What Flag is Being Flown Over Your Home?

Isn’t it amazing how there can be so much division within the body of Christ over how one practically lives out his faith. Yet, “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:13). Where does the division come from? How unbelievers laugh and mock over the bickering that can go on between those professing to have faith in Jesus Christ.

Freedom in Christ is the banner being waved about so much these days. If the father waves it, he can expect his children to be twirling their flags. Let’s spend one more Corner looking at this issue and its affect on the Christian family and our witness.

Only the Lord Jesus really knows, but I can’t help but wonder if chanting “Freedom in Christ” isn’t responsible for much of the non-doctrinal division among Christians. In your church, there is likely a polarization of two groups—same doctrine, but lifestyle choices are quite different.

Scripture gives us a great example of someone whose focus was on his freedom and rights. I expect most believers have read Luke 15:11-32 about the prodigal son. It begins with the youngest son asking his father for his inheritance. “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me”(Luke 15:12). The request is odd since the father was alive, and one would not normally receive the inheritance until after the person died. However, out of his love for his son, the father chose to give the son what he asked for and would eventually be his anyway.

The father didn’t legally have to give it to him, but he did. We are told that he divided unto his sons, his living. He actually took his livelihood and divided it up. It would have reduced his income potential while he was alive, yet he divided it between them.

It would have been no surprise to the father that his youngest son would squander the money. He had lived with him and seen the rash, selfish choices he had made and would expect him to spend his inheritance on the desires of the flesh. The fact that the son demanded the inheritance shows a lack of respect and love for the father. The son was only interested in what he wanted and cared little for his father.

“And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living” (Luke 15:13). The son left his father and basically partied until he had no more money. He lived for the flesh and had the best time he could have while he had money. Notice how he left his father to pursue living for the flesh. Decisions which cater to the flesh will provide varying degrees of separation from the Father.

Think about the marriage relationship for a moment. Would it be pleasant to be married to someone who is always thinking about his or her rights and what he or she should be able to do? Isn’t that why many marriages are struggling though? Referring to Ephesians 5:22-29, we see that a good marriage is built upon the husband deferring to the wife and looking to her needs while the wife is looking to the husband and his needs. That is why marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. We are not to concentrate on our rights, but we are to concentrate on loving and serving the other. “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).

In the same way that focusing on our rights and freedom in marriage will separate hearts in that relationship, it will also distance us in our walk with Christ. The prodigal son left his father in pursuit of his rights and freedom.

Through the years I’ve listened carefully to Christians or read e-mails from them explaining the basis for their decisions. I would encourage you to pay close attention when you hear a believer giving his reasons for a choice he is making. Even more important, may we examine our own justification in making a decision. Most often I hear something like, “I thought about it and decided . . .” A close second might be, “I’m not aware of anywhere in the Bible that we are told not to do it.” Can you hear the “freedom in Christ” overtones in these reasons?

I’m sad to say that seldom have I ever heard, “I’ve searched the Bible for His direction, earnestly prayed and I believe Jesus is telling me to . . .” This is what you will likely hear from someone who understands that he is a servant of Jesus Christ. As Jesus was our example in His relationship with the Father, a servant is concerned about His Master’s direction.

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). The servant of Christ who delights in obeying Jesus will have a close relationship with Jesus. The word “manifest” means to make known, to appear, and to be seen openly. If our focus is on what Jesus directs us to do, Jesus tells us that He will manifest Himself to us. Do you see how this is all about making Jesus real to our family versus a religion? It only takes one generation to lose faith. If we are looking for our rights, we may have a great time in this world, but it will lead to a shallow, distant walk with Jesus. I believe that is why many lose their children to the world. The children don’t see anything real in the parent’s faith.

Paul knew that all things that weren’t sinful were permissible for him, but they were not edifying—they didn’t lead to a closer walk with Jesus. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Obedience to Jesus’ direction (through His Word and via the Spirit) will edify in drawing us closer to Jesus.

Our society is absolutely consumed in the pursuit of pleasure and entertainment. Sadly, much of the “church” is following suit. Of course the “church” doesn’t follow after the things that are overtly sinful, because you can’t be a good Christian and do that. However, by pushing their freedom in Christ, they will go for anything that is not labeled sinful by Scripture instead of living as servants of the Lord Jesus and delighting in following Him.

Jesus will direct every aspect of our lives if we will but ask Him. Then as He gives us direction, we must obey Him (John 14:21). As we obey, He will tell us more and lead us in a way pleasing to Him that will give glory to the Father.

Posted in: Dad's Corner

Benefits of Summer Scheduling

One of the main cries of my heart to homeschooling moms is to encourage them to use a daily schedule. Scheduling is at the heart and soul of what has made our home and homeschool successful. I find I have to proclaim the joys of scheduling from the rooftops from time to time, especially after having regular e-mails from struggling homeschooling moms.

With the freedom from school hours that summer brings for many homeschool families comes the ability to fit in many new activities, projects, and tasks. What I have also discovered comes with my summer release from school responsibility is a propensity to laziness and self-focus. Those looked-forward-to free hours fritter away day by day, week by week. When school starts again, I look back on my summer with a heart filled with regrets and if only’s.

The solution the Lord has given me is to use my schedule to help productively use my summer hours and my children’s. I still have freedom from the school responsibility and hours. However, I will accomplish all those tasks and goals that I anticipated through the school year. I can pray about my summer schedule, seeking the Lord’s guidance for priorities. Then I discuss the schedule possibilities with my husband to get his direction for how my summer should be spent plus what we want the children to do with their time.

