Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Do you use the tools that are given to you?

by Katherine Loop

Day after day, John had been diligently working on building a house. Although he felt discouraged, he kept working. . .and working. His father had given him this assignment, and he wanted to do his best.

Yet, strange as it may sound, John worked without good tools. While John had many tools he could have used, he seemed intent on using a hammer he'd crafted out of a stone. His hands were raw from trying to split and nail wood without proper equipment.

Though it may sound stranger still, John apparently worked without consulting his father's blueprint. The house looked strangely lopsided, testifying to John's tendency to work wherever it seemed best that day, instead of according to a plan.

"Say, John, what are you doing?" The question came from Michael, one of John's neighbors.

"Just building," John replied, hardly looking up from his work.

"I can see that," Michael consented. "But with what are you building, John? Didn't your father give you tools? Why aren't you using them?"

John paused for a moment to process this question. It was true: His father had given him tools to help him build. And, for that matter, his father had given him a blueprint. But John hadn't paid much attention to the things he had been given by his father. Oh, to be sure, he looked at them everyday. He admired their beauty. He even talked about them and their uses at his local building society. But when it came to the daily chores of building, he'd just set about it the same way everyone in his town did: coping the best he could with tools of his own making, and choosing where to build according to what made the most sense.

After waiting for a minute for a reply, Michael continued, "John, don't you realize how valuable a gift your father has given you? He gave you all the equipment you need. Here you are, struggling and scraping on your own, when your father has given you a gift beyond description you can use right here in the middle of this rubble. The blueprint you left home--it contains his very words and thoughts. Why would you ever set out to work without it?"

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29 (KJV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

State agency considers lobbying regulations for websites and blogs

Right now this is a WA state issue. Please contact your representatives and let them know that you want to maintain your freedom of speech without any intrusion from the government; local, state or federal.

Lake Stevens Journal
Do you maintain a personal blog or website? Beware—government regulators may come knocking.

The Internet has become the preferred venue for people to voice opinions about every conceivable subject. Few issues generate as much heat as politics and legislation.

Washington State is now eying Internet communications as a field for new regulation. The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), the state campaign finance agency, is discussing guidelines for what it calls “Internet lobbying.” Lobbying can consist of someone who is paid to influence legislation and interact with legislators on a regular basis. But the PDC also regulates “grassroots lobbying”—when a person or group urges the general public to contact their legislators.

The PDC recently announced the proposal to clarify that lobbying regulations apply to Internet activity. In order to stimulate discussion, several questions were distributed:

• Are Web sites established to provide lobbying information and to encourage others to lobby for or against a particular bill or rule engaged in a reportable activity?

• Are expenditures related to grass-roots lobbying directed to the public via e-mail reportable?

• Are lobbying postings and responses on blogs reportable?• Are funds provided to “tip jars” (donation links) on lobbying blogs reportable?

Are funds provided to "tip jars" (donation links) on lobbying blogs reportable?

On Dec. 4, the PDC held a meeting to review the proposed regulations. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation joined others in urging caution because of free speech considerations. The Washington Constitution says: “Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.” Many individuals use the Internet to exercise their democratic rights. They voice their opinions and contact their legislators. Many bloggers serve a “citizen journalist” function, reporting stories not covered by the mainstream media.

The proposed regulations could have the unintended consequence of stifling legitimate citizen speech. Suppose a person living in Spokane blogs about the legislative session, but hears that she might be classified as a lobbyist. Rather than running the risk she might simply shut the blog down. Or consider a Seattle sports blogger who comments on a proposal for a publicly-financed stadium. Is he a lobbyist?

Regulators point out that “these guidelines would help bloggers determine whether their actions are permitted.” But private individuals shouldn’t have to review agency regulations to reassure themselves that they can speak out about a public policy issue!

Also, with rapid developments on the Internet, the PDC is aiming at a moving target. While the guidelines dealt with blogs and e-mail, there is no mention of live webcasts, instant messaging, micro-blogging sites like Twitter, phone text messages, and a host of other communication tools used every day.

The PDC could offer all the clarification needed by simply stating: “Activities that are reportable as lobbying do not enjoy an Internet loophole.”

After discussing the issue at its December 4 meeting, the PDC tabled the proposal. Two commissioners (Ken Schellberg and Dave Seabrook) favored adopting the guidelines, while two (Jim Clements and Jane Noland) felt there was no problem, and wanted more time to consider the issue. The fifth commissioner wasn’t present, so the issue stalled.

Make no mistake, however. This issue will surface again. Whatever action the Public Disclosure Commission takes, it should respect the paramount right of individuals to express their views on all topics.

Michael Reitz is general counsel of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a free-market policy institute in Olympia

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The World's Smallest Art Work

Click on this link and watch the most amazing art you have ever seen. This man is amazing. It just goes to show you don't need a college of even high school education to make something of yourself.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

We pray that you had a wonderful time with your family, yesterday, as you celebrated the birthday of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We had a wonderful surprise...our oldest daughter and son-in-law showed up on Christmas eve and spent Christmas day and just left today. We enjoyed having all of our children around us. We never know when it will happen again.

We are looking forward to the new year and what it holds for us. We know that God is already in 2009 and knows what will occur. We leave the future in His Hands and rest in His love today.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Digital Penmenship In An Age of Incoherence

Here is a wonderful article for those of you who are annoyed by the "illiteracy" that is being caused by the modes of communication these days.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Woman's Health Issue

by Mrs. Parunak

In the twentieth century, society undertook a vast experiment. Women sought to free themselves from the pain, the work, the exhaustion of big families. They took “control” of their biological systems, and in the process, they put all their female organs on the shelf, refusing to breastfeed their children, and even refusing to bear those children in the first place, with the exception of one, or maybe two, when the timing was just right. Later, the small family philosophy was reinforced by the “Population Bomb” scare of the seventies, leading many women to think that having a large family was simply irresponsible. It was the century of birth control and formula feeding, when motherhood was placed in the hands of science, and women were liberated from the chains of their own biology.

But then, after a while, disturbing things began to surface. We discovered that science had not done such a good job at feeding our children. Year after year, new research came out on the miraculous nature of human milk, and slowly the pendulum swung back as more and more women returned to breastfeeding as the very best beginning they could give their babies.

Yet, the other part of the experiment, the part about refusing to bear those babies in the first place, has remained for the most part unquestioned. Sure, there have been a few “religious nuts” here and there who’ve preached that the Bible teaches that children are a blessing, but mainstream science never seemed to back up the idea.

Until now.

What’s going on, why the turn away from such a treasured idea as birth control? Well, to be blunt, women are dying. Those female organs we put on the shelf turned out not to have quite the shelf life we had assumed. They started to fall apart, victims of cancer. Breast cancer rates are soaring. A 2002 article in New Scientist proclaimed that modern women in the UK were facing breast cancer rates as high as those of childless nuns in the nineteenth century and said,

Western women could reduce their breast cancer risk by nearly 60 per cent if they returned to pre-industrial levels of fertility and breastfeeding….For each child a woman has, her risk of the disease declines by 7.0 per cent. On top of this, for every year that she breast feeds, her risk declines by 4.3 per cent.

Birth control is a strange issue. Like breastfeeding, it’s a matter of health. And for many women, it involves putting chemicals into their bodies, which ought to make us wary enough to talk a lot about it. But it also has to do with marital intimacy, and the highly personal and emotionally charged questions of family size and the timing of births, and because of that, there’s a general reticence to discuss it, a squeamish, hush hush feeling of “whatever you and your husband decide must be fine for you.”

