Prayer and Study

I want to start by making very clear here that I am in no way intending on heaping condemnation onto my brothers and sisters in Christ. I mean only to edify the body and help explain a possible reason for the lack of prayer and study within the church.

I also want to clarify that this is not going to make sense to those who are not believers but are instead Christians in name only. I know this for certain because I never understood this the entire decade I was pretending to be a Christian. I was perfectly happy being spoon fed the word and even happier to take your word for it. This is the reason why false teachers are so successful, we can see them on every “Christian” channel preaching a different gospel, a different Jesus, and a different god. A more common term for this would be heresy, there are more notable speakers teaching heresy, or even worse, blasphemy, then there are teachers proclaiming the true gospel.

I began my Christian faith wondering how we got to the place where famous preachers could announce loudly that Christ wasn’t the only way to Heaven and still manage to have any credibility. I think I can say assuredly it’s because of a lack of prayer and study within the body of true believers.

Let’s start with prayer. Before I was saved prayer was something I did out of obligation, it was done with a general sense of annoyance. The first few months after I got saved that changed, slowly at first, and then like a snowball falling, collectively the idea of what prayer began to drive me to my knees. The annoyance then became the need to do anything else besides study and prayer. What changed?

Study changed.

Before being saved I was perfectly happy to listen to TV evangelists twisting scripture to fit their worldly desires. I also enjoyed anything that was new information, as one enjoys the discovery channel. It didn’t have to be accurate, and I certainly wasn’t going to crack open my dust collecting Bible to check. Once I was saved the Word of God became the primary source, and great men expounding on it needed to be consistently vetted. More so than that, the Word became spiritual food. I felt a hunger for it I had never felt before, the desire to immerse myself in the Bible and to understand what I was reading was overwhelming.

This change led me to a greater understanding of both prayers, and study. What is prayer for the believer? It is one of the greatest gifts God has given us.

Apostle's Hands
Study of an Apostle’s Hands (Praying Hands) by Albrecht Durer

We are granted the tremendous honor of coming before the throne of God with our thanksgiving, supplication, and requests. This is the very God who had saved me from the chains of sin, a pointless life, and from eternal damnation. I get to come before Him, He hears me. Never once have I ever deserved the honor of coming before the King of Kings!

What brought me to this conclusion? Understanding what the Word is. John teaches us that in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. That Word became flesh…when we pick up Gods Word we need to recognize that on every page we are seeing Holy Spirit inspired Words. The majesty of this is too great for me to understand, however, what I do see is the tremendous blessing we have been given to have the Word.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been an Apostle before the cross? The Holy Spirit hadn’t come, Christ hadn’t risen, all they have was the OT to go on. They were waiting for the Kingdom to come! They thought Christ was about to bring it down. What do you mean you’re going to die? What about the Kingdom? All the way up until Jesus Christ, Messiah, Lord, Savior, ascended the disciples were asking about the Kingdom. It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit came that they finally understood the OT. We have the benefit of reading that very revelation they were given.

Can you imagine also what it must be like to live in a country where this Word is illegal? How precious every page must be to believers, and every second they can spend reading it. It is easy to take for granted the amazing blessing some of us have to freely read the Word. I even have the Septuagint on my phone, along with every type of translation. How blessed is this generation? As blessed as we are ignorant of said blessing.

So, what do you do if you’re one of the many believers who does not understand the Word, and find very little joy in reading it? Or perhaps even less joy in praying? First, let’s remember that there are those out there particularly gifted in these areas, we should not compare ourselves to one another. Our comparison should always be Christ. Secondly, let us remember that we need to be growing in grace and knowledge. If you want to enjoy these things but the desires of the world are overpowering you bring it before the throne in prayer. Ask to thirst for God’s Word, ask God to help you love Him with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We can do nothing apart from Him.

Finally, friends, be good Bereans. Paul called the Bereans more noble then the Thessalonican’s because they accepted the Word while searching the scriptures to see if it was true. We need to take every thought into captivity, which means we cannot continue to accept what the TV evangelists, or even our own pastors, preach without checking its accuracy against the Word of God. Not partial scriptures, but the whole counsel of the Word.

