Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sicky Sunday

I *should* be at church right now. I *should* be sitting next to Joel in the crowded sanctuary laughing my head off at Tim Hawkins.

Instead, I am at home sick. Sad, sad.

Since I have been at home, and bored, today I have been on Facebook more than usual (and I usually do not get on the computer on Sundays. Now I wish I had done that today!). There are a lot of posts about how funny it is that the world did not end yesterday, how everyone is ready for school to be over and the normal self-centered broadcasting.

It still annoys me.

Today, though, one girl's statuses caught my eye and caused me to be more frustrated than annoyed. One minute she is praising God for dying for her, for His grace and the next status is something very inappropriate.

I see this kind of thing on Facebook all the time and it really bothers me.

We have no idea what we are saying.

We praise God for His grace that "covers" us, "forgives" us, "sets us free," "allows me to be me," "catches me when I fall" and a whole bunch of other misused ideas about grace. We tip toe around the hard issues, excuse our sins and then slap grace all over our failures.

I do not have the brain power or the time to get into a huge theological post, but I just want to know grace for what it really is.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Savings Saturday: Swagbucks

I have a great admiration for Swagbucks. I hesitate to use the word love, but I might just say it.

I love Swagbucks!

Someone introduced me to Swagbucks about a year ago and I was immediately a fan! I did not know it was possible to earn rewards by doing somethings I ALWAYS do- search the internet. There are a gob of reward sites, which I will talk about soon, but Swagbucks is by far the best.

One of the reasons I love Swagbucks is because I heard about it at a time when I was asking God to show me how I could be creative in saving and spending money as we moved from two incomes to living off of our savings. I know God will always provide and it is HIM who gives us all things, but in a small way Swagbucks is an answer to direct prayer.

As I think about Proverbs 31 I see a woman who was constantly looking for ways to provide for her family. She was not waiting for her husband to bring home the check. She was not just focused on spending that income wisely. SHE was seeking ways to provide- by BOTH being frugal and by bringing in income.

There are so many ways, in America, to get things for free. I have also started couponing and am amazed at how much can be saved by planning, waiting and trying new things. Why would I by pasta for $0.99, which is a great deal, when I could get it for free? Why would I by a generic brand of diapers for $0.14 a diaper when I can get Pampers for $0.12 a diaper?

Anyway, back to Swagbucks. Sign up HERE, download the toolbar and use it for all your internet searching. You will begin to win Swag bucks and can use them to purchase all sorts of things in the Swagstore. My favorite is the $5 Amazon gift card for 450 Swag Bucks. I "buy" the gift card and then load it to my Amazon account where it never expires. It is just sitting there waiting for me to buy something!

So, you ask, "How much have you made in this year?" It has averaged about $10 a month.

For. Doing. Nothing. (Except something I already do- search the internet.)

We have purchased baby shower gifts, birthday presents, a book I wanted and diapers. And I still have about $80 in my Amazon account and a couple more $5 gift cards on the way. It has been such a blessing!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Raising Jeremiah: Discipline Part 1- Types

A couple of weeks ago Joel and I could tell that a new phase of parenting was upon us- discipline of punishment and correction. We knew it would come, but it is difficult to know exactly what to do as new parents. We must rely so much upon the wisdom of the Lord!

There are two types of discipline and we want to be faithful to do both with our children. So many parents wait to correct and train their children until there is an urgent conflict. They hastily punish out of annoyance or anger and then wonder why their children are unruly. I am not saying we will raise perfect children perfectly. I do believe that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can raise children with discipline that honors Him.


1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
The first two definitions for discipline are alike in the sense that it involves a proactive training to develop discipline. The only way to learn to do something well is by practicing, we all know that, and the same is true with teaching a child to obey.

The third definition for discipline is a result of direct disobedience. It means that there is a consequence for not following the expectations of the required discipline mentioned in the first two definitions.

Discipline of the first category begins, whether you realize it, in the womb as the baby begins to understand the characteristics of the mother. The growing baby is not oblivious to patterns, which is especially true once they can begin to hear what is happening in the outside world. What are those sounds? Voices? Are they arguing? Are they kind? Is she singing? The baby can begin to experience the routine of your day- a hot shower, the hair dryer, the TV, music, etc. The most basic, yet foundational, type of discipline has begun even before you hold your baby in your arms!

I could go on and on about this because I loved being pregnant and finding ways to begin building this new relationship with my baby. Looking back I wish I had done a lot more, but I am happy for what I did do all the same. I am not a talker, but I tried to do even more talking to the baby while at the same time touching my belly to somehow communicate that I was talking to them. We sang aloud more than normal. Jeremiah would become extremely active when he heard Joel singing- it was amazing! We also read the Bible aloud and Joel would pray near my growing midsection for baby to hear.

The greatest discipline we could EVER ingrain in our children is a love for God, His Word and a love for daily communing with Him. This discipline must first be in my life, though, if I am ever going to influence my children to do the same. I am not a fan of telling my child to "do what I say and not what I do." First, it is not Biblical. Second, would you want to listen to a fat and lazy Drill Sargent tell you to run 5 miles? Me either.

We were able to watch a few seasons of the Duggars on Netflix and we respect their parenting for so many reasons. The Duggars, while the older children were practicing their musical instruments, would sit the 2-3 year old in a chair to listen. The child was supposed to sit there without talking, wiggling or getting down. Mrs. Duggar explained that they want to train their children to do things like sitting through a performance, church service, waiting at a doctor's office, etc., before they were actually put in those situations. Instead of dragging a screaming child out of church they are hoping to build discipline, as well as obedience, into the child before a crisis breaks out. If the child started crying or got down they were able to correct and instruct in an environment that allowed focused training.

