Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Repent in Dust and Ashes

I seem to be having a hard time with coveting, lately. (Or perhaps it has always been but I chose to ignore it. Now, it is pestering me.) To me, this is very serious. God’s word clearly states,
17"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." (Exodus 20:17. NASB.)
The fact that I am desiring something belonging to my “neighbor” is bothersome to me.

The words of Jim Elliot are playing in my mind,
Wherever you are be all there.
This is where I am. I may not like it (in its entirety) but I need to be focused on God. One of my favorite quotes is from Alan Redpath and states,
"There is nothing -- No circumstance, No trouble, No testing that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ. Right through to me if it has come that far. It has come with great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment - but as I refuse to panic, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as come from His throne for some great blessing of purpose of blessing to my heart. No sorrow will disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the Joy of what my Lord is - that is the rest of Victory." (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)

I need to stop looking at the lives of others and thinking, “He/she has it so good! I want a little bit of that!” Ick, it is awful to say it out loud. In my thoughts I can down play it but out in the open, it is what it truly is…disgusting, ugly sin! How shameful! Please forgive me, Lord! Pastor Sean said on Friday, “If you are doing something that makes you feel guilty then just stop doing it.” Indeed! This stops right here, right now! Do I have any room to complain? NO!

God is sovereign! Wherever He takes me, that is where I am supposed to be in my life. Am I always going to think it is good, and right, and fair? Probably not but I look to Job. He was a “good” God fearing, God honoring man and God allowed satan to test and torment poor Job. (I do not wish to be tortured like Job!) Nor should I taste discontentment. This pity party is over.

2"I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
3'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
4'Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.'
5"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
6Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes."
(Job 42:2-6. NASB.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

The LORD is God, and He Has Given Us Light

I should be grocery shopping or doing school work…or cleaning up the kitchen…or doing laundry. Should I, actually? Or is spending time with God EXACTLY what I should be doing? It is DEFINITELY what I would rather be doing, obviously, here I am. This week is going to be a little crazy, too, so I better plan accordingly. I’ve been thinking a lot about how people can tell whether or not I am a believer. I guess it’s kind of silly, huh? I love the words of the Psalmist:
6The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
7The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
8It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.
9It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.
10All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.
11They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.
(Psalm 118:6-11. NASB.)
I love my time with the Lord. There is nowhere else I would rather be…though my family is very dear to me.

At church worship service, Pastor Sean spoke of a dream he had (“dream” not a “vision”). I could not help but be reminded of one I had…about five or six years ago. I have most likely mentioned it before (a few times). The feelings were so intense my words are grossly inadequate. A friend and I were standing at the River Jordan. We were discussing baptism (though I cannot remember clearly what we were saying.) Everything was yellow or gold, in my dream, as if I was looking through yellow tinted glasses. And then Jesus walked up beside me and took my hand. He was standing on my right. And he led me into the River Jordan to be baptized. It felt so real and the love was so powerful it was more than my body could contain. I felt confined by my flesh and as if I was going to explode. It was so beyond amazing. (That word is so small and insignificant in contrast to the feeling I experienced.) My cup runneth over.

24This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
27The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.
29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
(Psalm 118:24-29. NASB.)

There may not be very many things I can guarantee...but that I am a servant of the Lord is one of them.

(Photo Information.)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Global Citizenship in the Classroom

This is another video from one of my Early Education classes in which I am enrolled at university. It is hard for me to imagine that this is not common knowledge...to ask questions. Really? How else do we form relationships?

Friday, September 26, 2014

He Set the Earth on its Foundations: 50 Things I am Going to Miss About California (#48-#47)

In celebration of our move from California to Texas I kicked off this list, last week, with 50. Earthquakes and 49. Traffic. Which brings us to the next two items on my list:

48. The Freeways
I have a love/hate relationship with the California (CA) freeways. When all is well, everyone is being careful, observant, courteous, etc. the freeways move relatively swiftly (65 mph) and are pretty efficient. But construction, someone texting or talking and not paying attention, a nincompoop acting foolishly, fog, someone tailgating (following the car ahead too closely), a car broken down in the fast lane or one of the middle lanes, etc. can cause a huge, very dangerous problem in a matter of seconds. And, what is with so many car fires!!! It was not until I moved here that I began seeing this amount! I should carry around a fire extinguisher with me! We just saw one last weekend on our way home from Santa Cruz. One day, last year, I even saw a motorcycle on fire! And the guy was still riding it! I could not help but wonder if his leg hair was getting singed! I do believe I witness at least one automobile fire quarterly…(one each year at the very least). For me, it is too much.

