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Faith's Firm Foundation: June 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do You Love or Hate Your Children? Spanking (Part 5)

"He that spareth his rod
hateth his son:
but he that loveth him
chasteneth him quickly (early in life)."
Proverbs 13:24

If you are visiting for the first time, or for more on this subject, I recommend you read the other posts in this series.  (Just click on the links.)
Spanking (Part 1)
Spanking (Part 2): Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman
Spanking (Part 3) 

What Is A Rod?
Some definitions are in order.  The rod in Proverbs 13:24 literally means a stick. And hateth means "a foe, enemy, to be hateful."  To spare means "to refrain, restrain, to forbear, hinder, keep from, or hold back."

So, with these definitions in place, this verse tells us that if a parent refrains from spanking their children, or keeps their spouse from doing it, hindering the appropriate and Biblical application of the rod, fearful of inflicting pain on their "precious child"...then they are actually demonstrating (according to the Bible) that they hate their child.

We are so easily deceived by the world, and often we deceive ourselves. I'm sorry.  Withholding the rod is not showing love--we are actually showing that we hate our children if we do this.  We are actually disobeying God. These are hard words, but only because we have been deceived by Satan, through believing the world's lies.

Hollering, Wailing and Screaming Are Acts Of Rebellion
I shared with you in an earlier post in this series (Spanking, Part 4) that my daughter exhibited her rebellion by crying at the top of her lungs when faced with discipline.  Children do not have to make noise when they cry.  All of us learned how to cry softly.  A child’s crying loudly (hollering, wailing, yelling as though they're being murdered) when disciplined is a sign of rebellion.

If they're doing this it shows that their heart has not repented of sin.  They are not receiving the correction that they know they deserve, but rather they are hating the reproof.

"Correction is grievous
unto him that forsaketh the way:
and he that hateth reproof
shall die."
Proverbs 15:10
Temper Tantrums
This is kind of another whole subject, but in a public situation, they have learned that throwing a loud fit works to get their way.  They want attention, or to get away, or at some point in the past they got what they wanted, whatever it was--maybe just once--by throwing a fit.  They will keep on trying this tactic if they have even the slightest hope it will work.  They must NEVER WIN at this game.  Ever.

In this particular post I am mostly talking about situations where you are in your own home, and the child has committed a serious enough offense that they needed to be taken to their room for private chastisement.  If they are screaming or wailing, let them know that they will get additional and harder chastisement if they are not quiet. Do not end your time with them until they are humble and quiet.

Anger Doesn't Work God's Righteousness
Remain calm.  This is, of course, the hardest part, especially if you have a child fighting you and screaming and crying.  This is not a wrestling match.  (I hope to deal with this issue in a later post.  It's a hard one, I know.)  You must not administer the rod in anger.  If your child knows they can get you angry, or they can get out of a spanking by getting you emotional, they will do it every time.  If you're a crier like me, let me say that your tears are not necessarily a bad thing.  It may show your child your true grief over their sin.  But, it must be genuine grief.

You Are In A Spiritual Battle
Please remember that you are in a spiritual battle, and don't enter into it without first binding the enemy.  Ask God to bind and rebuke Satan and all his spirits, in the Name of Jesus Christ and by the power of His shed blood, death and resurrection.  There are times that you're going to have strong emotions, and even though it's not easy, you still have to administer the rod.  Don't assume that the fact that you feel strongly or you are crying means you should not spank them.  Ask God for help, get yourself under control, and do what you need to do.

If necessary, take a 10-minute time out, tell your child to wait in their room and be quiet, and that you will come back in 10 minutes.  Then, go to your room and get on your knees and cry out to the Lord.  I guarantee He will answer.

"Apply thine heart unto instruction,
and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Withhold not correction from the child:
for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
Thou shalt beat him with the rod,
and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
Proverbs 23:12-15
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Begun Well Is Not Finished Well

What's the Lord saying to you? God encourages us in very unique and personal ways.  It may not look like encouragement at all.  It may look like...conviction.

