When Job was in desperate need for encouragement, he needed his friends to encourage him. To their credit his friends did sit with him for a week without saying anything.
Sometimes there are no words that need to be said. Just being there is a comfort to someone in deep despair.
But then the true thoughts of his friends came forth. Instead of beseeching God for deliverance, they began to find fault.
“My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.”
Friends mean well. They want to help but sometimes their comfort seems harsh.
Job found his friends to be miserable company, but that did not stop Job from seeking comfort from the greatest comforter of all, his Saviour.
“O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!”
Job did not lose his faith during the greatest trial of his life. Instead, he drew closer to God than ever before.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”
Life does not always turn out according to our expectations. Job suffered great loss, yet God afterward abundantly rewarded him. We also will find many blessings if we keep our focus and faith in God above.
O Father, thank You for Your great mercies and love that You show toward us. When we find ourselves discouraged, may we realize that You and You alone can give the encouragement that we need.
Thank you for your faithfulness to us. May our faith not rest in people or people’s wisdom and advice, but in You and Your power alone.
No matter in what situation we find ourselves, may we respond with love and kindness. Give us a Christlike attitude and remind us of the great homecoming You are preparing for us in Heaven. Help us to continue in the faith until that great homecoming day.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
May you be encouraged to know that God loves you. He has not left you alone. You can call out to Him at anytime and know that He hears your prayers.
Have you ever been discouraged?
What did others do that encouraged you the most?
Thank you for commenting on any ideas that will help others to know how to encourage their friends when they need it.
There was a powerful man. He wanted property that belonged to his neighbor so he set up a meeting at a local restaurant and asked his neighbor if he was willing to sell.
The neighbor refused which made the man very sad. He left the meeting pouting because of his inability to convince the neighbor to make a deal.
An Evil Conspiracy Begins
Later that night the man’s wife asked him why he was so depressed. After discussing his attempts to purchase the property, his wife conspired an evil plot.
The plot was carried out by those who were secretly hired by the wife. The neighbor, who was now seen as an enemy that stood in the way of her and her husband’s expansion plans, was to be promoted in front of the townspeople.
A Media Frenzy Orchestrated
As the proceedings began, false accusations were brought before the people. The media was employed to put the attendants at the proceedings in a frenzy. A false narrative was given that stirred the people to react foolishly which caused the death of the neighbor. This happened even though the townspeople knew that the neighbor was a good man and worthy of the promotion.
The Target Destroyed
The destruction of the neighbor was completed before any of the accusers’ credibility could be questioned.
After the funeral, the wife and her powerful husband confiscated the property leaving the neighbor’s wife and children unable to provide for themselves.
For a while the couple enjoyed the ill-gotten property. They thought their coverup was complete and felt no remorse over their evil deed.
All the neighbor’s hard labor in growing a successful vineyard seemed to have been wasted. His house was turned into a potting shed. The vines were removed and replaced with herbs and flowers.
The property became a private grove where the couple could entertain their rich friends and acquaintances. Business deals were made and celebrated there.
The Evil Plot Uncovered
A message was delivered to the powerful man. The details revealed that Someone knew of his terrible deed. For a short while, the rich man felt sorrowful for what he had done. Yet, his wife continued her evil ways. It seemed that nothing could stop her from attacking all who opposed her continual pursuit of power.
The couple’s desire for more power and prestige led them to formulate a plan to take over a nearby city. They covenanted with another powerful man and engaged in efforts to take the city. While those plans were carried out, the husband was killed.
An opposition party arose that threatened the power and livelihood of the wife. Using her great power and hefty bank account, she was able to protect herself. She updated her appearance and used her words wisely to control those around her.
Thinking that she could control any man with her looks and her sly words, she boldly and confidently suggested that no one could rise to resist her. But soon her demise would come.
The wife rented a tower to proclaim her victory and authority over anyone who would come against her. Yet, those whom she abused day by day with her insults, derogatory language, and belittling remarks realized that there was no point in thinking that she would one day appreciate or care for their efforts to keep her happy.
Called into Question
Finally, her helpers saw that protecting this woman was depriving them of the life and liberty they desired for themselves. They were not prospering as she had promised them. The only ones who had prospered were the woman and her evil husband and their powerful friends. Suddenly, they realized that they had only been used to help this woman cover her evil and her harm of innocent people.
Once the helpers’ eyes were opened to the realization that they had been lied to and used only for the evil woman’s gain they made a choice to be truthful to themselves.
