Sep 23 2014

God’s Wisdom & God’s Stories

Published by under Faith,Quotes

Mothers who feed their soul with the Word of God will thrive
as their hearts are taught by God’s wisdom.

~Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, p101~

I write with the authority of a woman who has tasted
a lot of soul junk food and suffered from painful spiritual cavities.
Spiritual counsel that has “empty calories”
or is devoid of rich, biblical doctrine
cannot and will not satisfy a soul that was made to be satisfied only with an infinite God.

~Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, p102~

I bet God has done something in your life
that would make our hair stand on end if you told us about it.
I bet the story God has written in your life and your home
gives voice and breath and arms and legs to the gospel
every bit as much as a church sermon ever did.
Preaching is important, certainly.
But it can’t be the only way we allow God’s story to be told in our midst.

~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet, p238~

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Sep 20 2014

Let the children come unto Me…

…and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God! (Matthew 19:14)

As Steven and I have raised our children, we have had the privilege, blessing, and responsibility of bringing our children to the sanctuary for worship each Lord’s Day ever since their birth. In fact, last Sunday was the first time our children ever attended Sunday school! But it was in the education hour prior to the worship service. For worship, we believe in coming together as a family; but yes, that means that Gabriel was over 6 years old before attending a Sunday school class, and Asher nearly 3. I suppose that is backward from what a lot of modern evangelical families practice! :) But it is such a joy and privilege to sit together as a family each week during worship: to sing, pray, learn, read, respond, confess, pass peace, and partake of the Lord’s Supper ~ together. Our children belong to the Lord just as much as we adults do! So this week I read a little book called “Parenting in the Pew” as a refresher and reminder to myself of why it is such a joy and responsibility and privilege not to send my kids off to their own little classes while the adults worship alone. Below, here are a few little highlight snippets that really hit-home for me. May the Lord continue to bless my children, and grant grace to our family, as we come together at His feet to worship Him, seek His grace and forgiveness, revel in His mercy, eat His meal, sing with His people, pray on behalf of His people, and live as equals before our Father in heaven. I love filling a pew together. And just recently, after many months of being at different churches, we are filling a pew with my parents again. The blessing of having three generations together filling a pew is glorious, and we praise God for this kindness! It reminds me of growing up in California, filling a super long pew with my mom’s side of the family: my great-great-grandma, my great-grandpa, my grandpa & grandma, my parents, my brother & me, and occasionally my uncle’s family. All of us together. What a beautiful expression of God’s generational faithfulness, and Deuteronomy 6 coming to life in a tangible way.

May God draw my husband and me, and our children, and our children’s children, even unto a thousand generations, joyfully into His presence because He is faithful, the Alpha and the Omega, worthy of all praise, the Lamb that was slain. Amen!

 

[As a child], all I was taught was to “be quiet and be good.” “Be still, and know that I am God” is more biblical (Psalm 46:10). This verse begins to define the difference between “going to church” and “going to worship.” Going to worship requires a life-transformation and happens out of a new heart, not an old habit.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p18

Simply telling children to “be quiet” is not the way to draw their attention to the worship that is taking place. The purpose of parenting in the pew is to train a child to worship, not to be quiet. Quietness at certain times may enhance their ability to worship, but quietness is a means to this effort, not an end.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p63

If our children’s lack of quietness preoccupies us rather than their worship experience, we are simply in the pew in the presence of our kids and are probably feeling far from the presence of God.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p63

Training children to worship does not always enhance our own experience of being before the Lord… The number of times children must be helped to concentrate, pay attention and enter into the worship service is almost beyond counting. The effort can be exhausting. And it can be pleasing to God.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p63

It can seem paradoxical that to help a child to develop concentration and a sense of quietness for worship, parents have to talk more. If you sit close to your children, however, you can give whispered instructions and reminders rather easily and with little or no distraction to others.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p63

It is not unusual for parents to express delight as their own sense of worship is enhanced through practicing parenting in the pew. The liturgy becomes less routine and more relevant. Not because the words have changed, but because we listen again to the familiar and find that God is still speaking.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p67

Music is one of the easier tools for parents to use in teaching their children to worship. … Scripture memorizing, too, is made easier if done through songs.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p73