I hope this helps you all grow in prayer and study, friends, to show yourself approved.

Scripture
2 Timothy 2:15
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Why, how, WHERE, and what of HOMESCHOOLING

Today I’m going to go over a short summary of the where’s of homeschooling. This is the obvious starting place for parents considering homeschool. Before you can make a choice about whether or not you will homeschool, you need to understand the laws where you are. Each state has separate laws, each state is equal.

Some states are better to HS in, such as Oklahoma, the only state in the union that has homeschooling rights in its constitution. This means, out of 50 states, only this state will have consistent, untouchable, freedom guaranteed in its laws.

State by State
Homeschooling Regulation

Even Texas laws could change, although currently, Texas is also a great place to homeschool. As a homeschooler in Texas, you’ll be considered a private school, which is pretty neat! Idaho is also a wonderful state to live if you’re going to HS.

However, some families don’t have the option to move to a state with better laws. What do you do then? Most states have protective laws regarding homeschooling families, only a few are truly difficult to HS in. HSLDA is a fantastic organization to be a part of if you choose to homeschool, and their website details each state’s laws Here.

NQXeL__1_.0.pngWhat are some of the laws you might see? The most frequent law states hold is ensuring you teach specific subjects, although many states do not require evidence of what you’ve taught. Most states also require you notifying your local ISD that your child will be schooling at home.

Regulations for homeschooling
Regulations

Some states will have you schooling for a certain amount of hours or days per year. A dozen or so will have mandatory testing, some once a year, others every few years, although not all states want to see the results of those tests. You want to make sure you have a full knowledge of the state laws and keep updated in case they change.

If you happen to live in a state with laws you can’t agree with, but cannot move at the time, check to see if your state has umbrella schools. These awesome programs will protect you from unfriendly laws while allowing you to homeschool freely.

It’s important to remember that, no matter where you live, all schools teach evolution as fact, not theory. This means that while your child might be heading to Sunday school every weekend, five days of the week they are learning God’s Word is wrong. Even if you are not able to homeschool, I highly encourage you to educate yourself on creation so that you can answer your child when they have questions. Like the Bible instructs us, we need to have an answer for why we believe what we believe.

If you missed my previous posts on the why’s, how’s, where’s, and what’s of homeschooling you can find them here WHY and here HOW. Next Friday I’ll talk about the what’s. God bless, my friends!

 

A Layman’s Review of Strong’s Concordance

Today I’m going to review a different type of book, the Strong’s Concordance. Some might have already found this treasure, however, since I spent a decade in church without ever hearing about it, I thought I would give it a quick review.

What is this Concordance I speak of? It’s AMAZING that’s what it is! Strong’s Concordance is a book written by James Strong published way back at the end of the 19th century.

James Strong
James Strong, American Methodist Theologian by Matthew Brady

I cannot even imagine what it took to complete something this extensive before there was google.

This must be why it’s full title is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

This wonderful gem lists every word written in the Bible, in Hebrew and Greek, along with every scripture you can find it. What is the best part about this book? Good question! The best part is that it is now in app format. You type a word in from your Bible, click search, and it brings up every place within the KJV that you can find said word.

With this book, next to your Bible you will be able to dig far deeper than before. When you want to understand where the full armor of God came from you can search each word and find yourself awestruck by how much of the NT is quoting from the OT.

There is a Hebrew tradition called the law of first mentions. This dictates that to understand a word you first need to find it where it first appears in the text. Take the context of the first appearance and apply it to the text you are reading. I’m not saying this is the only way to study, but it certainly is a fun way to look at it!

There are a few different versions of the Concordance, but I have been very blessed by the free one I downloaded on my smartphone. If you like to study away from the screen there are many versions available on Amazon which cost much less than you’ll spend at a Christian bookstore.

I hope you find this Bible help has much of a blessing as I have friends!

If you’ve missed my other book reviews here are the links; A Review of The Autobiography of George MullerA Review of The Pilgrim’s Progress

Monday Fossils – The Big Bang Theory

Along with some pretty spectacular fossil finds, I want to talk about a metaphorical fossil. The Big Bang Theory.

