It's All Grace

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

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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Honoring our Veterans

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Yesterday, our church body paid tribute to our Veterans who served our country, fought and even died for our freedom that we experience daily in America.  Two of our children (Brady & Olivia) along with one of our grandchildren (Landen), voluntarily participated by singing, and our youngest son, Brady carried the Navy Flag to honor my Dad, two nephews Ryan and Tyler, as well as others who are or were in the Navy.  The branches recognized during the service were the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Many people today, have chosen NOT to honor our soldiers, paying no respect by spitting on them as they walk by, calling them names or act as if they don’t exist!  How sad.  I have members of my own family who have served this country and I want to take this opportunity to honor them publicly and thank them for all they have done – contributing to the freedoms I enjoy today.

My Dad and two nephews served in the Navy, to which I am grateful and want to say “Thank you for thinking of others more than yourself, for valuing the life of others higher than your own, and for loving your country enough to fight for her and defend what we stand for.”  Thank you Dad for making this a better place to live because you chose to serve your country, accepting your call as an honor to make a difference.”

My sister in law Karen, served in the Air Force as a flight surgeon.  Thank you Karen, for sacrificing your time away from home and from your children, to serve your country while purposing to make things better, leaving behind an example for others.

In our “service to remember” stood not only 23 veterans, but in our small country church, there were Purple Hearts, a World War 2 Veteran, Viet Nam Vets, etc.  Some of their stories, I’ve heard and are heart wrenching.  In one of the photos above, stood the WWII vet (with a cane) helping one of the purple hearts (with a walker) to his feet when his flag was brought out!  Can you imagine, giving up YOUR life to fight for others freedom, losing limbs, coming home with mental disorders, etc., only to be mocked and ridiculed, hated and cursed?

I am grateful that my children and grandchildren not only witnessed this type of service but were actively involved in something so great of value!  I hope they will remember it always, as they see difficult days ahead.  I rarely can sing a patriotic song, or pledge allegiance to the American Flag, that I don’t get choked up remembering why we are free!  When I see the military flags, I am reminded of the sacrifices so many made . . . for ME and for you!

Just as many made sacrifices and died for our country, there was ONE ULTIMATE sacrifice that also brings the greatest freedom we can ever experience!  JESUS CHRIST.  He died for our sins to save our soul from hell, so that we could spend eternity in heaven with HIM and desire to live FOR HIM while here on earth.

Our pastor reminded us that our military is only as great as our nation.  As our nation goes downward, so shall the military follow.  No matter how bad things may get, I still believe that America is the greatest country in which to live.

Don’t forget to honor and thank each veteran and soldier for their commitment to serve and defend, no matter the cost.  They have left behind spouses and children to fight for your freedom.

May God continue to bless America!

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14 

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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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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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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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Under the Bed

I’m sure I wasn’t the first mother who had to deal with her child’s deception while homeschooling. One day I found toys that were supposed to have been picked up and put away pushed under my son’s bed. I sat down on the bed and wished I could escape the correction that needed to take place in my child’s life. The mess under the bed would be much easier to ignore than dealing with my child. Thankfully, at least this deception could be fixed, even though the time needed to discipline would rob teaching time from our homeschooling day.

Many years ago, Jacob’s deception couldn’t be fixed when he fooled his father, Isaac, into blessing him instead of his brother, Esau. At his mother’s prompting, Jacob went the full length in deceiving his father by feeling, smelling, sounding, and acting like Esau as he prepared his father’s favorite meal. Jacob walked away, stealing the blessing of his father and the firstborn birthright intended for Esau (Genesis 27). Esau anguished in his heart that no blessing was left for him (Hebrews 12:16-17).

However, it was many years before that blessing was enjoyed. In fear of his brother’s wrath, Jacob fled to another country and was alienated from his family. After working seven long years for his wife, Jacob experienced Laban’s deception when he substituted his daughter Leah for Rachel at the wedding. Although Jacob was allowed to marry Rachel a week later, he was forced to suffer an additional seven years of working for his father-in-law.

Deception always works that way. What seems to be an immediate reward turns out to be an ongoing burden. Are you trying to make your life easier by hiding things “under the bed”? Do you think no one sees the deceptive patterns you’ve allowed to take over your life, such as little white lies, taking advantage of the goodness of others, or making others look bad, so you can get ahead? Unlike Isaac, God isn’t fooled, and He sees and knows what you are doing. Will you confess and repent today and let God discipline you to fix the mess you have made? He’s the only One who can.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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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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God’s Peace is 18 Inches Away

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.  Philippians 4:7 

Just yesterday, our family received word that some missionary friend’s 7-year-old son had been taken to the hospital with Malaria.  Just a few hours later came more news that their 8-year-old daughter was now in the hospital as well, with Malaria.  As these two children were showing signs of recovery, their 3-year-old son was vomiting with fever and in the hospital this morning.

How does one get through something like this?  There are those that would be angry at God and demand better treatment “as they ARE doing the work of the Lord”!  This mindset comes from a twisted belief that “it’s all about us” or “God owes me”.  However, this family is quite the contrary and will bring God glory trusting HIM through it all.

As a mom, I couldn’t begin to fathom this type of adversity, nor the magnitude in just a few short hours.  But because I know the Lord and HIS character, HIS grace would be sufficient and HIS love and peace would sustain me for whatever HE would allow me to go through.  I immediately began to pray and put myself in these parent’s shoes!  What would I want, desire, or need during these difficult hours?  The closeness of God?  His grace?  Strength and Comfort?  To sense HIS presence and feel HIS arms engulfing me?  All of the above!

God gives peace and protection in our hearts and in our minds.  God will guard these two parts, that remain 18 inches apart, which seem to conspire against us.  If our hearts are troubled, it won’t be long before our minds will be in turmoil.  If our thoughts are headed in the wrong direction, our hearts will soon follow.  But God’s peace can guard both heart and mind no matter what we are facing.

Today, there are Christians all over the world, going through unbelievable things with God’s peace.  Their assurance in the face of evil and pain is a testimony that brings glory to God, for it is clear to those watching, that something which passeth all understanding is going on.  These Christians are getting supernatural help, as did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego while in the furnace, walking around.

Can you imagine those three Jewish men standing near a roaring furnace, KNOWING they were about to be fed to the flames (Daniel 3:8-30)?  The weren’t sure they wouldn’t die.  Their peace came from being sure that no matter what happened, God would deliver them.

Peace is easy to understand when everything is going well, but not so easy when circumstances get hard.  God’s peace is always available, and HE wants us to rest in it — especially in season’s of darkness and difficulty.

Remember, you don’t get to choose your furnaces.  But you can choose to live rejoicing in the Lord.  You can choose to get along with others and practice anxiety-free days as you turn everything over to God with thanksgiving, even if you don’t fully understand how to go through challenges with a calm, quiet confidence, this will not prohibit God’s ability to give you the gift of peace.

What is your belief about God?

Anything and everything that happens to you must FIRST be filtered through God’s Hand.  All that HE allows is for your greater good and His glory!

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What’s In Your Closet?

Something to ponder: If we think our past won’t creep up into our present lives and multiply, just set and watch. Just because we’ve covered our sin and not dealt with it, doesn’t mean it’s gone. Children WILL WEAR what’s in their parents closet!

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