Category Archives: Morals

Happy 13th Day of School!

Yes, it is already Day #13 here.  We start early in order to take the month of December off…it makes for a much more enjoyable holiday season!

It is already our 6th year of homeschooling too.  Wow!  I can hardly believe we’ve been doing it for six years!

There have definately been “ups” and “downs” along the way, however some of the bumps are smoothing out as I figure out what works best for us and adapt.

We’ve tried various curriculum and even virtual schooling, but finally settled on these for this year:

Bible – “Who is God?  And Can I Really Know Him?”, Volume 1 of the “What We Believe” series written by John Hay and David Webb.  I’ve tried various short bible studies and devotional books with the boys.  We’ve also taken time to learn the books of the bible and just read bible stories, however the main goal in doing any of this is that they would grasp the concept of having a personal relationship with the Lord.  My prayer is that they would not only have “head knowledge”, but mostly “heart knowledge” of the Lord, His grace-filled ways, and the purpose for their lives.  Learning to see the world through a biblical viewpoint, rather than a worldly view, is something I was not taught at a young age.  Hopefully doing this for my boys will save them many self-inflicted trials and point them toward service to others and to God.

Lesson #1 and #2 have been very engaging so far.  The boys seem to grasp what the book is teaching very well.  It is written in plain, everyday language and includes activities and stories to which they can relate.  On top of that, they keep a notebook for recording vocabulary words, insightful opinions and expressions about different topics, and memorize scripture each week.  It was very encouraging once this past week to see my youngest have his first “A-Ha!” moment about satan and God.  I am praying that God would use the material in this book and in our schooling to reach his heart in such a way that I have not been able to explain.  So far, so good!

Art –  We’ll be doing various artsy type things.  One book I found at a thrift store is “Exploring Textures in Watercolor” by Joye Moon.  I will be painting right alongside the boys as we work our way through this book…..sort of a “perk” for me to be learning too, instead of just teaching!

Texas History – We are using “The Story of Texas” by Harcourt Brace along with “Discover Texas”, a CD based history program.  Also included in the plan are adding two smaller unit studies on Cowboys and Indians.  Each of the boys will be making a list of all the places we study in Texas.  Towards the end of the school year, they will be able to choose one place on the list to visit in person.  “Hands-on” makes the best learning!

This is a class easily combined for both grade levels.  I think public schoolers in Texas usually do it in 4th grade, so in comparison, one of mine will be a year early and the other a year later than their peers.  It saves me aLOT of time to be able to combine a few subjects.  I just adjust the assignments and activities as needed for each grade level.

Language Arts – Grammar          “Easy Grammar” by Easy Grammar Systems, Scottsdale, Arizona   We tested this last year and found it to truly be “easy”, yet still challenging.  I love the way it teaches prepositions first so that the other parts of speech are more easily recognizable.  Once you mark out the prepositional phrases first, it is easy to spot the subject and verb.  Also, although both boys are doing separate grade levels in this curriculum, the chapters are arranged similarly so I can usually teach both at the same time.

Language Arts – Writing    This subject, I understand, is a common sore spot in every homeschooler’s plan.  Even public school students and parents struggle with writing, mainly because they don’t do enough of it!  (my opinion)  Kids, especially elementary age kids, just. don’t. want. to. write!  We’ve had many struggles with it.  Although I love to write, trying to teach my boys to do it has been pretty difficult.  Til this year, what we’ve tried to do did not have organization or depth.  Now, we are trying a new curriculum shared by my friend that seems to be just what we needed.  It will teach writing concepts at a self-paced/mastery plan and the same concepts will be used to build upon all the way through high school.  Consistency in a long term plan seems the way to go in order for writing skills to be developed.  It is the “Institute of Excellence in Writing” program.

Language Arts – Spelling     Last year, we used a spelling program that had lots of activities and colorful pages.  It also seemed a bit expensive when paired with other homeschooling expenses we had.  This year, I found a year’s list of grade appropriate spelling words online and decided to use it for free 🙂  The word list came from K12Reader.com.  I simply printed the year’s lists of words, placed them in a folder, and then taped daily instructions on the front for spelling activities.  Each day, the boys grab their folder, complete that day’s exercises, and by the end of the week are prepared for the graded test.  Daily activities include reading the words to me, circling any unfamiliar words, writing the words, writing sentences with the words, using a dictionary to write definitions of words I preselect for vocabulary, and then taking a practice test.  So far, this has been a no-nonsense, no cost path to greater spelling!  Yay for free!!

