Thanks-Living

thanksliving

To write it down for the world to see,
To speak of Your wondrous love.
How can I thank you for blessing me?
For sending a Savior from above?
Thank you God for having a plan,
A sacrifice, a cross, a grave.
Thank you Lord for redeeming man.
Without Christ who can be saved?
But because He rose victorious,
Abundant life I now will live.
Grace and love abounds glorious,
Which daily Lord you freely give.
To give thanks only one day a year,
Seems contrary to say the least.
For You my God are very near,
Not just during Thanksgiving feast.
Instead I’ll live a life of thanks-living,
All year acknowledging how you bless.
And just one day set aside,
For complaints and unthankfulness.

A Penny Saved

I take my profession very seriously. My career is my family. I was handpicked for this job by the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth. He gave me the title of help meet and mother. My pay is in blessings and eternal rewards. I have complete job security. I never have to worry about a cutback. I don’t have to worry about my paycheck being spent. Office politics is a nonissue. And, I look forward to Monday mornings. I love my job! Part of my job responsibility is to make sure that I am a good steward of all that God has given me. One way I am trying to do this is to work on the principle that a penny saved is a penny earned. Therefore, if I can save my husband money by how I manage our home, I am earning him money.

Of course, as Christians when it comes to “earning money” we must be careful to have the right motives and a biblical attitude.

• If we have clothing and food we should be content (I Timothy 6:8).

• It is God that gives the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18).

• When He gives us riches we are not to set our heart upon them (Psalm 62:10).

• If he takes our wealth away we should still bless His name (Job 1:21).

• God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith (James 2:5).

These are just a few of the principles the Bible speaks on about finances. There are many more. God’s Word is sufficient. We’ve always believed it, now we’re trying to live it. Here are a few things I have done away with this year to help save a penny, thus earning one.

Household cleaning items – Like, rinse aid for dishwasher, Windex, room deodorizers, fabric softeners, bathroom and kitchen cleaners, etc. All of these have been replaced with vinegar. Vinegar is one of the most frugal, all purpose, natural clean items you have on hand. It can be used effectively for many things. Do some research on the subject. You’ll be glad you did and so will your pocket book!

Disposable razors and shaving cream – We were spending a small fortune at the store for disposable razor blades each month. My husband looked into getting an old time safety razor from his barber. He now pays around 3 dollars for 10 blades. Each blade last a lot longer than the average disposable razor blade plus it is double sided; therefore it is like buying 20 blades. He also purchased the old time shaving soap. It cost less than one bottle of shaving cream and will last 4 times longer. Instead of purchasing shaving items weekly we make one or two small purchases a year.

Pool chemicals – When we lived on the coast we were spending close to $100 a month on pool chemicals. Last year my husband invested in a salt water filter. It was the best investment we could have made for the pool. This summer we have spent $30 on salt. Plus, not to mention all the benefits of how much healthier the salt is than the chemicals. We love it!

Packaged foods – One meal that I fix consistently every day is breakfast. As a result I was spending a lot of money on Bisquick. I now make biscuits and pancakes from scratch. It is easy, better for you, and a lot less expensive. I also no longer buy Sloppy Joe mix in a can (around $1.50) and use instead equal amounts of ketchup and BBQ sauce. It taste good and is very easy. I make my own sweet and sour sauce and many other items. With a few strokes on the keyboard you can find all sorts of recipes. It is worth the extra effort and your family will appreciate the better quality of the food. Your husband will appreciate the reduction of your grocery bill.

Laundry soap – This is my all-time favorite money saving tip of the year! I first read about making my own laundry soap in the Duggar’s book. (I just love this family!) My mother convinced me to try it and Lord willing, I will never buy laundry soap again. It is so easy to do. In fact, my 11 year old daughter made it last week. We use to buy Tide at between 15 – 20 dollars for 110 loads. We can now make the same amount for about 10% of the cost. Go to the Duggar’s website to find the recipe.

I still have a lot to learn about being a good steward of my home. So, if you have some money saving tips, share them with me.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

(Pro 31:27)

Living with regrets

 

It was Martin Luther that said, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.” While “changing the world” is too lofty of a goal to attain, I do desire to make a difference in the lives of those who have ears to hear. My prayer is that in picking up my pen, or grabbing my computer in this case, my story will be received with open hearts. More than that, I pray that lives will be altered and that God will get glory through it all. When my husband and I were first married he asked me one simple question, “What do you want to do?” I responded that I wanted to be able to stay home and raise our children. He told me that he would do everything in his power to make that come true. From the time our first born was just a few months old I have been able to stay home. This journey of being a stay-at-home mother has taken us from owning and selling our own embroidery business to homeschooling our three children. This choice we made has been one that we have never regretted. It has been such a blessing to our family and one that I believe is God’s will for every mother with small children. I realize that my children will not stay young forever and I am so thankful that I have a husband who not only understands this but leads as he should. He takes on the full responsibility of providing for his family as God intended. While this is one decision we will never regret there have been many decisions made that we do sorrowfully lament over.

