WHAT ARE WE SAVED TO? 

Hello, ladies! Today we are going to talk about our lives as Christians. We’ve covered why we need saving and what we are saved from, but WHAT ARE WE SAVED TO? 


Salvation is typically equated with eternal life and heaven, which is definitely a piece of the puzzle, but what else are we saved to? Let’s look at the scriptures and find out more about what is referred to as “so great a salvation”.

 In John 17:3, The Lord Jesus says that eternal life is knowing Him and the Father. We are saved into an intimate love relationship with God, to become part of His family- His children! Now we can cry out to Him as a child to their father (See Galatians4:5,6 and Romans8:15). Knowing God produces a peace in us and in His presence there is fullness of joy, at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (see Psalm16:11).

 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that God “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” according to Ephesians 2:10. And Titus 2:14 echoes that idea by stating that Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.” From these scriptures, we understand that God saved us for His own purposes and that He has already prepared certain good works for us to do. Our good works don’t earn us a place in Gods family, but they flow out from that place. 

Once saved, all our meaning and purpose and focus is Christ. And we were saved so that we “may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” according to 1 Peter 2:9. Now that we know God, we make His greatness known! 

We were saved by Him and for Him, “He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2Corinthians 5:15) For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:8

Advertisements

BIBLE FOR THE BUSY MOM, Part 2

BIBLE FOR THE BUSY MOM Part 2: 

Now, how about “quiet time”? I admit, I’m not a fan of Christianese cliches like that. But I realize the importance of setting time aside regularly to pause and be in the Word. Since we are busy moms, we want to maximize this time 💪 Just say no to fluffy, emotional devotionals #aintnobodygottimeforthat If you only had one meal before a marathon, you wouldn’t grab a bowl of skittles. You’d go for a juicy steak or a vitamin filled smoothie or something, right? (I’d assume. I’m not a runner by a long shot. But you get the point.) We only have so many minutes in our study, let’s make them count. If you need a daily devotional to accompany your own time in the Word (never as a substitute), check out Spurgeon’s Mornings & Evenings. I love it. 

Invest in a good Bible translation (We’ll talk more about translations another day, but I recommend NASB and ESV) and, if you can, a set of commentaries by a trusted, proven Bible teacher (we use MacArther’s). 

If a commentary set isn’t in your budget, Matthew Henry’s Commentary is online for free. A good Study Bible is another affordable option (again, MacArther’s is great. I’ve heard good things about the Reformation Study Bible too). It’s helpful to have these tools around for digging deeper into passages). 

When I’m in the Word, I like to start at the beginning of the particular book and read through. That way I’ll have the context of whatever passage I read. You can’t open Moby Dick and read whatever sentence you lay eyes on and try to extract some sort of meaning from it and you shouldn’t do that with God’s Word. Each verse has a chapter and each chapter has a book and each book belongs to the entire Bible. It all fits together and should be studied as so. Sometimes, I’ll read a book a few times over to be sure I grasp and will remember it. Sometimes I’ll be in one book for a month or two or more. At other times, I’ll read through the Bible, a handful of chapters a day. 

During particularly crazy seasons, I gravitate towards the Psalms, both for their comfort and the way they can be taken individually (which helps when my focus and memory are lacking). There are so many ways to make the most of each moment and to be in the Word more. I’ll post a few more ideas in the comments and I’d love to hear your tricks for sneaking more Bible into your day too. 

Writing out Scripture is a helpful aid and post it notes of verses around the house and in the car help with memorizing. A Verse of the Day widget for my home screen keeps the Word front and center whenever I open my phone. I’ve also read of women who keep an open Bible on their counter and read a bit each time they pass by. 
The goal is to be IN the Word on a regular basis. It is a believer’s daily  bread!

BIBLE FOR THE BUSY MOM, Part 1.

Good morning! Today’s topic is BIBLE FOR THE BUSY MOM. 


I thought we’d get really practical today. Because I could go on and on about how important knowing the Word for yourself is, but if you’re not sure how to fit that into your life, it doesn’t help much, does it? 

Maybe you have little ones to care for or perhaps you’re knee deep in homeschooling. Whatever stage of life you find yourself in, “busy” is probably a word you could use to describe it. 

So how do we make time for study? The first thing I think we need to realize is that we tend to make time for what matters to us. Our daily lives usually show our true priorities. So if I find myself with the time to catch up on my favorite sitcom or blog post or to engage on Instagram, then I do have time. That can be a convicting realization. (And I understand that sometimes we don’t even have time for those simple pleasures). 

