Christian Homeschool | Marriage, Parenting & Discipleship

Tag: discipleship

Teaching Purity In an Impure World

Teaching Purity In an Impure World

“Dad, what does *!$&#! mean?”

My son’s pronunciation of the crude sexual term even at 10 years old was flawless. I kept my eyes on the road, driving as though he had asked how ice cubes are made. I took a deep breath and asked a few questions to give myself time to think of a good reply. He answered in brief. Then I provided him all the details, including a biblical perspective.

This is not a question I would have asked my dad. Shame, a dark cloud, even anger, would come with asking about much less. No, not safe.

Safety. Trust. These are characteristics I wanted my son to see in me. Ask anything. It will be okay. Don’t ask Google. Don’t ask your friends. Your mom and I are here, and we’ll always tell you the truth to the best of our ability.

Today, most moms and dads are better prepared to talk about sex than their parents, but much more is required of us because our culture is forcing sexual messages at them. It’s not just words either. Depending on the study, the average age for kids to be exposed to pornography is between the ages of 9 and 12.

Between 9 and 12…that’s the average. That means a lot of kids who are younger are seeing porn too. Many kids are going from total innocence to hard-core-you-can’t-even-imagine porn. It happened to my son. He was just 8, when another 8-year-old boy showed him porn on an iPod. This friend came from a Christian home and didn’t even have wifi because his parents wanted to protect him, but of course, he found the Internet everywhere else, from the library to McDonald’s.

Today, the refrain is, “It’s not if a child will see porn, but when.”

Parents rightfully want to preserve a child’s innocence, but knowledge about sexuality doesn’t harm their innocence. In fact, it can help preserve it. Many parents fear providing information about sex to their children will make them curious. But every kid is curious, and not talking about it leaves our children unprepared. God created sex and he made it to be good. Our job as Christian parents is to teach our children God’s plan for sex, even when our culture seeks to warp that design.

Obviously, this topic is bigger than one article, so here are basic tips and great resources to help you parent well in a sexualized culture.

Fight False Security
Fight the voice in your head that says, “This won’t happen to my child.” No parent plans for their child to be exposed to sexual content. It just happens…often when least expected. Be on guard.

Start Now
Learn now, grow now, and plan how you will talk to your kids. Procrastination destroys good intentions. You’ll be tempted to say it’s too early or too late. Kill that thought because your 4-year-old and your 16-year-old need your guidance. Recently, a parent told me her 6-year-old child was exposed to porn by another 6-year-old with a smart device.

Protect Your Devices
Install Accountability and Filtering software, like Covenant Eyes (covenanteyes.com), on your devices. If a device can’t be monitored with software and lacks strong parental controls, don’t buy it. Unprotected devices are an invitation to serious issues.

Also, filtering-only is not enough; and accountability/monitoring software is a must. First, filters teach nothing, except how to get around a filter. Accountability creates conversations and opportunities for discipleship. Parents are their kids’ best resource and accountability software is simply a tool that helps parents better engage their kids about what they see and do online.

Read These Great Resources
Here are some amazing resources that will guide you in training and discipling your kids.

  1. Luke Gilkerson at Intoxicated on Life (intoxicatedonlife.com) has a fantastic guide called “Having the Talk.” It provides seven lessons to introduce your child to Biblical sexuality and will give you confidence and reduce confusion about what to say.
  2. Hal and Melanie Young have a wealth of resources on their site RaisingRealMen.com. Among them is a book they wrote called “Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality.” It’s written to and for teen guys to help them navigate our cultural minefield.
  3. “Good Pictures Bad Pictures” is a great book you can use with your young kids to help them understand why pornography is dangerous and how to reject it. You can find it at protectyoungminds.org.
  4. “Equipped: Raising Godly Digital Natives” is an easy read packed with tips that help you guide your child in a pornified world. This free e-book shows parents how to have honest conversations about self-image, sexuality, sin and shame, and provides proven methods for training children to be media literate. Get “Equipped” and other free ebooks at www.covenanteyes.com/ebooks.Internet Filtering
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Do You Hear What I Hear?

I first noticed it last December. How I had missed it for forty-something years, I have no idea, but I did. Last December was different, though.

Last December, I heard something that made my heart leap, and filled me with wonder.

