Goals for a New Year?

I set goals in my mind; sometimes for homeschooling and sometimes for personal but I have never sat down and written them out.  Perhaps that is why I don’t seem to reach my goals very often!  I read this excellent blog post by Doorposts and it really gave me the desire to write out goals for myself and my family.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

It seems that I approach the new year, new day, new hour in survival mode.  I tend to focus on getting through each hour and each day.  That sounds like my life is terribly trying…. it isn’t!  Do I do all things to the glory of God?  Do I plan our day around daily bible time together?  Do my actions and words reflect an effort to bring glory to God?

I desire to be wise and intentional with my time.  Assessing how much time I spend in daily bible reading versus scrolling through Facebook.  Looking closely at how much time is spent with my head bent towards my smartphone or computer versus how much time I give my children undivided attention during the day.  Realizing that meal time with family is more productive without a smart phone sitting in front of me tempting me to see who’s posted the latest anecdote on FB, who has sent me an email since the last time I checked 2 minutes ago, who has played a word in Words with Friends, or the latest tweet.  NONE of those things are investments into my husband and children.  Hmmm… I’m seeing a theme here…. technology….. a big pull in our house and I’m no exception!

A quick brainstorm of personal goals….

  • Daily bible time with a plan
  • Daily bible time as a family
  • Get my head and focus out of FB and into family

Over the next couple of days I plan on going before the Lord and asking for wisdom on what my goals should be for 2015.  I’d like to set goals for spiritual growth in myself and our children, character traits I’d like to see in myself and our children, marriage goals (how can I be an encourager to my husband and build him up in the Lord) and of course goals for the school year.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

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New Christmas Tradition

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  I realize some still celebrate Christmas through January 5th but I haven’t quite figured out what that is all about.  I typically take my Christmas decorations down the day after Christmas but as I sit here typing this post on December 28th my decorations are still up.  Although I love decorating for Christmas after about 3 or 4 weeks I’m kind of over it and just want it all put away!  Maybe tomorrow….

Anyhow, I started a new family tradition this Christmas season.  The goal was to acquire 24 (or 23 if you want to ready the birth story straight from the Bible) Christmas or other special story books, wrap them and label them with a number; day 1, day 2, etc.  However, in keeping with our tight budget I was unable to acquire 24 books but I did manage to get 7 books that the kids had never read before.  I wrapped each book in pretty Christmas wrapping and labeled each book.  Then I put them in a basket under the tree.  Each evening, starting on December 18th the kids took turns unwrapping the appropriate labeled books and we read them together.  The kids really enjoyed this daily activity so I’m hoping next year I will be able to add a few more and start the tradition a little sooner in December.   I saved the story of the birth of Jesus to read on Christmas Eve.  I will be putting these books away with our Christmas decorations tomorrow so that they will be ready to go for next Christmas.  Want to know what books we read?  Here is our list:

Day 1 – A Charlie Brown Christmas!  I got this book from Amazon and it’s a VERY small book but it is such a fun story.  I imagine most of us grew up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas!

Day 2 – The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell.  This was about a little angel who didn’t quite fit in with the other angels in heaven.  In the end, he fits in better then he realizes.

Day 3 – The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado.  We all really loved this book.  It’s not really about the birth of our Savior but it is a book about being the ‘tree’ that God made us to be.

Day 4 – Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  My kids love reading Little House on the Prairie books so this one fit right in.

Day 5 – Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift by Max Lucado.  Another great story by Max Lucado.  This book is about celebrating Maker Day and giving our best to God.  Wonderful story!

Day 6 – The Fourth King by Ted Sieger.  This was an excellent book as well.  As we know, there were more then 3 wise men and this is a story of the 4th wise man who was desperately trying to meet up with the original 3 wise men to see baby Jesus.  Various events came up along the way and this wise man kept putting off his trip to see Jesus to help those he met along the way.  The last family he helped had a baby and they were escaping the King’s order of killing the young children.  This forth wise man helped this family escape with their precious baby.  Can you guess who that baby was?  Such a wonderful book!

Day 7 – The Christmas Story for Children – by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee and Karen Davis Hill.  A very good telling of the glorious birth of Jesus.

I can’t wait to see what I am able to add to next year’s reading!

