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What is the importance of Christian Education in Discipleship? Voddie Baucham and R.C. Sproul answer this question in this excellent 5 minute video on Ligonier.

At what cost are you sending your children to government education? Is it truly worth the cost? How can a Christian family who truly values the faith and their children’s souls send their children off to a pagan institution to be educated and trained?

Why Choose Homeschooling?

“I have made no secret of the fact that I believe the American school system is inferior in terms of academics, bankrupt in terms of morality, and corrosive in terms of spirituality and religion. In short, the government education system is no place for the children of people of claim allegiance to the King of Kings.”

~Voddie Baucham 

There are so many reasons TO homeschool and so many reasons to NOT send your children off to be educated by someone else. I could write post after post after post covering different reasons why Christians should NEVER send their children off to the public education system, but in this post I want to discuss simply what the Bible says and how we cannot live out those things taught apart from homeschooling our children.

Whether or not parents should send their children to public schools or homeschool them has been by far one of the most debated and controversial topics of our time – especially within the Christian community. The problem is that many parents don’t take enough time to fully and thoroughly research the public education system and weigh the consequences of choosing such a system vs. the benefits.

We need to realize that God will judge each and every parent for the choice that they make and the way that they decide to raise their children. We need to affirm that biblically it is the responsibility of the parents to raise their children, NOT someone else. The means it is NOT the job of government teachers and NOT the job of even privately paid teachers – it is the job of the parents. Parents can delegate their authority to teach and raise their children to someone else, but they can NEVER delegate their responsibility to teach their children to anyone else. God WILL hold each parent responsible for what education their children receive.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bring them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. ” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Before we go any further, let us look up what the word “Diligent” means. The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “Diligent” as the following :

1.) In a manner involving great or constant activity 

2.) With great effort or determination 

To make it even more clear, lets look at some of the synonyms for “Diligent” according to the same Miriam-Webster Dictionary :

Actively, Laboriously, Energetically, Vigorously, Tirelessly, Zealously, Painstakingly, Unrelentingly, Meticulously, Thoroughly…

WOW! It seems as though the word of God is VERY clear on this issue. How in the world can you be living out fully this command of God to teach your children DILIGENTLY when they are away from you 8-9 hours, 5 days a week? The duty of raising, training, teaching and discipling children is of their parents – NOT the government, NOT the State, NOT the school system (whether private or public) and NOT even the church. It is that of the parents and the parents alone, they are the ones who will have to answer to God for the way that they raise their children and what they have learned or not learned, no one else.

The sad thing about this is that in today’s society, most parents, regardless of religious affiliation, send their children off to government schools. The fear and resistance that was there when the public education system was initially put into place, has far been removed and now parents eagerly and happily send their children away all day to buildings of indoctrination without a second thought. Many parents rejoice when the school year starts, some even dancing in the streets because they no longer have to “deal” with their own children all day for the next 9-10 months!

WHAT?!?!?!

I can understand this type of behavior coming from the unsaved, those who do not understand nor care for the laws and commandments of God – but from those who claim Christ and claim to obey and serve Him…how can they be so excited to live in utter disobedience to His Word?

An Article on Answer In Genesis Website entitled “Is Public School an Option?” makes a good point about the school system that we are placing our children into. They give examples of what the National Education Association has either already implemented in your local school district, or the things that will be only a matter of time before they do implement.

~ The NEA pushes educational programs that increase acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, regardless of the parents’ views 

The NEA believes government schools should supply family planning instructions and resources directly to children 

The NEA opposes parental efforts to restrict obscene and offensive books in school libraries and classrooms 

What you read above are only a few of the things that the NEA is trying to push in the public school arena, and in many districts, have already successfully implemented. How can we of good conscious choose to send our children to such places? Are we so insane as to send our children as sheep among wolves?

We are supposed to protect and guard our children and their innocence and purity – and yet so many parents are sending their children off to be educated by the Cultural Marxists!!!

“If you send your children off to be educated by Cesar, do not be surprised when they come home as Romans”

~ Voddie Baucham 

I love the above quote by Voddie Baucham because I feel as if it summarizes everything about the school system. We as parents have unrealistic expectation so many times, thinking that even though we send our children off to those who HATE Christianity and HATE everything about Christ and what He represents, that our children will not come back with the same attitudes and beliefs. You will not be able to combat with an hour a day or prayer and “devotions”, the 8-9 hours per day of indoctrination that your children are sitting through, as well as the hours upon hours of indoctrination that is coming from the movies, music, books and television shows that they are watching that is teaching them the exact same things. Lets just say though that if by some miracle your children DO walk away still as Christians, which would be very rare seeing how 88% of children leave the faith after high school, they will not be unscathed and will have remnants of what they were taught hanging around their subconscious mind and those things will then be reenforced back into them once they head off to “University.”

Parents do not realize how vital those first 18 years with their children are, and how fast those years go by. The minds of our children are SO impressionable during these times and this is why God has commanded us to choose this time to train up our children in HIM! We need to seize this time to teach our children a biblical worldview, not just for 30 minutes a day or even an hour a day, but through us constantly modeling it to them while they are by our side. How can we do that if they are away from us SO much? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is simple, we CANNOT.

Now lets consider what Luke 6:40 says :

“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Hmmm…now considering that we realize that the majority of teachers are indoctrinated themselves and while some intentionally indoctrinate children, others simply do it because they do not know any better. Still, are these people those whom I want my children to grow up and become like? For the most part, no. I am not belittling or attacking all school teachers, I believe that there are some teachers who are truly called to the work that the do by God and are where they are to minister and glorify God and to be used as a tool by Him. But sadly, that is not the vast majority of teachers, and why would I take a gamble on my child by placing them in a school system that most likely will have no one who even remotely cares about teaching on God and his principles – and those who do are not allowed to for fear of losing their jobs.

