Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Obedience Is Not Legalism


1. strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.

in Theology
the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works.
the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to preciselaws.

The word legalism is tossed around all the time. While I have no doubt that there are legalistic people out there, every person with standards IS NOT legalistic. It is a good thing to have standards! While I too believe Christianity is a "come as you are" type of faith, I do not believe it to be a "stay as you are" faith. If you are not being regenerated by your conversion to a Christianity then I would question your conversion. With conversion comes conviction, and while everyone's journey will be different it is not ok to hide behind your sins. Jesus Himself said: If ye love me, keep my commandments. -John 14:15 

It can't get much clearer than that. You can poke at it all you want, but it won't change. We as Christians are to be Christ-like, that means we shouldn't look like the world. We need to be pure in heart and unscathed by the world, shining forth the the Light of Christ. How can you shine if you're just like everyone else? Do people know you are a Christian by the way you carry yourself? They should. In 1 Timothy 2:9-10 we read:

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

There is your brief outline of what Christian women should be like. Modest, Shamefaced (meaning discreet, self-controlled), sober (meaning of a sound mind), and not seeking to gain attention for her appearance. These things should then be coupled with good works. This isn't to gain or earn our salvation, as those who are quick to scream legalism might want you to believe, but rather to be a light shining in a dark, dark word. We are called to be a Holy people, not because we are of anything good, but because our Creator is Holy!  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16

Dear sister don't be fooled into believing that liberty in Christ means you can live as you please. Come out from the darkness and realize that loving Christ, and being a Christian, comes with a price. It is the leaving behind of your old self and becoming more like HIM. That doesn't happen just by reading the Bible. It happens by reading and applying what you've learned, asking for guidance, and letting the Holy Spirit Lead you! Ask the Lord to show you where He wants you to change, and dive into His Word with a heart open to being molded by Him. Your relationship with Christ will grow by leaps and bounds if you do it HIS WAY. Don't be fooled into missing out on living in the fullness of who God created you to be. 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2 years and counting...

Two years ago today I was blessed to have been able to marry my very best friend! The Lord has blessed us beyond measure and I am so thankful to be called his wife. The day my hubby proposed to me I was heading to his apartment after I had left church one morning. When I arrived he had this posted on the door:

Anyone else would have figured it out, but not me. I read it and just though "yes he was reading his Bible today!" lol. I rushed in and headed straight for the bathroom. While I was in there he slipped a card under the door. The card said "Thinking of you" on the front, had some kind words, and Romans 12:12 printed in it. "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer". For those that don't know, that was me! I wanted so badly to get married. Once I got saved I felt so much pressure to get married because I didn't want to continue on the path we were on. We had one child together and I was supposed to move in with him after he got his apartment. Once I got saved I knew I couldn't do that. But I so desperately wanted our family together. So even though living at home was hard I withstood it, even though it seemed so far away I was in prayer. I would visit and clean and decorate as though it was my home, just hoping and getting excited for the day it would be. 

Aside from what was already printed in the card he wrote: "Your unwavering & insurmountable show of love and affection has never gone unnoticed. And I never want to be noticed with out you by my side. -HB"

You'd think I would of surely figured it out by now, right? Nope. I just though awww how sweet. I came out of the bathroom and told him how sweet I thought the card was and I thanked him. Then all of a sudden he dropped down on one knee! I was so shocked and even then I couldn't believe it was really happening! Obviously I said yes and the rest is history :o)

We were married 3 months later and we've been growing together in the Lord ever since! Happy Anniversary Browning, I love you! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

TBOC: Hidden Message of The Lost Pearl

In Matthew 18:5 Jesus says:
"And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."
Receive Strong's G1209 dechomai :
to receive into one's family to bring up or educate; to receive favourably, give ear to, embrace, make one's own, approve, not to reject
Whether you give birth to your children, or adopt, by raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord {Ephesians 6:4} you are accepting Jesus! Have you ever looked at it like that? Being mama is an important job. When we're in the trenches training our youngins it seems like there's no end and no reward! But in doing the harder things, training, and correcting, loving and nurturing, YOU are receiving Christ!  So what does it mean when you decide to not have children?  

