Resurrection Day Recap and The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Is Now On Sale!

I hope that everyone had a very blessed Resurrection Day! While we do participate in some spring (or typical “Easter”) activities, my goal this year was to stay focused on the resurrection of our Lord during Holy Week. We made some crafts, read and discussed the story of Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and ascension, and our children were super excited to wear special new outfits to church on Sunday.

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He lives! We made a fun watercolor craft depicting the cross at Calvary.

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Our kiddos ready for church on Sunday morning.  The girls really enjoyed picking out new outfits, while the boys were tickled to wear ties for the first time.  The best deal that I found was our 19-month-old’s new dress for $4.97 at JC Penny.  I believe that it was meant for winter holiday wear, but since it was short sleeved and light pink, I was super excited to use it for Resurrection Day!  My husband went ahead an took a photo of our three oldest girls for their dance recital program per their request. 

Now I would love to share a great deal with you if you enjoy ebooks and would love to hone your homemaking skills! (As I most definitely need to!)  Honestly, I signed up as an affiliate for this bundle before realizing quite how many other bloggers had as well.  The thought of inundating you guys with advertisements about this pains me, so I decided to add a bit more to the this post than just a sales pitch.  Very honestly though, if I didn’t think that this is a tremendous resource for homemakers, I would not be promoting it.  Anyhow, if you are not interested, please just disregard the information below.

I am super excited to be an affiliate for this awesome Ultimate Homemaking Bundle full of over 80 ebooks and other resources. This package is valued at over $850, but is on sale now for only $29.95!

Homemaking Books Included:

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  • Filling Hearts While Cleaning Homes: Five Minute Devotions for Families by Jenn Thorson & Lindsey Stomberg ($8.00)
  • Hospitality: The Duty of the Christian Home by Kathy @ Teaching Good Things ($4.97)
  • How to Build a Strong Christian Home by June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home ($4.99)
  • Life Your Way Printables Download Pack by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($7.00)
  • Sewing School 101: Simple Tips to Get You Stitching by Nicole @ Gidget Goes Home ($11.99)
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  • The Homemaker’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy @ Raising Arrows ($4.99)

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  • Dairy Free 101 by Becky @ For This Season ($5.00)
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  • Happy Mom, Healthy Family Meal Planning Workshop + Cookbook by Lisa @ WellGroundedLife ($29.00)
  • Meal Planning Made Easy by Kelly @ The Nourishing Home ($6.99)
  • No Cook Freezer Meals by Kelly @ New Leaf Wellness ($5.99)
  • Simplified Dinners by Mystie @ Simplified Pantry Cooking ($12.99)
  • The ABC’s of Freezer Cooking by K.M. @ KMLogan.com ($2.99)
  • The Healthy Lunch Box: Sandwich-Free Secrets to Packing a Real Food Lunch by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($9.95)
  • The Sweeter Side of Candida: Desserts for the Holidays, Special Occasions, & Everyday Sweet Treats by Paula Miller & Sarah Ives ($14.95)
  • {Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals & Snacks by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.00)
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  • Simple Cooking to Save You Money by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($4.97)
  • The Frugal Secrets of Real Foodies by Shannon Miles, Sarah Nichols, Kristen Smith, Kate Tietje, and Katherine (Katie Mae) Stanley ($9.97)

Motherhood Books Included:

  • Discipleship & Discipline: Practical Parenting Help for the Desperate Mom eCourse by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae ($17.99)
  • Pieces of Mommy: Putting Yourself Back Together by Sarah @ SarahStrausbaugh.com ($7.99)
  • Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood by Jamie @ Steady Mom ($9.55)
  • The Cherished Home: Protecting What’s Important by Mary @ The Encouraging Home ($14.99)
  • The Pursuit of Motherhood by Caroline Allen, Jennifer Allen, Mary Clendenin, Kelly Crawford, Jasmine Cucuta, Sara Elizabeth Dunn, Jacqueline Fitzgerald, June Fuentes, Heather Knopp, Melinda Martin, Richele McFarlin, Melanie Moore, Amy Roberts, Lindsey Stomberg, Jacinda Vandenberg, and Melanie Young. ($7.99)
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  • Dear Wife: Letters from a Help Meet by Misty @ Beautiful Ashes ($2.99)
  • Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband (A 31 Day Devotional) by Crystal @ Serving Joyfully ($3.99)
  • The Ultimate Marriage Vow: 21 Days of a Life-Long Commitment by Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife ($2.99)
  • To Love, Honor and Vacuum Audio Download by Sheila @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ($2.99)

Faith Books Included:

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  • How To Manage Your Mouth: A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge by Connie @ Smockity Frocks ($5.97)
  • Restoring the Lost Petal: A Journey Through the Loss and Restoration of Sexual Purity by Danielle @ More Than Four Walls ($8.99)
  • Set Apart: Becoming a Woman of Virtue in a Modern World by Anjanette Barr, Whitney Cornelison, Jennifer Fountain, Virginia George, Crystal Hatcher, Sarah Nichols, Rachel Marie, Ashley Roe, Kendra Stamy, Danielle Tate, and Karli Von Herbulis ($3.99)
  • The Homesteading Wife’s Christian Devotional: Finding Biblical Truths on the Farm by Susie @ Our Simple Farm ($3.99)

Faith Books for Kids Included:

  • Be Thankful: Cultivating Year-Round Thankfulness by Amanda @ The Pelsers ($7.99)
  • Character Badges by Caroline @ The Modest Mom Blog ($9.99)
  • God Gifted Virtues by Sara @ Your Thriving Family ($8.95)
  • Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit Family Devotional by Michael & Carlie @ Learning to Speak Life ($9.99)
  • The ABC’s for Godly Boys/The ABC’s for Godly Girls by Lindsey @ The Road To 31 ($19.98)
  • The Warrior Weekend: Helping Dads Raise Boys to Be Godly Men by Patrick & Ruth @ For the Family ($4.99)