I heard hymns being sung in stores and being played on the radio. I heard people who don’t know the Lord singing His praises– “Oh, Come let us adore Him, Christ, The Lord!” “Fall on your knees…Oh, night when Christ was born.” “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” People who don’t know our God were joyfully lifting their voices in songs of praise to Him at this time of year. I stood in awe.

“How can they sing about what they do not know?” I wondered. And then I realized what an amazing opportunity God gives His people each year to tell them about what they are singing. Do we hear it? Do we take advantage of it?

Many of us have been sharing ideas for things that we can do within our family– Advent reading calendars, decorating trees with the names of Christ as we examine Who He is and what He has done for us, and more– and those things are critically important for keeping our own hearts and minds stayed on Him and for shepherding the hearts of our children to know and love Him wholly.

But, are we missing even bigger discipleship and outreach opportunities, because we aren’t listening?

At this time of year, when people are joyfully singing praise to the Newborn King, wouldn’t it make sense that we would do everything we can as God’s families to introduce them to the One they are singing about?

Easy Christmas Outreach Ideas for Families.

One year, when our children were much younger, we made candy cane ornaments with little gift tags that detailed the legend of the candy cane. They offered us an instant evangelism tool as we left them behind with cashiers we met at stores, gave them to family members, and more. We may never know the impact those little gifts had on the recipients this side of eternity, but it allowed our children to see just how important it is to show people kindness and love and to tell them about Jesus.  Here is a nice article about the legend of the candy cane, including a printable tag you can use when you hand them out.  (Me, not being so creative, simply purchased a couple of kits from Oriental Trading. The kit we used doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but this one is similar.)

Another thing that our family has done through the years at different times has been to bake breads and make homemade apple butter to take out to our neighbors, along with gospel-rich cards. The kids always enjoyed the baking and preparation time as much as they did the visiting with neighbors time, and they still ask me each year if we’re going to bake for the neighbors. Especially the first time we did this, we were taken aback by just how much this simple act meant to those we were blessing with our little gifts.

You could host a Christmas Caroling party at your home. Open your doors and invite your neighbors to go Christmas Caroling with you. This is a great way, not only to help people reconnect with the Christmas story, but also to help your family engage your community through God’s love. Pray that God allows you to open natural conversation with them about some of the lyrics they are singing. You may be surprised to find hearts wide open for the good news of the gospel during this season, and at the very least you will be building relationships that God can use to open more doors throughout the year.  Your children will see the importance of reaching out to those God has placed closest to you, and they will have a fun evening to remember as well.

I have heard of church groups setting up Christmas present wrapping stations at local malls and shopping centers, perhaps your family could do the same. Or, perhaps you could simply offer your services within your neighborhood. Once again, this expression of kindness can be used to open doors for gospel conversations both this month and then continuing throughout the year as you build that relationship. This doesn’t take a whole lot of preparation, time or money, but it would definitely be a great way to show God’s love as you bless others during what can become a busy stressful time for many.

Minister to those in need this Christmas season. The days and nights are long and very cold for those who are in need, and this time of year provides a natural way for believers to meet those needs physically which often opens the doors for us and others to meet spiritual needs as well. In our community, there are rescue missions, donation stations, and more that can use our help. Perhaps, your family could open your hearts and home to widows in your church or neighborhood, military families who are separated this holiday season or who are adjusting to a new way of life after a deployment is over, college students who don’t have the money to go home for the holidays, young couples who find themselves alone this Christmas, etc. Perhaps you and some friends could carol at a local nursing home or retirement community. There are needs all around us, and this season provides a wonderfully natural platform for God’s people to meet them as we celebrate the greatest gift ever given.

If you have a lot of young families in your neighborhood, perhaps you could use this time of year to host a Christmas craft party for some of the children. When school gets out, many families struggle with the lack of routine. Hosting a fun morning for the young moms and their children could become a fun tradition in your neighborhood, and could open some great doors for building relationships and sharing your faith.

For Unto Us Is Born This Day

These are just a sampling of ways your family could take advantage of the open doors that are all around us this month. Will you? Will you (and I) make it a priority to look outside of ourselves and step out of our comfort zones to share the good news of this miraculous birth with those all around us? Will we tell them the true good news of this season– about the greatest gift ever given? Will we model for our children what love for God and others looks like when it is lived out? Will we take a break from the busy-ness we create for ourselves this season (and all year long, really) to truly focus on others and on the open doors God provides for us?  Will we allow our soul to thrill as we hear the big, professional voices singing praise to our God through the loudspeakers of the grocery store and shopping centers, and will we be moved by His great gift to us to share His love with everyone we can?