But I encourage you to really look at how you spend your time and how you might shift things so that studying the Word is a regular occurrence. In seasons where there isn’t a moment to spare, a Bible app with audio is so helpful. And there are some good sermon podcasts for listening as well (Grace To You, Truth for Life, and Renewing Your Mind are all good options). Hearing God’s Word and solid teaching as I cook, clean, and drive has been a HUGE help in my spiritual walk. (And don’t let interruptions discourage you. Whatever you catch over the noise of the day and the kids coming in to talk is better than nothing. #progressoverperfection!) And bonus, if you’re kids are with you as you listen, they’ll begin to absorb the Word too. It always surprises me what they’ve grasped from whatever I’ve had on audio. Which reminds me, why not read your Bible aloud to them, and start it young. Little ones love the sound of their mama’s voice. And older ones would probably appreciate a special snuggle time while mom reads. 

Come back for Part 2 later!

WHY IS THEOLOGY IMPORTANT, Part 2

WHY IS THEOLOGY IMPORTANT? Part 2. 

Now that we understand that we’re all theologians and how to grow in our roles as such, we’ll talk more about why we should be flexing our theological muscles.

Let’s start with the practical “why”. Believers are those that know and love God. And how do we know God? We study His Word. Could I rightly say that I know someone if I refuse to get to know them? If my husband poured out his heart to me, but I never took the time to listen, I would not truly know him, and at that point, could I honestly say that I loved him? If I came up with all my own ideas of who he was, that would not mean I that I truly knew him, beyond his existence at least. How do you get to know people? You basically study them as they reveal themselves. And God has revealed Himself to us through His Word. So practically speaking, to say we know and love God, we need to be in the business of getting to know Him – developing our theology.

The bottom line is that as lovers of God, it only makes sense to be a student of the one we claim to know and love. 
Another, and more important reason is obedience to the Lord. Believers are commanded to study to show ourselves approved, as workers who don’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, as 2 Timothy 2:15 says. We are to always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us, according to 1 Peter 3:15. 

In Jude 1:3, we are instructed to contend for the faith, and in order to contend for the faith, we need to be clear about what that faith is. And 1 Timothy 4:16 warns us to watch our lives and doctrine closely and to persevere in them. Scripture also repeatedly warns against false teaching and the way we recognize false teaching is by developing a thorough understanding of what is right.

And we’ve gone over the importance of God’s Word in past weeks, so we should have a good basis for understanding the importance, truthfulness, and richness of the Scripture, which are all more reasons to be in study. 

WHY IS THEOLOGY IMPORTANT? Part 1

Hi friends! There’s a lot to cover today, so I’ll just jump right in. WHY IS THEOLOGY IMPORTANT?


So, why should a mom like me, a housewife of all people, be studying something like theology anyway?! Isn’t this topic best left to pastors and professors? Well, actually no, it’s not. Though those in formal teaching positions must have a good grasp on theology, it is the duty of every believer to study and develop their theology. But let’s back up a bit… What exactly is “theology “?
Theology is simply the study of God – Theo = God. Ology = the study of. 
 It’s been said that what one thinks about God is the most important thing about them. It will determine everything else in a person’s life. 
We could rightly say that everybody is a theologian, because everyone has thoughts and opinions about God. But not everybody is a good theologian.
Our theology can grow organically – through life experiences, the conversations we have with others, the books we read and the music we listen to, and the sermons and teachings we take in. Depending on the accuracy of all these things, what we think about God will be impacted either for the good or the bad. If we aspire to be good theologians, and as believers, we should, then we’ll want to be purposeful in our pursuit of truth. We grow and develop our theology firstly by studying God in His Word and learning Scripture well. And by guarding our hearts from information that contradicts that truth, while seeking information that furthers our understanding of that truth – like solid commentaries, theologically rich song lyrics, and books by authors proven to rightly handle God’s Word.

Come back later for part 2 of WHY IS THEOLOGY IMPORTANT?

THE DOCTRINE OF THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

Happy Theology Thursday, ladies! I’m super excited about today’s topic. It’s sort of a continuation from the past weeks, and will help lay a good foundation for everything we cover in the Thursdays to come. I want to help you become familiar with the fancy titles that help categorize theological concepts, so I’ll give you the full title of this concept and then try to break it down for ya.


THE DOCTRINE OF THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

What does it mean when we say that Scripture is sufficient? 