The 80, 50, 5, 99, 405 etc. range anywhere from four to six lanes across. At certain times during the day they are massive parking lots with vehicles bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see. A fender bender or pile up on the opposite side of the freeway generally means rubber neckers, slow moving traffic, and delays on the clear side. I have to admit, though, I am used to them…it took a little while when I first got here (rule number one my friends told me was “never tailgate!”) but now whenever I go other places I miss the zany CA freeways and their long, well-marked on and off ramps with adequate signage. Oh, and motorists here care about how fast each lane moves. The “fast” lane (far left) is exactly that and mainly for passing. Slower traffic should stick to the “slow lane” (far right). Everyone else is in the middle lanes going with the flow. Oh, and do not misuse the carpool lane!

47. The crazy expensive cost of living. (No way, Jose!)
It is worth being mentioned but I certainly will NOT miss it, at all! I feel it is nearly impossible for a single person to live alone in this state! Roommates are pretty much a given. Our first home was two bedrooms (with a “den” we used as a third bedroom), two bath, and 1151 square feet. It was out in the middle of pasture (so to speak), in a housing development 30 minutes away from pretty much everything (though the small town does have a “main street” area with various shops, bars, etc. and a relatively expensive little grocery store) off of a two lane highway. We paid $204,000 for it in 2001. In 2013 it sold for $210,000. (The price per square foot being $176.) Now, think about the houses in your area that cost $204,000 - $210,000. What does a person get for his/her money? I will tell you in the other states in which I looked, I found twice the house for that cost! California is beautiful, it truly is, but costly.

5He set the earth on its foundations,
so that it should never be moved.
6You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
8The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
9You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.

10You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
11they give drink to every beast of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
(Psalm 104:5-13. ESV.)

(Click here to go to #46-#44.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

You Have Searched Me and Know Me

Twice this week my faith has been brought to my attention. First, I was told I am a “bad Christian”. Then, I was told I do not act like a believer. Both of these statements are very serious to me. They left me feeling icky and taking a good, hard look at myself. Without considering the source, I need to make sure there is nothing in my “blind spots”. As I went over the writing of Pastor John MacArthur, I made sure to ask myself about each item he addressed. Do I have a distinct testimony? An obedient life? A biblical perspective of money and materialism? Am I sensitive to sin? Do I obey God’s word? Do I see a decreasing pattern of sin in my life? Do I love other Christians? Do I experience answered prayer? Do I experience ministry of the Holy Spirit? Can I discern between spiritual truth and error? Have I suffered rejection because of my faith? (All of these, I have asked myself, are from messages on John MacArthur’s “Grace to You” site I linked to, yesterday.)

In asking myself these questions, I cannot help but wonder if the two statements made to me about my faith fall under “Have I suffered rejection because of my faith?” Perhaps…I have been “rejected” by this particular individual, before, a number of times. History tells me that might not be an unreasonable conclusion. But, again, I am not going to examine the source. I am going to focus on my own behavior. Are those around me able to see a reflection of Christ in me? Do I feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit? I can say, I sure do hate to offend the Holy Spirit. It is the most unpleasant feeling ever! I also know for an absolute certainty that I love God and Jesus with my whole heart! I definitely do not pray enough. That I need to fix. And, I need to be in God’s word more each day! I need to talk about Jesus more in my home and while fellowshipping.
5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9. ESV.)

Admittedly, I was in a yucky mood after the grievous second statement was made against me. And, immersed in deep thought most of the day. I know God will search me and show me my own heart.
1O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
(Psalms 139. ESV.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Am I Saved?

Do you ever ask this question of yourself or someone else? Am I saved? Is she/he saved? How can I tell?

Below are links to some fabulous reading on the subject:

What kind of things do and do not prove the genuineness of saving faith?
Churches today are filled with people who hold to a faith that does not save. James referred to this as a "dead faith"-meaning a mere empty profession (James 2:17, 20, 26). Paul wrote to the people in the church at Corinth to test or examine themselves to see if they were truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). As important as it was in Paul's day, how much more important it is for people in our churches today to put their faith to the test and to make sure they have not been deceived. Click here to read more.

A Believer's Assurance: A Practical Guide to Victory over Doubt
Some people have assurance who have no right to it. The old slave spiritual put it simply: "Everybody talkin' about heaven ain't going there." Some feel all is well between them and God when it isn't. They don't understand the truth about salvation and their own spiritual condition. Click here to read more.

Is It Real?
11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation. Click here to read more.

Examine Yourself
Are you a Christian? Many people who claim to be point to some event in the past to substantiate their claim. But inviting Jesus to come into your life in the past is not proof that you are genuinely saved. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul says to the Corinthian church, " Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves (emphasis added)." He wouldn't have said that if some event in the past were obviously the answer. The Bible never verifies anyone's salvation by the past but by the present. If there is no evidence of salvation in your life now, you need to face the fact that you may not be a Christian. You need to examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith. How does one do that? Jesus shows us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Click here to read more.