Looking for more Christmas Outreach ideas?

Here is an article we published several years ago by Ann Dunagan about having a Mission-Minded Christmas. Here is a good reminder from Rachel Jankovic about keeping your priorities in order this Christmas.  And, here is a very short article, featuring a Christmas essay written by one of my children several years ago that is sure to turn all of our hearts and minds right onto what we should be focusing this month.

Your Turn To Share!

Share some of your family’s best Christmas outreach ideas and traditions in the comments below. I would LOVE to hear from you!

 

O Holy Night

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

 

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Throughout my entire life I have been reminded and have strongly believed that God’s plans were better than our plans– higher, greater, more spectacular. Well, I am seeing a very practical glimpse of that right now.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever consider writing a book on parenting, yet God apparently had other plans. Late this Summer, He set those plans in motion by prompting Master Books to approach me with just such an idea. God had impressed on them the need for a book about discipleship-based parenting from a homeschool mom’s perspective. They even had a tentative title in mind for the book.

As I started praying about and working, seemingly in reverse, to discover why God would choose me for this task  and what He would have me to say, a vision for this project exploded on me. The burden for Christian families that God gave David and I all those years ago was at the forefront of my mind as I studied His Word and sought His will about this new possibility. The faces of so many precious friends we have met at Teach Them Diligently through the years became very clear reminders of the importance of family, the privileged position we parents have been given, and the seemingly incessant war Satan is waging against us all.

Strangely (though honestly not surprising if you know me at all,) the thought of writing a book was not as daunting  to me as the thought of TELLING people I was writing a book. Yet, here I go, gratefully acknowledging this amazing gift God has given me, and offering many thanks to the amazing team at Master Books for following God’s leading and taking a chance on me.

I know very well that I am not up to this task, and for that I am truly grateful. I pray God uses this book mightily to encourage and equip His families, and that because the vessel is so weak, all credit and praise may God to Him alone.

So I hope you’ll be as excited by the this new book, due out in time for our Spring 2018 conventions, as I was in discovering why I was supposed to write it, and I ask you to pray for me in the days ahead as I still have quite a few words to write to finish the project. (And, of course, I hope to get to see you at TTD2018!!) :)

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Avoiding Burnout in Homeschooling

By Israel Wayne

Has your decision to homeschool your children ever left you feeling tired, overwhelmed or stressed out? As a student who was homeschooled (my family began homeschooling in 1978), I have learned a few things and over the years about how to avoid burnout in your homeschool.

One of the most common reasons for weariness and frustration among homeschooling parents is the weight of self-inflicted deadlines and standards. It is good, of course, to have goals in mind, but we must always ask ourselves: “Am I seeking to do the Lord’s will, or am I merely pursuing my own agenda?”

As Christian families, we need to view homeschooling not as a glorious end, in and of itself, but rather as a means to an end. The main goal is to raise children who love the Lord, and are committed to following Christ. It is not to produce robots that can recite random facts and data at the drop of a hat.

What a child knows is really insignificant compared to what he or she believes. We must move beyond facts to convictions. It is vital that our children know:

  1. What they believe.
  2. Why their beliefs are true.
  3. How to articulate their beliefs.
  4. How to live their beliefs consistently.

Getting the right answers on a test is meaningless unless a child knows how to apply those truths to everyday life. Non-applicable knowledge is worthless. As parents, we want our children to excel academically, and homeschoolers usually do. Our main motivation for homeschooling, however, should not be academic prowess. Instead, we should “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these (including academic) things will be added to us.” (Matt. 6:33)

We should always stay focused on our long-term goals, but we must consistently follow the leading of the Spirit. Why are we homeschooling? Our main objective should be to fulfill our God-given obligation to “train up our children in the way they should go.” (Prov. 22:6) Psalm 78, Deuteronomy 6 and 11 and many other passages stress the importance of teaching God’s laws to our children.

What is the purpose of an education? God’s primary reasons for commanding you to teach your own children are to:
1) Enable God to purify you (the parent), as you allow the fire and pressure of the homeschool setting to make you into pure gold.
2) To help your children know and love Him, and become prepared to serve Him.

