Maybe You Don’t Have Enough Problems!

Okay. So maybe not.  I’m not wishing a boatload of problems on you.  But often, when I see a couple that fusses a lot with one another, when there is no visible tenderness or connectedness, when they talk to each other like housemates not lovers, well, I wonder. It is as though they have nothing real to be upset about and so they invent things.

In my experience these couples are usually the ones with the nice house in the good neighborhood.  They have good jobs. They drive nice vehicles.  They can pay their bills when they are due.  They go on vacations. They and their children are mostly healthy.  And yet…where is the love, the tenderness, the “we’re in this thing together” vibe?

Then, I know couples that have had one trial after another for many years.  Health issues, suffering finances, what- can-go -wrong-will-go-wrong kinda stuff. And, mostly, they love each other in a way that is visible to others.

Of course there are exceptions to the rules on both sides of the fence here. I am just stating what I see most often.  What is the reason for the difference in how these couples deal with each other and life? Sin obviously plays a big part in this.  We are by nature, selfish to the core.But I think it is also something else.  The couples that seem like they don’t have enough problems and so they invent them, are missing something.  Something big.

Perspective.

What is really needed is – Perspective! When we put things into their proper perspective, we will see them differently.  As we stood before the altar saying our vows to our husbands, did it even enter our minds that we’d fuss and argue over trash and toothpaste?  Probably not.  And it’s not that I am saying it isn’t “normal” to fuss over silly things.  What I am saying, to you and to me, is that it isn’t necessary. These little things are just little things. That’s it.  Why waste time on little things that won’t matter in eternity- or even next week?

Cue Frozen soundtrack song, “Let It Go”!

Seriously. Let it go.  There will be enough real issues in life, real trials, real need to talk, to wrestle through tough stuff, to pray for and with each other. We are all real sinners in a really fallen world. There will be plenty of real stuff that goes wrong. In the end, we all have enough real problems.

Don’t waste your precious time and the precious gift of marriage that God has given you on trivial fussing. Think how many single women are out there wishing there was a man in the house leaving the toilet seat up!

So the next time your husband, or mine, does that thing that drives us batty, let’s take a moment. Let’s keep our mouths shut.  Let’s count to 10 if needed.  During that 10 count, let’s think of a few good things about that man, about our lives, about how much better we’ve got it than that girl down the street. Save the big guns for the real fight.  You know, the one where we are on the same team with our husbands fighting together against a common enemy.

Then, let us “let it go”.  Let go of the false expectations and hold on to perspective.  I believe this conscious decision to put the little things in their proper perspective can make our marriages so much more enjoyable, blessed, and impactful to the world around us.

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From Mirror to Chalkboard

momma saidI was a teacher – a paid one- for 6 years before becoming a mommy.  I have been a teacher-an unpaid one- for 12 years homeschooling my kiddos. I loved to play school as a child. Thus my fascination with chalkboards.

And then of course, there is Pinterest.  Now every possible surface can become a chalkboard and all foods can be made in muffin tins!

I had this cute, chippy mirror that my mother had given me.  She found it in a shop, loved it, and brought it home. But she could never seem to find the right place to hang it and so it came to my house. Where it sat. For several years. Behind a chair. Because I couldn’t find a place to hang it either.  But it was just too great of a frame to let go.

So one day ( after entirely too much time on Pinterest) I decided to paint the mirrored surface with chalkboard paint.  I thought it might work.  I thought it might not. But would I really be losing anything?  I mean this poor orphaned mirror sat unused for years anyway. So I just slapped- or rather rolled- some chalkboard paint on it and let it dry. Then, I scribbled all over it with chalk and erased.  And you know what?  It worked fine. Then I washed it, let it dry, hung it up in the foyer and admired my handiwork.

But after a few days I thought, “Ok. This chalkboard begs to be written on.  But what to write?”  Well, back to my dear old nemesis, er, I mean friend, Pinterest. I started a board of chalkboard quotes and the rest is history!  I update it weekly, or less often if life is crazy. Well, crazier than normal . I usually share my chalkboard quotes with my friends on Facebook.

All of this from a sad, orphaned, outcast mirror and a small can of chalkboard paint.

