Friday, January 16, 2009

Moms and Dads, Stay Close. . . .

One night this week, when I was sitting at the hospital with my mother, hubby had an interesting experience at home. Despite the humor, it brings even more light to Proverbs 29:15:

"The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother."

Little Sister came up to her daddy and suggested, "Daddy, I want you to go out to your office."

(Hubby's office is a separate small building behind our house.)

"Why do you want me to go out to my office?" he wisely asked.

"So I can do some stuff. . . . . ." she replied.

"What kind of stuff?"

She proceeded to answer very honestly, "Stuff I will get in trouble for. . . . . . ."

Needless to say, hubby stayed very close. . . . . . . . ;-)

In the Heart of our Home (and tales to enjoy when I'm not ;-)


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Are We Like Mrs. Z?

All who can relate to Zebedee's wife, now raise your hand! Come on, now. . . .surely more of you have felt the way she did.

The mother of Zebedee's sons (James and John) probably loved her children very much. She also saw how her boys were so loyal and faithful to the Master. She must have seen something extraordinary in her sons (don't we all?) and felt like they deserved a little elevation over the rest of the crowd.

"Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, 'What do you wish?' She said to Him, 'Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom" (Matthew 20:20-21).

Never mind the other 10 who had also given the last 3 years in service to this Man. Mrs. Zebedee wanted to make sure her boys were remembered and remembered well.

Yet, can the mothers out there not relate to Mrs. Z? Do we not want the very "best" for our own children? How many of us hope for college degrees and new or, at least, almost new cars? We may desire for them 6 digit incomes and homes in gated-communities (or maybe a large home with lots of acreage). Even when they are young, how many of us bring the cameras for the recitals and games or perhaps special ceremonies, hoping to catch on memory card that beautiful child at the piano or maybe that homerun or winning goal?

How many pictures of my own children do I have holding their special trophy?

Mrs. Zebedee wanted greatness for her children, and she measured it with position, power, and prestige. Are we that different from her?

We should be. We have the rest of the story, right in our own Bibles.

"but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26b-28).

Christ does not measure greatness the way we so often do. He measures it by service.

Perhaps that should be one of the great hopes for our children (and ourselves)--that they will lay down their lives in service to others and in service to the King.

With my children at home, I still have so much influence in this area. We have rewarded what we call a "servant's heart" for many years. It is slowly showing fruit. For example, when one child spills his or her drink, 2 will usually jump up to grab towels and help clean up the mess.

I am so blessed when I see this, but do I rejoice over these acts of service the same way I do when my child is acknowledged in a ceremony for some temporal accomplishment?

I pray that I will not only encourage and disciple my children in service to others and the Lord but also value those qualities as He does.

How do you or have you discipled your children in serving? What are some practical ways to help other moms incorporate this into their children's discipleship?

In the Heart of our Home,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Picking up our Cross

Are we confusing our neighbors? Are we sending the wrong message to those with whom we shop, work, maybe even attend church?

It seems many believe God gives us (or maybe should give us) an easy life and a life of ease. Some are waiting for increased finances, while others are expecting a life free of sickness and disease.

If this false idea is communicated too loudly (and it is), the lost world looks upon us, and seeing our reality, begins to snicker and say, "See. . .He is not here." or "He is not real. He is just your crutch."

Perhaps as Believers we should remember Matthew 17:24-25:

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

The Christian life involves sacrifice, leaving things behind to follow the Lord. It involves self-denial (not a popular thought nowadays) and pursuing the righteousness of the Lord. Praise the Lord, He gives us the grace and power necessary for these hard tasks through His Holy Spirit and His Word!

I would love to hear how God is changing you and teaching you to deny yourself and follow Him! Leave a comment to encourage others!

In the Heart of our Home,

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sibling Squabbles

Since recently learning Luke 2:1-20 with the children, I have been wondering and praying about what passage to choose next. Since I have been reading through Matthew, I had been leaning towards the Beatitudes and perhaps the whole chapter of Matthew 5.

Well, today my children helped confirm it for me. ;-)

Little Sister had made a flag with a piece of white paper, her brother's toy blow gun, and Mama's tape. Well, today Bigger Brother wanted the blow gun back. (even though he was in the middle of his piano practicing. . . .)

I am suddenly aware of quite a commotion in the kitchen. Little Sister is screaming and crying, trying to protect her flag. Bigger Brother is trying to debate his reasoning as to why he needs the blow gun back. Middle Sister has jumped in and decided the right and just thing to do is wrestle the object from Little Sister's possession. Oh, boy. Anybody else want to join in for good measure???

So, . . .what's a Mama to do?

To avoid the communist/socialist mentality, I should make Little Sister give the toy back to its rightful owner.

Also, to teach the Golden Rule, I should make her return it.

To teach the Golden Rule and cheerful giving and putting others before yourself, I should tell Bigger Brother to get over it. (sorry, I haven't arrived in the mercy department yet. . . )

To teach Middle Sister to MIND HER OWN BUSINESS I should tell her to leave the room? Maybe? Hmmmm. . . . . . . . . . .

My mind is racing as it usually does in these type of scenerios, and I am praying for the Lord's wisdom. (Raising and training children sheds new light on praying without ceasing. :0)

I think of Matthew 5 and then look at Bigger Brother.

"What does the Lord say about when someone wants to borrow your stuff?" (I know--not very eloquent. . . .)

"Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away" (Matthew 5:42).

His answer totally confirmed our next scripture memory passage.

He looked at me with a doubtful expression and then said, "Give them your left foot???"

Yes, I believe we need to learn the entire chapter. ;-)

In the Heart of our Home,


"They Glorified the God of Israel"

"Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed; and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and he healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Isreal" (Matthew 15:30-31).

The Lord Jesus had compassion on the suffering around Him. Through His power, He healed all who were brought to Him. Notice the result: "they glorified the God of Isreal."

My mother has suffered many sicknesses and ailments in the past 15 or so years. Her medical crises have included skin cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, Lymphoma, the chemotherapy that accompanied some of these, vascularitis, encephalitis, staph infection, broken bones, pseudomona, and other lung infections. But the Lord God of Heaven has healed her of each and every one.

Do I believe in miracles? You bet. I know that no matter what your age (she is 81), God is not through with you until He has accomplished His plan for you through your life.

What have I learned from her? I have seen a woman suffer and then be healed, only weeks later to be hospitalized again for something different with a new diagnosis. Yet I never heard her ask, "Why me?" I rarely heard her complain. I did hear her gloify the God of Israel, the God of her salvation and the Lord of her life. Her trust has always been in Him, no matter how dark the pit. Just like in Matthew 15, God has received the glorify for her illnesses and healings.

Now again,. . . .she lies in a hospital bed suffering. This time she suffers from pain that is beyond words. Of course, my human mind wonders, "How will God receive glory from this?" and "Will He heal her again?"

I want to see her pain relieved and removed. I want to see her up again cooking sweet potato casserole and apple turnovers. I want to be able to call her again every morning before I start teaching a morning of lessons and even again at night when I have a simple question about a recipe.

Please pray for her. Please pray for me as I submit to the Lord and pray for His will. Let us wait with hopeful anticipation to see how God will be glorified!

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fresh Starts in the Heart?

The first of a new year often stirs in me a desire for new commitments and fresh starts! I'm looking forward to studying things in the Bible I have never studied, and I am hoping to try crocheting again with my daughter! (The DVD has been sitting by the TV for about 3 weeks now. . . . .) We re-assigned chores among the children (something they always look forward to after 6 months of the same chores), and I am looking forward to some of the new things we will be learning in our homeschool this upcoming "semester."

I know many make resolutions and commitments; most of these are usually made with great intentions! I, too, have make a commitment or 2 for the new year and many, many more in the past, but after reading Matthew 15, realized most of my plans were centered on the outward person.

Some of the Pharisees had come all the way from Jersualem to see Jesus. . . .not for healing, not to hear His teaching, but to scrutinize Him and His activities. They noticed the disciples ignored their "tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat" (v. 2) and questioned Christ about this broach of their tradition.

Jesus begins to point out to them that they had let their religious traditions come before the direct commandments of God. He gives the example of not honoring their parents. The Phariesees had told the people that they could tell their parents they were unable to help them saying, "Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you" (v. 5).

"You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesided about you, for he wrote, 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God'" (Matthew 15:7-9).

Jesus was emphasizing 1.) the condition of the heart is so much more important than our outward motions and 2.) religious traditions, no matter how special and meaningful, should never replace or trump the Word of God.

After rebuking the Pharisees, the Lord calls the crowd and teaches them:

"It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth. . . . . But the words you speak come from the heart--that's what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you" (Matthew 15:11, 18-20).

I want to have a pure heart. I want to honor the Lord with my heart as well as my lips.

Do my new commitments for the year reflect this desire, or do they look like a Pharisee's list?

What about you?

In the Heart of our Home,