I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Foundational Truth 1: The Heart

The heart is what is important, not appearances or behavior! So much of our time as parents is dealing with what are kids are doing, and rightly so. I don't think you can avoid this. The problem comes when we see their compliant actions as success because their hearts can be rebellious while their actions are obedient. We have to consciously focus on their hearts and attitudes even while we work on their behavior (don't ignore the behavior or your job will be tougher, though...I learned this the hard way). As I now tell my children, "what is going on in your heart is more important to me, but I can't just ignore what you are doing."

Think of an apple tree. The behavior is the apples (the fruit). The heart is like the roots. If my apple tree is producing bad fruit can I fix it by going down to Whole Foods and buying some lovely organic apples and duct-taping them to the branches? Yet that is what we often try to do with our children. We teach them the right actions and then practically force them (as much as possible) to do them...duct-taping good apples on their tree while ignoring the real problems. We see that lovely fruit and think we have succeeded in parenting. Now if my apple tree has bad fruit, I may have to buy my apples (teach them the right actions), but meanwhile I need to find out what my apple tree needs to produce better fruit next year. Maybe I need to fertilize it or water it more or figure out some organic pest control or even prune it. I need to deal with the roots and the whole tree, NOT specifically with the fruit, for long-term fruit production. And this doesn't happen just once. It is an ongoing process...a long, long, process. It takes TIME, but eventually the fruit will grow on its own. Incidentally, this process does not just apply to our children, but to ourselves as well. My good friend Shannon posted a great post about this a few months ago. I'd highly recommend reading it.

There are so many scriptures about this (I've found almost 60 different passages so far!) I will write down a couple here (copied and pasted from Bible Gateway) and give you a list to look up yourself.

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."

Luke 16:15 (ESV)

And he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

More passages:

1 Chron. 28:9-10
Prov.1:7 and Prov. 9:10 (these verses go together in my opinion)
Isaiah 11:3
Isaiah 29:13-16
Matt. 18:1-6
Luke 11:37-44
1 Cor. 4:5
2 Cor. 5:11-12
Col. 2:20-23
James 3:13-18

I would encourage you to open your Bible, or make use of Bible Gateway, or Blue Letter Bible (which included a concordance and links to commentaries and other study aids) and look some of these up. Be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who searched the scriptures for themselves to make sure that what they were taught was true.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I am re-relearning lessons I thought I had down pat. The good news is that it usually takes less time to relearn what you learned well in the first place. The bad news is that the lesson still isn't very fun (even when going over it for the umpteenth time). I'm so thankful God is patient with me and His grace is sufficient. The truth is that I don't need to force myself to learn this lesson. I just need to be willing to learn it as He (re) teaches it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God's View of Education

I was going to call this "God's View of Education: Part 1," but the truth is, this post actually starts with two previous posts. If you haven't read My Collection or What I Did With My Collection start there. For a tiny bit more background that wasn't mentioned in those posts: I was a math education major in college and taught high school math for several years before getting married. I also taught junior high math for a year when I was pregnant with LOTL, and then tutored math for a few years during the afternoons. I was entrenched in the educational system. It was my life for well over 20 years (kindergarten through career). That would help explain why my first attempt at homeschooling "differently" (you need to read My Collection for explanation) was a failure.

I have to admit to you that the description of What I Did With My Collection didn't last terribly long. I got bogged down, so I dropped that plan and decided to organize my collection of education scriptures more efficiently. I simply wrote a list of the books of the Bible in a notebook (leaving several lines between each) and wrote the references under the appropriate book. This also made it handy to write down new references when I found then when reading my ten chapters per day (and lest you think I am amazing, I am currently on day 66 of this plan...I was on day 40 on Feb. 25, but you'll find out some of what I have been doing meanwhile). I ended up with around 400, FOUR HUNDRED, different passages in the Bible about education! WOW! I was shocked! I haven't even gone through the whole Bible yet (especially the Old Testament...I think I made it through the entire New Testament).

I didn't take the next step in organizing these scriptures until after I ran into a former student who was interested in homeschooling. I told her that my views on education had radically changed from the time I was a teacher and that I was finding out that God had lots of information on education in the Bible. She was interested and wondered if I'd share what I'd found out with her and some friends. Although it took us months to schedule (because of my crazy life), we were able to meet last week. In preparing for that, I decided to re-look through all of the scriptures in my collection (now nicely organized, which really helped) to see if I could put them under some broad headings. I ended up with five of what I called "foundational truths" and seven principles on how to follow through.

My focus verse is Ephesians5:15-17. Below it is in the Contemporary English Version.

Act like people with good sense and not like fools. These are evil times, so make every minute count. Don't be stupid. Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do.
I need to find out what He wants me to do so I can make every minute count, especially with my kids. We all have heard how fleeting our time is with them, and I am starting to find it out firsthand as they grow up before my eyes.

Update July 27, 2013:  I posted the list of scriptures (it is not all of them, but it includes the ones that really "spoke" to me) under their various headings on the "God's Plan for Education" tab at the top right of this blog.  I hope to one day soon blog at least briefly about each topic, but meanwhile you can do your own study (which is actually better.)

Here is a direct link: http://transformationbytheword.blogspot.com/p/gods-plan-for-education.html