Fall Tradition

Every year we do something out of the ordinary in the world of Halloween and fall. If you celebrate Halloween by dressing up your children and moving them around the neighbor to collect candy, blessings to you.

We don’t.

I don’t want to go into a long debate about why we do not do this or why you do. We don’t. My boys dress up every other day but not this one. We are all okay with that so please no “hate mail” about being a Halloween Scrooge. 🙂 Thanks!

Instead, we use the day to think about a wonderful event that happened this day to draw the world once again closer to God’s truth. We celebrate Reformation Day on Oct 31. We have been doing this for several years and really enjoy this focused time as a family. We celebrate the coming back to the Truth of God’s word through the man of Martin Luther. While we don’t agree with all his published works, we do appreciate the doctrinal principals that came from his work. The 5 Solas or the five “onlys” of the Reformers’ writings and speeches point us back to the truth in God’s word.

On Oct 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses or corrections to the local Catholic church in Wittenburg, Germany. He did this the day before All Saints Day, November 1,  when he knew many would attend mass at the church. He did not plan to split the church, but he wanted the church to take a good look at where it was and change its actions to get back in line with God’s word.

At our home we spend the evening talking about the truths we find in the Reformation writings. They wrote that we live and learn by “Scripture Alone” apart from traditions of men, personal preferences, or anything else. We are saved by “Faith Alone” apart from works and ourselves. Salvation is by “Grace Alone,” not receiving what we deserve through no work of our own. We have eternal life through Christ’s blood on the cross and not our works which leads to salvation is by “Christ Alone.”  (If I may just interject: If God’s blood was not enough to pay for my sins, how could I EVER believe that anything I, a sinner, do possibly be enough? How could I add to the perfect sacrifice or be better than it?) There is no one else we should pray to or through except Christ. Christ is our mediator (I Tim 2:5), our Saviour, our Lord. He is the only way into Heaven. Finally, “Glory to God Alone” is the last Sola. Salvation is from Jesus Christ alone and He alone deserves the glory, no man. We review these ideas, looking into the Bible at scriptures that show these points clearly.

As you can see in the pictures, I set the table with the 5 Solas attached to construction paper and a blank sheet for the person who will pray for us. We take turns going around to read the portion of truth and the scriptures that go with it. We have a fun meal and enjoy our time.

If you are looking for a resource about Reformation Day or where I found the Solas to print, you can find that free resource here.

I encourage you to take a look at what you believe this time of year and why. Teach your children to love God’s word, know His word, love other people and share God’s word with them. It is not love to hold back truth from others. Love your boys. Teach them well.

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It’s not about me…

CemetaryA couple of weeks ago I attended my 25th class reunion. I saw wonderful classmates that I hadn’t seen in years. Some of them I hadn’t seen since high school graduation, some since the 10th reunion I attended, some I saw more regularly. It was fun catching up and hearing about their children, their jobs, their lives.

A couple of days ago, one of the members of my class passed away suddenly. It was shocking! I had kept in touch with this friend only on Facebook for years as she lived in another country. My son asked if I knew her well. I quickly answered, “We went to school together from kindergarten to graduation, 13 years together. Yeah, I knew her pretty well.” But do we really ever know when people are going to die? About a year ago, my husband’s grandfather passed away at the age of 89. He had lived a long life and death was long in coming. It doesn’t make it easier, but we understand it better when someone is older and dies. We feel they had a long, complete life.

It makes you think when someone suddenly passes away…starts your mind on dying and living or end of life situations. It starts you thinking about your family and your death and life right now. It also starts that natural tendency we have as humans to start “weighing” our lives. You know judging ourselves against the lives of others, our dreams of the past, the non-reality of perfection we try to attain.

We start thinking about our losses, our failures, our brokenness, our sin. We don’t need the Bible to tell us that we aren’t good enough. I know this when I huffed at something my husband was doing at lunch today or yelled at a son who wasn’t listening after 142 times of my giving the same directions this morning. I knew I had sinned when I had those thoughts last week about wanting his car, her life, or that house, coveting…We know it! We don’t need scripture to tell us we are sinners.

But it does, just in case we are feeling too important or proud or right or self-sacrificing one day. Romans 3:23 is right there to tell us that “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” I am less than perfect, less than Him. Less than His standard. I fail, I sin, I lose.