We know this is true in other areas of life, so why do we not apply this to parenting? No soldier is taught to handle an AK47 during the middle of active combat. There is no word to describe how foolish that would be. Why do we do this to our poor children? We get angry with them, grab their arms and jerk them out of the room when some extra time and care to training at home (or in other less urgent situations) would probably solve 95% of the problem.

The second part of discipline, where punishment and consequences for disobedient behavior must be enforced, is much easier to confront when the first type of discipline has been instituted. The child clearly knows what a healthy and obedient life looks like. They already know the boundaries and the consequences for crossing them have been lovingly established. They know basic things like touching the hot stove will cause pain to in-depth realities that yelling at mommy means a spanking.

We have tried hard to begin the first type of discipline with Jeremiah already. Since he was born we talk with him constantly about what we are doing and why. He may not have understood it at 2 weeks old, but the consistent reminders of what is going on has been good training, I believe, for both us and him. It has put me in the habit of explaining things to him and now, at 8 months old, I can see the fruit of that simple discipline. He knows the word "wait." He knows that I will pick him up- after I am done brushing my teeth. He knows we sing and play in the morning.

As good as he is, though, I am beginning to realize that this will take a lot of work. It will not be easy at all. He is starting to push boundaries. I must be disciplined with both types by my Heavenly Father so that I can be a faithful parent. I cannot be lazy if I expect my child to work. I cannot get frustrated for grumpy attitudes when I waver in the same way. I must be as patient with our children as God is with me.

Coming Soon: Raising Jeremiah: When to Say No!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Not Enough Time

Whenever I am absent on my blog it is not because I have nothing to write about. It is usually because I have SO many thoughts racing through my mind that I cannot pin them down into coherent posts.

Hopefully this will be remedied soon.

Here are some things I have been thinking about, and thus, would like to write about at some point in the near future-

1. Usama Bin Laden's death
2. Slaves of Christ, servant of others
3. Parenting
4. Is Seminary Biblical?
5. Money saving ideas

Until then, may the love of Christ compel you to abandon yourself to Him.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mental Overload

It is Wednesday, but there is so much to say I could not post Wordless Wednesday pictures today! Do you ever have days when you feel like your head is going to explode or go to mush because of all the thoughts racing through it?

Well, that is me today.

Since Sunday I have been thinking and rethinking about the death of Usama Bin Laden. You may see some posts from me about it if I can organize my thoughts in a presentable fashion, but for now it is just giving me a headache. I was praying the other night that God would give me the right perspective about Bin Laden's death since so many Christians and Godly teachers seem to have opposing views.

I know that in a couple of weeks people will be past this "victory" and back to our self-centered lives, but I believe we need to have a Christ-like view of world events. I think we need to know what we think and why! I do not just want to push these struggles I am having inside away or just go along with what others are saying. Like other things- even if I reach the same conclusion as another blog I read, I still want to know that it was Christ working in me and not just a lazy way out.

I also caught a few minutes of Rachael Ray when I was looking for the news this morning. I do not usually have the TV on at this time of day and now I know why. I know a lot of people that like her show. It is something to watch for recipes, fashion tips and decorating ideas. You can watch it while cleaning or folding laundry. Me? I just wanted to throw something at the TV.

This morning I have been working on a ton of emails. I am in charge of the administrative side of a few Junior High events. One of them will be finished in two weeks, praise the Lord, but then another slew of summer events will begin. And I feel tired already!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Do Not Rejoice- or Fret

17Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18lest the LORD see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from him.

19Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
and be not envious of the wicked,
20for the evil man has no future;
the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

Proverbs 24:17-20

It is surreal that Usama Bin Laden is dead. His name has been spoken of in the news as a wanted man for as long as I can remember. He has influenced many people, either by striking fear in their hearts or by training them for evil.

The "celebration" is all over the internet. We get focused on such momentary military successes and shout praises in the wrong direction. We argue about who should get credit for the death. We complain about our president's speech. We whine that the soldiers do not get enough credit.

Do we so easily forget who rules the universe? Do we so easily turn our attention from Him to these fleeting happenings? Do we obey His commands to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5)?

Usama Bin Laden is not the first, nor the last enemy this world will face and he is definitely not the worst. He had no power besides what the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe gave him. He, just like all of us, had one life to live and will face the same judgment seat as the rest of mankind (2 Corinthians 5). He will first and foremost be judged for his belief of Christ. If he is not covered in the blood of Jesus by his faith in Jesus Christ then it matters little what else he did or did not do.

We all stand condemned apart from Christ (John 3). Your pride is no worse than Bin Laden's mass murders. All sin separates us from Christ and the wages for sin is death (Romans 3, Romans 6). If you are not in a right relationship with Jesus Christ, believing in His work on the cross and in His resurrection from the dead to pay for your sins, then you will suffer the same judgment as Usama Bin Laden. What is that punishment?

Separation from God- for eternity. Separated from eternal love. Separated from eternal peace. Separated from eternal forgiveness. Separated from eternal happiness. Separated from eternally enjoying Christ.

That is hell.

We should not wish that on anyone.

Believer, do not let yourself get caught up in politics. Beware of letting your affections be so easily swayed by momentary excitement that is based on human wisdom. Guard your mouth from praising or criticizing presidents, soldiers, news anchors or your neighbor.

It is all about Christ. Turn your eyes, your heart, your passions, your affection and all else that is worthwhile in your life towards Him. Think eternal thoughts (Colossians 3).