Deuteronomy 6:7-9 "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
We were gathered around the table today, enjoying our after church lunch, when one of the children brought up the subject of the rapture. I am always amazed at how different topics come up at the most unexpected times, followed by questions and a wonderful time of discussing things we have learned and have yet to learn from the Bible. It always encourages me to know the children are really listening to the sermons and little seeds are getting planted inside their hearts. I forget who brought it up and just why, but we all began talking about the exciting day in the unknown future of when our Lord will return in the clouds to take His children back home with Him. I remember as a child how this idea frightened me and I recall a few moments of pure panic when the house was completely silent at night and I would lay in bed listening for someone to snore or make some noise so I would know they were still there and had not left me behind. One time my mother hid inside a closet, thinking it would be fun to play hide-n-seek with me, but the fear that rose up inside me made me holler out, "Where are you?!" I was so sure the rapture had come and I had been left all alone.
There are all kinds of books and ideas out there regarding children and the rapture. The famous Left Behind series indicates that all infants and children up to the age of 10 go whether the family is saved or not. It is a wonderful thought to think God would rescue all the children, but looking back to the stories in the Bible, He did not always separate the children. He did not rescue the babies that were thrown into the Nile River during Israel's enslavement in Egypt, nor did He stop the slaying of the babies in Bethlehem after Jesus was born. As much as I would like to think the little ones of the world would be saved, I do not believe it to be so. Then, again, I always believed that the children of the families who were saved would be sanctified through the parents and if they were under the age of accountablility (whatever that age is) they would go up during the rapture too. But after talking about it today with the family, I feel like I was slammed in the head with a two by four, and I cannot get this sobering thought out of my head. It all comes down to this: a person cannot depend on another person to get into heaven, no matter what age he or she is. Everyone is born a sinner and needs to come to their own conclusions that they need a Savior in their life. Nobody can hang onto the bootstraps of another and go up that way. So, my question today is will our little ones, who have not asked for forgiveness for their sins in repentance and accepted the Lord into their heart, remain behind when their saved parents go in the rapture? Will they be left alone down here, to be taken in by complete strangers who do not believe in God to be raised in an Antichrist home and get the mark? Like I said, this thought hit me extremely hard today and I have not been able to shake a feeling of dread. As much as I want the Lord to return and take me away from this place, I do not want Him to return until all my children have understood their sin nature and prayed to get saved. This puts a whole new light on praying for my children. A more sobering, very heart-rending desire to ask the Lord to watch over my children and to ask Him to keep His hand on their lives no matter what comes their way. As the verse listed above says, we need to make sure we are doing all we can to teach them of Him and His love throughout every waking hour. If the hour was close back in Jesus' day, then how much closer is it to us now?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if there are any Scriptures regarding children and this matter, I would love to read them. As for me, the entire conversation hit home and the truth is, we need to pray for our children no matter what. Pray, people, pray for your children that the evil one does not snatch them away.
"But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12
The heavy blanket of gray and threatening clouds seemed to follow me as I drove down the hill after letting the children off for school. The morning had not gone well and already the day seemed old and rotten. All I wanted to do was turn around and go back home where I could try to start the day over again. My mood was as dark as the sky above me as my mind remained intent on finding the negatives of everything around me. A red light stopped me for a brief moment and I had time to glance around outside of my dreary place. Something bright and cheery caught my attention and I looked up and saw blue skies directly in front of me. The moment my eyes saw the light, something inside me clicked and I felt a twinge of hope, a slight chance that things might not be so bad after all. The light turned green and I continued on, keeping my eyes focused straight ahead on the light blue that opened up before me. If I turned my head to the right or the left, I would have seen the gray once again and my hope and growing cheerfulness would have gradually faded away again. It did not take long for the heaviness to dissipate and float away like the fog of early morning as I focused on the blue and soon everything seemed right in my world again.
Are you feeling the heaviness of a burden today? Are you focusing on the circumstances around you and thinking negative thoughts about everyone and everything? Do you feel like the cloud cover is growing bigger and the rain cloud of tears is going to burst at any moment? Take your eyes off the gray clouds for a moment and let the Light y give you hope. Jesus is the Light of the world and His light will guide our feet along the perfect path. Trust in Him and always focus on the blue.