This fundamental concept of the Christian faith simply means that the Word of God has everything that a believer needs to live a life of faith. The Canon (those 66 books that make up the Old and New Testament) is complete. This is how God has chosen to reveal Himself and His will to us. We don’t need to seek additional communication from God, apart from what is already written. We don’t need new, extra books or writings to let us understand or apply His Word. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that, “long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son”. Through study of the Bible, we can be completely ready to live our life of faith. The Scriptures are our only rule for faith and practice and they “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15–17). Did you catch that last part? The Scriptures THOROUGHLY- completely – equip us believers for EVERY good work. That’s pretty impressive. The Scriptures are what we should base our ideas about God on. They’re the building blocks of our worldview. They tell us what is good and what is bad and what our priorities and roles should be. They tell us how to worship, seek, live for, and please God. The Scriptures are how the Lord speaks to us. They are the very words of our God.

And the Word warns against basing our ideas on anything outside of itself when it tells us to “see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” in Colossians 2:8. So let’s be like the noble Bereans, who searched the Scriptures to see if what they heard was, in fact, true (see Acts 17)! 

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL, Part 2

{Part 2 of WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? See my previous post for Part 1}

When we left off last time, it seemed like all hope was lost. 

But God, in His gracious love, had a plan to deal with this huge issue of sin even before the first person ever sinned. His perfect plan was to send His Son, fully God, as a man, who would live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death, and rise again on the third day, on behalf of all who would believe. Because He, being sinless, didn’t need to die for His own sin, His death paid the penalty for the sins of believers. He took the punishment that we deserved. And because He lived a perfect life, and fulfilled every bit of righteousness, His goodness is credited to our accounts. This means we don’t need to work for, or earn, our salvation. He doesn’t save us because of the good things that we do. Instead, the salvation He offers is a free gift for those who believe. I gave you the first half of Romans 6:23 earlier, and it goes on to say that “the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Christ saves us from the penalty of our sins, to the glory of God, in order that we would live for Him. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 sums up the heart of the Gospel so well that we will end with that, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

Happy Theology Thursday, ladies! Today’s topic is so important, I wanted to make sure you got it all, so I broke it up into two parts. This is Part 1. Check back later today for Part 2!


WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? Part 1.

The word “Gospel” literally means “good news”. But in order to fully understand this good news, we need to know some pretty bad news first. 

This bad news is that all of humanity is fallen and thus sinful. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. And we don’t just sin, we have a sin nature. It’s who we are – at our core, we are sinners, by nature. We can talk more about sin later, but for now what we need to know is that unredeemed man is a sinner and this is a problem because God is Holy. (We can talk more about what that means later too). 

And being Holy, He can’t even look upon sin. It can’t be in His presence. Our sin seperates us from God. And it doesn’t just seperate us from God, but Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death” and Hebrews 9:22 goes on to say that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins”. God is just, and wrong must be paid for.

 But God, in His gracious love, had a plan to deal with this huge issue of sin even before the first person ever sinned. His perfect plan was to send His Son, fully God, as a man, who would live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death, and rise again on the third day, on behalf of all who would believe.

 Because He, being sinless, didn’t need to die for His own sin, His death paid the penalty for the sins of believers. He took the punishment that we deserved. And because He lived a perfect life, and fulfilled every bit of righteousness, His goodness is credited to our accounts. This means we don’t need to work for, or earn, our salvation. He doesn’t save us because of the good things that we do. Instead, the salvation He offers is a free gift for those who believe. 

I gave you the first half of Romans 6:23 earlier, and it goes on to say that “the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Christ saves us from the penalty of our sins, to the glory of God, in order that we would live for Him. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 sums up the heart of the Gospel so well that we will end with that, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”.

The Authority Of Scripture


THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE:

What is Scripture? Scripture is contained in the Bible, as the collection of 66 books, written through around 40 men, over a period of roughly 1500 years. How was the Bible written? Well, the Bible itself tells us that “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2Peter1:21b) This means that the Bible is not a product of human effort, but is the very Word of God.

All Scripture is inspired by God. It is His perfect, timeless Word, complete and without error. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”. And Hebrews 4:12 let’s us know that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. Since Scripture is the very Word of God and without error, and since God is creator – over and above all, then whatever the Bible says is an authority over our lives. 

