Today I’ve asked my youth pastor to share his heart with you all. I’m opening this up in the hopes that others might be interested in sponsoring a family in Honduras for Christmas. I would love for you to share this post on your Facebook walls and on Twitter to spread the word. Here is Jason Borton’s message to you.
On Dec. 12 my wife and five children will be heading down to La Ceiba, Honduras with me to “Give Away Christmas” for nine days.
We will have the opportunity to live in a mountain/jungle village for the week and go each day to a different village sharing and showing the “Reason for the Season”. We will be having a Christmas fiesta where we will give children (about 3000) toys and families (about 600) food enough for two weeks.
But best of all we will be sharing the GOSPEL with every person we come in contact with during our trip. However toys and food are not free and the cost to sponsor a family is $39. So if you would consider partnering with us you can click the link and give through paypal. If you would rather give another way please contact me at email@example.com If financial sponsoring is or is not something you can do we would love to have you praying for us as we go.
Jason Borton is youth pastor at Harvest Time Bible Church in Rock Falls, IL.
Over the years I have talked with many many women, some mothers, some not. In all those conversations I have had quite a few where the women feel guilty for wanting to stay home and raise their children. They feel pressure from people around them and from the world to be productive with their lives, to contribute to the family through wages. Sometimes, sadly enough, this pressure comes from believers!
Now, I am not going to debate or even discuss the topic of whether it is right or wrong for a woman to work outside the home. Frankly I believe this is a PRIVATE decision between a wife, her husband and God. It is not my place to make that call for anyone else besides myself. I DO want to discuss those women who want to stay home but feel pressure not to.
Raising our children can be done by anyone.
Our society has been deceived into thinking that the high calling of motherhood is really only a menial task that can be filled by low-paid day care workers. It sees child care as simply that: making sure children are dressed and fed and don’t hurt themselves. Some professionals might even see the benefits of jumping into academics in daycare. They look at the body and intellect.
Motherhood is so much more than addressing basic needs for our children. Rather, we are in the business of shaping and preparing a generation that will be mighty in the Word and mighty in the Spirit! What an honor! We are building our children’s souls and spirits: their minds, their hearts, their will, their passions, their focus, their vision and their longing for God to touch and change them. We are raising up children who will be warriors in the hands of a Mighty God!
Staying home is a waste.
You may have heard that it is foolish for a woman to waste her college education by staying home. Personally, I have never known of a believing woman with a degree where it goes to waste! Mine is in Early Childhood Education and I have been called on a great deal to minister to moms of young children in various capacities and to homeschool my children these past 24 years. Another woman I know has a degree as a Dietitian and she is used by God in the body of Christ to help counsel and train in proper eating/nutrition. Again a woman with a nursing degree serves the saints by checking ears and giving counsel etc. God never allows His children’s training to be unused…it may not be used in the way the world sees as valuable, but He doesn’t waste anything!
It’s impossible to live in today’s economy on 1 income.
A lot of the possibility of living on one income comes from the sacrifices we are willing to make. It comes down to what is truly important to you. Are you willing to forgo and extra vehicle or vacations or the latest toys or a smart phone? Are you willing to do much of your homemaking by hand? There are countless numbers of families who have lived with one income their entire married lives. We are one such family.
And, sometimes it really IS hard. In a time when so many are struggling with unemployment or underemployment it can be downright frightening. There are also possibilities to us wives today to have cottage industries, whether that means making and selling on etsy, working as Virtual Assistants or doing cake decorating, we might find that we can add to the income of the family in dire times while still being able to stay home.
For us, the conviction we had for me to stay home kept us focused and determined in the hardest of times. But it also made the choices we made (and the sacrifices) a JOY. We were walking where God called us and we were joyful to do it! There were many things our children did without, even more things that I did without. But I regret NONE of it. It was part of the training the Lord had for our lives and helped me have a clearer perspective of what was truly valuable.
Again, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with having material possessions. But it is important to count the cost of staying home and, once the decision is made, to walk in the joy of the Lord in the midst of it!
What could I possibly do to fill my day?
I’m sorry, but this one makes me chuckle! No, I didn’t spend my days watching Oprah and eating bon-bons (not that I would have minded the bon-bons). Some days were so filled with character training with the children that I didn’t even have time to shower! When you are scrimping and saving every penny to help make ends meet, you do a lot of things by hand and from scratch. Housework and cooking alone take up a great deal of your day.