Parents need help in getting the youngest of worshipers to sing praise to God through music written for adults. This can be a significant way that young children are connected to the heritage and history of the church. Worship music can also lay a foundation for understanding the truth of God that produces the theologians of the next century.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p73

Children love being set free to “make a joyful noise.” … During songs or hymns, encourage very young children to sing “la, la, la” with the tune if the words are totally unknown or unpronounceable to them. Children don’t mind doing this and will quickly begin to pick up the refrain or a repeated phrase.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p73

God is believable because He is real. His reality rings true with children because of His sovereignty. God’s purposes and will do not always match our expectations. It is very often in disappointment or difficulty in the lives of our children that God’s existence becomes objective and real, distinctive and powerful for them. We shouldn’t be afraid that prayer that is not answered according to our hopes will weaken or destroy or children’s faith. Children need to see that God can be trusted no matter what. This is the foundation for maturing faith.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p85

Learning to pray about real things, simple or profound, prepares children to participate in the church family. The church needs to hear the prayers of children, because they often reflect the best definition of faith given in the Scripture: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p85

Sometimes [children] will whisper questions in the pew. Giving brief answers to some questions is appropriate; others need to be answered at a later time. Either way, be sure to respond respectfully to your children. If a question needs to be answered later, ask the child to remember the question and ask it again after church.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p101

Through worshiping together, my children and I have become friends before the throne of grace. As fellow sinners, we worship our Father who forgives. In worship we have learned to love God and accept His mercy. In worship we have learned to love each other and accept our failures. God must be real in our experience of faith. He must be known and encountered. We cannot be satisfied with worship that simply fulfills social and religious obligations. God must be heard. We need to teach our children what it means to touch the hem of His garment and be healed. Our children need to clamber into the loving lap of the Savior. He yearns for the companionship of children and longs to bless them.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p124

…I see my sons more clearly in the pew. Sitting beside me I see the handiwork of God. In the presence of our Father, my sons have become my brothers.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p125

The best kind of seeker service is one where unchurched people feel two things simultaneously: “I don’t belong here!” and “I want to belong here!” The mysterium tremendum, God’s fearful majesty, is off-putting and in-drawing at the same time. The “throne of Grace” is still a throne, not a rocking chair or floor pillow. The church is not another club to join. It is the body of Christ, the presence of the kingdom of God in the world.
~Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew, p139

 

For further excellent encouragement on this subject, please read our friend Pastor Toby Sumpter’s exhortation here!

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Sep 18 2014

Creating “forever”

The future flies at us and from that dark blur we shape the past.
And the past is forever.
We are authors and we are writing every second of every day.
A child scissors a couch, and that action is forever and always.
It cannot be undone.
But now it is your turn.
What you say and what you do in response will be done forever,
never to be appealed, edited, or modified.
~N.D. Wilson, Death by Living, p164~

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Living means decisions.
Living means writing your every word
and action and thought and drool spot down in forever.
It means writing your story within The Story.
It means being terrible at it.
It means failing and knowing that, somehow,
all of our messes will still contribute,
that the creative God has merely given Himself a greater challenge—
drawing glory from our clumsy botching of the past.
~N.D. Wilson, Death by Living, p166~

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Sep 15 2014

grace from every corner

What I need as a mother is grace.
God’s grace, that allows me to fail and try again,
that allows me to ask for help when I don’t have the wisdom or patience that I need,
that reminds me we’re not alone in this,
and that God loves my son even more than I do.

And grace from other mothers.
I need grace and truth-telling and camaraderie from other moms.
I need us to tell the truth about how hard it is,
and I need us to help each other,
instead of hiding behind the pretense and pressure of perfection.

~ Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet, p114 ~

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There are some moments these days, since the miscarriage,
when I feel like a failure
because my body wasn’t able to do what so many other women’s bodies can.
I see them with their kids, a year apart, one after another.
That will never be true for me and for our family.
I’ll always remember, even if we do have more children someday,
the loss we experienced last summer.

But what has healed me more than anything else
are the stories of other women who have experienced similar things.
I’ve needed grace,
and I’ve needed women who share their sorrows with me,
and allow me to share my own.

~ Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet, p114 ~

3 responses so far

Sep 12 2014

leading a wee army

You are as much serving God in looking after your own children,
and training them up in God’s fear,
and minding the house,
and making your household a church for God,
as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.

