It's All Grace

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

Decide Today

What kind of woman do you want to be?  Decide NOW . . .  regardless of your age, because life is not going to get any easier, regardless of where you live.

Where do we get our views of womanhood?  Do we get our view of life from the culture and magazine covers?  Do we allow ourselves to be taught and tutored directly by the worldly woman?  Have we reduced man to nothing more than the price of a loaf of bread as spoken of in Proverbs?

Proverbs 14:1 speaks of the wise woman who BUILDS her house.

As a woman, YOU have a powerful influence where you live – a greater influence than you know!  On your husband, on your children, on your church and on your community, your influence will be for good, evil or nothingness!  You decide.

Are you going to remain neutral, not taking a stand for anything, calling sin – sin, because you want people to love you and to be accepted?  Or do you want to be a woman who has raised her children according to I Timothy 2:15, to walk in faith and in love and restrain themselves to have disciplined lives?

As women, we play a pivotal role in the future of a nation as well.  The Lord has entrusted us with so much, yet we believe the lie, that we are nothing, OR that we are greater than men.  The truth is we are equal in creation yet different in our roles and authority.

Womanhood pivoted in the 1960’s as the feminist movement began and this has drastically changed our homes and world for the worse.

Decide today if you will build your house by doing that which is hard, or if you will plucketh it down with your hands contributing to the downward spiral of disaster.

If you are going to be a woman of God, then the Bible must be your daily bread.  Remember . . . there is no retirement in the middle of war!

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Pouting Pains

Rebellion has many faces, and the big pout on my daughter’s face was definitely one of them. With three other children in our homeschool classroom, she didn’t like being the one who had to wait for help with her questions. Watching her body language, I realized there was a much bigger problem waiting to be dealt with than the one in her math lesson.

My daughter’s actions brought back memories of the beginnings of my own rebellious days. What had started as simple, little pouting episodes to get my own way had turned into all-out, get-in-your-face rebellion toward my parents as a teenager. Being the last of seven children, my parents were usually too busy to put out the flames of my sinful rebellion when they erupted. Because these seemingly small pouting sessions were left unchecked, they burned a hole in my character and my life. Many years of pain from getting my own way passed before my heart was humbled before a mighty God.

Have you bought into the world’s lie that you deserve what you want, when you want it? Dear one, don’t go down that path of destruction! Although there may be joy for the moment, pain and suffering will meet you at the end. “An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him” (Proverbs 17:11). Jesus loves you too much to let your pouting spoil things. Trust Him to meet every need you have, and you’ll never get burned again by the world’s empty promises. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:16-17).

Jesus, I submit my life to You again this day. Forgive me when I try to take control and fail to trust You. Help me fight off the fiery darts of the devil that tempt me to rebel against Your will. In Your name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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Showing Off

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23).

My son and daughter had finished their schoolwork early and were heading out the door to go on a long bike ride for the remainder of the afternoon. I was looking forward to the additional free time from our homeschooling day to work in my flower garden. I waved and smiled as they left the yard and said, “Have a nice time.” Little did I know, the plans for the afternoon were soon to change.

I watched as my son decided to show his sister that he could ride a bike without using his hands. Showing off, he continued riding until he reached a patch of loose gravel on our road. In an instant, he was airborne like a cartoon character and landed with a thud in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, he didn’t bounce back. I ran to pick up his bleeding body and checked for broken bones.

Showing off usually leads to some type of catastrophe. King Hezekiah made such a mistake when he decided to show his possessions to the king of Babylon (2 Kings 20:12-13). Isaiah rebuked him for being so foolish and prophesied, “Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD” (vs.17). The king of Babylon knew a good thing when he saw it. He conquered Jerusalem many years later and carried away every one of those treasures.

Do you struggle with wanting to impress others? Do you flaunt your possessions or achievements, so other people will think highly of you? Do you doubt your worth in the Lord’s eyes so much that you puff yourself up to find value? Don’t be like a child and show off. Humble yourself before you are humiliated by your actions. God’s Word says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6).

