Category: Christian Living

A Simple Truth: We All Want To Be Sacrificed For, We Do Not Want To Be The One Sacrificing

Don’t you just love a good adventure movie? Especially ones where the hero of the story gets to “go on” because someone in the story sacrificed themselves?

But don’t we watch that story because WE want to be that hero that gets to go on, live life, accomplish some goal, and get the reward?

I mean, how many of us would actually WANT to be the one making the sacrifice? To end our lives for the sake of someone else, so they can go on. Even if it wasn’t a physical death, but just giving up what we want or the life we want. How many of us are willing to do that?

My greatest challenge these past few years is that God has been asking me to be a “sacrificer” not a “sacrificee”. And I sometimes struggle against it.

See, I had what our society calls “it all.” I had a great career, made lots of money – more than the average of this society, and I did not have any children. My money and time were all mine. Travel, eating out, movies, clothing, spa days, etc… were my norm.

And yet, I wasn’t actually happy or satisfied.

So God asked me to sacrifice that life so I could have this one instead: Being a homeschool Teacher, mother to four children, serving my community, living on a fraction money that I made, and giving up most of what I “loved.”

Not death, but certainly giving up a lot.

There are days when I am so grateful and I see the joy in making this sacrifice.

Then there are the days when I do not believe I can go on and I start resenting my sacrifice.

It is an ongoing battle, but I continue to choose they way of sacrifice.

Unfortunately, I am seeing others giving up and striving to be the “sacrificee” – all for the crumbs of this life.

What are YOU missing out on because you are still being a “sacrificee” instead of a “sacrificer”?

 

Book Review: Star Chronicles – A Bible Based Study Of The Stars

Book_Review_Star_ChroniclesOne of the biggest blessings of blogging the past few years is that I have gotten to meet some other amazing bloggers. One in particular has blessed me more times than I can count and I have been looking for a way to return a fraction of it:-)

When I realized that Dawnita from Prairie Dust Trail had a book on the market, I asked her if I could review it! Luckily she said yes, and now I have gotten a whole new perspective on the stars and the Bible with her book: Star Chronicles – A  Bible Based Study Of The Stars

From The Book

Dawnita starts the book with Psalm 8, leaving us in awe of such an amazing creation and giving credit to the Creator for inspiring her book.

She goes on the clarify that this book is not about horrorscopes (pun intended) or astrology, but is focused on why God gave us the stars – for learning, for study, for prophecy.

The book then goes into the 12 constellations usually referred to by astrology, and brings them into context Biblically.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?

Here is an excerpt from the section on Taurus, which I choose, since I spent a little too much of my life trying to identify with being a “Taurus.”

“Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus. You can find it by following the stars of Orion. The name Aldebaran means “the follower”, and it looks like it is following the “seven sisters.” In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, is one of the nearest star clusters obvious to the naked eye. They are mentioned in the Bible three times: “Who maketh Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” –Job 9:9 “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” –Job 38:31 “Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night, who calleth for the waters of the sea and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is His name.” –Amos 5:8”

A lot of time and research went into her book and she does give credit to those who went before her to understand God’s use and purpose for the stars. She gives an intensive reference section.

You can purchase the book on Amazon today. (affiliate link)

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Hanukkah

Biblical_Holidays_HanuakkahThis year, Hanukkah begins sundown Sunday, December 6th and ends sundown, Monday, December 14th.

Hanukkah is frequently referred to as the “Jewish Christmas,” however, that is quite far from the truth.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Hanukkah is actually the Feast of Dedication and is based on the miracles that God did for the Maccabees during the time of occupation of Jerusalem after the expansion of Alexander.

Basically, the Jews stated that they would not be Paganized or Hellenized, and continued to be faithful to Yawh even in the face of death. The Maccabees fought to take back the Jewish Temple, which had been desecrated. When they took back the temple, part of the ritual to re-dedicate the temple to God was to burn oil in the menorah for 8 days. However, there was not enough oil and it would take a week to prepare more.

