It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

Obedient Love

Homeschool disciplining would be easier if, like new clothes, our children came with a label.  Directions would clearly state whether to use hot (spanking), warm (time out), or cold (grounded) water and when to line dry (take away privileges) or tumble dry (extra chores/community service).  Unfortunately, our children don’t come with wash and wear tags. We must rely on the Lord’s wisdom to guide us when correcting and instructing our children in obedience.

Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), teaching our children to be obedient is a big part of a homeschooling parent’s day. Training in righteousness falls on us, and we must teach our children to embrace the truth of Ephesians 6:1: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” However, building this godly character trait takes time. As homeschooling parents persist in their disciplining efforts, children eventually learn to be obedient both to their parents and the Lord.

Christian parents must also learn to be obedient to the Lord. We may say we love the Lord, but often we fail to prove this love with our actions. Like a rebellious child, we pout, talk back, and demand our own way. God gives us the example of obedience in His Son: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Will you seek to show your true love for the Lord by obeying and doing what He asks? “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).

Lord, help me to honor you by doing what you have asked of me.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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Lost Car – Found Faith

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

My six-year-old son came running to me with crocodile tears in his eyes and cried, “Mommy, I can’t find my favorite car! Can you please help me?” Walking with him into the living room, we proceeded to look for his favorite toy race car that he had just received for his birthday. However, our efforts were to no avail as it was not to be found anywhere. I saw the anxious look on his face and knew we had to do something. Taking him by the hand, we sat down together on the couch and prayed.

“Let’s ask God where it is. I’m sure He knows,” I said.

After we finished our prayer, we returned to our morning homeschool routine. Little did I know, God had already prepared an invaluable lesson for both my young son and me. As we sat back down on the couch to read my son’s science lesson, his lost car popped up between the cushions. Excitedly, we thanked the Lord for showing us the car’s location, and the answered prayer was forever cemented in my son’s mind.

The lesson my son learned was that an all-knowing God was big enough to handle any problem he might have in life. God’s lesson for me was that He was the better teacher. He had a syllabus of truths for my children to learn each day. My job as a homeschooling parent was to be sensitive to those Holy Spirit subject areas, so my children wouldn’t miss the most important lessons in life.

How about you? Are you so structured in your homeschool day that you cannot allow for any deviations for God’s instruction? If so, pray for God’s wisdom and will to be revealed. Don’t lose the opportunities for you or your children to find the greatest truths in the world. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
AOP Homeschool Devotions
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Peaceful Sleep

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
The human body’s need for sleep has always amazed me. God has designed us to literally turn off like a machine for eight hours or more each night. Science tells us sleep is something our bodies need to do. It is not an option. During our sleeping hours, some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and certain hormones are produced by many of the body’s major organs and regulatory systems that continue to work.
Unfortunately, as a young homeschooling mom, I was missing out on my much needed sleep. I struggled with daily worries and anxious thoughts like “Will my children turn out okay if I homeschool? How can I teach a subject I don’t even know? How will we pay the bills if I homeschool?” Household chores were also keeping me up late into the night, and I was exhausted as I tried to do too much.
Then one night, I read a promise God seemed to write just to me: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2). What an eye-opener! God only had so much for me to do each day, and what was left undone was not important. All He asked of me was to pray for wisdom to accomplish His perfect will each day. His provision to meet my unfinished tasks would come by sending extra help, inspiring new ways to organize, or miraculously providing whatever I needed.
After that day, my life changed. I was able to lay my head on my pillow each night and not worry about the basket of laundry waiting to be folded or the unfinished lesson plans for tomorrow’s schoolwork.
When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? Do you struggle with trying to do more than God intended? Bringing your homeschooling worries to the Lord means trusting Him for wisdom and provision for all your needs. Will you rest in Him tonight and experience the peaceful sleep He intended? “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Matthew 6:34a).
AOP Homeschooling Devotions
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Pruning Pains

“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2).

As we walked through the garden one morning during our summer break from homeschooling, my daughter watched as I began to pinch off the tops of several tomato plants. With a shocked look on her face, she cried, “Mom, what are you doing? We’ve been trying to get these plants to grow for weeks, and now you’re destroying them!”