God’s truth and principles are the foundation of all truth and knowledge. Where do you think Satan would prefer our children to be taught? In the homes of their parents, where they are being taught the principles and laws of God on a comprehensive scale daily ? Or in a school overridden by moral decadence, decay of virtues, breeding for hatred of God and His laws and cultural marxist indoctrination?

Sending our children to modern public education is like playing Russian Roulette with their souls. It is dangerous and often times deadly for the children involved.

I encourage you to seriously pray and seek God. If you are not a homeschooling parent and yet you claim to be a Christian and to have children, ask yourself what it is that is keeping you from obeying the Word of God in this manner and protecting and raising your children like you should.

I will leave off with a few excellent messages by Voddie Baucham on this very subject and pray that God touches and softens the hearts of those who read this! Homeschooling is not always easy, but in the end the glorification of God and obedience to His Word is worth the very work that we put into it!

 

 

 

Homeschooling

I have read many books about planning and organizing home education. I have read article and searched through online blogs and websites for ideas on how to make things run smoothly and what I should and shouldn’t do (especially since this is our first official year of homeschooling).  I have made lists and printed articles and have begun to purchase school supplies and research curriculums and teaching techniques. I have done SO much…and I still feel like there is so much left to do.

It can be so easy to get caught up in all of the planning, research and organizing that we forget the most important part of homeschool planning – seeking God. We are called in Scripture to seek Him first in everything, every area, every aspect of our lives, homeschooling included.

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“How blessed are those who observe His testimonies. Who seek Him with all their heart” Psalm 119:2

 

I have found that lately as I have begun to seek His face more, I have become more at peace in my decisions and it is as if he has directed me towards the things that He wants me to teach. The plans that I had before truly seeking Him on homeschooling have changed a LOT since praying and reading His Word as I seek guidance on what to do, teach and plan. Just because we have an idea on how something should play out or how things should look, doesn’t mean that God, who can see the complete picture, is in full agreement.

It is so absolutely important that we make seeking God the top priority in our homeschool planning. We are bound to fail if we are not putting Him first and seeking to please and to glorify Him in everything that we do. It can be so easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning or the stress of it (as it is for some of you mammas!) It can be easy to be lead astray by the voices of others, and when that happens, we tend to listen to those other people more than we listen to God, and in some instances we do not even go to God for advice at all anymore and become consumed with what friends are doing, what other people are saying and what the internet has to offer.

We must remember that God and His Word should be the first place that we go each time we sit down to plan out homeschooling. Here are a few things that I like to do before I begin organizing, researching or planning anything relating to homeschool.

 

1.) PRAY!!

The most important part of starting anything is to pray.  Ask God for guidance. Open your heart up to Him and ask Him to show you what it is that He wants you to see as you are planning. We need to truly seek Him, and I don’t mean just murmuring a quick few words and then moving on, I mean truly seeking Him and opening your heart and mind up to what He wants to teach you, and what He wants to show you.

When I homeschool I know that I want it to be for much more than simply academics. I am not sending my son to public school for more reasons than simply because they have poor academic quality. I want to raise my son to be a warrior for Christ, to be a man after Gods own heart and to desire and yearn to please and glorify Him as much as I do and even much more beyond that! This should be our first and main focus as parents. Academics comes second to raising young men and women for the Kingdom of God, and how can we possibly do that if we are not spending time with the very person we are trying to teach our children about?

Children follow by example not words, so if you want to raise them to be Soldiers for Christ, then you have to begin on your knees seeking Him each and every step of the way!

 

2.) Be In His Word

We need to daily be in the Word of God, reading, praying, studying and seeking out what it is He wants to say to us through Scripture. It is only through His Word that we can be directed on which path to take and what He wants us to do.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 

In all we do, we need to be completely focused on Him and we cannot do that if we are not constantly in His Word. How can we know how to live for Him if we are not reading the Scriptures to find out what we should and should not do? Knowing God is more important than anything else. More important than which curriculum you are going to use, more important than academics and more important than getting everything “just so.” Without Him we have nothing, and we need to show that through how we live our everyday lives. This begins with reading His Word and knowing what is says, memorizing it and hiding it in our hearts!

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” 

Hebrews 11:6

 

Compare yourself to the Word of God. In a day and age where social media, internet and television dominate, it can be so easy to compare ourselves to other parents who homeschool and think that we are doing a horrible job or that we are missing out on something. The thing is, God has different plans and designs for each family, and just because one family is homeschooling one way, does NOT mean that you have to homeschool the exact same way. God may be leading you down a completely different path. Do not get so focused and caught up in what others are doing that you lose focus on what truly matters – What GOD wants you to do and where He is leading you!

I am praying that each one of you who read this will be blessed and will be encouraged to seek more of what He wants and less of what you want. We need to constantly be crying out “Less of ME, Oh God, and MUCH MUCH more of YOU!”

 

Public School Option

I was reading through the email that I received from The Homeschool Minute, and wanted to share with you, my readers, this short excellent article. I want you to really consider whether or not sending your children off to public school really is an option and I want you to consider what it is that the public school teaches and why it is much more beneficial (not to mention biblical) to keep your children at home with you. Ask yourself what it is that public education REALLY had to offer your children that you cannot offer them at home?

Mercy Every Minute
By : Deborah Wuehler

Sometimes it seems the easiest thing to do would be to put the kids in public school. After all, it’s free, it’s easy, everyone’s doing it, and it would free up your time big time. Maybe your life would be more “comfortable.” And all of that might be true for a short while, but there will be a price to pay eventually, and that could make you extremely uncomfortable for the rest of your life.