Financial Stewardship Books Included:

  • 5 Days to Budget Breakthrough: Change Your Money – Change Your Life by Kimberlee @ The Peaceful Mom ($5.95)
  • 76 Free Things to Do with Kids: A Real Mom’s Guide by Shannon @ Growing Slower ($5.97)
  • Advanced Penny Pinching: Stockpile – Strategize – Save by Tabitha @ Meet Penny ($3.99)
  • Cash Flow Your College: Knowledge in Your Head Without Getting in the Red by Kayla @ Renown and Crowned ($2.99)
  • Christian Wealth Building by Michael @ MichaelPink.com ($77.00)
  • It’s Me or the Coupons: How a Busy Mom Can Win the Grocery Budget Battle by Beth @ Eat Better Spend Less ($10.00)

Health and Wellness Books Included:

  • Healing With God’s Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($7.95)
  • My Simple Healthy Life: A Minimalist Approach to Herbal Remedies, Beauty & Natural Cleaning by Tammie @ Simple. Healthy. Tasty. ($5.95)
  • Simple Natural Health: Wellness Made Easy by Nina @ Shalom Mama ($10.00)

Holiday and Special Event Books Included:

  • 100 Days of a New Year 2014 eBook by Jennifer @ ListPlanIt.com ($8.00)
  • Christmas Printables for Kids by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($2.50)
  • Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year by Daniel & Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas ($7.99)
  • More Than a Holiday: A 25-Day Christmas Devotional for the Whole Family by Scott and Sarah @ Simple Life Abundant Life ($7.95)
  • More Than Candy: A 25-Day Christmas Countdown that Counts by Sarah Mae @ SarahMae.com ($4.99)

Homeschooling Books Included:

  • 101 Independent Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers by MaryEllen @ Imperfect Homemaker ($4.99)
  • 1777 New England Primer Cursive/Manuscript Printable Alphabet Sets by Jacinda @ Growing Home ($5.98)
  • A Simple Homeschool Planner by Tsh @ The Art of Simple ($4.00)
  • The Charlotte Mason Way Explained by Dollie @ Teachers of Good Things ($7.99)
  • The Preschool Journey by Angela @ Teaching Mama ($6.99)
  • Weekly Homeschool Planner by Jolanthe @ Homeschool Creations ($20.00)
  • You Can Read by Carisa @ 1+1+1=1 ($10.00)
  • Write Through the Bible: Exodus 20 (KJV, Manuscript) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)

Pregnancy and Baby Books Included:

  • Baby Ready: Preparing For and Adapting to Life with Baby by Monica @ Happy and Blessed Home ($7.99)
  • Breastfeeding Twins, Triplets and More! by Jennifer @ Growing Up Triplets ($10.00)
  • Cloth Diapers: A How-To Handbook on the Basics of Cloth Diapering by Rachel @ Intentionally Simple ($5.99)
  • The Breastfeeding Lifeline: A Guide to Navigating the Newborn Days by the authors at Breastfeeding Place: Anjanette Barr, Michelle Ferguson, Jennifer Fountain, Trisha Gilkerson, Sarah Harkins, Shary Lopez, Kristen Smith, and Rhiana Wackenhuth. ($5.95)
  • The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($4.99)
  • Topical Devotions for Pregnancy: 13 Devotions to Nourish Your Soul by Becky @ Purposeful Homemaking ($3.99)

Self-care Books Included:

  • 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal @ Money Saving Mom ($4.99)
  • Equipped: Because You’ve Been Made to Live On Purpose by Elisa @ More to Be ($6.99)
  • Live for Him: A Grace-Filled Look at Planning by Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace ($2.99)
  • The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight: Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years by Heidi @ The Busy Mom ($10.00)
  • Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day by Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker

Working from Home and Blogging Books Included:

  • Blog Planner 2014 by Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life ($4.99)
  • Blog at Home Mom: Balancing Blogging and Motherhood by Christin @ Joyful Mothering ($4.99)
  • FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom’s Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits by Alyssa @ AlyssaAvant.com ($4.99)
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do: A Tutorial to Using PicMonkey with Professional Results by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($8.00)
  • The Blog Planning Kit: A System to Maximize Your Blogging Efforts by Kat @ How They Blog ($15.00)

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What a wonderful resource to help mommas grow their homes for the Lord’s glory! This ebook bundle is only on sale for only a short time, so be sure to snag your copy soon. This sale runs from April 23rd through the 28th.

To order:

*As an affiliate, my family receives a small commission for each bundle purchased through this website.  We would like to deeply thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you as you use this resource to better serve your family at home!

 

 

Avoiding False Knowledge and It’s Relation to Schooling

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O Timothy!  Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge- by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.      1 Timothy 6:20-21

Today, Christian parents in America have a multitude of choices to make regarding the education of their children.  There is public schooling, private schooling, and home schooling.  Many folks believe that the Bible is silent on this issue, and the choice is theirs to make.  Within my personal circle of friends and acquaintances, most send their children to public school, a few send their children to private school, and a number somewhere in between home school.

Many consider Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 as the foundational verses which advocate for home schooling.  While these verses show a clear directive to speak (and speak often!) to your children about the Lord, they do not come out and say, “thou shalt home school.”  What has become clear to me, is that the more I study scripture, the more verses seem to stand out which say, “home schooling is the way to go.”  There are a number of verses that discuss keeping company with the righteous instead of the ungodly, like Psalm 1.  (While those who are mature in Christ are to share the gospel to those who do not know Him, our fellowship should be with other Christians.  This is difficult to maintain in a school environment where classes are chosen for the student.)  But today I would love to talk about a short passage in Timothy, that I honestly never related to home schooling until recently.