~C.H. Spurgeon~

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4 responses so far

Sep 09 2014

Be Nourished

Gather the people you love around your table
and feed them with love and honesty and creativity.
Feed them with your hands and the flavors and smells that remind you
of home and beauty and the best stories you’ve ever heard, the best stories you’ve ever lived.
~Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine, p256~

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The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed,
and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children.
We allow someone else to meet our need.
In a world that prides people on not having needs,
on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through,
the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity,
where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel.
If the home is a body, the table is the heart,
the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.

~Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine, p258~

5 responses so far

Sep 07 2014

Some Visuals

To give some perspective, here are a few visuals that show a couple of the many reasons we love homeschooling! :)
For instance: all ages gathered around together undergoing education simultaneously, and physical education involving mudpuddles and brotherly love!!

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We must have hard work. We must have discipline. We must have pedagogical order. But it must be anointed with imagination.
~Douglas Wilson, blog

4 responses so far

Sep 05 2014

Trustingly

Published by under Faith,Quotes

“An attitude of acceptance says that we trust God, that He loves us, and knows what is best for us. Acceptance does not mean that we do not pray for physical healing, or for the conception and birth of a little one to our marriage. We should indeed pray for those things, but we should pray in a trusting way. We should realize that, though God can do all things, for infinitely wise and loving reasons, He may not do that which we pray that He will do. How do we know how long to pray? As long as we can pray trustingly, with an attitude of acceptance of His will, we should pray as long as the desire remains.”

~Jerry Bridges

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Aug 30 2014

Teaching my children

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
… lest you forget the Lord… It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by His name you shall swear.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9, 12, 13

As a homeschooling mama I particularly embrace teaching my children about… well… pretty much everything! But the main thing that God calls me to teach my children is Him ~ and of course, in the process of learning about Him, they will learn not only His Word but also about His people, His world, His creation, His desires. Our prayer is that our children would come to see all of life through the lens of Christianity, so that they know that nothing can be separated from God, and that they would not only know but also love that all things are connected to Him, and are for His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom.

So as I continue in the journey of homeschooling these sweet children the Lord has entrusted to my care, I pray that Deuteronomy 6 would be a daily meditation and reality for me. It is written on the wall near our front door, and I pray that it would be inscribed upon my heart just as noticeably.

As I’ve recently been enjoying a little read by Elizabeth George, she reminds me of some easy highlights from Deuteronomy 6:7 ~

Who is to teach? Every believing parent.
Who are you to teach? Your children.
What are you to teach? God’s Word.
How are you to teach? Diligently.
When are you to teach? All day long, every day.
Where are you to teach? At home and everywhere.

It’s so basic and so complex all at the same time!
May the Lord equip me to accomplish this task set before me!

Psalm 34:11
2 Timothy 1:5
Proverbs 1:8
Proverbs 6:20

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Aug 26 2014

Real Faith

Published by under Uncategorized

I’ve been seeking, this week, to keep my faith in Jesus Christ ~& the grace that abundantly flows toward us through the Gospel~ in front of my eyes. I am asking God to fill me up with it so that it comes out my fingertips. And this morning when I read an encouraging snippet from Nancy Guthrie’s daily book, Abundant Life Day Book, the Lord reiterated that to me afresh as He spoke to me through words she wrote in encouragement and faith.

Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. … Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them. … Then when you call, the Lord will answer. “Yes, I am here,” he will quickly reply. Isaiah 58:6-7, 9

I love you too much to let you settle for some sense of false religiosity. So I am calling you to authentic spirituality. Here is how you live out real faith before Me: you get your eyes off yourself, your concerns, your struggles, your needs, and you throw yourself into meeting the needs of others.

As you become the answer to someone else’s prayers, you will look up and discover that I am answering your prayers. As you give yourself away, you will discover that you have been blessed with more than you could ever ask for. We’ll have the real relationship you long for, and when you call to Me, you will find me humbly available and quickly responsive.

May God enable me to serve others with joy for His sake, may He give me grace to be the answer to someone else’s prayers so that He can receive glory, and may He open my eyes in real faith so that I will always readily see how abundantly He is blessing me whether in the valleys or on the mountaintops. Amen.

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