But here and there, I’ve come across these alarming articles, tidbits of indicting information that have led me to the conclusion that birth control is not good for you. I’m of the quiver-full mindset, but I’ll save those “religious nut,” Biblical arguments on the blessings of children for another post. Today, I really just want to share what I’ve learned from a purely health related perspective, the kind of information that should be readily available for everyone to weigh whether or not they’re open to having as many children as God gives them.

You see, the choices we make for how we use our bodies, what we put into them, what we ask them to do day by day, all have an effect on our health. Most of us are used to hearing about how important it is to eat right and exercise. We’re aware of the research that shows that whole grains are better for you than refined flours. We may make the lifestyle choice to buy Wonder bread instead of Aunt Millie’s 100% whole wheat, but at least we don’t get offended at the idea that it should be an informed decision. Same for choosing not to exercise. When you choose not to exercise, you are choosing to put your health at risk. And it’s time we got over the squeamishness and were willing to talk about the fact that when you choose not to have children, you are also choosing to put your health at risk.

So how does this work? Why would a “return to pre-industrial fertility” help save women’s lives? Why is it that any decrease in childbearing, or postponement of childbearing increases your breast cancer risk? It’s because estrogen itself is a carcinogen. Every month a woman has a menstrual cycle, she is exposing herself to estrogen. That’s dangerous any time it happens, but it’s worse if she hasn’t had a full term pregnancy yet. This is why delaying childbearing “until you and your husband have gotten to know each other,” or “until you get your career established,” is actually risky business. The earlier you have your first baby, the lower your breast cancer risk. According to Daniel B. Kopans, M.D., Director of the Breast Imaging Center at Massachusetts General Hospital,

…a woman who has her first full-term pregnancy by the age of 18 has about one-third the risk of developing breast cancer as a woman who has her first full-term pregnancy after age 30.

When a girl reaches puberty, her breasts start to develop, but they don’t actually finish developing until she begins making milk for her first baby. The immature breasts of a woman who has not yet gone through pregnancy and breastfeeding are composed of type 1 and 2 lobules. (A lobule is a milk duct and several milk producing glands around it.) In fact, 70% of this woman’s breast tissue is type 1. Type 1 lobules are the most susceptible to breast cancer. 80% of breast cancers are formed in Type 1 lobules. 10% form in type 2 lobules. When women reach the last eight weeks of their first full term pregnancy, at least 70% of their breast tissue matures to type 3 lobules, and then when they begin nursing, their breasts fill with milk and become type 4 lobules. Type 3 and 4 lobules are cancer resistant. The sooner a woman’s breast tissue matures to type 3 and 4 lobules, the safer she will be from breast cancer because she will have exposed her cancer-vulnerable, immature breasts to fewer menstrual cycles, and therefore fewer onslaughts of estrogen. And the more babies she has, the more lobules will mature. (For more information, click here and read the excellent FAQ.)

But not only do many women delay and/or decrease childbearing, they do so through hormonal contraception (like the Pill), which contains steroidal estrogen. And while it is claimed that estrogen given with progesterone (as it always is in hormonal birth control) is not dangerous, there have been numerous studies linking hormonal contraception with increased breast cancer risk. A Mayo clinic meta-analysis of 23 studies found that 21implied increased risk, and combining the studies gave an estimated 44% increase in pre-menopausal breast cancer risk in women who used the Pill before their first full term pregnancy. The World Health Organization, in its own studies, found the risk to be slightly lower (24%), but still high enough to be scary, to me anyway.

Is it possible that we’re killing ourselves, dying to avoid a large family?

Obviously there are many, many women who struggle with fertility issues, who actually cannot have more children. But this should not stop us from sharing the information on the risks of choosing not to let natural fertility take its course any more than the fact that there are people with medical conditions which prevent them from exercising should stop us from declaring the benefits of exercise for the rest of us. For most human beings, exercise is necessary for good health, and choosing not to exercise because it’s not the lifestyle you want is going to come with health risks. No one minds if we say this. We need to come to the point of being willing to tell the truth about birth control, too. It was a bad experiment. God designed women’s bodies, not for years and years of monthly cycles, but for pregnancy and breastfeeding. And choosing not to have children because it isn’t the lifestyle you want is going to come with health risks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Seat of the Scornful

by RC Sproul Jr.

There may be nothing more soul damaging about the whole postmodern thing than its snarkiness. Sure, post-modern epistemology is immediately and obviously stupid, so much so that not even they believe it. No one believes it true that there is no truth. But this attitude, this mood, this posture, where we’re all too cool to care about anything, where sincerity is the high crime, that’s bad news. It’s corrosive, destructive, and likely lurking in your heart. (One of my favorite titles for something I wrote was a piece for Every Thought Captive touching on this theme called “The Impertinence of Being Earnest.”)

As I write it is snowing outside. Snow is one of my great joys. It is, as I have described before, liquid manna. It is God behaving as a grand Tom Bombadil, whistling and singing as He walks across the globe, tossing snow as fairy dust out of His pockets, for the sheer extravagant delight of it. This is what the scornful miss. This is how our sophistication poisons joy. The modernist sees snow as a problem to be solved. The postmodern can’t even see the snow.

Snow was a prominent part of my childhood, growing up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania . I wrote of its glory first when writing a friend from my childhood a letter. She was, at the time, studying art at a university. As a girl she had been my next door neighbor, and had shared in the joy of being raised in the context of a covenant community, at the old Ligonier Valley Study Center . I waxed eloquent about those blessings, those precious memories of shared life. She wrote back, explaining how utterly embarrassed she had been when, reading my letter, those memories reduced her to tears, right in front of her friends. I wrote her once more, and explained that if she had any hope of being an artist, she must aspire to beauty. And beauty cannot survive scorn. If she had not the courage to enter into beauty, she would never be able to capture it on canvas.

The Psalmist promises that he will not sit in the seat of the scornful. We, however, having drunk deep from the world around us, are ashamed of sincerity, embarrassed by earnestness. We would rather argue over the nature of beauty than to be carried away with it. We would rather complain about shoveling snow than make angels in the snow. We would rather be thought of as worldly than be thought of as uncool. We would, because God is true and every man a liar, rather not be the blessed man who does not sit in the seat of the scornful.

There is, according to God’s Word, blessing for the earnest. There is delight for those brave enough to delight. If we would put away such foolishness, we have the promise, the unassailable promise that we will bring forth fruit in its season, that we shall prosper. If we would no longer heed the counsel of the ungodly, if we would instead delight in the law of God, He will bless us. If not, the way of the ungodly will perish. Go play in the snow, not ironically, but sincerely. Blessing will come.

How Could You Celebrate Christmas Differently?

Watch this video to see how you could change the way you celebrate Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Do Our Children Belong to Us or the Government?

A Letter from Michael Farris,
President of

Dear Friend of Parental Rights,

I was in the United States Senate this past week meeting with lawyers for a Senate office. They told me directly what I have been hearing indirectly on a regular basis ever since the election.

Those who want to change family policy in America to comply with international law are preparing a full-scale effort to seek ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child during this next Congress. Barbara Boxer recently told a planning group that they intend to use children’s health care as leverage to seek ratification of this UN children’s rights treaty.

Please link to our website to see a succinct summary of the problems with this UN treaty.

The strength of their forces has been greatly increased with the addition of Hillary Clinton as the nominee for Secretary of State. She will have direct control over the submission of this treaty to the Senate and will acquire the authority under international law to sign any other treaty on any subject.