Beginnings Are Important
I've come to realize that how I begin the week is important, and that the week begins on Sunday.  There's a battle for Sunday.  Weekends are usually busy.  I find myself wanting to "pamper" myself, to make myself feel good, by Sunday evening, not wanting the weekend to end. (Pounding on that one note, "Me me me me me!")  Hanging on to the weekend by dragging it out, often staying up too late. I've had to work at getting to bed at a decent time.

Flesh or Spirit
I've found myself trying to artificially work up a "relaxed" and "away-from-it-all" feeling through some "experience."  (The brainwashing of the world is so insidious.)  I've tried escaping by watching movies.  Feel-good family movies, comedies, and Jane Austen romances.  Occasionally we've watched a movie that challenged us as Homeschoolers to a vision for holiness.  Sometimes I've curled up on the couch to read a good book. I've made special "treats."  A big bowl of buttered popcorn should make me feel better, right?  I've even eaten ice cream in a "special dish."  I've spent hours reading blogs and searching Craigslist.  I've played games with my family, watched Christian stand-up comedians (ever seen CPR?), laughing hysterically. (Ok, laughter is good medicine.)  I've gotten into my comfy pajamas. I've read my Bible for hours, or listened to a teaching tape.

Actually, I would have to say, when I've read my Bible or listened to a teaching tape, that has quieted my heart and started my week off the best. (Do I hear a resounding "duh"?) But, it seems that that's the hardest thing to do on Sunday.  Especially after having rushed around to Graduation Open Houses (which is what we do at this time of year), or other events which frequently happen on Sundays, and taken care of the myriad responsibilities which typically fall into Sunday's domain.

"My Time" or "His Time"
The Lord's been speaking to my heart about how I spend my "free time," which includes that "after-the-busy" time on Sunday.  He's been drawing me to spend more time with Him.  In recent weeks we've been challenged at church to do some self-evaluation and ask ourselves, "How are we doin'?"  As individuals and as families.

"Begun Well Is Not Finished Well"
This probing question was presented to parents, "Do we have the same fervor and tenacity at the end as we had at the beginning? That heart that says, 'I'm not going to let Satan steal the soul of my children!'  Many of us may be letting our guard down, especially large families."  (This said by a father of 11.)  He went on to say that it seems to be a common malady to start with solid convictions and high standards (in areas such as music we'd listen to, and dress) and to have a lot of determination and zeal for the Lord, but to get tired and slack off later on.  (I don't think it's only true of large families.)

Evaluation Time:  How Are We Doin'
How am I doin'?  How are you doin'?  This word picture really hit home for me:  We cannot say we are neither going forward nor backward, for in order to keep coasting we have to be going downhill.

The conviction came in the form of encouragement that I must pursue hard after the Lord continually, or I will go backwards. I can not let up.  I must not abide (put up with, allow, tolerate) sin in my life that God points out to me.  I cannot point at others and say, "How can they do that and call themselves a Christian?" and then blithely go along in the same old way, ignoring His Word and the Spirit's conviction in my own life, overlooking, covering-up, or excusing my own sin. Are we making excuses for our behavior and why we won't do what's right?

Glad, Rejoicing, Encouraged and Thankful
Mondays Are Great (glad, rejoicing, encouraged and thankful) especially when my Sundays are lived well, and I have spent time with the Lord...I mean really listened to Him speak to me.  When I have obeyed His command to not forsake "the assembling together of ourselves" (we're told to gather together to worship), when I have examined myself and confessed sin, and not participated in the Lord's Supper unworthily, and when I have committed myself to pursue after Him, to follow after righteousness, and to hound holiness.

How is Monday for you, my friend? Is the Lord speaking to you about anything? No link up today, but feel free to leave a comment of encouragement.  Did this strike a chord with you? Please share with me.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Change Is Coming!

Photo by Twice is Nice books
I have an exciting announcement to make about Faith's Firm Foundation.  Remember a while back when I said, "I'm finally going to do it"?  I was referring to redesigning my blog.  Well, due to circumstances, I was not able to completely redesign it at that time, but I did make a few changes, my header being one of them.  I've had to wait on the Lord's timing in the changes I've made.  Well, there are more exciting happenings coming!

