Have you ever bought a new pair of shoes because you are having a bad day?
Is this the best way to comfort our hearts?
Sometimes we spend money to reward ourselves for a job well done, but more often we spend money frivolously when we are struggling emotionally or just worn out from the cares of life.
Unfortunately, when we spend money we haven't budgeted for, it has to come from somewhere. It may postpone something we are saving for like a new house or family vacation. Or it may add to our growing debt. Then we deepen the frustration or sadness we are struggling with.
Hey, I get it. There's something that feels good about whipping out that credit card to purchase things you don't really need. But, like all quick fixes, the momentary delight soon vanishes.
I think we live in a battle zone. We face real pain, real discouragement. But those things are not our enemy--that's just the result of living in a fallen world.
The real enemies we face our satan and his demons who lie to our hearts and through the world we live in. We are bombarded with lies that buying something will help us feel happy. We spend our money on what is not bread--it will not feed our souls.
God has a different plan.
Employers send their employees to workshops and professionals have to maintain their licenses with continuing education. There's a lesson here!
We, who pour out our lives, need to be filled back up with times of refreshing and equipping. Our spirits need to be refreshed with joy and truth! Our minds and hearts need to be equipped with knowledge, wisdom and understanding to teach the next generation!
First of all, we need to plug into the source!
We need to be plugged into our Source of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ. Meeting with Him daily is worth whatever effort and sacrifice you have to make. He is our Equipper! He trains us to love and teach our children.
Jesus is our model, traveling with his disciples, who constantly asked questions and then just didn't get it. Patiently, Jesus repeated lessons over and over again, using stories and visual illustrations (vines, sheep, and children) to make the lesson clear. Jesus asked lots of questions, causing people to stop and think! Above all, love and compassion flowed from Jesus to his disciples. He was their Father, Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd all in one!
There are additional ways to be equipped to home educate our children that we are going to talk about, but none can replace going to our Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Lord, King, and Friend Jesus.
Teenage rebellion is a myth. Some teens rebel. Some teens don't. Teens that do rebel don't rebel because they are teenagers.
In primitive societies, boys hang out with dad learning to be a man and girls hang out with mom learning to be a woman. They go from child to adult without any drama or angst.
In our nation, until the 1920's, children reached puberty later (usually around 16-18) and got married soon afterward. Again the transition was pretty smooth between childhood and adulthood.
The 1920's was a paradoxical time for America. One of the most frugal Presidents ever sat in the White House vetoing spending bills and bringing down the national debt, while Americans themselves were offered and accepted with glee the brand new "Buy Now, Pay Later" philosophy. The bubble burst, of course, at the end of the decade. However, in the meantime, money was flowing and families were moving to the cities and suburbs from the farms.
Teens had more time on their hands, less hard work to do, and more money to spend. Suddenly, a new thing happened. Young people were living to have fun and play, instead of working hard to help their families and preparing to have their own families.
One thing we can't ignore during the teenage years is the impact hormones have on our teens.
Our sons struggle with anger, sometimes excessive.
Our daughters struggle with a wide range of emotions ranging from tears to giggles.
The excessive mood swings in our beloveds are caused by fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Whew! Say those words ten times fast!
Adolescent boys produce ten times more testosterone! Have you ever seen the rage of an addict on steroids? Maybe your teenage son is more self-controlled than you give him credit for.
At the beginning of puberty, the pituitary gland swings into action releasing Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In boys, these hormones tell the testes to produce Testosterone and sperm. In girls, FSH and LH tell the ovaries to produce estrogen and eggs.
Other changes happen.
I grew up in the church, but also in the world until I was saved at the age of 16. I have regrets.
I wanted to raise my children to live wholeheartedly for Jesus so that they could enjoy purity and the freedom of purity.
That is not an easy task.
Well, my children, though they live in a Christian home and attend a church full of believers living wholeheartedly for Jesus, are bombarded by the world through ads, movies, commercials, internet, work, college, homeschool co-ops, relatives, and friends.