Hillary Clinton was the person who made the announcement for the Convention on the Rights of the Child when her husband’s administration signed the treaty. Seeking its ratification is a lifelong dream for her.

Our situation is grim if we were to look only at the position of the elected officials.

However, recent post-election polling demonstrates that almost 70% of Americans do not believe that the use of international law in American courts on such matters is appropriate. Less than 20% favor the use of international law. (The rest are undecided). Virtually every sub-group in America opposes this kind of use of international law.

America is on our side. However, we have to be able to get the word out to help people hear the truth about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Our proposed Parental Rights Amendment will permanently stop this treaty. So we have a one-two punch planned for the internationalists.

First, we must build a huge grassroots movement of patriotic Americans who believe that good families should be able to raise their children without worrying about compliance with international law.

Second, these same grassroots forces need to convince our elected officials that we are not content with defeating this treaty for today alone. We insist on a permanent solution. We need the Parental Rights Amendment.

I need you to do two things to help this become a reality. First, please send a copy of this letter to everyone you know who believes in parental rights and American patriotism.

Second, we need to raise a war chest to get prepared to launch a massive grassroots campaign. The other side has millions of dollars left in their campaign coffers, and they have the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and all the media waiting to carry their message.

We can win the debate because we have the truth on our side. And we have public opinion. But we won’t win if we can’t reach people.

Will you please make as big a gift as you can to support Here is what they are saying about us. At the hearing which featured Barbara Boxer, one of the speakers said that the people who will oppose this treaty are the “narcissistic sovereignty crowd.” In other words, those who love America first are so guilty of excessive self-love that he describes us as having the mental illness of narcissism.

This is their real heart. Not only do they want international law to control our families. They think that we are mentally ill for loving America.

It is time for those of us who believe in loving our families and loving America to rise up! We will not surrender this country or our children to such people.

Get involved today! The battle is about to begin.

For God, family, and America,
Michael Farris

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

Yesterday Alicia and Hannah cleaned up the living room in preparation for getting our Christmas tree.

It was a perfect day to go looking was snowing!! (I am really glad Ralph decided to get a four-wheel drive.) We set out late morning, as a family, to find the perfect tree. We headed north and drove for about 45 minutes, we found the tree farm that we went to last year. It is about 40 acres of trees. You just roam around until you find the tree you like, then cut it down. We walked around for about 20 or 30 minutes until we found the tree that we wanted. Ralph got the cutting started, Hannah tried her hand at it, next was Alicia's turn, Christopher then finished it off. Ralph and Christopher started carrying it back to the car until a young man in a truck drove up and took the tree back for us, while we finished the walk. It was a beautiful time. We enjoyed each others company and loved the great outdoors that God created for us.

We got the tree home, Ralph and Christopher cleaned it up and then they brought it in the house. The girls put the skirt around it, Ralph and Christopher put the lights on, we all put the ornaments on and then Ralph put the angel on the top. Now we are enjoying the tree and all the lights and ornaments and the two inches of snow that is glistening outside on the lawn.

We are so thankful for this time of year. It reminds us of why we are here and Who put us here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Am What I Am: Growing in Thankfulness

by Stacy McDonald

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain....” (1 Corinthians 15:10, NKJV)

Every once in a while, when I am feeling extra sorry for myself (we all do it sometimes), I wonder why God wasted His time on me. In fact, it seems He still does it. Every day He gives me the grace I need to get through the day. He blesses me with food, shelter, clothing, beautiful children, and a husband who loves me. He has blessed me with health, a lovely home, a wonderful church family, and immeasurable joy. But why? Doesn’t He know who I am?

It happens at night. All my sins, undone projects, fears, childrearing failures, and secret flaws invade my thoughts. I think about the cellar I have wanted to clean out for months now, the garden that just didn’t quite make it this year, and the fact that William still isn’t potty trained! (You didn’t expect me to tell you my worst fears, did you?)

Then I idolize my friends and their families. I think about others who seem to have it all together and I dwell on how I will never measure up—then anxiety comes. I don’t know about you, but I find it impossible to be thankful when I focus on my failures, or when I compare myself to others. In fact, when I focus on myself this way, I am more likely to give up, become depressed, or grow angry and bitter toward those I have idolized. And when I compare myself to others, I either blame myself or I blame others for being so…so perfect! The nerve!

But deep down I know the truth. You know the truth. They are not perfect. Jesus is the only perfect One. Don’t do it! Don’t compare yourself to others. No matter what it looks like from your vantage point, the people in the family you have idolized still sin: the children are not perfect; the mom sometimes says unkind things; the father speaks in sinful anger from time to time; and their family creates messes that have to be cleaned…just like yours.

Regaining a Right Focus

So how do you take your eyes off other people? How do you break the habit of comparing and placing burdens upon yourself—burdens that God didn’t put there? How do you keep from having those late-night anxiety attacks? First, repent. Turn your eyes away from your own works and off your feeble idols and turn them toward your Lord God—the only perfect One!

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” (Psalm 119:37, ESV)

Focus on Jesus and His grace toward you. As I reflect on God’s redeeming power and providence in my life, I stand amazed. I’m so undeserving of His grace and so deserving of His wrath. But then again, it is not about me.

In my weakness, I occasionally forget that God’s mercy toward me has nothing to do with me. It is all about His grace. And I must remember that “His grace toward me was not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:10). This is where I must be in order to truly be thankful for the work He has done in my life and for any blessing He gives me.

God is Faithful, Even When We Are Not

I am reminded of His faithfulness toward me when I recall that He has never left me nor forsaken me—even during those times when I thoroughly deserved it. As unworthy and insignificant as I am, never once did God forget me.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV)

As I sat in a foster home as a baby, awaiting a family to adopt me, God was there with me. He was my Comforter.

When He put it on the heart of my parents to adopt me, even though they knew it would mean many future doctors’ bills, God was caring for me. He was to me a “Father to the fatherless.”

When I endured my first major back surgery at five years old, God guided the surgeon’s hand, keeping me from being forever paralyzed. He was my Healer.

When I cried out to God as a young teen, “Why did you make me this way?” He heard and He answered; though He had not yet opened my ears to hear Him. He was my Creator.

When I left the home of my parents and rebelled against the good things I had been taught, He shielded me from total destruction (1 Corinthians 5:5) and taught me hard lessons I would need later. He was my merciful Protector.

A few years later, God pulled me out of the pit. I didn’t “find Jesus.” He found me—kicking and screaming.

Looking back, I don’t believe I have a “salvation date.” I think it took me a good two years before I surrendered my life to God and truly trusted Jesus for salvation. It was a process. I was spiritually broken, bruised, and bleeding. I was like the bird with a broken wing—trying desperately to fly away on my own (Obadiah 4).

Even when God brought me to my knees, I would have fled if I could, but God had me where He wanted me. As I lay struggling, He bandaged my wounds, healed my hurts, and won my love (Psalm 147:3). He forced me to see me my sinful stubborn heart, and I repented. He forgave me and life finally truly began.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV)

It was during this time that I realized God had been with me all along. His handiwork had been woven into the very fabric of my life—even before I was born.

Although I was called to walk through many painful and difficult things, most of which I brought upon myself, God guided and protected me in the midst of it all. I live with many consequences of a sinful past—consequences that are daily reminders to me of His grace in my life; but God has redeemed it all and is using it for His glory. That is what it is all about—His glory.

His providential hand in my life has never slowed or weakened. There's no way to deny it—God leads and protects us, ordaining our steps from the very beginning.