That dreaded feeling...it normally hits me during the middle of March so it is a month overdue. It is possible that since I have been flittering around like a busy bee I simply have not had the time to think about it, but I am afraid it has finally happened. I had hoped maybe I was over it this year, but the cruel fingers of this strange sickness just could not keep away from me. Without warning it struck me today: I was sitting on the stool in our downstairs bathroom cleaning out the kitty litter boxes when the feeling hit me...hubbysickness. I must agree with you that yes, this is a very strange place for that kind of sickness to hit, but you have to understand that my husband usually does this particular job for me. Some days I cannot handle the smell so he kindly offers to clean it for me. Lately, he has been too tired to even think of doing that job, so I have had to just do it myself. I could have my children do it, though it usually makes more work for me. I know, not a good excuse, but really, the kitties are mostly mine, I think.
Anyway, hubbysickness struck as I was sitting there, feeling quite sorry for myself and sad that he is always out. It was the same kind of feeling that a lonely camp goer gets when he suddenly feels homesick for his family as he sits down to eat yet another horrible camp meal in the summer. It was plain to see that I simply MISSED MY HUBBY!
See, my husband works in the pest control field so during the winter months he is around the house more because jobs, and bugs, are not abundant in the cold weather. He uses that time to do odd jobs around the house, catching up on projects that have been waiting for quite some time to get completed. When we were homeschooling, it was nice to have him around during December to February when he could help with the lessons or simply be there if we decided to take the day off and go out to do something fun as a family. Now that my children attend the Christian school at our church, it has been a little different, though we are very active at the school and use that time to visit them at lunchtime to say hi. Once the winter snow melts (winter snow? Ha, not this year!) and warm weather arrives, out comes the pesky bugs and in comes the calls. Six days a week he works, leaving very little time for us to be together, though we try to make use of the few hours we do have. It is clear to my mind that he needs to work so he can make money for the family business, but that does not mean my heart has to like it or even agree with the way it works .
From past experience, I know this season will pass. The year will move on to summer and after that will come autumn when the bugs die down. I am extremely thankful for Joe's job and God's provision for our family. He supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory. I will use this hubbysickness for good and use the downtime to pray for my husband as he goes out into the world to toil for his family. May the Lord protect my dear husband and watch over him as he goes out bugging. Amen.
There are many different ways this could be taken. I had one idea in my mind, but I will let the readers decide for themselves which way they want to interpret this. Oh, and no, I am not against sugar, so do not take this the wrong way. It is only a parable.
Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived with his father and mother. His parents loved him dearly and wanted the best for their son, so they fed him lots of whole grain foods, fresh fruits and veggies, and lots of water at every meal. They told him it was God’s gift of love to them so they could stay healthy and do His work while on this earth.
At first the boy liked everything his parents fed him and did not complain, but as he grew older he began to get discontented and wanted something different to try. As they would drive to the store where they purchased all their good food, he would gaze longingly out the car window at the bakery that flashed, “Doughnuts” in bright neon lights. His mother and father always told him that too much sugar would hurt his body, so it was best to stay away from it
The boy quietly did what his parents told him, but inside he had a longing for something new. Therefore, it was not hard to say yes to the small peppermint candy a friend offered him secretly in the aisle of the health food store one day when his mother and father were not looking. “Just brush your teeth when you get home and no one will ever know you ate it,” the friend reassured him.
It was the yummiest thing the boy had ever put into his mouth. He excused the nagging thought that he should not have tried it by telling himself, “It was tiny. One little piece will not hurt me,” and off he went on his merry way. As the week wore on, the boy’s mind kept drifting back to the sweet taste of the candy and the more he thought about it, the more he wanted to eat another one.
Back at the store for their weekly shopping trip, the boy met up with his friend again, who was shopping with his parents for their own supply of groceries.
“Did you get caught?” his friend asked him, glancing around to make sure their parents were out of hearing range.
The boy shook his head. “They never even suspected.”
The friend smiled. “Good. I have something else here you should try. This is called chocolate.” He held out a round piece of candy all wrapped in shiny, gold paper.
The boy looked around nervously. “I don’t know if I should…”
“Go on, it will be fine! They will never know! I’ve been doing it for months and my parents haven’t found out.”
The boy decided to ask one more question to clear his conscience. “Aren't we stealing, though?”
“Nah, just one piece isn’t stealing. Besides, their prices are so high they are practically stealing from us. Go ahead and eat it before your parents come around the corner!”
The boy popped it into his mouth, chewed the delicious soft chocolate ball, and was hooked. After that moment he began to try bigger and better sweets: cakes, cookies, candy bars, and even the doughnuts from the neon-lighted bakery. Soon after, the boy also decided that brushing his teeth was simply a waste of time and tossed his toothbrush into a far corner of his room where it became buried under mounds of candy wrappers.