A year ago, my Instagram was hacked and some dirty photos were plastered all over it. Suddenly the pastor's wives page was not a safe place to be. Yikes! It took my daughter and I hours to get the site shut down. I was horrified and apologized privately and publicly to everyone I knew. I have no idea who did it. However, the reason I mention this is because after that incident, I was bombarded with pop-ups on Facebook, Amazon, and anywhere else I went on the web. I was horrified and report the "invites" to pornography. This showed me that if anyone has any contact with anything pornography-related online, whether they choose to or not, they will be bombarded with "invites" to see more.
The world is seductive and calls to our children's hearts. The world calls to my heart. How can we all stay pure in a seductive world? How can we steer our children away from moral disaster?
Where is the Battle Zone?
The internet has completely changed the way we live and relate to one another.
The internet has changed homeschooling for our family. My older kids did not go online much until college, while the younger ones spent their teen years in a world of social networking and Wikipedia.
Young people today email, chat with friends through instant messenger, talk to people in chat rooms, play games, create blogs, create YouTube stations, create websites, and surf the net. They research online and build relationships online.
There is so much at our fingertips today with just a click of the mouse. We can read classic literature, look up how a senator voted, get the latest news, and read our favorite blog.
Yet, is the internet a safe place?
I am sorry to tell you that the internet can be a dangerous place, too. We must protect our children from the criminal and evil activity that takes place online.
We need to protect our children from the following things:
How Can We Protect Our Children?
Let me take you back in time to when my oldest daughter, Katie Beth was 12 and her younger sister Julianna was 9. Jimmy was a newborn baby, Shine was almost 2 and Jenny Rose was 6.
With four daughters to prepare for motherhood and homemaking, I had set aside Thursdays to teach my daughter homemaking skills such as sewing, cooking, baking, hospitality, needlework, laundry, interior decorating, and card-making.
Our homemaking days were precious days. This, of course, was before the hustle-bustle of high school.
For several years I enjoyed my homemaking days alone with the girls. But other years, other homeschooling moms joined me and we have co-oped. What fun and fellowship for the girls as they learned skills that I don't have such as knitting and cake decorating.
Edith Schaeffer, a twentieth century heroine for Christ, wrote two of my favorite books: L'Abri and The Hidden Art of Homemaking. I love her style, her love for Jesus, and her wisdom. She was one smart lady. And she devoted her life to husband, children, home, and fulfilling the Great Commission. She is a personal heroine and example to me.
Edith Seville Schaeffer (1914-2013) was born in Wenzhou, China to missionary parents who worked with China Inland Mission. Her Chinese name, given to her by her parents, was Mei Fuh, or “Beautiful Happiness.”
Years later, while Edith was in college, she was attending her Presbyterian Church when a visiting Unitarian pastor gave a sermon against Jesus, the deity of Christ, and the Bible. She was outraged and prepared to set him straight publicly. Before she could speak, another young man stood up and said, “My name is Frances Schaeffer and I Know Jesus is the Son of God.” The young man shared his testimony and gave clear evidence for why the Bible is trustworthy. Edith added more to his statement, defending the faith. The couple got married three years later.
While Frances was in seminary, Edith sewed wedding gowns and men’s suits to bring in extra money. After graduation, Edith pastored alongside her husband for three years. A growing concern for the invading liberalism invading mainline denominations rose in their hearts. The years after World War II were fraught with turmoil, confusion, liberal theology, and doubt. Francis and Edith went to Switzerland as missionaries and founded L’Abri Fellowship, a place to learn about the grace and truth found in Christ.
“Go, ahead and make me!”
You homeschool so you can give your children a quality education and avoid the bad influences. But, instead of gentle, loving children, you find yourself living with bickering siblings. Are they really yours?
You go church. You read the Bible every morning. But instead of peace and order, you feel like a referee.
You are not alone. This has been a struggle for Moms since Eve tried to help Cain and Abel get along. Hey, don’t worry, we have the Holy Spirit now.
Take a deep breath and let’s start with the big question: Why do children fight so much with their siblings?
As I was asking myself this question, a passage from James immediately came to my mind.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3 NIV).
Did you know that Jesus fixed breakfast for his disciples after He had risen from the dead?
I love this story!
You see, Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, and John were all together hanging out. It had been a crazy few weeks. Jesus had washed their feet, been arrested, tried, and convicted. They were devastated. Then the news had come while they were hiding out, fearful that they were the next ones to be executed.