What goes on in the governing of, and instruction in, that nice little school down the street is something we can make some comparisons with that will hopefully make you glad you chose to keep your kids home.

Public School
Required to teach humanism, based on atheism: the doctrine that man is supreme in all things; a rejection of God. Textbooks have been revised to take “religion” out at the expense of altering real truth. Revised history and evolution are taught as fact.

Homeschool
Privileged to teach that God upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3) and that He alone is Supreme, and His Word is Truth.

Public School
Teaches hedonism: pleasing self becomes the highest ethical principle. Self-pleasure and self-exaltation is upheld in public school classrooms and curriculum.

Homeschool
We teach children to make it their aim to please God and to be Christ-like in their service to God, their families, their churches and their communities. We teach them to be others-centered.

Public School
Provides unwanted sexual education, expression and a pro-homosexual agenda, partnering with the National Education Association and Planned Parenthood (with curriculum for even the very youngest.)

Homeschool
Allowed to teach the truth that God created the family unit starting with one man for one woman for life, and that children are a reward and blessing and were created by God with His Image stamped on them. Family is strengthened and promoted and even cherished. Sexual education is guided sensitively by the parents as they deem fit.

Public School
Teaches children to tolerate all things except Christianity; prayer is banned; the Ten Commandments are banned; God is banned.

Homeschool
We can teach the Ten Commandments; the Golden Rule; loving your neighbor; prayer, missions, community involvement, and Bible Study. God is alive and well in our homes.

Public School
Peer pressure is causing children to conform to this world and leave the faith of their fathers (even those children raised in evangelical homes).

Homeschool
A loving and safe environment, free from worldly pressures and vain philosophies, providing opportunities for lifelong learning and the retention of their faith.

If you want to know the best place to teach your children, ask yourself which environment teaches Truth, and then keep those children Home Where They Belong.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

War Against Boys

 

I was reading a really great blog post over at the Ladies Against Feminism blog. In the post they talk about the cultural war on boys in the classroom and what we can do to stop it. The video that they share is great, but as they stated, the one thing the video leaves out is homeschooling. We can do everything in our power to fight against the system that is trying to destroy our boys – destroy our families – but as long as you are handing your children over to the system that is set up to brainwash and indoctrinate them, it is almost futile to continue to fight against it while still participating in it.

That is exactly what the *Cultural Marxists want! They want us to feel as if we are fighting against something, and yet at the same time they are brainwashing us into handing our children over to them willingly!!! We have got to wake up! We are running out of time and the longer we remain in our state of slumber, the worse things are going to get. We need to consider the future for our children and our grandchildren.

The first step in protecting our boys from the anti-masculine culture that we live in, is to homeschool them. As many of you know from reading my previous posts, I am a huge proponent of homeschooling. I believe that homeschooling is not only our biblical mandate and the calling of God for every single Christian parent, but I also believe that it is a necessity in the culture that we live in today. We are not only dealing with the moral and biblical issues of having someone else raise our children but we are dealing with something much more devious and evil.

We live in a culture that hates men, a culture and a people who will do anything in their power to keep our boys from growing up into the biblical men that they are called to be.War Against Boys A culture that says that our boys should be encouraged, if not forced in some places, to play with dolls and other “girly” toys rather than be allowed to play with trucks, guns and action figures like they already have predisposition to love.

 

A culture that not only is okay with, but encourages our young boys to play around with their gender, dressing up like a woman is okay if you want to and if you are made to feel bad about it, well just tell dad and maybe he will put on a skirt to support you.
A culture where if a man acts like a gentleman he is labeled a chauvinist who thinks women are incompetent and lower than himself.

An article was shared in USA TODAY where they have released a new Survey that shows that 60% of American’s view gender lines as blurred! WHAT?!?! What has happened to our Country? I ask that as a rhetorical question, because we already know WHAT happened, we just need to figure out HOW to change it. How can we expect our sons (and daughters) to be safe under the leadership and guidance of the very people who are set out to destroy them? The very people putting in place the curriculum for the public school system and the rules and regulations that our sons are to be guided under there?

Dad wears skirt No, the first step in fighting against the War on Boys is not making changes to the system that is already rigged to fail, the first step is taking our boys back! To make the beginning steps to smashing Cultural Marxism, we need to start by pushing the government and every entity associated with the destruction of our families, as far out of our lives as possible. We need to begin to train, teach and disciple our OWN children and not send them off to the very people we are seeking to take down.

Adolph Hitler once said a very profound thing, “He alone who controls the youth, gains the future.” If we allow them to continue to brainwash and indoctrinate our children, we are destining our Country for failure. They have set out with a plan for destruction and one of the main goals for that destruction is to tear down the family unit and whatever holds it together. If they can take hold of our children, then we are giving them one of the largest tools that they need to tear our families apart. STOP willingly giving in. Stand up and take responsibility for your children! Don’t allow them to do what it is they desire to do.

So yes, I do agree that there is a war on boys, especially in the classroom setting where so much time is spent. I do believe that we need to specialize our schooling to meet the needs and desires that God has placed within our sons and I do believe that has a very important place. But before we can do any of that, we need to take our sons back. They need to be at home, safely with us so that we can train them in what they need to know to go out and battle the evils of this world.

Man Up How can we expect them to live any differently, to be equipped any differently when we are shipping them off for 8-9 hours per day to be trained by those who are fundamentally against all that we stand for? The Cultural Marxists WANT you to believe that you can train your children in the few hours a week that you see them, but that is far from true. Those few hours per week are hardly going to trump the hours upon hours that they are spoon fed lies, propaganda and garbage.

Lets think about our boys and lets be concerned enough about them, their future and their lives in service to God that we stand up and make the decision to keep them at home to teach, train and disciple.

