Wee Hour Worship

moon

It is five a.m. and I have lain awake an hour plus.
Tasks undone crowd my mind.
Life nourishes my sleeplessness.
I succumb, rise, and reluctantly start the day.
The full moon speaks and I pause, in awe.
I do not worship the moon as men of old but worship its Creator.
In Him resides peace of mind and strength to carry on.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
You put everything under his feet . . .
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8:3-6, 9

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Of Course I Have an Agenda

1 Peter 3:15

Of course I have an agenda.

Don’t we all?

And . . . really . . . shouldn’t we all?

I recently heard a teacher chuckle while she told of someone accusing her of brainwashing the children in her classroom. She wouldn’t, or couldn’t, entertain the thought in the least. And while I don’t believe she is actually brainwashing her students, she probably has an agenda. I’m guessing she would have adamantly denied that possibility also.

Depending on the setting, having an agenda may be interpreted positively or negatively. At meetings, most desire an agenda (outline, schedule, etc.), preferably written. The meeting flows more efficiently. However, typically, referring to someone as “having an agenda” has a negative connotation. We’ve expanded the definition of having an agenda to mean:  this person wants to change others’ way of thinking. He or she wants to persuade his/her audience into believing his/her way.

I’d like to challenge our thoughts about “having an agenda;” because whether we like it or not, most of us have one. For example, when I ask my children to pick up their clothes, my agenda (or plan) is to have a clean floor.

I find it interesting when someone points to a religious group other than his/her own and says, “They have an agenda.” Well, duh! We each should be so sold out in our belief system we have an agenda—to convince others our belief set is the right one.

Do I have an agenda when I am homeschooling? Absolutely! To educate my children in academics and life skills. To teach my children how to interact with others in a loving, respectful, godly manner. To teach my children to work hard and diligently and to be proud of their endeavors. And to raise my children as God-fearing, God-loving Christians who understand the Bible and have an intimate relationship with the Lord.

Do I have an agenda when I speak to others about church and Christ? Definitely! To point them to Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Do I have an agenda on this blog? Certainly! To glorify God and helps others find hope in Christ in the midst of everyday life.

Do you have an agenda? If not, maybe you should.

Character Building

Washington Monument under construction

Washington Monument Under Construction

Upward Bound Home School classes begin today. I spent a lot of time praying and preparing for this day. As a parent and teacher of my children, I have an interest in their lives as a whole, not just their academics. I want my children to be well-rounded, so to speak. After all, the goal is responsible, mature, godly adults.

I contemplate their character and how to nurture it—how to incorporate character-building lessons and activities into our home school curriculum and day-to-day tasks.

The definition of character per dictionary.com is “the aggregate of features or traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.” Aggregate means “a sum mass, or assemblage of particulars; a total or gross amount.” Character integrates honesty, courage, and other moral, ethical, and biblical qualities.

I analyze and work on the each child’s individual traits as well as his/her overall makeup. In this way, I can adapt my teaching style, lessons, and training tools as we progress.

Just as I educate my children, I want the Lord to instruct me, to refine me. It is my deepest desire to reflect the image of Christ. I consistently work on my own character, the totality of who I am. I want to be more like Jesus today than I was yesterday. To that end, I read the Bible and other biblical material, attend church, participate in biblical discussions, and pray. I ask God to show me areas that need perfected and rely on Him to help me improve.

How about you?

What strategies are you implementing to improve your character?

What strategies are you implementing to build your children’s character?

Toothaches, Root Canals, and Skewed Reality

Last week I had a root canal. I’ve had a toothache off and on for months. I knew exactly which tooth hurt, the second to the last one on the bottom left (that’s tooth #19 for those of you who count teeth). My local dentist finally sent me to an endodontist (a specialist in root canals).

I explained to the young gal with the endodontic degree (Does she really know how to fix teeth?) how it hurt, when it hurt, and which tooth was the culprit. She listened patiently before telling me she was going to run a few tests to see which tooth was giving me the trouble. I thought this to be an unnecessary step but was in no position to argue. She found, to my astonishment, that the pain was radiating from a different tooth than I believed it to be. (It was tooth #18.) She said that sometimes we “feel the pain forward.” Though I was still skeptical, I chose to believe her because she was the expert performing root canals all day long. So I opened my mouth and let her do her thing.

My perception of my world was not reality. Had I let her “fix” the tooth I thought was the cause of my pain, I would still be in the same situation in which I started—only angrier and with less money in my pocket.

Distorted View

Distorted View

Sometimes, in life, we don’t live in reality. We think our unhappiness (read:pain) comes from a particular event, possibly a spouse leaving or kids misbehaving or a job that doesn’t pay enough. You name it. Maybe you believe that if you were taller, thinner, more creative, drove a better car or lived in a different location you would be happier. We search for the answer to our alleged problem. And when the solution doesn’t work we become frustrated.

Distorted View

Distorted View

To accurately deal with a problem, we must thoroughly understand the truth or reality of it. We must dig to find the true source of our discontentment and unhappiness. As the endodontist did on my teeth, we need to run diagnostic tests. Look at the problem from a different perspective. Ask questions. Ask for advice from a trusted believer.

Run to God. When we ask Him and open our hearts and minds to His wisdom, He will reveal the proper origin of our grief, sadness, or depression. I have found, many times, that instead of outward circumstances, selfishness, a skewed perspective or idolatry is the root cause.

clear view

Clear View

How about you?

Have you ever solved a problem only to find out later your initial diagnosis was incorrect?