We recently moved our keets to their new home (biddy cage).
The keets seem to enjoy the fresh air and the ability to see beyond their protected space.
(Keets are baby guineas in case you didn’t know.)
Keet Saved from Disaster
One of the keets is especially adventurous. In fact, before we expected to move the keets to a larger space, this keet ‘flew the coop.’ Thankfully, I heard her (or his) activity before she got entangled in anything harmful.
Now in the biddy cage, this keet has already decided to roost on a low branch placed strategically inside the cage. She (or possibly he) is obviously a leader.
Being a leader can have its advantages and its disadvantages.
Inside the safety of the storage container (see previous post), the keets were kept warm under the heat of a light bulb. They had plenty of fresh water and food given to them daily. The container was kept clean (keets are messy).
Yet, this keet decided to try its wings and fly over the top and onto the floor in one of our bedrooms. If I had not heard its wings fluttering against a vent, this bird may have died from lack of food and water.
Because of this keet’s activities, the keets were moved outdoors. Within the protection of the biddy cage, this keet is now free to try her wings and encourage others to do the same.
Although we have not seen any of the other keets resting on the branch, I am sure that encouragement from this keet will have them following suit shortly.
To follow the adventurous keet as it flew out of the protective storage container could have been disastrous for the other keets. However, within the protection of the biddy cage, it is advantageous for the keets to follow in resting on the roost.
Follow the Leader?
Just like the keets, children are young and inexperienced in the ways of the world. They do not understand that danger lurks outside the protective boundaries set by their parents and other caring adults.
Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes.
Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes. Sadly, many times children follow the unwise and corrupt. Habits are formed which lead to destruction.
Children will follow the leader. However, it is important that the leader be knowledgeable and upright and praiseworthy. What is cultivated in the child is what has been honored before their eyes.
An Example Worthy of Imitation
As we lead our children are we cultivating that which is praiseworthy? Are we cultivating what is honorable? Are we giving our children an example to imitate that follows truth and godliness?
Can we say as Paul did, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17)?
Children are great imitators. May they ‘mark’ those who walk wisely and follow their example.
Seeing new life around the farm is a blessing. Blossoming faces lift themselves toward life-sustaining sunshine. Butterflies flit once again. And the sounds of animal babies mooing or peeping or meowing let us know that life continues even after winter’s long and harsh visit.
Keets Are Here!
Keets have arrived. That’s baby guineas for newbies to farm life. They are a skittish bunch. I’m afraid we may have more males than we desire, but as long as they get along we will be okay.
Living quarters are a large plastic storage container with paper towels for flooring. We’ve discovered that keets like to scratch for their feed so the feeder has been removed. We also took out the shavings and replaced them with paper towels to accommodate their feeding habits.
The keets are a happy bunch. They huddle together, sing together, eat together, and sleep together in a corner of the bin. Life holds many exciting adventures for them. We pray that they will continue happily when we place them in a larger pen, and finally, to the yard.
New life is always welcome. It refreshes and cleanses away the dreary days of winter. The hope of new life gives us something to look forward to each day.
Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it.
Anticipation of new life
Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it. Sometimes it makes us impatient wondering where new life can be found.
But new life is not far from any of us. In fact, it’s closer than we may imagine.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 4:10
Gift of New Life
Every living creature needs water to survive. The keets must have fresh water each day and I must give it to them. They cannot give it to themselves.
Life is the same. We cannot give ourselves life. It must come from someone else. Our parents birthed us into this world. They gave us what we needed to survive.
New life is the same. We cannot give it to ourselves. It must come from someone else. That someone else is Jesus Christ. Only He has the power to give it to us.
New life is eternal. It is spiritual. It lasts beyond this world.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14
Jesus the Messiah offers the water of life to all who will come to Him. His gift of new life sustains through all eternity.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
Sometimes life takes us down roads we do not wish to travel.
Because of our limited knowledge, we assume some roads are better than others.
We think that we can control our destiny by the roads that we choose, but we cannot know what lies ahead or what awaits us at the end of the journey.
We assume concrete is better than pavement or that gravel is better than dirt.