This was not the life that they wanted to live. This was not the woman they wanted to support.
As a short trial ensued, those who had previously supported the woman gave their testimony to the evil she had committed. They then assisted in the downfall of her and her kingdom.
No Where to Hide
This event in history reminds us that although evil may prevail for a time, governments and peoples are to follow the laws set forth by Almighty God. Eventually evil will be dealt with by God if those peoples and governments do not follow through with their God-ordained responsibilities.
God’s intervention in the above situation may have seemed delayed, yet God gives people a choice as to whether they will arise and do what is right and necessary to control evil. God waits to see how they will react when temptation is before them. Will the people choose evil or good?
No man or woman can do any deed, good or evil, and hide it from the All-Seeing Eye of God. We will all stand either before the Judgment Seat of Christ or before the Great White Throne of Almighty God.
Always remember, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Would you rather have the ‘wages’ or the ‘gift’?
Just so you know, the wicked wife had a choice too. She chose the wages and succumbed to a horrible death. Her pursuit of power had come to an end.
Good always wins over evil in the end.
Be aware, Satan knows the Good Book, too.
(For more intel on the story, see the Book of 1 Kings.)
Assorted characters, diverse personalities, uniformed staff pass as I stroll down the hallway. My mind thinks of strangers passing in the night.
To my left a child is crying. Nurses are bent over trying to console and yet do their duties.
Another left and a gentleman is being placed in a wheelchair surrounded by friends. Hopefully, he is going home.
Ahead, a young man rests his back and his left foot on the wall behind him, phone in hand, the broom by his side. Yet, I am thankful for I must pass into the room he needs to enter. He waits patiently.
It is an orderly place in a disorderly world. Or maybe it’s a disorderly place in an ordered world. I guess it depends upon our perception.
Fast forward and one sees flashes of concern, bewilderment, laughter, boredom, distraction, and confusion. It is an artist’s vignette of emotions, an author’s journal in character study. One can observe a vast portraiture of the human soul.
A Place of Contradictions
It is a place of contradictions.
The cafeteria helps to escape the silence, yet everyone is strangers. Patient rooms are filled with silence; yet voices try to fill the void.
Private rooms never seem private. Doors open and close. Another blood pressure check, and chit-chat rises and then falls with the closing door.
Patients pursue answers yet struggle to know the questions.
Professionals come trained to investigate, yet their examinations have no answer sheets.
Hospitals known for healing, and yet there exists such pain. Protocols meant to heal, and yet may leave one lifeless.
Visitors on a mission but find the patient has been dismissed.
A Place Sought for Healing But Does Not Possess the Answer to Life
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” Psalm 121:1-3
I may look unto this natural world seeking the help that I desire, but the help I need comes from the Lord Himself. He has made all things, even me.
God is my keeper. He stays alert even when I am asleep. No matter what may come against me, I am the Lord’s.
Suffering may abound, but it will not last forever. It is only a little season and cannot demand its own way. God is the Great Physician. He ruleth over all.
Gives Physical Hope But Does Not Possess Eternal Hope
Eternity is but a breath away for everyone. But eternity for the righteous is an entrance into glory. All pain and suffering will the righteous leave behind.
One never knows when he or she will walk down the hallways of a hospital seeking answers for the sake of a loved one.
Yet there is One who has all answers and His name is Jesus. Because He is the Hope of the World, I can rest in His answer to my prayers for my loved one.
My friend, I hope you are ready for eternity. Don’t let a day pass that you do not call upon Jesus for the hope of eternal life. He waits for the call of those who seek His face and His deliverance.
Perfect healing may come on this side of eternity, but for those who cross through the shadow of death, only the righteous will experience perfect healing as they enter Heaven. I hope you are prepared.
It has been the most unusual day. I am sitting in a parking lot outside a medical facility with my car hood up. My car has not overheated, but I have a split hose. Thankfully, an employee inside has offered to take my husband to an auto parts store during her lunch break.
While I am waiting for his appointment to be over, I have encountered a spider. I knock it off my skirt but have no idea where it is now. We will have to endure the heat and the car together.
Next the most unusual occurrence of all. As I look up in my mirror, I see a fawn running across the lawn. It must have been spooked from its hiding place or lost from its mother. I hope it can find its way back to where she left it.
So unexpected to see a fawn running across the grass in a highly visible location. (Photo by Vincent Van-Zalinger. Courtesy of Unsplash)
Unexpected Events Sometimes Call for Major Adjustments
I have been sitting here reading about crisis points of belief. The author speaks of making major adjustments in our lives to follow God.