As my husband said once when I left him with our 3 young children for a week-end as I attended a wedding, “There is nothing that you do that is hard. And, if you could put it all together, you really have a lot of free time. But you can’t ever be guaranteed more than 2 minutes together in a row. I was going CRAZY!!” We are constantly on call – no coffee break, no sure opportunity for a private shower or nap. Our days are filled with life. And that life is constant training and discipling our children.
Motherhood IS a high calling. Whether we are blessed to stay home raise our children or work outside the home and raise our children, we have a high calling from God. It is long hard work but it is a joy and blessing. We never can guarantee the outcome, as our children have their own will to follow the Lord or not. BUT our work and faithfulness in raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord will result in blessing and honor and rewards from the hand of our God.
Follow your heart and let no one guilt you either way. Let the Spirit lead you in the best for your family.
Linking to any number of these lovely blogs.
(Image courtesy of phanlop88/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Oh how I dislike watching movies or TV shows that have children in them. Boy, that’s sort of a blanket statement and I’m sorry, but it’s true. The families are mostly irritating, disrespectful, narcissistic and rude. The children tend to be belligerent and ungrateful, always demanding more and being satisfied with less. I seldom see thankfulness present in anyone’s attitudes, parent or child.
What I don’t know is if Hollywood picks up on more subtle attitudes that are already in our culture and magnifies them, or if by their overt depictions of selfishness, they actually build worse character flaws. What I do know is that having a heart of thanksgiving is NOT natural for us. Not natural in the flesh, that is.
God gives us a new nature and His Spirit to build a heart of thanksgiving inside of us. We just need to learn how to strengthen that in ourselves and in our children. Here are some thoughts on how we can help do that in our families.
model a thankful heart
We often forget that we teach more by how we live than what we say. If our lives are lived with ingratitude or satisfying fleshly desires, then that is exactly what we teach our children. Are we quick to give thanks in good times AND in bad? Are we quick to praise God in every situation?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thes 5:18
I don’t mean practice eating turkey, but I do mean that we should practice doing right – giving thanks. We have our children practice their math facts, their handwriting, their music lessons, even driving a car. What makes us think that giving thanks comes naturally? It is a pattern of behavior that needs to be practiced! Think of speech patterns you can develop and practice in YOUR home. Do you children readily thank their siblings for kind actions? Do they thank you after a meal? Do they thank Dad when he plays with them outside or goes to a ballgame? Are they practicing thanksgiving in your own family so that it becomes as natural to them as breathing? If not, then it is about time!
It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night… Ps 92:1-2
give to others as an expression of our abundant blessings
I confess that this is NOT a great strength for us. Over the years we never really had many material things, and what we had were always hand-me-downs that sort of got destroyed by all the use they got in our home. But our neglecting to give to others has been harmful to our hearts of thanksgiving, I believe. This is something we are going to be working on more this holiday season and in the coming year. We do have some children, however, who are quick to give. When they do, it always impresses on us thankfulness for all the ways God has blessed us.
Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. 1 Tim 6:18-19
I’m sure you can come up with many practical ways to flesh these basic point out in your families. I know we have done many activities to help train them. I’d love to hear how your family lives out these teachings of giving thanks!
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Ps 105:1-4
There are so many wonderful blogs that teach all sorts of wonderful tools for making blogs better. I am NOT presuming to do what they do so expertly. I am NOT an expert and I don’t pretend to be one. BUT one thing that I do well is to understand what BEGINNERS really struggle with (being one myself) and to explain it in a way that makes sense and gives REAL, PRACTICAL help.
In my Blogging 101 Series, I will be sharing How To’s for some of the things I’ve struggled to learn. Mostly it will be how to use some of the great tools available to us bloggers. In each post I’ll put in a form that allows you to ask your questions on topics you’d like to see me address.
How does this fall into the spectrum of Titus 2, you ask? It is all a part of mentoring/discipleship. I mentor through my blog (as well as IRL – in real life) and I want to give YOU tools to help YOU get that done as well.
How can I get my subscribe box under each post?
You’ve seen this on all the BIG blogs. But how in the world do you do it? “Use the What Would Seth Godin Do (WWSGD) plug-in” they say. SUPER! You install it and are excited to get that box in all your posts and watch your readership SKYROCKET!!
The only problem is, once you install it, you don’t have the FAINTEST idea what to do! If you are like me, your disappointment and frustration mounts as the tears fall.