But, this isn’t about me. It is about Him. God Almighty, the maker of Heaven and Earth, the creator of man and woman, the King, the Lord, the only one true God has a standard. We don’t have to like that. We don’t meet that standard (His glory) and I am betting we don’t really like that either. He has a consequence for our failure, sin, pride, hate of Him, and it is death. Death is the wage we earn from our inherited sin from Adam, the first man. “Well, that’s NOT FAIR” you might yell (…or maybe you just think it sometimes.) But we certain earn that wage as well with our daily…okay, sometimes hourly sins.

Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death” and it is. We will die. All of us will die one day. Some will die today, some tomorrow, some not for years and years. But, we will all die. We don’t need the Bible to tell us that everyone dies.

But it does. Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, after this the judgment.” It’s going to happen. We just don’t know when. We need to be ready, though, for death. Our own deaths are coming. Death around us makes us realize our own mortality. But it also makes us realize again that we aren’t enough.

Are you ready?

Weighing, all that weighing of self comes back to us. Have I done enough?  Have I done anything good? Oh, yeah, that one thing–that one time when I –well, you know what I am talking about!? 🙂   But, I know in my heart, the answer will always be no. I haven’t done enough, no matter how much I do. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be about me. And, you know what? It isn’t. I WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. There, I yelled it for the world to hear and read and see. I will never be enough. But, the good news is, God doesn’t ask me to be. He doesn’t ask me to be enough. He knows that I can’t be enough.

Instead, He is enough. He came to Earth. He paid the price, the wage for sin,  which we know is death. He shed His precious blood so that we could be enough through Him. He died in my place. He took on my sins. He loved me enough.

I don’t want to be flippant about Jesus dying on the cross, being buried and raising again. I think sometime people say that or hear it so much that they don’t remember the terribleness or wonderfulness of those statements. Jesus Christ was tortured, beard and fingernails pulled out, beaten, mocked, and left alone. He then suffered one of the worst kinds of death ever–suffication, drowning in your own fluids– through cruxification. God the Father turned His back causing darkness over the whole Earth for 3 hours. The Father could not look at the sin. Jesus was left alone to pay the price for MY sins. Then Jesus gave up the ghost, He died. He left His earthly body. A soldier cut Him open and then left his body hanging on the cross. Jesus was put in a borrowed tomb and left. Three days later, Jesus Christ arose from the dead. He conquered death. He is alive again. We can be alive with Him forever too.

Yes, we still have to die a physical death, but friend, we don’t have to have eternal death. We can have eternal life through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8 & 9 says.

Don’t brush me off. Don’t push this away. It is real. It is real, Friend. Life will end and we will be judged. No matter how much good you do, sin will keep you from eternal life without Jesus Christ. But, it is FREE! You don’t have to work. You don’t have to DO anything except just believe it. It is a gift. Just take it.

You know, I have had people tell me that I had to do A or B or C or 10000D but how would I know that I did it right? Did I do it enough? What if I didn’t do it right? well enough? long enough? exactly right? It wouldn’t be enough. There is NOTHING that I can do. Besides, we don’t work for a gift. This is a gift of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Romans, the people of Rome, and they must have needed God badly for Paul told them how to know God. They must have also been really prideful because more than one time he told them they were sinners. The first verse I used was from Romans but earlier in that same letter, Paul tells those folks for three verses in the Bible that all of us are really no good:

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3: 10-12

We don’t understand it. We do not seek Him. We don’t do enough. Trust Him. Believe Him. Know that He is enough. Take the gift.

So, it’s really not about me. He died so that I could have eternal life and there is nothing that I can do to get it except just believe that He took care of it. I just take the gift.

When I die, I know there will be stories shared and pictures brought out and dusted off to show others. Most likely and friends and family will gather to remember me. I don’t want statements like, “Oh she did… she was…she gave…she whatever.” I want it to be about Him. Christ Jesus died that I might live.

He died so that when I die, I will have eternal life. I don’t have a question about “being good enough” because I know the answer is no. I know that I deserve eternal death, hell, eternity away from God. I know it. But it isn’t about me. It isn’t my pride that tells me I have eternal life with God. Because, while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord. I have taken it and believed that precious, perfect blood is enough. Will you take it?

