My life in Christ is not dependent on how I feel, the weather condition, the church’s doctrinal divisions, the government’s decrees, the doctor’s report about my health, the lacking of wealth to make ends meet, the approval of my family and friends, the welfare of my marriage, the decisions of my children, nor any other created thing. For nothing can separate me from the love of God; I am His beloved and He is mine! This marriage with Christ is till death do us part!
There may be many times, like Job, that I have wanted to die, because the emotional, physical, mental, spiritual pain was so excruciating! Satan has been given permission by God to try… to cut off my seed from salvation, destroy my ministry of reconciliation, inflict infirmities on my mind, body, and soul, kill my relationships I have invested my life into cultivating, increase extreme emotional stress, and hinder my intimate walk with God. I may not understand what is happening to me or have all the answers figured out, but through it all God has sustained me and is using these things to build my faith and give me compassion to comfort others with the comfort God has given to me. It is times like these that I increase my worship, mediation of the Word, relying on the Holy Spirit’s power who gives wisdom, rebuke, and warning from His Word.
Personally, I have been listening and meditating on the book of Job. Are you going through suffering, pain, trials, persecution and need prayer or want to study Job together, contact me? 1225-590-3444
This is what I am learning …
• Job was a wealthy prominent man in his community who loved the Lord and walked in His ways making sacrificial offering for he and his family every day. Job was righteous and lived righteously (He had a heart for God and did what was right in God’s eyes.). Christians are made right by the blood of the Lamb, the works Christ has already done through His death on the cross, His rising again, and now seated on His judgment seat. Jesus’ works for us will always produce good works through us to others! Shouldn’t we be confident about our position in Christ as a child of God … we are God’s beloved. This knowledge and understanding of who we are in Christ will determine how we react during a crisis!
• Satan asked to test Job’s faithfulness to God. God gave Satan permission to afflict Job. This good news not bad news for Satan meant this for evil in our lives but God will use it for good in our lives and others. He has a master plan that is for good not evil!
•Job questions God… why? Do we experience suffering because of the consequences of sin, the disciplining of His children for their good, testing and building of our faith in Him, or administering wrath and punishment on the wicked (those who do not repent) or other. Abraham’s faith was tested, Aaron’s sons were killed because they were wicked priest’s of God, Jacob was disciplined for His deceit, and so on. What we do know is God is in control of all things, good and bad. Nothing (storms, wars, betrayal, sickness, famine, persecution, death, loss of a job, or any other kind of pain or suffering) takes God by surprise!
• Everything Job owned (his home, income, employers, friends, wealth, health, reputation, including all his sons and daughters) were destroyed and also afflicted with physical pain. Suffering did not come upon Job because He sinned (rebelled against God in thoughts or actions) or being wicked (those who do not repent of evil), but for righteousness sake! Satan and those he uses, will try to deceive, accuse, lie, blame you into thinking God is not good and does not have your best.
• Yet during all that Job suffered, He still praised God and offered his usual daily sacrifices to God demonstrating his love and devotion to Him as always. Should we continue to deny self, finish the task, and follow Jesus no matter what? Yes, what ever task God has called us to, we must continuously do it cheerfully through the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus Christ, and for our Father. This is our “perfect and living sacrifice that is acceptable to God”.
• Job’s friends did not comfort, console, or have compassion, but heaped only misery by giving advice and reasons why God had abandoned Job and he deserved to suffer. Like Job, this is what some “friends” told me during times of extreme suffering and pain… “You are wrong to mourn because God did this.”; “You caused this to happen?”; “You need to repent?”, “This would not have happened if you did this, this, and this.”, “You are haughty and prideful to question God why?”, “You aren’t really suffering because I saw you smiling?”, “You haven’t suffered, like I have suffered?” The advice and accusations about Job nor God were true about why people, who trust & love God, suffer. Should we make assumptions concerning another person’s trials? Unless, we have walked the talk, we are ignorant fools to try to explain why? “Angus said to Scout, ‘we can’t understand sometimes why somethings bad happens to others until we have walked in their shoes for awhile.” To Kill a Mockingbird
• Job answered his friends that he already knew these things about God and man and that this was not the time to remind him; He desired comfort and compassion! God is sovereign (nothing happens without His permission); God punishes the wicked; I do not understand all God’s ways and reasons; No one can stand before a holy and just God. This is a case of the “wrong reason at the wrong time”. Job says it would have been better if his friends kept silent. So true, suffering people really need… hug, holy kiss, a serve (meal, babysit, clean house, monetary gift or other), prayer, a comforting Scripture, and just being there says volumes. Ecclesiastes says “There is a time for everything.”
• Job was in tremendous mourning and grief over his losses and pain that he wanted to die. Job begged God to take his life and gave God reasons why. Who wouldn’t want to be in a peaceful, pain free, sinless world during extreme mental, emotional, or physical pain? Paul said it like this, ”It is better that I leave this world to be with Jesus but better for you that I stay.”