Who are you to say that I am or am not a believer?
I get this question from loved ones...people with whom I want to spend an eternity who may or may not be believers of the faith. "Who are you to say your faith is the ONLY way?" I get this question, too. My bottom line is this. 1. To those I love, I want to be with you FOREVER! 2. I am a believer of the scriptures, that they are inspired by God and are His word. 3. God's word says,
6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.From now on you do know him and have seen him,” (John 14:6-7. ESV.)
among many other things indicating Jesus is the way. 4. I want to share this information with you. 5. But ultimately it is "grace alone by faith alone". I know I cannot save you nor do I believe I am your judge and jury. 6. I simply love you and want to be with you "to infinity and beyond". 7. I do not want to argue with you or upset you. I love you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

And My God Will Supply All Your Needs

Today, I have the pleasure of going on a field trip with the class of one of my kiddos. We are heading to the library and we will be walking there. I remember a couple "walking field trips" when I was in school. One was to the roller skating rink and another was to my house. Yep, my Kindergarten or first grade class took a "field trip" to my house to learn about (and pet, touch, hold) baby rabbits. I guess it was for Science.

To be honest, I prefer going on these "walking field trips" with the class because I am trained to protect. Does that guarantee anything? No, it does not. It simply means I will do my best to help in a situation (should one arise) where assistance is needed. I have the knowledge and training to do so, for which I am deeply thankful to God.

While I am on the subject, I have to say what a blessing it is to know about and participate in Kenpo. I am no longer afraid of circumstances that could arise in the day to day which require some self defense. I have been in such predicaments before, unfortunately, and was unprepared. Praise God, I was never severely injured as He provided a means of escape. I am grateful I can now say I am ready...just incase. Further, it just might come in handy when I am an attorney. You never know when/if someone might be carrying a grudge. It has happened before and I was none the wiser until it was brought to my attention.

But, back to the field trip. I feel so fortunate to be able to accompany my children on such events. Hubs and I went on as many as possible with our older kids and now I am able to catch most of them with our younger ones. Praise God! I will not get this privilege forever so I intend to soak up every minute of it. Infact, once we move to Texas, and they enter the traditional public school system, I am curious (and a little antsy) about how things will go. Sometimes change is a little tricky but it is for a greater good.

Field trip time. Until tomorrow...

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:19, 20 NASB)

Monday, September 22, 2014

He Will Not Forsake His Saints

If I have learned nothing else, it is that God will take care of me! And, it is never in the manner I think.
23The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.
25I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
26He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing….
28For the LORD loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
(Psalm 37:23-26, 28. ESV.)

The provisions of God for me are one thing about which I do not worry. Sometimes I am asked, “Well, what if something unexpected happens?” or “Is that because you have stability?” I do not think so. I believe it is because I have seen God in action. “Stability” is a newer thing for me…to be honest. It may not appear that way from the outside but that is the truth of the matter. Without going to into detail I will simply say, there were too many variables causing all kinds of uncertainty day to day, week to week, month to month. It was a constant state of not knowing and I learned to be 100% dependent on God! When I am, it is AMAZING! And, He works in various ways. At times He covers things coming, beforehand, like when we received a payment for services provided that was twice the amount we expected. We thought, “Yes! Extra money!” Then we were hit with an unexpected fee totaling the exact amount of “extra” income. We were back to status quo. But it was sincerely awesome! Other times a situation presents itself and He provides the means…usually through members of the body…which may not be a well-oiled machine but its purpose is very important. It is the representative of Christ Jesus, the head, in this world (and as a result, the support system for believers).

Even in times when I wondered, “Lord, where are you going with this?” He has provided for me and protected me (and my family). During the days when I was weak and gave up, He did not forsake me (or my crew). When I felt like I was lost, stumbling through a desert without an oasis in sight, He comforted me. At one point the friends of Job questioned me and gave me their opinion yet Jesus carried me. “For the Lord loves justice; He will not forsake His saints.” Not a single lamb will He lose…even if He has to carry it around His neck. I will tell all who will listen about my Savior…my provider and protector!

14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

16From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinthians 5:14-20. ESV.)

