College-Ready, or Not?

Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.” 

It happened again.  I was talking to a dad today.  He bragged about his college aged son, but then added that, you know, college had done a number on their child’s faith.  How infuriating.  

From the moment they are born, we born-again, Christ followers realize the importance of passing on our faith in Christ to our children.  Nothing else takes precedence over this eternity altering and life molding relationship.  

They usually do pretty good while still in our faith filled homes.  I mean they are human;  they make mistakes, they get misled, but we are there to discipline, to talk to them, to speak truth to them.   Most things get buffed out and they pull on our faith when theirs is weak or challenged.  But then we send them off to college-as sheep among wolves.

Think about it:  If you were Satan where better to set up an ambush on the next generation than in a college.  I mean, we’ve taught them that they ALL have to go to college or they will be poor and destitute so more young people than ever are entering the college arena.  And who better to use than an impressive, successful professor of incredible (seeming) intelligence to baffle them and make them question every premise they’ve ever believed.  Not only question, but feel ignorant for believing.  And, they fall for it; not all of them, but some.  And some is too many.  

So, what can a parent do?  What can a Christian body do to help prepare their young adults for college.  I don’t know, maybe warn them.  Ignorance is not bliss here.  They have an enemy and we rarely tell them-too dark, a little scary.   And he is strategic in his warfare-yes, he hangs out at colleges.  If you were him, wouldn’t you?  It doesn’t take much intelligence to realize where the young, vulnerable ones are.  And, yes, there is such a thing as spiritual warfare.  Anyone who has ever experienced it knows it.  Spiritual warfare is just that-spiritual.  Aiming to draw us spiritually away from our faith in Jesus Christ.   “Do you actually believe?  How ignorant can you be?  Science reveals to us…”

They have to know that they will be tested in this lifetime; we all are.  They need to decide now what they believe and who they believe in.  They need to put on the armor that God has provided and stand firm in their beliefs.  College only lasts a few years.  The challenges to their faith can weaken them or strengthen them depending on how prepared they are.  For those who stand strong and keep the faith, they will come out stronger from the buffeting because they will have dug their feet in deep.

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed:
Unto an evil counselor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt 

 

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Posted in Christian, christian parenting, College, Faith, Family, Raising kids, wisdom

It is Never Too Late

I like to grow things.  I have a large garden and a raised bed garden.  I have compost bins and rain barrels and, most recently, all the paraphernalia to begin beekeeping.  onions

I actually can’t make things grow though.  I can only place seeds or small plants in the right conditions for them to be able to grow.  If I monitor the conditions and provide for their needs, I can watch as beautiful plants grow to maturity and bear beautiful fruit.

 

tomatoes

 

 

It is a wonderful process. I never grow tired of it.

 

 

Gardening always makes me think of the parallels to human life.  Take seeds for example.  Inside a seed is an identity.  An apple seed is an apple seed.  A bean seed is a bean seed.  A sunflower seed is a sunflower seed.  But also, within each seed is a destiny.   An apple seed will become an apple tree and a bean seed will become a green sprawling bean plant.    Sunflower seeds will grow into green giantsseed.  And lastly, within each seed is a purpose.  Apple seeds are designed to produce a sweet, delicious fruit, bean seeds produce beans, and sunflower seeds produce a huge gorgeous flower full of new seeds that are food for birds and animals.  The design and plan of seeds is amazing.

 

 

Humans are like seeds.  Within each of us is a pre-designed identity, destiny, and purpose.

The problem with growing things, however, whether it be a plant or a human being is that conditions matter for the health of a living thing.  If you plant a seed in harsh conditions, it won’t thrive well.  And if a human is raised or placed in harsh, unloving, conditions where it is deprived, it will, at its best, survive.  Hurts, abuse, and disappointment can cause a person to live in darkness to their true identity,  never go down the path that leads to their God-appointed destiny and not fulfill their God-designed purpose.

There is good news though.  Like the 4,000 year old seeds that were found in the pyramids of Egypt that were planted, nurtured, and that sprouted and grew, these attributes can never be lost but they can lie dormant until placed in the right conditions.  Every human being has deep within them a God-given identity, destiny, and purpose that cannot be taken away or destroyed.

If you have been in a place of darkness and difficulty, take heart.   Deep within you remains everything you need to be who you were created to be, go where you were designed to go and fulfill the purposes planned for your life.  All you need is to begin to nurture the incredible being that God created you to be.  Believe.  Take care of yourself.  Move into the source of life Himself to receive from Him His nurturing and care.  It is never too late.  Grow.

woman praising

 

 

 

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My Garden Experiment

For those who don’t know-my fall/winter/spring job is as a 5th grade science teacher.  In the summer months I am housewife full on.

With that background, this will make more sense.

Anyway, I wish I had taken a before picture but this is the after.  As you can see half of my green beans are doing GREAT while the other half isn’t doing so well-at all.

competition and green beans

Hmmm…being the science teacher that I am, my mind immediately went to work and then my hands did.  I realized that this set me up for the PERFECT at-home, hands-on science investigation.  You see (If I had taken a before pictures, you’d actually SEE. But,  well, live and learn.)  I had gotten tired in my hoeing last week and only hoed half-way down the row.

A recent rain had made grass grow and invade the last half of the row, stunting its growth.   I quickly realized that this gave me the opportunity to do an at-home science experiment on the effects of competition on the growth of plants.  So, I went to work pulling almost all the grass out of the stunted portion and now I can’t wait to see if-with the competition removed-the green beans would begin to flourish and grow.

I also realized that this would make a great BLOG.  I’d title it:  “Competition Will Suck the Life Out of a Marriage”-or maybe I’d come up with something better.