Actually, the friend that told me I was Biblically wrong for mourning was wrong! All throughout the Bible, heroes of the faith mourned. King David did not stop mourning until his son’s death; God answered his prayers, not with a yes but a no. Mordecai tore his clothes, heaped ashes and wept bitterly for his people’s possible annihilation by Haman’s decree; God answered yes and delivered the Jews. It is natural to weep! Asking God for mercy is a good thing… it is a way of humbly declaring who God is and admitting who we are without Him. On the other hand, Aaron was rebuked by God for mourning God’s judgment of death of his rebellious sons. Aaron should have wept for their souls while they were alive, now it was too late; judgement and God’s wrath were administered, justly!
***The statements about the book of Job was what I wanted to say but this author said it best… “God answers Job and his friends, not with answers but questions (38:2-41:34). By these questions, and their implied answers, he teaches Job.
1.Was Job there at the beginning. (38:4).
2. Is Job the great architect and builder (38:4-6).
3. Did Job set the limits (38:5,8-11).
4. Does Job sustain everything (38:12).
Does Job govern all the nations.
5. Did your creative work bring forth praise and joy (38:7).
Like Job, we can also learn for our trials…God knows what He is doing and is in control. God vindicates Job’s conviction that God is not punishing him for sin, and on the other hand, calls him on to an enlarged knowledge of God, and to an enlarged faith (40:4,5). Job’s knowledge of God had been true; what it needed was a massive filling out of the meaning of that truth.
From 40:6 to 41:34 God points out that just as it is impossible for man to capture or subdue behemoth or leviathan so also it is impossible for Job to call God to account for his justice, or even for Job to administer justice on earth.
God has revealed himself, making known his power and wisdom. Such a self-disclosure draws only one response from the man of faith: ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner’ (Luke 18:13 KJV);’Woe to me! …I am a man of unclean lips… and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty (Isaiah 6:5); ‘…now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes’ (Job 42: 5b-6).This is always the response of faith, face to face with almighty God. God has told us through Job’s miseries what is truth… ‘The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding’ (28:28).This verse tells us exactly why Job was right and the friends were wrong: he was a God-fearer, a believer in God and His Word. There was a lot about God and his working, Job didn’t know, but he knows God. Confronted now by the trauma of his own massive suffering, Job also knows that the traditional explanation, which up to the point of his suffering he had carelessly and thoughtlessly assumed to be true, cannot be true. God is now doing to him what others experienced. He knows there has to be some other explanation. But when God speaks, it is not with answers and explanations, but with a whole series of questions meant to teach Job more about the God he loves and serves.”
1. I can see the wisdom of God that His children endure testings by Satan and go through trials. Satan’s question to God is logical … “If you take away everything from man will he curse or bless your name?” Though Satan’s motives are evil towards Job and you and I, God is going to use it for good! My answer to Satan’s question is how I live out my faith in God during extreme pain…I will either curse God or praise Him and even in that there is granted repentance. God is a merciful God and a pursuing lover till I die! 2. How many times have I assumed that the reason a person is suffering is because of some sin? An example of this kind of foolish thinking was when I had to receive government care when I lost my eye sight. As I sat in the waiting room, I noticed the people all around me. I met lawn care workers, cash attendances, maids, family members of the military, etc.. These people were not pimps, prostitutes, and lazy bums off the streets but hard long hour working people who needed care. (Not theat the others do not need extreme love & ministering too!) I was himbled and I cried for my selfish and evil thinking of these people. Many of those sitting next to me year every year were God fearing people! I not only learned something about me, but about God!
3. Through God’s questions, God reminded me that this is true about God and myself…God is God; I am not. God is infinite and I am finite. God is strong; I am weak. God is sinless; I am not till I get my glorified body! I live in a world of sin, suffering, evil; one day I will live with Christ in a pain and sin free world.
My prayer: Lord let me…remember who I am in Christ; do not despise your disciplines for you are good all the time, and comfort others with the cofort you have given me. “Through it all I will learn to trust in Jesus!” Love, your child, merle
PS…If you are suffering, please contact me so we can pray, meditate on the word, and comfort one another.
Suggestions: If you read or listen to Job..I recommend Job 1-15 then jump to 38-42 for short.
When you are suffering sometimes you do not have the strength to read the Bible; this is a Bible audio to listen to the book of Job!
The Book of Job (/ˈdʒoʊb/; Hebrew: אִיוֹב Iyov) is one of the Writings (Ketuvim) of the Hebrew Bible, and the first poetical book in the Christian Old Testam…
Lack of vision: Most homeschool parents lack a vision for educating their children. They have no goals and become victims to every plan made by man. When persecution comes or doubts arise, there is no reason to stand firm. God has already given us in the Bible a vision for educating our sons and daughters. It is called discipleship. Discipleship unlike education, will include not only academic learning but spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical growth.
Government, Society, and Family Disapproval: The governmental system wants control over our children’s education because they lose money every time a child leaves the school system. The agenda for educators is that our children have a world view, not a Biblical one. Family members will not understand your decision to place discipleship over educating your children. Friends, even those in the Church, might be some of your strongest critics.
