Proverbs 3: Finding God’s Will

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Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs3:5-6

My first memory of hearing this verse was when I was about four years old. A prominent Baptist preacher was holding a conference at our church in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and preached a message on this passage. I have no idea what he said about it, but I vividly recall this passage because he sang the words to verse six.

As the years passed, I would come to hear these verses quoted often. But it was only after I was truly born again that I understood it and the difficulty of heeding it. You may wonder why I would think of it as a hard thing to do. That’s because the prosperity Gospel has overshadowed the true Gospel.  The devil has many Christians convinced that “God owes us  blessings” simply because we claim His name. They have forgotten the passage from Matthew 16:34, Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. That doesn’t sound easy to me. In fact, it’s impossible! We cannot follow Christ unless He is our Savior.

When we lean upon His Word, rather than our own understanding; when He is directing our path, it may lead us through treacherous territory. We may find ourselves in a graveyard saying goodbye to loved ones. We may find ourselves in a ministry where we are persecuted. We may lose friends, and family members, because of our decision to follow Christ. The Lord may direct our path through financial reversal. Certainly God brings us through these trials. He even gives us blessings along the way. He sustains us. But it isn’t easy. Following Christ probably won’t lead us to great earthly riches or fame. Most of us will plod along in obscurity. But as we lean upon Him – and by that I mean we are completely relying on Him for everything – He will show us that He is enough. He will provide in ways that we otherwise would never have seen. He will send friends from places which we have never heard. He will not only supply our earthly needs, as He promises in Matthew 6:31-33, but He will often give us our wants.

The comforting part about walking dark paths with Christ, is that we walk the dark paths with Christ! He is beside us. He doesn’t hand us a sack lunch and send us on our way. Rather, He traverses with us, holding us and caring for us each step of the way. He communes with us and encourages us. The road may be steep and rough, but He helps us make the climb. It is hard, but it is not impossible, because of Christ.

As I have tried to obey Proverbs 3:5-6, I’ve seen the Lord help me when I couldn’t take the next step, or simply didn’t know where to take the next step.

Trust Him.

Acknowledge Him.

He will do the rest.

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Proverbs 2: Wise Words from Solomon

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My goal for this mini-study is to ponder one verse from a chapter of Proverbs each day. However, when I read this chapter, it all seemed to be connected, like one long letter. Because of this, I decided I’d just jot down a few of my thoughts.

Proverbs chapter one begins with these words:

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

We have a simple outline here.

  • Title – The Proverbs
  • Author – Solomon, son of David, king of Israel
  • Purpose – That the reader may gain wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment and equity
  • Audience – The simple, or the youthful

We see that chapter two also is giving instruction also, in particular, to the son:

 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

Chapter two tells us that by seeking wisdom, we can gain understanding, righteousness, judgment and equity (verse 9). We can have discretion (verse 11) and protection from evil men and strange women. (verses 12 and 16).

The “evil man” is one who knows what is right, but refuses to live righteously. (verse 13) The strange woman, as described in verse 16, is a flatterer. She desires to use others to satisfy her own sensual longings. She, like the evil man, has been taught what is right, but rejects that path. (verse 17)

This chapter closes with the warning as to what will happen to both the one who lives according to wisdom, and those one who does not:

For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it. (verses 21 -22)

I do the best I can to train my daughters and sons to live righteously. They have heard the Gospel, the Bible stories and Christian songs. They go witnessing and memorize scripture. But only God can change their hearts. This chapter convicted me today to pray more, because my good works are as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) I need God’s help to point them to the Cross;  I need Him to do reveal Himself to them. (Luke 10:22) I pray that He will do just that.

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Proverbs 1: A Reliable Source

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Thank you for joining me for a brand new series for the month of March! I’m so glad you’re here! The idea of this series is similar to that of a book club. We read one chapter of Proverbs each day, which conveniently corresponds to the day of the month. Then, you share with me a verse that blessed you and I will do the same with you. Or, just leave me a comment to let me know that you’re reading along. My mother is Proverbs-lover from my youth, therefore, I feel a close kinship with many of its passages. If you already read a chapter of Proverbs each day, then how about joining in with me, just for something different? I’d love to hear about your favorite verses of Proverbs. I’m calling this series “A March Through Proverbs”. You will be able to find each day listed under the “Series” tab at the top of the page. Also, you can subscribe by clicking HERE to receive each day’s post in your inbox. Okay, get your Bible, and maybe some coffee, and let’s get started!

