Friday, October 31, 2008

From Larvae to Butterflies: Regeneration Part 1

This past spring, we ordered serveral butterfly larvae for our "butterfly garden" (think big net). We had just finished studying lepidopteras in science and found this to be the perfect homeschool project. The tiny caterpillars came in a little container with food just for them. They ate to their hearts' content and began to grow, grow, grow! We were amazed at how much they grew in just 2 weeks time.

Soon they began to crawl to the top of the container and attach themselves. We were so excited to see them began to form their chrysalis. We carefully moved the top of the container to the butterfly house and watched carefully for the big day! We were home and busy working on math when they began to emerge. What an amazing sight! Within the afternoon, all 9 emerged as beautiful painted lady butterflies. We enjoyed them for several weeks before it was warm enough to release them outdoors.

Isn't it amazing how God takes one creature and changes it into something completely new?

I mean, He didn't just add wings to the caterpillar or just throw in a pair of antennae for good measure. He totally changed the little creature from one form to another.

Another interesting thing to note, the butterfly is so different, NOBODY would mistake it for a caterpillar.
It doesn't look like a caterpillar, crawl like a caterpillar, eat like a caterpillar, or even molt like a caterpillar anymore.
Would our Lord do any less with us?
"But when the kindness and the love God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, THROUGH THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hopeof eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7).
God does not leave us in the same shape we were in before we received salvation. He changes us and makes us a new creation!
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Thank you, Jesus! I am so thankful He is in the changing business! He doesn't plan to leave us in the same shape we were in before we met Christ. He is so much more powerful and amazing than that! Once we have been regenerated by Him, we are a new person! The Apostle John describes it as being "born again" (John 3). What an incredible concept! Just like the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis as a new creation (a 2nd birth so to speak), we emerge from an encounter with the Holy God as a new creation (born again).
More on this subject next time! ;-)
In the Heart of our Home,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Enduring the Race

Occasionally, I walk for exercise. I wish I could say I exercise regularly, but I'm still working on that. ;0)

When I walk, all the children either walk or ride bicycles with me. It does make it more enjoyable, . . . . . .except Little Sister can't really keep up. Her tricycle just won't go that fast, and her little legs just don't have the walking power to keep up with her "athletic" mama. (I promise. . . .I say that sarcastically.)

Soooooooo. . . . . many times, when Little Sister has exhausted all means of keeping up, guess where she ends up. . . . . .yep, in my arms or on my back.

(And I wonder why I don't stay committed to walking?)

Truly, it slows a body down. So much for power walking. . . . . .

Yet, no wonder the Lord tells us in Hebrews 12 to "lay aside every weight."

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (v.1).

Spiritually speaking, Believers are in a race. It is a race that is set before us, and the only way we can run with endurace is by laying aside the sin which so easily ensnares us and slows us down.

What sin so easily besets you? Selfishness? Bitterness? Gossip? Anger? Lying? Worldliness? Appearance of evil? Discontentedness? Lack of faith? Lay it aside!

We can be encouraged by those who have gone before us. The "Chapter of Faith" (Hebrews 11) should bring us great encouragment and inspiration. Consider the circumstances of those heroes of the faith (Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, David, Samuel, the prophets). You are not the first to struggle in this race!

O.K., so we lay our sin aside. . . .what then? We fix our eyes on Jesus!

"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

The New Living Translation states it similarly: "We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish."

It all depends upon Christ! Our faith has depended upon Him from the beginning, and He will finish it for us! He simply asks us to lay aside our sin and keep our eyes fixed upon Him.

Therefore, keep your eyes on Christ and not on your circumstances. Keep your eyes on Christ and not on others. Keep your eyes on Christ and not on yourself.

Are you in the race?

In the Heart of our Home,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Keeping My Vineyard

Growing up in a godly home where we were at church everytime the doors were open and then marrying a preacher worked together with my overachiever personality to make for a very busy church member! I loved the Lord and always wanted to serve Him wherever He needed. However, that meant saying "yes" when many, many, many times I should have said "no."