God desires for us to have close family relationships, and He uses the process of family discipleship to develop Godly character in both the children and the parents. God has established and designed parents to be the primary influences in shaping their children’s values. Parents can’t expect to receive a Godly harvest unless they labor during the planting.

We must learn to view home education as a lifestyle decision, and not merely an academic alternative. Use every available moment to teach eternal principles. Developing a Biblical worldview in children is not something that happens by accident. It is taught by formal instruction and caught by the Godly example of the parents.

By keeping in mind that we are homeschooling because we want to raise children who love Jesus, we won’t be so frustrated if our child doesn’t understand Phonics or Chemistry. I’ve seen some mothers become so frustrated by their inability to communicate math facts that they scream at their children and throw books! In trying to teach academics, are we achieving our ultimate goal of developing Godly character? Nothing is so important that it overrides our relationships with God and each other.

It is also easy to get caught up in the busyness of activities, running our children here and there, and over-committing ourselves into panic. Are all the programs we are involved in bringing us closer to God and each other, or are they mostly wearing us out? We may need to recalibrate our compass. What does God expect of us?

“He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you. To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ec. 12:13)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)

If we focus on teaching eternal principles, and developing Christ-like character in our children, we will have academic success as a natural result of our obedience to God. We should not merely teach our children what to believe, but show them why our beliefs are true. They should be able to determine, from the principles in Scripture, what is good and what is evil. They should recognize absolute truths and be able to reason from a Biblical worldview.

By keeping obedience to God as our primary reason for homeschooling, we will have the flexibility to change our educational approaches, relax in the face of deadlines, and put family relationships above SAT scores. We can have a joyful, peaceful, loving family and still achieve an academic standard superior to the world; but we must keep Christ as the focus and avoid humanistic expectations.

 

Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker. He and his wife Brook are the parents of nine children and the directors of Family Renewal, LLC. www.FamilyRenewal.org. Join Israel at all six Teach Them Diligently events in 2018.

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A Heart of Rebellion

By Chuck Black, for the Teach Them Diligently Blog 10/2013

In 1998 BT (Before Teens) I held to the ideological view that if we as parents immersed our children in the truth of God’s Word and walked fully in a real and tangible faith, that our children would emerge at eighteen as shining knights in service to the Lord, fully equipped and able to take on the attacks of a secular world. Fast forward to 2005 and our first child launched into the fray as a solid young woman of faith. Alas the formula worked, and all seemed right with our well-oiled soldier producing machine. Over the next few years however, I started to discover a few cracks in my shiny ideology. By the time our third child, a strong-willed boundary testing son reached eighteen, my godly soldier producing machine appeared broken and lying in pieces all around me. The spirit of rebellion had gripped the heart of my son so completely that I was forced to question all of the training and discipling I had diligently implemented into his life. At the pinnacle of his rebellion with dire consequences imminent, I looked up and asked God, “What happened? We tried to be godly parents and raise him in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. What did I do wrong?”

It was through the prayers of my wife, Andrea, that our answer came. God spoke to her and said, “I am a perfect Father, and I have children rebel against me all the time. What makes you think you would be exempt?” Then I realized that even the once perfect angel, Lucifer, rebelled in a perfect home with a perfect Father. I had failed to consider the will of the heart. Even with the extreme care of gardening and cultivating the heart of our children, they still must choose Christ and His ways on their own.

What then? Do we throw up our hands in despair, knowing that we cannot control the hearts of our children? God forbid! God is not mocked and neither does his Word return void. Although each child must ultimately choose Christ, we can guide, train, nurture, and help mold their hearts.

As parents we must become master discerners of the hearts of our children. Every time I walk by one of my children, my radar is turned on and tuned in, listening to their heart. When I first began to see Ian wander, I did not ignore the signs. The further he wandered the closer I got to him. I wanted him to know that I would not let him be content in his sin, and that I would do whatever it took to see him through it. During the two years that he choose to walk away from the Lord, the voice of truth kept calling him and so did our relentless love for him. Not the gushy, ‘it’s okay…we love you no matter what you do’ love. No, it was the tough love that said, ‘I will love you so much that I will discipline you, and I will not walk away from you.”

Through much prayer, the power of the Word hidden in his heart, and a phone call from a brother in Christ to my son, God pulled Ian back from the brink of his rebellion. By the grace of God, Ian returned and began to walk in the Spirit once again. It was a long hard journey and there were setbacks, but he did return to the Lord…and to us. Eventually he became the worship leader for Campus Crusade for Christ ministries at his university sharing the love of God to over four hundred students each week.