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” ~ Deuteronomy 11:18-19

 

*See this link for more information about cultural marxism.

Jim Elliot

THE SOUL SATISFIED IN CHRIST
by Charles Spurgeon

He who delights in the possession of the Lord Jesus has all that
heart can wish. As for ‘created things’, they are like shallow and
deceitful brooks– they fail to supply our needs, much less our
wishes. “The bed of earthly enjoyment is shorter than that a man
can stretch himself on it, and the covering narrower than that he
can wrap himself in it.”

But in Jesus there is room for imagination’s utmost stretch
and widest range. When Jesus is enjoyed, He puts a fullness
into all other mercies.

The creature without Christ is an empty thing,
a lamp without oil, a bone without marrow.
But when Christ is present our cup runs over,
and we eat bread to the full.

A dinner of herbs, when we have communion with Him,
is as rich a feast as a stalled ox; and our narrow cot
is as noble a mansion as the great house of the wealthy.

Go not abroad, you hungry wishes of my soul– stay at home,
and feast on Jesus; for abroad you must starve, since all other
beloveds are empty and undesirable. Stay with Christ, and eat
that which is good, and delight yourself in fatness.

John Calvin - Idol Factory

God is most Glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him 

John Piper 

Lately these are the questions that have been resonating over and over again in my head; Am I truly satified in Christ ? Is He enough ? If I were to lose everything and everyone around me, would I still have joy and peace, knowing that Christ is All that I really need ? 

I must admit that it is hard to examine myself this way, to look at my deepest motives, fears, desires; and see if God really is all that lies there, or if I am  substituting an idol in His place. God has been showing me in a LOT of different ways over the past year that I have huge idols that have taken His place, and all while showing me this, He has begun to rip those idols from my clenched fingers. These are idols that are so imbedded in my heart that it is almost as if I bleed as He tears them away. It has been agonizing and the more that He puts me in a place where all I am left at is with Him, the more I try and cling to those things that I have put in His place.

What I have learned, in a slow and painful process, is that if you are truly a child of God, He WILL NOT allow you to remain as you are and He WILL NOT allow you to cling to idols in place of Him. As John Calvin says, our mortal hearts are idol factories, and if left to ourselves, we will create one idol after another for ourselves to cling to. The crazy thing about this, is that those of us who are Christians do this knowing that God is the only one who can truly satisfy us and meet all of our wants and needs. God, as an all loving Father, knows that if left to myself, I would destroy myself entirely. So He has begun the process of leading me to a place in my life where He is all that I have, He and nothing else.

I want to learn to lean on Him apart from anything else, I hate these idols that have taken hold in my life, the ones that have risen up without my even knowing that they were present…and yet at the same time I love these idols and it brings me fear to think about parting with them. I don’t rejoice in that truth…but I have to be honest with myself. I hate the sin that I see there, but my flesh at the same time screams out to have it left alone, to be able to hold onto these idols that I have kept so close, so hidden, for so long. I truly feel like Paul in these moments as I battle within myself to kill these idols and to give everything I am completely over to God. I find myself screaming out as Paul did in Romans 7, on my knees and in tears so many times reading over this scripture and praying that God would change my heart and take away this wickedness that is still left behind.

“For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

I want to be truly satisfied in Christ. I do not want there to be anything between myself and Him, I want these idols torn to the ground, demolished, gone forever. I want to be filled with Him and only with Him, so that I can grow to be more like Christ, to live in a manner pleasing to Him, in a manner that would glorify Him in all that I think, say and do.

I know that there are those of you reading this who feel the same way, who are in the middle of spiritual warfare with your flesh and with the principalities of darkness. I understand what you are going through, and I want to encourage you to stay faithful to your first love. Fight the good fight and keep your eyes on Him. I know what it is like to struggle and that there will be days when you just want to give into your sin and your idols, but these things are only temporal and He will give us strength to fight against our idols. Beloved, we can see “…that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1:3) so if He has already enabled us with everything that we need to fight against our sin and idols, we need not fear or despair.

I have written this post to First of all, encourage those of you who are currently where I am, so that you can know that you are not alone and that there are brethren out there whom God is growing, molding and testing the same way that He is you. Secondly, I am writing this post in hopes that those of you who have been where we are now can offer hope and encouragement to those who are struggling deeply right now and who need the support and love from the brethren. Last of all, I am writing this for myself. I need to stay focused on Christ in the middle of these daily spiritual, mental and emotional battles that I am going through. I want to make sure that my heart and mind stays focused on Him because I know that just as the Hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” talks about, I am so prone to wander from my Lord and to stray far from Him, that I need to do everything within my power to remain with my eyes fixed upon Him and ONLY upon Him.

My precious beloved brethren, let us make it our top priority to work on tearing down the idols of our hearts this week so that Christ can fill it completely. If you haven’t taken time to examine your hearts, please PLEASE do that. Idols = Sin and Sin = Death and Destruction!! Sit down this week with a pen, a notebook and your Bible and begin to write out what those idols are. Pray, seek His face, dig into Scripture and ask Him to reveal these things to you that are causing separation from Him and that are causing you to be less satisfied in Him and more satisfied in the world. It may not be instantaneously revealed to you, but keep your eyes open this week, look for areas where you are prone to sin. Maybe in your marriage you are clinging to your husband more than God, making your husband your idol and what he thinks of you or wants you to do more important than what God wants. Maybe your idol is your children, you put them before God, making them more of a priority than anything else in your life. Maybe it is your home or your finances or your job. Whatever it may be, keep your eyes open and your heart teachable this week, ask God to reveal these areas that need to be changed and be open to change as He directs you in these areas, because He will.

