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Faith's Firm Foundation: March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Child-Training (Part 3): What's It Going To Take?

Yesterday, (in "The Proof is in the Pudding", number one of a three-part post), I spoke out against the tendency of all of us, including me, to look to and at those in the boat with us, for our leading, counsel, and "Godly wisdom" on how to raise our children, and live our lives.

Who are you following?  Whose advice are you listening to?  Jesus warned that not all who say they're a Christian, know Him:  Just because a person says it, doesn't mean it's so.  They may not know Christ.  If you say that you are a Christian, are you sure that you know Him? What should you look for?

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(ed. note: iniquity means "doing my own will", not God's, as it says in His Word.)
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 
Matthew 7:21-27


A person who is a Christian, and believes that Jesus finished the work ("finished" means there's nothing left to do) in paying the penalty on the cross for his or her sins, and believes that God the Father accepted that payment, and showed it by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, and is trusting in that for his or her salvation from hell, is saved and is going to heaven someday.  But that person will have also, and must, surrender their lives to Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life.  He is Savior and Lord.  He settles for nothing less.  You can't say, well, yes, He's my Savior, but I don't want Him to control my life.  Then He's not your Savior, either.

 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)
When we make decisions about how we will raise our children, we often look at others' lives and what decisions they have made, and follow them.  Jesus said, before you listen to them, or follow them, look at the fruit in their lives.  Wait to see the end result, and the mature, ripened fruit--in the life of a person, before you follow their methods and counsel. In child-training, that would mean that the person has grownup children.  Listening to, and following, those whose fruit is still immature is risky, at best, and though the person may be very Godly, and their example stellar, and it may be that their fruit will end up being sweet indeed, you won't know for sure until they're grown.  There may be some little chip in the cup that will cause it to crack and break later.  Choices they are making now, habits they are forming, associations they are allowing, wrong belief systems they are making their own from the media or entertainment world, misled examples they are admiring from the real or blogging world: any or all of these may be the seeds sown, which will reap destruction in a future season. We may not understand all the reasons, but God's Word teaches young women to listen to older women.

"The aged women likewise...
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober,
to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
 Titus 2:3a-5 (KJV)

You're listening to someone.  No doubt you're copying somebody in your day-to-day living and thinking.  You're formulating some philosophy of child-raising.
Do it with thought and prayer. Do it Biblically.
Who you should listen to is God, in His Word.  Then, your husband.  Then, Godly older women. Whatever you do, listen to the right voices.  Your children's (and grandchildren's) faith and future depends on it! And God's reputation is at stake.

Ask, as you examine, "Is this the result, or fruit, I want in my life, for our family, in my children?" "Is it lasting fruit?" and "Is it Godly fruit?" (according to Scripture).  (Remember that no human being is perfect, so ultimately God, through His Holy Spirit and His Word, are the only things you can completely trust to lead you--and He will.  If the person you want to be like is also taking credit for the fruit, and proud, look somewhere else, because it's only by God's grace, and the work of His Holy Spirit that Godly fruit is produced.)  So, what I'm saying is, look at the fruit. And, check everything against Scripture.

It is our tendency to not look far enough down the road to see what the end result of our decisions is going to be.  That is the definition of a lack of discretion.  Discretion means: Seeing and avoiding thoughts, words and actions which could result in undesirable consequences.  Wisdom and discretion are kindred spirits.  Two peas in a pod.  The quality of a lack of discretion brings to mind the old saying, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

Why am I going on and on about this?  Because it's so serious.  It's so important, that satan is working night and day against it.  Your salvation, and your children's, and bearing fruit that lasts, was the main topic of Jesus' last words before He died, and His last instructions on earth.



"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
John 15:1-8 (KJV)

Ask God to lead you to those who you should listen to, and pray earnestly for "much fruit" in your lives. Ask Him to show you what is in your life that needs to be "pruned" away in order to be more fruitful.  Go through the areas of your life: friends, music, hobbies, books, thoughts, etc., and give them to Him.

Well, I'm giving you advice in this series, and some of you will listen, and will be willing to take the road less traveled, will be willing to be thought "weird" and different, will be willing to turn your backs on the world's ways, and even many of your friends' ways, to choose God's ways, and to bear much fruit.  You will not see the fruit now, but in obedience to God's Word, you will see it.  Trust.  You will choose not to risk the consequences of sitting on the fence, or loving the world's ways.  You will choose not to risk your children, or listen to their whines and pleas, because you see far down the road and envision a Godly result that is worth far more than the immediate good and gratification of participation in activities which "everyone" seems to be doing.  Some of them, there is nothing "wrong" with, but you will look straight ahead and never swerve in your resolve, because you're choosing that which is best.  You are who I'm writing to, praying that you will sacrifice the good, for the best.

I end with two questions:
Are you saved?  Are you doing the will of the Father, or just hearing it.  Are you fully surrendered to His will for your life?  If not, pray now and give your heart and life to Jesus Christ!
Secondly, if you are saved, are you committed to choosing His best for you and your children?
Do your thoughts, words and actions, your activities, your spending, your clothes, your hair, your home, your spare-time pursuits, show that you belong to Him, and that you are pursuing "much fruit"?  Is your fruit good?  Is it going to last?  Are you abiding in Him?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with
so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin
which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV)

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Child-Training (Part 3): The Proof Is In The Pudding

Today we're continuing "Child-Training: Advice from an Older Woman, (on Timely Tips on Tuesday--I think maybe my subcategories are getting a little long!).  Number 7 caused me to write a three-part post, which will appear here today and in the next two days.