I think of my blog in much the same way that I think of my home.  As a Homemaker and a Stay-at-Home Mom, I love to rearrange things from time to time.  Furniture, pictures, everything.  I am one of "those people."  I want my home to look nice, but also for the Lord to use it as He sees fit.

There are two kinds of people: those who like to decide exactly where they want their furniture, and they put it there, and never look back.  They are perfectly content!  And then there are people like me.  I rearrange furniture often.  I purposely buy furniture that will look good in either the family room or the living room (or maybe a bedroom or two!).

That is how I look at my blog, too.  The changes I make here, though, are always with the goal to make it not only more appealing to the eye, but also to make it really worthwhile for you to take the time to read.  Really Biblical and really practical.

The next big step I'm going to take is actually several steps.  Still not going to do the major redesign right now, but I've been working for some time towards the goal of moving from Blogger to WordPress.  It didn't work out as easily as I'd planned.

But, I'm finally making the move to WordPress, Lord willing, next week!  Hurray!  The move, for me, is a big change.  For you, I hope, it will be no big deal and that there will be no unpleasant changes.

However, if you do not continue to receive my posts in your inbox or reader after Thursday, June 16, 2011, please come over and re-sign up!!  Resubscribe!!  I want to continue to be a part of your life, and I don't want you to miss out on a single post.

Over the last 2-1/2 years that I've been blogging, I've continually looked for ways to improve, to learn new things.  I've thought of this blog as the Lord's blog, and I've asked Him to grow it, to expand its territory, even as I deepen the message by spending time with Him in His Word, among other things.  A little over a year ago, I switched to my own domain name:  I've "redecorated" now and then.  Now, I'm migrating to WordPress.  There will also be some minor changes in appearance, and the placement of blog elements:  so keep coming back next week to see what will be happening!

I want to give you a heads up, though, that on Thursday, June 16, my blog will be "down for the day" due to work related to this exciting move!  But, please come back Friday!

Also, on this coming Monday, June 13, I will not be having my usual linkup associated with "Mondays Are Great!"  Please check in all week.  You never know what you may find.  I may be posting some special things in light of the exciting changes being made!
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Beauty and Uniqueness of Family and My New Wood Floor

Our wood floor during installation
Maybe the paint fumes are getting to me, but there are a lot of similarities between my family and my new wood floor!  This description describes them both!  See if this may be true of your family, as well.

If you stare at it too closely, you start to think it doesn't look good, but when you stand back and get the bigger picture, it's beautiful.  It's made up of uniquely different pieces, and without those unique differences, it wouldn't be as beautiful! Each one adds to the whole: to its strength, to its ability to serve, and to its beauty.  Vastly different may be two that are side by side, but that's ok.  It wouldn't be right to try to make one like the other.

The whole thing has to be lined up straight.  It's the firm foundation of everything else.  It's rugged and tough, yet easily marred and damaged if not treated with respect.  Daily care is best, with gentleness.  Cleansing is crucial.

I see so many lessons in my new wood floor.  So many analogies.  Without the careful work of Someone skilled, how could this family be?  I see His Hand everywhere.

Whether a wood floor or a family, the skill of the one who put each piece in place is seen by all.  Of all the lessons I have been learning during our remodeling, perhaps this lesson of the wood floor is the most precious.

My Lord has carefully chosen each and every one of the members of our family and fitted us together tightly, for life. He placed us in the exact spot where He knew we should be. It took skill, creativity, wisdom. We are His workmanship, individually and as a family, created in Christ Jesus, for His glory.  I celebrate our uniqueness and the differences within the whole.

As I sweep away dirt and debris, I think of how we need to quickly ask forgiveness when we've wronged each other, lest we leave a pebble that may cause someone to trip or leave a permanent mark.  As I look at the clean floor shining, I think of the reflection of Jesus in us, even when we don't know it, but realize that only as we pursue holy living through His power and cleansing will we continue to shine as He would have us.

