I stumbled across this neat little site and thought I'd share it with you. It is filled with some great stuff for little ones! Enjoy your Tiny-tot treat today! (Use with caution - especially the songs.)
"And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:28-33)
There are wonderful examples of mothers all throughout the Bible - good ones and bad ones. When I think of Biblical mothers, I suppose I'd have to put Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the top of the list. There is a responsibility placed on all mothers to raise a child in the way he should go, but Mary had even more placed on her shoulders. I cannot even imagine how it felt to be raising the Son of God.
There are those in the religious world that place her on a pedestal. They say she was a sinless lady. While I agree that she had to be sexually pure, there is nothing to indicate she was sinless. In fact, there is definite proof that she did have sin. The Word says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) So, I know that she had to have some sins. But for her to be chosen for such a high honor, she had to have been a very godly woman. God choosing her for this high honor puts her in the ranks of people like Enoch who walked with God, Noah who saved himself and family from the flood, and David chosen to rule God's people.
I wish that I could sit at Mary's feet and learn from her. I wonder how she learned to be a godly parent? Nowadays we learn from example and from the Bible. Who helped her to be the mother of the Son of God? She had the Old Testament scriptures. When the family moved to Nazareth she was away from her family so evidently there was no extended family to help her out.
No, I imagine that the mother of our Lord had to rely heavily upon the Holy Scriptures and prayer. Could we not do the same? Our days should begin on our knees both to speak to and listen to our heavenly Father. He speaks to us from His Word. Won't you listen?
"And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:" (Genesis 18:1-3)
Here is something interesting I learned in my husband's sermon tonight. When you see 'LORD' written in large text in some Bibles (here in the KJV), it is a Hebrew word for Jehovah. But notice in verse 3 there is another word, 'Lord' with a capital letter and lower case letters for the rest of the word. This second is the Hebrew word, 'Adonay'. One may think here, that Abraham didn't realize this was God in a fleshly form, but the term 'Adonay' is only used with God. How did Abraham know this was 'Adonay'?
This could be an interesting study for someone wanting to dig deeper!
What did Samson look like? I mean other than the really long hair. If you are like me you probably picture Samson as this huge, muscular, Mr. Universe body-builder guy. At least I did until recently when I heard a lesson where it was mentioned. We know that Samson was the strongest man alive and we know his strength came from God, but we still picture a muscle man in our minds sometimes. Think about the question Delilah asked Samson, "Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth,". Why would she ask that if he looked like the strongest man in the world?
Sometimes strength is not in what we think it is, especially spiritual strength. We look at the preacher and his family and assume they must be strong because he is the preacher. We look at elders and think surely they are strong or they would never have become elders. We look at those who teach in a "preacher school" and know they are strong because they are teaching others about the Bible. We see someone who "never misses church" and figure they are strong. The problem is that while those things might be evidence toward believing someone is strong they are not the source of spiritual strength.
God and His Word are the only true source for spiritual strength. We may be encouraged by others, but we can never use someone else's strength when we are out there facing temptation alone. There were some commercials a few years back that showed someone who seemed to be in perfect health, but then they would collapse because of dangerous levels of cholesterol. The point of the commercials was that you can't always tell if someone is healthy by looking at the outside. The same is true of a persons spiritual life. Jesus chided, no, blasted the Scribes and Pharisees because they appeared to be pious and righteous to men by the things they showed, but inside they were rotten to the core (Matthew 23).
In recent years there have been a number of athletes who were young and seemingly in prime condition who have dropped dead because of heart problems they didn't know they had. We have to realize that our heart is an essential part of being right with God. We can't do the right things for the wrong reasons and have spiritual strength. We may look strong and healthy to others, but sooner or later we will drop dead spiritually from a heart attack.
We have talked about a father's role as the protector of his family and certainly God fills that role perfectly. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God NEVER allows us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. Notice that it does not say that He will not allow us to be tempted. It is a mistake for us to so shelter our children that they never face any challenges that force them to think about what they have been taught and how they have been trained and make a choice based on those things.
