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How to Know God’s Will

 

 

 

God's Will

 Guest post by Anne Marie.

As a Bible Teacher, I’ve heard people ask, “I need to make a serious decision! How do I know God’s Will for me?”

Honestly, I’m slightly baffled by this question. I know I used to ask this question myself. And please do not think I’m some theological genius who has studied the scriptures for years and years and I know all the answers. I am far from that! I do not have it all figured out. I’m just a normal mom. But over the years the more I read, the more I learn how God is clear about His will in the Bible.

Let’s look at the scriptures!

How to Know God’s Will -

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV, italics is mine)

Notice the word “THEN”. I love how God’s word is filled with, what I call, “IF – THEN” statements. They are scattered all throughout God’s word. {Watch for them. They are pretty neat!} These verses only have the “THEN” portion, but if you read carefully, you will see that we have to do something and THEN we can test and approve God’s Will. So what do we have to do?

Be a Living Sacrifice.

Why? How come? Well, you have to back up and go to the last verse of the previous chapter. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” (Romans 11:36a) Why do we need to become Living Sacrifices? Because God is God and we are not. All things are for God, which includes you and me. Do you have the mind of God? I think we like to consider our ways before we consider what God has told us in His Word. Yet, He is the One who is mighty and perfect in all things.

Paul is URGING us. He wants us to take this seriously. God is merciful to us, shouldn’t we at least consider what He is wanting from us? He wants Living Sacrifices.

Ok. So if being a Living Sacrifice is what God wants and THEN we know His will, then….How? How do we become Living Sacrifices?

We are to be transformed. How? By the renewing of our minds.

Here’s the next question. Think with me. HOW do we renew our minds? Look at Romans 12:3 (NIV).

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.”

Here are 6 ways to help you determine God’s Will for your life:

1) Understand that God is opposed to the proud. I struggle with this daily. And I know “Pride goeth before a fall!” But choosing to be humble can be hard for a strong-willed person like me. Perhaps you struggle with that as well. James tells us, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Are you prideful? Are you expecting God to do something for you? He does not owe us anything. [See Romans 11:36 again.]

2) Understand that you might have wrong motives in your quest. It is possible that you do not know how to make a particular decision and “know God’s will” because your motives are not pure. Search your heart! You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3, NIV)

3) Be Thankful. This is an easy one. I don’t say that because it is easy to be thankful in all situations, even though that is what God expects from us, but that the scripture is black and white on this issue. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)

4) Be Sanctified. “Sanctified” has become a churchy word. Basically it means to be set apart for a specific use. A pair of prescription eyeglasses are sanctified to help a specific person see better. This is another black and white section of scripture. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6, NIV) How are we to be sanctified? We have to control our bodies and not be like those who do not know God. He has a specific purpose for us.

5) Do Good. I have always held to the belief that if a person is not dead, then God has a work for him to do. God doesn’t like it when people sit in pews and do no good. {Again, this is another black and white statement!} Peter tells us, For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2:15, NIV) If you are doing good things in the name of Jesus, then people cannot argue against you. They cannot slander your name. They might try to, but in the end they will be seen as fools.

6) Read and Obey the scriptures. This seems like something everyone should know to do, but do we REALLY do this? We might read the scriptures, but do we then OBEY them? Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22, NIV) Do you want to know what God’s will is? Do you REALLY want to know? Do you have a heart like David’s?

“I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.” ~ Psalm 40:8, NIV

Is God’s law within your heart? Do I have God’s law in MY heart?

Think of yourself with sober judgement, my friend. Perhaps we, no I, need to spend more time reading and praying than making decisions in my own understanding.

God does not hide. He wants to commune with us and walk with us throughout each decision we make, large or small. He loves you and wants what is best for you and your family. God is mighty, holy, and just. And He is good. The Lord is on your side.

“He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9, NIV)

Be a Living Sacrifice. You know what that boils down to?

Surrender.

God's Will 2

Total Surrender to Jesus. It means telling Jesus, “I am not in charge. My plans equal nothing. Your plans are everything.”

