Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homemaking Link-up!

Raising Homemakers

Today's may be my quickest post ever!

I'm off to pick up one of my dearest friends and precious mentors, Candee Sue.

She's flying in from AZ today to stay a few with me, and to go to training for the new Precept Network!

I realize I haven't told you about the Network yet, and phooie on me for that! It's so exciting, and so rich that it deserves a post all of it's own...which I will plan on writing soon....possibly with Candee Sue's input after she goes through it.

I also get to see Leta Lou today! 

Aaaah...God is good to me! 

They are my Pauls. Along with Momma-Nan. 

Do you have a Paul?

Who is your Timothy?

We're disciples of Christ, right?

Are you discipling and being discipled?

If not, get on it! pray and ask God to send both your way!

Your life, and theirs will be the richer for it!

Hey! Check this out....I love the site Raising Homemakers so much that I've decided to start linking up with them!

You can find some super great blog writers there...with hearts for the Lord and for their homes!

Love it!

Love you today too,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why We Do What We Do - Called and Commissioned

I remember being terrified.

Out of my mind scared!

Standing in the kitchen just staring with blank abandon out the window of the screened door.

Waiting and watching as the skies went from sunny and fair to dark and eerily quiet in what seemed like only moments.

As I stared, I would wonder to myself, "When is it going to happen? How much closer will it get? Is it going to hit here?"

I was 4, maybe 5 years old living in West Texas where tornadoes were commonplace.

In all those times of waiting and watching for one, I never once remember my mother allowing me to bide the time out on my swing set.

She never taught me how to keep myself safe from one by pointing me to the best place of refuge in the backyard and telling me, "Now baby when it hits, you just run under there and hold on for dear life!"

And she never once threw me into the eye of the storm.

What she did instead was prepare her household. 

She wiped the tub dry.

She grabbed the weather radio, which she made sure always had fresh batteries in it.

She gathered candles, matches, and a flashlight.

I don't remember for certain, but there may have been water, food and toys too.

I do recall that my favorite stuffed bear was always with me.  

She stripped the sheets from my bed, and in what I now realize was supernatural strength supplied to her by God for that very moment, she pulled my queen sized mattress off my bed and all the way into our bathroom.

And when the skies turned almost black as night, and the pressure in the air got so heavy that we could feel it, she lovingly hustled us into the bathroom.

The bathroom in the middle of the house. It was the safest place in our home to wait out the storm, or to hopefully survive through it.

And then she sheltered us.

She instructed us into the bathtub and pulled the heavy mattress over our heads and she sheltered us.

When the whirling winds came, and panic would grip my little heart, my Momma would tenderly encourage me. She'd comfort me with such love.

I can still hear her asking me with a joyful lilt to her voice, almost like it was a game we were going to play for the next few minutes, "What verses can you think of that we can say together?"

When I had said all of the ones I knew, she'd share one of her favorites, or we'd sing together.

She sheltered me.

People sometimes like point out to me that we are sheltering our children by homeschooling them. There are a myriad of reasons that they give to tell us me why this is a bad idea.
(Why no one ever talks with Shane about this, I haven't a clue. It's always me. Always.)  

Finally I know.

In my soul, and from the depths of my heart. 


I know how to respond. Finally!

Without a doubt, we are sheltering our children

Just as my sweet Momma sheltered me from those storms.

There. I've said it. 

Not only have I said it, I've embraced the truth of it!

We want to give our children the pure milk of the Word. On a daily basis, and not in a 15 minute daily devotional time...but in every single opportunity that we have throughout the day. (1 Peter 2:2)

And what JOY it is to see that they're getting it!

Just as exciting is the fact that they're chewing on some choice meat as well. (Hebrews 5:12)

Yes, we shelter.

The day will come for them to be closer to the tornadoes of life, but it isn't now.

I was so challenged by Professor Kevin Smith's message that I posted yesterday. In many, many ways! (Thank you, Professor Smith for your message of exhortation!) 

We have been called by God to homeschool our children, and we can't quit.

When God calls His children to a task, to a commission, if we want to be faithful to Him we don't get to quit!

Yesterday was such a precious homeschooling day. I hope that I hold the memory of it in my heart forever.

It was a rainy and cool day here in TN, and the kids and I spent every minute of our lessons time on our screened in back porch.