“No,” I gently responded. “These plants have grown tall enough. If I don’t cut them back now, they’ll only grow more vines instead of tomatoes. We need to break off the top, so the energy of the plant goes toward bearing fruit.”

“OK,” she replied hesitantly in disbelief, “but I sure hope you know what you’re doing.”

The process of pruning can also seem shocking in our spiritual lives. When God allows circumstances that outwardly appear to destroy our hopes and dreams, we may react like my young daughter in the garden. Not understanding the purpose behind the pain, we are tempted to believe that God doesn’t know what He is doing or He doesn’t love us. However, if we learn to come to the Lord in humility and total dependence during these trying times, He will carefully shape our character into the image of His Son. In the end, the fruit of righteousness that God desires in all His children will be produced from His careful and loving pruning.

Do you feel like your life is in the pruning process? If circumstances seem to be robbing you of joy and causing you to doubt God’s love, don’t let your pain cause you to run from the Lord. Instead, run into the arms of your loving Father and allow the Holy Spirit to comfort you as God continues to perfect the good work He has begun in you. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).

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Unanswerable Questions

Do your younger children drive you crazy with all their questions each day? With an insatiable desire to know “why,” they ask a barrage of unending questions that homeschooling parents are forced to answer as best they can. Some questions like “Why is the sky blue?” and “Where do babies come from?” might set us back for a few minutes as we think of the best way to answer. But other questions like, “Why did Grandpa die?” and “Why did God let my sister get cancer?” pose a much bigger challenge. Sometimes, questions are simply unanswerable and the “whys” of life’s problems have no answer keys for us to use.

Like little children, countless men and women in the Bible also asked questions when they struggled through the “whys” of life’s difficulties. Job’s life is one such example. After suffering horrific loss of belongings, family, and health, he sat down and asked God “why” in Job 31. God never gave Job an outright answer, but He did counteract Job’s question with a few questions of His own, like “Where were you when I created the world?” Confessing his ignorance in questioning a Holy God, Job reached the point of submissive humility and brokenness. “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not”(Job 42:3).

Are you looking for some answers to the “whys” in your life? Is the pain and suffering that you’re experiencing causing you to wonder, “Where is God, doesn’t He know what is happening to me?” Perhaps God is taking you to a new level of trusting in Him or He is trying to teach you a deeper truth. Either way, God has not left you. He sees your every tear and will deliver you in His time. Will you continue to hope in Him and wait for His answer? “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 43:5).

Taken from AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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Commissioned to Serve

“And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all” (Mark 10:44).

 When was your defining moment of deciding to homeschool your children? Mine came one day as I stood over the kitchen sink washing dishes for the fourth time. After running all day to keep up with my preschoolers and the housework, I felt as limp as the dish rag I was holding. I had been thinking about homeschooling, but quite frankly, the thought of being a homeschooling parent for the rest of my life wasn’t too appealing right then. As my children entertained themselves with one of their favorite Christian music tapes, the words to the song they were playing echoed in my thoughts. In that moment, something happened. The Holy Spirit convicted me and said, “Are you willing to be my servant?

“Yes,” I replied.

 “Then teach these children about Me,” He said lovingly.

 “But I don’t know how, God,” I cried.

 “Trust me,” He said in return.

 Throughout my homeschooling experience, no other moment was quite as powerful as that one. Taking God at His word, I began to learn that you can’t be a good homeschooling parent without learning how to be a servant first. God gave me a new love for my children and the wisdom to use my spiritual gifts of teaching, administration, and exhortation to benefit the people I loved most, my family. Although plenty of “rag days” were still to come, I knew I was serving my Lord right where He wanted me to be!

 Learning how to be a servant doesn’t come easy for any of us. Our selfish flesh screams so loudly, “What about me?” Homeschooling may take you to a new dimension of sacrifice, but it will never be as great as Christ’s sacrificial love for you. His death on the cross washed away every mess you will ever make, and He never complained once while doing it. With Jesus as your role model, will you pick up your towel and continue serving the Lord in your homeschool? “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Taken from AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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