Confused: A third reason is that other homeschooling materials have stated to be Bible based, only to be disappointed that these claims were not true. We, too, have searched and have collected quite a large library of resources claiming to be Bible centered but in fact are curriculums focusing on literature, creation science, missions, character traits, doctrines, portion of scripture, history, etc. The SOW Curriculum is truly Bible centered.
Disappointments: The SOW Curriculum will disappoint some. No one has written the perfect curriculum or plan that will meet to your family’s needs. Only God has written the perfect curriculum–the Bible. We felt; that if, we could utilize the Bible as the main text, follow the Biblical mandate to disciple our children, copy the example of Jesus in teaching His disciples–how to pray, walk in the Spirit, preach and teach others the gospel, to care for His creation, etc.; then God would do what He has promised to do–make our children wise, guide them into all truth, protect them from the evil one, and give them a future and a hope. Use the SOW Curriculum as a tool or framework to accomplish your goals for your family; and, you will not be disappointed.
Comfortable: Most people are comfortable with what they are using. But being comfortable should never be a motive. The plan, that you devised and should be implementing in your home, should be God given and driven. Don’t let the responsibility of training and educating your children become over whelming and paralyze you from doing what God has called you to do as a Christian, parent, and teacher.
Lack of social opportunities, rewards, and recognition for our children: We literally believe; that if, we “put God first, all things shall be added.” We also believe many of the programs that are offered in the school systems promote self glorification. We believe that Christians should seek to glorify God, not ourselves. We feel that the school systems teach our children to be self sufficient; when, they should be learning to depend on God. We believe the schools systems teach our children individualism or the “I am”, instead of that, we are a body and we need each other. The hardest things to give up were, what we called, the riches of Egypt–all those titles, rewards and recognitions that the world offers that give us a false sense of security and pride. Instead, we encouraged our children not to compare themselves with others, but by God’s standards in His Word. When we do that, we all fall short. When we recognize our weaknesses and sins, we should turn to God to empower us and give us wisdom.
Stated goals vs real goals: It is very wise to count the cost for every decision we make. God warns us not to start building the house without counting the cost, less others mock because of our double mindedness. God calls us to narrow our choices as we walk with Him. Choosing to leave your former religious believes for a relationship with Jesus Christ, choosing to marry a Christian, choosing a type of job career that is pleasing to the Father, choosing to homeschool, or choosing to disciple your children, will make waves. Are your stated goals, your real goals? Where and on what do you spend most of your time and resources? What do you think and dream about?
8.Perseverance to the “task”: Because the SOW Curriculum’s vision, method, and use of the Bible as the main text is so different from the typical way most were taught to learn and different from other Christian or secular curricular, there will be, at first, a time of perseverance needed until the teacher and student become familiar with how to use it. You will need to reeducate yourself by reading thoroughly through the material. These differences will require you to gain wisdom on how to use it, and then teach each of your students, beginning with the oldest, how to use the SOW Curriculum until they master using the scope & sequence, charts, daily lessons, resources, & skill level worksheets in each subject. We recommend a full month of slowly doing all SOW subjects Lesson #1 before going on to the lesson #2 in each subject. We hope that you will be able to value the differences that SOW brings to your education experience!
9. Check motives: Check to see, if your motives for educating your children are spiritually pure and Biblically founded or are they tainted with worldly reasons. God has told us not to be fearful, but have courage as we take back the land (children) that the enemy (Satan) has stolen. “Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
These are suggestions that worked for me…
- Personal devotions vital for success! To see myself through this journey (parenting, motherhood), I had to know for sure … I was ordained and called by God to have children and make disciples of each, God would be with me and give me direction every step of the way. My first obligation was to be a disciple of Christ before I could disciple my children. This meant putting prayer, the Word, and walking in the Spirit by faith priority in my daily routine.
- Rest time for me and the children! After lunch and reading a story aloud, I would put the children down for a nap or quiet time from 1-3pm every day on separate mats, beds, or rugs. They could read or play quietly but they were not allowed to make a sound or get up except for an emergency.
- Create a safe setting that fosters play, creativity, and learning! I had a room (the dining room) especially set up as a play room/ school room with low lying shelves for boxes, buckets or baskets of specific toys (blocks, dress up, puzzles, play house, matchbox cars, picture books, etc.) with a comfy bean bag chair. There was a table and benches for them to play and work on. I also had a cabinet with a door for art supplies, play dough, paper, glue, paint, scissors, popcycle sticks, colors, markers, etc. I would use for supervise play only. The garage or carport, full of scooters, & tricycles & 3 wheelers, was used for inside play during bad weather; for good weather there was a fenced yard with swings, slides, climbers, covered sandbox (to keep critters out), etc..
- Children are not allies! God reminded me that as a parent…I am a type of Moses (called by God to lead the Israelites to the promise land) and my children are like the Israelites (who complained, rebelled, in fact wanted to kill and stone Moses, and go back to Egypt and slavery, and were jealous and doubted my power and position, etc.). So He warned me that my children will not be cooperative in this journey and that I must lean on Him.