Before I ever knew Him, He knew me, and set me apart for His own purpose (Jeremiah 1:5). Every one of His children is set apart in this same way. How awesome is that?

Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving

“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, NKJV)

And every one of us, each of His children, is a work in progress. We may be in different places on the path of sanctification, but we are to be one in Christ, as a testimony of God’s Truth to the world (John 17:22-23).

If we rely on our own miserable works or blind ourselves by idolizing the imagined “perfect” works of others, we will never be thankful, only hopeless and covetous.

Remember, by God’s grace, we are what we are. He has redeemed our past; He is sanctifying us now; and He has secured our future. His grace toward us is not in vain. For that, we should all give Him thanks and praise.

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:8-9, NKJV)

Copyright 2008 Homeschooling Today magazine, November/December 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let's Forget About Ourselves

This time of the year I think it is a great idea to sing this song and just forget about ourselves and worship the One who gave us this season.

Words and Music by Bruce Ballinger

We Have Come Into His House And Gathered In His Name
To Worship Him;
We Have Come Into His House And Gathered In His Name
To Worship Him;
We Have Come Into His House And Gathered In His Name
To Worship Christ The Lord;
Worship Him, Jesus Christ The Lord.

Let’s Forget About Ourselves And Concentrate On Him,
And Worship Him.
Let’s Forget About Ourselves And Concentrate On Him,
And Worship Him.
Let’s Forget About Ourselves And Concentrate On Him,
And Worship Christ The Lord.
Worship Him, Jesus Christ The Lord.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hospitality on the Tongue

by Bethany Hudson
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness." (Proverbs 31:26)

As with so many virtues, hospitality begins in the home. And, not just when guests turn up. Hospitality begins with the family. Are you always ready with a freshly baked pie or batch of cookies for your weekly bible study? Try treating your family to the same delights. Do you light scented candles when your girlfriends come over for the evening? Maybe your family would feel appreciated if you made such an effort for them on a dreary night. Do you always find kind words to offer to that "difficult" someone at church? When's the last time you bit your tongue around your husband or kids when you wanted to give them a piece of your mind? You see where I'm going with this.

Your family ought to be the primary recipients of your ministry of hospitality. God has entrusted you with the especial care of your husband and children (or eldery parents or in-laws or whoever else may dwell within the four walls of the place you call home). It is always important, as Christians, to reach out to guests, neighbors, strangers--but never to the neglect of those nearest and dearest. Additionally, it's infinitely easier to serve those guests and neighbors and strangers with skill, ease, and a generous heart when we gain through praciticing hospitality on the members of our own families.

I'm not just talking about becoming a good cook or baker through practice in the kitchen each day, though practice does make...well, if not perfect, then certainly better. I'm not talking about having a clean house when unexpected visitors stop by because you keep it regularly in order for your family; though who wouldn't want to give up the perennial greeting, "I'm sorry the place is such a mess"? What I'm talking about is the heart of hospitality, the attitude, the discipline. The more we offer hospitality in our thoughts, words, and actions to our family members each hour of each day, the more practiced we will be in offerring a hospitable spirit to others.

One of the primary ways we can cultivate a spirit of hospitality in our homes is with our words. The beginning of Chapter 3 of the Book of James has a lot to tell us about the power of the tongue, namely that it can do as much damage as a forest fire! Jesus Himself takes a similar stance on the power of words to do evil, or at least to reveal that evil which is already present in our hearts:

"Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man...” (Matthew 15:17-20a, emphasis mine)

Here, we find that from the evil of our hearts, evil words are spoken. And, from these evil words, all sorts of sin may follow. Words are powerful. Whoever started the whole "sticks and stones" thing never took a good look at this passage from Matthew. Words can hurt--and not only the ones they are directed at but those who utter them, as well, since wicked words are the utterance of wicked thought and can lead to wicked action.

Incidentally, the most common occurrence of words that "defile a man" in families are often not intended to be evil or even unkind. They are intended to be funny. That's right: sarcasm, jokes, name calling, teasing. These things may not be malicious, but they proceed from evil thoughts--no that's not too strong a term--and they can lead to dischord and sin within a family.

I'll never forget an incident from my youth. My parents and I, all of whom consider ourselves to be accomplished wits, were eating lunch with my friend, Jonathan. Now, Jonathan's family was a bit of an oddity to many who knew them. A nice oddity, but an oddity nonetheless. He and his parents and three siblings were so nice. Oddly nice. They never argued that we could tell. They never called each other names. They loved being together--more than they enjoyed being with their friends. When you consider that at the time of this story they ranged from age 13 to age 21, that is pretty remarkable. What teenagers would rather be spending time harmoniously with their siblings than out with their friends--probably making fun of their parents and siblings or in any case ignoring their existence?

Well, Jonathan joined my parents and me for lunch one day. While we were eating, Jona went on a rather long-winded story about his last hiking trip with his family, during which he had obtained a rather impressive walking stick, which the siblings began calling the staff of Moses. After several minutes of non-stop storytelling, my mother exasperatedly, though not wholly unkindly said, "Hey, Moses, enough!" Well, that was it. Jonathan virtually refused to speak for the rest of the meal. Overly-sensitive he may have been (who isn't at 13?), but the root of the matter goes deeper. Jonathan, unused to sarcasm, name calling, and teasing was deeply wounded by my mother's words--words which in our family would have been laughed off...unless, of course, they hit a nerve. I remember being impressed with this realization even at the time. I told myself that that was what I wanted: a home where unkind words, even in jest, were so out-of-place that I would no longer find such sarcastic comments humorous but see them for what they were: the utterance of some part of my sinful nature that is attempting to pass itself off as cute or clever.

My husband also comes from a family of sarcasm slingers, so I can tell you that it is not easy to implement this in our family. But, I have a vision of our thirteen-month-old baby becoming a thirteen-year-old girl and sitting bewildered at a friend's table, wondering why anyone would find it funny to call someone a name or cut them down with a sarcastic joke. Brian and I may have to work to re-sensitize ourselves to the sinfulness of sarcastic language and teasing, but I pray that we will not work in vain, and that as a result, our daughter will never become desensitized to it and never
use it.

With the Psalmist, in the hope of Christ, I pray:

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

Monday, December 8, 2008


by Bill Potter
Last weekend I read about two women who have made history. One was on the front page of the newspaper and is of the “I am woman hear me roar” school. She is known and admired by many for her intelligence and aggressive pursuit of power. She is tough and politically savvy. She will be entering an international arena to help project the policies of the new Presidential administration. No doubt she will eventually get a sentence or two mention in the history books of the 21st century.The other woman was referred to in a brief paragraph in the obituary section, stating only the time of the family gathering at the funeral home in a tiny village in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania. The little lady in the casket was my wife’s mother, who died quietly in her sleep at the age of ninety-four on Thanksgiving Day. She was a warm-hearted and kindly person known for her sense of humor, sturdy work ethic, faithful attendance at the church and love for and dependence upon God. She will not be mentioned in any history books outside of a family genealogy.

My wife’s mother, Irene Cromwell Leapline, was the oldest child in her family and she took the prominent role in raising her five siblings after her father died at the age of 29. In due course, she married a coal miner (yes, I married a coal miner’s daughter), and had ten children. The Depression era was a very difficult time to be raising a large family in a poor rural valley but their faith and hard work sustained them. When she died last week, Grandma Leapline could count not only her ten faithful children (two deceased), but forty-eight grandchildren, seventy -three great-grandchildren, and nine great-great-grandchildren.