Sometimes when we’re studying God’s Word, we might read something that makes us a little uncomfortable. Sometimes we might initially not like what we read, or we may feel confused by a portion of Scripture, or even angry. During these times, we may be tempted to disregard or reinterpret certain portions of Scripture to suit our tastes or the current culture better. During these times, it’s good to remember that God is God and we are not. He is high above us in every way. His understanding is unfathomable. He is good and He does good, and whatever is in His Word is good. It’s our job to submit to His Word, and not the other way around. As belivers, we are called to learn, accept, believe, and obey what has been written.

 Along these same lines, there may be times when you don’t like what I share during our time together. It might go against popular, cultural Christianity, it may sound politically incorrect, or maybe it will challenge a belief you’ve long held. If this happens, I challenge you to continue studying the Scriptures for yourself, checking everything I, and anyone else, says against what Scripture says.  
I’d love to hear your questions and I’m open to comments and discussion rooted in an acceptance of the authority of Scripture and the understanding that Scripture doesn’t contradict itself. Truth is important. It’s worth seeking, it’s worth fighting for, and it’s certainly worth the discomfort that inevitably occurs when it comes against error.

I hope to talk with you more on the topic of Scripture at a later time, but this is enough for now. I’m already looking forward to next time!

How We Do History

image

History is our favorite subject! And by no coincidence, it’s also the one we spend the most time on.

Mystery of History is our main curriculum and a springboard for diving in deep. It provides a very accessible, chronological journey from Creation on, and I love the integration of “biblical” and “world” history, because, really, it’s all history; it’s all His-story.

The writing is conversational and can be used for students from kinder to high school. This means that the whole family can learn together! At the end of each lesson, there are suggested activities broken up by age range, for a more customized learning experience.

Mondays and Wednesdays are our history days, and depending on the subject covered and how deep we want to dig, we spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours on our learning.

So, what does this look like for our family?
Typically, we gather around the table and I read the short Mystery of History lesson. We may or may not do the suggested activity that accompanies.
If the subject matter covers biblical text, we read the suggested verses, and the surrounding verses for a better understanding of context. (I use the MacArthur Study Bible because inevitably, questions come up, and the study notes are helpful). If I’m behind on housework, we turn on the audio Bible.

image

While listening to the Bible, art journals are being drawn in. This keeps hands busy and minimizes wiggles and distractions. It will also provide a wonderful, tangible memory of our most precious school time.

To provide a good background and knowledge of ancient biblical history, I read aloud from my old college textbook, Encountering The Old Testament. Chapters are broken up by OT sections and then books, so that each section and each book of the Old Testament has its overarching themes, location, main characters, issues, theorized dates, archeological evidences, and issues laid out. The material is intellectually weighty, but I’ve found that if I read with enthusiasm, engage my children, ask questions and reward correct or thoughtful answers, they grasp SO much! I highly recommend this book, or a similar one!

One of the many perks of homeschooling is being able to really learn about a subject and to enjoy that learning. In order to accomplish this, I pull tons of resources to spice up the curriculum.

Used books are hugely helpful for this. We especially love Eye Witness books for their visual appeal. Our Student Bible Atlas is another great visual. Historical fiction adds yet another dimension to our learning. Whatever our particular Mystery of History topic, I try to supplement with an additional book or two.

Answers in Genesis has tons of great, free articles and videos on science and historical evidence and we use their site often (www.answersingenesis.org).

YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime also supply videos on historic topics, but proceed with caution and use discernment.

Pinterest provides a plethora of craft and activity inspiration for me. My kiddos are super hands-on and I find that whatever we build, act out, create, or play becomes committed to memory. I pin ideas and then, when the time comes, tweak projects to my own liking.
We’ve built our own Tower of Babel out of toilet paper tubes (see photo below), Stonehenge of wafer cookies, a ziggurat of Legos… While we create, our
discussion is on the history. We look at pictures and read about whatever we are making. This provides another layer for learning and it’s fun!

image

I prefer delight over memorization, and never require memorizing dates or facts. (In fact, the only memorizing we do is of Scripture). I do want to solidify concepts though and a couple products I recently found help with just that.

The Classical Historian’s http://www.classicalhistorian.com Ancient History card game covers famous historic figures, landmarks, locations, and people groups. What a fun way to review facts! They also have an American History and Bible History game.

image

Asmodee http://www.asmodee.com has another neat card game called Timeline. Each card depicts a person or event from history (Old Earth, Evolutionary view, but we deal with it) on one side, and again on the flip side, this time with the (assumed) date. There are various ways to play, but we enjoy trying to put them in order without looking at the dates.

image

If it was up to me, we would only do history all day, every day!