Since our God is a God of miracles and loves showing His faithfulness to His people, He kept the menorah lamps burning for the 8 days with only the one day of oil.

We now celebrate this week every year and it is a time to re-dedicate our hearts to God / Jesus.

 



Learn about different ways Christians are celebrating Hanukkah through our Link-up:


Cancel Black Friday, Save The World

Cancel Black FridayMy movement (or cause) in my last post, Cancel Halloween, Save The World, just wasn’t radical enough. 7 billion of the 30 billion needed per year to end world hunger was a good dent, but I want more.

I want world hunger ended – and abortion and crime and lots of things – but I am trying to focus on one movement here!

Therefore, I propose that we end Black Friday. Just don’t spend that $50 billion dollars this year on STUFF!

Yes, that would do it. That would be more than we need or maybe just enough to help us get ahead of the problem.

Instead of purchasing the STUFF, donate the money to a relief aid organization like World Vision and their Gift Catalog. Purchase a cow for a family (or a goat or a well or a chicken, garden tools and much more). Then they can have some milk and start breeding the cows and make more cows, and then they can give a cow someday to someone else in need… and so on. What a great gift! And you can donate the gift in someone else’s name – a dual gift 🙂

If you really want to give a physical gift to someone, consider purchasing a handcrafted, artisan gift through World Vision’s Gifts With A Cause or another Fair Trade organization. This is also a dual gift as the money mostly goes back to the artisan and their village and helps the whole community move towards self sufficiency. Please note that I am an affiliate for Gifts With A Cause.

What Cause or Movement are you fighting and praying for?

A Simple Life Too Gives Thanks

What_A_Simple_Life_Too_Is_Thankful_ForI am thankful for SO MUCH and I hope to encourage others to take time this year to think about what they are thankful for – so along with my list, I am participating in a link-up AND co-hosting the link-up with some other very grateful ladies.

I am thankful for…

  • God’s provision this year in the midst of job loss – now my husband has a better job.
  • The freedom to homeschool how God has shown me to, not someone else thinks I should. This is good since we are doing more delight directed learning and unit studies this year.
  • Blogging as a healthy, personal time outlet.
  • My girls and especially for my new baby at 45 years of age!
  • God, my husband and my community for getting me through a tough pregnancy.
  • Having place to live that we can afford and flexible landlords (who we are also blessed to call friends) that understand our rough time this year.
  • My husband, who is working hard to overcome much.
  • God who is helping me to overcome many struggles and issues.
  • Our church community, who has walked with us through all kinds of things and has loved and supported us.
  • Kind neighbors and friends for our children.
  • Grasping the understanding that God is good, that He wants what is best for me, and what Grace really is.
  • A fun provision in our family’s (the girls and I) pet sitting business.

There are probably more and I reserve the right to update this post as I think of them 🙂

Now for the link-up. Please share what you are thankful for this holiday and/or any Thanksgiving related posts you would like to link with us. Please also visit all of the hosts and some of the other link-ees. Sharing posts of others is always a blessing.

Thankful

Alisha @ Alisha In Progress

Connect at: Google Plus | Pinterest

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April @ A Simple Life Too

Connect at: Google Plus | Facebook | Pinterest

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Hannah @ Shining Stars Magazine

Connect at: Google Plus

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Joy @ Artful Homemaking

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

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Joy @ Blog Of Joy

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Leticia @ King Maker Blog

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Naomi @ What Joy Is Mine

Connect at: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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The Ladies @ Radical Femininity

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

 

Cancel Halloween, Save The World

Cancel_Halloween

I am going to make this really simple – according the UN, it would take about a $30 billion dollar a year investment to eradicate world hunger. According to CNN, we spend about $7 billion dollars per year, just on Halloween. That is almost 1/4 of the needed money spent on one holiday. So lets just cancel the indulgence of non-food (i.e. candy) for one day per year and all the stuff that comes with it, and invest the money in seeds, farm animals, tools, wells, small business loans, and the such and the poor in the world will be that much closer to having what it needs.

Can it get any simpler than that?