Among that number and their spouses are missionaries, preachers, mechanics, schoolteachers, railroad men, computer programmers, soldiers, factory workers, and a host of home-makers. She and her husband Lester who died in 1971, instilled in their children a love for God and the importance of family. They saw themselves as a link in a chain that extends into the future and they instilled Christian values that would withstand the trials and tribulations of life and would be just as sure and true to the generations yet unborn.

It’s hard not to notice the contrast. One is a public figure who grasps at power and prestige like a drowning man to a life preserver, who is admired because she can shoulder her way in a world once deemed to belong only to men. She seeks dominance, perhaps for its own sake. And then there is a modest country woman whose success can be measured in the productive lives of her many descendents and the remembrance by hundreds of her steady and consistent virtue passed on to generations. They were both in the same newspaper. Which one has the real power?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Exodus Mandate

I found this organization through some friends of mine. It is called Exodus Mandate. It is calling all Christian parents to remove their children from the pagan public schools. They have a video called The Call to Dunkirk that is really good to watch. It is quite appropriate, especially after the last article I posted.

Students lie, cheat, steal, but say they're good

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer – Sun Nov 30, 4:27 pm ET

In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.

Educators reacting to the findings questioned any suggestion that today's young people are less honest than previous generations, but several agreed that intensified pressures are prompting many students to cut corners.
"The competition is greater, the pressures on kids have increased dramatically," said Mel Riddle of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "They have opportunities their predecessors didn't have (to cheat). The temptation is greater."

The Josephson Institute, a Los Angeles-based ethics institute, surveyed 29,760 students at 100 randomly selected high schools nationwide, both public and private. All students in the selected schools were given the survey in class; their anonymity was assured.

Michael Josephson, the institute's founder and president, said he was most dismayed by the findings about theft. The survey found that 35 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls — 30 percent overall — acknowledged stealing from a store within the past year. One-fifth said they stole something from a friend; 23 percent said they stole something from a parent or other relative.

"What is the social cost of that — not to mention the implication for the next generation of mortgage brokers?" Josephson remarked in an interview. "In a society drenched with cynicism, young people can look at it and say 'Why shouldn't we? Everyone else does it.'"

Other findings from the survey:
_Cheating in school is rampant and getting worse. Sixty-four percent of students cheated on a test in the past year and 38 percent did so two or more times, up from 60 percent and 35 percent in a 2006 survey.
_Thirty-six percent said they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment, up from 33 percent in 2004.
_Forty-two percent said they sometimes lie to save money — 49 percent of the boys and 36 percent of the girls.

Despite such responses, 93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that
"when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."

Nijmie Dzurinko, executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union, said the findings were not at all reflective of the inner-city students she works with as an advocate for better curriculum and school funding.

"A lot of people like to blame society's problems on young people, without recognizing that young people aren't making the decisions about what's happening in society," said Dzurinko, 32. "They're very easy to scapegoat."
Peter Anderson, principal of Andover High School in Andover, Mass., said he and his colleagues had detected very little cheating on tests or Internet-based plagiarism. He has, however, noticed an uptick in students sharing homework in unauthorized ways.

"This generation is leading incredibly busy lives — involved in athletics, clubs, so many with part-time jobs, and — for seniors — an incredibly demanding and anxiety-producing college search," he offered as an explanation.

Riddle, who for four decades was a high school teacher and principal in northern Virginia, agreed that more pressure could lead to more cheating, yet spoke in defense of today's students.

"I would take these students over other generations," he said. "I found them to be more responsive, more rewarding to work with, more appreciative of support that adults give them.

"We have to create situations where it's easy for kids to do the right things," he added. "We need to create classrooms where learning takes on more importance than having the right answer."

On Long Island, an alliance of school superintendents and college presidents recently embarked on a campaign to draw attention to academic integrity problems and to crack down on plagiarism and cheating.
Roberta Gerold, superintendent of the Middle Country School District and a leader of the campaign, said parents and school officials need to be more diligent — for example, emphasizing to students the distinctions between original and borrowed work.

"You can reinforce the character trait of integrity," she said. "We overload kids these days, and they look for ways to survive. ... It's a flaw in our system that whatever we are doing as educators allows this to continue."
Josephson contended that most Americans are too blase about ethical shortcomings among young people and in society at large.

"Adults are not taking this very seriously," he said. "The schools are not doing even the most moderate thing. ... They don't want to know. There's a pervasive apathy."

Josephson also addressed the argument that today's youth are no less honest than their predecessors.

"In the end, the question is not whether things are worse, but whether they are bad enough to mobilize concern and concerted action," he said.

"What we need to learn from these survey results is that our moral infrastructure is unsound and in serious need of repair. This is not a time to lament and whine but to take thoughtful, positive actions."
On the Net:

Our November Happenings!

Hannah making her brothers favorite pie

Making the crust for the pie

Ralph cutting and weighing soap

Christopher returning home for a while,
"What did I get in the mail?"

Filling capsules with Spirulina

Alicia cutting out handkerchiefs

Our dog

A tower of Peppermint Treat soap

Hannah shrink wrapping soap

More shrink wrapping of soap,
it was a busy month for our soap business

Alicia making cookies for Daddy and Christopher

Mom, finally finished my coat, just in time for cold weather!

Hannah wearing her new coat that I made her

Christopher, being silly when the girls wanted to take his photo

(Our camera broke so we have no photos of our hunting/fishing trip, target shooting or Thanksgiving. We hopefully will get one soon though.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

We have much to be thankful for this year, as every year. We are blessed to have our health, family, friends, but most of all the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

This year we traveled to my Dad's, a couple of hours south of us. We arrived early enough so we could do some target practice while the turkey roasted. We spent a couple of hours out there. We introduced the girls to rifles, and Ralph, Christopher, my Dad and I all shot our new rifles. Ralph, Christopher and my Dad all shot their pistols also. We had a great time together.

We went back to the house to help my step mother finish getting dinner ready. We sat down to a wonderful meal, then fellowshipped a little while longer, before it was time for pie and then the return trip home.

We are so thankful that our son, Christopher was home this year. Last year at this time, he was on his way to the Middle East and next year he will once again be away from home. We are also thankful that my Dad went to the doctor a few weeks ago and that they had him take a routine stress test for his heart and that they saw an problem and promptly took care of it, so he could be here for us to celebrate with.

We pray that you are beginning this Advent season focused on the REAL reason for this season-the celebration of the birth of our Saviour. May God richly bless you and your family as you finish out this year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our First Hunting Trip

Last week, our family went on its first hunting trip. We left Thursday evening and drove for about 5 hours to eastern Washington. We arrived about 11:30 pm, unpacked and then the guys that were there had a skeet shoot competition. I held the light so they could see the clay pigeons.
The next morning, we introduced the girls to shot guns. They got to try their hand at shooting clay pigeons. They didn't hit any, but got a feel for what it is like. I took my turn and hit about half of my clay pigeons. Much better than the first time I tried about 18 months ago (I only hit 2 of 30 that time). This time I hit about 12 of 25. We then went for a 3 mile hike up some very rugged terrain to get a lay of the land and also so Ralph could shoot some video. So there we were carrying rifles, shot guns and cameras. We must have been quite the sight.

We then headed to the farm house of one of the owners of the 10,000 acre ranch we were on. They have a pond behind their house that they keep stocked with trout. The girls got out there and were very successful in a short time. They caught 6 trout between the two of them in about 20 minutes. Alicia was especially happy since it was her first time to catch a fish.

