Monday, August 30, 2010

Added Assurance from the Word

Yesterday I wrote of my aha moment – of the joy of taking off my tourist hat – of sitting back to enjoy the peace of knowing that the tour guide has a plan.

And then I went to fellowship and worship with a group of God’s people – to be filled with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as He answers our prayers to renew our flames –to not let them be quenched.  As we gather together, and that flame grows higher and brighter and hotter.

And we hunker down and settle in for a teaching of His Word. Christ in Word. Broken apart for us – in James. We have been reading James as a congregation for a few weeks. Oh the passion.

And why am I surprised?  That the same morning I wrote about Faith and Trusting  - by word, and Faith and Trusting by Peace in my Heart – that we read James Chapter 2? Faith. Without Works. Is Dead.  Abraham Believed. And it was credited to him as Righteous. It didn’t say – Abraham served in every part of the building working his hiney off neglecting his home and family – and his Works Credited Him Favor. Abraham Believed.

What works are we working for? What are we striving for?

We talked about Faith – Dead Faith – Intellectual acceptance without a trust in Christ – and Saving Faith – That will produce good works – but only from a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Disobedience to this faith  - to loving the brethren – to meeting a need – is like saying God’s Word is true – but it has not changed me. (Martin Luther)

I am begging for renewal in my heart – to see the line between serving because there seems to be a need – and serving because I am obeying the voice of the Lord. To remembering this year, as the school year progresses – that my obedience to the Lord in this season – is to be a Wife, a Mother, a Teacher,a Friend of God – and a Friend to my Brethren.

That I will step up in His Strength, and that I will pay attention when my yoke becomes heavy. Will I carry that yoke? Will I give it to Him? Will I get caught up in classes and people and obligation? Will my joy be filled from being a part of His Army?

I am thankful that the Lord is bringing this to my mind – that the Work He wants from me is a saving faith – through this middle school year. To hold on to the promises that He gave to our family. To Trust in His Plan. To breathe. Sit back. And Have the energy to minister to others out of the outpouring of what He has ministered to me.

Join with me this year? For a simple schedule? A simple mindset? As we journey through another year?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Fear of the UnKnown?

I heave a huge sigh of relief this morning . . . .

The past several weeks have been a jumble of goal setting – research – planning and implementing in our homeschool journey. Setting which areas we would like to see developed not only in the boys, but in the parents and in our home.

It has been an joy filled ride as the Lord provided each resource the same day He showed us the need. Oh the blog posts I could write of His faithfulness in our homeschool journey! I feel like John saying  - And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written- (Jn 21:25)

I like to call ourselves unschoolers  - yet, I am deeply saddened when that is translated to un-learners – un – disciplined – un-planned and un-directed.  Take our nature study – it is deeply planned out, scheduled, texted, activities and homework – however, now that I know the plan – I care not if it happens today or tomorrow. At 7am or 8pm. I know it will all fit in, the ebb and flow of life. I do not have a ruler tapping the clock by a chalkboard to start the “lesson” at 8:30 am with starched shirts on. :) I love the plan – it is like a blanket.

I find that my most worries come from the unknown. Will it hurt? Will it get paid for? Will they be ok? Will the . . . .  I have been a crazy person these last 3 or 4 weeks of planning. Sure, hindsite 20/20 it all worked out amazingly smooth. But I kick and pull back and plunge ahead and pray during the process.  Still. 7 years in a row.

I had just told hubby this morning that now that all the pieces are in place for the year – I’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the ride – that my stress level should go down and I might even be more of a joy to be around. Ya. It got embarrassing there a couple of days.

In the midst of this morning – I received a Facebook Message from a friend who is coming to visit.  We are planning a get together on Monday – and her instructions of meeting to me were open ended. So I thought of plan a, plan b for weather, plan a plan b for finances and had been thinking of plan a and b for food – when she sends me an email kindly saying she has a plan. Its all worked out. They just want to see us and get some sand in their toes for a bit. Fun! I was going to email her back and say what a joy – I’ll turn off my tourist director hat and just enjoy their plan, and our part in it.

That’s when I heard from Him. Loud and Clear.

Feel that Joy? I just meeting your friend? In not having a plan? In trusting they can plan what they know they want?

When will you take the tourist hat off and trust Me?

Yikes. And my heart was pierced. And I understand even deeper. This walk of faith. It is one thing to be praising Him afterwards for all of the wonderful things unwritten, it is one thing to know “God has a Plan” –

But Real Peace. The real Joy. Is when we fall in love with the unknown. Fall in love with the in between stage. Embrace it.

Every time I am on this side of of a trusting experience, and my 20/20 hindsight vision is in tact – I tell myself – write it down – remember – sear it on your heart – to remember – He brings me though. Always in ways we never imagined and could have planned for. All the worry and doubts and fear of the unknown had not one tick or tack to getting us to where we are now. . . . .