At one point, we had four precious children five and under, but I was still the drama team director, preschool committee director, Mission Friends director, girls' Bible study leader, and Sunday night youth assistant teacher. Insane, huh? All I can think, "My poor family."

I felt the stress and knew it was distracting me from serving the Lord within my family, but I still felt guilty. If I said no to all these wonderful service positions at church, then I would be the one the pastor preached at from the pulpit about just warming a pew!

The Lord then taught me from His Word, and I began to learn more about my ministry responsibilities within my home. A verse that reached down into my soul is found in Song of Solomon:

"They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept" (1:6b).

My children (and even my husband, though I thought I was serving him by helping him at church) were only getting the leftovers because so much time and energy went into planning and preparing for my responsibilities at church.

The conviction from the above verse and others helped to reconcile my ideas about serving the Lord. Now I know my family is to be my number one ministry. The Scriptures clearly define my role to include helping my husband and training my children. The Scriptures do not clearly define my role including anything involving programs at church or elsewhere.

"What about evangelism?" you may ask. I have learned that this can be done clearly within the context of the family and even can and should be done (not only, though) within your home. It should definitely start here.

"What about discipleship?" Again, this is best done within the context of the family, can be carried out in your home, and most definitely should begin here!

"What about missions?" This is such a blessing when enjoyed as a family and can have many different looks. Missions at our house looked like one thing in July (mission trip to Central America) and something much different this week (ministry to a nearby widow).

It has definitely been a learning process, but God has grown us in new ways as we learn to serve Him in ways that may not look traditional (not always through church programs) but within our family, in our home, or even on the streets, in restaurants, etc.

I now pray that I will always be careful to what I say "yes" and consider its impact on my ministry to those the Lord has given me. May I keep my own vineyard with my whole heart and do it as unto the Lord.

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Say It All

At night, when the children go to bed, it has been my habit for about 9 or 10 years to pray over each child aloud. If I ever get caught up in a project downstairs and reach them after they have fallen asleep, the next night they will remind me, "Pray for me when I am awake."

Last night was one of those nights. When I slipped into Middle Sister's and Little Sister's room, they were snuggled under the covers and (seemingly) fast asleep. Middle Sister was under her quilts and her pillows (evidently they were cold), and Little Sister wrapped up in her quilt like a coocoon. As I tried to carefully adjust Little Sister's quilt, she barely opened her eyes and groggily requested, "Say the blessing over me."

Amused at her choice of words but not wanting to awaken her any more than necessary, I breathed a simple prayer sentence: "Lord, thank you for Little Sister."

She opened both eyes and retorted, "Say it all!"

I laughed but complied.

However, as I lay in bed, I began to contemplate her request. She did not want to be shortchanged. She evidently takes great comfort (as do the others) in hearing Mama call out to the Lord on her behalf.

Hopefully, they will will only find it natural to call upon Him, to seek Him morning and night, not only through prayer but also through the meditation of His Word.

My mind remembers encouraging verses in Psalm 78:

"I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done" (v. 2-4).

The Scriptures show us that it does not require theology degrees (or even 2 or 4 year degrees) to disciple our children. We just need to TELL them. It is our job, not anyone else's, to share the things of the Lord with the generation in our home. Why?

"That the generation to come might know them [things of the Lord], the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, THAT THEY MIGHT SET THEIR HOPE IN GOD, AND NOT FORGET THE WORKS OF GOD, BUT KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. . . . ." (Psalm 78:6-7).

God has a discipleship plan for us, but we must not shortchange this precious generation. Too many "projects" can get in the way. Distractions can get in the way. Self can get in the way.

As I carry out my normal responsibilities today and prioritize the telling to my children "the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done," I must remember Little Sister's admonishment: "Say it all."

No shortchanges. No shortcuts for convenience sake. No giving heed to distractions or less important priorities.