The Big Bang was so deeply ingrained in evolutionary thinking that it even has its own show named after it! I wondered if the show would be renamed now that its namesake had been proven false. Guess not. BTW I do NOT recommend this show. Besides the foul language and promiscuity, they blatantly make fun of Christians and Christ. I’ll never forget walking into a church in Wyoming and hearing the pastor (you know, the guy leading the flock…who clearly hadn’t read 2 Timothy) openly admit that this was his favorite show. We hadn’t heard the gospel yet, and my husband was more and more discouraged. Is it any wonder that our church is in disarray when our leaders are indulging in secular filth? Where, then, is the outrage over sin? There is none, instead, those who should hold the highest amount of integrity, are finding entertainment in the promotion of sin. Please, friends, understand the magnitude of sin. Sin separates us from God, sin sent the King of kings to the cursed tree, sin destroys lives. I have dear friends who, after the husband came to true faith, gave their flat screens away and allowed no TV. This may sound extreme, but what are we living for? Are we in the world, or of it? Anything, anything whatsoever, we place above God is an IDOL!

Ok back to the metaphorical fossil. The Big Bang Theory. Why do I call the BBT a fossil? It has been dead for a long time, but as all of us fall into denial when our loved ones die, the scientific community held on to it for dear life. Thus, while they continued to pretend it was alive and well, its bones were replaced by minerals and fell to no more than a

Dinosaur Fossil
Died Dino Posture, Image from Wikipedia

mere record of something that once was. Like many fossils found, the fossil of the BBT also showed signs of asphyxiation, strangled to death by its own improbability.

I can still remember the confidence my high school science teachers had as they stated the Big Bang Theory to be the clear and obvious means for creation. Intellectual dishonesty is the reason many now look down on the field of science, which should be our most noble field of study. Had there been a preface, or even better, had they taught the arguments for AND against the BBT the embarrassment might be lessened. Instead, the scientific community plowed forward, for the most part, pushing theory and assumption as fact.

So, what happened? Science does what it SHOULD always do. It faced the facts. I must admit, I have great respect for those first 30 scientists who wrote an open letter to their fellow scientists arguing against the BBT. It took a while for the rippling effects to move through each level of scientific study. Now, all they need to do is take it out of the textbooks and they might regain some of the integrity that was lost.

What does this have to do with the church? Unfortunately, to incorporate deep time into the scriptures, many church leaders had adopted the BBT to explain creation. This is TRAGIC! Now that science has made the BBT obsolete does that mean creation is also disproven? This is a difficult situation to be in, but it is the consequence of compromise.

We must hold to the scriptures, and allow secular science to catch up. We do not need to perform intellectual backflips trying to make each scientific find evidence for our world view. If you look at the track record for scientific discoveries of ‘missing links’ alone you’ll see how very often a big find comes out, makes a lot of noise, and then is quietly disputed. This will always happen in science, science is fluid, it must be for discoveries to continue and understanding to grow. The Word of God is not fluid, not a jot or a tittle of the Word will pass away. Build your house on the rock and when the storm comes your house will not fall. Build your house on the sand of science, and each new storm of discoveries will shake your faith.

So, what’s the deal with these fossils? They all show signs of asphyxiation, somehow before they died they were unable to breathe. This is referred to by some as the ‘died dino posture’. First, we need to understand that the mass majority of fossils found, some

95% of them, are marine invertebrates. Only a small percentage of one percent are vertebrates. Many of those found are fish. It is also rare to find a fully intact dinosaur, however when this is the case they usually all hold this same pose. Head thrown back, back legs tucked in, it’s quite nightmarish when you realize what it’s showing.

Secondly, we need to remember that when animals die they are scavenged by all sorts of creatures and insects. It is only in specialized cases that things become fossilized.

Thirdly, we need to keep in mind that fossilization does not take long periods of time. Under the right conditions, it could happen quickly.

Lastly, let us not forget that a great many of these dinosaur fossils are found with bone remaining. Inside that bone, many scientists have found tissue, blood samples, and even DNA.