Concrete may lead us to major cities with skyscraper views, suspension bridges, and fancy restaurants.
Pavement may lead us to more rural areas, smaller towns, and private businesses.
Gravel slows our pace and lets us pay more attention to the various ways people live. We see more of the detail in housing, outdoor life, and personal preference.
But dirt. It’s the road most people are afraid to take. Where will we end up? What if we can’t turn around? What if there’s danger ahead?
The Advantage of the Dirt Road
But the dirt road narrows our vision to one place at a time. We become less distracted by all the busyness. We notice things we never do on other roads: the farmer milking the cow, the children playing on a swing-set, the mother hoeing the garden.
Suddenly we notice how the buildings are arranged, the particular plantings in the yard, the curtains swaying in the open windows, and the creative ways in which people erect their mailboxes.
We stop and discover new friends, partake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and learn about the history of the area.
That is, some do. Others stop and turn around in private driveways, never to return to discover what lies ahead. They are afraid to discover something new. They do not wish to travel down the unknown road.
Traveling Down the Unknown Roads
My father loved traveling down the unknown roads.
This is how my father discovered where to buy the best molasses, where to pick the best peaches, and where to return for sourwood honey. We loved riding with him ‘just to find out where it leads. You never know where it might come out.’
I still like riding the backroads. People are always friendly, yet understandably less so today.
You never know where a road will lead you. Sometimes you find a valuable shortcut. Sometimes the road is long and winding and never seems to end, but you always see new places and meet new faces.
People still return a wave and a smile, but you would never have known unless you had ridden down the dirt road.
It may seem like you are in a dark place now. It may not look like what God called you to do. But God in His wisdom knew you would need this experience to toughen you for the ministry ahead.
“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.
My times are in thy hand.” Psalm 31:14-15a
Elijah’s calling was to preach to the leadership of his nation (1 Kings 17-18). He was even able to speak directly to the king.
I’m sure Elijah didn’t expect his next stop to be in the wilderness with no one with which to fellowship. When his water supply began to dwindle, he probably wondered what God was doing in his life.
Elijah’s ministry then grew from zero to two, a widow and her son. At least he had someone to talk to, that is, until tragedy struck.
The widow woman’s son died, and Elijah’s ministry was questioned. Yet, in the midst of tragedy, Elijah went to God in prayer and a miracle happened. The son was brought back to life.
From there Elijah would face the false prophets and false priests who deceived the nation. One man stood alone against so many.
Yet he knew he was not alone. He was on a mission from God.
Your mission may not seem as important as Elijah’s, but the soul of the widow woman was just as important to God as the nation’s repentance from the false religion that plagued the masses.
Your mission is just as important as Elijah’s. God knows where you are and He knows where you are headed.
This trial is preparing you. Meanwhile, God is preparing the soil to be receptive to the message He has given you.
God’s timing is perfect. Wait on Him to perform His plan through you.
We may not always understand what God is doing at any moment, but we know that God can always be trusted to do what is right. When you don’t see His hand at work, trust His heart.
“Let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20
May your wilderness experience soon turn into pools of living water (See Isaiah 41:18).
A Prayer for the Missionary
Dear Father God in Heaven,
Sometimes we fail to understand Your plan. Even Moses could not understand why he and the Hebrew children were led to the Red Sea. Yet, You opened the way which seemed impossible. You led them through on dry land.
When your people prayed, they failed to believe that You would answer their prayers and release Peter from prison.
When Paul and Silas prayed, the prison was shaken so that a jailer and his family could be saved.
When your enemies set John on the Isle of Patmos, they did not realize You would use John to write the words of Revelation.
You are Almighty God. Show your wonders and power to the discouraged missionary and grant him or her the strength to carry on Your mighty work until Your plan for their lives is accomplished.
Someone is waiting to hear Your gospel message. May the gospel find them through this missionary.
It’s early November and already social media is filled with brag shots of Christmas trees decorated to the hilt.
But what about Thanksgiving?
Have we forgotten the season of gratitude?
Have we forgotten to be thankful for the blessings that we have received throughout the previous year?