So many lessons to be learned in the day-to-day life of a family.  When we began our remodeling project, I thought we were just remodeling.  God's goal always includes spiritual growth.  So, I step back and look at my family and my new wood floor, and am so thankful for the beauty I see.
I'm going back to link up today to Homemakers Linkup (this linkup wasn't there at midnight last night when I posted this, but now it is, I'm #50).  To read other posts on Homemaking and participate go to Raising Homemakers.  Click on the links above to read other posts that I think you'll like.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

My Story: Spanking (Part 4)

If you are visiting for the first time, or for more on this subject, I recommend you read the other posts in this series.  (Just click on the links.)
Spanking (Part 1)
Spanking (Part 2): Child-Training Advice from An Older Woman
Spanking (Part 3) 
One Percent Rebellion is Still Rebellion
I learned a lesson the hard way when my daughter was young.  Though I was a stay-at-home mom, I worked full-time and then some from home for the first year of my daughter's life.  Later, I became committed to being "just" a Homemaker, but then I struggled to keep my busy life of serving in our church from taking over.  We began Homeschooling when my daughter was about 2 years old.  Perhaps my busyness is why I didn't recognize my daughter's rebellion until she was 9 or 10 years old.  I didn't deal with the attitudes.

You would not have thought her a rebellious child.  But a child who's obedient to you 99% of the time, and rebels only 1% of the time still has a heart of rebellion.  They are choosing to rule their own lives, and when they don't agree with your decision, they rebel.  They just agree with you 99% of the time.

Crying, Hollering, Yelling
When my daughter was 9 or 10, and I recognized her rebellion, I disciplined her.  She would scream and cry at the top of her lungs when disciplined.  (A child’s crying loudly--hollering, wailing, yelling as though they're being killed--when being disciplined is a sign of rebellion.) She clenched her jaw, and stiffened, and would not submit to discipline.  A wise older woman instructed me to bind the enemy before ever beginning to discipline. (This is what I would pray, "Lord, please bind and rebuke Satan and his spirits in the Name of Jesus and by the power of His blood and resurrection.")

Put Aside Your Plans for the Day
My daughter was saved at an early age, and both of my children have a firm faith in Jesus Christ, but she needed to submit to our authority as placed there by God for her protection, provision and guidance.  When rebellion began rearing its ugly head when she was about 10 years old, I realized I could not let it go, and decided that when she was willfully disobedient, rebellious or sassy, I had to put aside any other plans for the day and spend whatever time was needed, privately in her room, administering the "rod and reproof." (Our "rod" was either a paint stick or a wooden spoon.)
photo by Aussiegall
The Process
I would ask her, "What did you do?"  (She needed to recognize her sin, admit and confess.)  Then, I would speak to her from the Word about her sin, pray for and with her,  give her plenty of opportunity for repentance and ask her if she was ready to admit and confess her sin, and begin by giving her one stroke on her thigh or bottom (with panties on).  I would continue increasing the strokes, one at a time, repeating the steps which included Scripture, and giving her another opportunity to repent, if she was not willing to humble herself and confess her sin.  Confession and repentance mean "agreeing with God about my sin."

Sometimes we got up to 20 strokes; maybe more.  During these times, I would cry, begging her to not harden her heart towards God and Scripture, grieving over her hard, stubborn heart and unwillingness to yield to God.  I would pray and ask God for forgiveness, and to show me if there were sins in my own life I hadn't confessed and turned from.  I would cry out to God on her behalf.  If she was still not repentant, eventually I would end the session, praying with her once more, and with deep sorrow tell her we were not done, but we were stopping.  I would have her read passages from her Bible alone in her room before she came out.  I would always emphasize God's heart towards sin, and the consequences, but that He is ready to forgive anyone who truly repents, and asks His forgiveness.

Shared Guilt
Over the years I have told this story to many young moms, especially ones with very young children, 3 and under.  I tell them, "Don't wait until your child is 10!  It's so much easier if you discipline the attitudes now."  If I can help any moms out there avoid this painful scenario for both you and your child, it is worth it.  Whenever I have told this story, my daughter has been right beside me sadly admitting, "Yes."  People can hardly believe she was ever that way.  They are astounded.  She tells them "how bad" she was, and readily admits her rebellion and pride.

