Homeschooling When Homeschooling Wasn’t Cool
July 30, 2015, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Following God’s command to make sure we, as parents, bring our kids up the right way!

Lessons from my Father's Hands


I will never forget our son, Ben calling me after he had led a group of students on a field trip. “Mom, we went to a museum and I kept telling the kids information that the museum didn’t have posted. Some of the kids asked how I knew all this stuff. After all these years it dawned on me, you and Dad never stopped teaching us.” As a family, we are accustomed to having people talking about all the “useless trivia information” that we know. The truth is that we do know some things that are not essential but our desire is to know what God tells us is important.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 we read, “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…

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Rahab and a Changed Life (Joshua 2, 6, Ruth 4, Matthew 1)
July 29, 2015, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , , , , ,

The book of Joshua rahab and a changed life, july 29

One of the great messages of the Bible is that God pursues people who are perfect. In fact, God works through the lives of people who do bad things. Before having a relationship with God, Abraham had worshiped false gods. Moses, prior to being used of God, had murdered a person. David committed adultery by having a baby with another man’s wife. David then set up that man’s death by ordering him to fight in a war, and then having the other troops withdraw, leaving Uriah as an easy target for the enemy. Paul, prior to being transformed and following God, persecuted Christians and evidently ordered the death of many of them, as the example of Stephen in Acts 7. Mary Magdalene had been possessed by seven demons, according to Luke 8. So it comes as no surprise that God did something amazing in the life of Rahab, a harlot. Today, we don’t use the word harlot but our common term is prostitute. It is sad that a person sees there only hope in selling themselves to others, but there are people who see this as there only option to survive. We don’t know why Rahab was a prostitute, but we know that her sin broke God’s heart, not just because she was breaking the commandment not to commit adultery, but because she had such little love for herself. What do we know about Rahab? She loved her family. Reading verse 13 of Joshua 2 reveals that she helped the two spies because of an agreement she made with them concerning her “father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all they have, and deliver them from death”. Her actions may reveal that for some unknown reason, the survival of her family depended on her. She shows that she makes things happen for her and her family. Second, she is willing to make a change. She was open to helping the spies. In reading the story, she knew a lot about the Israelites. She talked about how God had supernaturally worked on their behalf in really amazing ways. She mentioned their deliverance form Egypt, passage through the Red Sea, and many victories over superior enemies. Then she revealed her belief about God. The phrase “for the Lord your God, he is the God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” reveals her belief that the real sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all was the Supreme God of the Jews. Her actions of helping the Jewish spies reveals that she truly believed this because her actions revealed her true beliefs. Rahab believed that God would give the Israelites the city of Jericho, so her actions in this event were based on her new faith in the God of all. Perhaps the most powerful part of the story is that God wants to save everyone. From before the foundation of the earth, God’s plan included Rahab. God revealed Himself to her and then was able to plug her into His plan. More on the extent of the plan later.
When we are first introduced to Rahab, we see her in the city of Jericho. The two spies of the Jews come into the city to check it out. They wanted to get details about the city as well as find out what the citizens were talking about. Evidently a great place to stay would be at Rahab’s. Visitors in the city would be less suspicious if they stayed with Rahab and the conversations of many would be heard in her house. Maybe her home, which was built into the wall, had an upper and lower part. The upper part was the families living quarters. Perhaps the bottom section was a tavern or roadhouse, full of visitors and full of wickedness. All visitors were welcomed here so it was not surprising that the king expected the two spies to be at Rahab’s. When the word of the spies’ arrival soon spread throughout Jericho, the king (most likely mayor) of Jericho sent word to Rahab to hand over the spies. And you know what she does? She lies! She tells a story that is full of lies! She LIES! As Christians, we struggle with her actions because we believe that she is now a follower of God. Her words, spoken about God a little later, didn’t turn her into a believer of God. They just revealed it. So how can we accept her as a believer? Trusting God doesn’t make us perfect, it just puts us on the road to eventually becoming outwardly what God transforms us inwardly to be. God begins to transform us inwardly so that our reactions become more consistent to His will. How long Rahab had been a believer in God is unknown and she needed to be taught the Will of God as revealed in the Word of God. (Which at the time was a small part of the Old Testament.) She makes a deal with the spies and tells them how to escape capture. When the Jews come back to the city to conquer them, Rahab is told to tie a red (scarlet) rope from her home’s window on the wall and let it hang down. This part of the wall would be spared and her family would be saved. We now skip over to Joshua 6 for the next part of the story. Joshua gives instructions about what the troops will do to conquer the city of Jericho. In verse 17 of Joshua 6, Joshua reminds all about sparing Rahab and her family. In verse 22, Joshua tells the two spies to go to Rahab’s and bring her and her family out before the city was destroyed. She survived the fall of Jericho but what happened to Rahab? If we continue to read the book of Joshua, we won’t find the answer but we now have the entire Bible. Can we look elsewhere? Maybe the best place to look is in the New Testament book of Matthew. In Matthew 1, we read a genealogy of Jesus, the King of the Jews. Starting with the father of the Jewish race, Abraham, we read of a patriarchal system in which one father begats a son who assumes the position of leadership after the dad steps down or dies. This genealogy is unique because women are mentioned. Because we are switching from a testament that is translated from Hebrew to a testament translated from Greek, the spelling of names will be different. Most of the Bible involves reading from the original languages and translating into the best English word possible. But names are “transliterated” which means we turn a Hebrew or Greek word into an English word by changing letters from Hebrew or Greek to English. So the Rahab we get from transliterating Hebrew into English is the same as the Rachab we get from transliterating Greek into English. So we read Rachab in Matthew 1, verse 5. We find that she marries a Jewish man named Salmon and has a son named Booz (or Boaz), who married Ruth. So Rahab is the mother of Boaz, the grandmother of Obed, the great-grandmother of Jesse, and the great-great-grandmother of David the King. She is also in the lineage of Jesus, the King of the Jews, the Son of God. What a transformation from prostitute to blessed member of the Messiah heritage. That is only something that God can do! God does have a plan and God will do what is needed to pursue us. Not everyone believes the Gospel and therefore reject God, although He has come after them. But Rahab did and she was forever changed.