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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A New Perspective

Imagine going to a job each morning where you can set your own schedule. You arrive when you want, take breaks whenever you want, and leave for an extended lunch hour without anyone breathing down your neck. Answering your phone calls and emails is regulated to a minimum each day, and the work responsibilities and goals you have are varied. There is no dress code or security passes to wear around your neck, and no one cares if you eat at your desk or play your favorite radio station. Your boss is off-site, and you can manage your workload to best suit your needs. Your work is rewarding and exciting, and you usually see immediate results from your efforts. Wouldn’t we all love to have a job that fits this description? As a homeschooling parent, you do!

Many homeschooling parents get caught up in the fact that they never receive a paycheck like their working counterparts. However, if you look at the God-given task of teaching your children at home from a new perspective, you begin to see what a blessing the career choice of homeschooling is for you. So many drawbacks of the typical job do not relate to your world. You have the freedom to pursue your position in ways many parents who work outside the home never do.

Too many times in my years as a homeschooling mother, I failed to see the bigger picture of what God was doing in my life and the lives of my children. I needed to have my eyes opened like Elisha’s servant who saw the whole army of heaven around him (2 Kings 6:17). From God’s perspective, what you are doing as a homeschooling parent has long-lasting and eternal value.

As you homeschool today, picture yourself at the best job you could ever have. The grass is greener on this side of the fence, and your regular paycheck of hugs and kisses from your family is more rewarding than what any company can pay you. Enjoy the freedoms you have as a homeschooling parent and be the successful teacher God intended you to be! “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Jesus, what a wonderful opportunity You have given me! Not only do I get the blessings of being a parent, but You have also blessed me with an awesome career of being a teacher. Help me keep my eyes on You each day as I homeschool. In Your name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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Their Future

Our children are a PIECE of time, that we are sending ahead to a PLACE in time, that we will NEVER see! What are you doing today to prepare them for the future?  Are you making “straight tracks” for your children to follow?

Are you teaching them in such a way, that if you were to die today, that they could survive on what you alone have taught them?

Take time today to reflect on all you have taught!  Will it be sufficient?

Remember, that your actions (WHAT YOU DO), speaks much louder than anything you have SAID to them!

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Can You Hear Me Now?

And Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Mark 4:9

Numerous times Jesus includes the equivalent of saying, “Listen up!” when He speaks. His expression, He who has ears to hear,”makes us realize how often we use our ears for other purposes—to secure sun glasses, to keep our hats from falling over our eyes, and to hang jewelry. But we’ve got ears in order to hear. Jesus wants to provoke attention, even though He knows some will not listen.

When we look at the reasons why people don’t listen, we can group them into four categories. As you read them, do a spiritual hearing check-up by asking yourself, Am I like that?

Immaturity. People of all ages can have this problem. Immaturity is the inability to connect actions and consequences. The immature person doesn’t get it. They can’t make the connection between their choices and what comes because of those decisions. They need to discover the unbreakable law of cause and effect that God has established in the universe. If you choose to sin; you choose to suffer. That’s what’s coming. People frequently say, “I’m going to beat the odds. I’m going to cut the corners.” Then they hit a brick wall or disappear in a bottomless pit. Often, painful experience is the only effective teacher to improve an immature person’s hearing.

Rebellion. “My will. My thrill. You chill.” Those are the proud declarations of rebellion. “No one’s going to get between my will and my thrill! This is what I want to do. You back off! Don’t tell me anything.” Rebels won’t listen and they try to cut off any attempts by others to help. They are stuck in overdrive, headed for a wall—and they don’t care! But hardship and humiliation can make a rebel’s heart attentive.

Woundedness. Hidden hurts close hearts and ears. They can’t hear because something happened that left unseen scars. Sometimes in a family or a church things happen that few know about. The person holds it all inside and drifts away. They’re hurting, but don’t bring it out in the open. They can’t listen to reason because all they hear is their hidden wound.

Relationships. Peers could be the problem. Peers in the ears block fears. Warnings we should hear and be afraid of don’t register on our radar. Like a teen who feels the need for speed, with a friend in the passenger seat shouting, “GO!! GO!! GO!!!” There are many times we should be afraid, but we’re more concerned about impressing our friends and the people around us.