We headed back to the farm house we were staying at so I could get the stew I had made a head of time heated up for the guys who had been out hunting that morning. After lunch, we took a "ride" with the other owner of the ranch (the owners are father and son). The girls said it was better than Disney World. I called it cow pasture moguls. We rode around for a couple of hours through cow pastures, up and down VERY steep hills. It was a lot of fun.

The next morning, we went out on a practice hunt with the girls. We each carried a shot gun and Hannah carried a rifle (just in case we saw a coyote). We walked for a couple of hours, then headed back to the house for lunch. After lunch we had to do a video shoot, then it was time for the pheasant hunt. But first we went to an old farm house that was full of pigeons and shot a couple of pigeons. We then had our bird dog take off and find the pheasant for us. She found one, but it was too far away from where we were to get it. So then we were off again. We went up and down very steep hills, covered with knee high grasses. I began wondering what a sedentary homemaker like myself was doing out tramping through the brush and up and down hills to find a bird to shoot. But I didn't give up. Ralph shot the first pheasant. It was a beauty. We were so in awe of the colors that God put on this bird. The variety was incredible. We then sent the dog off to find one for me. She tracked one and stayed on it until I was able to get there. Then they let her go and I took two shots. I nicked it but didn't get a good enough shot to get it down. We spent about 90 minutes trying to see if it went down over the hills, but never found it. I was really disappointed, but I am really glad that Ralph got his.

Ralph and his first pheasant

While we were there we also made friends with the younger couple on the ranch. They have 4 little boys and we found out we had a lot in common. Alicia had fun as she was able to spend some time with the baby, holding and rocking him. The girls were also able to feed the cows and chickens and help collect eggs.

We had a wonderful time on this trip and look forward to many more. It was great to spend the time together as a family.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Serving our Father's

Me working with my Dad.

I must really say that, I love my Dad. I want to share a few ideas of how we can serve our Father's.

The first idea: Offer to massage his feet and do it cheerfully! (I try to do it every night after dinner).

Second idea: Make his favorite dessert to surprise him.

Third idea: Obey him the first time, without arguing.

Fourth idea: Thank him when he corrects you.

I hope you find these ideas helpful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

Here is a photo of Ralph's Father Fernando; Christopher and Ralph, taken about 10 years ago (all three are veteran's, two were in the Army and one is in the Navy)
Here are Ralph (12 years Army), Christopher and Fernando (27 years Army and 18 years in the State Guard in Puerto Rico; two tours in the Korean War and two tours in the Viet Nam War, with many awards, including two Purple Hearts) at Christopher's Commissioning in 2006

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Truth is Simple

by Anna T.

I remember, back from the time I worked in a hospital, many examples of generous love, charity, kindness, giving and selflessness. One of the most striking cases was a little baby girl born at 26 weeks gestation, weighing only 700 gr, or 25 ounces. The girl was named Chaya, which means "life".

I didn't meet little Chaya until she was already a couple of months old, and weighed like an average newborn (which makes sense). Due to being born so prematurely, she suffered from a few respiratory problems, which brought her back to hospital. She fought courageously, and so did her loved ones. Whenever I passed by, I could see her mother and grandmother sitting next to her and reciting psalms. Her mother pumped milk for her around the clock. Baby Chaya was making steady progress, and by the time I finished my internship in that unit, she was already getting better.

Her family's love and devotion were deeply moving to me even then, and now that I'm pregnant it brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it. When I was 26 weeks along, I remembered baby Chaya, and asked the Lord to keep my baby safe in my womb for as long as necessary to avoid any health risks and complications.

It also brings tears to my eyes when I hear people promoting the so-called "right" to dispose of babies just like Chaya, in the name of "freedom". To her family, Chaya was a dear, loved, cherished and treasured little human being. To others, millions of little Chayas are obstacles to be rid of - in the name of "choice".

All the debates I hear about the personhood of the unborn child, beside being annoying in their lack of logic, are frightening in their attempt to complicate the simple and to mask the crystal clear facts of life.

Ask a three-year-old what a pregnant woman has in her belly. Most children will readily reply, "a baby!"; if you press further and ask how come she has a baby in there, you'll probably get many interesting answers. Our nephew's explanation was, "because she's a Mom"; you might notice his logic is missing something, but I'd say this little boy's insight about life, pregnancy and the connection between baby and mother is far superior to many full-grown "pro-choice" philosophers.

Explaining obvious truths should, in general, be simple. Explaining lies can get very complicated.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Praise and Prescription for National Disease

Posted by: James McDonald November 5, 2008
Traditional Marriage Wins!

There is not much for me to cheer about this election cycle. Liberals advanced in most states and will be a dominating force in Washington for at least the next four years. But I am thankful the Lord saw fit to again defeat measures that would have legalized homosexual “marriage.”
In Florida, Arizona, and in California, voters stood up and said enough. All three states approved amendments to their constitutions to ban homosexual marriages. These three states join the 27 that have already passed similar amendments. The California vote was very encouraging to me. Proposition 8 was underfunded and unpopular when first introduced, but through prayer and hard work, Christians undauntedly trudged on to Election Day, overcoming tens of millions of dollars of pro-homosexual advertising and propaganda.

While I am personally thankful for these wins, we need to be ever vigilant. The liberals now hold the reins of power. They will do all they can to pass “hate-crime” legislation that may even outlaw the preaching of the Word of God. The so-called Freedom of Choice act may sign the death warrants of millions of the unborn.

Christian conservatives need to band together to be attentive of the actions in statehouses and in Washington and be prepared to speak out and act. Difficult days may be ahead for the church, but we do know our Lord reigns. And we also know God has given us a prescription for this national disease…

2 Chronicles 7:14: If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
May we all repent and seek the face of the Lord.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote and Pray for Our Country Today!!!

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Free Bible Software and Books to Download

I want to thank Sheri Graham from Graham Family Ministries for introducing me to the Bible Explorer. I downloaded the software and 136 books. I encourage you to look into it and see what you think. It was well worth the time it took and it didn't cost anything. There are 1000's of other books you can download too that do cost you. Take time to go to the Graham's website too, they have a lot of great ebooks to offer.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

James McDonald on Family Reformation

Family Reformation?
By James McDonald

As a pastor, I’m increasingly saddened by the failure of the Christian family.

Yes, I said failure. I know that may seem like an extreme statement, but consider the proof, starting with a quote from Christian statistician George Barna:
The typical worldview of a person in their early twenties promotes self-centeredness, the right to happiness and fulfillment, the importance of personal expression in all forms, the necessity of tolerating aberrant or immoral points of views, allows for disrespect of other people and use of profanity, and advances forms of generic spirituality that dismiss the validity of the Judeo-Christian faith. Largely propelled by postmodern thought, the typical worldview of young people does not facilitate respect for life, acceptance of the rule of law, or the necessity of hard work, personal sacrifice, paying the dues or contributing to the common good. Barna noted that only about 2% of today’s teenagers possess a biblical worldview that acknowledges the existence of God, Satan and sin, the availability of forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ, and the existence of absolute moral principles provided in the Bible. – The Barna Group

Sadly, Christian teens don’t fare much better than secular ones. Modest estimates from conservative denominations show that 70% of children from Christian households are leaving the faith! Just imagine if 70% of your church dropped dead today. Would this get your attention? But, the trends show that 70% of the children in our churches are spiritually dead—and somehow we failed to notice.