A heart of Rebellion Chuck Black,Teach Them Diligently ConventionThose were trying times for me. There were as many lessons for me to learn as there was for Ian. I learned not to judge families with a wayward child. I learned to walk in faith and cling to God in a way I never had to before. I learned to love my child in spite of the sin that was ruining his life. I learned that God is faithful, and that we must endure to the end. I learned that God never abandons us. The irony of it all was that just prior to experiencing the rebellion of my son, I had written the first book of the Knights of Arrethtrae, Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione. And do you know what the theme of the book was? That’s right…rebellion. Little did I know that the words I had penned regarding the spirit of rebellion would soon be tested in my own life.

Parents, my encouragement to you is to listen to the hearts of your children. Let God’s love spill out through you and onto your children and let it endure to the end, even through those tough times when your child is questioning everything you’ve taught him. Through prayer, call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to draw him back.

Tonight as I sat down to write this article, Ian called and wanted to Skype with me. My voice was not enough…he wanted to see my face. The image popped up and there was my son, looking at me with weary eyes from hours of studying. Before I could say a word, Ian looked at me and said, “I love you, Dad.” It was all the reward I needed for persevering through those tough years.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Galatians 6:9
Are you familiar with Chuck Black’s books? They are without question our family’s favorites to listen to on audio book as we travel. We have been known to drive around for an extra hour or more just to finish a book before we get out of the car. Click here to purchase your own sets!

Parents of Teens, Come Hear Chuck Black and Others Speak at Teach Them Diligently 2018

  • Chuck Black is first a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and in the Holy-Spirit-inspired, infallible Word of God. He is second a husband to his wife, Andrea, and third, a father to six children ranging in age from 30 to 20 (Brittney, Reese, Ian, Emily, Abigail and Keenan). Chuck and Andrea have homeschooled their children for the past twenty-four years. Register now and make your plans to hear Chuck Black at Teach Them Diligently 2018 ( Nashville, TN, Rogers, AR, Myrtle Beach, SC ), you will be glad you did!
  • Norm Wakefield will also be speaking at all six of our 2018 locations! ( Nashville, TN, Rogers, AR, Atlanta, GA, Mobile, AL, Myrtle Beach, SC, Columbus, OH ) He has spoken at homeschool conferences as a keynote and featured speaker since 1992. Having been a pastor for 10 years, he has a shepherd’s heart and a vision to be an instrument in God’s hands to turn the hearts of men to Him and to their wives and children.
  • Find out more about our Teen Program ( including sessions on “Christian Apologetics: Defending and Advancing Biblical Christianity in a Postmodern World” ) at Teach Them Diligently 2018

Register Today

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“Mama, did you know that Noah’s ark was not cute like it is on nursery walls?”

That completely random statement came from my 10-year-old while we were driving to pick up her big sister from volleyball practice last week.

She went on. “It was really scary to people! We watched a 45-second video that showed what the earth may have looked like as the flood came, and it must have been horrifying.”

Not feeling that it was the best time to remind her that we had discussed that very fact and even watched that video together, I wanted to capitalize on that discipleship moment that was started during her geography class in co-op earlier that day.

“I know!” I replied,  “Can you imagine how scary it must have been to see the waters coming at you like that? What was the only way those people could have been safe?”

“They had to be in the ark to be safe”

“That’s right. Only those in the ark were safe, but they were completely protected from the danger that was outside, weren’t they?

Did you ever think about the ark as pointing us to something even bigger? What is the only way for us to be truly safe—for always?”

“To be in Jesus.”

“Exactly, Jesus offered us safely for all eternity, didn’t He? He told us that whoever the Father puts in His hand, no one is able to pluck them out. Pretty amazing, huh?”

As we continued talking in the car, that exchange turned very personal for me. God impressed on my heart just how often I forget that I am safe; how often I allow the dangers all around me to distract and even paralyze me; and how much I need to be reminded just like I was reminding my daughter that no matter what big waves I see coming towards me, God will never let me go.

We turned “He will hold me fast” on the radio and sang along for the rest of the ride to the gym, but the Lord kept reminding me of those truths well beyond that short car ride. I am safe in Him. I can rely on Him. I can run to Him. He WILL hold me fast.

