One Nation

I’m sure you are aware of this phrase in the Pledge that says, “One nation under God, indivisible.” Indivisible? What about:

Value of babies in the womb–divided.
Value of children–divided.
Normal family–divided.
Legalization of drugs–divided.
Value of the elderly–divided.
Value of family time–divided.
= One nation under God–divided.

As the person, so the family, so the church and so the nation. Each must evaluate his heart via the Word before our God. Then we repent and conform to God’s Word.

“And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24-25)  

Steve

The Best

I am amazed—well saddened actually—when I observe husbands and dads seeking to give their wife and children a good gift, whether it be for Christmas or a birthday, and yet they pass up giving the best gift they could possibly give. The best gift is free, yet costly. Why give good when you can give the best? It’s not just a great idea but a command of the Spirit.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25)

Jesus Christ gave His life—everything—for His Bride and “children.” We, too, are commanded to give all. Will we? Our families need us.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

Merry Christmas!

Steve

A Matter of Perspective

What would you prefer?

  • To be on the ground wishing to catch a plane somewhere or flying in a plane wishing you were on the ground?
  • On the shore wishing you were out on a boat in the water or out at sea in a boat wishing you were ashore?
  • Single and wishing you were married or married and wishing you were single?
  • Wishing you had children or wishing you had none?
  • Wishing you had a job or wishing you didn’t have the one you have?

Some people will never experience the joy of contentment. It isn’t about what we have or don’t have but about being at peace in the Lord Jesus with “where we are in life.” Paul learned to be abased and to abound. He was God’s man, and yet he suffered greatly. We read more about his trials than about his successes.

May we choose to be content in all things. Notice I said “choose” to be content. It’s a choice we make as we rest in the Lord, walking in His Spirit. All things work together for good—the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:12)

Steve

Hairy Teeth

Have you ever had a time when you haven’t been able to brush your teeth for a while, and they felt grimy, cruddy, or even hairy? If you weren’t in the good habit of brushing your teeth, then having hairy teeth would feel normal. For most of us, however, teeth brushing is due to the diligence of our mother’s training (okay hounding). Good habits don’t come naturally, but when acquired they are a lifelong blessing.   

Over the years many have written and asked if they should require their children to read the Bible daily. Here’s a question for you. In light of eternity, which do you think is a more important habit— brushing your teeth or reading your Bible every day? The answer is ridiculously obvious. Reading one’s Bible every day is critical to our wellbeing and our future.

Scripture shines God’s lamp into our souls and exposes the things that God wants to change or remove and feeds our souls for real life in Christ. Our souls must be so dependent on our daily cleansing and filling via the Word of God that we feel odd and uncomfortable if we haven’t had our time in the Word.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9)

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) 

Steve

Get Used To It

We are coming into an age when loving the Lord Jesus and living for Him is not cool. That’s okay, life here is very short compared to eternity! Oh, how wonderful to serve the risen Savior!

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Steve

Posted in: Seriously

Six Ways Homeschoolers Can Take the Stress out of Christmas

While most of us love the Christmas season, sometimes all the busyness, activities, and things that must be done put us into overload mode. Stress levels rise, and instead of a joyful season of worshipping Christ our Savior, we become crazy women running to and fro, impatient and frustrated. That sure isn’t my picture of a godly, Christian woman, and I don’t want it to characterize my life during the weeks that are so precious in my year. So how can we take the stress out of the Christmas season?

1. Resting in the Lord

Perhaps the greatest stress reliever is to remember the words of Christ Himself. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). When we come to Him, He gives us rest. During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, are we truly coming to Him? Are we continuing in our daily time to worship Him through reading His Word and praying? Are we casting our cares on Him? “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Perhaps a peaceful heart or lack of it is an indication of whether we are coming to Him and resting or not.

2. Writing it Down

Write down what you will be doing and want to do during the Christmas season either on a piece of paper, notebook, or your computer. Often stress overwhelms us when our minds are trying to track, manage, remember, and juggle all that needs to be done. Our memory becomes so full of all the “stuff” that we can’t handle it. Computers crash when they overload their memory, and so do we.

When you write it down, relief descends. It is in a safe place to be retrieved and referred to. You don’t have to depend on your mind to remember it. That one simple step may be your ticket to a stress-free Christmas.

3. Eliminating

The third thing you can do to help relieve holiday stress is to eliminate. Once you have that list to look at, you can determine if there are activities or duties on it that are no longer your priority. Just because you have always done it, doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it.

What Christmas activities draw your heart to Jesus? Which ones share Him with others? Which ones teach your children to love, teach them that it is better to give than to receive, or teach them to worship Him? Have criteria in mind to help you determine what your Christmas time usage priorities should be.

I think you will find it less stressing and much more enjoyable to focus on the activities for Christmas that bring you the greatest joy than to try to do everything that is available. Remember the words of the angels to the shepherds? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). While the global application of this verse is the peace that Christ brings to each sinful man who receives Him as Savior, I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t also ongoing peace in my heart. That peace lets me have joy each day as I anticipate celebrating Christ’s birth.

I would rather have a peaceful heart and do half as many Christ-related traditions and activities than to do the full measure of them feeling and acting stressed. I expect my family would vote for that as well.

4. Planning

Next you will want to take the list of Christmas activities and duties that have been prioritized and pared down, and write out steps that are needed to accomplish each one. Perhaps there are supplies to be purchased and gathered. Maybe a date should be put on the calendar to reserve the time. It could be that others are to be invited. What exactly should happen so that this activity is accomplished?

When I have steps written down for my holiday activities, they are much easier to achieve. With available time, I look at these lists, and I choose what I will tackle during that time frame.

5. Dedicating Time

I can have the best-prioritized list of Christmas activities, including the plan to getting them done, but if I don’t have any time to do them, I can assure you that I will feel stressed. How does a busy mom find time for doing more than she currently does in her normal daily life?

I would suggest starting with just one hour per day in the month of December for Christmas preparations—a specific hour that you know you can consistently be committed to keeping. If you are a homeschool mom, shorten your school day by one hour for the month of December, and use that extra time for what you want to do to get ready for Christmas. You will be pleasantly surprised with the progress you can make on things like Christmas cards or letters, online gift shopping, gift wrapping, meal planning, and make-ahead baking in just one hour.

Seeing your progress and checking off what is done—those are wonderful ways to relieve stress and bring peace to your heart. As you get closer to Christmas, you will know what one hour a day has done for you and increase or decrease the time according to where you are in relation to your goals.

For homeschool moms, I would suggest taking at least the last two weeks of December totally off school. However, be careful to have a plan in place for how you will use that time so it doesn’t fritter away.

6. Practicing Gratitude

You can let each stressor you face eat at your mind, robbing you of your joy and peace. However, you can also trade away the stress by doing one very powerful thing: cultivate gratitude! For example, if gift shopping stresses you, thank the Lord for the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ. Be grateful for the finances to purchase gifts or the supplies to make them. Each time the stress wants to return, praise God and thank Him for Jesus and His bountiful provision for you. Find something you can thank God for with any and every stress that wants to rear its ugly head so that you change the curse into a blessing. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Personally, I don’t like to feel stressed, and I don’t like the person I become when I am stressed. Christmas is the last time of year when I want to be a stressed woman. This Christmas season I choose to set aside Christmas stress and pick up the joy, peace, and rest of the Savior, Whom I celebrate each and every day.

Here are four resources that I recommend to help you with holiday de-stressing or any-time-of-the-year de-stressing:

Managers of Their Homes
Managers of Their Chores
Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit
Sweet Journey

Teri Maxwell