As I've shared these "Ten Things" I would tell a young mom who wants to raise Godly children, I can't help but think that there are some of you out there, who've been reading, who are ready to write me off by this time.  That's fine. It's your right.  But to you, I ask:
When you are making a turkey dinner for the first time, and you need advice, who do you go to?  Do  you ask a newlywed, or another friend who's cooking her first turkey herself, for advice?  Or do you go to your mother, aunt, grandma, or other seasoned professional, who's successfully served up turkey dinners for years?
Another example:  When you buy something on Etsy, will you buy something still in the making, and the first of its kind, or do you want to see an example of the finished product, and know that it is what you want and that it'll last?  Of course, if you're a savvy shopper, you want to see the end result, before you buy.  There's an old saying, "The proof is in the pudding."  This is actually a mangled form of the original phrase, which was “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” A dish may have been made from a good recipe with fresh ingredients and look delicious, but you can really only judge it by putting it in your mouth. The actual taste is the only true criterion of success.  Proof has come to mean "conclusive evidence". (citing http://www.word-detective.com/2008/12/03/the-proof-is-in-the-pudding/) (See note below) Another way we describe "conclusive evidence" or "proof" is when we refer to "fruit" in a person's life.  We say that we'll judge something or someone by their fruit.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and told them to look at a person's fruit before listening to what they have to say, or following them.
Matthew 7:16-27:
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Good fruit was (and is) the sign of true Christianity. Therefore, it was a serious issue, and led to this serious discussion.  Jesus warned that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian, really knows Him.  Only those who obey God's Word, and do His works, not their own, show by their fruit that they know Christ. And their fruit will last and the "house" of their Christian lives and fruit will remain standing through the storms of life.


As Jesus' words relate to child-training, this means, we can't tell whether a person's fruit is good when they still have little children, or when they're still in the throes of raising their family. We have to look at those who have grownup children.  It is by God's grace that there is any fruit at all, much less good fruit, but please look at the fruit, before you listen to me, or anyone else.  May God receive all the glory.
Note:  “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” is a very old phrase, dating back to at least 1605, and “proof” in the adage is an antiquated use of the word in the sense of “test” (also found in “printer’s proof,” a preliminary “test” copy of a book printed to check for errors, etc., before commencing a large print run).
Just how and why “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” was shortened to the semi-nonsensical “the proof is in the pudding” remains a mystery, but it’s worth noting that most people now interpret “proof” in the sense of “conclusive evidence.”

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Love and Marriage Series: Courtship Stories: David and Briana (Part 2)


Hasn't this been fun to hear how God brings couples together?!  As we continue today in our regular Monday series on Love and Marriage, if you're new to this blog or missed it before, go back now and read Part 1 of David and Briana's Courtship Story!

When we left Briana last, she had been alarmed at her new feelings for David, who had been a lifelong friend of the family, and whom she had staunchly resisted being thrown together with, by would-be matchmakers!  Now, going to her father for counsel, he had advised her to treat David "just as she always had" and not to dwell on thoughts of him. "What makes you think he would be interested in you now?" he queried.  Briana was finding "not dwelling on David" difficult, since everywhere she turned, there he was, or there were reminders of him! But she was determined to try not to think about him, and to let God work in His timing. Now, we continue with Part 2 in the Story of David and Briana's Courtship, in Briana's words:

Well, life kept moving right along.  I stayed busy with anything I could, especially with our church's Sunday School ministry.  My Dad would always remind me, whenever we were going to be with David and his family, to treat him as I normally did before I started liking him.  Well, all of a sudden, I couldn't remember what normal was.  How did I act when I acted normal?

My Dad and I were planning on going to Mexico on a missions trip that March.  David and three of his brothers were planning to go on this same missions trip, along with some other people from David's church. The dates were changed so now they would be going at the end of April and, due to my Dad's work, he was not going to be able to go.  My parents and I prayed about the possibility of my still going.  I remember really wanting to know it was the Lord's will for me to go, not my will to go (so I could be with David).  Well, a significant amount of my trip expenses were paid for through many gifts of money, and my parents and I really felt that this was a sign it was God's will, because I hadn't been asking for money.  So I ended up going on the missions trip to Mexico and it was a life-changing trip for me.  We went to build houses for poor families there and to serve wherever we were needed.  It made me realize that I have been given so much and yet can still complain about what I don't have.  It made a huge impact on my life.  I wanted to go back again someday, and hoped that when I had a family I could bring them back there and serve together as a family.  When we came home my Mom asked me how things had gone and I remember telling her it was a great trip and I learned a lot, but that I was sure that David and I would just remain "friends", as we always had been. Unknown to me, David had come back from the trip and told his parents that he had found his wife, and knew that I was the one for him!  At that point he had no idea what I had been thinking or what I would say if he came for me.

