Deep Sorrow

It’s Wednesday morning and you grab your phone to see if anything important has come in overnight. There is an email from the church with important news, “Next Wednesday the Lord is returning for His people.” You can hardly believe it. How exciting, but how difficult to wait a whole week. 

After your wave of joy, a wave of grief hits you. What about all the lost people you know? After you are gone is there any hope of them coming to Christ? The next wave is of greater sadness. You think of all the time that you squandered doing selfish, unimportant, fun things that seemed important yesterday. Now you wonder: What if my fun will cost these people eternity in hell? 

Suddenly you realized football, baseball, basketball, movies (good wholesome ones of course) TV, video games/gaming, news, social media and so much more all represent countless wasted hours. Then the thought comes: Hey, it’s Satan’s fault, not mine. He’s the one who tricked me into wasting my time on what I thought was harmless fun things. Oh, you realize, that excuse didn’t work for Adam and Eve, and it won’t work for me when I stand before the Lord at judgement. 

Since the Lord isn’t going to tell us when He’s coming back, maybe we ought to live as if it is tomorrow. “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). 

Strong and Courageous

Please consider. If the decisions you make while leading your family don’t require strength and courage, is it possible you aren’t following God’s Word, or you are leading a family of “angels”? Here’s why the question. 

When Joshua took over leadership of Israel, Moses told him to be strong and of good courage (Deuteronomy 31:7). God, Himself, told Joshua two times to be strong and of good courage (Joshua 1:6, 1:9). One time God told Joshua to be strong and very courageous (Joshua 1:7). Do you get the feeling that leading consistent with God’s Word is a difficult challenge? Joshua was taking God’s children into the promised land. The obstacles had been huge under Moses’ direction and would continue to be so. Previously, the problems were more from within than from the enemies without. 

Do you see the similarities to what a Christian father faces in raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Then Paul encouraged the Ephesians: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10). Next they were to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). 

“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). That takes strength and courage my Brothers. It is a marvel of God’s grace that He will supply it (Philippians 4:19).


If you are like me, as you read the account of Israel’s exodus out of Egypt, it is hard to believe how often Israel questioned God’s love. Over and over and over again, they grumbled and rejected Him. We can see it in them, but how often do we have a similar attitude? You might see it in your children too. 

Here is a possibility for your family Bible time. Consider diverting from your current Bible reading for a week and read Deuteronomy 8 each night. Make the word “remember” a theme for the week (lifetime would be good too). The word “remember” is used 14 times and “forget” 9 times in Deuteronomy. 

Discussion possibilities your family has experienced:

  • God’s provision 
  • God’s protection
  • God’s love
  • God’s commandments
  • God’s chastening
  • God’s testing

How well has our country “remembered”?

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

Posted in: General

Homeschool Planning

For homeschooling moms, summer provides an opportunity to reflect back over your past school year and prepare for the upcoming one. New school beginnings hold the excitement, hope, and promise of significant accomplishments for each member of your household. Often, though, this promise will not come to fruition unless specific goals and directions are set for the year.

Planning as a Couple

Planning with my husband, Steve, for the next school year was always a highlight of my summer. The two of us blocked out time together where we set goals and planned the course of our school year. I remember a couple of summers where on a Saturday we went to a conference room at Steve’s work. There was a long table to spread materials and computers on, comfortable chairs, and a big whiteboard. Being away where there were no interruptions had obvious advantages. One year, though, we spent Saturday morning at home working on this with nothing else scheduled “to do” and encouraged the children to play in their rooms or outside as much as possible. After those planning times we had a “date” with dinner out. Several years we were able to get away for a night at a bed and breakfast for our school planning time.

Background Information

To prepare for our time, I put together some background information for Steve to review before we met. He took what I gave him, read and reviewed it, and prayed about it before we had our meeting. 

I gave him our plan and goals from the previous summer and a schedule of what we actually did during the school year. I also wrote out areas in which I felt we did not do what we wanted, including difficulties with attitudes, schedules, specific schoolwork, not keeping the children accountable, or them not achieving a goal. I gave him a list of subjects I thought we might want each child to study or work on and the number of hours we do school each day. I wrote out some character concerns that specifically affected schoolwork.

What To Do

When we had our planning sessions, we started with prayer, since Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” First, we went over the previous school year’s plan to see what we achieved, what we deleted, and what did not work. Next, if we written out goals for the past year, we reviewed and evaluated whether we had accomplished them. 

Then we looked at our list of what each child could spend his school time on for the coming year and prioritized it. The big white board in the conference room was great for this. We listed each child’s name on the board and then underneath placed the school subjects for him to pursue with a number beside it for its priority. From there, we worked with the specific amount of time to spend per day or week on a particular subject. We also wrote down ideas on how to make sure the character deficiencies were addressed and followed up on.

Make It Happen

I am grateful that Steve was willing to sit down with me and make important decisions regarding our school direction. Although I usually put together the specifics after this major meeting, I knew where we, as a team, were headed. If I ran into further snags, Steve and I set aside more time to address the new items that come up.

I hope it is possible for each of you who are homeschooling couples to make time to be together and focus on your school planning for the next year during these summer months. Perhaps it will be something you look forward to as I did my planning times with my husband.

What Seeds are You Planting?

We live within three hundred feet of 12 of our grandchildren. I have a ram’s horn that I use to signal the grandchildren between houses. Christopher’s children use a cow horn, and Andrew (across the street) has a trumpet. It is sort of a grandpa and grandson thing. 

The other day on an errand with ten-year-old Joshua, we were discussing horns, and he told me he would like a ram’s horn like mine. (BTW, if you know anyone who raises and butchers rams, email me please.) He was looking online but didn’t want to spend as much as they were priced. I asked him, “Joshua, why don’t you use your gift money for that?” He replied, “I don’t want to spend over $20 as I’m saving to buy my house debt free.” I sure couldn’t argue with that. I thought, “Great job, Christopher, in planting that seed. It is firmly rooted.” 

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Teaching children wise financial stewardship would rank high as a good thing.