- Be a parent centered /controlled home, not child centered! I found it helpful to ask myself continuously…Am I in control of this situation or is my child? Is this a parent centered home or child centered home? In a parent centered home…the parent knows that God has given them the responsibility of teaching and training the child the way he should live… this means the parent knows what is best for the child… what, how, when, where, why to dress, play, sleep, bathe, eat, watch, read, listen, learn, work, etc.. The parent needs to let the child know the parent is in control, because God said so. If the parents let God be in control of their life, in control of the parent so they can trust you to do what is right and good for them. Children want and need to know their parents are in control. This is how they feel loved and secure. In fact a child that is or thinks he is in control of his life is miserable and becomes a self centered… brat!
- Be a strong chord of 3! Be in unity and one with your spouse, and God because this is true, “a house divided can not stand.” Even toddlers can pick up when there is discord in the home. Maintain a oneness in marriage by participating in …church, prayer, devotion, date nights, fellowship with other believers, couples Bible study, & good communication.
- Do not ask them…tell them! Do not ask …what they want to eat?, do they want to go to bed?, what show or movie to watch?, what do they want to play with?, what do they want to wear?… All these questions confuse the child and they will not be able to make the good choices such as cookie or spinach for lunch? You, as the parent, should know what they need. Wait till their teenagers and then give them choices. You are the Moses in your home….ordained by God with the direction to how to get to the promise land. They may want to grumble or even stone you…but stand firm!
- Serving others will keep them from being self focused! Once a week…be involved with extended family life…grandparents, cousins, siblings, etc.; visit the elderly & play simple games together, teach children to share by giving quarter earned to church or give surplus clothes & toys to needy, write a card to those sick, fix a meal, pray with, cleaning. It is especially important that they see you doing these things!
- Do something fun as a family with friends! At least once a week…Go to the park, field trip, library, arts or crafts, nature walk, sports, play at home, backyard BBQ, share, or other.
- Teach and train them first! to love God and His Word; Worship God; PRAY-Praise Repent AskYield, obey the Bible & parents, use Scripture to determine right from wrong; walk by faith in the Spirit not in the flesh (repent & ask God for help).
- Use the principle of “sowing and reaping” by rewarding good deeds and attitudes and disciplining bad deeds and attitudes like …I am not going to answer you when you whine; must say please and thank you; If you touch this …, I will spank you with this spoon; you must pick up your toys before …; you finished your spinach so you can have …. If a dog can obey his master, so can they!
- Anger does not accomplish anything good! Watch your facial expression, voice tone, and what you say! Repent when you do it wrong!
- Be a good example! Walk in Spirit, truth, and love at all times…. When you sin make sure to confess it and do what is right. Forgive offenses immediately. Teach them to do the same.
- Do what is good and right for them no matter what..
- Eat nutritional good foods daily…vege, grains, fruit, dairy, protein…no sugars except on special occasion, and only drink water;
- Do not let them watch too much TV or play on media (at most 1 hr per day…1/2 hour each time) and it must be morally good (no violence, no anger, no calling names, no rebelliousness, no cursing, etc.).
- Dress modest & moderate at all times…don’t dress them in bikinis or too tight or baggy pants when young unless you want them in bikinis or tight shorts when they are older.
- Pretend, but don’t lie! You will regret teaching your children to believe in Santa Claus, Easter bunny, Superman, etc. are real or that babies come from starks! The truth spoken in love & Spirit at the right appropriate timing is always best.
- Boundaries are vital… physical boundaries give them security and safety, like a fence in the back yard, play pen in home, baby gate in room, rug in a specific space, high chair at the table, stroller in a busy mall or street, life jacket while swimming; quiet in church, no begging at the store, no stomping & temper tantrums to get your way, no saying no to parents unless it is a question. None of these scenarios are acceptable & immediate response must take place… isolate for few minutes (use timer if necessary); teach them to repent (say I am sorry to God & offender, thank Jesus for forgiving that sin, do what is right, & ask for power from Holy Spirit,); practice role playing what & how they should do action correctly (repeat until they get it right).
- Shoot your arrows at the bulls eye! Someone once told me that if I shoot my arrows at nothing that is what I will get, NOTHING. Setting goals every year is a must do if you want to be successful. Can you imagine a business not setting goals for itself? Some goals to start with…Physical goals… eat good nutrition, sleep well, exercise, drink water, brush and floss daily, dress properly, etc.; Spiritual goals… memorize scripture, read and study Bible, PRAY, worship, serve others, walk in the Spirit, etc.; Mental goals…study God’s creation, His story, love good literature, train life skills, good friendships, etc.
- Have a specific plan or schedule for every person in your household! Something like this…
- Breakfast…egg, whole grain toast/hot cereal (oatmeal, etc.), orange or cantaloupe
- Hygiene…brush hair & teeth, wash face, and dress appropriately
- Duties…Help clean house or room … a simple duty like picking up after yourself before doing something else.
- Worship…music & march with pots & pans around the house
- Bible…tell Bible story using puppets, markerboard, felt, etc. (let them retell or draw, etc.)
- Learn Scripture memory from Bible story
- Learning center time… numbers, colors, shapes, nature study, community workers, etc.
- Playtime… inside (games, dress up, blocks, coloring) or outside (games, hikes, climber, etc.)