A recent survey showed that 50% of Christian men are addicted to pornography, “abstinence programs” are a failure, and Christian couples today divorce at the same rate as the world, yet we wonder why we’re losing our children and why the world views Christians as hypocrites. Are most of our churches making a difference?

Too often, the church shamefully adopts the position of the three monkeys – hear no evil, see no evil – speak no Gospel. The modern evangelical mantra is too often, “Come as you are; stay as you are – just make sure your gift is in the offering plate.”

What is desperately needed is a true God-powered change in the family—a genuine family reformation! The Christian family must line up with the Word of God to be effective in the church. Husbands and wives, and sons and daughters must hear and obey the Word of God (1 John 5:3-4; John 14:21).

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord gave the famous illustration of the wise and foolish men who constructed houses (Matthew 7:24-27) on differing foundations. As you may remember, one man built his house upon the rock and the other built his house upon the sand. The house built on the rock withstood the storms and winds that came, while the house built on the sand was destroyed. Christ told us the man who heard and did His words was the one who built his foundation on the rock. It is time we stopped building our houses on the shifting sands of the world.

So, what is a family reformation? To reform something means to “form anew” or to “rescue from error and return to a rightful course.” Many Christian families are in error. We have churches full of “out of order” families where men are not leading, wives are disrespectful, children are rebellious, and everyone acts and reacts selfishly. Families need to be “formed anew” – reformed into the order God prescribes in His Word. Allow me to briefly present to you a few key points on what family reformation means.

1. While individualism has become one of the attributes of the modern man, God designed man to be relational:

a. The first, and most fundamental institution created by God, was that of the family–society’s basic unit (Genesis 1:27-28).

b. God designed two other key organizations for the benefit of man: the church (Ephesians 2:19-22) and the state (Romans 13:1).

c. All three of these organizations must work together until such time as all Christ’s enemies have surrendered to His Lordship (Psalm 110:1). When the family decays the church is wounded and eventually, society crumbles.

2. In order for the family to succeed, a husband and wife must both submit to God’s order in the home. If we believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, then we should strive to follow its precepts for life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). To properly understand God’s creative order in the family, we must realize the following:

a. Both man and woman are created in God’s image and are of the same worth and value (Genesis 1:28, Galatians 3:28).

b. Yet, men and women have distinct and crucial roles within God’s economy—roles that were established for them at Creation, before sin entered into the world (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9; 1 Timothy 2:12-14).

c. By God’s own decree, He ordained the husband as the head of the home (1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The man was to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). He was to love his family as a servant-leader who rules well his own house. This is an act of submission to God and is the highest achievement of a biblical husband (Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7). It is also one of the marks of a godly leader (1 Timothy 3:4, 12; Titus 1:6).

d. God has ordained the wife to be her husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18) and to bear and nurture their children (Titus 2:4). She is to keep the home and productively manage her husband’s affairs with wisdom (Proverbs 31). As she submits to her own husband, she submits to God (Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6). Together they are to take dominion and bring life to a lost and dying world for the glory of God!

3. Children, as they are given from God, are considered blessings from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). In addition:

a. Children are to be brought up with the expectation that they will be Christians (Genesis 18:19; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4).

b. Teaching children to honor their parents (Exodus 20:12) will help them to comprehend the Fifth Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother” and to understand their responsibility to honor God and those He has placed in authority over them (Hebrews 13:17). We have a world full of adults who were never trained to obey their authorities; therefore they are in bondage to the lusts of the flesh (2 Peter 2:8-10; 1 Peter 2:18).

c. Our Sovereign God controls the womb (Genesis 29:31; Genesis 30:22) and we should accept God’s blessing of children wholeheartedly and with gratefulness. Christian children are the heritage of the Lord (Psalm 127:3)–they are the godly seed (Malachi 2:15) of the Kingdom. The use of abortion and abortifacient birth control are grievous and murderous sins (Exodus 20:13); they are a curse on our land (Leviticus 18:21; Jeremiah 32:35). Our covenant children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior (Psalm 127:4); and when properly sharpened and aimed, they are to be shot into the world to fight against ungodliness.

d. While the Word of God does not designate a particular method for the education of children, parents are responsible, before God, to insure their children have a thorough Christian worldview (Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:6-9; Romans 13:3-5; Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:15). We believe the best way to accomplish this goal is by educating and discipling our children at home.

e. Age-segregated philosophies in both organized schools and in some churches have no basis in Scripture and have actually worked to harm the church (Mark 3:25) and weaken its effectiveness (Luke 11:17; 1 Corinthians 15:33). The biblical training of covenant children is best accomplished within a wholesome, age-integrated setting (Deuteronomy 29:10-11; 2 Chronicles 20:13; Joel 2:16; Matthew 19:14); therefore we encourage a setting that unites the people of God into an age integrated group allowing the older and wiser to disciple and fellowship with younger members of the church.

4. As there are differences between a husband and wife, there are likewise differences between sons and daughters.

a. Sons are often sent out from the home to learn a trade and to prepare for their future family (Exodus 30:14, Numbers 1:20). Parents are to counsel their older sons, but their protection is limited as they grow up.

b. Fathers have a particular duty to prepare their sons to be successful future leaders, in the home, the church, and society. (1 Kings 2:1-4; Proverbs 3; Titus 2:6-8) Fathers accomplish this task by being examples godliness, gentleness and courage (1 Corinthians 16:13, Philippians 4:8-9).

c. There are no positive examples of daughters leaving the protective oversight of their fathers (Genesis 34, Numbers 30:3-5). We believe it is a biblical model for a daughter to remain under the protection of her father until she is married. This way, his responsibility to protect and guide his daughter into marriage can be properly carried out. In Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:38, he teaches the following on a man giving his virgin daughter in marriage: Children should be at the disposal of their parents, and not dispose of themselves in marriage. Yet, parents should consult their children’s inclinations, both to marriage in general and to the person in particular, and not reckon they have uncontrollable power to do with them, and dictate to them, as they please. It is our duty not only to consider what is lawful, but in many cases, at least, what is fit to be done, before we do it.

d. Young ladies should be educated and equipped to be godly helpers to their future husbands. Since women are called to be keepers at home (Titus 2:5), they should be well trained in domestic skills. However these skills should be augmented in ways that fully complete her education. Her personal giftings should be considered, encouraged, and developed in the expectation that God will use them to enhance the giftings of her future husband, thus completing a one-flesh union that will better glorify God. (Proverbs 31:10-31; Titus 2:4-5).

e. The Christian father should endeavor to see his children married in Christian unions (Jeremiah 29:6. Malachi 2:15, 2 Corinthians 6:14) and produce generations of godly offspring.

5. The family does not supplant the church or the state, but is a unique government that is to work in consort with the others with the goal of the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

a. Each person in a family should be a member of a local church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:24-25; 13:17); should seek to serve the church with their unique abilities and gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-26); and should obey church leadership, recognizing that it is a gift from God (Heb 13:17).

b. Each family should obey the civil magistrate, unless their dictates prove contrary to the Word of God, and should work for the peace of the society in which God places them (Jeremiah 29:7; Acts 5:29; 25:11; Romans 12:18; 13:1-7).

c. We should recognize that the family is God’s love letter to the world and that as families, we are to live holy and blameless lives before an unbelieving generation (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:22-33).

6. The successful Christian family is one that sees faithfulness passed down from generation to generation; ever expanding the Kingdom of God, and thus fulfilling the mandate to bring His Word to all nations and all tongues (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 78:1-8; Isaiah 59:21; Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:17).