Hidden Message of The Lost Pearl - The Duggars: 20 and Counting pg 230
When I was eleven years old, my family took a vacation in Florida. One morning my brother and I went swimming. The shallow water revealed an oyster bed. We began digging up oysters. It was great fun. During the morning we accumulated quite a collection.
Our greatest finds were not the live oysters, but dead oysters which still had both halves of the shell joined together. Many were closed shut, and we didn't know until we had pried them open whether they were alive or not.
The live ones we threw back. The empty ones usually did not reclose, but remained partly open. These we set aside as our most prized treasures.
Toward the end of the morning, I dug up a very nice, complete oyster shell which was in perfect condition. It was obviously dead because it was already open about an eighth of an inch and seemed empty. It was definitely one that I wanted to keep, except for one flaw-it had some kind of object trapped inside that rattled. I thought it detracted from the quality of my shell.
The halves of the shell were still very tight and were hard to budge with just my fingers. It took all of five minutes to remove this rather large, round, perfectly smooth object. Having successfully removed it, and being pleased with my now empty and unblemished shell, I threw the object toward the end of the pier.
At about the midpoint of its flight, a horrifying light dawned in my mind. I was old enough to have known, but young enough to have overlooked the value of what I had just thrown away. I had treasured what was secondary and had lost what was real. My focus had been wrong.
I visually marked the location of the splash. With great care I slowly approached the spot, trying not to disturb the bottom. For the next half hour I searched diligently.
Finally, when it was time to leave, I told my parents what I had done. Then we all looked for it. Our efforts were useless and our time was up. Our schedule demanded that we leave.
When I was twenty-five years old, I got married. For some undefined reason, I rejected for seven years the suggestion that we have children. I thought I had valid reasons, but no one had ever talked to me about it. I had received no counsel or teaching from family, friends, or church. No one seemed to consider it to be a critical issue. In addition, the world had all kinds of new medical methods for preventing pregnancy.
As I look back, I don't remember hearing one dissenting voice. Down deep I always knew that I wanted children someday. I didn't really want to be childless all of my life. Eventually, I decided that I wanted five children. So, after seven years of some very difficult decision-making, we had our first child-a girl.
To my great amazement, I found that I actually liked having children. In fact, having a child is one of the greatest things that has happened in our lives.
The fears which had prevented conception for so long proved to be mostly imaginary. This new member of our family changed our lives. We discovered a multitude of rewards that we had not known we were missing.
My wife and I have just been told that it now looks medically impossible for us to have any more children! Suddenly, all of our newly established family dreams have been erased. All of the excitement and anticipation of a newly discovered future have vanished. It seems as though there is a void in our lives-like four of our five children have just been killed.
What makes the burden so heavy is that we had the treasure within our grasp and we threw it away. We saw the outer shell and mistakenly overlooked the treasure within. With our hands we plucked it out and cast it away. We tried to take God's timing into our own hands.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Homeschool

This summer has gone by SO QUICKLY! I can't believe it's almost fall. With the impeding change of season, also comes a new school year. This will be the first year that I have any kind of plan. I've tried in the past to have a schedule but it's never worked. My daughter just wasn't ready. But now she practically begs me to "do school". So we've decided to let her lead! Great plan, right? :o)

In case it can help someone else, I'd like to share with you our homeschooling approach and some things we'll be doing. First let's start with our purpose and focus. For us the focus is on our faith and passing it to our children. While learning facts and figures is important, to us it is more important to pass on our faith. There are two verses that we use as our homeschooling model. The first is:

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. -Deut 6:6-7

and the second is:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. -2 Peter 1:5-7

My plan is to focus on faith, by having time in the Word and through daily interactions {Deut 6:6-7}; on virtue by spending time together and building our relationships; and on knowledge, by working together. Now that's not to say we won't be doing any thing that resembles traditional learning. Just that our main focus isn't to learn a certain amount of facts in a specific amount of time. I believe that this is the direction the Lord is leading us in, and I also believe this is best for my child. When we've sat down to learn X she very quickly lost interest. But when she initiates learning, or when it just flows naturally, she is very interested. Because of that I've had to get a bit creative in how we learn certain things.

I've been struggling with how to teach her letters because going "this is A, B, C" wasn't working. But as usual  YHVH answered my prayers and, after watching a message, I was given in awesome way to teach reading and writing. What we will be doing is copying Bible verses! At this point it doesn't really matter what her letters look like but just that she does it. There was a study conducted that shows writing is directly related to reading. So the plan is to read a passage and then write it. We started practicing last week because I wanted her to get familiar with the idea. It worked out pretty well, and she did better than I thought!