Friday, September 19, 2014

It Has Been Already: 50 Things I Am Going to Miss About California (#50-#49)

In celebration of our move from California to Texas, I am going to do a list of “50 Things I am Going to Miss About California”. California (CA) is amazing and beautiful in many ways (as is each state) and I am truly going to hate to say “good-bye” to some things, here. So, I guess being we have eight months and twenty –six days left, I will break down the list little by little to stretch it over our remaining time, here. Hence, I will do one or two each week (going in reverse starting with #50). Now, without further ado:

50 Things I Am Going to Miss About California
(Drum roll please.)

50. Earthquakes (NOT!)

In the sixteen years I have lived in CA (Southern and Northern), I have experienced two earthquakes at roughly the same intensity. Actually, about the same everything. Both times the quake occurred between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. I woke to the building and the blinds on my windows moving. The first one, though, was more of a “rolling” feeling while the second was more of a “rumbling”. Both times, nothing of ours was damaged, thankfully. Though earthquakes are very scary and cause great damage, injuries, and death, they are a mind blowing act of God. Each time I realized how small and insignificant I am (like a speck of dust is compared to me). When the earth is moving and there is nothing you can do about it, it is very humbling, intense, and thought provoking. What if the house crumbled beneath us? As a child growing up in Florida (FL) I was always taught what to do in the event of a hurricane. I was prepared for and knowledgeable of those. But an earthquake? I had no idea what to do! Do I stand in a doorway? I’m on the second floor, do I stay here? Do I move to the first floor? Do I get on my bed incase the floor falls out beneath me? I cannot outrun this, what am I supposed to do? You know? It is an experience unlike any other.

49. Traffic (Nope, not really.)

Like Baltimore at rush hour or even Hawaii, there are times when it seems everyone and their brother are on the freeway…especially around holidays! Sometimes while driving the kids to their private school I have to take the back roads when the freeway starts getting backed up. At times it is road work and others it is an accident. (I am always prayerful no one is injured when accidents occur, of course.) When we lived in the Los Angeles (L.A.) area, I had to allow myself two (2) hours to get to an audition because of traffic! And that’s just on the freeways! San Francisco is grid locked at certain times of the day. THAT is super frustrating. I took Electronic Arts classes for web design at a school in San Francisco (about 13 or 14 years ago) and trying to get out of the city at “rush hour” was a nightmare. There seems to be a “me first” policy there. One time a lady just kept honking her horn. She did this for an insane amount of time. The traffic was not moving. All the vehicles plus stop lights equals mayhem. And there she was, in the middle of it all, honking her stinking horn. It was at that time I wished I was Godzilla and could eat her car!

Well, here are the first (or rather last) two on my list. 48 more to come, and I promise they are not all like these…a few, but I honestly am going to feel the absence of some things once we are gone.

4A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
7All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
11There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.
(Ecclesiastes 1:4-11. ESV.)

(Click here to go to #48 & #47.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

He Will Give You the Desires of Your Heart

The misty rain outside reminds me winter is on its way. I cannot help but check the weather in Austin, Texas (soon to be our new home). Currently, it is nine degrees warmer than here and partly cloudy. It is supposed to storm there and here (Northern California (CA)), later today. I wonder what the winters will be like in Austin. I have been told by a handful of people as to what to expect but the reality of it might be a tad bit different. One fellow Floridian (with whom I grew up) said I am going to love the Austin area! Another said, yes, but the winters are pretty cold. I lived in Oklahoma (OK) for a couple years and the winters (I only survived two) were a little too much for me. There was snow…quite a bit of it. Walking to class (at university) was not a big deal once I figured out I needed to wear a scarf around my face so it did not feel like it was going to freeze completely off! The parking lot at my apartment complex would freeze over with ice. The part that was just the deal breaker for me was the driving in the snow and ice. NO WAY! As a passenger, I watched as cars slid and collided into each other. They could not stop…even if they were going five or ten miles an hour! To me, it was scary madness. As long as winters are not like that in Austin, I should do fine!

I lived in Florida (FL) for about 20 years, but Austin is on a higher line of latitude than Northern Florida. So, I assume it will get colder than, say, Tallahassee in the winter time. I also lived in Long Beach, CA for a year or so and Austin is on a lower line of latitude than the southern most point of CA. Being we have taken our girls to the beach on Christmas Day before, while living in Long Beach, I am wondering if Austin will be slightly warmer in winter. But, when comparing word of mouth notes, it sounds very similar to where we currently live (plus some ice on the roads). Looking at a climate map it appears Austin will average anywhere between ten degrees and thirty degrees during the winter and falls into the “humid subtropical” climate classification. (Less 10 and more 30 would be nice!) I will keep watching and comparing the weather reports on my phone to get a better idea but I think it will be okay. I will be closer to my family and that is what REALLY matters to me.

Okay, that is quite enough obsessing over weather. God has truly blessed me with the most amazing family and friends. Some of which will be in Texas, too! And, the drive to Northern Florida is an easy 15 hours. (Yes, I did use “easy” and “15 hours” in the same sentence.) I am one of those people who LOVES road trips. And, being within a reasonable driving distance to my family is all I wanted…to get to see them quarterly as opposed to once a year is going to be so precious to me! Sure, life is crazy but we make the time for the things that are the most important to us, right? And, I have already looked up some churches that will be in our area using the 9Marks site. That is truly my first item of business once we get out there. We have a housing area picked out with excellent traditional public schools. It is only a matter of time before the “perfect” house (for us) presents itself. I am absolutely STOKED! (Incase you could not tell.) T-minus eight months and 27 days before we start our drive to our new home 1,790 miles away! And that is 1,020 miles closer to my family! Thinking about this makes my heart glad.