Just. . . . "Say it all."

In the Heart of our Home,

Saturday, October 25, 2008


O.K., everybody! My best friend Mama Hen over at Long Days, Short Years tagged me recently. (You will have to visit her; she is such a riot!)

I am to share 6 of my favorite things in the kitchen before I tag 6 of you!!!!

This should be fun since I feel like I am in the kitchen ALL THE TIME!!! But what a blessing, huh? What a blessing that we have a kitchen in which to cook, appliances to use, sweet people for whom to cook, food to cook, dishes to wash, and clean water with which to wash!

So what are my favorites?

Here is my new Bosch mixer! We are lovin' her! We can mix and knead
5-6 loaves of bread dough in her! She was a birthdaygift from sweet hubby,

sweet children, sweet parents, and sweet in-laws!

(If you've seen the price on these sisters, you know why it was a combined effort!)

Now here is a treasured spot in my kitchen--my pantry!

Now I know it doesn't look that huge (or organized), and it isn't. But

it is big enough to hold a month's worth of groceries.

(Also, on the walls of this pantry contains my "Art Gallery"--

where we hang all the sweet children's cherished artwork.)

This microwave sure comes in handy. The first 4 years we

lived here we had a little bitty one that didn't even hold most of my
casserole dishes!

Like Mama Hen, I love my MOMYS cookbook!

I love that we can look out our backdoor each morning
and enjoy our hard workin' cats visiting us for a
hope of breakfast scraps! ;-) (Yes, there are 5,
I do know what causes this, and yes, I would be
happy to take more.)

Finally, I truly love my big table. But my very favorites in the kitchen

are sitting around it. (They tend to be regular visitors in here. . . .ya know.)

Daddy is hunting at the moment, hoping to bring home more to put on the table!

What a blessing they all are!

(For the non-Southerners out there, you're looking

at grits in those bowls! Yummy!)

Now I tag

* Just a Family

* First Daughter

* I'm Workin' On It

*Teaching Good Things

*It's a Wonderful Life

* Generation Cedar.

Looking forward to hearing about your kitchen!

BTW, sorry about all the spacing issues. It keeps working against me. :-(

In the Heart of our Home,


Friday, October 24, 2008

Shifting Our Focus

With my nose still in 2 Corinthians 4, I read a verse I haven't studied in quite a long time:

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (v. 17).

Perhaps no one understands this more than the persecuted church, our brothers and sisters in chains and those under immense religious threats around the world. In many countries, such as Ethiopia, Columbia, India, Indonesia, and the Phillipines, not to mention China, Egypt, Sudan, Saudia Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Laos, the Christians are being harrassed, imprisoned, killed, and deprived of their possessions and/or liberties because of their Christian witness.

Yet, they are faithful to their call. They understand that Christ suffered, so why should we expect any less.


So then why do we expect less?


The Christian culture in America seems to expect the Christian life to be a bed of roses. Preachers even promise from the pulpit that following Christ will bring you "YOUR BEST LIFE NOW." (I'm still trying to find that in the Word of God. I'm sure the apostle Paul was getting around to writing about that one. . . . .He was just too busy suffering for Christ in prison, in storms, through shipwrecks, during stonings, etc.. . . . . . . .)

Dare I say, we should be thankful for any afflictions that may come our way? The Scripture says it is "but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

How can we do this? How can we be thankful and "count it all joy when you fall into various trials. . . ." (James 1:2)?

Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of the answer in the last verse of 2 Corinthians 4:

"while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (v. 18).

We keep our eyes on Jesus. We keep our eyes on the hope of eternal life. We keep our eyes on the eternal glorious rewards in heaven. Any trials we endure here on earth are so temporary compared to the eternal glory awaiting.

No wonder Paul was able to endure and remain faithful. No wonder he shared in Philippians 4:11:

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."

Paul had shifted his focus from what is seen to that which is not seen.

Have you?

In the Heart of our Home,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Reaching Across the Aisle?

