Friday, September 20, 2013

September 2013 BHN Devotional

(Reflections from Mt. Hermon, August 12, 2013 Pastor Ray Johnston)

From: Leigh Arevalo
Pastor Ray gave a talk on “Game Changers”.  He started with this story:  A woman looked out her window and saw her neighbor place clothes on a clothesline.  The woman muttered to herself, “why those clothes are still dirty; someone should teach that woman how to properly wash her clothes.”  The next time she hung her clothes to dry, the woman witnessed the same thing, and muttered the same thing.  This happened over and over.  One day, she saw her neighbor hang her clothes, and they were clean!  She exclaimed to her husband, “Honey, look!  It looks like someone finally showed her how to properly clean her clothes!”  Her husband replied, “actually, today, I decided to wash the windows…”

He then went on and shared from 1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath.  He had a piece of paper that contained a negative viewpoint on one side, and a positive on the other.

Most of us are aware of this incredible story.  The Philistines had gathered their army against the Israelites.  They were a strong force and well skilled in the art of war, especially with metal weapons since they were the first to create them.  Everyone is terrified of them.

Of the most terrifying to behold, Goliath is a soldier standing at 9 feet tall.  He is fully armored and a master at weaponry.  No one wants to fight him, and the Israelites stay put for forty days, hiding in their tents, listening to the taunts, jeers, and goading from the Philistines, but not taking action.

The Israelites were living in fear.  The Israelites mainly placed their focus on their problems, (the Philistines and Goliath.)  Because their focus was on their problems, they expected to be defeated.  Because they expected to be defeated, they developed an attitude of self-protection.  Because they developed an attitude of self-protection, their response was to run away and hide.  This is a common response in today’s culture.  We run from anything that makes us uncomfortable.

Along comes David.  The youngest of eight brothers; he’s between 10 to 17 years old.  No previous battle experience, aside from killing a few wild animals while guarding his sheep.  No weapons, except for a sling and five stones.

David carries a different perspective from his family, king, and people.  David placed his focus on God.  While others saw the giant known as Goliath, David saw the other greater giant known as GOD.  David did not focus on his problems, or the negative thinking of his family or authorities.  He focused on God’s past faithfulness and future rewards.

Because David focused on God, he anticipated God’s help.  Because he anticipated God’s help, he insisted on being involved; running to help, instead of running away.  Because he insisted on being involved, he took time to prepare.  He tried on Saul’s armor, but it did not fit.  So, he went back to what he knew best, his shepherd’s bag, his sling, and five smooth stones.  Because David held this perspective, he had an impact on everyone around him.

Pastor Ray encouraged us to consider which side of the page do we want to live on?  Which perspective do we want to focus on?  Which window do we want to look out of?

As we plan and implement our homeschool days and life, which lens are we looking through?  Do we make our decisions based on fear or faith?

Consider which resonates most with you…

The lens of FEAR: As I homeschool, I mainly focus on my problems (trying to maintain a schedule that pleases others agendas or even my own, trying to teach upper level math, trying to get through a day without criticizing my children, impatience, over-commitment, trying to manage it all, etc.)  Because I focus on my problems, I expect defeat, (there’s no way I can to this all…I’m just not cut out for this…I don’t want to mess up my kids …I think someone else can do a better job than me…)  Because I expect defeat, I develop an attitude of self-protection, (I don’t need this stress…I know that I’d be happier if the kids went to school).  Because I develop an attitude of self protection, I run away.

The lens of FAITH: As I homeschool, I place my focus on God, who is greater than any challenge I might have with my curriculum, with my kid’s or my own attitudes, with my schedule, etc.  Because my focus is on God, I anticipate God’s help (I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me).  Because I anticipate God’s help, I insist on being involved by having a heart, mind, and will that is open to God’s guidance and direction, and intentionally engaging God and my children.  Because I insist on being involved, I take time to prepare (through prayer, quiet time, Bible study, getting involved with homeschool related support and encouragement avenues…). I take the time to have God help me discern what will help me or hinder me.  Because I took the time to prepare, I slew my Goliath (whatever that may be), and positively impacted everyone around me.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make sure you are clear on one thing.  I have good friends who have homeschooled and then have enrolled their kids in school.  I believe that each family needs to discern what is best for their family, and that might mean an option other than homeschool.  What I am saying here, is to be cognizant of which lens you are basing that decision, the lens of fear or the lens of faith.

Also, there is a danger in comparing our homeschool to other families, just as it’s dangerous to compare our children, spouses, and ourselves to others.  Ray said something that has affected me profoundly in how I homeschool and serve in leadership.  He said, “God can use you without somebody else’s armor on.”  While David tried on other’s armor, he went back to what he knew best, to his strengths, and God used him in a mighty way.  Expect Him to do the same with you.

Ray also shared,  “Fear is the darkroom where negatives develop.”   Be aware of how much time we spend in the darkroom….

Lastly, I encourage you to consider the five stones David armed himself with.  What are your five stones you will arm yourself with as we go into this school year?  What are your five pieces of scripture you can call upon when Goliath comes stomping into your campground, strutting around and taunting you? 

1. Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God , which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.
2. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight….
3. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go….
4. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
5. Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

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