Language Arts – Reading      I use LOTS of different materials to encourage reading success.  One area of concentration this year is comprehension.  Using an old Scott, Foresman reader, “Wheels and Rockets”, the boys are required to read certain stories and then answer the comprehension questions in complete sentences.  We are working on changing a question into a complete statement and then answering the question.  For example:  “Why did the chicken cross the road?”  Answer:  “The chicken crossed the road because. it needed to get to the other side.”  Rather than simply write “to get to the other side”, the boys are equating their answers to complete thoughts and proper speech.  I also frequently require them to record the page number of where they found the answer by each question.  This helps force them to look back at the story for correct information.  Sometimes they do well, other times they confuse parts of the story, but we always talk through the answers and why something else might have been a better choice.

We do lots of silent reading as well.  They are required to read silently for a certain amount of time.  Sometimes I assign the material to read.  Sometimes they get to choose. Sometimes they choose at the library.  Sometimes I let them choose from a preselected group of books I put together before the school year started.  I try to have a variety of reading levels, books and magazines for them…anything to keep their interest!

Language Arts – Handwriting    I know, I know! This is a “lost Art” for many now a days.  Call me “old school” if you want, but I still believe there is value in legible handwriting!  Chances are that neither of my boys will be doctors, so I just assume that their boss will want to be able to read what they are writing, despite the Keyboard Age.  To challenge them more, we also work on cursive writing!  Doing cursive has actually made writing more exciting for them.  They take greater pride in their assignments when forming the nicely slanted letters.  This year, I’m not using any particular curriculum…..just notebook paper, starting with the ABC’s and moving towards mastery in connecting letters and words.

Science – “Exploring Creation with Zoology 2:  Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day” by Jeannie K. Fulbright   After years of using her curriculum, I cannot imagine going to anything different!  Thankfully, she has written even High School level science curriculum that we can look forward to.  So far, we’ve completed Astronomy, Anatomy, and Zoology 1: Flying Creatures.  She also sells spiral bound notebooks that accompany the study and I highly recommend them.  They are interesting, creative, and provide the perfect place to record the course’s observations and for use in note taking.

Math – Teaching Textbooks   This is a computerized math program that we started last year.  It is a little behind the advanced curriculum we were using previously, however, it’s animated and fun for the boys to learn.  It teaches, reinforces, quizzes, and challenges.  It. even. GRADES!  (Woo hoooooo!  Oh how I loathe grading assignments, lol!)  Anyway, I told the boys they could work at their pace (at least completing one grade level per year), but also can work ahead in order to stay challenged.  We actually skipped a grade level for the youngest because the placement test he took showed he had already mastered 3rd grade concepts before this 3rd grade year had started.  They love it!  I love it!  It’s a “win-win” math program that will take them well through any high school math requirements!

Music – This year we will be participating in a co-op music class. It will be taught by a very dear friend whom we have known for many years.  (Hiiiiiiiiii Kariiiiiiiiii!)  I’m so excited and know that outside the public school setting, she will be free to encourage the boys to use their talents for the Lord!  This is going to be GREAT 🙂

Study Skills – One of the things I have learned in homeschooling is that kids do not naturally know how to study!  Discovering this has changed alot in our daily plan.  Now, we learn about strategies for memorizing information.  We engage in conversation to spark the sharing of ideas and higher level thinking.  They use “Brain Pop”, an online program for learning new things and practicing test taking as well as multiple choice answering, etc.   We do crosswords, map studies, dictionary work, and even play thought provoking games like chess and scrabble.  I just usually try to have some type of study skill building activity each week to encourage them toward self-controlled, well-prepared, study habits.

Physical Education – Although somewhat lacking in our plan right now, I know we will be active.  We do sports like soccer and basketball.  We also do Wii fit and other indoor activities.  Probably not what we SHOULD be doing, but I will continue to look for opportunities for physical activity and act upon them.  Now that we are also working on the farm, they should get lots of exercise! (and me 🙂

Other Co-op classes/activities – We will be meeting weekly with a dear group of friends who all homeschool.  At last count, there were at least 40 kids participating, probably more.  This will allow us the opportunity for more socialization as well as participating in group type classes.  Co-op subjects we will be participating in are:  Astronomy, Music, Citizenship, and US States.

We are also joining the local 4-H club this year.  Archery will be our main project but we look forward to learning more about raising animals as well as participating in other projects and community service events.

Hmmmmm…..have I covered it all?  It sounds like alot.  Ok, actually it is, but thus is the challenge in homeschooling:  attempting to expose our kids to the best education in order for them to be well-rounded, responsible individuals.  I also believe homeschooling affords the greater opportunity to share Jesus with them in every area of life as well.  If they can see Jesus in a math problem, then they are more likely to include Him in their thoughts and actions as they grow up.  They will have a biblical worldview, as our bible curriculum calls it, and know the need and blessing for serving others.

Each year, God seems to equip me with what we will need to make schooling successful, and for that, I am so thankful!  To God be the glory, from me and for my sons who will hopefully one day surrender their all to Him.

  Just out of bed on the first day of school and he writes this message on the board.

  Now, if I could just convince them that starting back to school doesn’t HAVE to be bad, lol!

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Filed under Bible, Bible Study, Blessings, Children, Family, Friends, God, Grace, Home School, Homeschool, homeschooling, Jesus, Job, Joy, Life, Morals, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Priorities

Who They Think They’d Like To Meet.

Name:  Julie
Age:  Wouldn’t you like to know?!
Status:  Married for 21 years
Education:  Still Learning
Who I’d Like to Meet I have already met:  God

In this techno-savvy age of computers, everyone has a “space”.  Both young and old seem to indulge in this form of communication, and at the height of the information board, the person’s “profile” that lists several things about them.

Name, age, location, education, favorite likes, dislikes, books, and other questions are boldly proclaimed across the world wide web.  There’s been much discussion about the safety concerns, or lack thereof in many cases, of sharing so much with the unknown.  Now, with private “friend” invitations, access can only be allowed to those we  “know”…so the communication waves continue, sharing photos, stories, lists, comments and so on.

In many cases, these web pages are much like blogging, minus the uncontrolled advertising.  However, I have to give a big sarcastic chuckle when I read a profile that says, “Who I’d Like to Meet:  God“, and yet their home page reeks of sinful indulgences.

Blaring rock music, lust-filled web design images, uncontrolled and innapropriate advertising banners, others listed as “friends” who boldly proclaim profanity, rebellion, and share stories of their latest sinful pleasures.

–And yet, they want to “meet God“?

I dare say they have not even begun to realize that the fulfillment of their wish might not be such a joyous occasion!

Why would God want to “hang” with pictures of drunken college kids who do little but lead others far from righteousness?  Why would God want to hear noise termed as “music” because that is what’s popular?  What would God say about the language that is being openly used and accepted as “cool”? Why is it that we’ve fooled ourselves into believing that it’s okay to overlook the obvious, all for the sake of fitting in? 

How would God react to these “adults”, who know better, and many of whom have professed a personal relationship with Him, when they are so weak in spirit and cannot resist the least temptation to participate with such evil?

They don’t want to meet God.  The one true God, that is. 

They meet their gods everyday, and enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin.  Their gods encourage them to stay away from what is right and good, and rejoice when another “little” step is taken further in the wrong direction.

Pretty soon, they are convinced that no harm can come from participating in unholy acts.  —Then…it becomes easier and easier and easier to ignore the wrong.  Eventually, the line is crossed, and there’s consequences too great to pay.

They don’t want to meet God. 

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Filed under Attitude, Blogging, Children, Commitment, Ethics, Faith, Family, Friends, God, Life, Mercy, Morals, Obedience, Priorities, Reputation, Trials, Wisdom

At School.

Whew!  We made it through the first day!

It all began at 7:00 (‘sh) when I forced myself to enter the world of “early risers”!  I showered, got dressed, and proceeded to push the boys out of bed.  The great part was that they were already excited and anxious to start their first day of school! Continue reading

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Filed under Bible, Blessings, Children, Faith, Family, Gifts, God, Grace, Homeschool, Joy, Life, Love, Morals, Prayer, Preparation, Priorities, Wisdom

Not Watching American Idol.

Our family is going to be participating in what many in America consider to be a horrible thing  –The National TV Turn Off Week. 

The bigscreen will finally be put in the repair shop (blue tube is going out).  The, yes — count them….4 (!) other televisions will be unplugged and laid to rest for the whole week…..it will be just HORRIBLE!!!  🙂   

We are doing this to be a part of the family emphasis that someone (?) started some time ago.  I don’t really know the history of it all, but National TV Turnoff Week has been going on for many years now.   

Why would I put our family through such an “awful” thing?….because I do agree that television watching takes the place of a lot of family time and other things that should be priority.  Families in America are so dictated by their schedules that we miss out on the regular sharing of our lives together.  I read stories about how the family used to sit down and read their bible together, have regular devotions, share time, and pray together.  Honestly, we have always struggled with this in our family.  Try as we might, it seems like we continually have a conflict that prevents us from making family devotions a regular part of our week.  However, this week, we are going to unplug the tube, and do what we can to make our time together count. 

I have already begun reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” to the boys tonight.  This timeless story still brings tears to my eyes, and I think they will love to hear it.  (and …we have promised to rent the movie to show them at the end of the book reading…  ha ha — next week, of course!!) 

Another priority I will focus on this week will be to read more of my bible.  As part of a wonderful 17 member e:mail accountability group, I issued a challenge for us all to find extra ways to utilize this week to do some catch up reading.  After brainstorming, the list of examples for catch up activities became: 

  1.  Make it priority over everything else.
  2. Set a goal, and stick with it.
  3. Rise an hour early everyday this week just to have coffee with the Lord.
  4. If you are busy with projects around the house, read five chapters, then complete a task, then read five more chapters, and complete another task.  Keep this up until you’ve read a whole book in one day.
  5. Commit to read half of a book at one sitting.
  6. Ask a friend to babysit for you one day this week, so that you can focus on reading.  (By the way…I’m available for anyone who needs it!)
  7. Volunteer to babysit for a friend who needs some alone time with God.
  8. Keep sticky notes handy to mark scriptures you want to research further, that way you can read through it quicker, coming back to dive deeper later.
  9. Sit down with your bible, a commentary, and a dictionary all at once so that you can look up unfamiliar scripture quickly.
  10. Put a visible marker on the page where you should be according to the calendar Cynthia gave us.  This will give you motivation and a goal.
  11. Stay up an hour later each day this week just to read.
  12. Take a vacation or personal day from work this week to read all day.  We take vacations for everything and everybody else…why not for the Lord?
  13. Take your bible to work everyday, along with a sack lunch.  Commit to using your entire lunch time everyday to read.
  14. Use audio tapes or CD’s of the bible to listen to on the way to work or as you run errands.
  15. Make a rule:  No TV unless you’ve read at least 20 chapters (or more)!
  16. Plan simplicity in your daily schedule for a week, so that you can use the time reading. 
  17. Cook using the crock pot, instead of spending two hours over the stove so you can read.
  18. Use paper plates and plastic cups to cut down on dish washing time so you can read.
  19. Hire someone to mow the lawn this week so that you can read. (By the way, there is probably some youth at church who could use the money for summer camp!)
  20. Use accountability as an advantage….commit to post your progress daily.  Nothing gets me going more than having to admit what I haven’t done!?
  21. Ask a friend to call you everyday this week to specifically ask how much you’ve read! (ouch!)
  22. Get in your car, drive to the park, and read.
  23. Let your house go…..don’t clean anything for a day!  It will end up looking like mine (?!), but at least you will have been able to read quite a bit J
  24. Drug the kids so that they will leave you alone to read.  (JUST KIDDING…..really!…..DON’T DO IT!!)
  25. Ask your husband/wife to take the kids for a fun day so that you can read at home.
  26. Get away to the library to read.
  27. Commit to read during every meal this week.  It’s a time that you usually at least sit down, and most of us can eat and read at the same time!
  28. I would love to know how many of us use the bathroom as a reading room?  Well…just substitute your bible for “Uncle John’s Big Bathroom Reader”!
  29. Ask God to help you, and then diligently commit to a reading plan.
  30. Read outdoors!  There’s something inspiring and motivating about the fresh air!
  31. Read out loud!  Involve your children and spouse…teach good habits, infect them with God’s words!
  32. Go to church an hour early, find a quiet, unused room, and read.
  33. Take your kids to McDonald’s or to the playground/park and read.
  34. Make reading your bible the first thing you do everyday…even if it makes you late for something else.  Most likely, the first day you are late for work or an appointment, you will realize that getting up earlier is what needs to happen, and change your habits from then on.  Yet…you will have honored God still by putting Him in His rightful place….FIRST!
  35. Motivate yourself with a reward if you read a certain amount this week.  …Tickets to the Ranger game, a new dress, new nails, a new fishing pole, dinner out, etc.  speaks loud and clear when we want it bad enough!!
  36. Put pictures of your reward around the house to remind you of the week end’s prize!
  37. Put notes that say, “Have you read your bible today?” all around the house.  There’s nothing better than a constant, nagging reminder to be obedient!
  38. Keep your car keys inside your bible.  Commit to read five chapters before you leave to go anywhere.
  39. Keep the remote control inside your bible!
  40. In the spirit of the “baby project” at high schools across the country…..carry your bible everywhere you go, to every room in the house, to every store, in the car, etc. until you have reached your goal this week.  When it “cries” out to you, stop to read. 
  41. Recognize that it’s all about Commitment, Willpower, and Priorities!
  42. Ask members of your Sunday School class to pray for you, and check in on you through out the week.
  43. Sticker charts are acceptable for adults, too!  Get your creative cap on, make you a chart that shows your progress, and award yourself a sticker after you read each chapter, sets of 10 chapters, book, etc.  Then….go get yourself an ice cream when you fill up the chart!! J  (Sorry….I’m a mother of a preschooler!!)
  44. Consider what you normally do with your free time.  Make a list of the time you have between sunrise and sunset that is not taken by your employment schedule.  Then…do away with those distractions this week, and “plug” in the word “Bible” during those hours.  You will probably be surprised how much time you COULD be reading!
  45. Try to sit down and make a list of acceptable reasons why you should NOT read your bible….see if you can get to #1……and then…go read!
  46. Pray before you read everyday.  Ask God to open your eyes and mind to His Word.
  47. Make it fun!….enter into a contest with a friend to read a certain amount of chapters….the first one to complete it buys lunch!
  48. Memorize this passage:  “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”  Psalms 119:9-11, and then recite it out loud ten times, each time you try to talk yourself out of reading that day.
  49. Take your VCR apart, piece by piece, and then try to reassemble it.  (Most likely you won’t be able to, without an instructional manual as a guide.)  Then realize that life is much like a VCR….we need the bible to instruct us daily.
  50. After you are caught up in your reading plan, go buy another VCR!!

I thought I would just share this with you, wondering if there was anyone in “Blogdom” that might like to join us this week by reading your bible, too! 

Turn your tv’s off, find a good chair, and soak in the warmth of God’s Words.  I guarantee you that it will be better than Simon Cowell! 

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Filed under American Idol, Bible, Blogging, Children, Church, Commitment, Faith, Family, God, Identity, Life, Morals, Obedience, old-fashioned, Priorities, Tears, Television, Time, Wisdom

Our Identity.

On the way home from a soccer game, our five year old decided to announce that he had a word for each of us in the family.  He so intelligently proclaimed:       

Himself – “Motorcross”

His Little Brother – “Little People” (as in the Fisher Price toys)

Sister #2 – “Ketchup”  (she eats it on everything!)

Dad – “Fishing”

Mom – “Singing at church”

Sister #1 – Water  (she always drinks it)

We laughed reflecting on his comments!  It was so funny to hear him verbalize our “identities” based upon his young perceptions!  As I thought about what he said, I realized that there was a blog in this….

God Is…Our Identity.

  • John 10:14 – “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”

There are two ways of looking at this verse…”am known by My own” could indicate that we Christians know Jesus, as He knows us — like sheep know who their shepherd is.  However, from an identity standpoint, you could also look at this phrase to mean that Jesus is known by his sheep…meaning the reputation we hold reflects on the character and reputation of Jesus. 

If our reputation is of disobedience and rebellion, then we do not reflect a very good representation of Jesus.  When we proclaim ourselves to be a “Christian”, we are saying that we are “like Christ”, and if the world sees us behaving in disobedience, we are basically saying, “Christ acts like this.”   

We must be careful to exhibit our lives in such a way as to honor our Savior.  We, further, should recognize instances where we fail to do that, and take the time to point our failures out to other people.  We should be humbled to the point of making sure the world knows that we acknowledge the things we have done were wrong. 

Our reputation as Christians becomes Christ’s reputation to the world.

Even a five-year old like my son sees the “real” us.  He knows, by our behaviors, what we play with, what we drink, what we eat, what we spend our time doing, and what really makes us happy.  We should expect the rest of the world to also be watching.  Our identity is our reputation. 

What kind of identity do you have today?  I have to say I was very relieved to hear my son point out that I like to sing in church, rather than some of the other failures I often exhibit!   

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, …made Himself of no reputationtaking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8

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Old-Fashioned.

OLD-FASHIONED…That’s Me

It’s really no secret….I’m a “old-fashioned” girl.  I love “Little House on the Prairie”, the thought of quiet, country living, and as long as I could take penicillin and air conditioning, I would probably be willing to live back in time as Laura Ingalls Wilder did.  I also like my share of city lights, chain restaurants, malls, and latte’s, but when it really comes down to it, I much prefer the simpler life.  Thanks to my Dad, I learned to appreciate the great outdoors, old times, and the loooonnnnngggg Texas drawl he exhibited so well.

I guess because of my roots, I have come to appreciate the old-fashioned way, but to many in today’s world, being old-fashioned is a bad thing. 

Even in our churches, we are seeing movements where it seems that every traditional  aspect of our church heritage is being questioned, and in many cases condemned.  We sit too much, we are too complacent, we are too organized in our services, we dress too formally, we have too many services, we use music in place of the message, we “perform” instead of practice our faith, etc., etc., etc.  It seems to me that “modern” movements within the Christian realm are forgetting about the foundations that our church forefathers worked so diligently to put in place.

I agree that in many, many cases the church “sits, soaks, and sours”, and is out of the will of God because there is no evidence of real commitment to our Christian faith and duties.  Yet, it still seems beyond me to visualize all of our traditions and old-fashioned ways gone. 

Christian “buzz” words like “modern”, “contemporary”, “emergent”, and “missional” are not new to the Christian faith.  If you really look at it, they are just a new expression of what we all should be doing anyway.  Why is it that we have to re-label the values that are traditional, and then call the old-fashioned ways bad? 

Isn’t it good to meet together, pray for one another, encourage one another, respect one another, reverence God in our clothing, sing and worship to our Lord, and exhibit an organized environment focused on reaching others for Christ?  These traditions in our churches are what is being called “out-dated”, “unfruitful”, “boring”, and “outside of God’s will”.  It’s like there’s an attack, a revolution among our Christian brothers and sisters who, I believe, have good intentions, but instead are helping to create an atmosphere of controversy and condemnation with our church family.

It is sad to me to see our churches being portrayed as buildings where worldly people just attend a good “show”.  It’s no wonder why the unsaved people don’t want to hear the message!  We can’t even agree among ourselves. 

New ideas, and new movements toward furthering the gospel of Christ can be good, but only when the focus is on Christ, and not in the condemnation of others who are responding to God in another way.  God gave each of us a particular gift and purpose.  We are all different, yet part of one body.  When one part starts tearing down the other part, it only causes harm. 

I am noticing brother against brother, sister against sister, and even minister against minister and, honestly, I am embarrassed and ashamed.  Our focus needs to return to Christ, who administered the ways of “old”, and who is never changing, and who we should all be “fashioned” like.

Is there a way that we can all work together toward this effort?  I believe so.  I ask you to examine your heart and mind before you respond,

“…laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…” 1 Peter 2:1

“…He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct..”  1 Peter 1:15

“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully…when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps, “Who commited no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”” 1 Peter 2:19-22

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.  If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability, which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified…  1 Peter 4:9-11

As we look for new ways, new ideas, new directions, let us not forget the benefits of “old”.  There is wisdom we can gain from respecting our early churches and the traditions that come over time. 

Let’s encourage each other to respond to God’s direction, in ALL His different ways. 

The problem is NOT the traditions OR the new ideas, it’s the ATTITUDE of the people who don’t practice the Christian faith as they should.  From generation to generation I expect this will always be a problem.  Until we learn to be “…doers of the word, and not hearers only..” James 1:22, the church will experience seasons of drought. 

Let us respect the ways of old, acknowledge the fruit they have brought over time, and the wisdom we, today, can benefit from them.  On the same token, let us praise those who aren’t afraid to initiate new ideas, those who respond to the modern world and all its’ benefits in order to bring more people to Christ.  Both ways can be useful.  Both ways can be effective.  Both ways can be honorable. 

My clothes dryer is a new, advanced, modern way of doing laundry.  It can dry clothes at an unbelievable rate.  It takes static out, and leaves my clothes wrinkle free.  Yet I have to respect the aged clothesline.  Clothes that are dried outside smell so good!  You can literally smell the warmth of the sun and the natural, God-breathed air.   

Both ways achieve the same result….dry clothes.  Right now, I exclusively use the clothes dryer.  However, I think I will ask my husband to set up an outdoor line as well. 

Why?  Because I have found that it is when we take the time to reverence the things of “old” that we learn to appreciate the advancement of time and all its’ improvements

So…if, in this new age of technology, where dryers are ultra-sized, energy efficient, time saving mechanisms, you drive past my house and see “bloomers” on a line, I hope you will laugh with me, not at me.  

The Lord calls each one of us in a different way, and when we respect our differences, the whole body is complete.   Let us, as believers, remember to “…speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among (us), but that (we) be perfectly joined together in the same mind…”1 Corinthians 1:10 

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Filed under Attitude, Bible, Church, Contemporary, Ethics, God, Love, Morals, Obedience, old-fashioned, Traditional, Wisdom

Boss.

My previous post included references of prior experience in the corporate world.  I know someone who believes that it is hard for a Christian in the business world to succeed without giving into dishonest, power hungry, and political practices.  His viewpoint is that there is difficulty in separating Christian ethics from the way the world does business.  

It is true that in today’s world we see a good many businesses being run by people who would sell their mother’s clothing to make a profit, but I would like to cling to the hope that business success CAN be achieved in conjunction with moral behavior.  While I have certainly seen a fair share of office politics and sales pitches, I choose to still believe that there are some business men and women who hold true to the values of honesty and integrity.

There’s no doubt that a decline in the moral backbone is among us.  News reports are issued everyday telling of  executives and company officials being prosecuted for the bad decisions they have made to rob their shareholders, represent their company with deceptive trading practices, and the embezzlement of company funds.  Unfortunately, you can’t even buy a car (or a couch for that matter) without feeling like you have been through the “ringer” by the time you leave the office.  This is because the salesmen and women are trained to anticipate our reactions to their various “proposals”, working steadily to string us into the final sale.

However….I choose to believe that IF a business professional were to truly follow God and the commandments He has given us, they CAN be a successful contribution to the business world…prospering enough to rise to the top of the corporate ladder, and leading companies to a solid “bottom line”.

One such example for this is Joseph.  Joseph was one of 12 brothers in the Old Testament.  He was sold into slavery by his brothers due to the jealousy for their father’s attention.  Joseph could have spent his life, weary of his circumstances and slipping into the very selfish attitudes that got him into slavery in the first place, but instead he chose to follow God.  Genesis chapter 39 tells of Joseph’s service to Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh during his captivity.  Joseph served well enough to gain the respect of Potiphar so much so that he was made the overseer of the house and all of Potiphar’s possessions.  Verse 2 says, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man.”

When Potiphar’s wife was scorned by Joseph, she arranged a scenario that put him in prison, and still there he served honestly and productively enough to put him over all the prisoners in the prison. 

Both times, he was left in complete charge of the task at hand, without the need of his “bosses” looking over his shoulder, and both times, he succeeded because “the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.” 

Joseph was quick to give God the glory for his works.  “It is not in me; God will…” (Genesis 41:16) Consequently, God eventually brings Joseph out of his bondage, making him the governor of Pharoah’s kingdom.  During this time, Joseph devises and oversees a complicated business strategy to reap a great harvest during the first seven years, stock piling excess food, enough to save the people of the kingdom and sell to other lands who later experienced a famine.

In the end, Joseph proved to prosperously run the kingdom “business”, all the while staying under the grace and blessing of God who was pleased. 

Joseph learned to “Bloom where he was planted” as an old friend of mine would say, and enjoyed a respect from others wherever he was.  Everywhere he went, his abilities were recognized, and he was rewarded with prestigious positions of authority and prosperous results.

I believe that business men and women can live their life for the Lord and still reap rewards.  It is God who will be “with” you just as He was with Joseph.  If you will stand up and exercise your Christian faith in your daily life, God will bless you for it. 

When you hesitate to treat the customer with the smallest account just as well as the customer with the largest account, stop to remember that God loves all people the same. 

When you know that only by stretching the truth will win you the sale, remember that God doesn’t like lying. 

When you ponder the use of your position and authority to obtain personal favor, remember that God often uses the smallest and weakest to accomplish His greatest work.

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  Matthew 12:30 

The best business plan I can think of is this:  “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.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death…” Philippians 2:3-8

If all business men and women would follow this strategy, do you agree that God would bless them with success just as he did Joseph? 

After all…..it’s GOD who IS the “BOSS”.

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Filed under Bible, Business, Career, Ethics, God, Morals, Priorities, Success