Praise the Lord that He often uses those discipleship moments we spend with our children to grow our own faith as well.

He will hold me fast.

When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast.
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path.
For my love is often cold.
He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast.
He will hold me fast.
For my Savior loves me so.
He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight.
Christ will hold me fast.
Precious in His holy sight,
He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let me soul be lost.
His promises shall last.
Bought by Him at such a cost.
He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died.
Christ will hold me fast.
Justice has been satisfied.
He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life,
He will hold me fast.
Till our faith is turned to sight,
When He comes at last.

He will hold me fast.
He will hold me fast.
For my Savior loves me so.
He will hold me fast.

~Ada Habershonnew/ Matt Merker

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July 4th

Next week, we will celebrate the 241st birthday of America’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence. For many of our families, that means extra family time in the days ahead, so I wanted to pass along some fun ideas for how your family can make the most of your extra together time!

(Click on any of the headlines to link to blog posts explaining the ideas noted.)

1.  Make a Fourth of July hand print craft.

This is extremely cute, and it would be easy to do this with the whole family. How fun would it be to repeat this year after year to watch how much your kiddos have grown? 

2.  Make shaving cream fireworks.

Looking for a messy craft that anyone can do and doesn’t take many supplies? Here’s an idea you’re family will definitely want to explore! 

3.  Host a Water Soaker Paint War

Ok, so this not specifically for Fourth of July, BUT our family agrees this idea can be modified to be a perfectly fun activity for old and young kiddos alike. For the younger ones, go ahead and create art. For our teens, though, I’m envisioning old t-shirts and an epic battle all over our yard, creating our own works of art on one another. No matter how you apply this, family fun WILL be had! :)

4.  Balloon Ping Pong with Paper Plate Paddles.

This is an idea our family took to a camp where we served last summer in Poland. Teens and elementary kids alike had a blast with this! We all made our paddles, decorating them to our liking. Then we blew up a ton of balloons and let the games begin. This is a super fun and totally easy idea to incorporate anytime.

5.  Fourth of July Scavenger Hunt

Either by using the free printable linked here or coming up with your own clues and ideas, this is a great way to hang out together on July Fourth AND could be a learning tool if you’re feeling especially homeschool-y right now.

6.  Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

You may want to find some fun audiobooks for July 4th. If your family is traveling around the holiday, audiobooks are a great way to make the time go faster– and to enjoy some good stories along the way! Our family often travels with our Audible audio books in tow.

If none of these ideas inspire you, we have an entire Pinterest Board FULL of many more! Check it out here.

 

From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy Fourth of July! We have much to be thankful for in America, and I hope we never lose sight of the many blessings God has bestowed upon us all!

 

I hope you’ll post pictures if you try any of these ideas! We’d love to see them. Simply tag your pictures with #TTDFourthofJuly, and let us see how much fun your family had this week!

 

This post may contain affiliate links.

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Six Resources For Prayer

This week as we take our “Monday Morning Minute” together, we are focusing our hearts on Prayer and formulating a strategy for it. In this article, I wanted to share some of the resources I use or created to help my heart and mind stay focused as I come before the throne of God in prayer each day.

Six Resources For Prayer

Focus Your Heart On Prayer

If you want to grow closer to the Lord, you must set aside time for prayer, for how can you draw close to Someone with Whom you never speak? In the workshop I did on prayer at Teach Them Diligently this year, we discussed that in order to have a more passionate and powerful prayer time, we must understand that we are approaching the throne of a King. Yes, we are able to approach that throne at any time, which is an amazing thing in and of itself, but we need to do so with great humility and awe.

Sometimes, I wonder if  we have not so exalted Christ as our Friend and Father (both of which are true of Him) that we have downplayed Christ as Almighty Creator and King. The God with Whom we can talk freely has the power to change lives, rebuild marriages, heal wounds and sicknesses, and intervene in any situation we have before us. Come Boldly!

To have this passionate and powerful prayer time, though, we must have a strategy. There are so many distractions and road blocks to prayer that too many times we will neglect it if we don’t.

6 Prayer Resources– and Lots of Links and Ideas!

(Click on the headlines or other red copy to follow the links.)