Here’s one idea for putting up the tree that keeps the ‘Gratitude Attitude’ going for just a wee bit longer before the Christmas hustle and bustle arrives.
Why not have a Thanksgiving Tree?
Yes, you can put the tree up early.
But instead of decorating it like a Christmas tree, why not use the items found in the horn of plenty or cornucopia.
Get the Children Involved
Let the children get involved by cutting out shapes of pumpkins, grapes, acorns, or another fall harvest fruitage. Use a hole punch to cut a hole in the top of the shapes through which to attach a string or ribbon for hanging.
Allow every family member to write something for which they are thankful on the shapes. Place the extra shapes in a basket near the tree for visitors to participate.
Hang the blessings on the tree along with strands of popcorn, orange ribbons, appropriately colored bobbles, etc. Tuck artificial pumpkins, gourds, pine cones, ears of corn, etc., between the branches.
You might also enjoy letting the children make small cornhusk dolls to place on the tree. Cornhusks can also be used to make ribbons for tying.
Use your creativity to think of other items you might use. The main idea is to get our hearts in a thankful mood before Christmas so that we can truly be thankful for the greatest blessing of all, Jesus Christ. And, yes, share your tree photos on social media.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, just replace the Thanksgiving decorations with Christmas ones. The tree will already be up, and the children will love getting to decorate the tree twice.
And maybe, just maybe, everyone will remember what Thanksgiving is truly about and have a thankful heart for the bounty they will soon receive.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Tree!
From our house to yours, have a blessed Thanks Giving season.
Have you ever been promised something but the person giving you the promise failed to keep his or her word?
Maybe you have made a promise to someone but failed to keep it.
There are some promises, however, that have been kept. Here are just a few.
Ten Promises That Have Not Been Broken
God promised Adam and Eve that a Redeemer would come who would take away their sin. That Redeemer came.
God promised Abraham that He (God) would provide Himself a sacrifice for sin, and He did.
God revealed to Noah that a worldwide flood was coming on the earth. He told Noah to build an ark and his household would be saved. Noah obeyed.
God kept His word and sent the flood.
God promised the children of Israel that they would be delivered from Egypt’s bondage after 400 years passed. He kept His promise and delivered them.
God promised Hannah a son. She had Samuel.
God promised King David that his son Solomon would sit on his throne. He did.
When Israel sinned against God, God said they would go into captivity for 70 years, but afterward He would deliver them. When 70 years were ended, they were given their freedom by King Cyrus.
God promised a virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be called Emmanuel, the Saviour of the world. God kept His promise.
Jesus was called Emmanuel, and He became the Saviour of the world.
God promised He would pay our sin debt by dying on a cross, but He would rise again the third day. He did.
Jesus has promised to forgive those who will come to Him believing and admitting their sinful conditions, willing to repent of their sins, and asking for His forgiveness; and He will.
The Promise to Come
God promised He would come again and take those who believe on Him to Heaven to be with Him forever; and He will.
Will You Be Left Behind?
What if the rapture were to take place today? Would you be prepared?
There is only one way to go to heaven. That is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
The return of Christ for His own is a promise that will not be broken.
God has not failed to keep any of His promises. He will not fail to keep the promise of His soon return. I pray you are prepared to meet Him. If not, please ask Him to come into your heart today. I would love to hear about it.
Parents and children look excitedly to the beginning of a new school year. Lists are made, curricula is purchased, and schedules are written.
If you are just starting the journey into homeschooling or are preparing for another homeschooling year, may these ABC’s for Your New School Year be a help and encouragement to you.
Appreciate the opportunity to teach your children. Begin each day with thanksgiving to God asking for His guidance and blessing.
Begin with the basics. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are fundamental. Focus on these subjects first thing each day. That way if you have an interruption, the fundamentals have hopefully been covered.
Celebrate each child’s victory over a difficult assignment with a word of affirmation.
Declutter throughout the day. Put away items as you finish with them so that you are not overwhelmed at the end of the day with clutter.
Establish a routine but don’t be ruled by it. If a learning opportunity arises that will be beneficial for your children, then take advantage of it.
Fortify the foundation. Review a few minutes every day. For example, drill math facts every day.