Timothy was the son of a Greek father and a converted Jewess mother.  Greece is known as the birthplace of western civilization.  Most Greeks were “educated”, and philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes, Euclid and Hipparchus were Greek.  Greeks were known for their philosophy, art, sculpture, mythology, and literature.

Most likely, Timothy was at least somewhat familiar with Greek culture, since his father was Greek.  The “knowledge” in this culture was not based on the Lord and His Word.

Proverbs 2:6, says, “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  As Christians, we believe that all true knowledge originates from the Lord.  That fact is not disputable.  In 1 Timothy 6:20-21, we see that not all knowledge is true knowledge from God.  It might be called knowledge, but it is “false knowledge” that we are to avoid.

No where in scripture does it say that someone other than ourselves cannot teach our children arithmetic and grammar.  But it does say that we should avoid “knowledge” that contradicts God’s Word.  We can find this kind of “false” knowledge in:

  • Science Lessons
  • Health Lessons
  • Material concerning Human Reproduction
  • Philosophy or any class that propagates “higher level thinking”
  • English Literature
  • History written from a humanist perspective
  • Peers
  • A multitude of other sources, such as the School Library

As Christian parents we have a responsibility to God, and to our children to ensure that this material lines up with the Word of God.  The consequences are dire.  Paul is warning Timothy to avoid any contradiction of scripture that is falsely called knowledge in his culture…because by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.  That is huge.  God had entrusted our children into our care, and we are held accountable for them.  We must make sure that the knowledge they learn is true knowledge, and not false.

Have you thought about home schooling, but are just plain scared that you will not be the best teacher?  Believe me, I’ve been there.  We have been plugging along since my oldest daughter was three, and she is now entering high school.  We have good days and bad days, but she is learning!  My other kiddos are learning too.  If God is in it, He will be there to help you along the way.  I would love to share an article that I came across this week, which was just wonderful.  Click here to read, Mom, Will You Homeschool Me? for extra encouragement.

Possibly linking to:  

Growing Home, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersDeep Roots At HomeRaising ArrowsA Wise Woman Builds Her Home ,Walking Redeemed, A Proverbs 31 WifeThe Modest MomA Mama’s StoryMom’s the Word , Raising Mighty ArrowsHearts For Home,  Time Warp Wife, Graced Simplicity

On a side note, I’ve not been fully “present” at the computer for awhile now since I am expecting and of course, home schooling.  (I find that a hard combination to keep up with, ha! )  If I’m slow…or even ridiculously slow to respond to your comments or check email I apologize.

 

Why We MUST Consider Modesty

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I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;   in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,  but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.  Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.  And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.  Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 2:8-15

Have you ever read scripture, and had an “aha” moment?  This happened to me while reading this text a few months ago, and unfortunately due to my pregnancy-induced scatterbrain  I’m just getting around to writing about it.

Throughout the Bible, we can see that modesty is important to the Lord.  At the same time, it isn’t mentioned in the same way as say, loving God and one another.  (Although I do believe wholeheartedly that dressing modestly is a way to “love” our brothers in Christ so they will not be overly tempted to lustful thinking.)  In my heart, I know that modesty is so very important, but most Christians really don’t think that it is.

Then while reading 1 Timothy 2:8-9 one day, one little phrase stuck out like it never had before…in like manner.

Paul is instructing that men should pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands.  He doesn’t include women in this, but instead, says in like manner women should adorn themselves in modest apparel.

We view praying and lifting up holy hands as a form of worship, don’t we?  I believe that Paul is saying that the equivalent of men praying and lifting up holy hands is women dressing modestly, and therefore dressing modestly is a form of worship also.  A form that we should uphold as very important, and that we seek to offer to the Lord daily.

This makes modesty so much relevant, doesn’t it?

When we consider modesty, we need to understand that we aren’t given too many specifics, except for the broad terms modesty and discretion.  I believe that this is to account for the many different cultures and time periods that Christians have lived.  We need to address coverage and fitment issues, but the type of clothing that fits in the modest “range” is vast.  In the past I’ve written a few posts about my personal standards that are not necessarily biblical.   While personally, I love reading about other’s convictions and standards, I’m actually praying about possibly removing some of these articles.  The reason is simply because I would never want someone’s convictions to come from me instead of from scripture.  There have been times in my life (and possibly in yours) that I saw someone who is a Christian, I liked what they were doing, so I decided to change that thing in my life because of a person.  Then I would go to the Bible and see if it matched up.  In actuality, we should be diligently searching our Bible for truth, and then live our lives accordingly.  God speaks to us through His Word ladies!  The way that we can best hear from Him is to stay in the Word daily.

I included 1 Timothy 2:10-15 in the text above since it continues to speak of a few things that are specific to women, like the instruction in modesty.  This passage is controversial in our day and time, to say the least.  However I believe that it continues to illustrate the fact that men and women are created differently, and at times the Lord expects us to behave differently.  This is not just a husband/wife issue, but is also a man/woman issue.  This is not a bad thing!  As ladies, we need to concentrate on teaching one another and modeling godliness, dressing with discretion and modesty, and “continuing in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.”

I hope that this has been an encouragement to you.  Modesty must be considered!

Possibly linking to:  

Growing Home, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersDeep Roots At HomeRaising ArrowsA Wise Woman Builds Her Home ,Walking Redeemed, A Proverbs 31 WifeThe Modest MomA Mama’s StoryMom’s the Word , Raising Mighty ArrowsHearts For Home,  Time Warp Wife, Graced Simplicity

Protecting Our Daughters From Sexual Abuse

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Recently, as I’ve read information about the Bill Gothard accusations (which can be found at www.recoveringgrace.org), I’ve done some more research about child predators (either accused or convicted) within the church.  This reading has lead me to a church in our area, where a scandal took place in October/November.  Actually, the pastor from this church has been accused of sexually molesting girls many years ago in a different state, but has since disappeared.  There were news stories about these incidents several months back when we didn’t have broadcast television, and yesterday I was able to view them over the internet, as well as read the girl’s stories.