Well, let me help you out. If you have installed this plugin, let me take you through the steps I used (you might find better ones elsewhere, but this is how I got mine working) to get a real subscribe box under (or above or both) each post.
Step 1 – Install the plugin
You can find the plugin here or simply go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins, Add New and type in WWSGD and the top plugin should be What Would Seth Godin Do. Follow the normal procedures for installing and activating the plugin. If you don’t know how to do that, please leave me a comment and I’ll fill you in on that.
Step 2 – Subscription code
Some of you may be very adventurous and use Mailchimp or Mad Mimi or some other service. In which case you can easily find the code from your subscriber box. If you are like me and still use Feedburner, you might be absolutely CLUELESS about how to find it! So I’ll help you out.
Log into your Feedburner account.
Click on the name of your feed (mine is Teaching What Is Good) – the number of subscribers there is the number who read your blog through a reader – that is NOT the number of email subscribers you have.
You will see a number of tabs across the top – click on Publicize.
On the LEFT sidebar, you will see a number of options…go to Email Subscriptions, click on that.
The top box has the code you will need; copy that to a text document and save it for later.
If you scroll further down this page, you will see the number of email subscribers you have.
Step 3 – Setting up your plan
OK, now is when you get to decide HOW you want your subscribe box to look. Look around at other blogs and see what theirs are like. Look at mine. What do you like, what don’t you like? I have a table with 2 columns: one has the option to subscribe in a reader. This is only text with a link to the Feedburner RSS. Because even though Google Reader is gone, many folks still prefer a reader and I want to give them EVERY option to read my blog at what works for them.
My second column has the subscribe box itself. I find these the easiest and most recognizable. I want subscribing to my blog be super easy to do!
If you like a different message for returning readers, what kind of a message do you like? Some blogs simply have a Welcome Back message while others have a welcome back and text link to sign up for those who may not have. YOU decide what you want to say and how YOU would like it to look. Design it on paper first and then, hopefully, I’ll give you the directions to make it happen!
Step 4 – Setting the plugin design
Now you are ready to begin to get the plugin set up the way you want it. Open your plugin settings by going to Settings in the Left sidebar, scroll down to WWSGD and click on that.
The first part: Message to New Visitors
If all you want is the subscribe box, plain and simple, at the bottom of your post, you will copy your code (from either Mailchimp or Feedburner or whatever source you use) into the top box of the plugin: Message to New Visitors.
Check it out. Do you like it? Is it eye-catching? Does it need some zip and color? Actually it has been shown that people are more likely to click your subscribe box if it is colorful. Now if your blog is subtle in color, you don’t want clown red, but you will see a significant difference if you use a color from your blog to make this stand out just a bit.
In mine, I chose to change my background color of my subscription box to a grey (that fits with my theme but is different) by adding this code right afte
The bold code is the new code I added. If you don’t know the html code for the color you want, go to this site and try out different colors until you find one you want.
Then you’ll want to type in the text you want to show up: Email updates, or Subscribe to your inbox, or Never miss another post, or Get updates to your inbox. Whatever you want. Here is where you’ll make that change:
If you want to create a table with 2 columns to have both the Subscribe box AND some text to allow readers to sign up for your RSS feed and if you don’t know the html coding for tables, I suggest you play around with this text generator.
Here is the coding for my Subscribe box. I have highlighted things you’ll need to change to YOUR feed information, and the form from your subscriber service is begun and ended in purple highlight.
Second Step: # of Repetitions
The next section goes back to your plan above. Do you want your subscriber box to show up all the time or do you want your readers to receive a different message once they’ve come to your blog a certain number of times? This is up to you completely! Here is where you set the number of times they’ll see the subscriber box.
Third Step: Message to Returning Visitors
Again, back to your Plan. Did you figure out what to say? You can put that text here. You can code this to have links to your RSS and to your email sign in WITHOUT having the box show up. Your email subscription page on Feedburner also has code for a text line for email subscriptions.
Last Step: Where this will show up
This last step is quite easy. You check the radio buttons for where this will show up: before or after your posts (or specifically where you put the code tag) and do you want this on pages as well as posts.
I know this sounds like a whole lot but I’m hoping it is clear enough to allow you to follow step-by-step. I’d love to hear how this worked out for you and if there are other questions I missed or still need to address or clarify.