I say start the movement now – CANCEL HALLOWEEN and SAVE THE WORLD!

I do have to add a little note. When you take your Halloween money and give it instead, please be sure to invest it into an organization with very little overhead so the money gets out to the communities. Also, be sure to invest it into an organization that invests in the community, not just gives handouts of food that will run out, but gives them what they need to grow, make, purchase their own food.

What other things can we give up to help the poor and get rid of world hunger?

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Gifts With A Cause

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Day Of Atonement

Celebrating Biblical Holidays Day Of Atonement

Update for 2016: The Day Of Atonement starts sundown Tuesday, October 11th and ends sundown Wednesday, October 12th. 

I will be honest, this is the hardest holiday to write about. Not because I don’t have enough to say or it is hard to say, but because I know that many (most) people don’t really want to hear about this day. Most people do not want to know that there was a day set aside each year for all of Israel to repent of their sins, and that today, even if we are walking with Jesus and declaring Him King, we still need to repent of our sins.

But, that is what this day is about. It is the foreshadow of the final days. The Feast of Trumpets declares the return of the Lord. The Day of Atonement is when we stand before Him in judgement. The Feast of Tabernacles is the rest of our lives, tabernacling (living) with Jesus.

On this day, I will come before the Lord and dig up things that I have been ignoring or burying in my head and/or heart. Today, I will come before the Lord and admit things that I did not want to deal with this year. Today, I will come before the Lord and let Him remind me of what I did not even realize I have been doing that is not good for me and He does not want me doing (or thinking or saying).

Today, I will come before the Lord and humble myself and repent of many things. Then I will try to practice this throughout the year…

How Our Community Has Celebrated The Day of Atonement In The Past

We fasted from sundown to sundown.

We gathered at our church in the afternoon for personal worship. Our leadership setup tables that are geared to make us think about different areas of our lives and how we have (or have not) been following God’s call / Jesus’ teachings and leadings in those areas. My husband and I rotated on this – one will go with out the children, then come back so the other can then go with out the children. It is a very beautiful time and very emotional.

We then gathered our children for the final worship in the early evening. In this time we sang (reverently), prayed through a corporate prayer of repentance, then we had additional time to pray for each other, as the Spirit leads.

Our community will celebrate in a similar way this year. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Learn More About The Biblical Holidays

I understand if this is a little much or is more than you want to know at this time. Maybe you just want to learn about the basics of the holiday for your homeschool or Sunday school.

I recommend – A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Here are my posts on the other Biblical Holidays.

The following are some ladies that also blog about the Biblical Holidays:

The Ladies at Radical Femininity
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Kathryn at Depths of Imagination
{Facebook}{Twitter}{Google+}

Dawnita at Prairie Dust Trail}
Facebook} {Pinterest} {Twitter}


Celebrating Biblical Holidays: The Feast Of Trumpets

Biblical Holidays Feast Of Trumpets

Update 2016: The Feast of Trumpets will start this year sundown Sunday, October 2nd to sundown Monday, October 3rd. 

I have to be honest with you. Outside of the birth of our beautiful baby girl, this year has been a tough year. We have suffered pain, we have lost almost everything financial (car, savings, job), and we have suffered the fruit of some bad choices and bad attitudes.

But this is what is so very wonderful about the Feast of Trumpets – It is the New Year… It is a time of New Beginnings… It is a time of Restoration and Redemption. We have repented of what we have done and now our bodies and hearts can be healed and restored. Our finance can be healed and restored. Our home can be healed and restored.

Everything can change for us this new year, this new beginning.

And so, we really do celebrate on this day.

The past few weeks, God has been repeatedly showing me the cycle of the Israelites – both in the desert and once they were in the land: They would trust and follow God, then they would start forgetting Him and following after their flesh, then they would make bad choices (sin), then bad things would start happening to them, then really bad things would happen to them, they would repent, God would help them, and lastly, they would celebrate their deliverance.

Our lives have been following this pattern for a few years now, but this year is the time to break free and it starts with the Feast of Trumpets.

