Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 21:Remember to Never Forget

I've had such a fun-filled and busy weekend that I have not been able to tell you all about the Homeschooling Convention.  I love going to the Homeschool Convention because there is so much that I learn.  I hadn't been there in about five years and this year I realized why I should never miss it.

Its a reminder.
A reminder to never forget why I homeschool.  It's so easy to forget and lose the vision I began with.  I need to remember my purpose as a homeschooling mom so that I won't get sidetracked. 

Most of what I learned this weekend was not new to me, but a reminder of things that I had lost perspective on.  Being there, listening to speakers who have been in my shoes, had the same questions, and found great solutions really helped refresh my outlook.

It didn't take much...just a reminder.
Amidst all the curriculm and  activities, I needed a reminder
to teach my kids, daily,
...the Godly values I want to instill in them
...the love I want to share with them
...the faith I want them to carry on

so that they never forget that He is God and He is good and that he is our reason for living.

These wonderful qualities just don't happen.  It takes more than just a conversation for them to penetrate deep into their hearts.  Because it's less about words and more about doing.

God shows us how we are to
              teach our children in Deuteronomy 11:19             
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

God wants us to teach our kids about him, always, in the events of daily living. In the morning and at night in all that we do.

So now I am returning home with the vision I began with, and plans to carry them out daily, because I have remembered to never forget.


Day 20: Looking Up

Our weekend was full of adventure.  My sister, Denise, and I spent Friday at the Homeschooling Convention and on Saturday we spent the day at Epcot Center with our families.  We did all this while camping at Disney's Fort Wilderness.

Although I am not really into camping, I enjoyed spending time in the natural setting created for us to enjoy.  It was a great time of reflection.
There's a relaxing element to swaying trees in a soft breeze and the sound of a running river.

Our daily time with God was extra special.  We got to share it with my sister and her husband, Sean, as we overlooked a river during the morning and sat under the stars at night.  

As we stared out into the glistening night sky I saw the twinkling stars.  A sight so beautiful it was impossible to overlook the presence of the Lord in His creation.
It brought to mind Psalm 19:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
   night after night they reveal knowledge.
Daily, the stars and the sky glorify God.  All we have to do is look up and the marvelous works of the Lord is on display for all to see. 

It brought me back to when the Isrealites were in the desert and God led them in the pillar of cloud and fire.
Exodus 13:20-22 
 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

God did not leave the Isrealites.  He was there, daily, guiding and protecting. All they had to do was look up and He would be found.
As I looked around this weekend at the picturesque scenery of treelined hills,
flowing rivers, and bright blue skies, I was able to appreciate and enjoy all that God had created for us.  

The worries that life brings, was removed by the daily reminders that the outdoors brought upon me.

All I had to do was look up and I saw His story. Daily God is showing us His presence so that we will know of Him and day after day, night after night, He reminds us that He is there.  
He's waiting for us to look up and marvel at His artwork.

Have you looked up today?  Are you marveling in God? 

Day 19: The Sabbath

Since my family began the Manna Principle Experiment we have been on a great journey.  We have learned so much but I realized that I have not taken my Sabbath because I have been blogging about it daily, even on Sundays.  For the remaining Sundays I will not be posting so that I can also take my day of rest, in keeping with scripture.  Today, I will leave you with a scripture as a reminder of the Sabbath.

Isaiah 58:13-14
  “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
   and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
   and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
   and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the LORD,
   and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
   and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
            For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Enjoy your Sabbath!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 18: At His feet

This morning while it was still dark, we left for Orlando.  We ended up having our time with the Lord on the road while driving north on the Florida Turnpike.

Although we were traveling 60 miles an hour, our time with the Lord was rich.  Under a blanket of deep darkness we were still before the Lord and received our daily bread.
Carl focused his prayer on asking the Lord to help us be more like Mary and sit at His feet instead of just keeping busy.

Sometimes it's hard to sit still, isn't it? We feel good moving, "doing", and striving but without coming to the Lord and receiving from Him, then what are we striving for?  Busyness distracts us from God, and "doing" without God is worthless.
2 John 1:9
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
Coriander seed
Perhaps, when God provided Manna in the dessert for the Isrealites, he was providing their daily bread so that they could sit before him having received what they needed instead of just striving for themselves.