 

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Laundry Tips to Make it a Habit

Endless-Love-and-Laundry-free-printable-via-A-Pop-of-PrettyWe do so many things on autopilot.  We don’t have to think about them or give much emotional energy or decision making to them.  Driving requires focus and attention, but the motions are rather automatic.  You really don’t have to think about putting the key in the ignition, turning it, letting go, looking around, putting the car into reverse or drive by first pushing in on the brake. It’s all rather automatic because it is second nature.

Well, many homemaking skills can become like this as well.  Habits come from routine.  Given enough time, they become automatic.  My laundry routine has become so automatic now that it is rather easy to keep on top of it. Of course, it doesn’t do itself, but I don’t have to spend time figuring out when to do it, which laundry to do ,nor do I  really have to sort laundry. Here are 4 tips on how to use routine to take the thinking out of laundry.

Tip #1 Sort it when you take it off!

This is a biggie.  Have a hamper or basket for whites and one for darks.  When you disrobe, drop the clothes into the correct basket. Sorting for the week- done! Teach your kiddos to do the same with white and dark laundry hampers in their rooms. Try to get your kiddos to make socks right side out again when they drop them in the basket. Good luck with that one!

Have a separate hamper for towels for obvious reasons. Wash sheets when you take them off.

Tip #2 Assign certain laundry to certain days

For example:  Do all the grown ups darks and sheets on Mondays, Child #1 darks and sheets on Tuesdays, Child #2 darks and sheets on Wednesdays, etc… If you have more than 6 children, well then, you’ll have to double up.

We save up all of the whites for one big load on Friday. We don’t seem to ever have a lot of whites so it works for us.  I usually add a load of towels in 2- 3 days a week. And since we are a ballet family, one day of the weekend is usually reserved for tights and leotards.

This gives us about 15-16 loads a week. This also helps me not to spend the weekends chained to the laundry room.  In fact, we rarely do much laundry on the weekends except for a load of ballet wear or a miscellaneous item or two. If you have a mega-sized family, then weekend laundry may be unavoidable, but for a moderate-sized family, sticking to the weekdays is very doable.

Since each person has their own load of darks it is super easy when it comes time to fold and put away as it is only one person’s laundry. The whites don’t work out that way, but as I said, it’s not that much and only one load a week.

Tip #3 Do some every day- early.

If you do a little bit every day it really keeps it under control.  And just like many other things, the sooner you do it- the better.  Do that laundry first thing in the morning and get it out of the way.  It can be put away before dinner or before bed if need be, but get it washed and dried.

If you have a newer washer, you can take advantage of technology.  Load the first load the night before.  Set the timer, fill the dispenser and wake up to a load washed and ready to be dried.  Half the battle is over before you even get out of bed! This makes it totally possible to have 3 loads done by lunch.

If you work outside of the home, set the washer to finish when you get home and switch it to the dryer when you walk in the door.  Now you’ll have one load done before dinner.

Tip #4 Teach the kiddos

Teach your children to do their own laundry as soon as possible.  Yes, it is another thing to have to teach them, but it is a big deal. They will be doing laundry all their lives.  Teach them how to do it well and independently early on.  It’s a win-win. You have help and you are teaching them valuable life skills.  Once they get the hang of it and know which day is theirs, you may only have to do a little reminding and they can do the rest themselves.

Start with Tip #1- Sorting the laundry as you take it off and then move into assigning days for each person’s or each type of laundry. If you miss a day, which will happen due to out of the house commitments, sickness, etc…, you can just catch up on the weekend or add an extra load into someone else’s day.  If each person has their laundry done weekly, they will rarely run out of clothes if you get a day behind. That’s another benefit of not letting it pile up.  This also eliminates giant piles of laundry breeding and multiplying on your laundry room floor.

Laundry is here to stay. So we might as well make it as painless as possible. I hope a few of my tips will help you to take it from nightmare status to simply another habitual routine that flows along with your day.

 

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Family Studies in Homeschooling

DSCN1095There are about as many homeschooling styles and curriculum choices as there are homeschooling families.  It can seem a bit overwhelming to a new homeschool mom, but I like that there is so much variety.  Isn’t that part of why we choose homeschooling?  We don’t want factory model, cookie cutter kids. Variety can be the spice of life.

