Corrosion in the Battery, Sin in the Life of a Saint

Classic El Camino car with California plates

A father knelt over a car battery and began to clean the collecting crud on the outside of the battery ports. As he carefully cleaned with bicarbonate soda and distilled water, he explained to his son that it was important never to let any of the corrosion or soda fall into the battery. If the corrosion or soda fell into the battery, it would poison the battery, making it useless.

Read more

Joy in the Journey

Woman jumping for joy in the journey down a desert road

As I was enjoying the calm after one holiday rainstorm, Psalm 118:24 came to mind.

“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I began to reflect upon rejoicing and what that means.  As a former homeschool mother of four, I did not always exhibit joy during the homeschooling journey when the lesson plans needed attention, the laundry was piling up, there was no milk in the refrigerator, and there were so many dust bunnies in my house we could start a farm!! The Psalmist commands us to rejoice in each day and be glad, but I found I could become overly focused on the stressors, which can take away the joy in the journey. Read more

Jehovah Jireh, My Provider: When God Answers Prayer

Salad set on a table - Jehovah Jireh

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 ESV

God Answers Prayer…with Salad?

Once, I prepared a luncheon for a dozen colleagues. I had prepared three salads, but as I looked at the group around the table and began watching the salads disappear, I knew there was not going to be enough. Prayerfully, I pleaded, “Lord, please let there be enough salad.” People kept dishing out their salads and filling their plates. Each person’s plate was brimming with food as the salads continued to be passed around the table. “We will surely run out by the seventh or eighth person,” I thought to myself. “Please, Lord, let there be enough salad.”

Stunned, I watched salad multiply. Every person took out full servings, every plate was filled and overflowing, and when the twelfth person received each bowl, there was precisely one generous serving left in each of those bowls. “Thank you Lord!”

Multiplying Rice?

My friend, Virginia, shared a similar experience in Papua New Guinea, except she had only one bowl of rice. Eighteen to twenty people had arrived unexpectedly. They stayed for the evening to visit and pray. Everyone was hungry. She had little food in the house. She took the rice she had and prepared one dish. She threw in everything she had in the kitchen into that one dish—an egg, a radish, an onion. It was delicious, but there was so little. The rice bowl was passed. Each person dipped in and the bowl continued to be passed. Her prayer was, “Lord, let the rice multiply because I know there is not enough!” Everyone ate. The rice bowl was passed around a second time. Everyone ate until they were full. It was truly a miracle, the miracle of the multiplying rice and God’s omnipotence.

Our God is like this. He is our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. In II Kings 4:42-44, a man brings Elisha twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain. Elisha tells the man to feed the 100 men that were there. The man doubts, but Elisha repeats, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left’” (vs. 43, ESV). And the men ate until they were full and there was food left over.

“Please God…Your Servant is Hungry.”

Never doubt that God will provide for his children, that God answers prayer. Our Muslim friend in North Africa had converted to Christianity. Because of choosing Christ, he had lost his family and his job. Out of necessity, he left the community. He spent all of the money he had and still could not find a job. He was starving. He was so weak. On one very hot afternoon as he was walking, he dropped to his knees and he begged God, “Please God. You know your servant is hungry. Please provide food.” When he opened his eyes, he saw a woman walk out of her house, carrying a dish of food. She walked directly to him and gave to him this freshly prepared tajine.

Indeed, our God answers prayer and delights in providing for His children. Whether it is food, clothing, tuition payments, or house bills, go to God with your needs. Invite Him to demonstrate in a tangible way, His provision for you.

Prayerful Reflection:

  1. God, help me recall the many ways that you have demonstrated that you are my Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.
  2. Lord, show me how to keep record of your provision for our family (e.g., journaling, a “God Blesses Ledger,” tape recordings, oral storytelling, etc.), so that my children can be encouraged through consistent stories of your faithfulness
  3. Abba, help me to remember, even in the hard times, that you are good.