PRAYER FOR YOUR CHILDREN

screenshot-2016-10-10-09-19-29This is a printable I created with verses that help guide you as you pray for your children each day. Honestly, these are things you would want to pray for yourself, your husband, and your friends as well. I would love for you to download it and make it part of your regular prayer routine. I keep copies of this list above my treadmill, in my Bible and devotions bag, by my bed, etc. to make it easy to find verses to pray when I’m prompted to.

ACTS PRAYER GUIDE

This is a great way to pray, for it helps to keep you focused on one thing at a time. You will find that by slowing down and focusing on Adoration of Christ for Who He is first, you will worship Him far better. You will get a clearer glimpse of His power and majesty as well as His love and care for you and those you care about.

At the end of the time of Adoration, I always find that I can hardly hold back the Confession. When I see Christ as He is, I cannot help but see how far short of that I truly fall.

Next, Thanksgiving pours naturally out of a heart that is cleansed and in good fellowship with God.

Finally, there is a time of Supplication, where you bring your requests before the throne of the One you have already noted is powerful and loving enough to answer. This is my absolute favorite way to pray.

This resource is one I put together to give you verses and explanation for all of these elements of prayer. Try it out– your prayers will be more focused when you do!

PRAYER CALENDAR

For this season, I created a prayer guide for our families to pray for one another. This is a great resource, not only to pray for TTD families, but also for any families you know. It is set up on a monthly format, and there is a family prayer prompt on each day. If we would all lift up Christian families in this way each day, I firmly believe that God will do a mighty work among us. God tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if we humble ourselves and pray, He will heal our land. Let’s give it a try, shall we? To get the full story and strategy behind this resources, click here.

This is a blank version of the prayer calendar I created for our families. It is for you to personalize. I have one with names of ladies in our church. I am able to be reminded to pray for them on that day each month, and I generally send a text or Facebook message to let them know I am praying for them and ask about any needs they may have. This is a quick way to stay connected to the people God has placed in your life. I would love for you to use this among the ladies in your church or homeschool group! Pass around several copies, allowing the ladies to put their name and contact info in a different block on each page. You will be amazed at how much closer you feel to people that you pray for regularly!!

PRAYER JOURNAL

I like to write out my prayers, for it helps me stay focused and pour my heart out to God without as many distractions. I do not weigh my words, for my prayer journals are very personal– I just write to God. It is through these journals or diaries that I have also found that God directs my attention to verses that may be well-hidden in the recesses of my brain, but are perfectly helpful for the very moment I am in.

In addition to writing my prayers in journals or calendars, I have made prayer lists in notebooks that have tabs for each unique section. There are as many ways to handle a prayer list as there are individuals.

In my personal prayer diary, I have sections for my husband and each child. I also have sections for my parents, sister and her family, and my in-laws. From there, I have sections for family, friends, Teach Them Diligently families, marriages in distress, health issues I am asked to pray about, etc.

Often simply seeing the tab will remind me of the prayer requests on that page, and the act of writing them down cements them in my mind. I am amazed how often the Lord prompts me to pray for those who have asked me to. If you would like to be added to my prayer list, please never hesitate to ask me to pray. God has given me a great burden for all your families, and it would be my pleasure to join with you in praying for the needs you have.

PRAYER NOTES APP

This is a nice little app if you like to keep track of things electronically. You can even set up a prayer schedule that your device will remind you of– IE: Monday, pray for family. Tuesday, pray for church friends and leaders. Etc. In this app, you can set up different headings and note answers and changes just like you can on paper. I tend to use this app for many of the TTD family requests, so I can keep them all in one place. The downside to this app is that it does not sync between devices (at least last time I tried to.) So, I keep most of the lists on my Ipad for use when I am sitting for specific prayer times. Requests that are urgent or timely, I will put on my phone with an alert, so I get a reminder to pray for them.

INSPIRATIONAL READING ABOUT PRAYER

This is such a small list of resources, but I pray that it is enough to inspire you to start a passionate and powerful prayer life of your own. God is wanting to have that fellowship with you! He desires that you cast your care upon Him, for He cares for you more than you can even imagine. With the right strategy and a committed heart and mind, today can be the start of your passionate and powerful prayer life!

What are some of your favorite prayer resources or ideas? Tell me in the comments below– I am always looking for new ideas! :)

 

For the Sake of His Name,

Leslie

Did you miss our last Monday Morning Minute? Click here to pick up a printable and some ideas about Daystarter verses!!

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About David and Leslie Nunnery

David and Leslie Nunnery founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With eight years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this couple shares their know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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