Nothing transpired until about a month later.  We were at a mutual friend's Graduation Open House.  David, his brother, my dad, some others and I were sitting in the living room.  My dad ended up getting up and walking away, so it was mainly David, his brother and me left there.  A friend of David's parents and my parents saw us sitting in the living room and, going outside, noticed our two sets of parents talking together.  She went up to them and said, "Is there love in the air?"  Both sets of parents began looking around and she explained, "Between your son and your daughter."  Well, needless to say, none of the parents knew what to say.  My dad came back into the living room, to make sure that I hadn't just totally lost all my self control!

The next day was Memorial Day and we had invited David's family over to our house.  They were supposed to come at 3:00 in the afternoon.  That morning David's dad told him what had happened at the Open House. Of course, David couldn't believe it!  He didn't want my dad to think that he was trying to steal my heart before he'd asked my dad's permission to win my heart. So, David didn't end up coming over that day until supper time.  When he got there he was really standoffish.  This just confirmed to me that there really wasn't anything "special" between us.  The next day my Mom filled me in on what had happened at the Open House. I remember how my heart ached. I went up to my room and cried.  I knew what kind of man David was.  I knew he would come to my Dad to clear his name, and this could mean the end of my dreams!  So, I prayed, and asked the Lord to bring him quickly to court me, or cause something to happen so I would know for sure that things would never happen, so I could move on.  I wanted to trust the Lord so much and my heart was hurting so bad.  I even remember I thought of asking my parents if I could go and stay with my grandparents in Mississippi for a month, just so I could get away from everything.

Well, that very same night that I prayed that the Lord would make things clear, David came over to pick something up at our house.  My dad went outside to help him.  David told my Dad that he had heard about what was said at the Open House.  David wanted my dad to know that it was never his intention to appear to be stealing his daughter's heart before he asked.  My dad said, "Asked what"?  David then asked for my dad's permission to court me!  My dad kept his cool and said he would have to talk with my mom and get back to him.  The next night I was away from home babysitting, thus giving my dad an opportunity to "grill" (talk to) David.  They went out and met somewhere where they could talk.  Afterward, my dad said that he would have to talk to me and let David know.
It was Thursday, June 2, 2005.  I had wanted to go get flowers for my flower garden, so we (my parents and I) were going to go buy flowers.  We ended up stopping at Subway to get something for supper and we ate at a picnic table by a lake.  After we were done eating, Mom said she had a treat in her purse.  She took out a little tray with a John Deere tractor printed on it, (David is very much a John Deere tractor guy), with Andes mints on it.  I quickly dumped the mints off the tray and asked them what it meant.  My Dad then told me that David wanted to court me!  I immediately broke into tears of joy, excitement, relief and unbelief.  God is so good!  We then went home to celebrate with ice cream sundaes, and to tell my siblings about it.  David had to work late on Friday so we didn't see each other until Saturday morning.  We went out with both sets of parents, his sister and my oldest brother.  This was the first time that each of us heard the "whole" story.

Please return to hear more of the Story of David and Briana's Courtship Next Monday in the Love and Marriage Series!

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quotes of the Day on Reading by Richard Baxter, Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge


It is not the reading of many books which is necessary to make a man wise or good, but the well-reading of a few, could he be sure to have the best. And it is not possible to read over many on the same subject without a great deal of loss of precious time.
 --Richard Baxter

Learn to be good readers, which is perhaps a more difficult thing than you imagine. Learn to be discriminative in your reading; to read faithfully, and with your best attention, all kinds of things which you have a real interest in,--a real, not an imaginary,--and which you find to be really fit for what you are engaged in.
--Thomas Carlyle

The first class of readers may be compared to an hour-glass, their reading being as the sand; it runs in and runs out, and leaves not a vestige behind. A second class resembles a sponge, which imbibes everything, and returns it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtier. A third class is like a jelly-bag, which allows all that is pure to pass away, and retains only the refuse and dregs. The fourth class may be compared to the slave of Golconda, who, casting aside all that is worthless, preserves only the pure gems.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Philippians 4:8 (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Friday: Recipe for Fiesta Beef Enchiladas



I found this recipe in a Diabetic Cookbook from Taste of Home, but I modified it, because I didn't have all the ingredients that it called for--and it was delicious!  So I'm going to share "my" version of this dish, with the original in parentheses, and hope you like it as much as we did!

Fiesta Beef Enchiladas
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
I am including what the original recipe called for, in parentheses, so that you can see what ingredients relate to the nutritional information at the end of the recipe.