Join with me? This Year?  In the taking off the tourist hat. Sitting Back. Trusting His Plan? Diligent in His Word. Sitting at His Knee. Knowing that He has great and marvelous things in store for us to learn this year. :)

Love to you my friends who ponder with me here!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thinking Differently

I was reading this morning in Philippians 3 -

Of Paul talking bout all of the things he has attained, experience, had credentials in – and that he counted it all rubbish for the sake of Christ   - That he could be found in Him – Not righteous for what he had done – but Righteous that comes from God – and is by faith.

Faith. I know he is talking about the law here – and the extent that people will do –speak-change to prove their righteousness. But – this is my life today:

I am planning my homeschool journey for the year for fourth and 7th grades. The largest shift in my thinking came last night – where I am thinking of switching the entire way we learn math. Changing curriculum entirely. Slipping out from the norm of the other families I know.  I have been praying for a change to our math rut. And I feel that I found it last night.

Then I kept reading in Philippians – through to verse 15. And for some reason – A God Thing of Course – I picked up the NIV version to skim this morning – and their version states a familiar to me verse in a different way -

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on  some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Those of us who are mature  - God will make it clear to us.

It hit me like a ton of bricks this morning. Remembering Philippians as my favorite book as a teen – that this Word. This Text. Is a Living Breathing Word. John 1 tells us that Christ is the Word made flesh. His Word is Truth.

And in the quiet of my morning – wedged between scrubbing comet on my stove top reflectors and taking a shower – I sit. With Christ in my very hands. And I hear.

That no matter what we have done in the past – how we have done it – what tools we have used – what groups we have joined 

We are pressing forward. Toward to the Goal of the Prize. Christ. Pressing Hold for that which Christ Took Hold of me.

Forgetting what is behind – and straining forward.

So what if “everyone” else is using abc curriculum? So what if what we have done before has given us a form of stature /credential among men.

For a moment there – last night – in my weakness – alone in my planning room – I almost tossed the idea of a new –different way in Math. Even though it felt like it was a “God Thing”.

And this morning – Christ Himself in the pages of His Word – crawls right up in my lap – or I in his – and shows me.

We who are mature – need only to look to  to God – For a grand view – for a clear view –

I’m rambling trying to put into words what I heard this morning. The words for me -

but I feel – the words for other homeschool moms this August as we plan our curriculum and clean our classrooms – checking the Blog Hops and Hip Moms and Not Back to School hops – checking to see if we are on track  - checking others text – pictures – ideas – to see if we are right.

Make sure we stop to ask Christ – to make our path clear – as we follow the examples of the mature ones.  Fear Not.  :)

Here is Philippians 3

1 When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles[a] . . . 2assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. 3 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. 4 As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. 5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.

6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.[b] 7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone[c]this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him,[d] we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Be Thankful? Give Thanks?

I enjoy reading the Diamonds in the Dust by Joni Erikson Tada – This morning is no exception – when she first wrote the verse of the day out –

I almost didn’t read her comments

– so familiar with the verse – and one that honestly – sometimes I cringe on – when my selfish rebellious heart wants to be hurt – or disappointed – or validated for just a moment in a circumstance. Ok. Sure – Its just me -

1 Thes 5:17 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Her Point today – being on the later end of the verse – This is the will of GodTheos – The Trinity – in the anointed messiah – JesusFor your sake.

I read this again – and the commentary following – of Giving Thanks – even before you Feel Thankful. That Being Thankful and Thanking God may need to be separate – depending on how unsure you feel at the moment.

It was sinking in this morning – that We are Thankful To God. Not necessarily Thankful for the Circumstance.  I think I have read – Be Thankful For All Circumstances – and quite frankly – this has been a hard couple of years for us – and a few times I have lost my thankful heart at times. I have not readily accepted a day’s dish with a thankful heart of what the Lord was allowing us to walk through.

I looked up the verse in the New Living Translation – and in the NIV, and the King James.  Back and forth the text raced between Be Thankful In all Things – and Give Thanks to God – Every Time.

Be or Give? So I looked up the word Give – and found it missing in the original Greek. It was put in there to help explain, keep the sentence flowing so to speak. It is more of a command – Thank God. Period. Give or Be – is left out.

Which led me to look up Thanks.

The word is a straightforward – no hidden meaning – but what I found interesting was in the synonym and antonym of Thanks -

Synonym – includes recognition and acknowledgement – sometimes the hardest things that pass through our life – need to be acknowledged – that God has a Plan. Other Synonyms were more heart felt – gratitude, appreciation, thankful -

But what hit hard was the Antonym -

To condemn, Judge, Damn, rebuke, reprove, find fault, disallow, reject, blame, revile, speak evils of, slander, and accuse.

I may not be able to find an honest thankful heart FOR everything in my life  - but I can acknowledge that I am thankful for God IN every thing – that I do – that is done to me – that is provided, that is taken away  I know that My God has a Plan. And I am thankful FOR HIM.

Go read 1 Thes 5 – I’ll be pondering these verses in a fresh light today. :)

eucharisteƍ – Thanks – 1 Thes 5:18 Blue Letter Bible - Dig Deeper