Most of us can relate to one or more of the reasons above. But He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus’ words remind us He has spoken even when we are not listening. And His Word is always ready when we’re ready to use our ears for their designed purpose—to listen. Until we’re willing to respond to the truth He has for us, we’re not really listening.

How did you do with the hearing check-up? If you realize you are being influenced not to listen to the Lord because of one or more of these causes, it’s time to let God do some hearing correction. Ask Him to tune your ears to hear His voice.

Pastor James MacDonald

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What Are You Teaching?

Kids will develop what they “believe” based on where they are hanging out, or who they are hanging out with. Timothy was taught by his mother and grandmother.  Don’t you know that whatever those two women were excited about, he got excited too?

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Will You Quit?

Once you have homeschooled for a few months, have you found it difficult to stay motivated? Is homeschooling not quite what you expected — too much work? Giving up is not the answer — giving in to the Lord is.

“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 1:3-4

Homeschool parents don’t always realize they are attending classes each day just like their children. God’s assignments may not be on a computer or in a workbook, but they are just as real and challenging. The basic courses of Patience for Parents, Forgiveness Forever, Endurance 101, and Sacrificial Servanthood cause us to grow more Christlike in our actions. We study the Scriptures and look for answers to new questions we face each day. We pray at test time, hoping to pass. We pray for God to grade on a curve, or at least to allow a retake.

God knows what He is doing. Both you and your children are being schooled at home. Together you will learn all the lessons of life He has prepared for you. Hang in there — it’s always too soon to quit!

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (vs. 4).

Father, I don’t know if I have what it takes to keep homeschooling. Stretch me Lord! Help me to see those areas in my life that are slowing me down and causing me to stumble. Thank You for all You’ve done for me on the cross. Give me the strength and wisdom to keep going. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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By Their Fruits

Is the fruit on your tree rotting or inviting?

Just yesterday morning my daughter Olivia and I laughed and enjoyed our day as we traipsed through the muck and mire of Math!  A subject I love and one she dreads due to frustrations in the past of not understanding as well as my ability to explain in a way that “her” brain could understand.  I have spent many months homeschooling in my own strength.  However, the Lord has given me insight, grace and  patience needed to continue marching through the pages of life and Math, while showing love, laughing and building memories and demonstrating the joy of Christ we can have through and in every event in life – even math!  Praise the Lord His mercies are new every morning and HIS grace is sufficient!

How long do you need to teach your children at home before you “officially” become a homeschool family?  Like the tests that evaluate a child’s academic performance, you can assume homeschooling has arrived at your house when the following are true:

You have more books in your house than groceries.

Your children show up for school in their pajamas.

Your house décor consists of time lines, maps, assorted craft projects, and half-finished science experiments.

Your trips to the library require a laundry basket to hold all the books.

Your refrigerator is perpetually covered in art projects and completed assignments.

Your children think reading history is best achieved while lying on your bed with the family cats.

Your kitchen pantry holds more school supplies than cooking supplies.

Your children’s favorite classmates are their siblings.

Christians, too, have distinct marks that help us gauge whether we are growing more like Christ.  In Galatians 5:22 we read of fruits that should be displayed if we are truly following the Lord — love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.  As these fruits become more evident in our lives, we can trust the Holy Spirit is working to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

What about your life? Is there fruit that proves you’re a follower of Jesus? “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16a).

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My Personal Testimony

I’ve been redeemed from the rubble!

I grew up in a Nazarene church and a religious home with wonderful parents who were “good” people and demonstrated a love for each other and us 3 girls.  We had a large family Bible, but I didn’t have a Bible of my own.  My parents would read us stories from the Bible, but didn’t elaborate, “teaching us” what the Bible said to do and not to do – how to live our lives and crucify our flesh.  Maybe they believed some of the same lies that many parents today believe:  That it’s the churches’ responsibility to teach their children, or that we were just “good kids”.   I’ve recently learned after 26 years of being a mom, that if you’ve missed your children’s heart, you’ve missed it all.

