Friday, January 31, 2014

A Warning to the Rich (and we're all rich)

Have you ever heard a preacher say that you can tell a lot about a person's heart by looking at their checkbook register?  I know I've heard it a dozen times.  He's making the point that how we spend our money is a kind of litmus test of the heart.  If we spend all our money on trivial things and never give, then we are not fully devoted to Christ and his children.  Jesus speaks of this in the Sermon on the Mount. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mini, Middle, and Mega

What would you call a minister who invested 3 years worth of hard labor, who drew record crowds - stadiums-full at his height - but because of some unpopular sermons and the inability to get along with other religious leaders in his area ended up with about 150 remaining members of his group? David Platt in his book Radical calls him a "minichurch" leader and identifies this mystery preacher as Jesus Christ. 

Provocative, no? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Just My Nature

Once there was a little girl.  She was assigned by her teacher to keep all her assignments for the 6 week period in a notebook.  She did every piece of homework cheerfully. Yet when they were returned she would stuff them down in her backpack and forget them. Every time she opened the bag her stomach would sink, but instead of facing the problem squarely, she'd zip it up and distract herself.  The night before the notebook was due, her mom asked her if she had it ready.  She smiled at her mom and lied right to her face, "Oh almost!  I'll finish it up tonight."  It took endless hours of anxious sorting to get everything in the right place.  The papers were crumpled and the girl was embarrassed, but next 6 weeks the same thing happened again.  If you asked her about it, she would say, "Messy?  It's just how I am."

Friday, January 24, 2014

What's Best for Him

I love my husband desperately.  This became clearer than ever when he made a recent business trip overseas. Finding out that six days was going to turn into ten, I cried bitter tears.  It was foolish, but I couldn't help it.  I need him that much.  The days leading up to his return found me thinking of what I could do to make his homecoming great. Cleaning my bedroom was a monumental task. (Ask Helene; she helped). I made sure the sweet tea had the massive amount of sugar he loves.  When he finally arrived at eleven at night, I went to the car to greet him in the subfreezing temperatures.  I love my husband, and I wanted home to be a place of peace and happiness for him.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bible for the Public School Kid

My two oldest kids go to public school, but in the end, their education is my responsibility.  In fact, the most important subject they have is not one they learn about at school at all.  It is vital that my children learn the Bible, and they aren't getting that between 7:30 and 2:30 every day. Sunday Bible class simply can't make up for daily teaching of the Word in our home.  In the past, I've tried to create my own "curriculum," with varying degrees of success.  I'm not an educator, though, and I knew our time could be more productive.  I was so glad when I found the "Growing Up in God's Word" series from Pryor Convictions media because it gave me the structure I needed to teach my children well. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

10 Tips for Beating Gluttony

I need to start this post by reminding you that I write as a sinner.  I have suffered the ill effects of  a sin-soaked lack of self-control in many aspects of my life.  I have done stuff like sit in the living room floor and eat an entire large pizza as an after dinner snack. So please know that everything I share here is as a recipient of forgiveness and grace. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gluttony

Please notice that this post is not entitled, "How to lose 10 pounds."  In fact, this is not a post about weight loss at all.  It's a post about fighting sin.  So if you want to talk about diet and exercise, send me an email; I have opinions like everybody else.  If you want to experience the fruit of the Spirit in your life, read on. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Other Side of Service

I loathe Vacation Bible School.  I have lots of reasons, some valid, some trivial.  I think it is a relic of a bygone era that doesn't meet the evangelistic needs of the Church today.  I think cookies and Kool-aid at eight in the evening is a really bad idea, especially since many kids are already up past their bedtime.  Loud silly songs grate on my nerves and don't seem to serve any educational purpose.  If I had my way, we would find some other way to reach the children in our neighborhoods for Christ.  So last year, I helped prepare for VBS and taught one of the classes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Home is a Mission Field

I should have loved the post. It was featured on a website I adore (http://r16sixteen.wordpress.com/r1616-blog). It was on a topic near and dear to my heart.  It was about an issue I continue to struggle with and always need encouragement about.  It was by a blogger who is craftier than me by a factor of 10 so I can learn an enormous amount (Go check Stacy out at http://adelightfulhome.com).  What was bothering me?

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Emperor's New Clothes

Do you remember the fable, The Emperor's New Clothes? Once there was a foolish emperor.  Two traveling thieves told him that they could spin gold into magic cloth that only the wise could see.  Deceived, he paraded down the boulevard until an innocent child pointed out the obvious-The Emperor's not wearing any clothes! It always makes me cringe a little.  I hate stories where I spend the whole time feeling embarrassed for the characters, and there is nothing more humiliating than sashaying down the street in your "new" clothes only to realize you are naked. It's the stuff of nightmares. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Procrastination

The job was immense, and I had put it off too long.  It was time to go through The Clothes.  We are very blessed that our children are right in the middle of a large group of cousins.  My sister-in-law (who would win a gold medal if closet cleaning were an Olympic sport) has kids who are older than mine with the same family dynamic, a boy sandwiched between two girls. My younger sister has a boy and a girl younger than my kids. Understandably, my house has become something of a revolving door for children's clothing.  What I don't spend in money to keep my kids clothed, I spend in time, changing out seasonal clothes, organizing what I've been given, and boxing up clothes to give to the younger ones.  This past season, I got behind.  I didn't organize what I had been given (often coming six bags at a time); the season change, always a dicey thing in Tennessee, got away from me, so my toddler was wearing jammies a size too small.   Every day that I delayed, the problem got worse.  Random piles of clothes multiplied, I had unorganized little dresses scattered in my den, and my niece needed the too small clothes my daughter was wearing.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Heroes of the Bible: A Review

Pinterest is my enemy.  I don't look at it very often, to be honest, but when I do, all sorts of self-recriminating feelings wash over me.  I know I'll never decorate a beautiful cake or do amazing projects for every holiday of the year.  I've accepted that about myself and can look at cakes and projects with equanimity.  No, the posts that get me are the Bible pins, specifically the "teach your kids the Bible" pins.  When I see a picture of an angelic looking child wearing a Bible costume and working on an involved craft, I start to shrivel a little inside. You see, I'm not crafty.  Some women I know can take random bits of felt and make a great Bible lesson from it where the kids learn and have fun at the same time. Sadly, that talent missed me.  I do good to print a coloring page and read from the Bible.  I can teach concepts, but I can't do it like a kindergarten teacher. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Drastic

Drastic.  That's the only word I can think of to describe the Sermon on the Mount. For example, the section where Jesus suggests cutting off body parts.  That's the sort of thing that gets one tossed in the loony bin. 

If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.(Matthew 5:29-30)

Friday, January 3, 2014

She Knew He Was There

This guest post comes to you straight from the beautiful imagination of Anna Blair. She is my neighbor, friend, coworker, and sometime leader of our ladies bible class. When I'm lucky she shares her banana nut bread, when I'm extra lucky she shares her unique fiction.  Join us for a dive into what might have been. ~Helene

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Parenting by the Book: A Book Review

Four years of being a psychology major, plus more years doing case work did not necessarily impress me with the wisdom of psychology.  I am convinced that the "common sense" that psychology teaches often flies directly in the face of Biblical wisdom.  That is the assumption that a refreshing read, Parenting by the Book, by John Rosemond, begins with.