This shook me, since my family visited this exact church almost two years ago.  Thankfully, a church member made it quite clear that our youngest child wasn’t welcome in the sanctuary, or we possibly would have visited again.  This church also has a Christian School that I considered enrolling our children in once they reached kindergarten age, but we chose to homeschool instead.

What struck me about the girl’s stories that I read was that they were able to gracefully share without divulging the exact, horrid details.  I began looking into sexual abuse statistics and realized that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused by the age of 18.  (Reference)  That number is huge!  Most girls will never talk about the abuse, because of either embarrassment, fear or shame.  Although quite different, I have a story to share too.  The only people that know about this at the moment are my husband and daughters, but if speaking out might help one girl, then that’s what I should do.

During most of my school career, I rode the school bus.  Starting in the third grade a boy one year older than I began inappropriately touching me.  Almost every single day.  I didn’t just sit there and let it happen, but would fight back.  We lived in the same neighborhood which was at the end of the bus route, so he would wait until most people were off of the bus.  I never sat in the back or front of the bus, but near the middle to be with my friends until it was their stop.  The bus driver never knew, or if she did, she never said anything.

When this began happening, it was just way too embarrassing to tell anyone!  Instead I declared that I was no longer going to school, but planned to be homeschooled.  (Homeschooling wasn’t very popular in the 80s, but one of my mom’s good friends that lived in our neighborhood homeschooled so I was familiar with it.)  I actually would pitch a fit until my mom said that I could stay home.  A few times my mom would drive me to school after the bus left and I would basically hyperventilate in the car until she drove me back home.  She thought it to be normal, but what is normal about a third grader acting this way?  Finally after a little more of a week of this she promised to take me to a New Kids on the Block concert if I went back to school.  She won.

The abuse continued for two years, until I was big enough to really defend myself.  One time I kicked him out of my bus seat with such force that a pencil from my book bag jammed into my leg.  (Ouch.  I actually still have a spot of lead which I guess embedded into my leg as a permanent reminder.)  I don’t feel the need to divulge any other details or even a name, since he passed away about 10 years ago from cancer.

While I have many other “public school experience” reasons as to why we homeschool, and even more importantly, Biblical reasons, this one is at the top of my list.  This wasn’t some older man that I was left alone with, but a kid basically my age.  This isn’t just a “bus problem,” (while I would strongly advise against putting your child on a school bus), but could happen essentially anywhere where there is not direct, attentive, competent adult supervision.  This was in a good, suburban Atlanta school district.

The fact of the matter is, as mothers, we cannot actively protect our children as we should if we send them to school without us five days a week.   There are obviously many other places that we need to be watchful of our children as well, such as within the church, around older relatives, and even with mixed groupings of friends.  Unfortunately, we live in a digital age where pornography is readily available, and young children are exposed to such and curiosity is aroused.  This easily leads to abuse among peers.  A school where the student/teacher ratio is high, and a parent isn’t there to keep watch is a prime place for abuse to occur.  Many times I have been accused of being overprotective, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If something seems off with your daughter, please take note of it!!   Most girls will not directly speak of their abuse out of fear and embarrassment.  Please do not blow off any hints that something might be wrong.  Statistics show that this is happening to many of our daughters.

 

When Homeschool Leaders Fall

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Within the past six months, two homeschool leaders have either admitted to, or have been accused of some sort of sexual immorality.  Doug Phillips of Vision Forum has admitted to his actions, and Bill Gothard of ATI/IBLP has been accused, and has since stepped down from his company.

While a lot of folks seem fairly upset about these events, I haven’t found it too surprising.  I’ve been disappointed, yes.  But not surprised.

We all have a sin nature.  We all can easily succumb to sin if it is left unchecked, and if we lack accountability.  While my family has not been deeply engrained with either of these organizations (I’ll elaborate more in a minute), I’ve heard many, many folks swearing off all of their material as false teaching because they were or were accused of being immoral.

On one hand, I understand.  1 Timothy 3:2 says, “Therefore, an elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife, stable, sensible, respectable, hospitable to strangers, and able to teach.”  Both of these men were ordained ministers, or elders.  In order to hold this office within the church, they must be above reproach.  Which means they shouldn’t be accused of sinning in this manner, which discredits their ministry within the church.  But should all homeschool materials that they wrote, recommended, or sold be thrown away?

Let’s look at David, for example.  He had an adulterous affair with a married woman, impregnated her, and then had her husband killed!  And yet he was said to be a man after God’s own heart, and through him God spoke his inspired Word.  Do we avoid the Psalms like a plague, and refuse to read them?

God uses us all, as imperfect as we are.

Earlier I stated that homeschool material shouldn’t be thought to be false teaching only because someone has been immoral.  The way false teaching is recognized is to hold it up to the Word of God, and to discern using that standard.

While I’m not incredibly familiar with either of these men, I have heard that Doug Philips has some ideas that are not biblical.  I understand this, and yet I truly appreciate the fact that he helped found the NCFIC and my family still enjoys several Vision Forum resources.  After reading about ATI several years ago, I decided that we would never formally enroll our children in their homeschool program since I found several of their teachings to be unbiblical.  At the same time, I think that their character program and it’s relation to animals is top notch, and I use that with my children unashamedly.  We actually were planning on attending the ATI homeschool conference in Big Sandy, Texas this year until my girl’s dance photos were changed to that weekend.  (Which I believe is 100% God’s providence, given some of the recent accusations that have been made!)