Gather all needed materials for the next week before it arrives. For those who struggle with this, collect some small storage boxes and label each as one subject. Put all materials for that subject in that storage box. This will save you time and freedom from frustration.
Have a wish list of needed items for grandparents or others who wish to purchase gifts for special occasions. What child wouldn’t like a microscope, telescope, or gem collection?
Instill in children the desire to read. Set aside a specific time each day when children may read a parent-approved book of their choice. Younger children can look at picture books. This also gives you time to read or unwind.
Journal your homeschooling accomplishments each day. On days when you feel like you are getting nowhere, pick up your journal and see how far you’ve come. It will encourage you.
Keep a list of helpful resources. It may be librarians, internet addresses, professionals, wildlife officers, support group leaders, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need help.
Launch the new year with a special learning activity, field trip related to the first few lessons, or a New Year’s School Party. It may be just decorating notebooks or pencil boxes. Make it a memorable day.
Mishaps will happen. Mistakes will be made. Maintain your testimony during these times. Don’t be shocked when they happen. Just pick up the pieces and start over. Life’s lessons can sometimes teach what we cannot. Learn from the mistakes and adjust as needed. Misplaced items will eventually be found.
Network with other homeschooling parents. Share bits of wisdom and encouragement.
Outline your objectives for the year in each subject. Keep the list before you each day to help you stay focused and not be led away by activities that do not support your school year.
Prevent burnout with proper breaks, but keep progressing productively. Periodically check each child’s performance and adjust schooling as needed.
Quiz orally and give children ample time to answer. Have older students defend their answers with facts.
Revise curricula as needed. If a lesson plan needs to be retaught, do so. Try different ways to present a lesson.
State simply what is expected from each lesson each day. Children need to know what is important.
Tape recorders are great helpers. Children can use them to help with vocabulary drill, math drills, practicing oral communication, etc. Older children can record stories for younger children to listen to while you are teaching older ones.
Utilize time wisely. Schedule your day. Be creative with chores and naptimes.
Variety is the spice of life. Vary the way lessons are presented. Lecturing every day will bring learning to a standstill.
Wake up to a new day and know that it is another opportunity to instill in your children what you wish for them to learn. Wisdom goes far beyond simple understanding.
Expect your children to learn. Examinations are part of life. Test their skills.
Yah is an informal word for yes. Yes, you can do this. Just remember that you are learning to discipline yourself just as you are teaching your children to discipline themselves. Yield to God’s leadership in this area.
Zeal is required to finish any race. The course that you are on requires patience and devotion. Be committed to cross the finish line.
I hope these ABC’s for Your New School Year have been helpful and encouraging. May your homeschooling journey be the great adventure into learning that it is meant to be.
Does your family have a special activity for beginning the new school year?
Do you have any helpful ideas for those beginning their first year of homeschooling?
I love to see horses galloping across a mountain ridge, muscles bulging, nostrils exhaling steam in the crisp air. What a picture of strength and power to anyone who views such a sight.
Mankind has depended upon the strength of the horse to defeat his enemy in battle, but it is a strength upon which we are commanded not to depend. The strength that we must depend upon can only come from the Source of All Strength who desires to bestow us with power that confounds the unbelieving onlooker and draws their attention to Almighty God.
We each have leaned upon our horses of money, family, friends, and societal status. Our experiences have taught us, however, that these horses will not sustain us.
The Bible tells us about a man named Paul who leaned upon his horse of religious pride. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and considered himself blameless concerning the law. Some might say he was a bully who used the law to hide his own weaknesses.
Paul’s intention was to destroy the followers of Jesus. Yet he was brought to his face in the dirt on a road to Damascus. The brilliance of God’s presence stripped him to the foundation of his religious beliefs. The walls of his resistance were broken down by a voice from heaven, “[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5). Left blinded, Paul’s companions led him by the hand into Damascus where he was left on Straight Street. When the dust settled, three days had passed before he finally regained any sight.