Two years ago, I wrote a Mom’s Corner on summer schedules. I am not going to repeat that information, but I would encourage you to read that article. I also suggest you read this Mom’s Corner about children and chores during the summer.

I wanted to give you some other thoughts regarding summer schedules from those who have begun implementing this idea in their homes. These suggestions from other homeschooling moms will give you motivation for your summer scheduling, plus some great ideas.

From: Mom A
There have been only a few summers in our past that we did not do school. The summers that we took a real “break” were freeing, BUT the short-lived freedom was not worth it in the long run.

It may have been glorious at the moment, but …

1) it took us FOREVER to get back into the swing of things once we did begin.
2) one of my children seemed to forget every item learned the previous year, which meant a LOT of review when we began.
3) the first day we started, I felt behind already!
4) the mind is a great thing to waste; no school meant more TV when it was too hot to play outside.
5) without a focus or a sense of accomplishing something, we were floating around aimlessly.
6) due to the mental laziness, NOTHING got done that year.
7) I spent more money that summer due to being out and about so much, which caused guilt on my part of not being a frugal helpmeet, and then the guilt snowballed into a fear of turning into the worst wife in the world.
8) we ate a lot of fast food since I was too lethargic from all my remorse to cook consistently.

IT WAS A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE TO NOT DO SOME SCHOOL DURING THE SUMMER! I’m sure that you gathered this already! I have our summer schedule for this year already written out and discussed with my children!!

From: Mom B
We schedule gardening in 30 minutes segments. One in the morning after the daily housework is done, about 9:30, and one right after quiet time, at 3:30. We usually start school at 10:00 if we are doing school, and if we are on summer break they do just handwriting or copy work, nature journals and arts and crafts kind of things. They usually play from 11:15 to 12:30 before lunch, and 4:30 to 6:00 before supper.

My children like it when I read to them after lunch and again before bedtime. If I were going to include learning a language, it would probably be in the afternoon as part of their quiet time, maybe using a computer program or tapes. This would be after they had some quiet reading time in their own room.

From: Mom C
To homeschool to enjoy the summer, I use the same exact principles as I do for a “regular” schedule. I decide when and how long to “school,” then I am done. I decide when and how long to garden, etc. I give what I want to do a slot, and I faithfully do what I scheduled. Then by the summer’s end, I will feel as if I have accomplished what I really wanted to, instead of feeling as if the time was wasted. I LOVE having a summer schedule in place. It really can be a time to accomplish a lot. Our reading quiet times are before bed and before baby’s naptime.

From: Mom D
We have a summer schedule with chores, Bible reading (God doesn’t take the summer off), and an hour or more of school. Usually everyone does math, and then the children work in whatever subjects they are poor in. For some, that may be just practicing their reading. For others, they have to repeat a course they did poorly in. We spend 60 minutes per day in the garden, usually early in the day. I leave the afternoons unscheduled. We still do weekly projects, but they are usually outside work. We keep the school-year rules of only 30 minutes of computer per day, which they have to earn by doing a typing lesson first and not scoring below a set level of words/errors per minute.

Buy board games, and provide arts and crafts supplies. At our home if the children say, “I’m bored” or something equivalent, they get a job from the project list. If they act like they are at loose ends, I suggest something fun or creative. The suggestion MUST be taken and usually after the first few minutes, they get into it and enjoy themselves. This has taught them all to be productive and not to mope around or Mom finds them something to do.

From: Mom E
We do school in the summer but only the things we think the children need extra work in, like handwriting, or things they really enjoy, like reading. We also do math facts practice so they don’t forget it over the summer. All of that probably takes about 20 minutes. We are doing our state history this summer just to prevent the day being too long during the regular year. We also do Bible every day whether we do school or not. Each person also has time for individual time in the Word each day.

I’m filling up our schedule with things like gardening, project time, playing outside, computer time, educational games, time with each parent, time with each other (we have 2 children) and time spent playing alone. We recently discovered that our eleven-year-old couldn’t play alone. He is the younger of the two and had never had to play by himself. He had no idea what to do, so we added alone time each day to his schedule so he can learn to play or work on his own.

Once we add in daily and weekly chore times and piano practice, our schedule is pretty full. Of course, we do have meal times, family time, and family devotions each day as well.

From: Mom F
We plan on having our regular morning routine this summer, which includes: Wake, dress, groom, daily chores, breakfast, and cleanup. Then we will have our Bible time and an hour of “school.” We are going to do reading, educational games, and math drills. I plan on having the older children help me with the younger ones for activities such as listening to them read and playing games with them. After this time, they will get outside time until lunch. After lunch, we will have rest and reading time, and then I plan to have a project time. They will get free time again until supper.

Do you see how these moms are using their schedules to make sure they are having productive summers? I love the change of pace our summer months provide. However, I dislike looking back on those weeks and feeling they were wasted. A schedule gives us freedom: freedom to accomplish what the Lord wants me and my children to do with those summer hours. From reading about how these other moms are using their summer schedules, I believe you will glean ideas for your own schedule. I encourage you to make a summer schedule. If you need help with how to schedule, the Managers of Their Homes book is a how-to primer on scheduling for homeschool families, including a chapter on summer scheduling. Use your summer schedule to be profitable with your summer days. Look back on those weeks with no regrets.