Taking these factors into consideration the picture it creates is clear. It is only a matter of time that scientists begin to abandon previously held misconceptions about fossils in the same manner they have abandoned the BBT.

Hold fast to the truth of the Word, friends. Put your faith, trust, and hope in the immutable God.

Why, HOW, where and what’s of HOMESCHOOLING

Today for an update on our homeschooling I’m going to focus on the how’s. Last week I walked through the WHY’S, giving some of the reasons we decided to homeschool. With that under our belts, I’m excited to move on the how we homeschool.

There are as many ways to homeschool as there are reasons to do so. After deciding to homeschool I began researching all the different paths we could take. There is so much amazing information online about homeschooling, I don’t know how families were able to do this before the internet! Unfortunately, as with everything else, the vast amount of information can be overwhelming.

We sort of fell into our own homeschooling system. We had already been working with Kk so we simply began adding a few new things once she had mastered what she was learning. I spent the years between her turning four and six monitoring what worked and didn’t work. That was how I came to the conclusion that structured programs weren’t going to cut it.

By the time she was five she was already well past second-grade science and math. These are her two best subjects so she excels in them, although for two totally different reasons. She seems to understand math and retain what she’s learned far easier than anything else. Science is her favorite subject, she would far prefer watching a scientist explain microbiology than watch cartoons. Any type of science experiment is far better than playing at the playground any day. She decided when she was five that she would simultaneously be a scientist and an inventor when she grows up.

Wow, I just bragged for an entire paragraph…sorry. I’m one proud momma! I can be humble enough to mention, while she loves to read now, she hated learning how. I was wondering if she would ever enjoy reading the way I do. One day it clicked…

How? I started letting her watch me read to her at night, instead of having her close her eyes and get sleepy. It was only a couple weeks later that she was reading to me. It was a wonderful breakthrough! This might not be the miracle tactic for every child, but that’s what is so exciting about homeschooling…you can watch what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your teaching accordingly! (she still hates phonics, spelling, and comprehension btw)

Along with science, math, and English, we also learn history, typing, Hebrew, piano, scriptures, art, and gymnastics. In every area of her learning, she’s on different levels of difficulty. If I streamlined her teaching I would be forced to hold her back in some areas. Not every child is the same, if educational programs are what work for your kids then you’re doing the right thing! (No guilt HS’ing mommies) What I really hope to make clear here is that homeschooling is most successful when you gear learning based on child’shilds progress. Even if you use a program, tweek what you can to help your child where they need it most. When I can’t find a specific lesson I like, I create one myself!fullsizeoutput_11ff.jpeg

So here is a short list of HOW’s

English: We started out when she was two using ABC Mouse, eventually stopping when she was five due to evolutionary material slipped into books. Not cool! Once she was a three and had learned the entire alphabet we worked with letters, one letter a week, using mostly coloring pages, dot to dots, and a copy work page. We switched to Looney Tunes Phonics after leaving ABC Mouse and began using K12Reader for spelling and reading comprehension. Plus good old fashioned reading, yay! I also consider her scripture work to fall under English. She copies selected scriptures helping improve her reading, writing, and spelling!

Art: I absolutely LOVE love love Kid’s Art Hub for art class. I use to throw this in a couple times a week and then play with playdough or shaving cream paint, or whatever else I found on Pinterest, hehe. But now she practically begs for these videos.

Math: I began working on numbers with her when she was 18-months so by the time she was two she could count to ten. However, at that age, I don’t believe she actually understood what she was doing. She had just memorized a sequence of words. After she started seeing pages with numbers written on them and little bees or apples next to the number representing it, things began to click. She progressed quickly through learning her numbers, telling time, counting money, learning measurements, and all the geometric shapes. For most of that, I used Education.com, now that she’s gone so far beyond that I make her math assignments myself progressing through the week with one idea but making it slightly more difficult each day. Along with that, she uses the SplashMath app which is super fun! I love backing up what she’s learning with games or coloring pages, so she equates learning with joy.