Ultimately, I know, I can plan all day long but God will direct my steps (Proverbs 16:9).
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
(Psalm 37:3-7. ESV.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Discrimination: Let Us Not Become Conceited, Provoking One Another

Some stories make me so sad. There are times when I wish I could go, into the past, and be with the person telling their story during the times that they needed someone.

When I was in middle school (grades 6-8), I read a book called Death by Child Abuse and No One Heard. I wanted with all my heart to reach into the pages and help the little girl escape her abuser. But that was many years ago, and she died at the hands of her abuser when she was five. There were people who knew her...who saw her at school or where ever else. They either did not know what was going on or did not want to get involved. And a life was lost.

Below is a video I just watched for one of my university classes. Again, I had the strong longing to jump into this man's story, take his hand (in the first grade), and tell him, "Please don't throw away your lunch. It smells delicious!" And, talk to him and get to know him.

I get that we all hear rumors or stories about various locations and maybe even many races. But to be unkind to another human being, I do not understand. I love to chat with people and hear their their stories. Where they grew up, what they enjoy doing, etc. I may not agree with everything everyone says. That is just part of being individuals...we each have our own opinions but that is regardless of social standing, nationality, etc. Even with others with whom we can relate, we STILL have differences.

Below is the video I just watched. I hope, one day, no one will feel discriminated against because of gender, color of skin, territory in which they live, grew up, or were born, a disability, race, health, social class, nationality, age, language spoken, social status, etc.

...perhaps that is the secret to changing the world, that each and everyone of us has to take the time to walk each other home. ~ Lee Mun Wah

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26. ESV.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Be Filled with the Spirit, Addressing One Another in Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Singing and Making Melody to the Lord with Your Heart

Yesterday, I jumped a hurdle. It may have looked small but for me it appeared towering. (I am speaking figuratively, of course.) I am certain I have mentioned before (a few times), I struggle terribly with anxiety. It causes an array of various issues from a cold sweat, to nausea, to my mind going completely blank, etc. Anyway, I really enjoy singing, I do. Just ask my kiddos. They hear me pretty much non-stop. I give concerts in the car, at home…my neighbors have maybe heard too since lately I have had the windows open during the day. When I am comfortable, I will sing to my heart’s content. But, in public…or even in front of a single person (other than my children…they are so supportive and say my singing sounds great!) I shut down. My throat tightens up and I choke (pun intended). As I have also mentioned before, it was suggested I go to a karaoke bar (because A. there is “liquid confidence” available and B. the people there are supportive).

Instead, though, I asked if I may join our “praise team” at church. So, where does the hurdle come in? Well (thank you for asking), yesterday, I attended my first practice with them. So, how did it go? (Again, how kind of you to inquire.) It went okay. I did FAR better than I thought I would…no dizziness, no puking. (That’s always a good thing, right?) I was not brave enough to sing with the microphone (Are you kidding me?! Amplify my anxiety so you can hear every flip of my voice and wrong note so boldly belted out?! No way!) But, I did stand with the backup singers and sang. (I wasn’t able to pace, of course. I am a “pacer” when anxiety is bugging me. Or if I am sitting I bounce, tap, wiggle, (in short I can’t sit still)…you get the idea.) Anyway, so I did much better than I envisioned I would. Further, I am ready for the next rehearsal. I am still not prepared to join them during an actual worship service, but I’ll get there…eventually…hopefully.
18 …but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ... (Ephesians 5:18-20. ESV.)
I am thankful for a voice to lift up in “spiritual songs”. Which brings me to a story.

Growing up I was immersed in the field of dance (with a focus on ballet). My life was training every day for hours, doing performances, competitions, and conventions. I generally would meet up with the same “usual suspects” at most events. Also, sometimes we had “guest teachers” and “guest students” at the studio. One girl, who was an AMAZING dancer, BEAUTIFUL person, and gentle soul, is Jill. Admittedly, I have lost track of her over the years but one visit back to my hometown I learned some terrible news. I was told Jill had been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver and was paralyzed. My heart cried! I mourned the loss of her “true love”. I knew (as everyone else did who ever saw her dance) she adored it! She was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) to be a dancer. She was so graceful and talented. She was the girl I wanted to beat (at competition) but she was (and probably still is) such a nice person! Sometimes I do not understand how God can allow such things to happen but I do have faith (as Joseph said)
20As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.(Genesis 50:20. ESV.)
The drunk driver most likely did not even realize what he/she did and took away from Jill!
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
(Psalm 23. ESV.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Eye Cannot Say to the Hand, “I Have No Need of You”