Within months the boy had decided he did not want to eat good food anymore and wanted to live with his friend who could supply him with unlimited amounts of sweet goodies. He packed up his stuff, left his devastated parents sobbing on the doorstep, and moved in with his friend for a life of freedom and fun. Indeed, it was a grand way to live, free from the strict diet rules his parents had kept him under for so many years. Did they not know the joy of eating such wonderful treats? How could they have been so mean to keep him away from the pure pleasure of sugar?
After years of sugary coated living, large black holes began to appear on the boy’s teeth. His entire mouth began to ache as one by one his teeth rotted and fell out. His skin turned pale and thin, while his eyesight grew dim. His muscles, once strong and young, atrophied and grew weak from lack of use and poor choice of food. He began to realize the effects of ‘sugar’ in his life, and the wisdom of his father and mother’s rules became the only clear thing in his fuzzy brain. Feeling extremely sick and weak, the boy returned to his parent’s home and repented of his ways. They gladly forgave him and took him back in and slowly nursed him back to health with lots of whole grain foods, and fresh fruits and veggies, something he had once loved, but had forgotten how truly delicious they really tasted because his mouth had become sugar coated by listening to his friend.
Though he regained his health, he was never the same again due to the havoc he had reaped on his body. He had to pay the price of his decisions for the rest of his life, yet he knew that when it came time to raise his own children someday, he was going to stick with the diet of good foods so his children would never have to make the same mistake he had made and suffer as he had. There is always a price to pay when it comes to "sugar."
My firstborn was a very cautious baby. He took his time in everything, making sure he would be safe in whatever he attempted to do. He did not walk until he was fifteen months old and by that point, he was almost too big to carry around all the time. I was pregnant with my second so I needed him to use his own little legs to get him where he wanted to go.
When my second was born, he was very different than my oldest in more ways than one. After getting through those cranky, colicky first three months, things did settle down, but I soon learned that his head was put on a little differently than my first child. He was not cautious at all and would leap off the couch without thinking about the toys scattered across the floor below him, or lean over the edge of the bunkbed without a thought of danger or risk.
I remember one winter when he was almost three years old. A friend was staying with me after I had my third baby and I decided to get outside for some fresh air. I bundled Caleb up and took him out with me and let him play in the snow. That was the day I observed an odd behavior in my son that still has me scratching my head to this day. There was a patch of ice along the edge of the driveway which Caleb did not see the first time he crossed over it. Up his booted feet went as his legs slid out from beneath him and he landed on his back, whacking his covered head at the same time. He let out a howl and announced to the world that he did not appreciate what had just happened to him. From where I stood on the porch, I assured him he was okay and being the tough guy that he is, he was off and running soon after. Not long after, along he came again and I watched as he did the exact same thing he had done before. Up went his feet and down went the rest of him as he tried to walk across that patch of ice. The tears came again, and again I told him he was fine. Within seconds it had happened again, and then again, as I stared dumbfounded that somebody would continue doing the same exact thing over and over again, with the same results. I counted the times it took him to learn that walking across the ice patch was not going to work, and it was not until after the 8th time that he decided he would walk around it. To this day we have a saying in our house to remind my husband and I it takes more than one reminder to get through to some of the children in our home: "Eight times, dear, eight times!"
In my Bible reading this morning, it struck me that I am not the only one who has to continual remind those with thicker heads of how it should be. I was finishing up Deuteronomy, where Moses goes up into the mountain to view the promised land. He was not allowed to go inside because of his disobedience to God's orders, but God wanted him to see the land that was to become Israel's home. Earlier, because of their fear, lack of courage, and lack of faith, Israel had found themselves roaming the desert for 40 years. All the parents and leaders who had not trusted God's words died in that desert, never seeing the fullfillment of the promise. Now, only the children and their families were left, and God wanted to make sure they understood what a powerful God they served. Yet, He knew how thick-headed people on this earth can be so He began to reassure them that all was going to be okay. Over and over again, through Moses before he died, and then through Joshua, their new leader, the people were told to be strong, courageous, and not to fear because God was looking out for them and He would never leave them or forsake them. I noticed a pattern as I was reading and I began to wonder how many times God repeated those words? I looked it up and to my surprise, I found eight times! Deuteronomy 31:6,7,23; Joshua 1:6,7,9,18, and then in Joshua 10:25. God knows how thick-headed man can be, so He made sure He got through to His people that all would go as He said it would. He cannot lie. I am so glad to know my son is as normal as they come. I am so glad I have a merciful God Who is willing to love me and patiently wait even though it may take eight times (or more!) to get through my thick-headed brain. Amen!
Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
I was trying to get ready to leave for my writer's group tonight, but one thing after another happened and it was not meant to be. A bumped nose; a sibling's not-so-nice reaction; nervous tension; and the fact that I kept misplacing the paper with the address revealed to me that it might not be a good idea to go out driving tonight. I already had a little bumper clash last week because my mind was off somewhere else and I was not paying attention to what was ahead of me. That was enough inconvenience for a lifetime. Honestly, I would have liked to go tonight. It may have done me some good to get out, but at least I now have an idea and some time to actually write my blog. So, bear with me as I take some time to say what is on my heart. It may not be as happy and cheerful as previous blogs, but as often as the weather changes in our New England states, so does the moods of a wife, mother, sister, and daughter.
Change. It is a word I have never liked to hear because it always meant work on my part. The work might not require physical labor, but it might mean a sacrifice of some sort that cwould take mental effort just to process the idea that things may have to be done differently. Moving can set that process in motion, or having a grandparent pass away that changes how you celebrate a holiday or where you spend vacations. Change can mean going from homeschooling to attending a private school and your time is not your own anymore. Change can mean a way of doing things in the home or how you handle raising your children; a change in diet or exercise can be a good thing, though like I said before, it requires sacrifice and a different mindset.
Once again I am facing change in my life and I am not sure I am liking what I see ahead of me. I feel very secure in the usual routine of life and anytime something shifts, it leaves me feeling unsettled inside. I know Who I can turn to in such a time as this, for Jesus holds my future in His hands. I can take comfort in the fact that He will never change and He is the same God Who was with me as I grew up and proved faithful in so many ways. I remember my teen years, when I could be happy one minute and upset the next - so many nights I would cry out to my best Friend and He would reach down and fill me with such a sweet peace that would fill my soul. Though the problem would not be gone, I could rest in the fact that He understood and would take care of it in His time. I could lay my burden at Jesus' feet and He would shoulder my load and carry me the rest of the way. I am so glad my Jesus has not changed. He is still the same caring Father today as He was twenty years ago. He loves me so much and wants to carry my burdens instead of letting me be weighed down with them. All I have to do is give them over to Him and trust Him, like a child trusts his earthly parent, because He knows best. I am so glad my Jesus is real - so real I can feel Him in my soul. Where would I be without my best Friend?
"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come..." Song of Solomon 2:12
A few minutes ago, a little Phoebe landed on the railing of our deck and sat there with his little feathers ruffled. He gave a few loud calls, looking around in that frantic way Phoebes do, as if searching for something and becoming frustrated with not getting results. I thought back to the time years ago when a Phoebe family built a nest inside our woodshed. The nest was warm and dry which seemed the perfect place to raise a family. Our cat Jenny had different ideas about them building there. It was a sad day when we discovered Jenny had found the nest and killed the mother bird. The father flew around the area for days, calling out for his little bird-wife, desparate to find her so their eggs could stay warm. Since that time, I have learned that all Phoebes have the same cry, whether they have their wife by their side or not, but it still breaks my heart when I hear them because I always recall that sad incident. Some birds have calm, peaceful songs that lift your spirit and make you feel joyful inside, yet, other birds such as the Crow, Bluejay, and Phoebe have annoying or sad songs. It does not matter the circumstances in their lives or what is going on around them. They are loud and cantakerous, demanding their way right away, wanting to take charge of the birdfeeder by scaring the smaller, quieter birds away. They are beautiful to look at on the outside, but as soon as they open their beaks, you want to shoo them away just so you can have some peace and quiet.
We can be like those birds at times. Often times, like today for me, we can be like that Phoebe, frantic with the circumstances thrown in our way and feeling like we want to squawk loudly in complaint about how our day is going. But, we must stop and look up to our Creator, the One Who is directing our steps, and ask Him to help us through every hour, every minute even, and trust Him to take care of our daily needs. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." No matter what happens, we never leave the mind of our Lord. He is always thinking of us and wants us to keep Him in our thoughts constantly throughout our day.
So, be careful when you open your mouth today. Do not be like the obnoxious jay that yells at those around him so he can get the best in life. Do not be frantic like the Phoebe who never seems to find what he is searching for. Try to have words and a song that will uplift others around you and put joy into their hearts. Psalm 28:7, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."