Science: Originally science all came from Education.com. I went steadfastly through the list of what kindergarteners learned, then first grade, then second grade, until finally, I realized she would do science all day if I allowed it! Now, while keeping in mind roughly what grade schoolers learn, we allow her curiosity run the show. It’s easy to find science experiments on Pinterest or youtube, but I will admit this is our most costly portion of lessons!

History: History started with showing her the states on the map and teaching her a little about each state. Then, of course, we began traveling the states which made that a lot easier! She also learned about the continents and the oceans. When it came time to learn the oceans I mixed science with history and we learned the difference between the oceans and the creatures in them. Once we finished with the states we spent a week on each of the presidents, Awesome History Worksheets, and are now moving on to learn other countries. I also used a fun app on her tablet that turned the states into a puzzle and a quiz.

Piano: I have no idea how to play the piano. But Kk wanted to play an instrument so badly! Now she loves learning new songs, but despises practicing old ones. We use Professor Hoffman on youtube here Super Awesome Piano Lessons. She had really learned so much!

Typing: There are literally hundreds of free typing games online. This isn’t my main concern as I don’t see her generation even having keyboards by the time she’s an adult! But playing with mommy’s laptop is fun to her, so she willingly learns.

As a side note, we also are currently learning cursive per her request. This is because one of her pin pals writes to her in cursive. Her Meme!

Hebrew: I know I’m breaking whatever sacred law there was about learning Latin first. I’m sorry! But Hebrew is the only language I have any proficiency in (and barely that) so it’s the one she’s learning. This is a wonderful place to start if anyone is randomly interested, Hebrew Lessons, or if you’re ad adult and want to teach yourself this is a great option, Hebrew through the Torah.

That just leaves gymnastics which we take her to, seriously some things need to be left to the experts. We stretch together in our daily work out and she talked me into trying the splits…it’s important in moments like that to reflect on how old you’ve become. HA!

So that’s our HOWS, it’s a daunting list but I need to let you in on an inside secret. My beautiful, sweet, thoughtful daughter, is EXTREMELY destructive. She always has been. If she could get her hands on it, she took it apart. If it could be climbed she did. If it could be broken it was. Until we started lessons, then we saw an immediate change in her. She was just BORED! (Inert heavy sigh here) Even now on down days, when she takes a break from lessons, it doesn’t take her long to build something, create something, or discover something. At least she’s putting things together now, as opposed to taking them apart!

That’s it, let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions! Next week…where to homeschool?

 

A Review of The Autobiography of George Muller

George Muller
George Muller

This week the book I’ve chosen to review The Autobiography of George Muller. Last week we talked about The Pilgrims Progress, A Review of Pilgrims Progress, and in keeping up with finding older Christian books to edify the church this book follows Muller’s journal through the mid-19th century.

I’ve read this book slowly, like eating Cheesecake Factory desserts, it’s not often that you get something this edifying. I first heard about this book in a Paul Washer clip, HeartCry, were he said this book was the second most influential book of his life. I can see why.

The pages turn through journal entries, this man’s own words, as he walked through his life. He started out as a thief, and a wretched sinner, but where he ended should encourage every believer.

At the time of Muller’s life, street children were decidedly viewed as vermin, as such the dozen or so orphanages in London were only for those children whose parents were wealthy before they died. Muller wanted to do something for these children, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

So he started out a wretch, and his father had clearly lost his patience with his son. He decided to send him to become a minister. At the time, being a man of the cloth was seen as a noble way to make a living. It would provide a living for George, and less worry for dear old dad. However, the many distractions of school life proved to be too much for Georges wild ways. He continued to lie, cheat, and steal…until he had a fortuitous meeting. A young man who showed an apt for good behavior, who was himself backslid and hoping to have fun with George and his friends. On the other hand, George was hoping a friendship with this believer would help calm him down.

He attended a meeting with said friend, found Christ, and never looked back. He knew he couldn’t continue on the path his father had him on. As such he ceased taking any financial assistance from him. This was the beginning of a style of living George Muller would later become quite faithful in, trusting in God.0786c3b96a5889430e321bd6a650474d_orig

Muller didn’t trust in God the way we say it, oh you have a cold? Trust in God! No, he refused to take pew rent from his sheep, and instead would trust God to provide his needs. This autobiography follows those moments of trial, and each and every time God provided. Thus each page is a sermon on faith all on it’s own!