Lord Jesus, thank you for providing everything that I need. Yet, I confess that I often feel that I do not have what it takes to do the work that you have called me to do. However, when I stepped out in obedience, you have provided all that I have needed. Help me to trust you for everything . . . for wisdom, for provision, for energy, for spiritual sustenance . . . and help me to model before my children a true faith and a thankful heart that you are, indeed, our Jehovah Jireh.

June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education

Does Anyone Remember? Experiencing God’s Provision in Loss

Woman wandering a mall

During a visit with my dear adopted aunt, Polly McNabb, we heard a marvelous story of God’s comfort and provision.

Polly’s friend in Missouri was suffering through the second anniversary of the loss of her daughter, Sharon. On the anniversary day, the Mrs. Beck woke up feeling amazingly sad as she remembered the loss of her precious high schooler. Sharon had been a delightful young daughter and successful in school. Sharon was musically gifted and had just been accepted into the Springfield State Honor Choir. And then the tragic accident that took the life of this vivacious teenager. How could her mother spend this second anniversary of her death? She felt so depressed and she felt like no one remembered.

Has Everyone Forgotten?

The mother’s eldest daughter called her to see if she would like to go shopping at a lovely mall in the north about 50 miles from where they lived. Why not? They traveled the miles as Mrs. Beck felt the unrelenting sting of grief. She continued to cry out to God, Does anyone remember? Has everyone forgotten? Mrs. Beck and her daughter, Karin, pulled up into the mall parking lot. Mrs. Beck’s legs felt like lead as she walked from the car to the entrance of the mall. So much of what formerly brought pleasure or distraction, brought only unrelenting numbness.

As mother and daughter walked from store to store, she could not shake the thought, Does anyone remember? God, does ANYONE remember? Was my daughter’s life for naught? I should enjoy this time with my eldest daughter, but my heart aches for my precious Sharon.

Does Anyone Remember?

Then, as Mrs. Beck and Karin continued to yet another store to browse, trying to avoid the thought that haunted them both . . . Sharon is gone . . . this is the second anniversary . . . they bumped into another mother/daughter pair. The daughters struck up a conversation and then the four began to visit. The grieving mother continued to eye a small pink ribbon on the sweater of the other girl.

Mrs. Beck heard parts of the conversation, but as had been so familiar over the past two years, her attention weaved in and out . . . at one moment she was in the conversation . . . in another moment she was reliving moments with her deceased daughter, caught up in an unbearable grief . . . oh God, does anyone remember Sharon? Am I the only one besides Karin who knows it is the second anniversary of Sharon’s death?

Suddenly, back in the conversation, Mrs. Beck queried, “Tell me, what is the significance of the pink ribbon on your sweater?”

“Why, it was a tragedy. A dear classmate of mine died. She was a special friend of so many in my class. We honor her life when we remember her by wearing these pink ribbons. Everyone in my class is wearing them today.”

“What happened?” Mrs. Beck queried.

“It was an automobile accident. It was two years ago today. Her name was Sharon Beck.”

Tears streamed from Mrs. Beck’s eyes. Thank you God. Thank you for showing me that someone remembers.

Prayerful Reflection

As you homeschool your children, are you teaching them to remember? Are you teaching them to remember those who have served their country and lost their lives? Are you teaching them to care for family members and neighbors on the anniversary of a significant loss? Are you teaching them strategies to calendar important events, happy or sad, and honoring those to whom honor is due? Prayerfully reflect:

  1.     Lord Jesus, in the hubbub of trying to cover the curriculum, am I teaching my children the most important aspects of caring for those who are suffering?
  2.     Lord Jesus, in the course of teaching history, am I helping my children stop and acknowledge the ultimate price paid for our freedoms?
  3.     Lord Jesus, in the course of my teaching the Bible, am I instilling in my children the critical importance of the religious holidays that help us remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for our eternal salvation?