I am thinking of how thankful I am that I can be at peace no matter what happens. Not everything is a crisis even though circumstances may present themselves as such.
Life happens. Things wear out or decay. New things quit working properly. It is to be expected. Some things we can prepare for, but some take us by surprise.
No matter what happens or what adjustments need to be made in our lives, God is faithful. We can rely on the living God to take us through every situation.
Other’s Circumstances May Cause Us to Make Adjustments
We have now been to the auto parts store; the hose has been replaced; and we are on our way.
Yet, another encounter—a gentleman and his grandson are locked out of his vehicle. We offer our help. After much effort and assistance his door is finally unlocked.
I am thankful that my husband was not afraid or too proud to ask for help when we needed it. We were given assistance in our time of need. God was very gracious to allow the hose to break after we arrived at our destination and not in transit on the highway.
I think of the gentleman locked out of his vehicle. It reminds me of how horrible it would be to be locked out of a place much more important than a vehicle.
It would be tragic to be locked out of Heaven because we were too proud or too afraid to ask for the help we needed. Our Saviour stands ready to hear our heart’s cry. If we will admit our sinful condition, Christ Jesus will cleanse us, forgive us, and meet our needs.
Sometimes life does require adjustments. Schedules can change. Health can change. Financial conditions can change. Our jobs can disappear overnight. At such times we may experience a crisis of belief. We must remember, however, that God never changes. He remains faithful.
An Adjustment for Which We All Must Be Prepared
There is one adjustment for which we must be prepared. That adjustment will be our entrance into eternity.
Eternity waits for everyone. Which eternity we experience is our choice. There are only two doors.
Don’t wait until Heaven’s door is locked to ask for entrance to a glorious eternity. The other door leads to an eternal suffering no one wants to enter.
May you and I meet one day in eternity in Heaven’s glorious abode.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Ever been told what to do but not given the directions?
What if someone told you to sell your house, pack your belongings, and leave without any idea of where you were to go?
Abram received such a call. The amazing thing is that he obeyed the call, sold his house and possessions, and started a journey not knowing where he went.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. (Genesis 12:1)
God called Abram unto a place of which Abram did not know. God did not reveal the location to him, tell him a hotel room would be waiting, or what community services were available. He only knew he had heard God’s voice speak to him.
Abram in obedience began the journey away from what was secure to him, away from family, and away from familiar places. He had to trust that God knew what He was doing and where He was leading him. Because of his obedience God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.
In every place God spoke to him, Abraham took time to build an altar. The altar was a visible reminder that he had heard God speak.
Whenever Abraham began to wander, he had a physical place to which he could return and remind himself of God’s voice.
As we read about Abraham’s journeys in Scripture, we find that Abraham returned at various times to the altars he had built so that he could commune with God and regain his focus.
In our journey thru life, we can and should build altars that remind us of where God has brought us from to where He is taking us.
Keeping mementos and collecting souvenirs of places we’ve been become more precious to us the longer we live. The mementos bring back special memories tucked away in our hearts. The souvenirs remind us of precious time spent with family and friends.
Scripture speaks of stirring up our minds by way of remembrance (2 Peter 3:1). When and where did we hear God’s calling? What caused us to start down the path we are taking? How did we know this was the right job or the right school? How do we know we are in God’s will at this moment?
A Remembrance of Important Events
Abraham’s building of altars was his way of keeping a remembrance of important events in his life.
Writing two letters was Apostle Peter’s way of reminding the recipients of the words the prophets had spoken and the commandments that the apostles had given to the early church. Those letters are recorded in 1 and 2 Peter.
Building Personal Memorials
Today we build memorials to do the same. But how do we build personal memorials so we do not forget the important events in our own lives?
Some people keep scrapbooks.
Saving ‘scraps’ of life whether it be placemats from restaurants, postcards and stamps, or photos of birthday parties and anniversaries, and attaching them to pages in a book provides people a way to look back over their lives.
Those ‘scraps’ bring to their remembrance what might have been forgotten if they had not taken the time to memorialize them.
Keeping a journal is another way we can refresh our memories. Writing down why we are doing this or that can be invaluable when we feel as if we are stuck in life.
Recording goals and noting when those goals are attained helps us see the progress we are making.