Copying John 3:16

What I did was print out a verse so that it was large enough for her to clearly see the shapes of the letters. I read the verse to her out of the Bible and showed her that the words on the paper where the same as in the Bible. Then I let her begin to copy them. She really enjoyed it! Our goal right now is 5 minutes a day. This way she is getting the Word and learning a skill :o)

Other than the copy work I'll just continue to let her ask questions and explore. We have a preschool workbook that we use if she asks, and also Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. My plan is to just relax, which is not my normal mode of operation, lol. But she learns so much better when I let her do her thing. I think that's the best part of homeschooling, being able to let your child learn the way that works best for them. 

What are your plans for this school year? 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dealing with a Loss

I was sitting at home having a normal Friday afternoon. The girls had eaten, we were just sitting around talking and playing. Then someone buzzed my apartment. I went to the intercom to see who it was, and to my surprise it was my grandma. She never comes over. 

I let her in and she just handed me a phone, it was my mom... she tells me to hold on, then when she comes back she tells me that my other grandma had passed away. I was in shock. She was in the hospital for kidney surgery, she was supposed to be coming home today, or tomorrow... 

I didn't know what to do so I just went. I went to be with my family, and I helped where I could. I couldn't stop. My focus was who needs help? Who's hungry? Thirsty? I felt numb to it all. In a way I still do. But as I watch my family mourn, I can't help but think of the hope that those who are trusting in the saving power of Jesus have. And pray for those who have no hope.... 

Would you please pray for my family?

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Friday, August 17, 2012

TBOC: Taylore

Today I want to share with you all an interview with a friend of mine who is trusting the Lord with her family size. Taylore and her family are still small and I hope that reading about her will be an encouragement to you! So here you go:

1.       How long have you been married?  Just over 3 years now
2.       How did you meet your husband? We met through a mutual friend
3.       How many children do you have? We have two children and are currently expecting our third child in November 2012
4.       What are their ages? I have a 2.5 year old - Ariel and a 1.5 year old - John  Our third child is a little girl that we are naming Daisy
5.       Did you ever think you’d have this many children? I've always wanted a large family and my husband and I made a committment to the Lord and each other that we would leave our fertility solely up to the Lord
6.       Is your family involved in any ministries? My husband is currently training to be a Deacon at the church and I am in the nursery and sunday school minstries. Also, we are currently completeing our Bible Degrees and have surrendered to be Independent Fundamental Baptist missionaries to the people of Mongolia.
7.       What made you and your husband decide to trust God with your family size? Did you both agree at the same time or was one of you ready before the other? We believe that total surrender to the Lord means EVERY area of our life and if we can trust the Lord to save our souls, then we can surely trust te Lord to know what is best for us! We both committed to the Lord and each other before our marriage that we would leave our fertility solely to the Lord!
8.       Was there ever a time when you questioned your decision? There has not been so far! The rewards and blessings are so sweet and precious!
9.       What advice would you give to a young mom just starting out with maybe one or two children? I only have two and would be considered young, but I would say committ yourself to the Lord and work to be the best mother and wife that you can be by Biblical standards. Enjoy your babies while they are small and laugh at the messes they make rather than stress!
10.   Do you keep a strict schedule? Nap time we always try to have at the same time as well as bed time, but we do breakfast, lunch, baths and anything else at random times, but once we start homeschooling I believe our schedule will get more structured!
11.   How do you manage financially? I budget each bill according to due date and then we pay something towards our bills each week.
12.   What kinds of foods do you normally feed your family? We try to stick to all organic all natural foods!
13.   How do you find time to give individual attention to each child? This has not been a hard thing for me yet, but I read with them and hold them individually throughout the day.
14.   How do you fit in alone time with your husband? The kids go to bed at their bed reason we stick to a strict bedtime and then that gives me and my husband a few hours before we go to sleep after he gets home from work and also on the weekends we get nap times as well!
15.   Do you have an encouraging verse or quote you’d like to share?  I just would encourage others to search God's Word and their own hearts and pray for guidance. Also, trust the Lord and He will bless you beyond measure! When you start to feel overwhelmed let out a little laugh and then begin to sing "Count Your Blessings"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Romans 8 {part 2}

A few weeks ago I started to study out Romans 8 with ya'll. We did versus 1-4, so now let's start on 5-8:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

I think these verses are really clear. When we do things that are to please our own flesh we CAN NOT please the Lord. I know I'm guilty of this, and I think if we're honest, we all are. Sometimes I'd rather eat ice cream and watch tv, instead of correcting my daughter for the millionth time about not climbing on the furniture. While eating ice cream isn't bad, neglecting my duties as a mom is. 