Be humble.
Have a pure heart.
Be thankful in all things.
Control yourself and be honorable.
Do good works.
Read and obey your Bible.

THEN you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What do you need to surrender, or begin, to discern God’s will?

*************************************************************************

businesscardheadshotAnne Marie is an Austenite and the author of the blog Future.Flying.Saucers. She is a southern belle who is married to her Mr. Darcy. They have three of the silliest children in South Carolina. Anne Marie has a passion for Bible study and teaching the Word to adults and children. On Wednesday nights you will find her teaching Biblical concepts to Awana clubs at her church. All of her Awana and Bible lessons can be found for FREE on her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

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Your Lofty Homeschool Ideals Might Need to Change If…

 

Guest Post by Kimberly A. Vogel

Lofty #Homeschool Ideals @hsbapost

I remember the lofty ideals I dreamed of when I first started homeschooling. Every activity would be meaningful and not at all standard. Real life learning would occur in every opportunity, including kids cooking and helping with chores. We would not settle on a curriculum, but would strive for the best. The evening would be filled with read alouds while we all knitted together. (Seriously, stop laughing! You know you had lofty ideals too! Maybe not the knitting part…)

We operated that way for quite some time. Learning happened in the kitchen, the backyard, and at the park. We did read alouds and my kids knitted. When the knitting needles were flung across the room in frustration we found out crochet was more the style around here. I picked the best curriculum for our family and we strived to finish every lesson.
Fast forward four years and I’m here in survival mode. The kids cook, but only to ease my load. We are so far behind when summer came we named it year round school and I only pray we finish this year. A read a-loud book hasn’t been read aloud in over a year. I can live in regret that my lofty ideals aren’t working, or I can change those ideals.

Your lofty ideals might need to change if:
  • Your plan is not working.
  • Your children grow out of the ideals.
  • Your life grows out of the ideals.

I have teenagers.

Gone are the days we can load up the car and have fun at the park while calling it school.  Here are the days where extra learning consists of SAT courses instead of ultra cool science experiments. Science experiments now require a lab, not just a backyard.

My oldest two work as a nanny for our next door neighbor. Because their homeschool day is cut short, it’s hard to find time to get it all done. Really, they could easily still get it all done, but now they work in their rooms and time management passed from my hands to theirs. Many life lessons right there…

Sometimes our lofty ideals have to change as our life changes. {TweetThis}

While it’s hard and easy to get bogged down in the regrets of what’s not happening, I need to focus on the what is. Some days are cut short because they work, but look at the real life lessons they learn while caring for a toddler! They are no longer hanging out at home with us doing read a-louds while crocheting; instead they are hanging out with friends living what we only read about in books!

While my homeschool no longer holds the lofty ideals I pictured when we started this journey, it’s only because the picture changed as my kids grew up. My big ideas of not using worksheets but real life learning changed. Now worksheets help keep us moving through the curriculum so real life living can happen.

Instead of a list of what I want my homeschool to look like, I’ve moved to a list of what I want to teach my daughters before they leave home. That is more than any curriculum!

 

Kimberly shares God’s love for children through her writing, and encourages moms through her blog www.kimberlyavogel.com. She lives in Texas with her husband, Kevin, and four daughters. The whole family enjoys serving God as leaders in the children’s ministry at church. When she’s not homeschooling her girls, or teaching creative writing, you can find her spinning words into stories or twisting yarn or wire into crafty creations.

 

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10 Tips for a Frugal Homeschooling Staycation

 

I don’t know about you but I am a bit of an enigma. On the one hand I love to travel. I like getting in a car, setting out on an adventure, and exploring my surroundings along the way. On the other hand, I’m a bit of a homebody. I like to stick close to home and spend time with my family and enjoy the surroundings I live in on a regular basis. We don’t have opportunity to travel that often, so when we do we usually make a big trip out of it.