Questions about Rahab
1. Who are the other 3 women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17?

2. Who are included in the genealogy found in Ruth 4?
3. In Joshua 6, Joshua ends the chapter with a curse placed upon Jericho. Read verses 26 and 27 in the chapter to see what it is?

4. The time between Joshua 6 and I Kings 16 is about 600 to 700 years, with I Kings 16 taking place that many years after the curse placed upon Jericho. Read I Kings 16:34 and tell what happened.

5. What is the only reasonable explanation for a prophecy coming true exactly as predicted 600 to 700 years before? What does that prove about the Word of God?

Examine My Prayers
July 27, 2015, 3:49 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , ,

In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches important lessons about prayer. While He is speaking to His disciples, in the crowd are the common people of His day as well as the Pharisees and scribes who were the religious leaders. These religious leaders practiced a hypocritical and worthless “faith” that was more motivated by their desire to be important than to be followers of God. The point of the Sermon on the Mount is to show what true spiritual life looks like compared to the false “spiritual” life practiced and proclaimed by the Pharisees. The Pharisees missed the teachings of God for their beliefs and teaching about Him, their religious life, and their view of what is valuable in life. Jesus shows that their religious life of giving, praying, and fasting are worthless and failed practices of a self-centered and self-serving religion.
Jesus’ intention is to bring the Pharisees to the point of admitting they are “poor in spirit”. This means that they have nothing worthwhile to offer God. When we come to God, admitting that we have nothing spiritually to offer Him, then He calls us “blessed”. We admit we are empty, come to Him, broken and realizing that we are totally dependent upon Him, and then we trust His plan of salvation based on the finished work of Christ.
The Jewish religious leaders put a heavy emphasis on prayer. In their view of religion, prayer was the greatest work a man could do. In fact, most rabbis wanted to pray all day long. They placed prayer as essential for a right standing with God.
Here’s the bad thing about the prayers of the Jewish people; it was corrupted by the corrupt leaders. Because the leaders practiced a phony faith, their teachings and standards deteriorated from the standard God gave. The number one problem with their prayers is that they became rituals. A ritualistic prayer is one which does not come from our heart. We get into a routine of praying something without meaning it. The Jewish had a custom (or ritual) that each morning they were to pray or repeat the Shimah, which was basically “Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord”. But remember, the rabbis wanted to pray all day. So they added other verses to this and required the people to pray this long pray each morning and each night. As soon as a child could determine the differences in simple things, he or she would be taught this prayer. We do that with our children. “Now I lay me down to sleep” or “God is gracious, God is good” comes to mind. Christian school children often pray, “Dear God, help us in today in class to learn. Don’t let us get in trouble. And help us win the game this afternoon. In Jesus’ name, Amen” If you’ve ever heard this prayer you are amazed at how quickly they can pray it. Before we condemn our children, what about our prayers. Do they reflect thoughts from our minds and feeling from our heart or have we allowed them to become ritualistic, routine, and powerless prayers? They began to require prayers every 3 hours during the day. See how it come become a routine? So prayers come be genuine, if you were genuine and your heart was right and loving in communion with the true and living God. Prayers could also become times of showing how righteous you were. The Pharisees fell into this trap. Theatrical presentations at the times of required prayer became the common thing among these leaders. Then, there is a third reaction. Prayer meant nothing to some people. They saw it as worthless because it was just a routine. This indifference is what we see today. Except for rare occasions during which we pray special prayers, prayer meant nothing. In the hospital, we want prayers. We ask for prayers at funerals. In time of national emergency, we seek prayers. The rest of the time, prayers are seen as a waste of time. Because their prayers were ineffective, the Pharisees thought the answer was to pray longer prayers. We sing “sweet hour of prayer”, then lament that we don’t pray that long anymore. But look at the Bible. Most prayers written out in the Bible are short prayers. Lengthy prayers without devotion are worthless prayers. Nothing wrong with a long prayer if it is a real prayer from the heart. But praying long just to pray long is worthless. Some Jewish prayers would be altered to make them longer by placing multitudes of adjectives before the name of God. Prayer is to focus on God, yet it is to be from a heart that loves God more than anything else.
Please take time to read this statement: We are all subject to pride in our praying because we have sin natures and Satan will battle us when we enter into communion with God. Jesus was in the wilderness, spending time with God when Satan confronted Him. If he can tempt us with pride in prayer, he will try to turn us away from loving devotion to prideful display. Be aware of prayers that are self-centered and prideful.
True prayer is giving God the opportunity to show His tremendous power and to demonstrate His majesty to a world that needs Him. Jesus tells the disciples that when they are praying, think about the greatness of God. When we are faced with a multitude of problems, stop and think about who God really is. As you do, He gets bigger and our problems get smaller. Second, remember to pray for God to accomplish His will. He already knows our needs and is standing in the future where the answer already is. We show our confidence in Him by being willing to submit to Him and trust Him to do what is best because He is good. The third and sometimes most difficult thing to do, is pray with hearts are are free from bitterness caused by an unforgiving attitude. Finally, make sure that you pray that God receives the most from our prayers. Life is not centered around us, but around Him. God accomplishing His will and looking great in the sight of men is much more important that me getting something that I want. Jesus taught His disciples to be genuine and real in their prayers. He stressed the importance of praying from a heart that loves God more than anything or anyone else. He also told us that genuine prayer comes from a humble heart that seeks God’s ears and not man’s approval.