1 lb 97% lean ground beef
1 Tbsp minced onion (it called for 1/2 c. sliced green onions)
1 clove fresh garlic (it called for 2 tsp. minced garlic)
1/2 to 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with a little of the juice (it called for 1-1/2 c. chopped, seeded fresh tomatoes)
2 cups cooked brown rice (it called for 1 cup white or brown rice)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese  (it called for 1 c. reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend or Cheddar cheese, divided)  (I used regular and also added more on top)
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup mild or medium salsa (I used medium) (it called for salsa or picante sauce)
10 (6- to 7-inch) flour (or corn) tortillas (it called for 12 corn tortillas)
Additional 1 cup medium salsa (it called for 1 can mild or hot enchilada sauce)
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

Directions:
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. (I used a glass dish.)
Brown the ground beef with onion and garlic in microwave (or in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat). 
Drain fat often.
Add tomatoes, cooked rice, 1/2 of the cheese, the corn and the salsa to the meat mixture.  Mix well.
Lay out your tortillas, and divide the meat mixture evenly between them, spooning the mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up each tortilla; (I tucked in the ends, but you don't have to, and I wouldn't next time, and it's ok if some of the filling "spills" out:) and place seam-side down in the dish you prepared earlier and set aside.
Pour salsa over all tortillas, and spread out to somewhat cover, using the back of a spoon, or a spatula.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until hot in a 375 degree oven.
If using a glass pan, as I did, put it in the cold oven and turn it on to 375 degrees; otherwise preheat the oven.
Remove foil and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  (If you like cheese, you can add more than the 1/2 cup called for.)  Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.
Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, plain yogurt/sour cream and tortilla chips.

This was a delicious and easy recipe! I will definitely make it again! I could see this becoming a regular fixture in our home! It would be even faster to throw together if you had cooked hamburger ready to use in the freezer!  In this case, I cooked up a 3-pound log of hamburger, with onion and garlic, and used one pound in this dish, and froze two 1 pound portions for future meals.  This also reheated really well, and tasted just as good the next day, so it would make a great make-ahead dish.  I believe it would also freeze well, already baked, or you could make the filling, freeze that, and then thaw, and throw it together with the tortillas, and then bake, when you're planning to serve the dish.

Nutrients per serving: 2 enchiladas
Calories: 341
Fat: 11g (sat 5g)
Protein: 17g
Carbohydrate: 43g
Fiber: 4g
Cholesterol: 38mg
Sodium: 465mg
Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 fat

Enjoy!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Follow Friday: Welcome! I look forward to meeting you!

Friday Follow: March 26 with ** CASH GIVEAWAY**

Friday Follow

Sponsored By:


Somehow, I can't believe that it's Friday already! But welcome to Follow Friday!
And Welcome to all of you who are visiting me for the first time!  I am a SAHM, who Homeschooled her kids, now 24 and 20.  My passion is to be an encouragement, to teach, mentor and disciple younger moms. I love meeting all of you, and getting to know new friends has been such a blessing!


Friday Follow is hosted by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades!  This has been a good way to meet other bloggers and gain new followers.
 
This week there is a GIVEAWAY just for Friday Followers, so grab both of their buttons after linking up.

Toothsoap.com " I LOVE TOOTH SOAP®
CASH Giveaway!
From One2Try, here is the scoop on the cash giveaway:

THREE one hundred dollar cash prizes up going to be awarded from Toothsoap.com as a thank you for your Friday Follow participation!

Contest Requirement: To be entered into the contest for three 100 dollar cash prizes please do the following: 

  • Please place the Toothsoap.com button on your blog post today for Friday Follow and also on your blog sidebar.
  • During the week of March 26 - April 2, 2010 THREE winners will be chosen AT RANDOM to win a 100 dollar cash prize from TOOTHSOAP.COM
  • Winners are selected by random.org using the Friday Follow Link System
  • Winners selected MUST have the Toothsoap.com button on displayed prominently on both their Friday Follow post and blog sidebar to be eligible to win said prize.
  • Winners will be notified by email and by blog comment by team@toothsoap.com.
  • Winners have 24 hours from notification date to claim 100 dollar cash prize via email.
  • Cash prize is payable by Paypal.com or check from Vitality Products to winners (winners choice).
  • Contest ends Friday, April 2, 2010 at the stroke of midnight. 
  • Open to US & Canada Residents
Here's how to join Friday Follow:
  • Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add on one blog to be seen on all the blog hops. 
  • Grab the Friday Follow and Sponsor buttons and include both on your Friday Follow blog post.
  • Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots.
  • Follow as many other blogs on the list as you'd like
  • Take a moment to comm
  • Comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow
  • Follow back if you like, when you get a new follower through Friday Follow
The list is new each week. The links do not carry over. Please link up each week for new participants to find your blogs. The list is only open to add your blog links on Fridays. It will be visible all week to visit the blogs listed. 

Also:
Each week they will randomly draw from all the links, one Friday Follower for the next week's Friday Follow, and the chosen blog will be placed in the highly coveted number 4 position on the blog hop.  
 
MckLinky Blog Hop



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Thankful Thursday: I Have A Blog Button!


Well, it is Thankful Thursday, and it took me all night and all day, but I think I fixed my RSS feed problem and (drum roll, please) I made a Blog Button!! (If it worked,) I feel a huge sense of accomplishment! But I must apologize, for you wonderful followers are going to get a bevy of backed up blog posts in your reader!  Yes, if you haven't checked in recently, and thought I'd gone on vacation, you're in for a surprise--I have been posting and it hasn't been updating for about a month, maybe 6 weeks. If you're new to my blog, get a cup of coffee, sit back and read a spell and Welcome!

So, all my new friends out there, and my followers, please go over to the sidebar and grab my button and subscribe to my feed, so all my work wasn't for nothing! I will be watching to see if that little number starts going up, for I know that a lot of you have tried to subscribe and quit in frustration, when it didn't work.  Again, I apologize!  So, please let me know how it goes! I am so excited.  Is it silly to be thankful over getting a technical problem solved, and getting a little button? Probably. But that's ok.  I don't think it's silly to be thankful for every little thing that God gives you in life, and today there is so much to be thankful for: life, health, sunshine, family, friends (bloggy and otherwise:), and most of all Salvation through my precious Lord Jesus Christ, who was willing, for the joy that was set before Him, to go to the cross, and die for me.  Praise the Lord--God the Father accepted His payment for my sins, and raised Him from the dead, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven! But what's more, I am seated with Him, and because the work was finished on the cross, and greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (satan), I have power over temptation and sin, and no fear of death, for when I die, I will immediately go to be with my Lord and Savior, where I will live forever with Him.  If that doesn't make you thankful, nothing will!

What are you thankful for? To participate and read other thankful posts, visit Laurie (Thanks, Laurie, for hosting this month!) at Women Taking A Stand!



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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Link to "What Hill Are You Dying On?"

Joanne at Blessed (One So Blessed) has written an excellent post for Exemplify Online that, if you are a woman (wife or daughter), you need to read.  I related to it all too well.  It is entitled: "What Hill Are You Dying On?"  In answer to that question, some of us would have to say, "Why, every hill! There are none too small!"  I find myself challenging and correcting my husband, and also my children, all too often, setting up a confrontational home environment.  The Lord has convicted me that it is pride.

 Only by pride cometh contention:
but with the well advised is wisdom.  
Proverbs 13:10 (KJV)

When pride cometh, then cometh shame:
but with the lowly is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2 (KJV)

I was raised by a dad who demanded absolute respect and obedience.  Unfortunately, he had a rebellious daughter.  He said everything dogmatically. So did I.  He was prone to say, "Look at me when I'm talking to you!"  And I would be looking somewhere else thinking about what I was going to say next! Ready always to defend myself, or correct that little thing he said wrong! (In later years, he mellowed, I got saved, and we became very close!) But, in my growing-up years, if you wanted to be heard in our home, you had to speak up loudly and firmly!  So, I learned to say things as though they were the gospel truth, even when I was really unsure, or didn't even realize I was doing it!  This habit got me into a lot of trouble in my early years of marriage.  My husband pointed this trait out to me on more than one occasion.  I am still learning not to die on every hill, and to choose my battles (another phrase that my husband likes to use).  I *think* that I have learned this lesson: that prayer is more effective than my words, and that I don't need to say everything that comes into my mind!  These are some statements that I have thought to say to my children, and haven't.  "You can't go out looking like that!" "What were you thinking!"  "Surely you knew that _____"  "When did you start eating that? You don't like that (food)!"  "You're becoming ___, and you'd better change fast, or you're going to _____." But I have actually said much worse!

Now, in my own family and marriage, I see that "speaking our minds" is a characteristic which is "caught".  Do you women and girls who are reading this know how much influence you have on the atmosphere in your home?  I have been startled, shocked, amazed and humbled when I have made an effort to change my tone, at various and sundry times, prompted by the Holy Spirit, to be more _____ (fill in the blank: cheerful, gentle, encouraging, non-complaining/grateful, praising of others), and I have felt the spirit of our home completely transformed!

Lord, make me submissive
Give me a meek and quiet spirit
which is beautiful in Your sight.
Amen.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Child-Training: (Part 2) "Now for the Really Tough Stuff!"

As an older mom looking back on raising my children, I have a list of what I see as the crucial ingredients which God led us to put into our recipe of child-raising, which I believe has resulted in the Godly grown children we live with and enjoy. I call this my "Top Ten Things".  In Child-training, Part 1, I began sharing this list.  Our children are 24 and 20, and they love the Lord, and are walking with Him.  It is by God's grace. We all know that we have to rely on Him day by day and minute by minute.  There is nothing we can do to save ourselves or sanctify ourselves, of course. But God gives us wise instructions in the Scriptures about things to avoid in our lives, to flee, to not have or be around. These instructions are His Word, which He commands us to obey, but it's for our blessing.  

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you."
Do you want to raise Godly children? Don't brush aside the counsel of Godly older women. (I'm not talking about myself.) Beware of listening to, or copying, other young moms, those who haven't raised their children to adulthood yet, or the latest how-to book. Satan wants to deceive, and sin doesn't stand still.  Though satan has no new tricks, the world and its sin are a lot worse now than 20 years ago. The Bible must be our guide. And in it, God commands the older women to teach the younger. I don't feel qualified in myself.  This list I'm going to share, even to me, looks stringent--strict.  You may say, "Don't be ridiculous! How can anyone live like that?!"  I know it.  But God protected us, led us, proved the rightness of doing these things, and gave us the strength to do it. And we didn't feel deprived, or that we were suffering. Our kids say, "We're used to being different! So what!"

1 Thessalonians 5:21-24 (KJV) "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; 
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless 
unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."

Where is our focus?  What are we living for? Do we want to have fun? Do we want pleasure on earth? The end of that road is hell, pure and simple. If you're on the fence, and are trying to please your wants and desires, want to just look pretty much like everybody else, and enjoy life, at the same time that you call yourself a Christian, you'd better think again!  Maybe you aren't really saved.

2 Timothy 3:12 (KJV) "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
Mark 8:34-36 (KJV) "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

You can't serve two masters. Jesus Christ will have all of you, or none of you.  You need your eyes on your heavenly home, the finish line, and on Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master, surrendering everything to Him, or don't call yourself a Christian. You will be fooling yourself, and be a bad testimony to the world.

Here are numbers 6-10, one at a time, of my Top Ten Things I would suggest to you, if you want to raise Godly children.  Are you ready to be challenged?  This is what I shared with the women at our church at our Titus 2 Day:

Psalms 101:2-3 (KJV) "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 
3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes."

Ephesians 5:15-16 (KJV) "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." 

6) No TV—Our TV blew out one day and we didn’t replace it; it was the best thing that ever happened to us. Beware, though, of replacing TV-watching with DVD-watching and spending time in front of the computer. Also, I would recommend you use your computer as a tool. Allow no games, not even educational ones, for your children. Keep the computer in the center of your home where everyone can see what you're seeing, and doing. Never allow a child or teenager to have a computer in his room. (Or a phone, TV, music, or other electronics.) Use it sparingly and monitor it religiously.
(The dangers are real, the price you pay for a wrong choice is too high to risk it, and on the positive side: you want to develop strong family ties, and you can't do that with the TV and computer separating you or being the primary focus of your time together!  Now that our children are grown, we watch movies and are on the computer more, but we did very little of it when we were raising our children.  We were trying to build a family.  That meant time together, talking, being together, grabbing those "teachable moments" to impart wisdom into their hearts.)

I know that this is a major area that satan is using to destroy families! If he can't literally break up your family, he'll be almost as happy to separate you within the same home, and make you totally ineffective and non-relational.  Christians are not any different than non-Christians in this.  Please pray about what you're viewing and how much you and your family are sitting in front of a screen.  Consider replacing this time with other activities: talking, playing games, going for walks, doing puzzles, going places like the zoo (if it's free), visiting other families or having them over and talking about meaningful things, doing projects and work around your home that you can do together, and my favorite: reading together and just being together.  So, why not try it tonight? Unplug!

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RSS not working

To all of you trying to get the RSS feed to work, my apologies!  (Yes, I have been posting.) I just found out why it's not working, and I'm attempting to fix the problem--I will let you know when I've got it up and running!  Until then, please follow using the regular method! Thank you for your patience everybody!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Home School Hop Theme: State Requirements

 
By Request, Theme For The Week:
State Requirements

This week's hop theme was requested by one of the other moms, and it's a good one! One of our fellow Homeschooling moms is interested in knowing some of the things we are required to do to meet our state requirements.
Well, we live in Minnesota and this is what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association--go there to find out what it says about your state) says about the Minnesota law, summarized:
“The parent of a child is primarily responsible for assuring that the child acquires knowledge and skills that are essential for effective citizenship.” Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 Subd. 1.

The Minnesota law states that:The home instructor must satisfy one of the following six requirements:
a. hold a Minnesota teaching license in the field and grade taught,
b. or be directly supervised by a licensed teacher,
c. or successfully complete a teacher competency exam,
d. or provide instruction in a school that is accredited or recognized by the state board,
e. or hold a baccalaureate degree,
f. or be the parent of a child who is assessed according to procedures in subdivision 11 and the standardized test section below.


My husband has a baccalaureate degree, so we didn't have to fill out quarterly report cards, which is what we would have had to do if we were parents without a teaching license or college degree.  When our children were 7th and 4th grades, we became part of an Accreditation Association called TEACH (Teaching Effective Academics and Character at Home), which meant that we met with a consultant monthly who helped us and made sure we were meeting the state requirements.  We were required to fill out a form for that organization before each meeting with our consultant, on which we reported briefly what we had been teaching in the different subjects and we assigned a grade to them.  We also assessed our children's character, using another form, which we (mom and dad) went over with each child separately each month and also with the consultant, (a great thing because it caused us to talk about and deal with character problems and issues, and also gave us an opportunity to praise good character every single month)!  Being in TEACH meant that they were accountable to the state, and responsible to make sure we were doing what we were supposed to, so we didn't have to report to the state--they did. It was a supportive and helpful relationship.  If you live in Minnesota and are Homeschooling, I highly recommend this organization!

The school district that we are in is great and doesn't bother us at all!  They have realized that the vast majority of Homeschooling families are highly conscientious, and statistics of Homeschool success (see NHERI site) bear out that Homeschooled children are doing far better than the average child in the public school system, academically, and in many other ways.

In the first or second year of our Homeschooling, we were in a different district, and they decided to actually send out someone (a man who was a retired superintendent of the school district) to do home visits.  (I didn't know at the time that I could have asked to just bring my materials in and show them in their offices, but I personally think it's easier and more comfortable to have them come to my home, which is what happened.)  Though they have the right to request to do a home visit, it is not mandatory, as I said before, to allow them to come into your home, and also, I don't think districts do home visits anymore!  At least, I've never heard of anyone having it happen--they have way too much to do, and there are too many Homeschoolers now, plus there's a lot of proof of how well Homeschoolers are doing.  But, though I worried at the time, it wasn't bad at all!  The man who came turned out to be a Christian, and he was the sweetest twinkly grandpa type of person, that he put me at my ease almost immediately.  I put out what textbooks we had (maybe 1 or 2), books I was reading to my son and daughter (my record of library books we'd checked out over the previous year was impressive:), artwork, poems memorized, and examples of handwriting/printing (I think Dane was in Kindergarten or 1st grade, so there wasn't a lot to show him, but I tried hard to fill our dining room table, and make it look better! Kind of like dragging out every thing your child has done that might look good or impress someone--a Giant Show-and-Tell!  But seeing we had a (somewhat) organized home with decent lighting, and environment which would probably be conducive to a child learning, and then meeting Dane, who was respectful and shook his hand, and then talking to me, assured him that we were doing fine. It actually was a very encouraging visit, (I think one of his daughters was Homeschooling, as I remember!) and he said nice and positive things to me!

So, the only thing I had to do was, each year by Oct. 1, I had to inform the school district that we were Homeschooling, once our child was going to turn 7 during that school year, and then every year through their 16th year.  I had to fill out a form--I used the one which can be obtained from the MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) website--go to the bottom and click on the compulsory reporting form--which required the names, addresses, and ages of my students.  In fulfilling the requirement noted above, we sent a copy of my husband's college diploma the first year, and they kept it on file, so we just noted that on the form after that, and also included on the form when we planned to administer the state tests (I usually said April or in the spring, since I didn't know in the fall what the actual dates of testing would be in the spring).  We tested our children, at first, at the site where the Homeschool Co-op that we attended administered the standardized tests.  The co-op had several moms in it who were now Homeschooling, but who had been former teachers, and had kept up their teaching licenses, and who could administer the tests.  (MACHE has a list available of optional testing locations, methods, and where to obtain tests.)  Later, when we were part of TEACH, they only required testing in the odd school years after 3rd grade, but we chose to have our children take the tests every year anyway.  (This was a social time for them, when they saw many friends who they didn't see often, so they enjoyed it, but we also felt it was good for them to take the tests, and also to have to do so in a group.)  Both of these situations were in group settings. There was one year that my husband administered the test to our children.  We never sent the results in to the district as this is not required.

Kylie, at Our Worldwide Classroom us our host again--Thank you, Kylie!  Here is what she says:

STOP: Please DO NOT add your link below unless you have a post published about the blog hop and the current theme, and the McLinky code showing in that post. Please ensure you have linked directly to your blog hop post and that the title includes the words 'blog hop' somewhere. All links added are checked via McLinky and those without these details are removed immediately. We are all enjoying this immensely, please play fairly as the majority of blog hoppers do! Thanks for participating, have fun!


MckLinky Blog Hop

       

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Love and Marriage Series: Courtship Stories: David and Briana


I am thrilled, today, to introduce you to this wonderful couple as we begin the second Courtship Story in our Love and Marriage Series. This is a fun one indeed!  (Did you miss the first one? Go back and read the Courtship Story of Chase and Sarah.)  Well, David and Briana are a couple that, honestly, I didn't know if they were going to get together, though I was sure they were God's will for one another!  In fact, I had been on my knees praying for David, (that's part of another long story), and the Lord impressed on my heart and mind that Briana was the one for him.  I immediately thought, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that? Lord, You're wonderful!" From that time on, I prayed earnestly for them to someday marry.  When Briana called one Sunday morning before church to tell me that they were courting and going to announce it that day (she didn't want me to hear it through the grapevine), I screamed into the phone with excitement!!  We had company at the breakfast table who must have thought I was crazy.  But God is still in the business of bringing a woman to a man--just as He brought Eve to Adam--and He says, "It is very good."  I am so happy that David and Briana are sharing their Courtship Story here and I know that you'll be blessed by them and what God has so graciously done in their lives!

Faith's Firm Foundation:  Please tell us a little about yourselves!

David and Briana:
David and I will have been married for 4 years in May.  We have two fun and energetic boys, Clayton, 3, and Connor, 20 months.  David and I were both raised in Christian homes by wonderful parents.  David is the oldest of 11 children.  He has 9 brothers (one went to be with the Lord in 1997) and 1 sister.  I am the second-born of 7 children.  I have 5 brothers (one went to be with the Lord before he was born) and 1 sister.
 
Faith's Firm Foundation:  Before you were courting and married, did you strive to "keep your heart" for the one you would someday marry? How? Or what things did you do?

Briana:
This is a tough question.  This was something that I struggled with.  My parents really stressed the importance of not flirting with boys.  I didn't really understand or think that it was a big deal.  When I was 17 or 18, the Lord really got a hold of my heart and I wanted to trust and honor my parents in this area.  I am so grateful that the Lord changed my heart!  I know that it has only benefited my marriage today.  We also did a lot of things either as families or with siblings (example: my brother and I would do things with other sets of brothers and sisters. This made for a safe environment--no pressure for pairing up.)  Most of our friends at the time, who were around our ages, had the same mind-set and goals in life.  Most of us were courtship-minded and committed to serving the Lord and waiting on Him.   I really feel that this positive peer pressure was a big help for me!