Lord Jesus, I remember. I remember the price that you paid for my salvation. I remember the suffering on the cross. I remember by giving thanks to my Heavenly Father for the costly plan of salvation. And Lord, even as I remember, help me help my children to remember, not only the suffering and resurrection of Jesus, but also the suffering of a neighbor. Like your Son, may I raise my children to be instruments of love and peace, even amidst sorrow. Amen.

June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University

Learning with LEGO – Homeschool Fun

Child learning with LEGOWatching our students develop, we know that learning happens even outside of time spent in textbooks and worksheets. Even while they play, learning occurs. One of the joys of homeschooling is seeing our students grow, learn, and love doing it.

If you’re like many homeschool families, you might have a bin or two of LEGO pieces lying around. Have you considered how you might leverage the little bricks to stoke learning and creativity? Read more

Faithful Prioritization: Make a List and Check it Twice

Make a List

A lot of demands were coming at me at once and my multi-tasking skills were being pushed to their limits. I had made a “to do” list for the day and the week, but where were they? I kept on taking the interruptions . . . the phone calls, the emails, the walk-in visitors, and employee’s questions. Before I knew it the day was over and I was exhausted. I had no idea if I had met my day’s objectives because I had no idea where my “to do” list was located. A mound of papers stood on my desk.

Life without a List

With relief, the clock struck 5:00 p.m., and I packed my bag and ran to the car. Exhausted and happy to be heading home, I began to slink into my vegetative state for the 30 to 40 commute. I was happy to being going home that Wednesday afternoon and my body ached with fatigue. I was looking forward to the following day’s trip flying to Sacr amento with 12 alumni and would be getting up at 3 a.m. the next morning so I could meet the students by 5:00 a.m. at the Ontario Airport. We would get home late Thursday night and so I would take Friday off to rest, because that Saturday I needed teach eight hours in Inglewood.

I felt content that my bag was packed and I had everything I needed for the Thursday trip and for the Saturday class. I could really rest on the day in between . . . or could I?

The problem arose when about halfway through my commute home, I realized how absent-minded I had become. I had set my purchased lunch leftovers on the counter at work and had forgotten them. The chimichangas inside were to have been my husband’s and my dinner. Now, I would have to prepare dinner. Then, I realized that I had forgotten my business cards and a gift for the State official who was organizing the Sacramento Emerging Leaders’ Institute for my students. How unprofessional of me not to have my business cards! Additionally, how nice it would have been to have had a “thank you” gift. Then, finally, as I was just about to pull into my driveway at home, I realized that I had not brought home all of the materials needed for my Saturday class. Now, I would either have to go back into work on Friday or get up at 4:30 a.m. Saturday and make a special trip through La Mirada on my way to my Inglewood class.

Lord, help me!

Prayerful Reflection

It did not take me long to realize that my goals for the week and daily “to do” lists were an essential part of my accomplishing the needed tasks for the day and fulfilling God’s calling in my life in an effective, efficient manner.

I wonder if your homeschooling day could use an organizational boost by utilizing an effective, prioritized “to do” list? It’s easy to know how to write down a list and order the priorities, but it is another thing to actually carry it out in the complexity of the day. Prayerfully consider the following:

  1.     Lord, do I organize my curriculum the night before or the morning of?
  2.     Lord, do I plan short-range and long-range in my homeschooling endeavors?
  3.     Lord, do I have the organizational tools at hand to help me bring peace to the process or is my disorganization costing my children learning time?
  4.     Lord, show me if I need help and if I should find a homeschooling parent to mentor me in my organizational skills so as to maximize the learning that takes place in our home.

Lord, help me to be faithful to your calling by using my time wisely. Help me to utilize organizational tools, such as prioritized “to do” lists, in order to be a more effective homeschool parent. Most importantly, Lord, help me not to take on more tasks than I am capable of and to have wisdom as to when to say “yes” or “no” to requests from others so that I might give priority to the homeschooling of my children, as well as family responsibilities, church responsibilities, community responsibilities, and professional responsibilities. Amen.