Prayers jotted down and answers received encourage us when we find ourselves in need of another answer to our prayers. The noting of scriptures that gave us light during difficult times serve as reminders of God’s presence. Chronicling hard-learned lessons can prevent us from making the same mistakes again.
There are many types of journals, but in one respect they are all the same. They are a memorial of our lives lived daily.
Journals are a place we can return to when we forget where we are and a place where our remembrance can stir our minds to renew the plans God purposed for our lives.
A journal is a report card. It shows us that God has been at work in our past and reminds us that He is still at work in our present.
Did your parents keep a scrapbook of your childhood?
Do you keep a journal? If so, what type of journal do you keep?
In what way was Abraham’s building of altars like keeping a journal?
I encourage you to begin journaling your special moments if you have not done so.
How precious it would be to recall the words that you feel God has spoken to you when you find yourself needing to remember. I am sure Abraham was glad he had a place to remind himself of God’s words.
It was time for wheat harvest. The days were very hot. Dad and Uncle Finley kept a close watch on the fields so that the wheat could be harvested at just the right moment.
They also kept a close watch on the sky. A hard rain and/or high wind could ruin the crop. That is a fearful thing for a farmer.
I can still see Uncle Finley eating grains of wheat as he leaned back against a wall. He would take the wheat tops and rake the seeds out into his hand and eat them.
As a child I was curious. I remember asking Uncle Finley why he was eating the seeds. He told me that the seeds were wheat and placed some in my hand and told me to eat them.
I looked at him strangely. I thought, ‘I have never eaten these seeds. Will they hurt me?’
Uncle Finley started telling me that the seeds were what we used to make our bread. In order to convince me, he also told me of other foods we make with wheat.
Yes, I ate the seeds. They were hard, of course, yet they were tasty.
Winnowing by Machine
Usually a farmer in our community came with his combine. The combine would thresh the wheat, separating the seeds from the chaff and straw. Then another man riding on the combine would pull a lever and let the grains of wheat pour into sacks.
The sacks of wheat were tied with twine and stored in our granary. Some would be used for flour; but most for feeding our animals.
The straw (the stems of the wheat plants) would be left behind in the field. Later, we would bind the straw into bales and store in the barn for bedding.
Winnowing by Hand
I remember times when we had to separate the wheat from the chaff by hand. Those were back breaking days.
The wheat would be spread out on a large white sheet. Each of us would take a corner and lift the sheet. Then we would fling the wheat up into the air so that the wind would carry away the chaff leaving the heavier grains of seed to fall back into the sheet. This process is called winnowing.
It seemed we could never get the wheat clean enough. Yet, when Mom saw that the wheat was finally clean, we would gather up the corners of the sheet so that we wouldn’t lose any of the precious grains. Then we would pour the grain into clean sacks and store for later use.
Winnowing the World
Those harvesting days help me to understand Scriptures such as Matthew13:30 and Matthew 3:12.
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30
“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12
Jesus speaks of His children as being precious wheat. The floor is the world that He has created. The wind and other forces of nature are under His control.
Just as our family lifted the sheets and let the wind carry the chaff away, so will Jesus separate or winnow His precious seed from the chaff.
Jesus will gather his precious children into His garner which is heaven. And the chaff, those who rejected His love extended toward them, will be cast into an unquenchable fire.
Having harvested wheat, I understand just how precious each grain of wheat is. Plowing, disking, seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting is no easy task. It is very labor-intensive.
Neither has Jesus spared any expense, even giving His own life, so that at harvest time many souls will be ready for heaven.
I am glad that I am one of those that Jesus considers precious seed. I look forward to the day when He will garner me into heaven.
Are you one of those precious seeds? If not, you can be.
Let Jesus speak to your heart as you read these words from John 3:16-17; 36.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Believe on Jesus the Messiah. Give your heart to Him today, and He will prepare you for heaven.
Then when Jesus winnows the peoples of the earth, you will be part of those who will be gathered to live with Him in heaven.
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
Is there an obstacle looming before you? Do the circumstances of life hinder you from moving forward? Be encouraged. No obstacle is too large to overcome if you endure.
The Pioneer’s Obstacle
American pioneers traveling westward sought passageways through the majestic Rocky Mountain Range. Determination and grit led them to overcome the difficulties encountered as they faced the daunting heights and freezing temperatures.
Spurred on by their belief that a future and a hope lay on the other side of the seemingly impossible to climb obstacle, they crossed into a land rich with resources.