hear his voice

James 1:1, Why Brag About Being a Brother, When You Are A Slave?
July 2, 2015, 5:48 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

faith in the sand

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, ‘Greeting’.”

Who is this man named James? First of all, let’s look at a couple of things that are important in understanding this book. The epistle, or letter, of James was one of the earliest New Testament books written. Sometimes, 10 to 15 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a man named James was hand-picked by the Holy Spirit to write to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad”. The early church began on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, according to Acts 2. Peter, a disciple of Jesus Christ and a Jewish convert to Him, was controlled by the Holy Spirit preached the first sermon sharing the Gospel and 3000 souls were saved. The church’s growth is detailed in Acts and when we get to Acts 9, we read that a man named “Saul, made havoc of the church . . . they were scattered abroad.” Evidently, James writes this book after that scattering. James writes to remind us that God had a purpose in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that purpose is basic to a life live to the fullest. The purpose of God was to fulfill the most basic of man’s needs, a need of a personal relationship with God. He did this through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as He graciously gave all men the opportunity to have the abundant life He had planned for them. This life was freely given, but took the early church on a journey that included different trials and difficulties. This discouraged the true church and God used James to encourage them but to also let them know some truth that would help them experience this abundant life. First, abundant life comes from a realization of who God truly is. We will never be satisfied by any other thing. The world, used by Satan, will offer counterfeits that are lesser but can be obtained immediately and in the physical realm.
God the Holy Spirit opens our awareness of our need of this relationship that can only be obtained through Jesus Christ.
We can have this relationship which brings fulfillment and joy. God also shows that this relationship can be affected through our choices. The commands of the Bible establish what will alter or damage the relationship that God intends for us to have with God. Every “thou shalt” is a path to the fulfilled life and every “thou shalt not” is a roadblock that damages the abundant life God gives. God’s intention is to have those who are saved and in a relationship with Him to be hopelessly in love with Him. Because I love Him, I really want to please Him. I please Him because it shows how much I love Him. In I John 5:3, we read that the love of God is seen in “that we keep his commandments”. God wants willing submission because we are so in love with Him. If we follow Christ because we fear that He will zap us if we don’t, God isn’t glorified.
So back to the question, “who is this man named James?” He is most likely the half-brother of Jesus. Prior to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, James was an unbeliever, according to John 7:5. So what did Jesus do to convince James that He was in fact God? He resurrected and then appeared to James (I Corinthians 15:7). James was face to face with the fact that Jesus was God and he believed. James was transformed into a follower of Jesus Christ. He was so committed to Jesus Christ being his Lord or Master, that he emphasized that he was a slave (the true meaning of servant) over the fact that he was a half-brother of Jesus. James evidently becomes the head pastor of the church at Jerusalem and loved the Lord Jesus Christ so much that he willingly was murdered for following Him. James, according to church tradition, was taken to the top of the Temple, the same place that Satan had taken Jesus to tempt Him, and given the choice of denying Jesus or being killed, James was cast down from the pinnacle of the Temple. Amazing he survived and struggled to his feet and was murdered by being stoned to death.
This book was written to the church, scattered. The use of “twelve tribes” is used for two reasons. First, the early church was made up of primarily Jewish converts to Christianity at first. The teaching of Paul also used “true Israel” to speak of those who had “true faith”, or Christians who were followers of Jesus Christ.
To understand the books of James, we need to see that trials never catch God by surprise and He will always get something good for us out of sufferings. Second, God knows we aren’t perfect, so He expects progress toward maturity, not perfect Christians. The third message that weaves its way throughout the epistle of James is the message of worldliness that riches, stuff, and success here in the now and immediate will bring happiness and contentment. This message is a lie, but attractive enough that our old nature will buy into it. How we are to handle this constant luring of worldliness is a part of James teaching.