We sat in the big swing that Daddy just put out there for us, all bundled up in blankets and snuggled together, and we studied God's Word through our latest inductive Bible study.

Brennan was following along in her book, her sweet little finger tracing under each word that I read and then she just took the reading reins. She didn't ask, she just went for it!

"So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. 
Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left." 
Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. 
So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. 
Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. 
Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD."
(Genesis 13:8-13)

It was exactly as Caedmon had done a few years earlier when he was her age.

There were very few words that she needed help with, and I gotta tell Mother's heart wanted to explode with joy!

She's gotten it! She's exploded the code of reading! 

And I had the great privilege of being cozied up right next to her when everything clicked in her little mind!  (Thank you, Jesus!)

She's been reading beginner books. Some Abeka readers, some "Hop on Pop" kind of books, but to read the Word of God with such ease...words like Egypt and and Sodom and Canaan!

I'm so proud of her I could POP! Maybe I should write a new book..."Pop Mom, Pop!" 

Shane has been concerned because she hasn't been reading much up till now. I kept reminding him that when Caedmon was 8, reading clicked for him. I suppose it's easy to forget when he really soared with it, because it seems he's been reading forever.

He's now easily reading at a High School level, and comprehending and remembering all of it.

So I'd tell Shane, "She'll get it. It will come. I can already see her progress. Please trust me."

Years ago when we started homeschooling I read Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore's work, and I believed and trusted their philosophies for educating children.

And they were right! (Insert great sounds of exultation here!)

But I digress.

The heart of this post?

Yes we're sheltering, but we're also teaching them and loving them and nurturing them and as a rich and amazing blessing, we get to soak in every minute that we can with our children! 

All the while, our kids are getting the richest education that we believe we could possibly provide for them. 

"Dear Lord, please help me remember to soak them in, and not to get so focused on the doing that the soaking is forgotten. Time feels like it's flying by, Lord!"

This picture was taken eons ago, or so it seems.

While God's calling on your life may be different than the one He has placed upon ours, I can assure you of this...

We are called to homeschooling, and we can't quit

Much love to you today in Christ Jesus,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are You Hungry? Can You Quit?

Click here to be directed to Denny Burk's blog for one amazing message from a fellow brother in Christ, Professor Kevin Smith.

I assure you, if you are in ministry in any capacity at all, this message is worth every minute of the 45 it will take for you to listen to it!

Our University of Life Bible study begins tonight, but not only the one that I'm leading. 
There are at least 5 other studies that begin at our church tonight.

Each one of us who are leading these studies are simply being obedient to the Lord to use the gift given us by Christ to bring glory to God, and to see others rooted and grounded in His Word.

Would you please pray for each leader and for each student?

I'm hungry to see people established in His Word.

And as hard as it is to be on the front lines so very often, I can't quit.

How about you?

I pray God's love to you today,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What Does Persecution for the American Christian Look Like?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

I do often.

Is the persecution that is talked about in the Bible solely that which is directed toward the Gospel that we live, teach and preach?

When I look at it in context it surely looks to me as though it is.

2 Timothy 3:10-12
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,  persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

(bold emphasis mine)

This is Paul's last letter to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy. He's preparing him even further for what he needs to anticipate in his own life as a minister of the Gospel.

But, do we think about persecution for our beliefs?

Are we persecuted?

In countries across the ocean, persecution for the Gospel often means death, beatings, the burning down of churches, the loss of family.

Ooh. Might have hit on a hot button there for some of us. 

The loss of family. 

That can certainly happen to us here, can't it? And it does.

Momma-Nan wrote about that yesterday in her post, about how she had lost family members when she gave her life to Christ.

Has that happened to any of you?

I'm preparing to lead a study at our new church which begins tomorrow night. 
We'll be using the book "LORD, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days."

Ladies, you and your teen girls are invited, by the way...if you live in the Chattanooga area. Just send me an email at and I'll give you all the details!

So I sent an email out yesterday to the people in my neighborhood, hoping that someone might like to come and join the study. I've really been wanting to meet some of our new neighbors and thought this might be a nice way to do just that.

This morning when I opened up my email account, I was so excited to see that someone had responded, and couldn't wait to read the note!

However, the words it contained were like an arrow through the heart. 

Do you know what I mean when I say that? Have you ever had someone's words pierce so quickly and deeply that it seemed as though you could really feel it? Like it took your breath away?

That's how this was today. Just one little sentence, typed in bold with about a gazillion exclamation marks behind it.

take me off your mailing list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There was no "please," no "I'm not interested," no "I'm an Athiest and have no interest in the Bible," no "Hey, welcome to the neighborhood, but please don't invite me to another Bible study."

Nothing like that.

Just bold and angry and super well punctuated.

And just like something the enemy would love to use to kick me off focus for tomorrow night.

I'm wondering if there will be more coming today?

It never seems to fail, when I'm about to step out and lead a study something odd and discouraging always happens.

Yet I'm left with the reminder from Paul's words that 

who desire to live
in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted

It doesn't say some.
It doesn't say those who make it look good on Sunday.
It doesn't say those who desire to live godly in Buddah or Allah or of themselves and their own good works.

What it does say is in the name of the Son of God...Christ Jesus.
It refers clearly to those who are in Him, and desire to live for God in Him.

And it promises persecution.

Paul is telling Timothy that he can count on it!

And not only Timothy, but ALL of us who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus!

So, while the devil would have us pack it in when the persecution comes, Paul reminds us that from every single time he encountered persecution, the Lord rescued him out of each one!

If He will do it for Paul, will He not do it for us?

Isn't that what it seems that Paul is telling Timothy as an encouragement to him?

I want to encourage you too, sweet friends. 

The Gospel means life for the dead.

LIFE for the DEAD!

Isn't that worth being persecuted for?

To give another an opportunity for life?

Your brothers and sisters across the sea are laying their lives down every day. Many literally.

Who in your life are you willing to reach out to in love, risking being persecuted by them in word or deed, that they might have an opportunity to hear the Word of Life?

I would cherish your prayers for our class tomorrow night...most of the women coming have never done a Precept Bible Study. 

Please pray that their walks with God will be transformed as they learn to study the Word for themselves. 

Please pray for me, that the words I speak will be only those that are as one who is speaking the utterances of God.

Much love to you today,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Momma Nan's Insights on "Understanding Spiritual Gifts" - Week One

Here I sit at the computer knowing I must write, but not knowing what is going to come out on this email.  Without going any further in this study, I am quite sure I have been given the gift of lots of words, but I'm not sure if I have been given the gift of how to put them on paper without rambling on and on.  (For those of you who don't know me, that was an attempt at humor.)
First of all, I want to say that I have done a few in-depth studies on Spiritual Gifts, but the more I study, the more I am blown away by how we can never learn it all.  I tickles me to no end that a simple mind like mine can actually search the deep things of God!  Think about that.  We don't have to have a college degree (something I never got), we don't have to be brilliant engineers (like my husband) or even great thinkers (I can't even remember half of the things I read) - all we have to do is seek the scriptures and have is a willing, teachable heart.  God told Jeremiah that when he seeks Him, he will find Him, when he seeks Him with all his heart (Jeremiah 29:13)!
So, here I start with Week One of Understanding Spiritual Gifts.  I am going to start on page 1 and read through my answers and note here anything that spoke to me that I feel would be beneficial to a group discussion.  This is my first attempt at a Precept study on my own, so help me out, okay?
I loved how this study started out with Peter's words on our special gift(s).  Most of the things I have studied have been Paul's teachings, but as I read through 1 Peter, I couldn't help but think of how much I love Peter and identify with him.  He was a simple person whose life was turned upside down by Jesus Christ!  After all of his time with Jesus, and as much as he loved Jesus, he was actually able to deny Him three times. In all of my great passion and love for Jesus, I realize I can never say never would I do that, for I wonder if I could ever love Him as much as Peter did!???
So Peter is writing to these early church members warning them of persecution and what is ahead.  These people were living under the rule of Nero.  I wondered how that could apply to me today, because I don't really think I have someone wanting to burn me at the stake.  However, I thought about my early days of Christianity (which has been over 12-1/2 years), and what division there was within my own family because of my newly found beliefs.  To this day, I have siblings who do not speak to me because I am different than I used to be, and to me, it feels like persecution. 

 First Peter 4:10 is a good and fresh reminder to me that in the midst of my own every day life - today in 2010, I have a special gift, given to me by Jesus Christ when I put my faith and trust in Him 12-1/2 years ago! 