The fertile valleys gave families sustenance. Homes were built. Towns and cities sprung up. Businesses boomed. The quest for a better life was fulfilled for many even though it came at great cost.
Overcoming Our Obstacles
Jesus is with us as we walk through our valleys and as we climb our mountains. His rod and staff guide us as we face each challenge of life. His promise to never leave us or forsake us is as true today as when He first spoke it.
We may have a “Rocky Mountain Range” looming before us. Yet, what we see as an obstacle hindering our movement forward, may instead be the gateway to a new and fulfilling ministry for Christ.
If it is, our view of the impasse does not hinder what lies ahead. God is not limited by our circumstances. Neither does any obstacle challenge Him or His resources. Instead, they are opportunities for Him to display His unlimited power.
Do not let opposition impede your progress. If God has told you move forward, then keep moving forward. Acknowledge Him every step of the way.
The howling winds, deep snows, and other weather conditions gave the pioneers limited opportunity to reach the other side of their obstacle. Your window of opportunity may be limited also.
Don’t let God’s promises to you slip away. Grasp hold of what He has for you.
And remember, the promise of Heaven is just ahead.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12.
Is your language arts curriculum satisfactory, or does it fall short in key areas?
Good educators are concerned about their students’ ability to communicate, to write effectively, and to think clearly. Therefore, they are concerned about the textbooks that are available for their use. Although there is a wide variety of language arts curriculum available, not all are adequate.
To be able to communicate effectively, students need skills in delivery and the use of a wide variety of vocabulary words. Being able to speak one’s thoughts clearly is a skill learned. Being familiar with the dictionary and the thesaurus are vital.
Punctuation and Grammar
Knowing proper punctuation and grammar rules are not enough. Students need to know how to use these rules in their writing and in their speech. Therefore, the curricula used should give students ample opportunities to use the skills taught both in written and in oral formats.
Students also need knowledge of a wide variety of topics. Having to research a wide variety of topics will open the students’ understanding of and interest in the world around them. Therefore, writing assignments should not just include what happened on students’ summer vacations.
A wide variety of creative writing assignments should be given. Poetry, haiku, song, and adventure are only a few examples.
Students love being the heroes of their own stories. Of course, having a list of topics for students to choose from is extremely helpful.
Students should be provided with good writing examples for each assignment. Good examples encourage good writing. If the curricula does not do this properly, educators must supplement as needed.
Educators should provide rubrics which detail exactly what is expected for each writing assignment. These checklists provide clarity and help tremendously in the grading process.
After assignments have been edited and revised, students should be given the opportunity to present their work orally. This helps develop their speaking abilities. It also gives students the opportunity to critique others’ as they develop their own listening skills.
Students should be given the opportunity to publish their work. This can be as easily done as posting their work on a bulletin board. However, collecting their work in a book format for others to view is advantageous. In this way, students can track their own progress during the current year and into future years. Publishing writing in an e-book format has now become a viable option.
Educators should carefully evaluate the language arts textbooks that are being used to see if they provide what is necessary for students to develop adequate communication skills. In today’s fast-paced world, proper communication skills are a must.
Do you have concerns about your language arts curriculum? Please share in the comments below.
If you are extremely please with the language arts curriculum you are using, please share the title so others can check it out.
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.
Do you have a special memory of traveling down an unknown road? Please share your comments below.
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.
For example: Today we’re going to learn about the ocean. (Name), what interests you most about the ocean?
Step 2: Present the lesson. Be sure to define any new vocabulary and include discussion of terms within the material.
Give an overview of the material. You may or may not have your child open their textbooks or reading material. However, by keeping textbooks closed at this point you can gain your child’s interest by giving an interesting introduction.
Then go over important vocabulary words to look for as they read or review material. These may be listed in the reading material, given in a handout, or placed on a visual.
Step 3: Carefully guide students to discover the main idea, plot, principle, or conclusion.
Gently lead your child to find the main idea of the story, the important lesson to learn from history, or why a discovery in the scientific world is important to us today.
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 children’s retention is greatly enhanced.
I hope this simplified approach to lesson presentation has been helpful.
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15
When I reminisce on the word shod I picture a rancher shoeing a horse. He carefully shapes each shoe and attaches each one to fit the horse’s hooves. They must be a perfect fit or they won’t protect properly.
The rancher knows that his horses need shoes to protect their hooves or they will not be able to do the work that he needs them to do. A limping horse is of no value to the rancher.