He was taking care of His children by giving them what they needed for their soul. If only they would've been still, they would have received.
Matthew 4:4
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Today as we sat before the Lord, He fed our hungry souls with food we were meant to crave..."the bread of angels," (Psalm 78:24-25) setting apart our hearts, and bringing holy purpose to our day.
We came, sat at His feet, and received.

Before beginning your busy day, won't you come, sit at His feet, and receive?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 17:Walking with God

Today was a crazy day.  We spent the day busy packing for our trip to Orlando tomorrow.  Although we were extremely busy and there was more to do than hours in the day we made sure to spend time with God in the fields.
These fields have become a very dear place to us.  I would consider it our prayer closet.  It's become a special familiar place that we now have a special affection for.

Well, this morning, after we spent time in prayer we decided to drive further into the fields wherever the dirt road led us. What we thought was just a tomato field ended up being a field that grew eggplants, peppers, and sunflowers.

During our ride we saw Turkey Vultures being chased by a few birds who were protecting their nest and we watched as the wind moved the growing plants in a dancing motion throughout the fields.  Its as if God was putting on a creation performance right before our eyes.
We ended our trip by driving back on another dirt road that led up the street behind our house.

Our mini field trip was exciting for the kids as well as for us.  It was interesting what was awaiting us in our own backyard. 
Ever since we have started intentionally and intimately walking with God daily, we have seen Him opening our eyes to the unseen things with what is right in front of our eyes.
It has helped our children see things through spiritual eyes and has led us to profound discussions that you wouldn't expect to have with kids this age.
It has also allowed our children to grow in spiritual discernment and in seeking God out in the ordinary things.

We can see in what happens when God's people walked with Him. Elisha was a perfect example of this,  He walked so intentionally and intimately close to God that God would reveal things to Elisha that He wouldn't to anyone else. So much so, that an army came against him because of it.

And when the army did, because his servant couldn't see the things of God, Elisha prayed that the Lord would open his eyes.
2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
We were meant to walk with God and when we do, we will see the things of God in everything around us.

So, walk with God, intentionally... intimately... daily.

And this is God's promise to us:

Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 

Day 16: Growing Pains

1 Peter 1:6-7
..,.though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Have you ever experienced growing pains? Yes, it's
painful but necessary.

Without growing pains we would be held back. A lack of growth in medical terms would be considered as "failure to thrive."

I can understand growing pains...I remember being in the supermarket with my mom one Saturday afternoon when I felt a pain in the back of my legs. As we continued traveling up and down the aisles the pain intensified to
the point where I could barely walk.
Every aisle seemed to go on for miles even though my mom
assured me we were almost done.
This week, I have experienced growing pains. My week has been very challenging and I've found myself counting down the days in anticipation to the end of the Manna Principle experiment.
The familiar pains have returned but this time they are
spiritual instead of physical. 
The pains of change from control and self-dependance to surrender and trust. A notion that is not in keeping with American culture but certainly with Kingdom culture.   

I need to remember that I'm on a journey to find a deeper trust in my Maker and discover a new way to live daily. Complaining about not wanting to do this and wishing for the end of these 40 days isn't the faithful thing to do, is it?

My journey has been interesting so far, as I find a lot of similarities between me and the Isrealites.  It began with the excitement of a project that was fresh and full of expectations. I can imagine it was the same way the Isrealites felt after the parting of the Red Sea.  

When hardship came, they looked back and craved their old lifestyle back.
They would rather have been slaves than endure difficult times. I now have more compassion on them then ever before.
Growing pains hurt but without them we don't grow.
 It indicates a stage in time, a growth process.

So I recognize that through this Manna Principle Project, God is stretching me and I am growing in ways that I never expected. His character of grace shines through all the more as I see Him patiently leading me through my growing pains more and more into His image.

Are you experiencing the growing pains of faith's challenges?
If so, don't look back, surrender to the process and trust that God will lead you through.   

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 15: Plan your work, work His plan

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

We all have different ways of planning our days. From long complicated spreadsheets to handwritten to do lists on notebook paper.

As our lives become busier the more need we have to organize our time. Whether its through our phone, a computer program or in book form there are as many different type of planners as there are types of people. Their purpose: to manage our time so that we could plan our work and work our plan.