Please don’t wait, sweet Friend. Please think about it. Please accept what He did for you. We’ll never be enough but this isn’t really about us. It is about Him and what He did for us. We never know when death will come, but we can be ready. It will be a graduation for me. Will you please join me? 🙂

If your children don’t know the Lord, tell them. Share God’s word and God’s love. They need this just like you and I do. Love your kids, share the truth.

 

Teach your Boys (or any child you love!)

Boys

Hi, I realized the other day that I am not typing in all the blogs I am writing in my head lately. I have reacted to the political hotbed, the gorilla, the attacks on US soil, the crocodiles and so many other topics. However, I have not been able to get responses completed and produced.

Okay, that is only partly true. Really, I also don’t know that I have the ability or the maturity to react to all that is going on around us with enough grace or wisdom to respond lovingly.

What I have been thinking about is teaching my boys. Yes, we home educate them and yes we are teaching them skills other than “school” skills like gardening, cooking, and taking care of animals. But, I have been thinking about teaching them what is even more important than that: the Lord. With things as they are and are moving toward, I am not sure how much longer I will be able to teach my children at home. I am not sure how much longer I will be able to openly train them in God’s ways.

So, I am feeling a real burden to teach them the things of God NOW. Not waiting. Right now. Yes, I am busy. Yes, I get stressed. Yes, I have a very long to-do list. But, isn’t one of Satan’s greatest tools a “too busy mom?” Think about it. She has to do so much work to keep her family moving in the right direction and then has outside pressures. She is busy, busy, busy. Sometimes she is just keeping up with the neighbor getting her son into another sport. Sometimes she is keeping up with a Facebook friend and adding a new item to her menu or exercise plan or reading list. Sometimes she is keeping up with Pinterest and adding new decorations to her home. Sometimes though it is just the laundry, dishes, and life of living with a family that keeps us so busy. None of these things are bad. They are just busy.

This past school year we started going through a study from Not Consumed  that is called Foundations of Faith. Find the link to the study here if you like. (I am not getting anything from your buying this item should you choose to do so.) It doesn’t give a lot of doctrine but it asks a lot of questions. It starts with ones like “Who is God?” and “Why am I here?” The author lists some verses you might want to check out and then there is space to add in lots of the verses you find yourself. She also brings up judging and discernment and how they are different.

She moves on later in the study to matters of “What we Believe,” and  purity, dress, media, alcohol, and money as well as other topics come up here. She doesn’t tell you what to teach your children. She just asks about what your family believes and gives you questions to think about and discuss with your children. This opens the door to talk to your children about your family’s beliefs from scripture. My favorite part is that it forces me to think about what my husband and I believe (Sometimes I even have to ask him!) and to see if those are Biblical beliefs or just a tradition that we grew up with in our homes.

Do you know what you believe about modesty, media, marriage, or money? Do your children know what you believe? Do you know why you believe those things? Do you know what scripture says about those topics and do your children? This is a wonderful study about the things that really matter. In a world where so many people are telling us what to believe and why, our children should know what we believe as Godly parents who are seeking the TRUTH and where we find that in scripture.

So, what do you do if you begin to study scripture and what you believe (or thought you believed) doesn’t line up with the Word of God? Well, this is where the toilet meets the floor. You know–that wet dirty ring around the bottom of your toilet? Come on, you know what I am talking about! I can just see some of you looking away like I can actually see you. Others are now thinking about the last time they gave that area a swipe with a disinfectant. If you have boys, that ring is often yellow and smelly! That is the gross place where reality lives. Stay with me here. (Okay, if you must go and clean, do so. I’ll wait for you. ) You have to get in the Word and find out if your thoughts, your beliefs, your reality is really God’s. If it isn’t, well, you’ll have to decide what to do then yourself. Do you really want to go against God? My suggestion is that when we find those things that don’t line up, that WE CHANGE (gasp!). Yes, we move our thinking to align with God’s.

And, if you don’t know where you stand on some of these topics, it might be a time to study a bit more yourself or with your spouse. If you don’t know what you believe, how will your children know? They are going to get their belief systems, ideas, morals, and reality from somewhere. Adults, media, friends, and teachers are all too happy to share their ideas, but your children need the Word of God. They need a sure grounding in the one place that never changes, that never moves away from what is right and good and pure. God’s Word is that place.

Teach your boys (and all your children!) God’s Word and your belief in it. Someone else will gladly teach them something else, if not.

Love your boys and teach them!