 

married hands

Marriages were designed to flourish and grow.  The day a couple gets married is the day they are “planted”.  As with everything designed to grow, marriages have needs.  And, if those needs aren’t met or if things creep in and aren’t weeded out, competition can suck the life out of a marriage making it weak, stunted, and unfruitful.

Just a few things that compete for the attention and affection we should be “feeding” our marriages:  careers, hobbies, children, worries, fears…etc.  The list is long.

I just wonder, if we were to look at our marriages and see that they are not thriving, if we would stop and do some weeding, would our marriages-having it’s needs met again-begin to thrive, grow, and become fruitful.  Hmmm….sounds like a great at-home, hands-on life producing, worthy of our consideration experiment.

 

For the love of God, Family, and Science (which proves His existence) as it should.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Faith, Gardening, Marriage, wisdom | Leave a comment

Make No Provision for the Flesh

So, I just read the statement, repentance is a lifestyle.  Hmmm, I like that.   It states a truth that we have to come to terms with-we live in the flesh and the flesh is bent towards sinful behaviors that, left unchecked, will suck the life out of us one cookie at a time, one sexy photo at a time, one hit at a time.

flesh

The flesh has appetites and desires that will take us down unhealthy roads physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

How do we live in these times where every sinful desire can be satisfied in a moment’s notice?   Repentance.  Everyday.  Leading a lifestyle of repentance, or turning away.

repent sign

Of course we won’t have to turn around if we don’t head in that direction in the first place.  How do we do that?   Well, the Manufacturer’s Instruction Manual tells us to “make no provision for the flesh and its lusts”  Romans 13:14b.   Hmmm, do not provide.   What does that look like?

Here is one way I am “not providing”.  I cleaned out my pantry.   Really cleaned it out.

pantry empty

And then I restocked it.  Minus the cookies and chips and….well everything that I tended to not be able to stop eating when I knew I need to.  I am working to create a lifestyle of repentance by turning my back on purchasing and providing for my flesh.

pantry full

What about you?   Tired of being “bullied” by the flesh into doing things you later regret? Go with me and let’s start leading a lifestyle of repentance together.  What is one thing you can clean out?   Restock?

 

May God bless your efforts.

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Pain Taker

“If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”

People love to bash social media but I’ve had some very interesting encounters on it. A particularly special one happened not long after I “got on” Facebook and downloaded Messenger.

I opened Facebook one day to find a very, very long message that started like this, “Are you Penny who used to be Penny Langley? If so, I am ***** the girl who was with your sister the night she died.”

The message went on to tell how this young woman had lived 20 something years with the burden and pain of feeling responsible for my sister’s death. Wow. I copied the message and sent it to two of my brothers. We were all in awe and I couldn’t wait to write our reply: “Lay it down girl. Lay it down. We forgave you a long time ago.”

I went on to tell her that each of us had laid our pain at the Savior’s feet a long time ago and didn’t carry the burden any longer.  We were horrified that she had carried it so long.  Do you carry a burden?

Lay it down. Jesus Christ is the pain taker.  He’s our burden barer. Jesus Christ came to take from us the weights and burdens that life heaps on us. The weights that we were never created to carry. He came to restore all that Satan has stolen and tried to destroy. To restore us and give us Life with a capital L-IF we’ll lay it down.

I had a realization after watching The Passion of the Christ. If you haven’t watched it, I suggest you do. And when you do and you endure the scenes of His intense suffering, ask yourself this question, “Is what I did, didn’t do, endured, subjected someone to, more heinous than the beating He received to pay the price for sin?”

If you think it is, you think too much of yourself. There is nothing on Earth that any of us have ever done-and we’ve done some terrible things- that deserve more punishment than what Christ took on the cross-so quit the self-inflicted punishing. Lay it down at His feet and thank Him for what He did for you and then show your intense gratitude by living life again-with a capital L in thanksgiving and share the message like I did to my sister’s poor friend:

“If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”

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Quit your Crying and start Digging

We’re so bad to cry out to God for stuff and then get angry when we perceive that He is not giving us what we ask.

Maybe it’s because we ask for things we already have. The Bible tells us that we have been given all things that we need for life and for godliness.  2 Peter 1:3.   I’ll never forget the day I realize that was in the past tense. What?   Already given?  What does that mean for us?

Perhaps the reason we’re not having a prayer answered is that what we’re asking for is already ours.  We just have to claim it.

Kind of like when you hear that there is a list of people who have money unclaimed that they are not even aware of.  Money in some long lost account. We always want to look at the list and see if our name is on it. Perhaps there are some things that God has already done for us that we don’t even realize belong to us and all we need to do is pick them up.

Like Joy.   We can have joy in our life. That’s because Joy comes from having Jesus Christ. Nobody can steal Joy from us because nobody can steal Jesus from us. We are blessed beyond belief just because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We just have to claim Joy and walk in it. It is ours.

Once we realized there is  treasure with our name on it that God has already given us, we begin to search and dig for it like the character in The Bible who dug up treasure and then went and bought the property  so that it could belong to him. Smart guy.

Maybe instead of crying we should start digging and see what we find. There’s treasure out there with our name on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moldable

I liken myself to have a tad of artistic talent.  I have drawn some pictures that look somewhat like the object I’m copying.

Although I’m an amateur at art, I’ve seen another artist at work that isn’t. His name is Influence.  He doesn’t work with pencil and paper though; his craft is done with human souls.  His work can be very good, or his work can be very bad depending on the source of his inspiration.

God warns us of him.  Tells us of his power.  Warns us of our own constitution-clay.

The good news is, God uses this artist Himself to create His greatest works.  When clay is in the right hands, it can become the most beautiful, powerful pieces and God puts those pieces on display for the world to see.

image

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