Today, I attended my first ballet class in years…four years (give or take). My body was screaming at me, “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?!” And, I about hit muscle failure in my legs, toward the end. I have a very bad habit of “over doing it” my first time back after a break. I have, honestly, taken time off before however never for this long. But, a ballerina never forgets. There were two ladies in the class who had stopped doing ballet for 30 years! It was amazing to watch them in class! I swear, (and say again) a ballerina never forgets! The body and muscles are programed…like riding a bike, I guess. I hear it is the same for gymnasts. The human body astonishes me, greatly!
13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14. ESV.)
It is a fine oiled machine that depends on every working part…especially the ones we don’t see or think about regularly. It makes me think of the body of Christ,
12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.17If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,23and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,24which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-26. ESV.)

Ballet is my true love. I was asked if I wanted to be a “Party Guest” for this dance school’s production of “The Nutcracker”. I really do, however I also want to be fair to my family. Performing is a LOT of work…the schedule can be intense. There are rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and of course the show times themselves. Not to mention, “The Nutcracker” is generally performed around Thanksgiving and Christmas time. The rehearsal schedule sounds okay (from what I know of it) but I need to find out show times and for how long this production is running. If it is just a weekend, it most likely is doable. But, when I was a child, “The Nutcracker” productions in which I used to participate ran for WEEKS! So, we’ll see. Okay, time is up for now. Must run off to the next item of business, today.

P.S. Just for fun and giggles, an old dance competition of mine is below. The dancer I once was:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

He Who Loves His Wife Loves Himself

This morning was the second time I heard the saying, “Happy wife. Happy life.” ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?! I am going to be honest, it infuriates me!
19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:19. ESV.)
Why does God’s word have to tell husbands to “not be harsh” with their wife? Allow me to show you the rest of that scripture for a minute:
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. (Colossians 3:20-22. ESV.)
Do your children obey you? Is it most of the time or part of the time? Do slaves take joy in serving their “master”? Do you see where I am going with this? Why is it necessary for scripture to tell husbands to “not be harsh” with their wife? Perhaps because there are husbands who are.

A husband is the head of his household just as Jesus is head of the body of Christ (the church). To me, the saying above, “Happy wife, happy life,” would be like saying, “A happy church, a happy Jesus.”
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body.31“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33. ESV.)
Can you not see the romance and beauty in that?! For a husband to be so in love with his wife that he gives himself up for her? “As Christ loved the church”… those words are HUGE!!! Look at what Christ Jesus did for the church! I think some get caught up on the “wives submit to your husband” part but really when you love someone, do you not do that anyway? Who in love does not feel compelled to spend every waking moment thinking about and spending time with the other person? What about taking that person out to dinner or buying him/her something? “He who nourishes and cherishes [his wife like his own body], just as Christ does the church” A husband who loves his wife like his own body. Is that not beautiful? And the wife respects her husband.

If a husband loves his wife like he loves his own body and is not harsh with her, I do believe it would be quite easy for a wife to respect her man and not mind giving into him…giving him her all…doing everything for him. (And vice versa.) So, no more of this “a happy wife makes a happy life” bunk! "He who loves his wife loves himself," how's that for a catch phrase?

The defense rests, your honor.

(Photo information.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sing to Him a New Song

There has got to be something to be said about anxiety. My sibling and I have the same ones! How bazaar is that? We have compared notes and flying on small planes and performing (mainly singing was discussed) in front of people causes us to start climbing the walls (stress). Is that not weird? Some would say, “Well, everyone experiences those same feelings.” But when I am on a little plane (anything below a 737… and prop planes are the worst!) I feel like I cannot breathe. I cannot sit still and I get nauseous. It’s like my head is going to explode or something. I just want to claw the seats in front of me and run off of thing screaming! Is that the norm? With performing I feel dizzy, light headed, like I cannot breathe, my throat closes up, and I feel like I am going to lose control of bodily functions (i.e. puke, etc.). Is that the average response for everyone?

So, why do it? Well, the whole flying bit… I stick with Southwest and their big planes! I have been completely dedicated to them for 18 years! I personally feel that company and their employees are that wonderful. Regarding performances, well, I figure if I do not force myself out of my comfort zone I will never get over it. I am a trained ballerina (and overall dancer also in jazz, tap, modern/contemporary, and acrobatics). I have been cast in multiple shows, numbers, and participated in numerous competitions. I was fine once I was on stage but I struggled terribly backstage leading up to setting foot out there. November 2013, I did an acting project (24 hour theater) and did okay. No uneasiness at all! However, now I am trying singing and boy oh boy is it causing me grief! So, I have decided to train for it and attempt performances.