- Lunch…turkey or tuna sandwich, apple, carrot/celery sticks & dressing
- Read good book aloud to them & give them picture books to read on their own.
- Nap (1-3pm no later or they will not get to sleep at nite)
- Snack…peanut butter & banana & graham cracker
- Field Trip… Library, park, visit neighbor or friend, zoo, nature walk (Do this with others & train infants, toddlers to stay in strollers even for a nap)
- Playtime… inside -games, dress up, blocks, coloring or outside -games, hikes, bikes, etc.
- Duties…Help clean house before Dad gets home
- Fix supper…children watch good DVD (Vege Tales, Bible Storytime) while you fix hot cooked meal (crockpot great)
- Supper time… protein, whole grain, veges, healthy dessert, etc.
- Play time with Dad while you clean & pick up supper
- Bathe & put on clean outfit before put in bed (keeps germs & sickness away)
- Listen to Odessey, taped Bible story, etc.; blessing & prayers before bed.
- People love to be around grateful children… so train them to have manners & say thank you & please, greet people with eye contact, & appropirat hug or kiss.
Truly “children are a blessing from the Lord”, but they need to be “trained in the way they should go”. A wild vine; if left to tend on its own, will grow to be a harm to other plants & everything around them. It will eventually have to be pruned / disciplined or risk future destruction. What a privilege it is to be used by God in such an enormous task as parenting. I love Dr. Dobson’s book title…”Parenting is not for Cowards”; this is so true!
Prayer… Lord give us… wisdom, courage, power, & love to “train children in the way they should go”.
Our goal was to disciple our children not just educate them. We used the SOW Curriculum to achieve this. For 30 years & 5 children this was our basic schedule per 4 day week…
- Breakfast/Hygiene /clean room
- PRAYS/Bible study/Scripture Memory
- LA (Reading/Phonic or English, Hebrew/Greek, Spelling, Penmanship)
- Lunch/Clean up
- Literature read aloud
- Creative writing, Literature, Speech, Elective
- Science, Geography, or History
- Music (practice music instrument at home)
- PE (walk/skate/ bike & practice sport at home)
- Free Time
- Supper/Clean up/hygiene
- Family Devotion (share, pray, massage)
*Family Co-op: meet Fridays
- share/speech (history, Bible, geography, science, literature, creative writing, etc.) or field trip
- BYO lunch
- Band/Choir/Drama/Sport (basketball, flag football, soccer, baseball, bowling, swimming, etc. )
*Family ministry: alternate meeting…
- Family TGIS (families get together for worship, praying, sharing, Word, pot luck, & games)
- Couples Fellowship/date night (couples get together for Bible study, prayer, share, fellowship, etc.)
- Men/Women Discipleship (13 year old & up men or women meet for prayer, fellowship, Bible, life skill)
- Family Outreach (Christmas Caroling, Pilgrim Feast, Valentine Banquet, Family Camping, Resurrection Celebration, End of the Year Celebration, Mission Impossible, Drama, etc..) http://www.sowcurriculum.com/
Resources recommended for SOW I:K-5th…
SOW is unique! The main goal for education is to know God & take care of His creation. This is accomplished by the student learning how to inductively study (drawing out the truth by using research skills and answering questions) in every subject. Because God is the Creator of all living and nonliving things, the goal is to seek a Biblical view in every subject by using the Bible as the main text. The teacher and students will use texts (various graded ones for multilevel students) & resources, as sources, for researching facts and information needed to answer the who, what, when, where, why, how questions for every topic or subject studied. The authors recommended resource list may vary for some subjects like Science but these are the basics that are used for every year…
*Literature resources should alternate between poems, fictional and non fictional books & short stories, & biographies, which have a strong moral message.
NOTE: The SOW subjects above have step by step lessons each week that correlate with the Bible. The SOW subjects below are alternately studied as unit studies with activities to complete. Though a Biblical view is sought, there was no way to correlate these subjects effectively and thoroughly to the Bible such as electricity in science, middle ages in history, United States in geography, nor the word apple for phonics.
- SOW Phonics… (K-3rd) Reading, writing, spelling, and English skills included in this subject, when using these resources and following SOW directions. Once the student learns how to read, then he begins SOW English & SOW Spelling above.
*SOW Compatible, if use any curriculum or text that studies science by subject with a Biblical view. Activities should include timeline, charts, reports, biographies, experiments, illustrations, etc.
*SOW Compatible, if use any curriculum or text that studies history in chronological order with a Biblical view. Activities should include timeline, charts, reports, biographies, maps, illustrations, art projects, literature analysis, science experiment, cultural experience, missions, symbols, government, etc.
*SOW compatible, if you use any curriculum or text that studies geography by continent with a Biblical view. Activities should include timeline, charts, reports, biographies, maps, illustrations, art project, literature analysis, science experiment, cultural experience, missions, symbols, government, etc.
All Christians should be disciples of Christ, but not all are! In fact a very few are disciples of Christ. “The laborers are few but the harvest is plentiful … pray for laborers.”