At 12 years old I made a profession of faith at church camp after seeing a movie called, “A Thief in the Night”.  I spent a lot of (17) years living in fear of being left behind and knowing that God, heaven and hell was very real.

At age 29, I was invited to a Christian Concert at Council Road Baptist Church in Bethany, Oklahoma, where Al Denson spoke and sang – as The Lord was speaking to my heart and drawing me to Himself.  Al shared a personal heart wrenching story of losing his best friend (who he’d spent years witnessing to) in an airplane crash.

The airplane had lost one of the twin engines and as the airplane was descending rapidly, Al made one last attempt to lead his friend to Christ, to which he denied for the last time!  His friend died and Al was in a coma for over a month.  When Al recovered from the coma, he wrote a song called “Do You Know This Man?”.  He told the story behind the song, set the stage, then sang it.  Afterwards, he asked the congregation, “If you knew you only had 60 seconds left to live, do you KNOW THAT YOU KNOW, in your heart, that you would go to heaven?”  I DID NOT!  I felt like I had a bowling ball in my throat.  I (literally) RAN to the altar weeping and asking The Lord to save me because I knew I was headed to hell and needed a Saviour!  I got up from that altar feeling as if I’d lost 500 pounds!  That day, HE set my feet on a path, burned a desire DEEP within my heart to know Him and to know truth.  I knew that moment, my life radically changed and I was definitely a new creature!  I was so excited about what had happened to me and IN me!

January 14, 1996 I GAVE MY LIFE to Christ asking Him to be my Lord and Saviour.  I had made a mess of the last 29 years, and HE has spent the next 17 years cleaning me up, teaching me HIS ways, HIS character, HIS voice, HIS grace, HIS love and mercy, HIS long suffering, HIS healing power, and HIS redemptive plan for each one of us.  He is now teaching me things that I was not willing to learn before.  I will never be the same.  Praise The Lord!

On this journey, God has given me a heart for “women whose hearts are hurting” and burdened me to teach the younger girls how to stay on the right path – the way of The Lord, so that they can NEVER say, “no one told me”.  I want to be a voice of truth, making disciples who will carry the torch into the future.  I heard it once said, “Our children are a piece of time, that we will send ahead to a place in time that we will never see.”  So, we must teach and share all that we know with a fervency.  I know it was my past, and God’s spirit, that has given me a passion to share what I know and have learned through His Word and His ways.

In September 2002, I had been invited by a friend to attend a Precept Bible Study at First Southern Baptist in Del City, Oklahoma.  We studied Precept Upon Precept, the book of Deuteronomy!  I began to enjoy and understand God’s Word.  It was not only real to me but precious.  I couldn’t get enough of it!  I would find myself sitting for 2 and 3 hours in the mornings, studying and not wanting to put it away.  The Bible began to come to life for me in a way I’d never seen it.  God’s timing in my life had always been perfect, as it was during this time in my life when I had 2 teenagers leave home (in rebellion) within 6 months of each other.  It felt as if someone was driving a stake through my heart.  Yet it was in those days, I sensed God’s presence and drew near to HIM.

God was teaching me (in Deuteronomy) the blessings of obedience vs. disobedience, to “do just as I commanded, don’t veer to the left and don’t veer to the right, but do just as I commanded”.  God taught me to focus on HIM and do what is right, what HE had called me to do, NOT what my kids desired.  It was one of the most difficult moments in my life as a mother, yet looking back it was one of the most intimate times in my life with The Lord, because I began to see HIS character and trust HIS hand, even when what I was experiencing was disastrous and heartbreaking to lose two children to the world!  He began to show me that HE had a will for them apart from me, and that although I had lost them, HE knew right where they were.

If there is ONE thing I have come to know since my salvation, it is that HE is always there and can be trusted as you walk through the fires!

The Lord has given me this blog to share truth with others, be a light, sharing lessons learned as well as paths to be avoided.  I am grateful to God, for the grace HE has poured upon me.  That grace is there for you as well.  All you have to do is ask for it, surrendering your ways, letting HIM lead your life.

He can do a lot more with what you don’t have, than you can do with what you do have!

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