I recently read an article about some religious homeschool families who raised perfect little children. However, when those perfect little children became adults they left their faith and all of that "perfection" behind. What happened? Well, in many of those cases they sheltered them too much and when they got out into the world they could not handle it. Of course, there were other causes in some of those cases, but I want to focus on this one today. When I think of this incredible challenge to fathers I am reminded of one of my favorite Mark Twain stories, The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg. If you have never read it you might find it enlightening. The short of it was that there was a town known for its honesty, in fact, it was proud of its honesty. The problem was that they had raised an entire generation that had never had the opportunity to be dishonest except to themselves. A man who was mistreated by some of these haughty people found a way to get even by putting a temptation in their path that brought them all down. The said thing was that if they had actually been honest they would not have fallen to the temptation.
We know that after our children are grown and out of our homes the devil will attack them. I remember the first few weeks after leaving home for college. Mom and dad were not there to say get up and go to class or to church, etc. How will our children handle those decisions? We have to allow them to be tempted just like our perfect loving Heavenly Father allows us to be tempted. We need to provide a way of escape. If we have taught and trained our children we have equipped them with the ability to face a temptation and know the way of escape.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Many people claim to have placed God as the highest priority in life. Well, except when 'the big' game is on. Or there's family to visit, or there's shopping to be done...eating is important, after all. God won't mind if I don't attend Wednesday night because the kids have homework, it's not commanded for us to attend anyway, right? This outfit is so cute and in our budget, so what if it is a little short?
Have we really put God first in our lives when we allow these things to get in the way? Have we put God above all things?
Let's think of it this way: a couple is engaged to be married. Girl thinks Guy will love her outfits. Guy disapproves but Girl continues to wear things that are inappropriate. Girl thinks there's a great sale on at Old Navy, I'll just run out to the sale. I know I was supposed to meet Guy for lunch, but he'll understand if I miss this time. Oh, we're supposed to meet for dinner, but the Gals are all going to a movie. He'll understand, right? He is the first in my life, Guy knows that.
How long do you suppose Guy would allow that to continue? Not very long. God is the same way. He wants us to spend time with Him, do things He wants us to do and wear the things He wants us to wear. If we don't do the things he wants us to do, what do you think God will do to us?
"The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also." (Jeremiah 3:6-8)
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" (Matthew 7:21-24)
This is becoming quite the popular site, but for those of you that don't know about it, I'll post it here today. There's a new site for bloggers that are members of the church. This site is host to links to many blogs. The best part is, it is divided by your interest. Are you a homeschooler? Then go to 'Home and Family' then click on the homeschooling section. Are you looking for sermons? Look under 'Spiritual Growth' then click on 'sermons.' Check them out and get your 'blog fix' for the day!
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
The principle here is that we should teach our children about God all through the day. In order to do this, there are many things that our family has been doing. Some of these things we have added recently. I am by no means an expert and I sure don't have it all together, but I thought it might be helpful to some.
1. I need to make more of an effort to start our day off with a devo, but it is usually a flurry of activity. I'm cooking and getting breakfast ready, and the kids have morning chores. Then breakfast and the schedule has them doing penmanship while I clean up after breakfast (if Facebook doesn't distract me first!). By the time we get to what we call “School Time Bible Time” it is 9 AM or later. In our STBT, we read a Bible story, I say a prayer to start our school day and we sing, “Grow, grow, grow.” Lately my one year old has been saying, “Jesus” so we sing Jesus Loves Me while she smiles. We were also reading through the selected Psalms for a Bible bowl, but now we read Discovery magazine from Apologetic Press.
2. Either during gaps in the schedule (when do we ever have those!) or when their school work is done, we have started reading from Proverbs. What ever the date is, they read that chapter. The goal is that we talk about the things we read. Some days I emphasize a certain character trait. Honestly, most days I'm thankful we at least read it. The goal is that we discuss these things together.
3. In our homeschool, I chose curriculum that teaches Bible in every subject. I love this! The word is getting in their hearts through every school subject.