But have you ever looked at it this way? If I correct and train my children because I want to be seen as a good mom, that is NOT pleasing to the Lord. If our motivation is so that our kid isn't "that kid" then we are in the wrong. Verse 8 makes that clear, "so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

In verse 7 we see that the issue with having a carnal mind, or a flesh driven mind, is that it's "not subject to the law of God" and that it CAN'T BE! It's not even really a choice once you make that first step away from the Lord and towards your flesh. Making that first step is like a snow ball affect. You wake up in the morning, and you choose not to get alone with the Lord. You "don't have time" for even a quick prayer of thanks. Then, not even 5 minutes into breakfast your kid acts up and you snap. You say something in a way that as soon as it escapes your lips you wish you could take back. Now you're frustrated and instead of apologizing you sit sulking. Then when it's time to clean up a plate breaks.... Do you see where I'm going? If you yielded your choice to the Spirit the first time things would have played out very differently. 

When you yield to the Spirit then your mind will be focused on the things of the Spirit {v. 5}. Many of the issues we face stem from an area in our lives where we are not (or did not) following after God. A great example of this is tension in a marriage. I'll use myself as an example for this, I know that most times when my husband and I are arguing about something I'm probably wanting my way. Well me wanting things to go my way is not scriptural. Of course if I have objection to something I should speak up. But if we're arguing, then I'm probably being stubborn and not yielding to the Spirit. Maybe for you it's different, but generally problems stem from breaking one of God's principles. Verse 6 makes it so clear, "to be carnally minded is death". While yes that means physical death, it can also be applied to relationships and happiness. If being spiritually minded brings peace then obviously being carnally minded will bring confusion and frustration. So while doing things that please your flesh may feel good in the moment it can't lead to anything good. 

These verses are hard to swallow because we all want to do what we want. It's our natural inclination. But really it's not what's best. Ultimately we must die to ourselves daily....

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. -Luke 9:23

Go here for Part 1

Monday, August 13, 2012

This Morning

This morning my husband left for his new job. We had a late night last night and I felt like there was no way that I could get up and do the parenting thing alone. I've had help for almost 3 months! But the Lord woke me up with the song Surrender All on my heart! I am so thankful for His mercy and loving-kindness! This song is my life's prayer and a BEAUTIFUL reminder to me of what I must do, in order to do what He has called me to do! 

...walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. -Ephesians 4:1

Here are the words to the song:

Take all I am Lord, and all that I cling to, 
you are my Savior I owe everything to. 
Take all my treasures, that lie in my store house. 
They can not follow, when I enter Your house.

So I surrender all to you. I surrender all.

Take all my cravings, for vain recognition, 
fleshly indulgence, and worldly ambition. 
I want so much Lord, to make you the focus, 
to serve you in secret and never be noticed.

So I surrender all to you. I surrender all.

Take all my hunger, for all that’s forbidden, 
every desire and sin I keep hidden. 
Search me and know me, I want to bring to you, 
a life that is holy and sanctified through you.

So I surrender all to you. I surrender all.
So I surrender all to you. I surrender all. 

This song is from the cd 'By Faith' by the Galkin Evangelistic Team. I highly recommend this cd which you can find here

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Update and Praise Report

It's been awhile since I posted, hope ya'll didn't miss me too much :o)

These last few weeks have been very interesting. I didn't blog about it, but my husband lost his job a few months ago. So we've been spending lots of family time together. We've probably prayed more during these last few months than ever. All that has kept us going is God's AMAZING GRACE. We've seen the Lord provide for us time, and time again, and it's been amazing. We had the random money experience a few times and were just totally overwhelmed with His provision. When we thought the well must of surely run dry, He would do something to show us just how much He's in control. 

After we came back from the conference money was tight and I just knew we had exhausted all of our financial resources. Well that night, after I kind of broke down a little, my husband went and checked the mail. To our surprise there was a check in their from a totally unexpected source! God had come through again. All that's been left for us to say is PRAISE YHVH!!! 

Now you would think I was done right? Nope. The Lord has come through yet again and provided my husband with a job! He starts this week, and we are sooooo thankful for what God has done! He get's ALL THE GLORY in this story! 

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. -Psalm 126:3

This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. -Psalm 118:23

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