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(I laminated these character sheets from ATI and taped them to a wall in our kitchen awhile back.  Character First!  used these same qualities with ATI’s permission in their curriculum, but they leave out biblical principles so I prefer this format.)

Some have argued that all that should be taught is Jesus and grace, and if we are told anything differently we should run.  But the thing is, in our culture we are inundated on all sides by folks who claim to be Christians but do not believe in holy living and their children are floundering!  I do not want that for my kids, and I look for concrete examples of how to raise my children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  I don’t believe that is following man, but following the Lord through examples He Himself has raised up.

So if we do look to teachings that give us some “applications” in regards to this homeschooling and parenting thing, we must hold them up to the teachings of scripture.  If the teachings do not line up, drop them like a hot potato.  If they do, explore, test and pray over them more to discern if the teachings are God’s will for you and your family.  If the leaders lack accountability, look elsewhere.  For example, while counseling women, a spouse (or another trusted person) should be in the room with the leader as well.  This is just good sense.  An entire ministry can be destroyed otherwise.  If a leader is unwilling to do this, there could be trouble brewing.

While it may be tough for some who were very involved in either Vision Forum or ATI, we should pray for these men, for their families, and for any victims.   Above all, we must remember to keep our eyes on God, and not man.

 

We Are Expecting Baby #7!

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I am really excited to say that I am expecting!  Right now I’m about 13 week along, and have hopefully overcome the majority of “morning sickness,” which is actually “all day sickness” for me.  I’m slowly beginning to come out of hibernation…I have spent many, many hours in bed these past few months!

Many people think that since I am pregnant with my 7th child, that I was just “made to have babies.”  I do beg to differ, ha!  Pregnancy can be difficult, and it is by God’s grace that I make it through.  Each of my pregnancies have been different.  I’ve been referred to specialists because something unusual has been picked up on the ultrasound.  I have been diagnosed with low amniotic fluid.  I’ve come dangerously close to having gestational diabetes.  I had a sub chorionic hemorrhage with my sixth child.   I suffer migraines which Tylenol will not touch.  (I’ve actually already had two 3-4 day migraine episodes during this pregnancy.  I’ve been prescribed Tylenol with Codine and stronger meds that make me feel even worse, so I try to wait them out.)  But in the end, having these sweet children is so incredibly worth it!  (I’m not going to lie though.  There are definitely moments where I say, “this is the last one!” It has happened every time.)

For now we are grateful and hopeful that I will become more of my regular self before long.   I have to admit that I am a bit nervous about delivery, I chose to have my sixth baby naturally, and I’m thinking that this time I’m going to choose to have an epidural, with no question!  We do realize that things might not go according to “our plans,” and that if I make it full term it will be a gift.

In the end, I know that ultimately all things are in the Lord’s hands.  In fact, this baby would not be here right now if it wasn’t His will (not ours) for it to be so.

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Revelation 4:11

So when asked, “Don’t you know what causes this?,” my answer, will be “God does.”   We are looking forward to the months to come!

A Facebook and Television Update

A few months back, I wrote about giving up broadcast television and Facebook among other things, and I feel like I need to give everyone an update!

About four months ago we cancelled our satellite service.  We had grown tired of much of the programming and commercial content.  We live where there are zero wifi lines and the internet on our phones is patchy.  We have a wifi device for our computer, which is pricey, and we can’t afford to use that for our television as well.  We live in a hilly area, and the antennas that we purchased to pick up local news did not work.   To make a long story short, we have realized that DVDs are our only real option.  We purchased a United Bates of America season and put in on one of our old iPhones and it literally took up the space in the entire thing!  After giving up the satellite we realized that many shows that we enjoy watching are now on digital format only, and are not available on DVDs.  We also encountered two snow/ice storms (which is extremely rare in GA!) and since my husband works for the power company I was home alone for 18 hours at a time with patchy (at best) internet service on my phone.  We realize that tornado season is now around the corner, and we wanted to get the satellite back to keep us better informed with local news.  We did so this week, and are back to monitoring the television and dealing with commercials.  It isn’t ideal, but we didn’t seem to have a better option.

Also, about a month and a half ago, I shared about getting off of Facebook.  I had been contemplating this for some time, and after two encounters with Christians that said my way of sharing was wrong, I felt the Lord leading me to get off of there and reevaluate some things.  One of the main reasons that I used Facebook was to share the truth in love.  That isn’t always popular.  Anyhow, God will use our critics to speak to us as well, and I needed to see if there was any truth in what was said.  Through that experience I realized that I was wasting way too much of my time on there, but at this point I believe with my whole heart that I haven’t been hateful or rude on that venue.  I’ve had several family members and friends ask me to come back, and that is how pretty much everyone keeps up with one another nowadays.  I didn’t realize how I used Facebook to keep up with our girl’s dance school information, or our photographer’s specials, etc.   I might begin transitioning back on there slowly, but I have some guidelines for myself.  I am going to limit my time on that venue.  I will unfollow (but not defriend) any friends who might curse or dress inappropriately so that it won’t show up in my newsfeed (my husband and I share an account).  I will try my best to not be boastful, like sharing photos of new items, etc.  I will see where this takes me, I might be back off shortly.

I felt the need to share this with you all, since I publically announced that we did not have broadcast television or Facebook any longer.  I hope that nobody is disappointed with me, and remember we need to look to Jesus and not man when planning our steps.

Blessings to you all!