God Bless,
Gaylene

Psalm 103

I’ve been digging deep into Psalm 103 recently.  The first 2 and last 3 verses are calls to praise and basically set the tone for the entire Psalm.  Included in the body of the Psalm are celebrations of personal benefits, God’s mercies to His people and declaration of the vastness of His love.  There is so much to meditate on in this Psalm… stick with me!

I made a list in my journal of who is called to bless the Lord according to Psalm 103.  According to this Psalm David says if you serve the Lord then you are called to bless Him.

  • my soul (verse 1)
  • all that is within me (verse 1)
  • His angels (verse 20)
  • His hosts (verse 21)
  • those doing His will (verse 21)
  • those doing His works (verse 22)

Then I made a list of all the phrases  that include the word ALL.

  • …all that is within me bless His holy name (verse 1)
  • …pardons all your iniquities (verse 3)
  • …heals all your diseases (verse 3)
  • …judgments for all who are oppressed (verse 6) (this does not always happen here in this life but God will deliver those that are oppressed.
  • …sovereignty rules over all (verse 19)
  • …all you His hosts (verse 21)
  • …all you works of His (verse 22)
  • …all places of His dominion (verse 22)

Verse 1 says to bless the Lord with all that is within me… ALL.  I thought about what ALL that is within me: my will, my affections, my desires, my hopes AND my thought life.  How can I kneel down before the Lord and show Him reverence in all of these areas?

My will – how can I bless the Lord with my will?  Perhaps being in His word daily as that is where I will learn what His will is and can make it my will.

My affections – how can I bless the Lord with my affections?  How about by loving those He loves?

My desires and hopes – do I desire what the Lord desires for my life?  Or are my desires worldly?

My thought life – this is a big one!  I can easily get caught up in thinking about things that take time and energy away from things the Lord wants me to ponder.

I have found that the more time I spend in the Word of God the more I can bless the Lord with my thoughts, desires, affections and actions.  I am not perfect in this… not even close.

One last note, in verse 2 it says forget none of His benefits.  I like to read this as remember ALL His benefits.  There’s that ALL word again.

I find great comfort and peace when I remember ALL His benefits.

Intolerance

As my tag line says I can blog about anything that fits my fancy and today my frustration lies in the word intolerance.

I’ll start by saying I believe the Bible is the word of God from the front cover to the back cover.  I believe every single word in the Bible is truth.  I’m not someone who thinks this set of chapters or this or that book is truth or just stories.  Either it’s ALL the word of God and therefore truth or none of it is.  I believe the Bible is crystal clear on marriage and what God intended for marriage: one man and one woman.  PERIOD.

I get so tired being labeled as intolerant, homophobe, hateful, mean or any other label the LGBT community comes up with.  I believe our Lord designed marriage between one man and one woman and I will stand up for that truth.  I will teach my children what the Bible says on this topic.  HOWEVER, this does not mean I hate gay people, nor will I teach my children to hate gay people.

According to the Webster dictionary the definition of phobia is: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.

I am not scared of nor have a fear of gay people.  I am not a homophobe.  When I worked outside the home I worked with many gay people and I guarantee if you asked any of them how I treated them they would answer the same as I treat anyone.  And, I would never teach my children to treat gay people with hate.

Test:  which of the following sentences are hate speech?

A) Your lifestyle is gross, disgusting and completely unnatural and I hope you burn in hell because of your sin.  All the gay people should be tortured and killed.

B) I believe the Bible is clear on marriage and God’s plan for marriage is one man and one woman.  I believe the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.

Hmm… I would say A is hate speech and I have NEVER, let me repeat, NEVER said that to someone.  And, of all the Christians in our lives none of them have said hateful things either.  Are there those that treat people this way?  Of course, we are sinners.  People treat other people terribly for all kinds of reasons.

Why is it the left and the LGBT demand I be tolerant (not just tolerant but it’s rammed down our throats in so many aspects of life) of their belief yet they do not have to be tolerant of my belief?  Why is it when I stand up for what I believe is truth I get labeled a hater or a bigot yet those in support of homosexuals can say whatever they want and I have to keep my mouth shut.

We live in such a messed up world and I pray daily for our Lord’s return. In the mean time, I will stand up for truth and I will teach my children to stand up for truth.  We will do it in love but we will not waiver.

Gaylene