The first regret was having the mind-set that debt is acceptable for a believer. I grew up in church. My husband did not. But God saved him at 19 years old and from the beginning of our marriage we attended church faithfully. We read our Bible. We prayed together. We taught Sunday school. It was what we did. But deep down, we did not believe that the Holy Inspired Scriptures were all-sufficient. For if we had believed that glorious truth we would have lived our lives very differently. The Bible has given us every godly principle to live by. And the Bible is clear. To be in debt is to place yourself in bondage. The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. (Pro 22:7) God does not intend for His children to be enslaved by this world. Which is why Paul wrote in Romans 13:8, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another”. Because of our worldly thinking we made decision after decision that put us in debt. Large mortgages, car payments, student loans and consumer debt have all brought about unnecessary burdens. Society will tell you that debt is perfectly acceptable but God’s ways are always contrary to this world. It was the fallacy of our thinking on debt that led to the second and even greater regret we are now living with.

 This regret was based on our view of having children. A few months before our third child was born my husband surrendered into ministry. He knew that going into full-time ministry would bring many changes into our lives. He was thirty years old and would be attending Bible College full-time. He also knew that being in ministry that there was a good chance we would lose our insurance. So, after the birth of our third child we made the decision to stop God’s blessings upon our lives. While debt is a curse we ignorantly embraced, having more children from the Lord was a blessing we refused. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it..….. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” (Psa 127:1-5a) We had decided that we would not let the Lord build our house. By our decision we said to God, “We’ve had enough of your blessings so we are going to take it into our own hands to reject Your rewards.” Why is it that Christian believers can be so blind to the Truths in Scripture that they will cling to that which God hates – materialism and debt, and despise the richest blessings that He can give – children?

If someone asked me if I would take a million dollars for one of my three children I would laugh them to scorn. Most mothers would probably do the same. But give a woman in today’s society the choice between a million dollars or another child and I would submit that most would say that they would take the money. I know this because I, like many others, believed that we just didn’t have the money for more children. Isn’t it sad that we have allowed the love of money and material blessings to rob from us the blessings that God has intended for our lives? The sad thing is that we did not give this life changing decision that much thought. We certainly did not pray about it. We had three children, therefore; it was the next logical thing to do. We did seek some counsel but instead of being pointed to God’s Word and His plan for Christian families we were given personal advice. In spite of that we do not cast blame. The decision was ours to make. We had God’s Word. And, even though it took a few years to realize it, God placed other resources in our path prior to this mistake. For example, a friend had given me a book called, A Mom Just Like You, by homeschooling mother of ten, Vicki Farris. In this book she describes the blessings of motherhood from God. I, sadly, did not fully recognize it. Not only did we have God’s Holy Word to guide us and not only did He place other resources of truth in our path but God had already given us three children as a witness of this truth. Each of our precious children is a living testimony of God’s goodness in our lives.

I have a friend that has nine children. She has lived with ridicule and mockery for having such a large family. However, the other day she said to me, “I cannot imagine my life without one of these children.” Each of them is special not only to her and her husband but to God as well. Each of them has a God given purpose for their life. Had they followed the unspoken rules of society and given into worldly pressures then part of their family would be missing.

Families are important to God. When Christian families are strong, churches are strong. When the churches are strong, our nation is strong. Therefore, the enemy attacks the structure of the families. Unwed birthrates are at an all-time high. Abortion is responsible for thousands of murders each year. Divorce rates are over 50%. Consequently, this number would be even higher if it were not for the number of people who now reject the idea of marriage and simply live together. All of these things bring about the destruction of families. The Christian society has accepted the warped view of families for so long that it does not even recognize God’s plan anymore. Why is it that a teenage girl can have a baby or two out of wedlock and no one is saddened by the disgrace? But, take a Christian father and mother, who have many children raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and see how many negative comments they receive. Do you see how far we have come from the Biblical model for families?

I will not stand in judgment of the decisions others may make, for that is between them and God. But, this I will say. A wise man learns from the mistake of others; an ordinary man learns from his own mistakes; and a fool learns from neither. While it is clear I have not always been wise, I have learned from my own mistakes. And if by chance there is a child of God who has considered putting a stop to His blessings, please consider learning from the mistakes we have made.

I guess what saddens me the most in this whole learning journey is the realization that we were just as blind as the rest of the world. And while my husband and I have come to repent of the sin we committed, the consequences are ever before us. Yes, we are very thankful for the children we do have. We thank the Lord daily for His goodness. And we pray that God in His mercy will someday give us more children. Should He bless us again it will be for His glory alone. Should He choose not to, we will be content with the precious blessings we already have. And through it all we will strive to teach others the truth.