I pray this gives you a little glimpse into the heart of family reformation. As Christians, we have a call to live out the Word of God in season and out of season, without compromise and without fear, trusting that the Lord will be honored and the Kingdom of God increased. May you hear and act on this clarion call—remembering the words of Jesus, “If anyone loves Me He will keep my Word…” (John 14:23)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Opening a Baby Coconut

Well, I made my first attempt at opening a baby coconut. And I did a pretty good, job if I don't say so myself. (I know boasting it not becoming, but I was proud of myself.) Of course, I had some help. A wonderful lady wrote this cookbook and included the "art" of opening a baby coconut. I am disappointed though, Hannah thought she was taking a video with our camera, but I guess it didn't work. But I do have some photos. And for my family, I was VERY careful (HA!HA!) and didn't cut off any fingers! Maybe it is a good thing that the video didn't turn out.
Getting started by cutting off the tip, notice that the baby coconut is not brown or round
Cutting into the inner shell and getting the hole started
Cutting off a little more of the top
I am making the hole bigger

I am pouring out the milk, we ended up with 12 ounces, it made a wonderful base for our carrot, celery, apple smoothie, we used the coconut meat for another smoothie.

FYI-did you know that the coconut milk is the closest food to mother's milk available from nature? Isn't God great!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Making Clothes Soap

Yesterday we made another batch of clothes soap, so we decided to take photos of the process and put it here. It is really easy and much more afforable than store bought soaps and much better for you.
Grate fels naptha laundry soap
Any borax will do, and super washing soda
Five gallon bucket
Melt the fels-naphtha laundry soap (2/3 of a bar) in 3 pints water on medium high heat, then add 1 cup borax and 1 cup super washing soda, stir thoroughly until all ingredients are dissolved, turn to medium heat and stir for 15 minutes, it will become the consistency of honey, then put 2 quarts hot water in the 5 gallon bucket and add the soap mixture, mix well, then add 11 quarts of cold water. Let stand for 24 hours before using. I stir it about once a week or so. (I have used it before the 24 hours and it worked fine.)

The finished product (four gallons). Use 1/2 cup in a regular washing machine and 1/4 cup in a front loader.

A Montage of October 2008 Activities

We have been busy, as usual, but in a good way. Here are a few photos of what we have been up to.
Here I am working on Christopher's quilt, that I want to finish before he goes to Maine next year.
Another angle of me working on Christopher's quilt
(Alicia likes to take different angles of every photo she takes)
Alicia working on her Latin lessons
Hannah working on her English/writing lesson from the McGuffey Readers
Karah cross stitching at our Keepers at Home meeting
Young ladies learning how to cross stitch
Hannah cross stitching at Keeper's at Home meeting
Here I am decorating a cake for a baby shower

Finished cake for Hezekiah's baby shower

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If You Really Want to Rescue America

by Dr. Richard A. Jones 10/22/08

Parents: Be sure you homeschool for the right reason. Just because the public schools have failed spiritually, morally, and academically is only a minor part of the reason. God desires that you do it. In addition, only in the loving, dedicated environment of a home will the great leaders (as youths) be nurtured; those who’ll be re-supplying a world devoid of leaders. Try to name a nationally respected, inspirational, God-honoring leader today. Men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, Jonathan Edwards, Patrick Henry, Washington, William Wilberforce, William Carey, Charles Spurgeon. Even our young women have been “feminized” to their own and to our hurting nation’s peril.

These verses will give you resolve, direction and comfort as you go through the daily challenge of homeschooling. Demonstrate their importance to your children by having them memorize them. As parents themselves (all too soon) they’ll be passing these “messages” on to your grandchildren. Remember that you’ll eventually be judging your own parenting record based on how the grandchildren turn out. These will help.

Matthew 12:30 & Luke 11:23: Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
Comment: Are the public schools for Jesus? If not, they are against Him.

Hebrews 11:6: “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.”
Comment: Per Hebrews 11:6, the government schools cannot please God because they do not believe nor do they teach students to believe that He exists.

Romans 14:23b: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
Comment: The government schools are not teaching from a position of faith in God.

Matthew 10:32-33: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
Comment: John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 declare that Jesus made the world. Government schools refuse to acknowledge this fact. Therefore they are disowned by Christ.

Matthew 18:5-6: “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But, if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Comment: Studies show that 65% to 88% of all churched youth who attend public schools leave the faith by their freshman year in college. There is a direct connection between a godless education and a godless life. There will be a judgment for those who turn children away from Christ.

Jeremiah 10:2a: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen.”
Comment: What part of “Learn not the way of the heathen” do we not understand?

Luke 6:39-40: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Comment: A Christian parent must not turn the leading of their child over to a system that is spiritually blind. Education is discipleship and students will become like the teacher. Do you want your children to become like their (often atheist) teachers?

Psalm 1:1-2: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Comment: Children and their parents are blessed when they avoid the ungodly counsel in the government schools. The same is true for the sinful socialization with sinful classmates and the mocking, scoffing attitudes invariably picked up at school. How can a child meditate day and night on God’s law in a government school? Contrast “blessings and cursings” in Deuteronomy 28, and see which one you want to receive.

2 Corinthians 6:13-18: “I am talking now as I would to my own children. Open your hearts to us! Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: ‘I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
Comment: We are forbidden to partner with unbelievers in the education of our children.

Proverbs 9:10: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.”
Comment: Government schools lack the fear “of the Lord,” and therefore cannot teach wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

Psalms 34:11: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”
Comment: How can are children supposed to learn the fear of the Lord? Parents teach it to them by instruction and example!

Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
Comment: Education must be predicated on the foundation of Christ, not on humanistic thought.

Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other Gods before me.”
Comment: Evolution and humanism are substitutes for the true and living God.

Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and mother.”
Comment: Government schools dishonor parents (and, by example, teach children to do the same) by claiming the State can nurture children better than the parents.

Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.”
Comment: Government schools take money forcibly from property owners (who often have no children left at home) to pay for other people’s education. This is legal plunder and is immoral. It’s hypocritical that schools expect Johnny not to cheat on a test (taking answers that belong to Billy), while pretending to see nothing wrong with taking money from Billy’s dad (who may be wealthy) to pay for Johnny’s education. Public schools do not operate on a biblical ethic which states that giving is to be voluntary. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says that “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Comment: This describes a full-time, 24/7, daily, 365 discipleship paradigm.

Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Comment: It is assumed that the father and mother are doing the teaching. No one else is mentioned in scripture as having that role.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Comment: It is the father’s job to train and instruct his own children.

Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown, he will not depart from it.”
Comment: There is a way a child should go. Parents need to be training the child in that direction, not in the world’s sin-attracted direction.

Proverbs 13:20: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Comment: Children should not be allowed to have foolish companions.

Proverbs 22:15 tells us that foolishness is “bound up” in the heart of a child. Ecclesiastes 4:12 states that a “chord of three strands is not easily broken.” It is hard to break a bond of foolishness once friendships are made.

Isaiah 54:13: “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
Comment: Children who are taught of the Lord will be peaceful. The converse is also true.

Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Comment: This pretty much speaks for itself.

James 4:17: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
Matthew 7:6b: “Neither cast your pearls before swine lest they trample them under their feet and then turn again and tear you to pieces.”
Comment: The swine is the secular humanist foundation of the government schools in combination with those who knowingly deliver it to the innocent. The pearls are your children. Torn to pieces are the children, the parents, the family and the nation.

Dr. Richard A. Jones - contact: