Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Lie

Adam had it all. He was the strongest man in the world. He was the handsomest man in the world. He was the smartest man in the world. He was married to the most beautiful woman in the world. He had it all – perfect place to live and plenty of food to eat without any of the hassles of cooking or laundry.

And he traded it for something he already had. The lie of the serpent was this:

Genesis 3:4-5

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

He promised they would “be like God.” But, hold on a minute! Read this:

Genesis 1:26-27

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Adam was already “like God.” He was created “like God.” He already had what Satan promised to give him. The lie was in asserting that being “like God” came from a different source. To give credit to the serpent, or to Eve, or to Adam, or to a piece of fruit would be to steal the credit that belongs to God alone.

Satan, even today, tries to promise us peace if we will do this or prosperity if we do that. But, those things come from God and Him alone.

Let us give credit where credit is due. When good things happen, they come from God -– not our own industry, not our own piety, not our own planning.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

2 Peter 1:2-4

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust…

And let us use the gifts we have been given to further God’s kingdom, not selfishly seeking for “more” when we already own it all!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Homeschooling High School – Are You Crazy?

When our children were toddlers, we considered the idea of homeschooling.  My husband was all for it.  I was dubious.  I was already “on” 24/7 and couldn’t imagine that continuing into the school years.  My selfishness led us to what we thought would be the next best thing:  Christian private school.  We got the uniform, paid the tuition, and lost our daughter.  Within a month, we were dissatisfied (through no fault of the school we chose, but with “school” in general) and within nine weeks of study and prayer, we had decided to give homeschooling a try. 

When people asked, “How long?” we cautiously said, “one year at a time.”  And probably every year, we briefly re-think our decisions.  That was nine years ago.  Now people query me:  “Are you really going to go through high school?”  The implication is:  “Are you crazy?”  Doubt is easily sown and I have considered our options again.  I prayed again for wisdom (before bringing it up to my husband). 
The evening news is a constant reminder to me of some of the reasons public school will not be our choice.  Almost every time I watch, there is a teacher or student arrested, a bus accident, or some other horrific occurrence to show that many schools are not safe places these days.  My niece brings us stories that make me cringe about the indoctrination the public school tries to give her.  Besides evolution and tolerance-training, her school annually shows “The Secret” – the Oprah flick about how to ask the universe for what you want (New Age philosophy) -- yet she is not supposed to bring a Bible on campus.   A friend of ours is interning in a public middle school and keeps reminding my kids, “You aren’t missing a thing!”
So, my mind turned back to Christian school.  They tend to have rigorous academic standards and they would certainly uphold our conservative Christian values, wouldn’t they? 
Then I ran into an old friend of mine, one whose children have gone to Christian school all their lives.  And, while her children have done fine, she revealed that a majority of her eldest child’s senior class (now in their first year of college) have already abandoned their faith and training.  No matter how hard the school tried, they did not make a difference.  The children are partying, drinking and playing around with the world.
I felt a sudden renewed peace with our decision to home-school through high school.  Because there is no security in any option that we choose.  Homeschooling certainly does not guarantee a child will continue in the path laid by the parents.  We must only rely on the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I love to be with people.  And then I love to be alone.  I have always felt the need for a lot of “alone time.”  I love to take long bubble baths with my books or stay up late past the time when everyone else in bed.  I veg.  I think.  I ignore things.  I talk to myself.  I do what I want to do.  I refresh. 
This past weekend, I attended a Ladies God Encounter at my church.  What is the benefit of getting away from home for two days and listening to various sermons?   It wasn’t the sermons so much as the time alone –- with God.  At home, I get so distracted by all the things around me:  never-ending chores, like dishes and laundry; always-changing, but ever-present projects, like getting ready for Missionettes class or sewing a dress; and ever-calling entertainment sources like TV, video, Ipad games, and books.
Instead, for two days, I focused on my relationship with God and how that was going.  There was no TV and no book but the Bible.  I repented.  I worshipped.  I waited on Him.  I came in tired in spirit and left renewed.  On the first evening, a verse was read that hit me like a ton of bricks:
Psalm 139:17-18
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
         How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
         When I awake, I am still with You.
How often have I spent my “alone time,” trying to be truly alone?  I try not to think about anyone else.  But, God never stops thinking about me.  I live in Florida, so I know what sand looks like.  The number of grains of sand is uncountable and incomprehensible.  Therefore, God thinks about me all the time.  He never takes a break from me.  I am humbled and determined to stop taking breaks from Him.  To help, this week I am fasting TV.  Yesterday, Satan tried to attack me in various ways to get me thinking all about me again.  I was hard-pressed, but not crushed:
2 Corinthians 4:8-11
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
In each situation that arose, I “pray[ed] without ceasing” and I requested help to “rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).  The situations did not change, but my heart was changed.  I was thinking about God, and He was thinking about me. 
Hebrews 13:5b
He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Progress

If you plant a seed, you know it will take a week or two before you see any signs of life.  And then you watch this feeble little stem begin to come up out of the ground.  You can look at the plant everyday and notice a little more growth.  The stem thickens and grows taller.  Leaves sprout and buds form.  Soon you have fruit or flowers and you hardly remember the day when you planted the seed.
Children are like that.  In Psalm 127:3, we find that our reward is in “the fruit of the womb” and, in Psalm 128:3, children are compared to “olive plants round about thy table.”  Children are begun as seed in the womb; we don’t see them for a time.  They are “underground” in our bellies, yet growing all the time.
Then, they burst forth – ouch!  And, at first, we can watch each tiny developing stage.  It happens so quickly and we are so focused on our little one that we can see growth happening.  They get a little longer, they add a little weight, they begin to reach and stretch and hold onto things.  We watch them begin to focus on the world around them and soon they are sitting, crawling, walking, running.
Those first few years, everything happens so quickly, we can see it.  But, then that rapid growth fades and changes become more gradual, more subtle.  Suddenly, I am looking at a young woman and a young man – where did the time go?  And look how much they’ve changed. 
They’ve gained a hundred pounds and grown three or four feet taller. They can outrun me.  Sometimes they outthink me.  They’ve changed in manner, attitude, and behavior.  But, it all happened so slowly that I missed a lot of it.  It is good to note the progress and the change.  And it is good to note whether the needs of the plant/child have changed.  Do they need fertilizer/love?  Do they need more water/love or nutrients/love?  Do they need pruning/discipline?  Do they need more or less sunshine/social activity?  Am I talking to my plant or listening to my child enough?
As I consider some of the progress we’ve made lately, I see:
1.       My son is able to clean his room well and on his own.  This is a miraculous growth spurt over last year.
2.       My daughter has begun to speak unprompted in social settings – not often, but enough to show me that she is beginning to come out of her shell.
3.       Traces of responsibility are showing up:  picking up something off the floor unasked (even when they were not the one who dropped it!); stopping the “stall” during school work and just getting the work done without (much) complaint; working out differences without parental intervention; maintaining regular “Rat Club” dues, paying for pet food and accessories, and taking care of all pet rat needs without a bit of complaint.
I can think of some more progress I’d like to see.  Some days I am anxious for the fruit and the flowers.  But, they are not ripe yet.  We still have years of cultivation ahead.  I thank God for allowing me to tend this little patch of His garden.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Oh, the Memories

This article was originally printed in my MOPS group's "Pitter Patter" newsletter in March 2000 when my children were 3 and 1.  If it is any consolation for those who are in the throes of potty training, I had forgotten all about this day!

It was one of those mornings where I had a big agenda.  We needed to run some errands.  I had been cooped up in the house for several days due to car trouble and this was my chance to start catching up on life on the outside.

I wanted to sandwich in four stops before nap-time struck.  I packed juice and bottles, and extra clothes for my potty-training three year old, Holly, and diapers for my toddler, Elijah.  Cool weather forced us to take a little longer to bundle up in jackets, but still we were making pretty good time.

We dropped off cute baby photo negatives with the developer.  Check.

We made two deposits at the bank.  Check.  We were really clicking along. Maybe we would have time to swing by McDonald’s for a little snack and playtime.  Let me be the hero today.

“But, first, let’s go to the craft store to get supplies for that Sunday School project.” Well, I found one thing on the list.  “How ‘bout one last stop and then, I promise, we can go get something to eat.”

Party City.  I needed “gummy worms” to complete my daughter’s Sunday School snack plans.  They had them.  This was a breeze.

Yes, a breeze with an odor.  My son decided it was time for a potty break.  I drove the cart down the aisle to the back of the store and checked out the situation.  Two large unisex restrooms.  So far, so good.

Trying to be quick and cool, rather than practical, I had thrown one diaper and one travel wipes box into the cart -- no need to lug in a whole diaper bag.

A peek through the open restroom door confirmed the sad fact, no diaper changing table.  “Oh well, we’ve changed you on the floor before, haven’t we, big guy?”  Holly looked doubtful.  “Mommy can handle it.”

I pulled Elijah’s jacket off and laid it down for padding under his head.  Then the struggle began.  My sweet little boy did not want to lay down.  He struggled and screamed until I had to throw one leg over top of his body to hold him down while I deftly removed the diaper.


Suddenly, the floor, his clothes, and my sweater were wet.  My daughter said, “I told you not to change him on that floor.”

I was no longer the hero.  I was upset and frustrated.  I ripped his clothes off, threw on a new diaper and tried to clean up the toxic waste spill the best I could with paper towels while keeping Elijah from dipping his fingers in the toilet bowl.  I hadn’t brought in any clean clothes, so I had to put his jacket on over his bare chest and zip it up. I had to put shoes on bare little feet.

“Let’s get out of here -- now!” Why is it, I wondered that I always go a half hour too long? I am sure the people we passed by were wondering why I chose to dress my son in practically nothing on such a chilly day.  Bad mom.

“Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). I realized I was relying on myself to figure out what was best.  I thought I could handle it on my own. God -- and Elijah -- proved me wrong again.

I need help.

I need God’s help for patience, strength and endurance. I get that through prayer.

I need my family’s help. I can’t face 24 hour shifts of care-taking on my own. I need my husband and babysitters to take charge sometimes.

I need to listen to wise counsel -- after all, Holly told me not to go in there.

I need to relax.  I really don’t have to accomplish everything in one day. That last errand could have waited.

I need friends.  People like you who read this and say, “Yeah, you think that’s bad? You should have seen when I took my kids to...”

Thanks for listening. Thanks for understanding.

Reclaiming Marriage

Can you hear the assault waves crashing on the beaches of traditional marriage?  One after another, each wave causes more and more erosion.  A new wave is coming.  Or, I should say, a new wave is here.  For the first time, yesterday, I learned that there is a TV show on TLC called Sister Wives.  This reality show chronicles the lives of a man, his four wives – did you even blink when I said FOUR wives? -- and thirteen children.  They were originally living in Utah (who would have guessed that?), but when the heat started turning up there they moved to Vegas where no one is bothering them at all.  What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right?
But, what is happening there?  This lovely family is showing you just how “normal” polygamy can be.  Here is a handsome, personable man with his attractive, upbeat wives, having a great time together.  There is apparently enough jealousy between them to keep the show interesting for those who like soap opera drama.  But, all in all, they say, they just love one another, love their kids, and should be left alone.
This is the same line that has lead us down the path of tolerance, then acceptance, then glorification of gay and lesbian families in America.  I recently read that a family in England was denied the privilege of adoption because their biblical Christian beliefs will not allow them to sugar-coat the idea of homosexuality.  They refused to feed “tolerant” lies to the children they raise.  Here, in the state of Florida, homosexual adoption is still illegal, but for how long?  The sands are shifting everywhere.
I was under the impression that you cannot legally make a profit from committing a crime (see:, so, how come this polygamous family gets to make lots of money from filming their day-to-day lives of crime?
Because no one is saying or doing anything about it.  There are about 15 pockets of known polygamous groups in the United States.  Most are off-shoots (not recognized) by the Mormon church, but there are a few Muslim groups as well.  (Did you know that Mohammed was a polygamist?)  Our law enforcement apparently got tired of enforcing this particular law.  And now, the police in Las Vegas are apparently downright ignoring it.  All this is going on as our President encourages the non-enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act – a law that has been ratified by Congress and has NOT been shown to be unconstitutional!
Why is that a problem?  Live and let live, you say.  But, the denigration of the human family – one man and one woman bonded in marriage for the purpose of pro-creation – leads to the denigration of society as a whole.  Every great empire that has fallen has shown symptoms of disease in this area.  Once the idea of homosexuality is accepted and applauded (as it was in Roman and Greek culture), the door is open to every type of perverse behavior.  If I can marry the same gender, what will stop me from marrying an animal, or a young child, or a baby, or 6 wives or 3 husbands?  There is no end.
God created one male and one female and called it “good.”  He put them in a garden setting because He was cultivating.  He was cultivating plants and animals.  He cultivated the family.  He created the institution of marriage.  It was designed to give the best greenhouse accommodations for “godly offspring.”
Malachi 2:15
And did not he make one? …And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth
You say, “Well, some of the patriarchs had more than one wife.”  That is true.  And some of the patriarchs were murderers and adulterers and liars as well.  It is through Abraham’s concubine, Hagar, that we have the unrest in the Middle East -– Ishmael is still at war with Isaac. 
If we do not live in godly relationships (man and wife), we will not get godly offspring.  And the world is ungodly enough without adding more ungodly offspring.  We need to start putting sandbags down to stop this erosion!
Sandbag #1 - Keep our marriages sacred.  Stay married to the man you married.  Pray for him daily.  If you don't know what to pray, get a copy of Stomie O'Martian's book Power of a Praying Wife.
Sandbag #2 - Teach your children by word and example that marriage is godly.  Make it look inviting and yummy.  It is not a vegetable or a pill we must take.  We don't want them to spit it out!  Need help?  Check out Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.
Sandbag #3 - Encourage your children to marry and raise godly children.  It is not easy to come against the feminist influences of our times, so try reading So Much More by Ana Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin.
Sandbag #4 - Pray for our city, state, nation, world.  Pray that we will return to the values that God desires for us.  (2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people will humble themselves and pray...)
Sandbag #5 - Seek for something you can do to encourage our legislators and policy makers in the area of godly marriage.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Saw God's Glory Today

I saw these trees today.  They were dripping purple flowers.  Every inch of every branch was completely covered.  And every inch of ground beneath them was covered with their shed blossoms.  The color was glorious.  My God designed those trees.  Think on that (Selah). 
Isaiah 12:5 (KJV)
Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

Psalm 96 (NKJV)

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
         Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
 2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
         Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
 3 Declare His glory among the nations,
         His wonders among all peoples.
 4 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
         He is to be feared above all gods.
 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
         But the LORD made the heavens.
 6 Honor and majesty are before Him;
         Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
 7 Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
         Give to the LORD glory and strength.
 8 Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
         Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
 9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
         Tremble before Him, all the earth.
 10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
         The world also is firmly established,
         It shall not be moved;
         He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
 11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
         Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
         Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice
 13 before the LORD.
         For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
         He shall judge the world with righteousness,
         And the peoples with His truth.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Goal Planning Tuesday

Okay, I'm a little behind, but it is hard for me to get to the computer on Mondays.  Continuing with Katrina's meme, I had a pretty good week last week as far as accomplishing goals.  Well, 4 out of 5 isn't bad.  I did look up "meme" (an idea spread through the internet, not to be confused with an evolutionary term coined by Richard Dawkins), made a delicious lasagna and wrapped presents for my husband's birthday.  I ended up only planning my "getting back in shape" goal, but did begin earnestly yesterday and feel great about that today.  The item that is left undone is the kitchen spring-clean, but it isn't spring yet, so I'm giving myself a breather.

This week, my goals will be all focused on my weight watching plan. 

#1  I will track (write down) everything I eat, along with its WW points.

#2  I will drink water, working my way back to 6 glasses a day.  (I made 4 yesterday.)

#3  I will exercise every day, preferably earning 2 WW points a day.

Lately, I've been avoiding the scale like the plague, but the Lord reminded me that "the truth will set you free."  I got on the scale Monday and found my motivation!  Today was the first time in a long time that I looked forward to getting on the scale because I knew there would be an improvement!