What is true…a disciple of Christ must be a Christian. One who believes & receives Jesus Christ as Savior (the one who saves) us from the penalty of sin-eternal death, power of sin-victory, & presence of sin – sinless. The Bible says that by faith in Christ’s works (His death- the sacrifice, His resurrection-the King, & His coming again-the Judge) we are saved or made right with God. This person has the right to be called a child of God and has inherited all kinds of Spiritual blessings … forgiveness of sins, adopted as sons of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, sealed with the Holy Spirit, knowledge & wisdom, abundant life, a mansion in heaven, etc..
A disciple of Christ is a student or follower of Christ. This person will abide (walk, live, remain) in God’s Spirit & His Word through Christ. The fruits or results of abiding in Christ (the Spirit & Word) are, we will…
- Love God with all heart, soul, & mind.
- Deny self, carry cross, & follow Jesus.
- Love others as Christ has loved us.
- Bear fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, , kindness, goodness, self contol.
- Be good stewards of all God has given.
- Be ministers of reconciliation.
- Be a soldier in the army of God.
- Preach the gospel (good news).
- Love, pray, & bless enemies.
- Heal the sick.
- Filled (controlled) by the Spirit.
- Cast out demons.
- Be a citizen in God’s kingdom.
- Use all God’s Spiritual gifts to do good works & encourage the brethren.
- Keep God’s commandments.
- Hate sin.
- Be a laborer for the harvest.
- Walk in the Light not in darkness.
- Fellowship with other Christians as the body of Christ.
- Pray about everything without ceasing.
- Do the will of the Father.
- Be teachable.
- Rejoice in all things.
- God & make disciples.
- Be one as Christ is one with the Father.
- Serve as Christ as served us.
- Be hated because Christ was hated first.
- Be Holy (set apart for God) as He is Holy.
- Suffer for Christ’s sake.
- Not sin, but when we do sin (those that say they do not sin are liars & the truth is not in them), we have an Advocate with the Father, Christ Jesus His Son, so that when we confess (admit & turn 7×77) our sins, God is faithful to forgive our sins & cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
These are some reasons why the “Church” is not making disciples of Christ…
- Ignorant of God’s Word.
- Refuse to make Jesus Lord.
- Not filled (controlled) by the Spirit of God.
- Teachers, prophets, shepherds fearful to speak or teach the Word.
- Fleshly indulgences, worldly influences, & Satanic deception choke out the Word.
- Hate God’s Word.
- Christians not willing to be obedient to God & His Word.
- Some pastors, ministers are hirelings not shepherds.
- Many Christians are idol worshippers but do not know it.
- Christians are fearful of rejection, suffering, & persecution.
The only way to combat these failures to disciple & be a disciple is to put on the full armor of God… another way of saying abide in God’s Spirit & Word moment by moment.
The SOW (Student Of the Word) Bible & Prayer Devotional for All Ages disciples (teaches & trains) Christians to be disciples of Christ who abide in God’s Spirit & God’s Word.
- 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
Sibling Rivalry vs Sibling Affection
Biblical truth concerning sibling rivalry …
I. Our flesh is our enemy…
A. In Genesis 4:4-7, Cain was offended. He refused to see that God rejected his offering because He chose not to use a blood sacrifice. Instead of doing what was right, Cain blamed everything on Abel resulting in murder.
o Discuss…Are there any bad attitudes and actions of jealousy, anger, bitterness, etc. that need to be exposed and confessed?
o Key… expose wrong actions and attitudes (sins), confess sins, and deal Biblically with offenses, ASAP.
o Read & meditate I john 1: 8” If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.( 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B. Esaau & Jacob are another sample of sibling rivalry. The parents fostered it by showing partiality and giving bad counsel. Jacob (his mother) desired Esaau’s 1st born birthright & blessing & father’s affections. Instead of submitting to God these desires, Jacob sinned against his brother by manipulating, stealing, lying, etc.
o Discuss…Are there desires that are causing one of them to hurt or harm the other by isolating, mocking, teasing, slandering, etc.?
o Key… submit/yield your desires (things you think you have a right to) to God and ask Him for the things you need or want.
o Read & meditate … James 4:1 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
C. Joseph’s ,dreams, giftings, an obedient life, and favoritism shown by his father were the reasons for his brother’s resentment, hatefulness, and even cruelty by selling him as a slave to Egypt. But God used the evil events for good not only for Joseph but his brothers, family, his nation, and Egypt. Joseph trusted in God for the good and the evil that happened in his life and chose to forgive the offenses of others.
o Discuss… Are there differences, circumstances, talents, appearances, etc., good or evil, that we are not accepting with thanksgiving from God?
o Key… accept with thankfulness all differences, gifts, abilities, circumstances, even bad ones.
o Read & meditate… Psalms 139 )
14 I am fearfully and wonderfully made;…
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious are your thoughts of me, God!…
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
II. The world is our enemy…
• The world encourages siblings to drift apart in their affections via age segregated schooling, Sunday schools, youth groups, birthday parties, etc. TV and other media stimulate family discard displaying the norm rather than the supernatural life in Christ. There is a lot of confusion as to what brings happiness…stylish clothes, drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. So that once you are a teen, you are faced with major decisions about God, family, life, etc.. Like a salmon going upstream, these could be very difficult years to get through.