God desires to bring you closer to Himself and the more teachable you are, the less he has to beat and pound you, the more moldable you are to Him, the easier it will be for Him to mold you into the image of His Son. God will NOT leave you as you are if you are His child, so whether He has to pound you or mold you gently, He will do whatever is necessary because as Philippians 1:6 says;

“I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

I am going to work on really keeping in the forefront of my mind this week, these verses in Hebrews 12:1-4 and I hope that those of you reading this will work on doing the same;

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin” 

I encourage you to write these verses down, tape them to places in your home where you are going to constantly see them throughout the day; your bathroom mirror, the cabinets in your kitchen, your fridge, the corner of your computer. For those of you who are out most of the day, tape them to the dash of your car, make them a screensaver on your cell phone, set your computer or cell phone to send you reminders every few hours throughout the day to read through these verses. Just these small steps can make a huge difference in your attitude throughout the day and your battle with the idols and sin in your heart. Each time you read these verses, pray that God would equip you with strength to stand up for Him and that He would put Christ in front of your eyes so that all you see is Him. We need to bury His Word deep in our hearts and make seeking Him constantly something that becomes like second nature to us.

I encourage you to share with me some of the things that you are struggling with and how I can lift you up in prayer. James 5:16 reminds us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Let me know how this post has helped you and what God is currently doing in your life and how He has or is currently helping you to tear down the idols of your heart.

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I just wanted to announce to my followers (though you may be few! haha! :P) that I am now linking my blog to bloglovin’ :) SO….when you get a chance – go link up with me there!!! Thank you!!!

 

 

Biblical Womanhood

 

The Bible is, and has always been, a revolutionary book. It stands like a coastal rock cliff to resist the surging, crashing waves of cultural change. And there may be no clearer demonstration of the Bible’s immutable word than what it teaches about genuine femininity.

The Bible rightly exalts women against cultures that distort, degrade, and debase them. Many in our society tout the sexual and reproductive liberation of women against the supposed oppressive, outmoded strictures of the Bible. I have to ask, “In what way are women truly free? In what way does our culture honor them?” Sure they can vote; sure they have opportunities to compete in the marketplace. But are they really free? Is their dignity and honor intact?

The Bible is, and has always been, a revolutionary book.It stands like a coastal rock cliff to resist the surging, crashing waves of cultural change.

I contend that women are used and abused more today than at any time in history. Pornography turns women into objects and victims of dirty, cowardly Peeping Toms who leer at them with greedy eyes. Throughout the world, women are traded like animals for sexual slavery. In more “civilized” places, men routinely use women for no-consequence, no-commitment sex only to leave them pregnant, without care and support. Abortion rights groups aid and abet male selfishness and irresponsibility, and they “free” women to murder their unborn children. Women are left alone, emotionally scarred, financially destitute, and experientially guilty, ashamed, and abandoned. Where’s the freedom, dignity, and honor in that?

Modern technological advances have enabled the culture to mainstream the degradation of women like never before; but ancient cultures were no better. Women in pagan societies during biblical times were often treated with little more dignity than animals. Some of the best-known Greek philosophers–considered the brightest minds of their era–taught that women are inferior creatures by nature. Even in the Roman Empire (perhaps the very pinnacle of pre-Christian civilization) women were usually regarded as mere chattel–personal possessions of their husbands or fathers, with hardly any better standing than household slaves. That was vastly different from the Hebrew (and biblical) concepts of marriage as a joint inheritance, and parenthood as a partnership where both father and mother are to be revered and obeyed by the children (Leviticus 19:3).

Pagan religion tended to fuel and encourage the devaluation of women even more. Of course, Greek and Roman mythology had its goddesses (such as Diana and Aphrodite). But don’t imagine for a moment that goddess-worship in any way raised the status of women in society. The opposite was true. Most temples devoted to goddesses were served by sacred prostitutes–priestesses who sold themselves for money, supposing they were performing a religious sacrament. Both the mythology and the practice of pagan religion have usually been overtly demeaning to women. Male pagan deities were capricious and sometimes wantonly misogynistic. Religious ceremonies were often blatantly obscene–including such things as erotic fertility rites, drunken temple orgies, perverted homosexual practices, and in the very worst cases, even human sacrifices.

Contrast all of that, ancient and contemporary, with the Bible. From cover to cover, the Bible exalts women. In fact, it often seems to go out of the way to pay homage to them, to ennoble their roles in society and family, to acknowledge the importance of their influence, and to exalt the virtues of women who were particularly godly examples.

From the very first chapter of the Bible, we are taught that women, like men, bear the stamp of God’s own image (Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2)–men and women were created equal. Women play prominent roles in many key biblical narratives. Wives are seen as venerated partners and cherished companions to their husbands, not merely slaves or pieces of household furniture (Genesis 2:20-24; Proverbs 19:14; Ecclesiastes 9:9). At Sinai, God commanded children to honor both father and mother (Exodus 20:12).

Of course, the Bible teaches divinely ordained role distinctions between men and women–many of which are perfectly evident from the circumstances of creation alone. For example, women have a unique and vital role in childbearing and the nurture of little ones. Women themselves also have a particular need for support and protection, because physically, they are “weaker vessels” (1 Peter 3:7 NKJV). Scripture establishes the proper order in the family and in the church accordingly, assigning the duties of headship and protection in the home to husbands (Ephesians 5:23) and appointing men in the church to the teaching and leadership roles (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

Yet women are by no means marginalized or relegated to any second-class status. The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honor (1 Peter 3:7). Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loves the church–even, if necessary, at the cost of their own lives (Ephesians 5:25-31). The Bible acknowledges and celebrates the priceless value of a virtuous woman (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).