Jes is right in that it is important for us to view the gifts God has given us with the same importance He does.  We must know for a fact that we all have one!
Peter divided the gifts into two categories - speaking and serving.  I thought, can I have more than one gift?  Can I have one from both categories?  Can I have a gift now, but God changes it to something else later?  And when He changes it, if He does, will I just get another gift added on, or will I lose that first gift completely?  I cannot lose my salvation - so can I lose my gift?  Is it possible that I could actually have a gift and not know it?  In the same way, could I think I have a gift, but I'm actually performing in my own power (say, in an area where I have a natural ability) and not in the Spirit? If I am good at something, does that mean it's my gift?  Would God lead me to a church where there were lots of people with my gift, or would He place me somewhere where that gift is particularly needed?  And so forth.  I can hardly wait to see how He answers these questions!
When we get to Acts 6:1-6, we learn that the twelve realized they needed helpers (servers) so they could themselves concentrate on the ministry of the word.  I wonder if this is why many people believe that serving is a lesser gift than speaking - because they were serving "the speakers."  In fact, this was not what they were doing.  They were serving "the body."  I loved reading about Stephen in this context (of spiritual gifts).  When I think of Stephen, I think of him being the first martyr of the church.  I love now thinking of him as a server, and it makes me want to be a server too! 
On page 8, under OBSERVE it says, "In Chapter 3 he specifically wrote about the fact that faith in Christ brings unity to radically different people groups. . ."  I remember when my husband and I were new Christians, we were walking out of church one day, in sheer delight of the wonderfulness of it all.  The people were all so nice and we really liked them and they seemed to really like us!  (This is funny to me thinking back on it.)  Ed said to me, "We are all so different, but we all really like each other!"  We had no clue at that early stage in our walk with Christ, about the unity of the believers - that we are all unified through the Spirit of the Living God! 
I absolutely loved this in Ephesians 4:4-6!  I made my semicircle over the word one and my stick figure over the word body. Then I read the question, "what did you learn from marking one in verses 4-6?"  Well, I LOVE NUMBERS!  So the first thing I did is count how many times the word one is mentioned - and it is mentioned SEVEN times!  Seven times!  Seven!  I have read that in the Bible, the number SEVEN symbolizes God's COMPLETION, His perfection, His sovereignty and His holiness! 
And for the COMPLETION of what I'm commenting on today, I loved Ephesians 4:8-13!  I have this picture in my mind of Jesus leading us all (as captives set free) - and we are ascending on high - I'm thinking we are going to heaven - and we have gifts He has given us (I'm actually visualizing us holding wrapped packages with bows) . . . to equip us . . . until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  That sounds like COMPLETENESS to me!
Love you all and praying someone else will join us in this! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Momma Nan and I are Studying Spiritual Gifts - Won't You Join Us?

You may remember that a few weeks ago Momma Nan won a copy of the new Precept Ministries 40 Minute Bible Studies titled "Understanding Spiritual Gifts."

She and I have decided to work through the study together (but apart) and then come here and share what has most impacted our hearts from each week's time with the Lord.

Here is your fair warning though...these posts may be considered as 

So if you're planning on doing the study yourself, you might want to work through the given week, and then come back and read what we've written and join the discussion by sharing your own insights in the comments section.

Here's the book. Just click here and you can order your own copy directly from Precept.

I'll go first. Not because it's my blog, but because Momma Nan told me I had to, and I generally try to do most of what she tells me to.   :0)

When she sends me her thoughts, I'll do an update and add them right into the body of the post instead of having her put them into the comments section.

Here we go...

Week One:

In the introduction section of week one, this sentence really jumped out at me: 

"All of us, as Christ followers should be working together to strengthen the body, to produce unity, to be lights shining in the darkness, and to bring glory to God."

The Precept student in me just so wants to structure this sentence, or at the least make a list from it! In fact, I'm not going to be able to resist! 

So here it is:

All of us, as Christ followers should be working together 
to strengthen the body
to produce unity
to be lights shining in the darkness
to bring glory to God.

Think about that for a minute. 

Really let each of those soak in.

Are we working together? 

Within your church are you seeking to work with the other members of your body, or are you wanting the praise for your serving, for your teaching, for your leadership?

Is your sole goal to strengthen the body? 

From personal experience I have learned that when this is my goal, to see my sisters in Christ strengthened in Him, I don't have to be concerned about whether I'm impressive or not.
My goal isn't me, it's them....their walks with God, their marriages, their families, their use of their God given gifts.