I am guilty for not dealing with her heart attitude of stubborn pride, an independent spirit and rebellion when she was a very little girl.  We both suffered greatly for it.  The process was long and arduous.  It took a long time (I honestly don't remember how many days, or weeks or maybe even months, we repeated this scene.  It took hours each time.  But I would say that it was off and on for weeks or more).  It was an emotionally painful ordeal, but finally the Spirit effected a change in her heart, her hard heart was softened and she truly repented of her sin.

A Heart Submitted to God and to Her Parents
When she finally repented, there was no question whatsoever that God had worked.  We knew that God had won the victory.  Now we had the most sweet-spirited, submissive, happy little 10-year-old girl on the face of the earth!  She was obedient, desiring to please us and God.  Her heart was so open to the Lord, and she had a new desire for others to know Jesus.  Oh, joy!

My Plea to You, Dear Moms

Oh, how much pain we could have avoided if I had disciplined her when she was 3 years old (or 2, or 1 or even younger) for her attitudes.  Young moms, Do Not Wait--I implore you!

Do not spare the rod. The rod used appropriately very early in life (one mom I know flicks the legs of her babies with her finger when they won't lay still on the changing table) will bring peace to your home—and you won’t need to use the rod very much later on.  Always remember, you are obeying the Word of God.

"The rod and reproof give wisdom:
but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."
Proverbs 29:15

"Correct thy son,
(which means chastise, discipline, punish, reprove, instruct)
and he shall give thee rest;
yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."
Proverbs 29:17
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Grilling Recipes on Food Friday: Cilantro Grilled Corn

Grilled Corn on the Cob IMG_7602
This time of year everyone is spending more time outdoors, and it stays light later, and we just naturally are looking for easy grilling recipes so we can grill and eat outside.  Here is a recipe we found last summer, which is excellent in flavor, and uses the fresh cilantro from your garden. If you don't have any yet, you can buy it, too.  Today is our anniversary, and I posted an update, so please read that on "What's going on in my life.")

Recipe For Cilantro Grilled Corn
Serves: This will depend on the number of ears of corn you grill.  I'll give you the recipe for 2 ears and you will have to multiply that by the number of people you're intending to serve.
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 2 ears corn, husked

  • Heat gas or charcoal grill.  In small bowl, mix garlic, cilantro and salt.
  • Cut two 12-inch square pieces of heavy-duty foil.  Spray each ear of corn generously with cooking spray.  Spread garlic mixture over each ear of corn. (Using your fingers is the easiest.) Wrap each ear of corn in foil piece, sealing edges.  Allow space for circulation and expansion.
  • Cover and grill corn over medium heat 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender.
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Just a note to all you friends.  You know, the note that lets you know what's going on with me?  (It's also Food Friday with a recipe for Cilantro Grilled Corn--check it out!)

Full of gratefulness
The Lord has so lifted the weight off of my shoulders that I have been full of peace, gratefulness and calm.

Today is actually our anniversary, too!  He took the day off today, but we celebrated earlier, knowing we'd be in a remodeling mess today.  I'm grateful for 33 years together and for a wonderful husband--a gift from God.  In honor of that, please read this post on the Meaning of Wedding Traditions!

The wood floor installation was finished Tuesday.  Wednesday we were away most of the afternoon and evening with cousins in town.  I am getting my days all mixed up, but I guess it was Tuesday that besides painting and giving my son a haircut, I linked up with Raising Homemakers for the first time!  Check it out, and then hop on over there--last day today.

Remodeling Saga
Yesterday the carpeting partially went in and the installer/friend just arrived to finish the job--Praise the Lord!  We really love the way it all looks!

More Lessons Learned From Laying Flooring
Two thoughts that have come to mind as I've watched the meticulous work of our friend/installer, and watched my husband work so hard to prepare for the work to be done:
"Excellence is never an accident."
We must prepare our hearts to walk in God's ways.  It is never an accident that we walk a straight path and follow the Lord.  Intentionality.  Preparedness.  Prayer.  In order to put down a straight beautiful floor you need a firm and straight line to follow.  My husband always says, "Preparation is 90% of the job."  It's a reminder to me that in order to live a straight beautiful life you have to prepare your heart and lay a firm foundation of faith in Jesus Christ.  
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