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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New Year’s Resolutions?

bad day turtle2016 is already here! Where is time going? “Slow down, Time!” Each year as time goes by, I have decided not to do a New Year’s resolution. Why? Because I don’t want to fail. I have enough stress, enough struggles, enough loss, and enough pain that I never think about setting another goal which I might not reach.

I was driving down the road the other day as the Christian radio announcer spoke out the alarming number: 8%. Of those who set New Year’s resolutions, 8% are able to fulfill them. Really? Really! Why is it that such a small number of people will achieve their goals? I think it comes down to the fact that we are sinners. We sin. We fail. We try to depend on ourselves; we strive for perfection; we try to do it alone, instead of looking to the Lord for strength, hope, love, peace, joy. Those who do not know Christ have no power over sin and failure, loss and then shame.

Shame and failure: that may be the real reason that I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions normally. Last year, I just set a goal to be joyful. Yep, you guessed it. I was NOT one of the 8% and felt shame that I did not achieve that “simple” goal. I had given myself no grace and no “half-way.” I either had to be joyful each day or I was a failure. I didn’t even write about my year and what I was reading. I stopped reading the encouraging book. I relied on myself and I failed. I have not set resolutions in the past, because when I did, I knew I would fail.

However, the first week of January of 2016, I decided that one who does not set some sort of goal, she will never achieve anything! Maybe I needed to rely on God for the outcome, get over my perfectionist tendencies (at least some), and set a goal to work toward.  Thinking about what I would like to achieve, I realized I wanted to be healthier, in better shape, more focused on my boys and the Lord, more learned. In a word, I wanted to move toward perfection. EEK! It sounded like failure just thinking through all those things. But, after some prayer, here is what I have decided.

  1.  I know. I know. You are thinking FLOSS! Her goal is to floss? Well, yes it is. Our teeth and gum health will reflect our total health. I had a dentist who used to jokingly warn me, “Only floss the ones you want to keep.”  So, my first goal is floss, but notice that I did not write floss daily or floss 3 times a week. Grace, dear friends. I will floss when I think about it and let me confide in you, I have already flossed more this month than all last year (though it has not been daily)! I am already in that 8%. 🙂
  2. Copy Scripture. This could get really big and almost ugly if I let it. But instead, I looked at the books of Ephesians and Philippians, and they both had the same number of verses in the books. I love both those books in the New Testament, written by the Apostle Paul. So, I started copying 4 or 5 verses a day and reading what I had written before that day. I am finishing the first chapter of Philippians today. When I finish the book, I will start on Ephesians. When I complete that, I will start with Philippians. No stress. Just copywork for the spiritual heart and mind! 🙂
  3. Move more. Again, how can I go wrong, right? 🙂 Yet, I want to be intentional about moving–park and walk to the store, run around with the boys, work out in the evening, move around while teaching or cooking, dance in the kitchen. But, I don’t have to do this daily or a certain number of times each week. I just want to intentionally move more. This month I added to my calendar that this goal might look like “lifting 2 times/week.” Each month I may decide to do a mini goal but maybe not. I have not been able to lift twice this week, and I don’t want the shame of not accomplishing it. I might have to do that before I go to sleep…or I may just give myself grace to do it tomorrow.
  4. Be intentional about the boys is my last goal. I am learning that it is the little things that matter. I was becoming annoyed that the boys’ clothes were all over their rooms, not in drawers. WHY? After some time I realized that they believed the clothes would not all fit into the drawers. At the change of the seasons, I put all the clothing into the drawers so I knew they all fit. How then is it that after a couple of week the clothes no longer fit?! Parent Realization #309: The boys did not know how to properly fold their clothing so the clothes turned out too wrinkled and “large” to all fit. Each week, I wash the boys’ clothes in separate loads, and they fold their own clothing and put it away in their rooms. Last week the boys each had their loads, and I went through folding lessons again (ahem). Showing them again how to fold jeans and long sleeved shirts. Paying attention to the details really does make a huge difference. And guess what? All the clothing fit in the drawers!

As this month moves into the next and the next, I hope to be flossing, moving, copying, and paying attention to the details of my boys’ lives. But no matter how many goals I am meeting for myself (or not), I pray that I will continue to be leaning heavily on the arms of my Saviour and Lord: Jesus Christ. If I am in His arms, I cannot go wrong. And maybe that was the trouble with the past, the shame and feelings of failure. I wasn’t resting in His arms and His love. I am His child and He loves me just as I love my children, unconditionally (flossed teeth of not).

Love your boys. Love your family. It will be what they remember & is a goal worth achieving!