I am certain it is easy to say, “Oh you’ll be fine. It’s no big deal.” And on a grand scale, you would be right! I am not fighting in a war or trying to protect my life and those of the ones I love. THAT would be cause for great distress. I love reading the Psalms where David cries out to God for help and also gives Him praise! There are so many from which to choose.

1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
2Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

4For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

6By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.

8Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,

19that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33. ESV.)

Monday, September 08, 2014

She Works with Willing Hands

I feel tired, today, and after a morning of Macroeconomics my brain feels fried. There are days when I do not want to do my school work. The end will justify the means. I feel I am not being a Proverbs 31 wife and mother. By that I mean, I no longer homeschool my children (though I still do stay home with them by doing all of my university classes online instead of sitting in the classroom and by not working outside the home unless I am substitute teaching at the school where my children attend), I am always behind on the laundry and housekeeping, I do not make dinner every night (I only have it ready for my family three nights a week. Someone else picks up three nights and then the seventh is a “free for all”), etc.
10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:10-31. ESV.)

Yes, the heart of my husband can definitely trust in me. I never mean him harm (intentionally try to hurt him). Like I said above, I only make dinner three nights each week. The only time I “rise while it is yet night” is if I cannot sleep or suddenly awake around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. With the “fruit of my hands” I am studying to have a career once we have an “empty nest”…does that count? I work out so I should be moderately strong. I perceive once I have my law degree my “merchandise” (services) will be profitable. I do need about seven or eight hours of sleep so my lamp does go out at night unless someone needs me (like if one of my children is sick). I do prefer to give to the poor and needy. I do make sure my kids are fed, clothed, have water, and shelter…no matter what! I strive to be wise and teach with kindness…though, admittedly, some days I fall short and become impatient. I most certainly do NOT “eat the bread of idleness”. My calendar is packed…never a dull moment…even with only two young ones left in the home. (The other two have established their own households.) It is my desire to always be all that my children require…even when they are young adults. I love them each dearly and I hope they know that without a single doubt in their minds. Will my works “praise [me] in the gates”? What if I have, in my best efforts at training up my kiddos diligently and being consistent, exasperated one or all of them? What if I am missing the mark while I dedicate time to my studies? Why do I worry so much?!

I guess I have to tell myself what I tell my kids… I can only do my best, because it is the best I can do. And, God only calls me to have faith while He (in all His splendor, majesty, mercy, and grace) takes care of all the rest! How wonderful is that?
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God,
    and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
2Attend to me, and answer me;
    I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
3because of the noise of the enemy,
    because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they drop trouble upon me,
    and in anger they bear a grudge against me.

4My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5Fear and trembling come upon me,
    and horror overwhelms me.
6And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest;
7 yes, I would wander far away;
    I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
8I would hurry to find a shelter
    from the raging wind and tempest.”

9Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues;
    for I see violence and strife in the city.
10Day and night they go around it
    on its walls,
and iniquity and trouble are within it;
    11ruin is in its midst;
oppression and fraud
    do not depart from its marketplace.

12For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
    then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—
    then I could hide from him.
13 But it is you, a man, my equal,
    my companion, my familiar friend.
14We used to take sweet counsel together;
    within God’s house we walked in the throng.
15Let death steal over them;
    let them go down to Sheol alive;
    for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.

16But I call to God,
    and the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon
    I utter my complaint and moan,
    and he hears my voice.
18He redeems my soul in safety
    from the battle that I wage,
    for many are arrayed against me.
19God will give ear and humble them,
    he who is enthroned from of old, Selah
because they do not change
    and do not fear God.

    20My companion stretched out his hand against his
    he violated his covenant.
21His speech was smooth as butter,
    yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
    yet they were drawn swords.
22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
    and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
    the righteous to be moved.

23But you, O God, will cast them down
    into the pit of destruction;
men of blood and treachery
    shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you.
(Psalm 55. ESV.)

(Photo Information.)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

With Power Comes Great Responsibility

I wonder how many parents realize this…the power that we have over our children. How many people acknowledge how they influence their spouse? God’s word says for women to be respectful and men to not be harsh with their wives. How many individuals rely on their spouse in one way or another…whether it is to bring home the bacon or raise the children, etc.? Malachi 4:5-6 says,
5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 6And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

But, whenever I read the bible I always ask, “Is this literally or figuratively speaking? Do I understand the translation and meaning of the phrases?” There are a few pastors I trust when researching scripture. The one at the church I attend (of course…otherwise why would I go there?), John MacArthur, the late Jonathan Edwards, and John Piper. Regarding these verses, John Piper explains the following,
His aim is to spare people from being cursed. That's the mercy we saw in verse 5. But to spare people from being cursed, people must be changed. Specifically, it it says their hearts must be changed. And even more specifically it says that the disposition of the heart toward fathers and children must be changed….