Being Intentional with Our Finances and a Discussion on Tithing

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About one month ago I wrote about being intentional with my time, and today I would love to talk about being intentional with finances.  This is a tough topic for me to write about!  Our family has had highs and lows financially, but in the end the Lord has always carried us through.  I accumulated $37,000 in student loan debt while working on bachelors and masters work.  (Which is a bad, bad idea ladies.  I believe the student loans are a trap, which causes many women to stay in the workplace once they have children while they would rather be home.  I praise God that thus far I’ve been able to stay in the home.)  Additionally, after my first husband passed away, his mother sued for visitation rights (kind of like a divorced couple…she wanted the court to award her custody of my children one weekend a month, for a month over the summer, on certain holidays, etc.), which lead to a four year court battle and crazy lawyer, mediator, psychologist, guardian ad litem, etc. fees.  Basically, a lot of debt.  I will spare you the details, but the Lord was so faithful, and during the final hearing the case was dismissed in it’s entirety before my side of the matter took the stand.  She appealed several times, all of which were immediately dismissed.  Though I still do not understand the why of everything that happened, I know that God does.  This is the most difficult thing I’ve endured in my life thus far.  I will say that this trial made me a strong advocate for parental rights, which I believe is a good thing.

Basically, to set the stage, we have debt that we would love to get rid of!

Giving to the Lord!  A Discussion on Giving and Tithing

Now, first things first.  God is to be glorified in all things, and I believe that this holds true to our finances as well.  Giving is essential for a Christian believer.  I’ve been taught for years that a Christian’s giving should be a 10% tithe at least.  I recently read a book written by Christian bloggers about finances that reiterated this fact over and over.  However, I know that:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:7

Giving that 10% was difficult for me to do cheerfully when we have so many other obligations.  Also, 2nd Corinthians speaks of “giving what you have decided in your heart,” which isn’t a set amount.   I believe that so many Christians are confused about giving in today’s church, as I have been.

Since Macarthur’s Strange Fire conference, my husband has started listening to a pastor out of Texas who spoke there.  He was once an associate pastor at Macarthur’s church, and his theology is sound.  My husband passed a few messages about giving on to me to listen to, and I would love to share the points here.  This has given us so much freedom and a better understanding of what giving for the New Testament Christian should look like.  (As a side note, if you firmly believe in tithing, please do not take offense.  I believe that this approach of giving is biblical, but I totally respect those who insist on tithing.)

Here are the links to the two-part message on giving.  I highly recommend these!

http://sitedata.countrysidebible.org/avmedia/se/tp121202aCD.mp3

http://sitedata.countrysidebible.org/avmedia/se/tp121209aCD.mp3

First of all, Old Testament tithing is the equivalent to our paying taxes today.

Let me explain.

There were three main tithes required of the Israelite nation in the Old Testament.  The first 10% annual tithe was of the animals and produce (Numbers 18, Leviticus 27) to support the Levites.  The Levites performed religious duties and political responsibilities in that culture.  The second 10% annual tithe was to fund national religious festivals and worship (Deuteronomy 12).  The third 10% tithe was given every three years, and was designated to the poor, needy, stranger and widow (Deuteronomy 14).

The Israelites actually paid a 23.3% annual tax base, not a simple 10%.  Along with other tithes such as the seventh year forgiveness of debt and other required giving the Israelites paid approximately a 25% annual income tax.

Our equivalent to this system is found in Romans 13, where we are instructed to pay taxes to our secular government. 

In Deuteronomy 16:10, “freewill offerings” are mentioned.  These offerings were required, but voluntary as to the amount given.  This is the closest Old Testament requirement that resembles what the New Testament requires of us.

We are required to give, but the amount is up to us.  We have the freedom to decide what is in our heart to give, and to give it cheerfully.  This discovery has been such a blessing to our family!  We give to our church, to missionaries, and to aid the poor in our community.  Our church doesn’t give to the poor on a regular basis, and since we feel that it is a biblical command to do so, we do this as a family.  While some may give 5%, some may give 50%, depending on what the Lord has laid on their hearts.

Working on the Remainder of Our Finances

Credit Cards-  We have slowly but surely been paying these down debts, and hopefully within two years there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I am very excited to say that our largest card (which had $15,000 in debt) will be paid off this week!  The debt on these cards were mainly accumulated during the court case I mentioned above.

Student Loans- Unfortunately these have been put on the back burner until credit cards have been paid off.  I pay just the minimum each month.

Utilities-  We turn our heat as low as we can stand it during the winter, and our air as high as we can stand it during the summer.  We have never been uncomfortable.

Clothing and Food-  We shop second-hand for clothing as much as possible, and we love shopping at Aldi for food.  It is so much cheaper!

Housing and Transportation-  We purchased a new (to us) home last year.  We feel like it was a good investment, and we now have land that our children can build on one day if they choose to do so.  As far as cars go, we used to be that family that purchased a new vehicle every two to three years!  We have learned our lesson, and my husband’s truck will be paid off in about six months.  We purchased a used 12 passenger van about 2 years ago that we really like.

Extracurricular Activities-  We used to travel around the southeast to many different competitions and meets with our children, but now they are strictly involved in activities that keep them close to home.  This has saved us a lot of money.

Vacations- While on vacation we used to eat out every meal, but now we make a trip to the grocery store as soon as we arrive.  We still usually have 2-3 special meals out.

Above all else, we try to remember that all of our finances are “on loan” to us from God.  Am I being a good steward of these finances?  I pray that I am.  If you have any other questions about giving to the Lord, I urge you to listen to the messages I shared above!  I truly only skimmed the surface as to what they share.  Finally, be sure to test all things against scripture to verify it’s validity.

How does your family handle finances?

Possibly linking to:  

Growing Home, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersDeep Roots At HomeRaising ArrowsA Wise Woman Builds Her Home ,Walking Redeemed, A Proverbs 31 WifeThe Modest MomA Mama’s StoryMom’s the Word , Raising Mighty ArrowsHearts For Home,  Time Warp Wife, Graced Simplicity

 

For This Child I Prayed – Kaitlyn’s Story

Today, meet Kaitlyn!  She is sharing the story of her daughter’s birth by C-section.

