As we approach Christmas you hear so much about kids being "good" enough to earn their Christmas gifts.
"Were you good this year?" they ask.
The child nods his head, wondering if he was really good enough to earn that toy...
As if the child must be compliant in order to earn gifts.
May I never teach my children that they are being "good" in order to get something.
Rather, may they obey out of their response to God for His FREE and undeserved gift in Jesus Christ.
There is nothing that anyone can do to earn the gift of salvation. It is free, and it is undeserved. No one can ever measure up or be good enough. Otherwise it wouldn't be a gift, but a payment. And Jesus paid the price for our gift.
Let that Truth permeate a bit. He paid the price for our undeserved gift...and what is the response? We obey...out of love...out of gratitude...because we can't help but respond that way when we truly grasp the truth. We do not try to earn His love. We already have it. Obedience comes from love, not fear, not motivation for something...because we already have it.
Oh, my heart overflows at this truth. I pray all would know this truth at Christmas.
So when you are out looking for gifts, remember, as the giver...did someone earn that gift? No, you are giving out of a heart of love. When you receive a gift, is it with the mindset of "Why, thank you...I sure did earn this..." NO. It is of humble thanks.
That Jesus came down from Glory, and suffered this human life in this fallen world...to suffer immensely...for those who did nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve it. We are humans, and certainly can't deserve it, otherwise we'd be equal with God. Yet, He died for us.
What a gift. An undeserved gift. May I never, ever diminish the size of that gift. The greatest gift there is. Jesus.
Come and visit me over at Home Educating Family today....I am sharing my heart on what to do on those days where I have to remind myself, whom I am working for...
There are those days…oh, so many of them. At the end of the day I am a tired mama, barely making it into bed, wondering why, oh why do I do it? No one seems to notice all of the little things. No one even seems to notice some of the big things. At the end of the day I am having a pity party for myself. I’ve done so much work today, and yet it feels like there is no fruit. The house doesn’t seem to stay clean, the children squabble, and the math is still not understood. - See more at: Home Educating Family
Call it Black Friday or Cyber Monday-I am just doing this because….I am grateful.
I am grateful for what the Lord has done through my books, my blog, and my speaking. Thankful that He would use me to encourage even just one person out there. Thankful for the people I have met in person to give hugs to, and the people who have emailed me their stories. I am blessed.
So from Friday November 29-Monday December 2 you can download (the PDF version only) of ALL THREE of my ebooks!
This sale has ended, but you can still order my books for just $0.99!
Click below to order:
Not strings attached, no liking on Facebook, no subscribing by email necessary….simply download and enjoy.
All Glory to God for what He has done!
This Thanksgiving remember...there is a difference between hospitality and entertaining. Hospitality serves guests humbly, showing Jesus' love- the focus is to let Christ's love shine in your home and point to Him. By serving guests and focusing on them, you open your home to let them see Christ. Entertaining means the focus is on the perfect food, decor, and outward stuff, often resulting in "pride."
Which will you practice this Thanksgiving?
When we choose to practice hospitality, we are putting other's need above our own. The internet can be a bit dangerous at this time of year, because it is absolutely filled with ideas for that "prefect" dinner. There's an infinite amount of ideas on Pinterest. You can make elaborate crafts, recipes, and decor for your home. We can spend hours focusing on these things. Yet, we need to be very careful where we put our focus.
It can be very easy to spend way too much time gathering ideas, and then striving to make that "perfect" dinner. It is the classic Mary and Martha syndrome. Yet, very quickly the entertaining becomes about "us." In reality, hospitality is about our guests.
We can be focused on the perfect decor, or we can be focused on how we make our guests feel in our home. We can make them feel loved and comfortable, or we can impress them with our fancy preparations. One focuses on God and the other on ourselves.
I would rather my guests leave my home feeling something special- that they saw Christ. Not a fancy party. I would rather have my guests see me sit at Jesus' feet rather than preoccupied with details.
Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42Hospitality points to God, but entertaining points to ourselves and what "we can do." Hospitality is an act of love. We practice service. Years ago I read the book Open Heart Open Home and it changed me. It changed the way I felt about opening my home to others...it is not about impressing anyone, but serving them. Ultimately if we are practicing hospitality we are sharing God's love and shining His light.
Hospitality says, "come on over anytime....my door is always open, and may you leave having seen God's love in action..."
I'll be writing more on this as we get into the Christmas season...but for now, here are my thoughts on Christmas...
Holidays can get so cluttered with activity. The get togethers, cookie parties, gift exchanges, and all the extra visiting...the shopping, the baking, the decorating. The flurry of activity tends to add more stress rather than focus on the Savior's birth.
I am not saying those things aren't fun and they don't bring us joy- they DO bring families and friends together, but we need to be careful.
We are entering a time of anticipation of the Lord's birth, and yet we get distracted by things of this world. May this season's only preoccupation be with the Lord. Be fixed on Him, and not on the worldly details. Satan wants us distracted. God wants us focused on HIM. Which will you choose this season?
I love the heart of Teach Them Diligently. They are committed to serving the homeschool community and bringing amazing conferences together for 2014. There is something for everyone in the whole family...from speakers, to a Men's Breakfast, to Children's programs...come and be encouraged!
From the site:
So, why should your family attend the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention:
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Teach Them Diligently is distinctive from many other homeschool conventions because the foundation will be discipleship, parenting, and missions. Academics and how-to workshops on homeschooling will be important, as will legal discussions regarding homeschooling. But, discipleship will be the foundation, and we believe that it is the foundation for what so many Christian parents do every day as they educate their children. Another distinction is that all profits from the Teach Them Diligently Convention will go directly into mission endeavors.
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This evening we were driving in the fog. It was dark and the fog was very thick. At one point (I was driving) I could barely see ahead of me. I had to slow down, focus intently on the road, and then...all I could do...was trust. I couldn't see what was up ahead or what was coming at me. Only what was directly in front of me.
I was thinking how sometimes in life, this is just what God does. He takes us into a foggy place, and gives us just enough to see where we are at the moment, and with our eyes on the road, trusting. We can't see what lies ahead of the fog...if a turn in the road is coming up, or a sharp curve. We can't see if it is just a straight road ahead or a hill. We simply keep our eyes fixed on the road and trust.
We have points in our life sometimes where we can really complicate things by trying to figure it all out before it is time for us to know. We want to know what lies ahead, and know what is in store for us. Yet, God doesn't always reveal that to us. Sometimes He just gives us right now.
I have chosen lately to trust the foggy places. To be content with the here and now, and not always try to figure it out, because the beautiful thing is...He knows what lies ahead...every curve, every sharp turn, every hill, and every valley. He's already there. Oh, is that comforting.
It is comforting to give it all to Him, and not try and figure out the details. I can just rest knowing that if I focus on Him and focus on the path He has put me on, He will bring me out of the fog safely.
We complicate life so much by trying to know the future. Our job is always to seek Him first, and let Him provide the rest. Sure we can plan, but ultimately His plans prevail.
So today in the fog, I will trust. I will not try and get ahead of the fog, but to simply hold tight to that steering wheel, eyes fixed on the road, concentrating on the here and now...until He reveals what's up ahead...