Encouragement from the Word

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"
III John 1:4

Friday, February 24, 2012

10 Things For Which I am Thankful
1)  A Christian husband who works hard to provide for us and who loves the Lord  Jesus Christ.

2)  Two wonderful sons, a daughter and a daughter-in-law who know Christ as their Savior and who bring great joy to our lives.

3)  A warm and loving extended family with whom we can share our trials and triumphs.

4)  A comfortable home in a quiet, safe neighborhood.

5)  A circle of Christian friends who pray for us and love us in spite of our many faults...and who also bring us great joy.

6)  The privilege of serving in a music ministry where God is glorified rather than individuals...and also, the joy of playing the piano and praising God in our wonderful church choir each Sunday and Wednesday.

7)  Never going hungry...when so much of the world is starving...having clean water at our fingertips.

8)  The privilege of living in the United States of America and enjoying the freedoms that generations of young men fought and died for.

9)  My health and the health of my family.

10)  That Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins that I might have eternal life and be with God himself in heaven one day. 

What are you most thankful for?  Please share in my comment box.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is Christian Education for Me?

For purposes of this article, I will be referring to traditional, full time Christian education at private schools. I will discuss homeschooling in a future blog.

 When considering whether or not Christian education is for you, the first order of business is to determine if it is important to you that your child grows up with a Christian versus a secular worldview. It is inevitable that he or she will become an adult who holds to one or the other. What is a worldview? It is the belief system in which your child will reason, make choices and determine his or her life goals. We all function within one of these belief systems.

What exactly does this mean in the school setting? Well, a school that is educating students towards a Christian worldview will be teaching that God is the beginning, middle and end of all knowledge. Whether it be science, language, history or even math, he is the creative genius behind it all. As a matter of fact, he is the one who made the mathematical formulas to work so beautifully. And he is the one who set history in motion at the time of creation. A Christian worldview is based on Biblical truth.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Choose Joy!

People say I have a positive attitude about life. I would agree with that...I do tend to see the glass as half full, so to speak. My husband, on the other hand, tends to see the glass as half empty at times. I've learned over the years that there is a distinct difference in our outlooks and I'm sure it irritates him to no end that I usually look for the best in people and anticipate the best outcome in any circumstance. My friends have often commented on this, as well, sometimes calling me "Rose-colored Rhonda" or "Pollyanna". (With friends like that, who needs enemies, right?)

 The thing that they may not completely understand is that I choose to be joyful and positive. As far as I can tell, God's Word mandates positivity and joy. In Philippians 4:4, it says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" And in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we see, "Be joyful always; pray continually;give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I'm sure the early Christians that Paul was addressing here did not feel like being joyful. After all, they were being persecuted regularly for their faith and many of their group had even been killed.

 If you search the Bible further, you will see things like: love your enemies, be kind and compassionate to one another, do not treat others as better than yourself, seek peace and pursue it, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. It is full of admonitions to be positive. I believe that my positivity emanates from a heart of thankfulness for the grace, mercy and forgiveness that God has poured out to me over my lifetime...although I have failed him in so many ways, he has remained faithful to me and never forsaken me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

10 Essential Things I Want My Children to Know

 1)    Your parents are sinners, forgiven yes, but still sinners. Although it is our responsibility to model Christian behavior for you, we often fail. Therefore, you should look ultimately to God's Word and the example of Jesus Christ to know how to live. I guess I'm saying, "Do as He did, not as we do!"

2)     Character is more important than popularity. Don't be afraid to be different. Have integrity. Interestingly enough, as you exhibit character traits like kindness, mercy, forgiveness, unselfishness and love, people will naturally be drawn to you.

3)     God has a purpose and plan for your life. He has uniquely gifted you to serve him in the family of God and in the world. Throughout your life, always give God the glory as you use your gifts and talents for him.

4)     Show mercy and grace to others in every circumstance. Jesus has forgiven you of much. Do the same for others...and do not hold grudges.

5)     Don't think of yourself as better than others. God created and loves all people regardless of their race, status, job, clothing or speech. Treat everyone with respect.

6)     Be humble. Jesus was an example of humility and service while he was here on earth...even to the point of washing the disciples' feet. Excessive pride is a sin and not pleasing to God.

7)     Do not fall in love with material things. They will not bring you lasting peace and joy...only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can do that. Jesus calls us to lay up our treasures in heaven. In other words, invest your time, money and energy in the mission of God instead.

8)     God wants your obedience more than your happiness. When faced with the choice...always choose to obey. There will be people, even Christian friends, who will advise you when you're in a difficult situation that, "God wants you to be happy". Trust me, God wants you to obey.

9)     Marriage is for one man and one woman for life. Breaking that vow leads to devastating consequences that will follow you your entire life. And remain pure until marriage.

10)     God will never leave you nor forsake you. Spend time with him every day in prayer and meditating on his Word. Know the book, know the Savior.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Praying for our Children

     I'm currently attending a Bible study called "Live a Praying Life" by Jennifer Kennedy Dean and what an amazing study it has been. Through this study, the Lord has opened my eyes to new concepts about prayer. For example, do you realize that through the prayer of believers God unleashes his power upon the world. We are just a conduit, of sorts, for him to accomplish his purposes.  As Dean says in her book, "We are the epicenter of God's power."

In Ephesians 3:20 it says, " Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."

      As I thought about that verse, I began to reflect on the way I had previously prayed for my children. If you're like me, you think you know what would be best for your kids in a given situation and you're trying to do what you think God would want for them. At the end of my prayers I would often tag on the statement, "if it be your will", but did I really mean it? That's the part that was a "light bulb" moment for me. I suddenly realized that God loves my children infinitely more than I do. He sees the bigger picture of their lives and how it will fit into his plan for the world. His goal is to shape them into the godly young man or woman that will make an impact on the world. Maybe that means they need to fall on their backside a few times to diminish their pride. Maybe he's trying to teach them lessons about getting along with difficult people.We need to understand that God is not there to be our great "fixer" or our "vending machine" to accomplish our goals. It certainly does means that God is shaping them to be more like him through their trials and tribulations as teenagers, and there are many!