Regardless of what method/curriculum you follow, I believe some things can and should be a part of your days of home education. There is one part of our day that is most special to me.  It is not a pre-packaged curriculum, but rather something that has grown over the years.  I find it to be the heartbeat of our home education and I wouldn’t forfeit it for anything. I am speaking of family studies.  Some call it Morning Time or Morning Basket.  Some even let it evolve from Circle Time when the kiddos are small.  It doesn’t matter what you call it; I hope you implement it.

Our family studies are spread out over the course of the day.  They anchor often to meal times because, let’s face it, when they are eating they are a bit of a captive audience!  The breakfast table affords us our first taste of family studies.  We review memory verses using www.simplycharlottemason.com scripture memory box system. We pray for missionaries or read about a people group in a book like Window on the World and pray for them.  I then read from a read aloud book.  Currently, we are reading our way through the Little House on the Prairie series. Yes, even my teens listen in and love it.

After breakfast and a switch of the laundry, we meet in the family room and this is the part of the day I’ll treasure always.  This is what I’ll remember at 90 in the rocking chair.  Everyone is comfy and relaxed.  No cold whiteboard. No hard chairs all in a row.  We bond over books! Usually this time consists of poetry- whether from one poet for a while or topically or seasonally. Then we read something from the history time period we are currently studying.  Something everyone can enjoy.  Once in a while we even watch an episode of Drive Thru History.

On Mondays we share a little piece of a narrative version of Shakespeare. Tuesdays are Plutarch if I am feeling adventurous. But not always. Wednesdays are composer study- a biography, a living book about the composer or even an episode for Classics for Kids.  We often listen to this composer during the mornings on youtube or Spotify. Thursdays are artist study- a biography, a living book, looking at prints of the works, etc… Friday has been for a living geography book and map drills.  It’s little bites taken consistently over a period of time. Not a huge long feast each day.  All told, we spend about 30-35 minutes together this way each morning.

Of course this is all apt to change around each year or even in a given month, but that is the gist of our morning time together. I don’t follow a rigorous plan and we take our time. I look a www.amblesideonline.org for ideas for composers, artists, and poets, and Shakespeare and Plutarch.  But I don’t follow their schedule religiously.  This is for our family and we own it.  It shouldn’t look the same for you.  These are just suggestions via     a glimpse into our way of doing it.  Make it your own.

After this time together, we move on to the independent part of the day. This means        the 3 R’s, foreign language, and other independent readings. The older ones only need me when they have a problem or need some direction, the youngest at 7, still sits with me to do the bulk of her independent work. Which, of course, I love.

I squeeze in a read aloud at lunch and one when we get to have tea time together- which ,sadly, has become rare as the kids get older and have more to do outside of home.

The youngest gets a read aloud all her own most nights before bed. Yes. It’s a lot of reading.  But one could do much worse with one’s time than read! Scheduling the read alouds around meal time is a way to get it to happen. No real time has to be found for read alouds.  It’s multitasking in a beautiful way.

If you are wondering how to fit in those beautiful extras, here is a way. I hope you’ll give it a try with your own twist and flair to it.  Enjoy family studies in your home education.  You will find it rich, rewarding, and bonding.

 

 

 

Posted in Home Atmosphere, Home Education | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Hi. This is Benita and I have decided to start posting more often on here as well.  I hope you continue to read and learn from George’s teaching pages and that you will gain encouragement here from me from time to time.

I’ll be posting mostly on homeschooling, homemaking, and marriage.  Unless, of course, my feathers are all ruffled up about some current event.  In which case, I may mount my soap box and spout off.  You have been warned!

Really, though, I hope you will find encouragement to love the life you are called to lead.

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A Scripture to Balance Power

Here is a scripture verse that is almost universally ignored in the Church today and if it was followed would be a check on the power that church leaders have today and especially church celebrity leaders.

1 Corinthians 6:4

If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

1 Corinthians 6 is a rebuke from Paul about the members of the Corinthian church going to court against each other to settle disputes with unbelievers as the judges.  Paul says in this chapter that the Church will judge angels in the age to come so how much more the issues that pertain to this life right now.

