room, so that later in life they will not have the tendency to let their home get “out of hand” but will have the skills to keep the general neatness under control. Seemingly little habits of hygiene may seem trivial at this stage, but can possibly save them dental decay, illnesses, and embarrassment in the future.

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I have been feeling lately that it is my duty to train my children, out of the love that comes from God, through me, to them, to have good habits.

So, my first attempt at teaching my children in this matter, has been to get them to wake up, read their Bibles, make their beds, head for the bathroom and brush their teeth each morning. After about 4 weeks, with a few exceptions here and there, they’ve managed to form the basics of feeling uncomfortable with NOT doing one of these steps in the morning… so… mission accomplished!

This week, I introduce a habit, that in itself is a challenge for myself (and hubby!), and that is punctuality… We are going to attempt for the next week, to be 5 minutes early to every place we need to go.

Recipe – Prayer, Perseverance, Persistance, Discipline, and a little more of what ever is needed along the way!

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid. – Proverbs 12:1

His knowledge of me…

Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all. – Psalm 139:4

I experienced this merciful knowledge of God today.

How often, as a home-schooling mom do I find myself wishing I was doing more with my children, teaching them the skills that they will need as they live their lives on this Earth, training them in good habits that will be an asset to them in their daily walks, and so the list goes on and on.

The problem is…. time. Making the time. Taking the time. When the children are doing their school work for most of the day, there just isn’t the time. Or so I thought.

In the midst of these thoughts that have been lingering in my mind over the past couple of weeks, comes a wonderful solution that was brought to my attention by a fellow home schooling sister in the Lord.

I don’t know if it’ll work, but I’m going to give it a try. The method that this lady has been using for the past 15 years or so, has worked wonderfully for her, and has apparently freed up huge windows of time, during which she was able to have FUN with her children, and invest blessed time, knowledge, and know-how into them.

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Basically, the method involves the children not doing more than they have to each year, therefore taking a lot of pressure off of them (and the mom), and working more intensively for 3 weeks, taking every 4th week off. It works. I see this woman’s grown children, and I am a witness that it works.

Also, just this past week I saw a book about how to teach your children to write a newspaper. I don’t usually buy books for the children (their library cards are a great replacement for that), but this idea intrigued me. Then, today, this same woman began telling me how she and her children wrote their own newspaper for years, and how educational and fun that was for them. I found that quite amazing, having just been considering purchasing this book on the subject not more than three or four days ago!

So, I believe it’s true… before a word is on my tongue, my Father knows it in full, and sends just the right people, with just the right information, at just the right time to answer my thoughts and prayers!

“He gently leads those that have young.” – Isaiah 40:11

Instruct, Teach, and Guide

This has been a hard week. The very earth that we have been standing on for over six months, so to speak, was shaken. Our future plans, appearing so sure and sturdy, collapsed in a moment.

We had been planning to join an organization and go into full time ministry under that umbrella. They were pursuing US. They encouraged US. And then, as God’s sovereign providence would have it, they rejected us.

To say that this news didn’t come as a knock-out blow to us, would be lying. We were shocked, in every sense of the word. An array of emotions, questions, and uncertainty followed, and for about 48 hours – we mourned.

However, as the Word of God promises, weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. So now, standing humbly before our God, we are slowly but surely reaching the place of rejoicing. Rejoicing that God is sovereign, trustworthy, loving, kind, and faithful. Rejoicing as we realize that He knows what is best for us, and what is not. Rejoicing that we are once again brought to our knees, depending on Him alone, looking to Him alone, and that in His mercy, He is showing us just enough light for the step we’re on.

Regarding the future, we don’t know where to turn or go. But God has given us a true and firm assurance in Psalm 32:8:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

And we wait patiently, being still and knowing that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

Thank you for your prayers.