>          Fathers, you can have your heart turned away from your children simply by ignoring them. By being so swallowed up in your work that all they get are the dregs of your life.

>          You can have your heart turned away from your children by being abusive. It may be that without even hearing yourself your communication with them is a litany of disapproval and put-downs. Why? Because your heart is not toward them. You don't feel what they feel. Your heart is frozen in a posture of habitual unkindness. Or worse in our day is the increase (or increasingly revealed) sexual abuse of children. And where, then, is the father's heart? It is curled around like a snake in love with its own tail and consuming itself on its own filthy passions.

>          Or you can have your heart turned away from your children through an embittered spirit of disappointment: that you are forgotten by them, or that they have let you down in the way they live, or that they have taken you for granted and never said thanks for all you did. Where is the heart then? In the poisoned puddle of self-pity that threatens to grow into an ocean of resentment.
(By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/he-will-turn-the-hearts-of-the-fathers-to-the-children.)

As spouses and parents we have HUGE responsibilities and great power when it comes to our family. The hearts of our spouse and children are in our hands. We can encourage them or crush them, every minute of the day, with our words and/or actions. I feel each of us makes a conscious decision to behave in a loving or hateful manner.

Friday, September 05, 2014

My First (and Possibly Last) Vlog

In my "Introduction to Instructional Technology" class I was assigned to watch a video called "An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube". Being I have no idea what to say in a vlog, I just recorded something I was already doing...helping to put together a "Lego Ninjago Kai Fighter". Wish me luck.

Monday, September 01, 2014

More Disappointment: Proverbs 22:6 Is Not A Promise by God

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

What does this scripture mean to you? To me, I have always believed God’s word is breathed out by God, inspired by God, and truth. So when I read the following bit in a book, it caused a hint of discomfort in me.
The proverbs are not conditional promises; they are wise maxims. When we fail to understand this form of literature and build our lives on them as a guarantee, we end up with a philosophy akin to that of Job’s comforters.(Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Give Them Grace. Illinois. 2011. Pg. 61.)

I know and understand God alone saves souls. There is nothing I can do for myself or others. I get that. I believe, in part, what the author stated above in that “The proverbs are not CONDITIONAL promises...” Agreed. However, I still hold true that God keeps His promises and His word is truth. So what does this mean for me? If proverbs are just “maxims”, a “general rule of conduct” then is it wrong for my faith to be in the Lord and His promise…i.e. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I never saw this as I have to do something and then God is obligated to reward me. I have always seen it as, God is incapable of lying. If He says, “Train your children up and they will not depart from it.” Then, I believe Him. No ifs, ands, or butts about it. My hope is in the Lord and Him alone. I never equated it to whether or not I parent well will decide the fate of the children God entrusted to me. I love God. Because I do, I follow His word and obey His commands. I do the best I can. I fall short at times but I feel that does not mean I will ruin my children. (Well, maybe not completely.) Gosh, how do I put my heart into words. I am so thankful I have the Holy Spirit to mediate for me, to God.

Maybe it’s like, “Look both ways before crossing the street so you do not get hit by a car.” Or, grace alone by faith alone. Or the Great Commission! God calls me, I have faith, and He saves me by grace. Then He tells me to go out and spread the word. Similarly, God saves me, I love God, I raise my children according to His word (Matthew 28:19-20 “making disciples”), and they never depart from it (or ultimately will be called by God, have faith (which they learned while being trained up), and receive God’s grace. So the problem in my head is, if proverbs 22:6 is (according to the author of this book) a “maxim” then what about Matthew 28:19-20? I personally feel proverbs 22:6 is an instruction from the Lord like Matthew 28:19-20. Do this. My response is, “Yes, Lord,” because I love Him not because I expect anything in return. I am “teaching them [my children] to observe all that [God has] commanded”. And ultimately I believe God will save them. That is my prayer. My faith (and hopefully that of my children) is in the Lord.

David Mathis from Desiring God Ministries wrote the following,
Now, we need to be clear here. The proverbs commend certain paths to family members because they reflect the ways God ordinarily distributes his blessings. But ordinarily does not mean necessarily….Parents who train their children in the fear of the Lord follow the path that frequently brings children to saving faith.

But excellent wives, faithful husbands, and conscientious parents often endure terrible hardship in their homes because proverbs are not promises. They are adages that direct us toward general principles that must be applied carefully in a fallen world where life is always somewhat out of kilter.

As the books of Job and Ecclesiastes illustrate so vividly, we misconstrue the Word of God when we treat proverbs as if they were divine promises.
(Mathis, David. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/a-spectacular-and-scary-promise-assurance-suffering-and-our-great-inheritance.)

Fabulous. I guess I have a lot of thinking to do. And praying. If proverbs 22:6 is not God’s promise then I need to sort that out in my mind.

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