What is surprising about verse 4 is who Paul says should be the judges in disputes.  Paul says the judges should be not the elders or the deacons but the least esteemed in the church.  Who would these least esteemed in the Church be?  They would be those who don’t have their own power position that they are trying to defend.  They would be those whose decision is not swayed by money.  They would be humble servants who quietly serve their Lord.

Here is a challenge for the Church.  Let the least esteemed in the Church judge as the scripture says.  How about in matters of Church discipline?  Yes, especially in these matters.  And though all of the leaders will now say, “yeah but” instead of “amen”; the scripture is pretty clear.  We just need the courage and the faith to follow.

This scripture is a protection against the plague of self serving celebrity leaders’ abuse of power.

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Prayer at the Throne of Grace

Here is a link to a sermon I preached a couple of weeks ago at the Camden, DE Bible Fellowship Church on prayer at the throne of grace.  My text was Revelation 4.  Happy listening.

http://www.camdenbfc.org/sermons/?sermon_id=1369

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The Bible and Homosexuality

There are a few questions that have come up over the last several months about the Bible and homosexuality.

The first question is, “Is homosexuality wrong or is it a sin?”  A question that seems to be coupled with that question is, “Aren’t Christians just quoting one obscure passage from Leviticus, which is in the Old Testament?”  Here are five passages from the scriptures describing God’s opinion on homosexuality.  It should be abundantly clear that God considers it an abominable sin.  I have highlighted some words in these passages to show how clear this issue really is.

Leviticus 20:13

13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Genesis 19:4-7

But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

Romans 1:26-27

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Jude 1:7

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The second question regarding the subject of homosexuality and the Bible which  is asked in a way to insinuate hypocrisy is, “If Christians are going to quote Leviticus to show that homosexuality is a sin, why don’t they also keep the dietary laws?  Shouldn’t they also stop eating bacon and shrimp?”

The answer to this question is found in Acts 15.  Acts 15 describes the Jerusalem Council where the elders and apostles came together to consider the question of whether Gentiles who became Christians needed to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses.  The answer is found in Acts 15:28-29.

Acts 15:28-29

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

So you can see that Christians need to abstain from homosexuality which falls into the category of fornication; but with the exception of idol worship, drinking blood, and eating things that have been strangled Gentile Christians do not need to keep the law of Moses as far as the ceremonial law is concerned.  The moral law given in the ten commandments is repeated in the New Testament with the exception of keeping the Sabbath.  Christians do not keep the Sabbath (Colossians 2:8-23).  Jesus is my Sabbath and I rest in Him all week long by faith.

A third question concerning homosexuality and the Bible is, “Why can’t you Christians be tolerant and loving like Jesus was?”  The answer is God is not tolerant of sin.  He is merciful to sinners.  He said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”  The cross was not about tolerance for sin.  It was about a total abhorrence of sin and a total love of humanity coming together; God’s holiness and His mercy toward sinners being reconciled in the atoning death of the Son of God.

The answer to the question of homosexuality is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its power to deliver sinners from slavery to sin.  The modern Church in many cases is calling evil good instead of calling homosexuality sin.  The Church needs to tell those who are slaves to this wicked type of behavior that they are in rebellion to God but He will forgive them and deliver them if they would repent and call upon Jesus as their Savior.  Trying to make people feel comfortable in their sin only leads them to Hell.  Salvation from sin and death is still found in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He brings abundant life!!!

 

 

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Creationism vs. Evolution

Last night, Ken Ham a young earth creationist and Bill Nye an evolutionist had a three hour debate about the earth’s origins.  I saw also today where Pat Robertson criticized (more like mocked) Ken Ham for his faithfulness to the scriptures in believing in the creation account as stated in Genesis.  I am a young earth creationist and completely agree with Ken Ham.  Please do not listen to Pat Robertson.  He is a man who does not know his Bible and says stupid things quite often.  It is regrettable that he has somehow gained a platform to speak for Christianity in some way.

Lesson number 2 in my Old Testament Survey teaching pages gives seven reasons why Bible believing Christians cannot believe in evolution and must believe in a young earth.  Also, this lesson deals with creationism and evolution as science and shows why evolution is not scientifically possible.  Here is the link:  http://thefaithfulfamily.com/bible-lessons/test-page/lesson-2/.