Proverbs 1: A Reliable Source

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. ~ Proverbs 1:8 (KJV)
It seems like only yesterday that I would wake each morning in the cozy home of Ron and Carolyn Courtney, my dad and mom. They provided a loving and stable environment for me until my marriage at age nineteen. They made life as a couple, and as a Christian, look easy. It was a rude awakening to move out to start my own home and see that it took a lot of work to have that kind of home. It requires discipline to rise early, to read and study God’s Word, to pray, to apply the scriptures to my life, to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading and to show love consistently. I was not a perfect child at all, but after my salvation at age fifteen, I did try to heed their counsel. I sought their advice about whom I should marry. I wanted their guidance about friends, about work and about a million other situations that I faced as a teenager trying to find my place in the world. They gave me sound wisdom, some was from experience; most of it was from the pages of God’s Word. The were a reliable source of counsel to me as teenager, and even as adult.

After seventeen years of marriage and five children, I am seeing the fruit of applying their counsel. I am so thankful for parents who loved me, trained me, listened to me and, most of all, explained things to me over and over. The wise child will heed the verse today and hear the instructions of his mother and father. Even un-saved parents have gained worldly wisdom that is worth hearing. Christian parents who are working to mine the truths of God’s precious Book are a treasure not to be ignored.

I am thankful for the massive number of hours my parents spent talking to me into the night, despite having to rise at four the next morning for work. I appreciate the counsel of my godly mother and father more each and every day. Young person, listen to your parents. You won’t regret it.

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Snow Days and a New Series

I feel sorry for my friends in the North who have to deal with snow all the time. They have so much of it, that they have to get tons of fancy equipment to scrape it off the roads. They have to have piles of salt to spread out and melt the snow immediately so they can shuffle off to work each day. In the Southwest, we thank our lucky stars when we get to see some of the white stuff. Our mouths gape open in utter amazement. We walk outside, with great trepidation, wondering what this cold, fluffy stuff is. The smallest among us begin to shout for joy! They run around and make snowballs and snow angels and snowmen, even if they are a tad muddy because it’s only 3/4 of an inch of snow. The older ones grab their cameras and begin snapping away, until they have somewhere around a hundred photos that all basically look the same. We shut down schools and stores close their doors. Why? Because of the SNOW! Snow days are like vacation days. You aren’t sick, so you can stay home and do all the things you want to do on vacation. When my mother was expecting me, she was in her first year as a Special Ed. teacher in Jessieville, Arkansas.  She was exhausted and overwhelmed at work. The Lord blessed her with sixteen snow days that year. What a joy those days were! She had more time to figure out the requirements of her new job. The Lord was also helping her rest up for the huge challenge of raising me.

Snow days are a blessing! I hope you can get out and enjoy one.

Or sixteen.

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All bundled up and ready to play! We didn’t have winter gloves, so we used regular gloves and water-proofed them by putting Latex gloves over the regular gloves. It worked well! (Special thanks to my mom for this idea. :) )

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Terry didn’t realize he had so much camo stuff! There is a man there, in case you missed him. ;)

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The dog even got to come in out of the cold.

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Before I go, I wanted to let you know about a new series that I’m starting tomorrow. Spring is around the corner, even for you folks in the great white North, and I thought you might like to start it off by reading Proverbs every day. It’s sort of like a book club. We each read the chapter of Proverbs for the corresponding day (Proverbs 1 on the first, chapter 2 on the second, and so forth). I’ll share a verse here that is a blessing to me, and you can do the same. Or, just let me know you’re participating, without sharing a verse. Or, just read it by flashlight under the covers and tell no one. It’s up to you! So, how ’bout it?

I know it’s a bother to read a blog post every day, but I promise they will be short. You can also subscribe to my blog (see the link in the sidebar) to receive the posts automatically in your email. This series should arrive each day at 6 AM CST, if all goes as planned. There’s no hassle that way, right? Feel free to join me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+  as well. I hope you’ll join me! God’s Word is our necessary food, so why not eat together?

Reporting to you from beneath my fuzzy blanket,

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My Little Scientist

Lauren, who is in tenth grade, has enjoyed her biology experience. This is a huge relief to me. I admit that I have been more than a little nervous about high school science.

I thought I’d share a few photos of my “little” scientist at work for our loved ones far away. Be warned, one photo is a graphic image of an earthworm dissection. Scroll at your own risk!

