It's All Grace

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

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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Taking Shortcuts

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” Ephesians 4:13.

Life is full of shortcuts. High-priced technology has changed the way we live and made shopping so easy we can get what we want with a simple click of a mouse or a wave of a debit card. Although technological advances have also made homeschooling easier, there is one aspect to teaching our children at home that can’t be fast forwarded — your children’s spiritual growth. Developing biblical values and godly character requires a daily, concentrated effort in building God’s truths precept upon precept. Money simply cannot buy instant access to Christianity or purchase shortcuts in learning God’s lessons in humility, obedience, and submission.

Trying to fast track Christianity has been a problem since the Lord returned to heaven. In Acts 8:13-24, Simon, the ex-magician, thought he could bypass the disciplines of being trained in righteousness. Wanting to impress the crowds and perform miracles like Peter, Simon offered money to find a shortcut to the Holy Spirit’s power. Rebuking him for his fleshly attempts to control God, Peter said, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:20b-21).

What about you? Are you guilty of looking for shortcuts in your spiritual growth? Quick prayers and short devotionals are not enough. Spend time alone with the Lord today in prayer and Bible study and let the Holy Spirit reveal those changes that need to take place in your life. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1a).

Lord, forgive me for being like a child and looking for the easy way out of Your lessons. Help me to walk with You today and not run ahead of the disciplines that teach me Your truths. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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Prayers & Patriot Missiles

Prayers are like Patriot Missiles!

No matter where they’re sent off from, they always hit the target!

God Answers our prayers in 3 ways:

1.  He says yes and gives you what you want.

2.  He says no and gives you something better.

3.  He says WAIT and gives you the BEST!

 

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“Someday” Doesn’t Exist

Do you find yourself putting things off to another day?  You know?  Someday I’ll do this or that.  Procrastinating – believing the lie that you’ll get it done later?

Doing the right thing and being the right person doesn’t just fall into your lap!  You must resolve to change some things and go against the culture and your flesh.  This means to restrict yourself from what your flesh desires.

Did you know that “someday” DOES NOT exist?  It never has and it never will.  ALL you have is today!

Daniel was famous for something he did in his old age that he “resolved” to do and be as a teenager!  Daniel was in his 80’s when he was thrown into the lions den.  Apart from God’s protection, Daniel could only stand in courage and strength because at the age of 13, he decided/resolved to follow Christ.

IF you are choosing today to go down the “wrong path” a little way, you will eventually choose the wrong path entirely!

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It’s the End that Counts!

This devotion is TOO GOOD and too true not to share.  God said HIS word will divide (Matthew 10:34-39) and cut like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 12:4) , cutting as it goes in and comes out.  We are seeing many “fall away” from the truth and it saddens me, as there are many who will claim the name of Christ, yet HE does not KNOW them (Matthew 7:21-23).  The end is nearer than it’s ever been.  Praying that you continue to run the race AND finish well – enduring to the end!

“And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” 
—Mark 13:10-13

This passage presents Jesus’ realistic appraisal of how things will unfold on earth as the end approaches. Not only will the gospel be proclaimed to all nations, but those who proclaim it will also bear the cost. Some will be brought to trial, some betrayed by siblings, parents and children, and some will give their lives. Those associated with Jesus’ name will be hated by all. Then He adds, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Jesus’ closing thought ought to concern you. He was stating a condition to salvation that is both easy to miss and easy to misunderstand.

Here’s the part we miss: He who endures “to the end will be saved”—not the one who starts well, but the one who finishes well.  Although the context indicates that Jesus was speaking about the close of history, His words also apply to the course of our lives. Unless Christ returns during our lifetime, you and I will have a final breath. The point isn’t when, but how we will get to the end of life. Will we cross the finish line enduring or not?

And here’s the part that is easy to misunderstand: Jesus is not saying you are saved by enduring. He is saying that those who are truly saved do endure.

This is reinforced in 1 John 2:19, as the apostle John writes of those who claimed to be believers, but who didn’t endure and didn’t persevere. John said, “They went out from us because they were not of us. If they had of been of us, they would have remained with us, but they went out from us so that it might be manifested that they were in fact never really of us.” 

That’s not talking about local church membership. John was not describing people who leave a church; he was talking about people who leave the Church—people who depart from faith in Christ. People who backslide and never return make it very clear they never really had saving faith.

The longer you follow Christ, the clearer you can see how easy it is to pray a prayer of confession, to walk an aisle, or to confess faith in Christ in a safe and loving environment. But the steps of Jesus don’t take us the easy way; they take us the way of endurance. It takes perseverance to keep on following Christ—even when it’s hard, when the pressure is on.

He who endures to the end will be saved. Let Jesus’ words guide you as you examine yourself. Do you see evidence of your salvation? Then you can rest and rejoice, because when you are truly saved, God will give you everything you need to endure—to the very end.

Taken from Pastor James MacDonald

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Personal Use of the Sword

Satan strongly desires the destruction of anyone who keeps his or her sword of the Spirit sharpened by personal use. He knows that weapon becomes dull once the believer’s use of Scripture becomes mechanical.

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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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Walking and Living By Faith

Have you ever wondered why it was so hard for the disciples to walk by faith?  They had walked with Christ (physically) first!  And then you wonder why it was so easy for the Apostle Paul to walk by faith?  He DIDN’T GET TO walk with Christ in the flesh.  Sometimes I think it’s harder for those of us who were born with hearing and vision, to do without and experience the loss, than those who were not born with those senses at all and have to live by faith.

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