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The Question of Restoration of Fallen Leaders

After watching over many years different Christian leaders fall into sin, I thought I would weigh in on the subject of restoration specifically.  When a leader who is truly born again falls into sin there is a process that begins once that sin finds them out.  The first part of the process is confession by the offender and rebuke before the church (1 Timothy 5:19-21).  If a church leader is not willing to submit to the church for discipline, then they are not repentant.

Scott Brown has written an article titled, Is He Repentant over @ www.ncfic.org which deals with the subject of true repentance.  I recommend this article to you.  What I want to deal specifically with is the subject of restoration.  The rest of this post will deal with the answer to the question, “Can a fallen Christian leader be restored to leadership?” and what does that look like.  First, I want to consider how a Christian becomes a leader in the Church in the first place.

The qualifications for elders and deacons, the leaders of the Church, are listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  If you read these lists you will see characteristics which can be described as observable faithfulness to Christ in public life.  The two sins that take Christian leaders out are adultery and theft.  Please notice the many characteristics mentioned that speak directly against these two sins:  blameless, a one woman man, of good behavior, not greedy of filthy lucre, not covetous, ruling his own house well, and a good report of them that are without.

As far as the amount of time it would take for a new believer to become an elder, Paul gave this instruction in 1 Timothy 3:6, that an elder should not be a novice because of the very real danger that a new believer would be lifted up in pride and fall.  Paul also said in 1 Timothy 5:22, “Lay hands suddenly on no man.”  One last consideration as far as time is concerned is the word “elder” itself.  The very word means an older man.  If someone would like to argue that this means spiritual maturity rather than physical age (I think it is a combination of both) I would ask how many years would a man have to be born again before they would be spiritually mature?  As I have done my own survey of asking pastors, “How many years went by from the time you were born again and when you became an elder?”, the answers usually hovered around ten years and many were beyond that.  Also, in those ten or more years every elder I have talked to could point to many ministries that they were involved where they were faithful in the smaller spheres of leadership.  They were faithful in the little things and God gave them more.

The second point for consideration in answering the question of the restoration of fallen Christian leaders is to ask whether there is a biblical example.  There is no example of a Christian elder or deacon committing adultery or stealing from the Church and then being restored to leadership.  Judas stole from the money bag which led him to betray Christ which led him to suicide which led him to his own place eternally separated from Christ.  There is a man who was a fornicator mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5 who seems to be restored in 2 Corinthians 2 but he was not an elder or deacon of the Church.  Demas is mentioned as a member of Paul’s ministry team in Colossians 4 and yet in 2 Timothy 4 it is said of him that he forsook Paul and loved this present world.  There is no indication that he was ever restored.  Two examples of men who were restored to ministry after a failure of faith (a moment of fear) were Peter and Mark.  Peter was restored by Christ after denying him and Mark was restored by Barnabas after abandoning him and Paul.  Neither of these men were guilty of theft or adultery.

The one example from the Bible that most would point to as an example of someone who fell into serious sin and then was restored is David.  He committed adultery and murder.  He was confronted (publically rebuked) by the prophet Nathan and confessed his sin.  He is the biblical example of true repentance.  His heart was truly turned to God.  But before a fallen Christian leader points to David, he may want to consider the terrible consequences that David endured because of his sins.  His daughter was raped by his son.  Three of his sons suffered untimely deaths.  And, his son rebelled against him and stole the kingdom from him.  If you total the number of years from when David sinned with Bathsheba, faced the consequences mentioned above and finally was restored to the throne after Absalom’s rebellion you will find at least ten years.

In summary, I believe that fallen leaders can be restored to positions of leadership in the Church.  However, I believe after they have been publically rebuked they should once again be considered a novice in the faith, a babe in Christ.  They should start down the path of faithfulness in little things which qualified them the first time they became elders.  After a period of at least ten years of showing the fruits of repentance, I believe a biblical case can be made for having a fallen leader return to a position of elder or deacon.  The mistake that is made over and over again in the Church is restoring the fallen leader way too soon and just reinforcing the pride that caused the fall in the first place.  Charisma, charm, good communication skills, and personality are very poor substitutes for righteousness, holiness, and a faithful witness.

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