June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University

 

The Earth is the Lord’s – Earth Day Activities for Christian Homeschoolers

 

Windmill and Field of Flowers representing Earth Day Activities

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. -Psalm 24:1-2

Have you considered incorporating Earth Day Activities into your coursework this week?

This year, Earth Day is celebrated around the world on Saturday, April 22, 2017. It offers an opportunity to hone in our curriculum calendar to consider world events, stoking our students’ interest in environmental science, while cultivating a biblically-centered worldview on care for God’s creation. Check out the links below and discern if any of the activities might benefit your students if you incorporate these ideas into your curriculum this week. Read more

4 Ideas for Spring Break Homeschool Field Trips

Palm trees and sunset with text overlay 4 homeschool field trip ideas for spring break

Spring Break is upon us! Need ideas for homeschool field trips to get the family out of the house? While your students might take a break from worksheets and textbooks, there’s no reason the learning needs to stop.

As a homeschool parent, there are a number of homeschool field trips waiting for you and your family to embark upon. The following list is focused on the Los Angeles and Orange County area of Southern California, but if you’re reading from outside the area, use this as a launch pad for your own field trip research. When you go on one of these field trips, keep the conversation going with our discussion questions, below.

Read more

A Hike in Black Forest: Incorporating Beauty Amidst Busyness

Woman walking in the woods“The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

Hiking through the Black Forest near Baden-Baden, Germany, I happened upon a clearing that revealed a rustic chapel. Stepping through the unlocked door, I found myself alone, awestruck by quiet reverence. Rustic pews graced each side of the center aisle. Light gently streamed in through side windows. A single candle flickered near the altar. I sat, quietly allowing the stillness to envelope me, wondering if others would enter. They did not. I was alone. I continued to sit, taking in the stillness. Listening, I felt the arms of Jesus enfold me. Enveloped in His presence, and overwhelmed by His beauty and quiet strength, I began to weep. “Heavenly Father, in the stillness of this moment, I feel you, know You, recognize your awesome presence. Here in the middle of the Black Forest, earthly coordinates unknown, I rededicate my life to you.”

A time warp had occurred. Distractions cleared away, cluttering thoughts cast aside, clarity emerged as I removed myself from the cacophony of the rush and hubbub of the city. Like pollution washing away on a rainy day, worldly cares rushed past me. The more I allowed the beauty of the forest and the quietness of the chapel to calm my inner spirit, the farther away I was from worldly cares and the nearer I felt to Jesus.

The Psalmist knew what he was saying when he penned, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1), and “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The beauty of the Black Forest and the quietness of the chapel had enveloped me with His presence.

Prayerful Reflection: 

  1. Lord Jesus, how am I incorporating stillness, nature, and beauty amidst busyness I experience in my homeschooling routine?
  2. Lord Jesus, is place and time and quietness on our family calendar?
  3. Lord Jesus, is place and time and quietness on my personal calendar?

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have neglected to make space for You by neglecting to place myself and my family in the beauty You have created. Help me to create rhythms of beauty and quietness so that we all might be still and hear from You. And, Lord, help me not to feel guilty to pull away from everyone for quiet moments of prayer and study so that I might be filled by You and return to my family restored and filled by You. Amen. 

Sabbath Queen – the Art of Welcoming Rest

lioness welcoming rest in a tree“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” EXODUS 20:8

I don’t know about you, but I love my week-ends. I work extremely hard during the week and I work long hours. Week-ends for me are a time to catch up on my home chores. A time to get some sunshine and work in the yard. A time to sort my laundry and wash my clothes. A time to go grocery shopping and plan a menu. A time to sort my paperwork and pay my bills.

I don’t know what I would do without my week-ends.

Week-ends are also a time to get ahead. I get ahead by doing a little extra work for my job. I get a head by answering my work e-mails and phone calls over the week-end. I get ahead by doing a few extra writing projects and earning a few extra dollars.

But something has gone wrong.

Read more

« Older Entries