o Discuss…Are you counter acting what the world’s messages are sending by making God, marriage, family, friends, others purposeful, fun, important and exciting?
o Key…foster family time together by cleaning, cooking, watching tv, reading a book, devotions, friends and other families with camping, games, outings, birthdays, church, Women/Men Discipleship groups (13 & up), serving, etc.
o Read & meditate… Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
III. Satan is our enemy…
• Satan is subtle and deceptive, coming in like waves finding the tiniest cracks in the walls of our lives, homes, etc.. The flood will drown us, if we do not take care of the cracks immediately. Satan’s goal is to “kill, steal, and destroy” our witness and our Godly seed. Do not let Him…be on guard day and night!
o Discuss…Are there any evil influences such as bad lyrics in music; ungodly friends, neighbors, etc,; impure books, magazines, tv, internet, computer, cell phone; bad indulgent habits (cursing, smoking, drinking, gluttony, arguing, etc.) in our homes, churches, marriages, schools, etc. in which they can be defiled?
o Key… unloving, dishonoring, disobedient, indulgent, sinful actions start in our minds and hearts. Examining ourselves truthfully and then getting rid of all the leaven (sins) in our lives and homes till
o Read & meditate … Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Practical tips to teach sibling affection instead of rivalry..
1. generously & joyfully share & give. Practice this throughout the day to be considerate; to think of the other person first… quiet when napping, waiting when busy, choosing another toy, using kind words, giving honor where honor is due, respect for others opinions.
2.be content with differences by pointing oout God given age, gender, ability, culture differences. God made us all special & unique!
3. do not show partiality/favoritism…They are not God; the universe does not revolve around them. God loves us all equally without conditions…find something to praise them each about, learn how to serve by training them to pick up after themselves.
4. Forgive one another…this will free them up from guilt & shame & will increase their affections for one another.
5. Be affectionate…say I love you, show love through hugs, kisses, & use manners like thank you & please.
6, pray for one another…love is first required to pray for someone; pray when hurt, sick, sad, happy…pray all the time about everything!
7. bless one another…the ultimate test of love is, instead of cursing or revenge, be or do a blessing…note, chore, gift, special activity.
8. be honest & clear with your feelings & expectations…do not use my sweater without permission. You will wash the dishes; I will sweep the floor.
9; use principle of “reaping & sowing” to teach responsibility & consequences of their actions… time out, take away privilege, add chores, spank without anger or praise, reward, blessing depending on the behavior. Make sure God’s word determines what is right & wrong.
10. ask God for the power to be affectionate & love; it is impossible to do this without God.
In conclusion, God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us to walk In Spirit, truth, and love. While our children are still under our roof (headship), it is important that we “prepare our ark for the saving of our households”. “A house divided can not stand.”
Remember: Decluttering (cleansing physically & Spiritually) our lives and homes, having personal and family devotions (worship, prayer, Bible study), walking in the Spirit not the flesh, and training and teaching (discipleship) our children to live for, in, through, and by Christ is essential for healthy Christian living.
Essential: You must “teach them in the way they should go”. To live supernaturally will not come naturally. They must learn how to submit to the Spirit & Word of God.
Prayer: Lord give us courage, perseverance, wisdom, & love to affectionately love our siblings and teach our children to do the same. In Jesus’ name!
Celebrating Spring Holidays as Holy Days!
The word holiday actually means Holy Day (holy is purposefully setting aside a thing, person, time, event, etc. to honor & glorify God.). In the Old Testament this was done by keeping the Sabbath, making stone altars, & celebrating feasts during harvest, victories, extraordinary acts of God, deliverances, etc.. Singing, dancing, reading of the word, giving, sacrifices, serving, acting out of the special events, etc. were used to remind the people, especially the children, of the great deeds God had done.
These are some ideas how we celebrated holy days during the Spring season…
- Decorated the house with Hearts, signs of LOVE, the Cross for Christ’s sacrifice
- Send secret love notes in postal box/bag (foil & hearts) or surprised places during the day…I love you, Be mine, You are special, etc.
- Special meals for the ones you love…heart pancakes, heart sandwiches, heart cookies, heart steak, chocolate strawberries
- Wrote love letter or poem to someone special with decorated heart frame (lace, ribbons, felt, const paper, pic, stickers, etc.);
- Pictionary, Charades, Name that Tune, Trivia, Bingo, Match, etc. games with LOVE theme;
- gift of flower and/or candy to special person.
- Find clovers & make necklaces & bracelets
- Share St Patrick’s testimony of 3 leaf clover (Trinity)
- Wear green
- Decorate house with colorful baskets, toy stuffed lambs, crosses, & eggs
- Decorate eggs with dye, markers, stickers, etc.