Christianity, born at the intersection of East and West, elevated the status of women to an unprecedented height. Jesus’ disciples included several women (Luke 8:1-3), a practice almost unheard of among the rabbis of His day. Not only that, He encouraged their discipleship by portraying it as something more needful than domestic service (Luke 10:38-42). In fact, Christ’s first recorded, explicit disclosure of His own identity as the true Messiah was made to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). He always treated women with the utmost dignity–even women who might otherwise be regarded as outcasts (Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 7:37-50; John 4:7-27). He blessed their children (Luke 18:15-16), raised their dead (Luke 7:12-15), forgave their sin (Luke 7:44-48), and restored their virtue and honor (John 8:4-11). Thus He exalted the position of womanhood itself.

It is no surprise therefore that women became prominent in the ministry of the early church (Acts 12:12-15; 1 Corinthians 11:11-15). On the day of Pentecost, when the New Testament church was born, women were there with the chief disciples, praying (Acts 1:12-14). Some were renowned for their good deeds (Acts 9:36); others for their hospitality (Acts 12:12; 16:14-15); still others for their understanding of sound doctrine and their spiritual giftedness (Acts 18:26; 21:8-9). John’s second epistle was addressed to a prominent woman in one of the churches under his oversight. Even the apostle Paul, sometimes falsely caricatured by critics of Scripture as a male chauvinist, regularly ministered alongside women (Philippians 4:3). He recognized and applauded their faithfulness and their giftedness (Romans 16:1-6; 2 Timothy 1:5).

Naturally, as Christianity began to influence Western society, the status of women was dramatically improved. One of the early church fathers, Tertullian, wrote a work titled On the Apparel of Women, sometime near the end of the second century. He said pagan women who wore elaborate hair ornaments, immodest clothing, and body decorations had actually been forced by society and fashion to abandon the superior splendor of true femininity. He noted by way of contrast that as the church had grown and the gospel had borne fruit, one of the visible results was the rise of a trend toward modesty in women’s dress and a corresponding elevation of the status of women. He acknowledged that pagan men commonly complained, “Ever since she became a Christian, she walks in poorer garb!” Christian women even became known as “modesty’s priestesses.” But, Tertullian said, as believers who lived under the lordship of Christ, women were spiritually wealthier, more pure, and thus more glorious than the most extravagant women in pagan society. Clothed “with the silk of uprightness, the fine linen of holiness, the purple of modesty,” they elevated feminine virtue to an unprecedented height.

Even the pagans recognized that. Chrysostom, perhaps the most eloquent preacher of the fourth century, recorded that one of his teachers, a pagan philosopher named Libanius, once said: “Heavens! What women you Christians have!” What prompted Libanius’s outburst was hearing how Chrysostom’s mother had remained chaste for more than two decades since becoming a widow at age twenty. As the influence of Christianity was felt more and more, women were less and less vilified or mistreated as objects for the amusement of men. Instead, women began to be honored for their virtue and faith. In fact, Christian women converted out of pagan society were automatically freed from a host of demeaning practices. Emancipated from the public debauchery of temples and theaters (where women were systematically dishonored and devalued), they rose to prominence in home and church, where they were honored and admired for feminine virtues like hospitality, ministry to the sick, the care and nurture of their own families, and the loving labor of their hands (Acts 9:39).

That’s always been the trend. Wherever the gospel has spread, the social, legal, and spiritual status of women has, as a rule, been elevated. When the gospel has been eclipsed (whether by repression, false religion, secularism, humanistic philosophy, or spiritual decay within the church), the status of women has declined accordingly.

Even when secular movements have arisen claiming to be concerned with women’s rights, their efforts have generally been detrimental to the status of women. The feminist movement of our generation, for example, is a case in point. Feminism has devalued and defamed femininity. Natural gender distinctions are usually downplayed, dismissed, despised, or denied. As a result, women are now being sent into combat situations, subjected to grueling physical labor once reserved for men, exposed to all kinds of indignities in the workplace, and otherwise encouraged to act and talk like men. Meanwhile, modern feminists heap scorn on women who want family and household to be their first priorities; in so doing they disparage the role of motherhood, the one calling that is most uniquely and exclusively feminine. The whole message of feminist egalitarianism is that there is really nothing extraordinary about women. That is certainly not the message of Scripture. Scripture honors women as women, and it encourages them to seek honor in a uniquely feminine way (Proverbs 31:10-30).
Scripture never discounts the female intellect, downplays the talents and abilities of women, or discourages the right use of women’s spiritual gifts. But whenever the Bible expressly talks about the marks of an excellent woman, the stress is always on feminine virtue.

The most significant women in Scripture were influential not because of their careers, but because of their character. The message these women collectively give is not about “gender equality”; it’s about true feminine excellence. And that is always exemplified in moral and spiritual qualities rather than by social standing, wealth, or physical appearance.

And that’s setting the record straight. Far from denigrating women, the Bible promotes feminine freedom, dignity, and honor. Scripture paints for every culture the portrait of a truly beautiful woman. True feminine beauty is not about external adornment, “arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel”; real beauty is manifest instead in “the hidden person of the heart … the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV).

Adapted from Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur 

The_Christian_Martyrs_Last_Prayer_by_leon_gerome

 

The following is a short story that I wrote back in 2006. It is fictional and based off of facts and real life events that occurred for many individuals in other countries who stood up to proclaim Christ and live out their faith. As you read through this, my prayer is that you would lift up your hearts to God, praying for those missionaries and peoples in other countries who are persecuted for their faith, and even at times killed for standing up in Christ.

 


                                                                      “Private Svetonius!” the male voice bellowed, awakening from from a fitful slumber. He say up and looked around, disoriented, covered in a cold sweat. His dishwater blonde hair stuck to his forehead in clumps and his tongue drug across the roof of his mouth like sandpaper. Eventually he realized that he had dreamt the voice, but sleep was too hard to find again, it had hidden itself, like a thief in the night. He stood to stretch his legs, wondering what time it was. He reached into the pocket of his trousers for his pocket watch, but realized that they must have taken that too, for it was gone.