News had come of His Resurrection from the ladies. Then Jesus appeared among them. He was alive!
However, things had been so hard. Thomas had doubted. Peter had denied Jesus three times. And here they were hanging out.
"I'm going fishing!" Peter declared to his friends.
"We'll go, too," the others decided. So they all went out fishing.
They fished all night and caught nothing. They were tired, discourage, weary, maybe afraid. As they pulled the boat up on the shore, a man called out, "Children, do you have any fish."
"No," they replied.
"Well, cast your net over on the right side of the boat and you will find a catch," the stranger replied.
God plants new believers in local churches to grow and to build one another up. God didn't call us to be "Lone Ranger Christians" off doing our own thing. His People are called to love one another in a committed way as they win the lost and make disciples.
Jesus gives us gifts to build us up
None of us have all the spiritual gifts and God planned it that way so that we would need one another. As we serve and encourage one another with God’s Word, everyone will grow.
God made the church like a family. When we love one another, the world will know that we are His disciples. Our love is so important for the Gospel to have credibility.
Is There a Perfect Church?
Antioxidants are the solution.
The solution to what?
Well, our bodies are aging. Many of the food we eat are processed. We encounter pollution everywhere. All these things work together to cause things to go wrong inside. Renegade cells called free radicals can cause oxidative stress, or damage, to our body's cells, tissues, and organs.
Antioxidants counteract oxidative stress just like their name implies. These molecules are the "good guys." Just think of a gun fighter in white destroying the "bad guys" roaming throughout your body.
Antioxidants include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Lycopene, Alpha-Carotene, and Beta-Carotene. Antioxidants can prevent cancer, macular degeneration, cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic infections.
It is better to get your antioxidants through fruits and vegetables than in supplements. So what fruits and vegetables should you eat?
Successful homemakers have acquired wisdom that comes from years of on-the-job training.
Loving your husband, raising children, and managing a home is not a job for the faint-hearted.
There are things you can do to make your home a joyful, efficient, peaceful place.
Here are some secrets to help you experience joy and success in your homemaking adventure.
Secret #1: Patterns & Habits
Set up patterns and habits in your home to instill security and create a restful environment. Daily, weekly, and yearly routines allow family members to fall into peaceful patterns of living.
Annual customs such as holidays, birthdays, vacations, and seasonal activities come along each year, giving everyone in the family things to look forward to.
Weekly habits such as attending church on Sunday mornings, taking part in Bible study on Wednesdays, enjoying family night on Friday, doing laundry on Thursdays, and cleaning together on Saturday morning gives the household a rhythm to each week that is predictable.
Daily routines such as mealtimes, schooling hours, chore time, and daily devotions repeated over and over again produce a sense of order and peace in any home. Nighttime and morning routines are especially important. Our children were raised to do their “five things” when they woke up: brush teeth, get dressed, make bed, have a Quiet Time, and clean room. Each evening, Mike read a bedtime story to the children and prayed over them before tucking them in at night.
"Well Brian keeps the economy humming," I giggled to my husband as we talked late one evening. Our friend, Brian, had dropped in to show us his latest purchases that included a dart gun, a music CD, and a new amp for his guitar.
Where the money came from was a mystery. He worked for Kohl's, drove a motorcycle, and lived in his own house. His checking account hovered near zero and he didn't even have a savings account.
We are told by politicians that people spending money is a sign of a "healthy economy." But is it? What is a healthy economy in God's eyes? And what is economics anyway?
What is Economics?
I was a young mom with two little ones and Mike was in seminary. Between financial struggles and lack of sleep, I was exhausted.
My friend asked me to baby sit for her twice a month for three hours so she could run errands. She would do the same for me.
I readily agreed.
The first week, I watched her children and everyone played together nicely. Soon, it was my turn. I made a list of my errands and then I stopped and tore up the list.
You see, I was struggling. Whenever I prayed and read the Bible, little ones were pulling at me, needing me, wanted to nurse. I hid Bibles everywhere, but I never had uninterrupted time with the Lord.
I was hungry. I was thirsty. I needed time with God.
And so began my twice a month adventure with the Lord.
I had never spend that much time alone with Jesus. What would I do? Would I get bored of praying or reading the Bible? Where would I go?