Sometimes our own desires and our own purpose can drive our plans. 
Have you ever followed your own plans and left God out?
Its usually followed by difficult times, heartache, and sheer exaustion.

Many times our plans leave no room for God so we steer our own ship without consulting Him until we find ourselves shipwrecked and in need of direction.

We plan our work and work our plan.

And when our plans don't go as expected we see it as mishaps instead of God's redirection to get us where he wants us to be.

How about the Isrealites. God had a plan for them. A great plan! He was delivering them into the land of milk and honey. He was going all out for them BUT they needed to trust His plan.

The Isrealites had their own agenda and expectations so they  complained and disobeyed.

If only they had followed God's plan and followed His agenda for the day, they would've made it to the promise land in only a few days. But they were looking beyond today.

Many times we look beyond today without relying on God and his plan for our life.

James 4:13-15 says,
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow... Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.

So What does God want?
The Lord's will... not our will.
His plans...not our plans

Planning is good as long as we let "The Planner" direct us.
We have been given today...

Plan your work and work His plan

Jeremiah 29:11-12
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Today, are you working His plan?



Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 14: Throw Out the Garbage

Once in a while we'll walk into the house and be greeted by our dog Mozart sheepishly greeting us.  Immediately we know there's a problem and it will only take a few seconds for us to find the scene of the crime. 

A trail of garbage somewhere. The mystery is solved. Someone's forgot to throw out the garbage and Mozart, our dog,  has helped himself to it.  EEEEWWWWW! The things this dog has digested is disturbing! 

The solution is simple...if we'd simply remember to throw out the garbage, it wouldn't become a problem.  As the garbage sits around, it begins to stink and decompose, to the point that the contents can begin to leak out and get all over the place.  Now you've got a bigger and messier problem. 
Unresolved issues are sort of the same. The longer they sit the more problematic they become.

Bruised feelings become so sensitive that even an innocent act on the part of the offender can be enough to set off the smoke alarm of a broken heart.

 Unresolved issues are like garbage that sits too long.  It begins to stink and can become a big messBut God doesn't want us to have lingering issues because he knows the repercussions of misused feelings. 

Ephesians 4:26-27 says, 
“In your anger do not sin,” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. 

Daily, we are to resolve our issues of frustration or hurt.

Jesus spoke about this as well in Matthew 5:22-24
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

 Jesus told us to be reconciled with each other before offering a gift to God, before coming to the altar be reconciled. He was saying before you come to offer anything to me, make sure that your
relationships are in order.    

 I'll admit this is a tough one.  Sometimes its hard to let go of ill feelings because we want to remember the hurt in order to guard our heart from letting ourselves get hurt again. Other times our grudges can be our way of punishing the one's who's hurt us. 

In order to be reminded of this principle, every night we are going to throw away any garbage that is left in the house. To remind ourselves that a little garbage can become a big mess. 

Do you have any lingering garbage?

Before the sun goes down throw out your garbage.
Love one another.
 Romans 12:17-18
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 13: Gift Giving

Gifts, we all love them.  We like to give them and receive them.  There is something so special about finding the perfect gift for someone.  Did you ever find a great gift that just screamed out a certain persons name? 

Most of the fun in giving a present we know someone will love, is watching them open the gift. Its seeing their face beam with a smile and seeing their joy radiate from within. 

Nine years ago today, my son Michael was born, so yesterday we went out to buy the perfect gift for him.  The kids were excited to pick something out.  They all bought him a little something with their own money.

Since we know Michael so well, we knew what we wanted to get him. We wanted something that would make his face light up with joy because we love him so much and we want to give him what he desires.

God is the same way with us. He loves us and gives us good gifts daily.  If we think we know how to give...can you imagine how much more the Lord gives?
                                      In Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus said,
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Well, He's gifted us during the past 13 days.  He's opened our eyes to take notice in things that we might otherwise miss out on if we would not have deliberately taken the time to notice what He does for us daily.

Psalm 40:5
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.

Yes, His deeds would be too many to declare.  As I sit here every night and write about how He is moving, there is so much I still haven't said. Like manna from Heaven he gives us gifts from heaven daily. 

What gifts have you received today?