My friend Terri Groh has done it again! She’s written a wonderful, encouraging, sometimes challenging devotional for us. This one is for the Advent Season. It is a 31 day devotional for Christmas: One Clear, Still Night.
I absolutely love Terri’s heart and passion for encouraging others to whole-heartedly pursue the Lord. Not just trite fluff, her devotional has us looking at some marvelous passages of scripture (well, OK, which passages are NOT marvelous, you got me!) and meditating on our own lives, pushing us to go into the depths of the presence of the Lord.
Each devotional shares a scripture passage and then she shares a story. Her story may be from her own life (with transparency and humility) or a story exploring the scripture or a story about life. Each one encourages us to look with eyes of hope, joy and expectation for what God is doing in the story of our lives. But she doesn’t leave it there. She asks probing, thought-provoking and sometimes challenging questions to help us, the reader, take the spiritual principles in the stories and make them real in our own lives.
This is the whole package for the holidays! Terri gives recipes (yummy cinnamon rolls for one) and gift ideas and traditions her family uses to help the reader establish some wonderful family traditions that will create great memories for generations as well as keep the heart of holiday focused on Jesus.
Terri does such a great job of writing devotionals! I wish I could do it. Her gentle spirit, love for others, devotion to Jesus and honest and transparent heart touches me and makes me always say, “Yes! I needed to hear that!!”
September must be the month of prayer in our home because last September I blogged about praying for our children! The past few decades God has been doing a lot of deep internal work in all of our lives and the past few months have given insights into things we have been praying about for over 20 years. Part of that comes from praying over our children.
We have always prayed over our children.
we’ve laid hands on them
we’ve anointed them with oil
we’ve taken seriously the responsibility God has given to us as their protectors, disciplers, and authority
We want them to know that we are here to be Aaron and Hur for them when they are weak and need someone to hold their hands up as they seek God’s victory in their lives.
When they were little I would pray with them before they went to bed and, after they were asleep, I would go back into their rooms and pray spiritual protection and cleansing in their rooms and place my hands on their tiny foreheads and would pray His protection over and around them. I prayed for their spirits to grow mighty in surrender to His Spirit. I prayed for an outpouring of His power and might in their lives that they would come to know Him young and would stay the course in victorious surrender with Him.
Do YOU pray over your children? Do they hear you pray for them? Are you training them in prayer by your example in their lives? Do they hear your praise for their lives and rejoice in the depth and joy they’ve brought to your family and lives? Take time tonight and do it!
My father went to see the USS Arizona Memorial before he died. He served in WWII and was a POW. The memorial was very powerful and emotionally charged for him. It brought back so many memories. It stirred his spirit and brought to mind all the brave men he served with, starved with, and saw die.
Memorials are very powerful for us. I guess that’s why God initiated so many of them in the scriptures to His children.
I’ve been reading in Exodus 13 where God is telling Moses about consecrating the first born to Him. They are to be sanctified, redeemed. To be sanctified means to be set apart, to be consecrated. Consecrated means “to associate with the sacred”. And redeemed means to be ransomed or rescued. God told the Israelites that they were to buy back every first born, whether of animal or man. They did this by sacrificing another animal as a ransom payment. All of this showed that the first born was set apart (sanctified) for God.
As I was reading I was struck by the fact that twice God mentions what the people were to say to their children. He was giving lessons in how to let a memorial be the spur for remembering and letting those memories push us to greater love and honor of God. But it isn’t just about OUR remembering. It is about our passing on those memories. We are called to testify of the goodness of God.
What greater avenue for testifying of His wonder and power than by telling our children our memorials!
We often have our own family memorials.
Some families use photographs or videos to record snippets of our lives and watch them at family gatherings.
Some families use holidays with their built-in memory makers: homemade ornaments, decorations, table settings that bring reminders of family gatherings.
Some families use family reunions to tell stories of long ago and far away.
Some families bronze baby shoes or save baby teeth or locks of hair.
But we often overlook those spiritual memorials. In our love for family, we can neglect the God who established them and whose love binds families together. This is WHY we need to look to memorials in our lives of the mighty work of God.
You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ Ex. 13:8
And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. Ex 13:14
So, I guess the question is: what memorials are YOU making of God’s goodness and mighty works, and how are you sharing them with your children?
I am not a servant. Not at all. I’m more than happy to help if asked, but I am not one of those people who look at your life and just KNOW what to do to help you. I know what to SAY that might give you some wisdom, but physical help? Not so much. On the other hand, I never think to ASK for help either. I’m a New England girl where we just sort of suck it up and do what needs to be done.