He sat back down on the musty smelling mattress and looked around, he had already committed the room layout to memory. It was a long narrow room, having cold steel walls and a cement floor. The door was made of thick metal, with a small window at the top, one he guessed to be no more than a foot wide and six inches in height. The window was just big enough to illuminate the dirt covered floors and the thick cobwebs in his cell. He buried his head in his hand, and did the only two things that there were to do…pray and think.

Ivan Svetonius joined the soviet army when he turned eighteen, longing for adventure, excited to leave behind the boring lifestyle of a farm boy. What he found was more than freedom, more than adventure, he found a Savior who loved him more than life, who offered freedom from sin and this world, adventure as he sought to know Him more and deeper, and a sense of belonging that he had never known before. This Savior had given His life for Ivan and in return, Ivan promised Christ that if given the opportunity he would give his life for Christ as well. He didn’t realize just how much this would change his career in the Soviet Army. The communist were endlessly calling him to headquarters for talks, attempting to “re-educate” him, to talk him out of his faith in Christ.

The last talk that he had was with Major Moisyeu, though Ivan had been interrogated again and again and again by many others, he had never backed down from his faith in Christ. still Moisyeu was certain that he could solve Ivan’s “problem.”

“Svetonius, have you forgotten to whom you work for ?” questioned Moisyeu.

“No, sir. I work for the Soviet Army.” replied Ivan, “but I serve my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that takes priority over all else.”

“Oh, is that right ? Is this Jesus the one paying you ? Does He outrank even me ?”

“Yes, sir. My Lord does outrank you, for He is the One who dies to pay for my sins. Not to be disrespectful, but I’ve yet to see you do that for me, or anyone else for that matter. And though He is not paying me currently, my riches are being laid up in heaven even as we speak.”

“I am familiar with the Christian teachings, Svetonius, but what does that have to do with being a soldier ? Do you disagree with the teachings of the glorious red army ?”

“No, Sir.”

“But yet you’ll not accept the principles of scientific atheism upon which our entire Soviet State and Army are based ?”

“I cannot accept what I know to be untrue. I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say that there is no God. I cannot agree with this principle. “

“Svetonius, no one can prove the existence of God. Not even priests and pastors agree on this.”

“Sir, they speak of not being able to prove God, but there is no question about knowing Him. I speak with His daily. He is with me in this very room, even as we now speak.”

“So God talks to you ? Hump! I am sorry Svetonius, but your persistence will do nothing for you. However, I have found that men like you often come to your senses with a little discipline.” Major Moisyeu said this while shaking his head in frustration. “You will be placed into a solitary cell for the evening, after taps are played. You will remain in there until you are willing to reconsider all of this talk of gods and heaven.

I hope that you will quickly reconsider and agree to be sensible in this matter. Tomorrow we will plan together for your political “re-education.” You are dismissed”  Moisyeu finished by raising his hand and waving Ivan away.

Moisyeu had expected Ivan to hesitate, to reconsider, to see some sense of doubt or fear in his eyes. Instead, Ivan only nodded his head, squared his shoulders, and walked quietly to the door without a single word.

“Private Svetonius!”

When the soldier turned around, Moisyeu did not see one line of worry, anger or fear on his face. This both surprised and shocked the older man.

“Do not attend dinner with the rest of the men. You are not to eat until further commanded. That is all.”

That night, after the bugle sounded, Ivan was transported to his cell, where he now remained. Ivan began to pray.

“Lord, I place my life in your hands. My heart I give You, Lord, eagerly and entirely. Please take it and make what You will out of it. If it be Your will, help me to make the most of my time here…..” For hours he prayed. Finally, he heard the click of the thick door opening. Light flooded into the room, cutting through the heavy darkness like a knife. Ivan rose, squinting, trying to make out the figure who was standing in the doorway.

“Private Svetonius!” A deep male voice bellowed, a voice that Ivan recognized as Colonel Rouchefoucaulds.

The Colonel walked a little closer, and as Ivan’s eyes adjusted to the light, he could make out the stern features that made up the man’s face. He was middle aged with close cut dark hair, and thick dark eyebrows that made his eyes seem even smaller and more daunting. Ivan was much taller than the man, but the Colonel was built stockier and held himself with pride.

“Have you changed your mind Svetonius ? Are you ready to reconsider this “god” of yours ?”  the Colonel clenched his lips tightly together and furrowed his brows even lower over his eyes as he glared up at Ivan.

“As much as I would love minor comforts, I cannot and will not disown my Savior. No man putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God. I will never agree to remain silent about my Lord God. “

“Svetonius, I didn’t want to do this,” growled Rouchefoucaulds turning away from Ivan, “but Moisyeu warned me that you might be this stubborn. Tonight you will be transported to a refrigerated cell, where you will remain for twenty-four hours. If by the end of that time you still are not cooperative, the temperature will slowly be dropped until you do decide to cooperate.”

Rouchefoucaulds began to walk out of the room, then paused and turned back to Ivan.

“Oh, and Svetonius, you are to obey that order in summer uniform. That is all.”

After he left, Ivan sat back down on the edge of the worn out mattress, and began to pray again. This time more fervently than ever before. A bright light suddenly filled the room and as he looked up, he saw and Angel of the Lord in front of him, bright and powerful. Ivan’s heart filled with joy and fear.