4. During lunch, Daddy comes home from work and either he or I will read the daily Bible reading. Sometimes this is a tag team effort. This year we decided to read through chronologically. It has been interesting. We are almost through the Old Testament now.
5. At bedtime, we have Bible Time. This consists of a story, discussion time and each member of the family prays. Even the baby has a sign prayer we help her with. At 1 yr old she's beginning to do some of the signs herself!
6. Teachable moments. These are times throughout the day that give us an opportunity to teach about God and His Word. I'm sure I miss a lot of these! My favorite is to show nature and talk about God's creation, but there are a million (and more!) ways to use teachable moments!
7. Bible games. Lately our favorite is the 'name game'. One person starts by saying a Bible name, say for example, Noah. The next person has to choose a name that begins with an 'h', like Hosea. Then the next person has to choose one beginning with an 'A', and so on.
These are some of the things that we do. Please leave a comment and share something(s) your family does!
In trying to decide what to write about, recent memorial events kept 'popping' up in my mind. Which lead me to think about these events in light of being a parent. Yesterday, my husband allowed my tenderhearted son to watch images of the 9/11 tragedy. I began to ponder questions such as these: How much should we show our children the things that occur in this world? Should we talk to them about such things? At what age would they be able to handle them?
These are questions that every parent should face. There are extremes to this line of thinking. I once knew a woman who had – at the time – children ranging from 10 to 20's, one of whom was married with a child on the way. This woman admitted to me that she had never talked to her children about abortion and even shielded her children from hearing about it. This was a homeschooling “Christian” mother. I was shocked. Why would you shield your children from such things. They need to know what is going on in the world. If you don't tell them, the world will give them their slant on it and they might believe a lie.
I also know a mother who took her young children (how young, I can't recall) to an anti-abortion rally. Her son grew up to be a strong advocate for pro-life.
These are two very extreme circumstances. While I do not advocate either necessarily, I do think that we need to teach them – using the Bible as our guide – all things about life and godliness. After all, all things about life and godliness are in there. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (2 Peter 1:3) Even matters of sex, especially how to avoid fornication, are taught in the Bible therefore we should be teaching these things to them.
At what ages? This is up to the parents to decide. Ask your husband and especially pray for wisdom. In our home, we have gradually introduced new concepts. My son was 3 when I was pregnant with our second. It became a natural thing to talk about the 'seed' which daddy planted and began to grow in a special womb in mommy's belly. In our daily Bible reading together our son was 5 or 6 when he first asked what a 'harlot' was. We explained that there is a special blessing that God designed for husbands and wives to enjoy. A harlot, then, was a woman who allowed men who were not her husband to have that special blessing with her. In doing this thing, she and the man sinned because it was not God's plan for them to do this.
There have been little tiny bits of information given since then, but this is what we have discussed with our son so far and he is almost 10. As a mother, I often yield to my husband more for dealing with matters of discussions with our son. My daughter has not been as inquisitive as our son has been. Every family is different and every child is different.
In matters of tragedy, teach your children that sin brings pain and suffering. When people choose not to live by God's laws there is tragedy. Sometimes that means consequences are suffered on both sides – by evil people and good people. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45) When someone chooses to drink and drive, for example, sometimes the good people get hit by that drunk driver and die. Our job is to teach our children such things as love, forgiveness and living righteously for God's glory despite our circumstances. Pray for wisdom in dealing with such matters and use the Bible as your teaching tool.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)
"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34)
Today, many are remembering the terror attacks of ten years ago. It was a horrific day and one that is not easy to forget for those of us who were old enough to understand. Many people died that day - souls who went on to their reward. The saddest part to me that most of those souls - both the "innocent" and the terrorists - went on to an eternal punishment. Jesus gave His life for each of those souls. As Christians we have a responsibility to teach others about Him - both through our righteous example and through our teaching. God reminds us that it is righteousness that makes a nation great. Oh, let it be our prayer may we be so!