I look at the clock and it’s 1:40. My usual time for a bathroom break since I’ve been pregnant. :) so, I get up and use the bathroom. But when I’m done and stand up, I realize the floor is wet. That’s odd! Then I realize the floor is wet from me! I clean up and run for my iPhone and search on google “What does it feel like when your water breaks”. I had to make sure you know. ;) Well, according to all that I read, my water had indeed broke. I was just going to head back to bed to wake Leighton up when he walks into the kitchen to get a drink. I walk over to him and say “Love, I think my water broke”. He barley can finish his drink and looks at me with a surprised look on his face…”What!?” I repeat “I think my waters broke” with a smile. He then smiles and we start reading the papers we got from birthing class and start timing contractions.
They started at 3:30 and were 8 min apart. Then 7, 6, 5, 3…by this time it was about 6:00. Leighton had an FSA meeting at 6:30 to sign some last minute papers. We talked and I felt that we could still make the meeting and we leave from there and head to the hospital. We already had everything packed and ready to go just a few days prior to all of this, so we got in our pickup and went to the meeting. Just as we were getting ready to go, Leightons brother Wade texts him and asked if we are going to Reno…joking about the baby coming!! Go figure! Leighton just told him we were taking our nice pickup (we usually take the work pickup for morning things like that) because we wanted to…trying to get him to think otherwise because we didn’t want anyone to know yet till we were almost there.
Leighton goes in to the FSA and starts signing papers and the woman who works there asked Leighton if everything was alright. (Guess he was a bit anxious :) He said “Yeah, we just have a doctors appointment at 8:30. She then started to hurry and get everything to him faster so we wouldn’t be “late” ;) for our appointment. It’s about 7:30 by the time he gets out of there. I was in the pickup the whole time timing my contractions praying he’d hurry up and get out there so we could get going!!
Just as we were passing through Fernley, about 28 miles from the hospital, we sent out a mass text to everyone that said “BREAKING NEWS: Waters have broken and someone is coming soon, VERY soon!” We were anxious to hear everyone’s reply! But no one replied for a long time…we thought it strange because normally everyone does within a few minutes. Well, come to find out it took everyone a little bit to get what we were trying to say. They all thought that the pipes in our house had burst and we had water problems and someone was coming to fix it soon!! They then reread the text and realize that it was me who was “leaking” and that someone was coming soon!
We reached the hospital right around 9:00 and they got me all situated in the Labor and Delivery room. About 1/2 or so after we were all situated, the nurse came in to check my progress. When she did, she said she couldn’t quite tell way she was feeling, so she decided to do an ultrasound. Another nurse came in with the machine and they do an ultrasound. They said they believe the head was way up by my left ribs…breach. But, since they weren’t really good at it, they called in an ultrasound tech just to be sure. He barley started and said, “Breach, no doubt about that!” Definitely NOT what we wanted to hear! Especially since just a week earlier at my midwife appointment, she was head down! Our midwife still wasn’t there, so they called her and told her what they had just discovered. The nurse came in and started talking about Leighton needing to get scrubs on and going through what happens with a C-section! I was thinking “Wait! A C-section! I’m not having one of those! I came here to have a natural birth following our birth plan!” This is not what I wanted! I then ask the nurse if I could talk to our midwife before we do anything. She said OK and went and called her. When she left, I looked at Leighton and instantly started crying. He knew I don’t want a C-section and he didn’t want that either. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and just started praying. After he prayed, the nurse came back in and our midwife, Lynn, was on the phone. She said since my water had broken, there was nothing the could do to try and turn our baby. And since I was a first time Mom, they never try a breach natural delivery. And I wasn’t the biggest person, so there was a wet good chance that our baby would bet stuck and them I would need an emergency C-section. She said she’d be right over and be with us for everything, and try to keep it as natural as possible. After our talk, Leighton and I prayed again and felt this was really our only safe option for our baby and me. Even though it was NOT what I wanted. Through all of this, I was in hard, active labor. Coming in doubles and about every 2-3 min apart. I still didn’t want to take anything, trying to stick to what we had originally planned.
Within a half hour, Leighton was dressed in scrubs, our midwife was there, I was prepped and had signed all the papers and we were ready to start getting ready for the C-section. So many things were going through my mind. I was nervous, a little scared, anxious. Leighton and I prayed again before everything started and I felt peace. I was still anxious, nervous, scared, but I knew God was there with us, He would always be there for us, and He knew this was going to happen! As they wheeled me to the operating room, Leighton had to wait outside till they had everything all ready.
Lynn, our midwife, was there with me. She was a great encouragement!! I was nervous to get the spinal…and I really don’t do good with needles. Right when they put the first needle in to put the spinal in, I started having a big double contraction. They said don’t move and try to not breath to big….which was super hard! That one was definitely the most painful! He kept going though since I was doing so well win the not moving part. He finished before the contraction did. Everything started to get tingly…so they said it was time for me to lay down. I didn’t even get to lay down all the way when I was numb and couldn’t move. They had to situate me the rest of the way. It was nice though to have a break from the contractions! As they were doing all the prep work, I started having a hard time  breathing…since I am so short, the medication had gone up a bit to far from normal, and was in my lungs and arms. Normally it stops right slow your chest. So they put me on oxygen and kept monitoring the feeling in my hands. They brought Leighton in just as they were cutting me open. He said that was one of the hardest things he had to see. He came over and sat next me, holding my hand. I was so glad to see him! Through all of it he was such a great encouragement and help. I couldn’t have done it without him! He started stroking my hair…but it didn’t last long. The spinal made me sick so the whole time they were delivering our baby, I was throwing up.  The surgeons asked if we knew what we were having, we answered “No, we kept it a surprise”. They were excited since most everyone knows. As soon as she was born, the sickness went away…the surgeons kept us in suspense as to what our baby was…”It’s a …oh wait, yes, it’s a…hold on, just a minute…it’s a, it’s a…GIRL!!!” A beautiful 6lb 2 oz, 19 inches long baby girl born at 12:19! We were thrilled!!! Leighton and I both got to see her for the first time at the same time. What an incredible feeling! We both looked at each other and started crying. The feeling you have for your spouse, and the feeling you have knowing that your a parent to a beautiful, healthy baby girl…there is really no words to describe it. It was such a special time. Leighton was able to cut her cord and they asked us if we had a name. We both looked at each other and Leighton said “Yes, it’s Jane Renee Knisley”. Lynn came over and said it was a good thing we did a C-section. She was a footling breach with her cord wrapped around her neck 3 times and in a knot!! When she told us that, Leighton and I started crying again. The name Jane, which we chose about a week after we knew I was pregnant, means “God is gracious”. And He was! He saved our precious little Jane’s life by having my water break early at 37.5 weeks and how everything had gone. Her middle name, Renee, means “Joyful”…we had such great joy at her birth and for her life! We felt God through it all and are still amazed at how He worked it all out! The surgeons were able to double stick my uterus so that I will more than likely be able to have a VBAC! We praise The Lord for that as well!