David:  
My parents instilled in us the importance of waiting until we were ready to be married before thinking about a girl.  By being ready, they meant being prepared, such as; being done with school, having a job that could provide for a family, being emotionally and spiritually mature.  This was freeing for me, knowing that I didn't need to "impress" someone.  It also saved me from the pressures and heartaches of "going-out" and "breaking up."  During this time I was able to focus on helping my family and serving the Lord through children's ministries (church Sunday School, missions trips--local and overseas, and AWANA).  The Lord used this time to strengthen my relationship with Him.

FFF:  What things helped you during the years between graduation and courting?  How did you, and/or your parents, prepare (you) for marriage as you were growing up--or did you/they?

Briana: 
 I don't exactly remember when this was (before or after graduation) but my family was going through the catechism.  The first question in there is, "What is the chief purpose of man?" The answer is, "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever."  That gave me a new lease on life.  I knew my purpose, it was to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  I can remember having such a feeling of freedom and relief.  No matter what season in life I was in, I had a purpose.

"I knew my purpose,
it was to glorify God and enjoy Him forever"

My parents taught me life- and home-skills but not with the sole purpose of "preparing me for marriage."  It was more preparing me for life:  they were things I needed to know whether I married or not.  Marriage was not a major push or focus in our home.  We knew marriage was a great and wonderful thing and yes, something to desire (desiring marriage is God-given).  I really appreciate the fact that my parents didn't make us feel like it was our main purpose in life.

I was involved in a girls' Bible Study with 3 other friends.  It was a great time to grow in my walk and relationship with the Lord.  I mentioned before that my parents really encouraged us to serve the Lord.  We went to a church in the inner-city of Minneapolis.  I helped out with the Children's Ministry there.  After I graduated, I did anything and everything to stay busy with that.  I enjoyed it so much!  I also had opportunities to travel and teach children the importance of character and teach them about Jesus and the Bible.  These were precious years in my life.  A quote that I absolutely love is, "Run as hard as you can towards God. When you see someone running beside you, take a second look!"

FFF:  Tell us the story of "how it all began". 

Briana:
David and I have known each other for 23 years.  Many years ago, when my parents became Christians, David's parents were their first Sunday School teachers.  When I was old enough to "know" them, they had moved about 45 minutes from us, and our families would get together only about once or twice a year.  David is almost 5 years older than me, so we didn't really hang-out together.

In 1999 both of our families moved to within 5 minutes of each other.  We would do things together as families, or with siblings.  Because our families grew up together and had known each other for so long, people would always match me up with a Tiemann.  To which I would reply something like this, "I will never marry a Tiemann and especially not David."  This was for no specific reason--I just have the personality that if someone expects me to do something, I do the opposite (not a trait I am always proud of.)
What makes you think that he would look your way now?

Well, the Lord had different plans.  In January of 2005, the Lord started to change my heart.  All of a sudden I started thinking about David and even liking him more than just a friend.  Oh, boy, this really scared me.  I didn't know what to do, but the Lord prompted me to talk to my mom.  I told her kind of round about, and she sent me to Dad.  This was a scary step for me.  I had never told my Dad that I "liked" someone before.  I remember this day like it was yesterday.  In my family, any time that we were "in trouble" or needed to talk with Dad, we would "meet" in my parents bedroom.  My Dad would sit in a chair and we would sit on their bed.  My heart was beating so fast as I told my Dad about my feelings.  He listened and then brought me back to reality.  He said something along these lines, "Don't expect anything to EVER happen.  He is 5 years older than you.  You have known each other for a long time.  What makes you think that he would look your way now?  This is my advice, don't treat him any different than you do now.  Focus on your relationship with the Lord and continue serving Him."  He then asked me if I wanted the Lord to move in David's heart or did I want to be the one that flirted and "moved" David's heart.  That stuck with me.  I really did want the Lord to bring us together, if that was His will.  I didn't ever want to live with the lingering thought that maybe I flirted enough to "catch him."  We then prayed together and I was determined to put David out of my mind.  
"I was determined
to put David out of my mind"

Dad told me that he was always available to talk, but he wasn't going to bring it up so as not to cause me to dwell on David.  I then went straight up to my room to work on my Bible Study.  The study that I was working on at the time was in 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings.  So I opened my study book and my Bible and what would I be reading about? King David!  Well, so much for putting him out of my mind! This was going to be harder than I thought!
 
Please return next Monday to the Love and Marriage Series' Courtship Stories, when we'll continue by hearing how Briana succeeded, (or didn't) at getting David out of her mind!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Charles Spurgeon and Richard Baxter Quotes of the Day: Holiness

Remember your ultimate purpose,
and when you set yourself to your day's work
or approach any activity in the world, let

HOLINESS TO THE LORD

be written upon your hearts
in all that you do.  

Do no activity which you cannot entitle God to,
and truly say that he set you about it,
and do nothing in the world for any other ultimate purpose than
to please, glorify and enjoy Him.
"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 
1 Corinthians 10:31
adapted and updated from RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691)
by Matthew Vogan

A good character is the best tombstone.
Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered.
Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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