Love or Duty?

Think back to those days of falling in love with your wife. How you enjoyed getting to know her heart and soul. There was no quick way. It took time. Spending time with her was a delight. Hopefully, it still is.

Spending time in the Word everyday is edifying to our souls. Whether new or old in the faith, time in the Word helps us know and love Jesus better (John 1:14). Then while His Word is still fresh in our minds, we pray. We communicate with the One we love. ”We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

I believe the most important aspect of daily Bible time is “falling” deeper in love with the Lord Jesus Christ as we get to know Him better. Think about how wonderful it is to be in love with the Savior. Then time in the Word is not an “I suppose I should” but “Yay. I get to.” 

If you don’t love the Lord, time in the Word everyday takes effort. However, the goal and result of time in the Word and meditating on it, is a love for the Lord so great, you won’t want to miss a day. 

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deut 6:5).

No Longer United

Satan doesn’t usually come asking for an enormous compromise, but he starts with something seemingly innocent that likely our flesh will agree with. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Or maybe, “You deserve some relaxation (extra sleep),” or “Why not stay up and enjoy the movie,” or “You already had your Bible reading 5 days this week, it won’t hurt to miss it. Don’t be legalistic.” We are crazy legalistic about eating every day. Our time with our Lord’s Word is vital to our spiritual health, (walk with Christ), my brothers.

Over these last two decades, Teri and I have had a lot of visibility into lives and usually, those who are struggling with their walk are the ones who aren’t spending quality time reading their Bible every morning. Either the disciplines/habits weren’t developed or compromise got to them.

Our country began with “One nation under God.” One compromise after another brought us to where we are today. Oh, my brothers, be steadfast in feeding your souls and nurturing your relationships with the Lord Jesus. If you don’t, sadly, you will find lots of company. 

“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). 

To be continued. 

Let’s Get Serious

Have you ever admired someone who seems to have a deep, sincere relationship with the Lord Jesus? Have you secretly yearned for that too? My brothers, it can (must) be like that, but it starts with a choice. Make having a close, loving, on-fire relationship with Jesus Christ, the holy, righteous God of creation, your commitment. Any piddly cost to us is NOTHING compared to what Jesus “paid” in emptying Himself, taking on human flesh, and dying to purchase us with His blood. In light of His sacrifice, anything it costs us is NOTHING. 

It begins with commitment and action. I suggest you set in stone the following:

  1. Your wakeup and bedtime is the same every day. 
  2. Then before the distractions can begin, read your Bible for thirty minutes.** Usually, wrong priorities might make one think that isn’t possible. (Seriously, you don’t have thirty minutes a day for the One Who purchased you with His blood?)
  3. Read His Word with the commitment of living out (obeying) what you read. Systematically ingest His holy Word with the commitment to live it.
  4. Then pray for at least 15 minutes**. I suggest having bullet items written out. 

Almost everyone I talk to seldom misses a meal. How much more committed should we be to our Lord? 

** (It is possible that during some seasons or due to circumstances, that amount of time isn’t possible. If you want an objective perspective, let’s talk.) 

“And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear Him” (Luke 21:38).

(To be continued) 

Prioritizing Relationships That Matter

Next to our salvation and a relationship with Jesus Christ, probably the most important thing to us is our families and relationships with them. Life is busy for all, and maybe even busier for the homeschooling mom. What happens to those priority relationships in the midst of that lifestyle? Is it possible to accomplish what needs to be done but lose the heart thrust of relationships? How can we purposefully nurture relationships but still keep up with the responsibilities the Lord has called us to fulfill?

Schedule

Your schedule is critical for helping you prioritize relationships. First, it maximizes your productivity, allowing you the most time possible to invest in relationships.

Next, it shows you where your time is misplaced. Is it possible that you have time for relationship building, but you are spending it in ways that aren’t your real priorities? Social media, texting, and emailing could be your biggest time robbers. Some of the moms I admire the most are the ones who choose to keep those things contained within a scheduled time frame and stay away from them the rest of the time. When your children leave home, what do you want them to remember about you—the mom who had her face glued to her phone or one who looked at them?

You can put activities into the schedule that are relationship building. What about scheduling individual time with a child? It probably won’t be every day except for school time, but it could be once or twice a week. Even a half an hour or hour dedicated to one child will grow that relationship. It might be a time where you simply talk, perhaps discussing spiritual things and the child’s struggles and joys. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). It could also be doing something with him that you know he enjoys doing.

Working Together

If you have your children scheduled one at a time to work with you in the kitchen for meal preparation, you just gained a huge amount of relationship-building time. With 21 meals a week, if we estimated 30 minutes preparation time per meal—breakfast will likely take less and dinner more—that comes up to ten hours of individual, relationship-building time per week.

By keeping it to just one helper, your full attention is on every story that child wants to tell you, every joy he desires to share with you, and every worry that is on his heart. You have the opportunity to speak into his life what you see he is doing well and those things you know he could grow in.

In the process of all of that, in addition to relationship building, your child learns kitchen skills he takes with him through life and character that equips him for the areas of service God will call him to in adulthood. I can assure you that your two-year-old will slow you down in the kitchen, but he will be a happy helper full of enthusiasm and words. By the time he is five, he will be capable of doing many tasks independently and at eight, there might be meals he could do alone. Don’t resort to giving him that assignment on a normal basis, though, because remember—by working together you are taking time with and for that child.

Attitudes

Balanced with spending time together for relationship building is your attitude in general. If you spend lots of time with a child but are negative when you are together, I doubt that relationship will grow strong. Take inventory. When you talk to your children, are you negative and critical or encouraging and positive? Do you smile at them or talk to them with your eyes focused on your phone, seeming distracted?

Blessed

Ask the Lord to help you find ways to build relationships with your children. There is nothing dearer to a mother’s heart than for this to be true:  “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28). May I encourage you to purposefully invest in growing relationships with your children.

If you need help making a schedule, Managers of Their Homes is a resource we have available for you. It has helped many, many moms do what you want to do.

Clean on the outside but

You walk into church and give a warm smile and a handshake or hug to the brothers. Some of you are greeted as “Pastor.” Whatever your role, it’s another Sunday and time to assemble together to worship our righteous and most holy God. But if only we had “idiot lights” like a car dashboard on our foreheads warning if the heart is dirty. Then someone could come alongside and offer a word of exhortation, challenge, or even rebuke. God, however, doesn’t need those indicator lights since He sees our hearts. What’s He seeing on yours and mine?

“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them” (Ezekiel 14:1-3)?

Man can set up his own private temple of idol worship in his heart which is hidden from others but not God. These might include but are not limited to: mental adultery, covetousness, wickedness, love of self and entertainment/pleasure of every sort. Jesus Christ is to have first place over everything. 

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).