But the reality is, that sometimes in our lives we JUST NEED SOME HELP!
So as I contemplate this in prayer and ask the Lord to give me eyes to see (and willing hands to serve), pray with me that I could be His hands of love to other women this week. It is not a strength, but that doesn’t mean I can just sit in my weakness and wallow. My heart is to be like Jesus – and that means in EVERY WAY.
I’d love to hear ways YOU are a physical blessing to other women. Let YOUR experience be MY training ground! How are YOU God’s hands of love to others?
We have never had much money. There were times when we had to move light bulbs from one room to another because we couldn’t afford to buy them. We’ve lived on an income of $650/month while paying for our own deliveries of the babies. Frugality was essential for our existence!
While we still don’t have extra each month, I often feel like we live an extravagant and luxurious lifestyle. Well, other people don’t see us that way, but compared to where we were before, I certainly do! But I have always wanted our children to learn to live frugally so they will have greater financial freedom in their lives.
How DOES one teach frugality?
Some of the things we’ve done are:
talk openly about how much we make and what amount of money has been budgeted for different items
do comparison shopping, with the children actually checking the prices on things
do almost all of our clothes shopping from second hand stores and THEN take them to regular retail stores to compare what they got vs. how much we paid
shop the dollar store for our family Christmas gifts (which, incidentally, makes for a very fun(ny) and abundant Christmas!)
shop garage sales for books and games – always mentioning how many MORE things they can afford with their allotted money or how they can now save for that special item while still getting something they want now
I loved it many years ago when my parents came to visit. My dad took each of my children out shopping to buy them a gift. One daughter wanted books and told my dad that if they bought them used online, he could spend way less money for her gift. My son decided he wanted an art supply kit. My dad found one for $40 at one store and my son said he could get the very same kit (with a few extra items) at a cheaper store for $15!
My father, having grown up in the Depression, was very impressed. It wasn’t that I was doing such a great job at anything. It was a necessity. We HAD to make these choices if we were going to purchase fun items. It has been a joy, however, to see this frugal mentality continue on with the children as they grow older.
Another daughter will not purchase any item of clothing for more than $10 – and THAT much hurts! But she has a marvelous sense of style and picks up the oddest items and turns them into a unique and chic fashion statement! When she shops retail, she’ll come home with $160 worth of clothes and will have spend $8!! She gets the shopping gene from my sisters, and her frugal-ness comes from me and from them (she just isn’t willing to spend quite as much as they are )!
How are YOU building the concept of being frugal into your children’s lives? How can YOU link financial freedom to spending less? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This is my third year doing Blogathon and it is always a challenge, always exhausting and I always learn stuff about blogging. This year was no exception.
YEAR 1 -
I wanted to be able to grow my readership and earn money from my blog. By the end, my readership jumped from 34 daily visitors to 98 but then settled down to about 60 after a month or two after Blogathon was over. I never earned a penny from my blog.
YEAR 2 -
I wanted to be able to grow my readership and earn money from my blog. By the end, my readership went from roughly 65 daily visitors to 69 and it settled back to about 60 a month or two after Blogathon was over. I never earned a penny from my blog although I did publish my ebook and sold more copies than I expected.
THIS YEAR -
I had completely different goals. I have come to the place that if God wants to use my blog as a source of income, He is going to have to do it. I am not actively seeking to make money from my blog. And I haven’t.
BUT I did have some goals.
to learn to use Pinterest effectively
to develop deeper and greater community among my readers
to learn how to take good photos
I am pleased to announce that I learned some great things about using Pinterest! I found a couple of tools that make pinning posts and enabling others to pin them, MUCH easier! Now if only I can remember to do it regularly, I might be doing better!
I have spent some time thinking about you – my readers. And the great thing is that I have come to know many of you individually. Not as deeply as I’d like, but I read your blogs and I see the things important to you. I love responding to your comments (sometimes time gets away from me and I don’t respond until later) and the dialogue is SWEET! And I find many of you actually reading one another’s blogs. I LOVE THIS!! This is the community I love being a part of and helping to foster in the blogosphere!
However, I have yet to be able to photograph anything more than right nostrils – mostly because I am not at a place financially where I can buy a camera to practice! Maybe in the next few months, after finances recuperate from the wedding.