Our oldest son, Bigger Brother, is a dynamite kid (like his other 4 siblings :-).

*He loves playing goalie for his soccer team.

*He also loves playing with army men in the dirt and digging trenches for WWI.

*He really loves riding his "Ripstick!"

*He has a keen mind for science.

*His piano teacher says he's a genius. (Shh. . .don't tell him. . .)

*He can fix most broken things in the house and put together anything we put in front of him.

*He is a witnessing machine with tracts in hand, even in Central America.

*He can mix concrete with a shovel in Central America almost as well as the grown men.

*He can even grow some awesome banana peppers! :0)

And evidently, he has been listening during social studies to his somewhat. . .ahem. . .enthused. . .teacher who has a somewhat bent toward and interest in conservative politics. . . . .

When Bigger Brother (10 years old) heard presidential candidate Barack Obama boast that he had "reached across the aisle" and was prepared to do it in the future, my little protege snorted, "Yeah, the only reason he has his hand stuck out is to take more taxes!"

Ahhh,. . . .the discernment of a 10 year old. If only this type of discernment were more widespread. . . .

(I suppose only the political conservatives out there will appreciate this. . . .;0)

In the Heart of our Home,


Renewing Day by Day

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Here I am, going through Hebrews in my quiet time, and the Lord seems to be impressing this passage at the end of 2 Corinthians 4 on my heart. As I read it, I am encouraged. Do you ever notice when the outward man is perishing? That new wrinkle, extra pound, or the latest ache in your knee or back? (I hope I am not the only one noticing these! LOL)

What a relief to know that as our bodies are slowly "perishing," God is renewing our "inward man" or our spirits "day by day!"

Do you realize what an incredible promise this is!? Even though we are responding to Him and His Word in repentance and obedience, He is still renewing us! And not every now and then--He is renewing us daily!

No wonder He says we can see fruit in the lives of true believers!

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:4-5).

How thankful I am that the Lord Jesus doesn't quit on me. He keeps working in my life and renewing me every day! To God be the glory!

In the Heart of our Home,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Value of Diligence

Big Brother loves soccer. He wakes up talking about the next game and the possibilities of another win. Last night he went to bed talking about their latest win in the scrimage at practice. He is the youngest on the team (by a long shot, we played him up to keep him on the same team with Bigger Brother), and the coach says often that he is the hardest working player on the team. He has actually always enjoyed athletics and is very diligent at anything involving a ball.

But lately that diligence hasn't carried over to his math book.

Now we here really value diligence. Diligence is a good thing--the opposite of lazy. And we know what the Scriptures say about lazy. . . . .

"The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing" (Proverbs 13:4a)

And we know what the Scriptures say about diligence. . . .

"The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man's precious possession" (Proverbs 12:27).

So a lack of diligence around here is generally frowned upon. And boy was it frowned upon yesterday when the math books were open!

Big Brother insisted he needed help with his long division problems. (Of course, he had needed help with his fractions, too. . . . .) Praying for wisdom, and knowing he had been doing long division for 2 years, I decided this was a lazy problem and not a computation problem (no pun intended). I told him "No, I want you to do it on your own." (I know, some of you are gasping that I could be so heartless.)

Ideally, he would have seen the wisdom of my counsel and "got right to it" (as we say in Alabama), but alas, he began to sink into despair and fall into the whining pit.

Still hoping I had made the right decision, I informed him that if he really needed help with long division, I could help him, but, of course, he must need more practice since he had forgotten so easily and would, therefore, need an extra page of long division problems.

Suddenly, he no longer wanted my help. Go figure.

Later, when I was checking his work, I noticed he had worked all the long divisions problems. . . . .correctly.

Ah,. . . .the tendacy of the body and mind to lean toward laziness. "But diligence is man's precious possession."

Paul exhorted us in this same area in Romans 12:10-11:

"Be kindly affection to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; NOT LAGGING IN DILIGENCE, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;"

As mamas, we should take heed to this instruction ourselves, as well as guide our children in the same way. What a tool for the Lord we can be when we do things His way!