Recently my husband and I stopped at a shoe store. My husband wanted me to have a new pair of sandals. Thankfully, I found a pair that was comfortable.
The sales clerk placed them in a box and kept them safe at the counter while we continued to look. There were several pairs that we liked, but they did not fit the bottom of my feet properly. Not finding another pair we made our purchase and left.
Arriving home, the package was placed in the bedroom to be opened later. I will probably not open the package until I need the shoes inside.
We are to prepare ourselves by shodding our feet.
I’m afraid that’s also what we do with our Bibles. We bring them home and place them on the end table or some other location to be opened later.
It’s not that we think the Bible is of no importance. It certainly is. But just as the rancher prepares his horse for the work he has to do, we are to prepare ourselves for the work God has us to do.
To shod myself I must put forth the effort to put on my shoes.
For the sandals that I purchased to be of any value to me, I must take them out of the package and put them on my feet. I must shod myself with my shoes to protect my feet from stones and other debris that would cause harm. I do not wish to endure the pain of a stumped toe or jagged cut.
As my physical feet are shod with sandals so my spiritual feet are shod with God’s Word.
Just as the rancher prepares his horse’s hooves to be fitted with shoes, I must prepare myself to be fitted with the gospel of peace.
To shod myself with the gospel of peace I must open the Bible and absorb its words. As I shod myself with God’s Word, I am being provided with the protection that I need to walk through the debris of life.
A turn onto the wrong path can leave me limping through life. Instead, I want to walk through God’s fields with a healthy and Christ-honoring stride.
Preparing ourselves with the gospel of peace will keep us from limping in God’s fields.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:13-16
Writing is a joy for some, but a terror to others.
What makes one person enjoy the process while others are terrified by it?
Some would-be authors find themselves constrained by the how-to’s, structural rules and regulations bought upon by well-meaning teachers who choose to use the red pen more than they ought.
It’s not that the red pen isn’t necessary, it’s just that grammar and punctuation isn’t all that writing is.
Writing is the thought, the intent, the emotion, the mental anguish, the imagination unleashed.
When used too early, the red pen is perceived as an attack against the soul.
It is what is feared, that somehow one is incapable of expressing themselves properly. The red pen is sometimes received as an acknowledgement of the fear of failure that resides within ourselves.
So, put aside the red pen until later.
Expressions should be allowed in the first stages of the writing process.
Plotting, outlining, summarizing, etc., these terms can be scary to someone who just wants the freedom to write.
So, in the beginning stages why not just write.
Let your thoughts flow.
Allow yourself to make mistakes, but get your expressions out. You might find some great ideas in those lines you have penned or typed.
Next take those ideas and expound on them.
Visualize your characters, know their hardships and fears, know them intimately.
Surround those characters with settings that magnify their problems or at least don’t interfere with the progression of the story.
Make the setting fit the story line.
Accidents on curvy mountain roads, falls from rocky cliffs, heart attacks on hiking trails, broken hearts in movie theaters, loneliness at the school dance…
Insert lively characters that fit the setting.
We expect cowboys in Texas or Australia, businessmen in suits on Wall Street, bankers in Switzerland, skiers in Colorado or the Alps, fishermen off Nova Scotia. We know and are familiar with housewives in suburbia, school teachers in rural areas, and farmers on the Midwestern plains.
Writing, authoring, scribbling, or whatever you may call it, is just expressing your imagination on paper.
Let your imagination run wild. Sci-fi, fantasy, romance. You can pretend to be anywhere at any time.
Today, yesterday, or tomorrow…There is no limitation to time on the written pages of your mind.
Share your thoughts, share your dreams, share your fears. Hide behind your pseudonym, your pen name, your ghost writer, or whoever.
Your words become forces that confront the reality of existence.
Keep the story moving forward.
You are an author. Your words may not be written down in a best-selling novel, but they are your words in action. Just be sure your words do not kill your onward progression to what lies ahead. Make them positive words that encourage, instill, and infuse joy, excitement, and contentment.
Make your words lively to the reader. Keep them searching for the next word on the next trail of pages. The red pen can come later.
Do you find yourself fearing the red pen?
Don’t be afraid to have your writing critiqued. Share it with several people who will honestly respond to what you have written. Consider their comments.
Remember that you are the author. You can choose to accept or reject their recommendations. But if you are wise, you will learn from the critiquing experience and your writing will improve.
Proofreading for grammar and punctuation is in the last stages of the writing process. That’s when you can appreciate the red pen.