“Do not be afraid Ivan, for you have found favor with God. The Lord of Hosts sent me to tell you, ‘I am with you, so do not fear them. As they persecuted me, they also persecute you. But be of great courage for I am with you, even to the grace. Take heart, I will keep you strong to the end.’ “

Then, just as quickly as he appeared, the Angel was gone again, leaving Ivan again in the dark, but his joy was like a fire within him, so unspeakable that he could hardly move. The only thing that Ivan could do was to fall on his face on the cold cement floor and praise God. That was where he was found that evening when the guards came to transport him to his new cell.

This new cell was much different than his previous one. As Ivan stood in the dark and cold cell, he could feel the wind from the vent above the door. Exploring the cell, he found only cold steel walls and a freezing cement floor. He wondered how long he could stay alive in this room. He felt weak and dizzy from lack of food. He was so tired, but it was too cold to sleep. It was too cold in this room to do anything at all except pace back and forth to try and stay warm. He tried sitting on the floor, but it was unbearably cold, and he began to realize that pacing back and forth only brought him closer to the vent above the door. Finally, he found that the only position that would work was to stand leaning his forehead against the wall.

Yet through this all, Ivan’s heart stayed light. He was full of joy and peace and he was completely on fire for the Lord.

For the next two years this was Ivan’s life. He was transported from one cell to another and the torture only worsened. At times he was beaten so badly that he was hardly recognizable, and there was once that he was hung upside down on a ceiling fan by his feet and left there for days until he passed out. There were other times when he would be clothed in a special rubber suit and air would be pumped in until he could hardly breathe. Still another attempt to break his faith, he was sat in a room with a few men who pulled out both his fingernails and toenails one by one.

But through all of this torture a miracle occurred, when the torture was at it’s worst, Ivan began to love his torturers. He pictured each torturer as a future Apostle Paul and in his jailers he saw the potential to be like the jailer in Philippi who became a convert. He dreamt of the day when he would be asked, “What must I do to be saved ?”

Finally, when he was about twenty-one, Ivan realized that his time on earth was coming to an end. He knew that communist Russia was not going to put up with him much longer. He was too much of a nuisance and already hundreds of soldiers had come to Christ while witnessing the strong faith that Ivan had in Christ.

Ivan was transported to a solitary cell, where he awaited yet another interrogation. He spent his time in prayer to God, praying that he would be equipped with the right words to speak. He also prayed for every soldier he knew or knew of, he prayed for his family, friends, and most of all, for his tortures. It was finally announced to him that Major Moisyeu was waiting for him in the interrogation room. When Ivan was seated, Moisyeu began to talk.

“Svetonius, we have given you chance after chance to become ‘re-educated’ to our political background, but instead you have become stubborn and have decided that you will not follow our ways. No amount of discipline we have shown you has proven otherwise. But to show you my mercy, I will allow you one last chance to see my mercy, I will ask you again, will you renounce this so called ‘god’ of yours and these simple ideas, or will you pay the ultimate price ?”

Ivan raised his eyes to meet those of Moisyeu, and did the last thing that Moisyeu expected, he smiled, joy shining across his rugged and bruised face.

“Sir, God is my hope and my refuge, my strength, what He wills, I will. I do not care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the word that the Lord Jesus Christ gave me to do – to serve Him with my whole heart, soul and mind, to bring glory to Him in every possible circumstance and to tell as many as possible about Him. I have done all of those things. “

Moisyeu stared at Ivan for a moment, confused. His brow creased in frustration, not understanding how such a young man could give his life for something that he didn’t even see.

“Very well, Svetonius. The choice was yours. Tomorrow you are sentenced to execution by fire. I want you to be an example to everyone in this Army that this is the result of someone who dares disobey the Glorious Red Army.”

Moisyeu stood to leave, then turned back to Ivan and said, “You have strong perseverance, Svetonius. Too bad you let it go to waste on such foolish notions as these. You would have made one heck of a Soldier, son.”  And with that, he turned and left.

That night, Ivan spent his time in prayer, praying for strength for the next day, but also praising God for His gift of words and the strength to stand firm in Christ, even when presented with the knowledge that he was going to die.

The room suddenly filled with a bright light that almost blinded Ivan. He recognized the Angel of the Lord from years before, standing in front of him. For what seemed like hours he and Ivan just stared at each other, and then Ivan fell to the floor on his face. Finally, the Angel spoke;

“I come bringing a message from the Lord of Hosts. ‘You are pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. I am with you, I will keep you strong to the end. I will you my perfect peace, and joy will fill your soul. My praises will be on your lips to the end. I am with you, do not fear.”

After a long while, Ivan finally lifted his face from the floor and looked around. The Angel was now gone, but Ivan’s heart was full of joy and peace. He began to worship God and praise His Name. The next morning the executioners found Ivan on his face on the floor, hands in the air, praising singing and praising God.

As the guards led Ivan out, everyone there, including fellow Soldier, followed to witness the execution. some were there to cheer, others there to offer support and encouragement. When he reached the place of his execution, he knelt down and began to pray Psalm 31 and Psalm 51, ending with, “Into Thy hand, O Lord, I commit my Spirit. Thou has redeemed me, O most good and merciful God!”

He was jerked up onto his feet from his prayers and tied to a stake with wet ropes. Bundles of sticks piled chin high were placed all around him. Given one last chance to renounce Christ, Ivan replied;

“What error should I renounce ? He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet in the grave. Of this I am certain, that no one has ever died who was not destined by God to do so. Why should I hesitate to go this way when this is the way that God came to me ? For the Gospel I am here with a cheerful disposition and courage, ready to suffer death. What I told with my lips, I am ready to seal with my blood.”

As the fire was lit, Ivan Svetonius began to sing a hymn with such a loud voice that he could be heard over the crackling of the fire. “He shall present my soul unblemished and complete before the glory of His face, with joys divinely great”

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