- Resurrection celebration… eggs with symbols & Scripture to share (1. Palm leaf 2. cup/cracker 3. Wipe clothe 4. Garden – flower 5. 3 dimes 6. Trial- soldier or rope 7. Thorn 8. King of the Jews 9. dice 10. Cross 11. Rock tomb 12. Empty)
- Contests…egg pocking, egg decorating, egg hunt, fly kites, Easter bonnets, paper airplanes, egg toss, relay races, etc.
- Passover/Lord’s supper…retelling of Passover (look for leaven bread & throw away, eat bitter herbs & bite of roasted lamb)… retelling of Lord’s Supper (confess sins, drink wine/grape juice, eat leaven bread, wash feet)
- Special meal… angel food cake with strawberries & whip cream, roasted lamb/ham, potato salad, Spinach Madeline
When I first became a mother-in- law, I use to laugh & tell my friends that it was harder than I thought and someone should write a book. Now that I have gray hair to prove I have wisdom, I am supposed to wait, be still, & just pray! Those who know me, know that was and is very difficult for me.
SOWing from the book of Ruth: Naomi must have been a good mother-in- law to Ruth…
– The daughter-in- laws pleaded with tears to stay with Naomi after their husbands’ death.
-Ruth chose to be with Naom’s people and worship her God.
-Ruth listened & trusted Naomi’s advice was from God.
-Ruth worked hard & long hours to support her & Naomi.
-Naomi was blessed because she was used by God to convert a Moabitess to her faith in one God, she gained a Godly heritage through this one daughter, & her lineage is that of Jesus’.
Naomi was a good example of discipleship. She used her position as mother-in- law to invest into her dauhter- in- laws life for God’s purposes, not her own.
What I am learning about being a mother-in-law…
*Pray from birth for spouses of your children.
*Be confident that whoever they chose, God will use for good.
*Love, pray, & bless spouse, always.
*Be a disciple of Christ by example & Word.
*Seek Biblical solutions.
*Do not talk bad about the spouse.
*Be a strong advocate for the marriage.
*Be interested in their lives, dreams, etc..
*Ask; do not demand.
*Make sure advice is only advice, and give it only when prayed & necessary.
*Praise & encourage what they are doing right.
*Value the relationship & let them know.
*When wrong, admit it and ask for forgiveness.
*Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their viewpoint.
*Their spous is #1 in your child’s life, now, support that.
*Respecrt their home or family rules, especially at their house.
*Communicate clearly & kindly expectations; most offenses are failed expectations.
*Offer to help, if you can & should.
*Be a blessing; you will be blessed!
Prayer… Lord make me a faithful disciple who uses every postion you have given me to bring others to a right relationship with You.
Please share what you are learning?
Some great advice for mother-in-laws by Focus on the Family …
Resources recommended for SOW I:6th-12th…
The SOW Curriculum is a unique curriculum for most subjects K-12th, math exculded! The main goal for education is to know God, the main method is discipleship, and the main text is the Bible. This is accomplished by the student learning how to inductively study (drawing out the truth by using research skills and good resources to answer clearly analytical questions). Because God is the Creator of all living and nonliving things, the goal is to seek a Biblical view in every subject by using the Bible as the main text. The teacher and students will use texts (even graded ones) & resources, as sources, for researching facts and information needed to answer the who, what, when, where, why, how questions for every topic or subject studied. The authors recommended resource list may vary for each SOW volume in some subjects but these are the basics …
* SOW Bible (Language Arts) (SOW I-VI)…
* SOW English (SOW I-VI)…
* SOW Spelling (SOW I-VI)…
* SOW Writing (SOW I-VI)…
* SOW Literature… (SOW I-VI: 6-12th)
Note: Literature resources should alternate between poems, fictional and non fictional books & short stories, & biographies, which have a strong moral message.
NOTE: The SOW subjects above have step by step lessons each week that correlate with the Bible. The SOW subjects below are alternately studied as unit studies with activities to complete. Though a Biblical view is sought, there was no way to correlate these subjects effectively and thoroughly to the Bible such as electricity in science, middle ages in history, United States in geography, nor the word apple for phonics.
* SOW Science (SOW I)…
Note: SOW Compatible, if use any curriculum or text that studies science by subject with a Biblical view. Activities should include report, diagram,, charts, reports, biographies, experiments, etc. IIf using a text that lacks in Biblical Creation, add Creation Science.
* SOW History (SOW I-VI)…
Note: SOW Compatible, if use any curriculum or text that studies history in chronological order with a Biblical view. Activities should include timeline, charts, reports, biographies, maps, illustrations, art projects, literature analysis, science experiment, cultural experience, missions, symbols, government, etc.
* SOW Geography (SOW I-VI)…
Note: SOW compatible, if you use any curriculum or text that studies geography by continent with a Biblical view. Activities should include timeline, charts, reports, biographies, maps, illustrations, art project, literature analysis, science experiment, cultural experience, missions, symbols, government, etc.
* SOW Electives…
SOW Resources are recommened for each subject but all can be substituted with your own favorites. Find resources used for best value through vendor fairs, local support grop, online used book vendors. For free resources, use public libraries & free online sources by just entering subject or topic.
Contact Merle Reece for any suggestions or help needed in locating or using resources…1225-590-3444 or firstname.lastname@example.org