Finally, this holiday is usually considered the foreshadowing of Christ’s return. We see it as a “dress rehearsal” for the final trumpets that will sound on that day. It is also the reminder that we need to face the Day of Atonement.

How Our Community Celebrated The Feast Of Trumpets In Past Years

Our community got together a little before sundown  We celebrated with worship music, Messianic dancing, and the blowing of the Shofar. Actually, the blowing of lots and lots of shofars.

There is also a quiet, reflective time during the service where we prayed and brought forward a symbol of our repentance. My symbol a couple of years ago was my pointer finger (a photo) pointing upward in accusation towards God. I had been blaming Him for my situation, instead of seeing it for what it is, and simply repenting and asking Him to redeem it.

After the service, we rested on the following day, treating it as a Sabbath. We will also started counting the 10 days of Awe as we prepared our hearts for falling at Jesus’ feet on the Day of Atonement.

Our Celebration Will Be Similar This Year. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Learn More About The Biblical Holidays

If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, I recommend – A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Here are my posts on the other Biblical Holidays.

The following is a list of ladies that also write about the Biblical Holidays:

The Ladies at Radical Femininity
{Facebook} {Google+}

Kathryn at Depths of Imagination
{Facebook}{Twitter}{Google+}

Dawnita at Prairie Dust Trail}
Facebook} {Pinterest} {Twitter}


10 Ways To Serve Part 2 – Academics Are Not Perfect Religion

10 Ways To Serve Part 2 Academics Are Not Perfect Religion
Yes, knowledge is good. Yes, we want our children to be educated to do what God has planned for them. However, reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic is not what the Bible refers to as perfect religion.

What the Bible does refer to as perfect religion: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27 (NASB)

The Second In Our List Of How To Serve

Do you know a widow? How about a single mom who has been abandoned by her husband? I have seen the Bible define an orphan as one without a father, not just children w/o any parents. There are also 1000’s of children in the foster care system that one could consider an orphan, even if the parents still live.

This is where our time should be spent. This is where our heart should be. If you homeschool, you most likely have the time to adopt at least one family or one child to bless. They need you more than you need to complete every page of that workbook. It could be something as simple as taking their children once a month so that mom can have a day to herself. If you have ever spent a few weeks with your children w/o a spouse and/or grandparent to give some time, you will understand what I am saying here.

Maybe they need some supplemental food or household necessities each month. Maybe they need your families hand-me-downs. Maybe they need help with their homeschool. Maybe they just need a few people to understand the challenges they face.

In the end, although we want to be diligent to educate out children, God has made it clear what really matters.

If you know of a widow or single mom who homeschools or wants to homeschool and needs help, contact the HSLDA Ambassador Program or the HSLDA Widows Curriculum Fund. If you know if any other resources for widows and single moms, please let us know in the comments.

Follow the entire 10 Ways To Serve series.

A Simple Truth – I Have To Face My Giants To Inherit The Land

A_Simple_Truth_Inherit_The_Land

Our family devotional today was from Exodus – the story of the 12 spies who went into Canaan to see what it would take, to take the land. 10 spies return with all the bounty, but also with fearful stories of the strong people in the land and even stories of giants! 2 of the spies, although agreeing that the people look tough to battle, believe that the Lord brought them this far and will continue to provide and take care of them.

This story was an allegory for our family today. My husband has lost his job in healthcare (as a CNA) and does not want to go back. He has entered the world of sales, marketing and business management. He loves it. But it is very hard work and so far, he is making as little or less than he was in healthcare. There are many giants in the way of him and success and more giants trying to keep me in fear and control.

So we are making a choice today. We feel that God brought us here, just as much as when we fist felt we should allow ourselves to have children and as when we first felt that we should move from Washington to Idaho. Therefore, we are going to be like the 2 spies – we are going to enter the land, face the giants, do the VERY hard work, and trust God to do what He has always done.

What are your giants you are facing? Are you standing and fighting and trusting the Lord, or are you ready to turn and run?