It was there on Straight Street where the Master Architect in Heaven began to reveal His plans for Paul’s life. Through the disciple, Ananias, God began laying a new foundation that would enable Paul to truly know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Following God’s instructions, Ananias lay his hands upon Paul speaking words that opened the windows of Paul’s understanding. His life’s calling was revealed to him. He would be God’s witness to all men, experiencing great things “for Christ’s sake” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul’s experiences “for Christ’s sake” soon revealed a path that would take him through mental, physical, and emotional suffering. Having a weak body and contemptible speech, his horse of self-sufficiency toppled. Seeking deliverance from his weaknesses, God’s words of wisdom came to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Humbled to submission, Paul realized that he could do nothing without the indwelling power of Christ. He became thankful for his weaknesses because those weaknesses revealed Christ’s strength at work through him. In fact, his weaknesses became the tools that God used to make his ministry powerful.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
What transformation must take place before we can truly become strong? With Paul, this transformation began with prayer, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).
God gave Paul a simple instruction, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Paul obeyed and was led to the city of Damascus, and there the cracks in his foundation were replaced with the solid foundation that enabled him to truly stand for Christ.
As Paul yielded to God’s plan, his life was transformed. He found that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. The horses that he had previously depended upon were laid aside.
“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:3–5).
Many are the stories that one could tell of those who “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34). Weakness is the catapult that drives us to God’s presence. It is the horse that bucks us into the arms of God’s abounding grace that is given to us as we submit to its transforming power to conform us to the image of Christ. We learn to embrace this misunderstood friend as we lay ourselves prostrate before a holy God and wait for His empowerment from on high.
Circumstances of life may have left us in difficult places. Yet as we yield to God’s transforming power, we will discover that He can make our lives fruitful regardless of any handicaps or weaknesses that hinder us. Emptied of our own strength, we must acknowledge that the horses of this world cannot empower us. We must then choose to embrace the Source of All Strength, our Almighty God, who enables us to do all things through Christ.
My prayer for you today is that you will focus not upon your weaknesses but upon the One who can accomplish great feats through you that will confound unbelievers and draw them into the arms of the true Source of All Strength. When you feel weak and defeated may the following verse be an encouragement to you. It has helped me tremendously when my weaknesses have tried to overwhelm me.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward [me]; that [I], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Dear Father in Heaven, I realize I have no strength of my own. I confess that I have depended upon the horses of this world and they have failed me. I now lay them aside and embrace You as the Source of All Strength. I yield to Your transforming power. Enable me to fulfill Your purpose and follow Your plan for my life. Thank you for Your indwelling presence that will make my life fruitful and will empower me to do Your will through Christ my Saviour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In what ways do we allow our weaknesses/handicaps to hinder us from doing God’s will?
How is God’s strength perfected in us?
What horses have I personally leaned upon to strengthen me instead of leaning upon the strength that only God can give me?
All Scripture quotations above are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Model Teaching: A Simplified Approach to Lesson Presentation
Prepared to teach but not sure how to present the material?
Relax. Here’s 4 steps you can follow and be successful.
You’ve gathered the needed materials. You’ve prepared your lesson. But now you must TEACH the lesson.
You know what you want your children/students to learn, but how do you present it?
Yes, there are many ways to present lesson material, but following these simple steps will help you become confident until you feel comfortable varying your teaching strategy. This simplified approach will also enhance the learning of your students.
Don’t let first year jitters keep you from moving forward with your plans. Just follow these 4 steps and you will be successful.
4 Steps to Successfully Present Any Lesson
Step 1: Ask the students what they already know about the subject material to be presented. Allow them to share their knowledge for a limited time.
Step 2: Present the lesson. Be sure to define any new vocabulary and include discussion of terms within the material.
Step 3: Carefully guide students to discover the main idea, plot, principle, or conclusion.
Step 4: Finally, students should be able to clearly explain the main idea, plot, principle, or conclusion in their own words and be able to defend their position and/or reasoning. They should be able to paraphrase the material presented, retell the story, or restate the main facts.
Continue to follow these 4 steps, and you will build confidence in yourself as a teacher. An extra benefit is that your students’ retention is greatly enhanced.
I hope this simplified approach to lesson presentation has been helpful.