Jane Renee Knisley is here!

They brought Jane over to us and layed her on my chest…again, tears of joy and love were in our eyes. Leighton went with her to the nursery where he was able to give her her first bath. He really enjoyed it! :) He then brought her to me in the recovery room and I was able to nurse her for the first time…another incredible feeling! Leighton went out and told everyone that the surgery went well and we were both doing good…still keeping gender and name a secret. :) We wanted to introduce her to everyone.
They brought us to the postpartum section, room 250. Leighton was going to bring everyone back, but they told him that we could only have 5 visitors at a time. So we did it in 3 groups and we wet able to introduce our beautiful Jane Renee Knisley to our families.

Leighton giving Jane her first bath!
Taking a much needed nap!

We had to spend the next 4 days in the hospital to make sure I was doing OK. We came home Saturday evening. It was so good to be home! Kristina decorated our house in pink and white balloons and streamers with a banner that said “Welcome Home Jane” :) So sweet of her!
These past 6 days still don’t seem real. We are so humbled and blessed by this precious life God has blessed us with! We are so enjoying being parents! Jane is a wonderful baby! She sleeps wonderfully, hardly cries, is a super snugly baby, and eats like a champ!! I have a ways to go for recovery, but am doing well and I am so thankful that Leighton is able to be here!! We praise God for how everything went! All Glory to Him!!!

Jane and I on our first walk! It was a short one, but it felt good to get out. I was quite sore after the walk though. :)

Love v. Fear of the Lord in a Christian Mom’s Life

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Today is the third day that my family has been stuck at home due to snow and ice in north Georgia, and tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  Since I am good at procrastinating, I have not a thing prepared for my husband, so it looks like a homemade card it will be until I am able to brave the roads!  With Valentine’s Day around the corner I have been thinking about God’s love for us, our love for God, and it’s place in our lives.

God is love.  The greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all of our soul, mind, heart and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  If we do not have love, we are nothing.

However, in Christianity today there is a trend to focus only on God’s love.  The verses about love and liberty are the ones that we like to quote.  I did a quick search and discovered that the Bible contains approximately 393 verses about love (which is about 1.26% of scripture).  While this is a huge number, about 99% of scripture isn’t directly about love.  We can’t just leave these verses out while we learn about the Lord and who He is.

One of the main problems with focusing only on God’s love for us, is that it leads to a “me-centered gospel”.  While it is true that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16), this is not the end purpose of the gospel.  The purpose in all things is that God be glorified!  It is not so much about us, but about God’s purposes being fulfilled through Jesus Christ, and us glorifying the Lord in all we do.  When we only think of love, if things in our world go wrong we question God, and His goodness.  We believe that He either turns a blind eye at what has happened (which He hasn’t….if He did then He wouldn’t be God), or that He might not truly love us like we thought He did.

Likewise, if we only do things for the Lord out of love for Him, (and not fear), when things aren’t quite right we might not “feel the love” so much and stop seeking Christ as we should.  Only thinking about love results in an emotion-based relationship that might not be grounded in true faith.

If we only think about God’s love for us, our egos can begin to puff up.  We must be pretty wonderful for God to love us, right?  But we have to remember that while God is loving, merciful, and kind, He is also righteous, holy and just.  He chastises His children, and through scripture we see that we should have a healthy fear of the Lord.

This fear isn’t a “terrified” type of fear, but rather an awe of God’s majesty and sovereignty.  He created all things, His purposes for all things will be carried out, and if we even caught a glimpse of the Lord we would perish because His majesty is so great.  While love can be emotional, fear is more grounded in rational thought.  It leads to the knowledge that God is ultimately in control of all things, and asks us to give up our own desires for God’s ways even when it hurts.

Fear of the Lord leads to wisdom.  How many of you ladies desire wisdom in our roles as Christians, wives, and mothers?  Fear of the Lord leads to this.

Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. -Proverbs 9:10 NLT

Fear of the Lord leads to life. 

The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.  – Proverbs 19:23 NKJV

We also need to remember that God chastises the ones He loves.  Let’s take a look at Hebrews 12:5-11:

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Ouch.  I definitely do not like the thought of being chastened, but the Bible is clear that if we are not chastened, then we are not true children of God.  My love for God, along with healthy fear and a knowledge of chastisement drives me to please Him, and to live my life for Him.

While we should love the Lord with our entire being, let’s remember that fear of the Lord is actually a good thing that leads to life and wisdom.


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