In the Heart of our Home,


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are You Listening to Me?

Selective hearing. . . .have you ever noticed this in your house? One of my favorite manifestations of this is the child who will ask, "Mom, can we do. . . ." or "Mom, can we try. . . ." Then when I answer, 20 seconds later, he will ask again!

What??? You mean you were asking me a question, but didn't even listen for the answer???

O.K., so maybe I do that sometimes with the Lord.

Maybe He has so much more to teach me, but I'm not paying attention.

The Bible sometimes calls this "not listening" by an even more convicting term: dull of hearing.

" of whom we have much to say [Jesus' priesthood], and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing" (Hebrews 5:11).

Ouch!!! God wanted to tell the recipients of this letter so much more about the priesthood of Jesus, but they didn't seem to listen; they were dull of hearing!

Have we become like those? Have we become dull of hearing?

The author goes on to reprimand them even more:

"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12).

Uh, oh. This dullness of hearing has some sad consequences. Do we need someone to teach us again "the first principles of the oracles of God" or the basic truths of our faith?

How many times have I had to reteach math skills because my dear children were not listening the first time? I can hear myself saying, "We could have been past this by now, if you would just listen!"

Yet, in our faith. . . .our daily walk with the Lord. . . .overcoming struggles and temptations, I could say the same thing to myself: "I could have been past this by now, if I would just listen!"

In verse 12, we see one of these consequences spelled out for us:

"For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe."

Unskilled in the word of righteousness! That does not sound good! (Sadly, this seems to rightly describe not only the Hebrew recipients of this letter, but also the churches in our country, even our very own communities.)

When we do listen and avoid the dullness of hearing condition, we can move on. . . .(aka growing in our faith). . .and partake of the solid food instead of the milk:

"But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).

Discernment. Now there's a novel idea. How I want to grow in discernment!

So, for the Believer, it begins with listening carefully to the Lord, learning those basic truths and moving on, growing in our faith! Results include becoming skilled in the word of righteousness and increasing in discernment!

So today, when you notice your child not listening, let it be a reminder of spiritual things and ask yourself, "What about me? Am I dull of hearing in my faith?"

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Who Will Be Your Hero?

Our youngest daughter dressed up in princess clothes the other day. Realizing a princess needs a prince, she approached one of her brothers with the proposal. The following conversation transpired.

Little Sister: Will you play with me? I am Sleeping Beauty.

Big Brother: No, that's a girl game.

Little Sister: Please. . . .but you can be the hero!

Wow, how can you turn down that offer, Big Brother? :-)

It seems most girls (and women) desire to have a hero in their lives. Fortunately for Little Sister, she remembered one hero who was faithful; I heard her asking her Daddy later that evening, "You're my hero, right?"

A little girl's hero should be her father (and maybe her brothers, too), and I hope that our girls will faithfully leave their hearts with their daddy.

As daughters of God, we need to be that trusting of Him. We can leave our hope in Him and totally trust the Lord! We have so many promises from Him:

"We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

So while I may not have the cute princess clothes like my daughter, I know that I am still a Child of the King and heir to all His promises!

What about you?

In the Heart of our Home,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mission Fair

Our children participated in our homeschool group's Mission Fair. They all worked together on one project about India, and we all had great fun researching and learning about this country and the missions undertaken here (past and present).

We even prepared an authentic Indian dish: Potato and Cauliflower Curry! (Most of us agreed it was rather tasty!)

It was such a blessing to see them work together and think globally in a missions-minded way. We learned how to pray for the people of India, especially for those who are severely persecuted for their faith.

Participating in a project like this is a great way to be intentional about discipling children in missions and teaching them to think beyond themselves.

Of course, missions should be lived out in the day to day. In particular, we are trying to be consistent in ministering to our neighbor who is a widow. Again, I am trying to be intentional about discipling the children to think beyond themselves. (And trying to remind myself to think beyond my daily agendas and focus on what the Lord's daily agenda is for me. . . .)