Staycation Tips

But more often than not, we find ourselves making mini trips, or what has been coined a staycation. In the last few years with the economy so low, a lot of people are adopting a staycation mentality. That means exploring the areas that you can drive to and back home within a day. Doing this affords the opportunity for a bit of adventure without the overwhelming cost of hotels, exorbitant gas prices and too many meals out at restaurants. Yet, travel of any kind, even to a not so distant attraction comes with costs. After all, even the local zoo charges a fee to get in. A staycation can offer your family a fun-filled, no pressure day to build memories. {Tweet That}

So how can you utilize the staycation mentality and still keep your costs at the lowest possible prices?

10 Tips for Frugal Staycation Fun

10 Tips for a Frugal Homeschooling Staycation

  1. Pack your meals. I am a small family of 3, yet a meal at a local fast food restaurant can easily cost us $30. But, if I pack a few ham and cheese sandwiches, split a large bag of chips into 3 baggies, add some grapes and juice boxes I can manage to make a lunch meal for about $2 a person. That is a huge savings.  Throw in a few extra bottles of water into that cooler, and you won’t be buying the over priced bottles from the tourist vendors.
  2. Buy gift cards from your local grocery. Most grocery stores now have gas stations as well and if you purchase your groceries from them, they offer you discounts on gas prices. But they also allow that gas discount with gift card purchases. If you know you have to eat out while traveling, plan ahead, purchase a gift card for the restaurant that you plan to eat at in the location you are going to, then use the gas perks to buy your gas for the trip.
  3. Look for ticket discounts. Often tourist attractions offer discounts to local residents. They do this by partnering with a local grocery chain. Go online and search for discount tickets to the attraction that you are planning to go to. Check with supermarket chains in the local area that you will be going to and see if they offer discounts or coupons for that attraction.
  4. Check your family memberships. Many zoos, museums, and science centers offer reciprocal programs across the nation. That means if you have a family membership to your local zoo, chances are you can get in free or at a reduced rate to a zoo in another city. The same is true for science centers and museums. For example, I live in Central Ohio, a membership to the local COSI (science center) means I can get free entrance into the science center in Newark, Cleveland and Toledo too, all within driving distance of home.
  5. Visit the National Parks and Museums. National parks offer a wide variety of hiking, camping, and often are found in historical locations, visits to such parks offer a wealth of homeschooling/field trip studies as well as family fun staycation time.  National museums are funded by American tax dollars. That means you get free admission. So look for national museums that are within driving distance of your home.
  6. Ask for a Discount. Tourist attractions, especially those that have are educational in nature, often offer discounts to educators. As a homeschooling family, you are an educator. They can’t know this if you don’t ask. So ask. Be prepared though to present some type of identification of your standing as an educator. This can be a membership car to HSLDA, or another membership to a homeschool organization. I show my letter of excused absence that I receive from my local school district and that has always sufficed.
  7. Visit Factories. Sometimes a factory offers tours to the public. These factory tours are an awesome way to introduce your children to the world of industry, business,  commerce, engineering, manufacturing and so much more. Some factories offer these tours for free because they know that many who take the tour will end up making a purchase in their visitor centers and gift shops.
  8. Visit your local farmer. Call ahead, and ask if the farm offers tours for educational purposes. If they have a minimum number of participants, work with your homeschool group or co-op and make a day out of it with friends.
  9. Spend a day at your State, metro or local park. Most park systems offer a wide variety of fun and learning opportunities. Do a bit of research online, you might just discover that the park you’ve visited for years has an entire program you aren’t aware of.
  10. Rent a Canoe. Often times you can find a company in your area that rents canoes to tourists. You get to spend a day on the water with your family for a nominal fee and explore your local area from a different perspective at the same time. It’s sure to be a fun and frugal day! (Don’t forget to pack a lunch.)

Whatever activity you choose to do close to home, remember that the purpose of a vacation, er um I mean staycation, is to have some time of fun and relaxation. Let go a bit and just let your family be happy together. It might just be the best memory you ever make.

What are your best frugal staycation tips? Share in comments.

Renée (15 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


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