It's All Grace

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

The Safest Place

Each day of life is an adventure, carefully planned out by God. A thankful, trusting attitude helps us to see events in our lives from HIS perspective. A life lived close to God will never be dull or predictable. Expect each day to contain surprises! Resist your tendency to search for the easiest route through the day. Be willing to follow wherever HE leads, no matter how treacherous the path before you may seem.

The safest place for you to be . . . is at HIS side.

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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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Is Your Heart in Sync?

It’s not enough to obey, but to have the heart of obedience.

God doesn’t need robotic Christians who are only willing to conform and not be transformed.  However, If a person’s heart is in sync with God’s — in all of its loves, passions, dreams and desires — actions, then, take care of themselves!

No one needs to tell you how to live, if your heart is beating with God’s!

“If ye love Me, keep My commandments.”  John 14:15

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What’s That You’re Stirring?

People who want to stir up strife . . . NEVER ACT ALONE!  They always want someone to get on the bandwagon with them.

Korah created discension & division.  The end result of this type of “leading” is death.

Read Numbers 16, and don’t miss v. 32!  The world opened up and swallowed those who COULD NOT STAND harmony.

What choice are you making?  What are you stirring up?

Choose today, to make peace not war.

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What’s Cooking?

What type of food do you serve at your homeschool cafeteria? My children’s favorite benefit of homeschooling was the fresh and delicious meals we made together as a family. No canned or prepackaged entrees were allowed. Learning how to cook was a mandatory lesson we incorporated into each child’s curriculum. All the family appreciated the tasty A+ lessons of lasagna, stir-fry, oven-baked pot roast, fresh pies, cakes, breads, and salads.

However, teaching your children how to cook also means making messes. Peeling potatoes, mixing batter for cookies, and measuring spices and ingredients led to many accidents. Learning how to wipe up a spill, clean flour off containers, and wash the extra baking dishes were skills that also needed to be learned before enjoying the benefits. Of course, these skills were never quite as fun as the process of preparing the food. Our children wanted the fun of cooking without the hassle of cleaning up.

Our Christian walk is much the same. We want to sit at God’s table and enjoy the benefits of the Holy Spirit without going through the disciplines of living a holy life. We make a mess of devotions and prayer times and wonder why God is not using us more. We use canned approaches in witnessing and fail to seek God first in prayer.

Is there an area of your life that needs disciplining — reading magazines and books that honor the Lord, making time for devotions and prayer, or maintaining a pure thought life? Share your area of struggle with a trusted friend and make yourself accountable. Find the help you need to stay disciplined and close to the Lord. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

Lord, show me the areas in my life that fail to honor You. Please, lead me to a Christian friend who will help me stay disciplined in those areas, so my life will glorify You. Thank You for loving me so much and always forgiving me when I fail. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotion

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Living in Defeat?

Sometimes we’d rather live in defeat for a very long time than to do what it takes to get God’s help. But God loves us enough to keep us in that place of distress until we have no alternative, no option but to cry out to Him.

Step out in faith, KNOWING that If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)

In HIS presence we sense the opposite of defeat and distress. We can live in defeat or victory. The choice is ours.

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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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Are You Blocking the Way?

Something to Ponder:

Salvation is not “home plate” . . . It is just first base!  If you’re going to “join the game”, keep running.  Don’t stop and stand, blocking the way for others to make a “home run”!

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Our Old Nature

Our old nature is like the pig and the raven, always looking for something unclean on which to feed.

Our new nature is like the sheep and the dove, yearning for that which is clean and holy.  No wonder there are so many struggles in the life of the believer!

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Faith on Fire

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 
—John 20:24-25

The resurrection of Jesus was the best possible news the disciples could have received, yet not everyone was immediately on board with the story. Thomas was absent when the Lord made His group appearance on that Sunday evening, and gave a skeptic’s response to the announcement that the other disciples had been with the risen Lord: “But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’”

Some have been very harsh about Thomas’ reaction. He seems kind of demanding and disrespectful. Who does he think he is? Actually, though his words may strike us as odd, they were not prideful. Thomas wanted to believe, and he wanted his faith to be authentic.

John 20:20 holds an important detail in Jesus’ original appearance:“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.” Thomas was only asking for what he had missed. He was expressing a willingness to believe based upon the same evidence given to the people around him. His request was not unreasonable. He didn’t want to doubt; he wanted to believe!

Thomas sincerely longed for what the other disciples had experienced. He was gathering the wood and getting a match—he wanted a faith on fire. Thomas named the obstacle and was looking for the reasons he too could stand on authentic faith in Christ. This is the lesson: faith is kindled when you name the obstacle.

Identify the obstacle to faith in your life. I got hurt. I have a question I don’t have an answer for. I’m discouraged. I don’t honestly understand how Christianity can be true. Now bring it before the Lord: “God, thisis the barrier between You and me.” Produce your strong reservations and give God an opportunity to put faith where there’s doubt. Once you have honestly prayed this way, give God time to answer. Wait on Him.

This is not a casual challenge. If you’re a doubter, get on your knees every night before you go to bed and bring your barrier before God. You are expecting Him to provide an answer. Pray every day for thirty days. God did not disappoint Thomas and He will not disappoint your sincere approach. Name the obstacle before God and He will kindle your faith.

Pastor James MacDonald

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