In my opinion when our goal is to strengthen the body, the next just naturally flows out...producing unity. 

And when we use our God given gifts to serve Him and others, we are lights shining in the darkness! 

Looking at the last part of the statement, we must ask ourselves, "Am I using this precious gift that God has entrusted me with to bring glory to Him, or am I abusing the gift by trying to bring glory to myself?"

Hmmm....questions that make you go hmmmm.

May these questions lead us down upon our faces to ask the Almighty to...

"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 in the everlasting way." Psalm 139:23-24

As I dug into the Scriptures for week one, right off the bat I was tendered to just how vitally important it is to God that we view the gifts that He has given us as He does.

1 Peter 4:10-11

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; 
whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies;
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

These verses make it clear to me that each of us, every single person who has put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation...not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:9)...every redeemed child of God is given a gift by Him and for Him.

What are we to do with it?

Do you see that command in the first sentence?

It's not optional is it? We've been given clear direction as to what we're to do with the special gift we've received!

I also see that the gifts fall into two categories:

Do you see what we are stewards of in our gifts?


The manifold grace of God!

I also love that this verse is like a 2x4 between the eyes to those of us who have a speaking gift. God is not subtle here. 

No bones about it....when we speak, it is to be as one who is speaking the utterances of God! No glory to the speaker in that, is there?

That reminds me of Christ when He said, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works." (John 14:10)

He is a clear example for those of us with a speaking gift. The same can be shown from other verses for those with a serving gift. 

Christ is our role model in how to use our gifts for the benefit of others!

And if one serves, they are to do so not of their own strength. Why does this make so much sense?

Think about those who have the gift of serving. They will often serve and serve and serve until the break. 

Yet the Word is making it clear to us that the one who serves is to do so by the strength that God provides!

God knows when we need a rest, and He will not push the one who serves until they break.

Nor should we! As a body, we need to be sensitive to these precious saints who serve. We need to protect them, and make sure that they aren't always serving, but that they are also being ministered to.

I'm sure you can think of people in your church who are always seen serving, but rarely seen in a Bible study or in worship service.

This is wrong, and we as their brothers and sisters in Christ need to step up! We need to love them enough to encourage them to stop and sit at the Master's feet.

The next section of the book looks at Acts 6:1-6. In this passage, I was reminded of how vitally important it is that we as a body make room for our pastors to do what God has called them to do...preach and teach the Word of God!

Our pastors have been called with a gift of speaking. While it may be nice to have them show up at every hospital bed and to see them behind the food line serving sloppy joes on church supper night, that is NOT what they've been called for!

They need to have time and space to be in the Word of God, studying and preparing to present the Word to us in Spirit and in Truth. 

They simply cannot have that time if we expect them to be serving at every turn. Theirs are not serving gifts, theirs are speaking gifts.

And how is one who speaks to do so? 

That's right! You saw it in the above verse, didn't you?

Shouldn't that put some fear and trembling into those who speak? Wouldn't they (our pastors, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders) desperately need time to seek the Father before they ever address the flock?

Let's give it to them! 

If you have a gift of serving, you need to plug in at your church and serve! Pray and ask the Lord to make it clear to you where you are to do so, and don't overload yourself. Lift each need of serving before Him, and He will make your paths straight. :)

If your gift is a serving gift, I encourage you to resist taking the role as a speaker. Just because those with speaking gifts are usually more out front, it doesn't mean their position in serving the church is more important. 

Those of us with speaking gifts are LOST without those of you who serve! We NEED your gifts, we CHERISH you gifts! We can't use our gift to it's utmost without YOU helping us!

I think of my precious friend Davina, who was the administrator of our Precept class for several years. She could read my thoughts, and knew my needs before I mentioned them. She kept me on track, and thus she blessed the entire class because I was able to be so much more productive as a teacher because of her.

I dearly love and appreciate her, and am praying for one just like her in my new church. :)

If you have a speaking gift, start praying now and asking the Lord to show you where and when He'd have you employ it. Don't accept every serving position that comes your way...wait upon the Lord that you might use your gift of speaking to edify the body, and trust that He will fill those serving positions as He sees fit.

There is more to week one, but these are the parts that really pierced my heart the most. 

Now it's Momma Nan's turn.

Remember, if you are doing the study too, we'd love to have you share you comments!

So much love to each of you today, in Christ Jesus!