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We purchased a microscope for her Apologia Biology course. Lauren has enjoyed using it. I have to say that one reason I love homeschooling is that I get to have all kinds of new experiences. I had never touched a microscope before this, (as I think I’ve mentioned previously) so this has been fun for all of us.

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She got a lab coat to protect her clothing during experiments; she got the mask because she is sensitive to the smell of formaldehyde. The gloves are to protect her skin from the chemicals. Doesn’t she look adorable? (Don’t tell her I said that!)

WARNING: Following photos contain a dissection. . .

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It was a bit disgusting. But we are learning, and that’s what it’s all about.  Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a happy weekend.

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Vintage Valerie: The Glass Cake Plate

This week, I broke a lovely glass cake plate that I have had since our wedding shower, in 1997. Mrs. Leah Collins and Mrs. Tanya Croy organized the shower that my church hosted for me. The cake plate was a table centerpiece decorated to look like an ice bucket, holding bottles of “wine” (bubble bath and bath beads). I have only four photos  of my wedding shower – that tells you about how times have changed! – and only one has the cake plate in it.

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You already know that I’m crazy-sentimental. That cake plate traveled with me far and near, to nine different houses, and five different states. I can’t count how many times I used it for us at home and for church functions. I am thankful for the possessions the Lord has given to me, because, well, HE has given them to me. Nothing is too small or too insignificant to give Him praise for. I am thankful for this gift of love from a friend so many years ago. I am thankful for the part it had in family memories. Here are two photos I have of the glass cake plate.

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Christmas Poke Cake, which I have made almost every Christmas for many years. This photo is from 2009.

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Many, MANY birthday cakes over the years. This is Matthew’s 2nd birthday, 2012.

It served its purpose well, and I now put it to rest, with a grateful heart.

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A Day at the Capitol

On February 10, we were able to join other homeschoolers from around the state for “Homeschool Day at the Capitol”. It was an opportunity to meet with our state legislators and let them know we appreciate their work, as well as give our opinions on any legislation that might affect homeschooling in the state of Oklahoma. There were over 3,000 homeschoolers present that day, and I know there were thousands more that could not attend.

Our first stop was the House of Representatives. Homeschoolers were recognized from the floor by their respective representatives and a special citation was awarded to one of our state homeschool group leaders.

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A selfie in the House of Representatives gallery.

Because we are involved in our county Republican party, we already knew some of our local representatives. Our state representative, John Michael Montgomery (not the singer), greeted us in the gallery and invited us for a photo op in his office. I took a few pictures while we waited for him.

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It was a busy day for everyone, so I only got these photos with my phone.

The highlight of the day, and the main reason we left the house at 6:30 that morning, was hearing Dr. Ben Carson speak at the big rally. I was really thankful for my handy-dandy zoom lens, because we were not that close to the podium. I had to stand on tiptoe and hold my breath to capture the following images:

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I was especially enthralled with hearing Dr. Carson in person. He has been a hero of mine since I read his autobiography when I was fifteen years old. He inspired me to do my best, set goals and work toward them, and to keep reading. If you have not read his book, Gifted Hands, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen the movie. The book is better.

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Yes, Matt fell asleep on my coat during the rally! Laci and Leslie were wishing they could go to sleep.

We had to stand for two hours to hear Dr. Carson. By the time it was over, my kids were ready to go. They had been so good while we toured the building and waited for the rally, I just couldn’t ask them to wait even longer while I got Dr. Carson’s autograph. We also still had to make the 1.5 hour drive home in time for piano lessons. It was still wonderful to be so close to someone I admired. Maybe one day I can get him to sign my tattered copy of his book.

Here are some random photos from the Capitol itself. It’s a beautiful building!

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It was a blustery day, so I only managed to get a few outdoor photos. We hope to go back and take a more leisurely stroll through the building and soak up more history. It was a great opportunity to expose our children to how our state government works, and to encourage them to make a difference. The men and women who make our laws are not special. They are hard-working and driven, but they are just regular Americans who took an interest in politics and decided to get involved. So should we all, in some way or another. It isn’t hard to give a few dollars toward a campaign, to make some phone calls or to stuff some envelopes. It certainly isn’t hard to vote, which we should all do. We are so blessed to live in a free country! I want to do all I can to make it even better for the next generation.

Thanks for tagging along with us to the “City”.

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