So how do orphanages fit in to the story? Muller built them, great orphanages capable of taking hundreds of children, without loans. They waited for every bit of financing to come in before they even began building. As his life continued on God continued to provide all the way down to the bread the children would eat.

If your faith has recently been tried, this is the book for you!

My Testimony Part Two – Tempted by Legalism

Scripture
Acts 20:27

I had hoped tonight that my husband would have a testimony for me to write, but the hospital he works at has been very busy. Today is the 8th shift he’s taken in a row! He’s even had to switch from day shifts to night shifts, and thrown in a few 16 hour days between it all. Not real sure how he has the ability to work so hard!

So, instead, tonight I thought I would give some further insight into my journey from false religion to freedom. Before receiving salvation I followed a specific form of legalism. Although I was surrounded by the ‘name it and claim it’ crowd I found their hypocritical behavior disturbing. Not back biting, but pastors daughters having affairs with members of the youth. Or the 30+-year-old man who came to the youth meetings was treated like a youth, and as such preyed on 14-year-old girls. Didn’t these people know that if you didn’t look like, sound like, or act like a Christian then you probably weren’t one? They actually had the more consistent faith. They worshiped self in all the ways the ‘health and wealth’ teachers had told them to do.

What was I doing? Hiding my sin to the best of my ability. I was going to earn my way into heaven through cleaning the outside of the cup. But after becoming a new creature all I could see was the rags my righteousness represented. So I was shocked that, after finding true salvation, legalism once again found it’s way into my theology. Just in a different way.

This time it was through the messianic movement. After being set free from the chains of sin I wanted to show God how much I loved Him, and how grateful I was! It wasn’t long before a friend approached me about keeping the OT. I poured over material, teaching, preaching, and scriptures. It didn’t add up, but I was in too much of a hurry to love God. Did it matter if I worshiped Him the way His Word told me to? (Jesus said repeatedly if you love me keep my commandments) There are so many mediums with which we can get information. I was inundated, and way over my head. Like the Pharisees of Christ’s time, I placed heavy loads on my family that they were unable to bear.

Quote
John Newton

It didn’t take long before the Holy Spirit began revealing the truth to me, those He loves He prunes. What we need to search for is the whole counsel of God’s Word. We can not cling to Galatians 4 while ignoring John 13. We need to take all our thoughts captive, compare what we believe to be true to the actual truth of the Bible. This gives us a greater picture.

As it always is with God, it’s about the heart. Why was I trying suddenly to keep the Shabbat, and the festivals, feasts, and other laws? To impress God or these new friends? To do what was right, or what was right in man’s eyes? In the end, it was clear that I was still trying to gain my way through my own works.

Don’t get me wrong, I think having an understanding of the law, festivals, feasts, and Shabbat is extremely important. Everything in God’s Word is important, inspired, and true. My righteousness, however, is still as rags. That is why I needed a Saviour!

When it comes to the scriptures, context is key! We can read something into the text that has nothing to do with what Gods Word is really saying. It’s far easier to do for those of us who are still trying to learn Hebrew and Greek. Those languages are so much richer than English! It’s no wonder, then, those false teachers repeat Psalms 82 as a way to back up their heretical view that they, themselves, are gods. Ironic, as that scripture is talking to corrupt leaders of Isreal.

Scriptures
Psalms 82:6-8

This is what makes the contexts so imperative, context and the full council of scriptures. Only in this way can we correctly worship the King of kings. The first scripture I read after being saved was 1 Corinthians 8:2. It sums up perfectly my natural tendencies as a ‘know it all’.

Scripture
1 Corinthians 8:2

So after a year in heart-wrenching prayer, I started back at the beginning. Now, having learned my lesson the hard way, I take each Biblical belief to the Word. How does it stand the test of scriptures? What does church history have to say about it? Are there commentaries that conflict? Are there trustworthy men expounding it? We must be able to have an answer for what we believe friends!