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4).

How are you teaching your children about missions, globally and/or locally? I would love to hear your ideas!

In the Heart of our Home,

Friday, October 17, 2008

Exhort One Another Daily

One of the (many) enjoyments of motherhood is to see your children working together, helping one another, and especially encouraging one another in their daily lives.

In my reading of Hebrews today, a verse in particular jumped out at me:

"but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).

Christ is exhorting us to encourage one another in the day in and the day out. How many have you encouraged today? Of course, we can encourage people who cross our path each day: a neighbor, the lady behind us in the check-out line, even the cashier. What about the soccer coach or the piano teacher? We can encourage others through phone calls, emails, and even the almost forgotten stationery! :-)

But let's look at the purpose of this exhortation according to Hebrews 3:13. The purpose is to help us remain faithful lest we be "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Sin is deceitful! It makes promises, but it never delivers. I believe if we considered the severity of sin and its deception, we would take more seriously this exhortation to continue in mutual encouragement for and from other believers.

What about in your home? How can you encourage one another "while it is called 'Today?'" How does your husband need encouraging? How can you help him not "be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin?" You are not his Holy Spirit or his mama, but you are his helpmeet. How can you help encourage him and help him not fall into the lies of sin?

How do your children need encouraging? You are not their helpmeet! ;-) It is your responsibility (and Daddy's) to train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. If adults can be deceived by sin, then imagine the prey of children! Paul points out the vulnerability of children as he warns the church at Ephesus not to be like them:

"that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting" (Ephesians 4:14).

Children can be tossed to and fro with "every wind of doctrine." Understanding this, we should protect them from the deceitfulness of sin by exhorting (teaching) them daily lest they too be "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

How can we do any less?

And, finally, let us turn the questions to ourselves and examine our own hearts. Do you consider yourself potential prey to the power and temptation of sin? Or do you consider yourself beyond the danger of the deceitfulness of this dangerous taskmaster?

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12).

The Lord would not have included the exhortation in Hebrews 3:13 if He did know we are vulnerable to deception. Let us pray for exhortation, and when we receive it, respond to the Lord with an eager and joyful obedient heart.

In the Heart of our Home,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Trusting in Chariots?

We have very recently finished a great study on our country's election process, so last night we went to my parents' house to watch the presidential debate. Of course, both the participating candidates eloquently articulated their plans as well as the other's shortcomings, hoping to convince Americans they could empathize with our problems and make everything from energy to education all better. . . . .and in as little as 4 short years! (Although, I must admit, with our choices, it is beginning to seem like 4 long years. . . . .)

I am comforted, though, by a verse that I cross-stitched for my husband when I was but his fiancee. He has it hanging in his study and mentioned it the other day:

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God" (Psalm 20:7).

While, yes, we should make informed decisions and not neglect our invaluable right to vote (after much prayerful consideration, I may add), let us not make the mistake of putting our trust in economic plans, bigger government, or even tax cuts and the hope of conservative judicial appointments.

"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes" (Psalm 118:8-9).

Another Scripture we often forget as we live in a democratic society should actually bring us great comfort when we are often tempted to complain about the state of Washington and the looming days ahead:

"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes" (Proverbs 21:1).

Friends, this should bring us great comfort. Our Lord is in control! It is not Wall Street, Main Street, or even Pennsylvania Avenue. We serve an awesome King!!!

In the Heart of our Home,


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fields are White with Harvest

Across the road from our home lies a vast cotton field, a true beauty to behold this time of year. The children always enjoy seeing the big John Deere tractors when they appear on the horizon throughout the latter spring and summer. Of course, I love to take pictures of my children when harvest time draws near!

However, as I look from my front porch at the now snow white field and soak in its beauty, I am reminded of the Scriptures:

"Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest" (John 4:35b)!

As we look around us, I pray we will consider Christ's urgency. The mission field is all around us. And please do not neglect the mission field of your own home. This should be a first priority! How would it be for me to evangelize the lost in another country or even down the street, only to neglect evangelizing my own children? How would it be for me to disciple and mentor other believers, only to neglect the discipleship of my own? Yes, the fields are white for harvest, and they could possibly be sitting across the breakfast table. . . . . . .

Considering the discipleship of our children, another Scripture came to mind:

"The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37).

Dear fellow mother, the laborers are few. But will you raise your precious children to be laborers of the Lord? Many hope for their children grand educations, big houses, 2 cars (or more), good insurance, 6 figure salaries, and maybe a couple of kids (when it's convenient). But I want to encourage you to keep your eyes heavenward and on eternal things. Raise those children to be laborers for the Lord!

Many may say, "Of course, I am doing that." However, I want to ask a hard question, "How? Are you sure?" Discipleship takes time. How much time do you invest in your children's spiritual lives?

Could I venture to ask, "Who (or sadly what) is discipling your children?" Is it the television? The neighbors' kids? The Ipod? The babysitter? The internet? Whoever or whatever has your child's attention most of the day probably has the advantage in the realm of "discipleship."

"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40).

If we want to disciple our children and raise them to become laborers for the Lord, let us take the proper time and pains to do it because "the harvest truly is plentiful!"

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Giving Heed to the Things We Have Heard

Last night, we ate supper with my husband's sweet parents (dh and dfil caught fresh bass for the meal), so when we arrived home, it was later than usual. My instructions to the children were short and sweet: "Brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, and get in the bed." Simple, right? Well, maybe for the girls, but not for the boys. . . . .

While they were carrying out these instructions, I began to blanch purple hull peas. (What a blessing, dfil's garden is still producing peas!) All seemed to be quiet upstairs. . . .except for the boys' room. Sweet husband called up to give them a reminder, but they didn't seem to hear. . . .

"Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).

Their daddy called them down for a rebuke and discipline and sent them back up to bed. Several minutes later, I began to climb the stairs for prayer time with the children. (Surely they are all in the bed, right?)

When I entered the boys' room, one was dutifully in the bed; his response to his father's word and rebuke was quick obedience. However, one was still dressed, desperately scrounging around his room for something. What????

Calmly, I beckoned him to come back downstairs with me. When we asked him, "What are you doing?" he answered a little sheepishly, "Looking for my piggy bank."

Piggy bank??? Why would he choose something so small over obedience???

As Hebrews 2:1 points out, if we do not give the "more earnest heed to the things we have heard" we will drift away. Notice, it does not say lest we might drift away or lest we could drift away. It doesn't say lest we are tempted to drift away. It says, "lest we drift away."

Remember Psalms 127:1? Could it be that in letting the Lord build our homes, giving "the more earnest heed to the things we have heard" (through God's Word) is very vital?

How easily we can become distracted, even though our Father has spoken. No, we may not be distracted by a piggy bank, but are we distracted by our bank accounts? Wall Street? The election? Gossip? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? Selfishness?

May we hear the Father through His Word and His gentle prodding in our spirits, lest we drift from Him, His Word, and His assignment.

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Will You Let the Lord Build Your House?

As an introduction of this new blog, I would like to share a verse that begins 2 of some of my favorite chapters in the Bible:

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Psalms 127:1).

What an insightful verse that should cause us all to consider the building of our homes. Are we allowing the Lord to do the work as He guides us through His Word and His Holy Spirit? This involves conforming our lives (choices, priorities, goals, standards, etc.) to His Word. I have realized that comforming myself to the Word involves a renewing of my mind.

"And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).

I want the Lord to build our home. (I don't know about you, but I do not want all this work to be in vain! ;-) I want to look to Him every morning for His assignments for the day. I want to be faithful, and I want to serve Him and my family and whomever else Christ puts in our path each day with a humble and grateful heart.

In the Heart of our Home,