Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rethinking things continues...

This time it is homeschooling.  For years I was taught to simply teach the basics and to teach apologetics and about God, and that would be enough.  We shouldn't worry about preparing our kids for college.  Well, that, along with so many other things, have been in the process of rethinking and reevaluating in our household for the last year and a half.  Sammy LOVES math and science.  He is especially interested in astronomy and doing experiments...and he's only 8.  So, we came to the conclusion that we want to prepare him so that if the Lord leads him to go to college for a degree and advancement, he won't have to go into it and take remedial courses, but that he would be fully prepared.  If God leads him contrary to that, we will be fine with that too, but we want to do everything that we possibly can to make sure he's ready for wherever the Lord may lead.  I have been reading a book recommended by a dear friend on Biblical homeschooling.  It has been challenging many of my previously held thoughts on things, and my status quo, which is a valuable thing.  I need to be shaken out of my rut once in awhile.  Anyway, in reading yesterday, I read something that was shocking, and I had to read it to Terry.  Now, I will state that I agree with a lot of this.  However, I will also state that I do not limit my God from being able to keep godly children safe if parents have no other recourse but to put their children in a state school.  My God is bigger than that.

"Our culture is being manipulated to worship the state.  We see the state as a god, with the right to control everything which it chooses.  The state is being endowed with powers for controlling the destiny of its human resources - the power of predestination.  Our culture teaches us to think of the state as having a natural right to control the education of children for the sake of society, because, after all, the democratic state is the embodiment of society.  Our culture teaches us that the state has a compelling interest in its own survival and success.  Hence the state must own the children, for the children are the future.  Though this doctrine is rarely stated in such explicit terms, it is nevertheless the implicit declaration of virtually all state programs.  The state seeks to be omniscient - to know everything about us.  The state seeks to be omnipresent - to be everywhere in our lives.  The state seeks to be omnipotent - to control everything in society.  The state is the incarnation of the god of humanism.  Man, through the state, has become the measure of all things.  The promise of the tempter in the Garden of Eden is at last fulfilled in the socialist state.  Man is as a god, determining for himself what is good and evil - measuring everything by his own invented standards, apart from God's revealed standards.
     There is only one way to defeat the socialist state.  It is not with political machinery and votes.  It is not with petitions and protests.  It is with godly, parent-controlled education of their own children.  Socialism breaks down the natural bond between parents and children - that is a necessary part of the socialist program.  Unless those bonds are broken, the state cannot gain power to control the future.  Parent-controlled education thwarts that purpose.  Hence the socialist state has worked hard to turn the parental bond into a liability and to make it desirable for parents to sever that bond wherever and whenever it is possible.
     From a practical point of view, Homeschooling is strongly out of favor with the socialist state, because it strengthens that parent-child bond which controls the future.  The family is socialism's public enemby number one, and practicing Biblical Christianity is a hate crime against the state."  (p. 56;  "Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style" by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn; copyright 2001)

As an aside, I would also say that I know many good and godly parents that have maintained that strong relationship with their children in spite of state schools, however, I do believe they are the exception, not the rule.  For the most part, I do indeed see the break down of the family ties as the children progress through school, for one reason or another.  I have my opinions as to what those reasons are, but I will leave that to the reader to decide for themselves.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Freedom from Tyranny...

This was borrowed from a friend.  I agreed so much, I needed to share it.  Thanks, Mike, for the reminder.  Nicole

"freedom from tyranny

"By his willingly renouncing self-defiance, the Christian affirms his absolute adherence to Jesus, and his freedom from the tyranny of his own ego."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Payback, getting even, revenge - no matter what you call it - is an exaltation of self. It communicates who is truly on the throne of your heart, you. And when you are driven by revenge, you live in tyranny. You are ruled by an evil master who deceives you into believing that revenge is the key to your cell.

Instead of seeking the opportunity to "repay evil with evil", remember that the key to the prison of revenge is forgivness. The door is unlocked when you...

Love your enemy. Pray for those who persecute you.

-Jesus (Matthew 5)"
Mike Park 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wisdom Justified

But wisdom is justified by all her children.   Luke 7:35

"The world is full of "experts".  There are people everywhere who want to convince you of the wisdom of their opinion.  Yet God says that it is not the one who declares his viewpoint the most loudly or vociferously who is the wisest, but the one who is vindicated over time.

Wisdom is not proven by arguments or debate.  Wisdom is proven over time.  Some people adamantly proclaim that their opinion is best.  Regardless of how convincingly these people defend their viewpoint, time is the best judge of their wisdom.  The result of a practice proves its validity, not how loudly it is promoted.  When you seek to obey what God has told you, you will sometimes meet resistance and criticism from others who disagree with the wisdom of your actions.  Your immediate response may be the urge to vindicate yourself.  However, if you wait patiently, time will reveal the wisdom of your actions far better than you could through argument.

Through the ages, the wisdom found in God's Word has been tested and proven true.  It is critical that you measure everything you hear against the Scriptures.  Trends in psychology and philosophy come and go, but God's Word is timeless.  Whenever you share an opinion in counseling someone else, make sure that it comes from the Scripture and not merely from your best thinking.  As long as you base your life choices on the Word of God, time will be your defender and will validate the wisdom of your choices.  If, over time, you clearly see you are wrong, ask God's forgiveness and seek a fresh word from God through the Scripture.  Then obey that word and watch to see God confirm His wisdom in your life."

Experiencing God Day by Day; Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Friday, October 8, 2010

Simplifying: Buying Less & Giving More

I cannot tell you how challenged I am by this post from Passionate Homemaking:

“Simplifying means having less, wanting less, being satisfied with what you have or less than what you have. It does not mean boredom. People with too many things are the most easily bored. St. Francis owned only his robe, yet was never melancholy or bored.” – J Matthew Sleeth, author of Serve God, Save the Planet

Simplifying Your Buying Techniques (as shared in the above quoted book):

1. If you think you want something, wait a month. One of three things will happen if you follow this sage advice. One: You will forget. Two: You will no longer need it. Or three: You will need it more. Most often, numbers one and two will happen.

2. Next, borrow and lend. How are we going to live together in heaven if we can’t even share a chain saw? One of my goals this year is to put all my books together in a loaning library database, in order that I might bless and encourage others in my church through loaning out my books or simply donating them to our local library. They are just collecting dust right now! I also have a ton of girl baby clothes. If we have a boy, my first goal will be to find someone who can benefit from the use of these clothes in the meantime.

I am growing to realize that the more I share, the less of a strong hold these possessions will have upon my heart. What things are lying around your house that someone else could use right now? There are so many ways to be generous by loaning and giving away your possessions even if you are lacking in the monetary capacity. This is an opportunity for the body of Christ to come together, especially in this slowing economy, and serve and share with one another. Remember Acts 2:44-45, which states that the believers had all their resources together and distributed them as each had a need. I think applying this principle is so applicable today.

It really comes down to changing our mindset! It starts with waiting a month, then if you still really need the item, looking into your borrowing options. If they are lacking, check out all your used options (craigslist, freecycle, consignment shop, etc). The very last alternative is buying an item new…but you most likely will not even get here if you check out the previous ideas!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 19 - A Talent of Yours

I believe most people would say that my talent is singing, and I guess in some way that's true.  I do love to sing, and I recognize the Lord has gifted me to be able to do so.  But if I had to choose my talent, it would be something different.  The talent I want is to be able to glorify God, whether it be with my voice, or with service, or with my writing, or especially with compassion and mercy.  This is the talent that I pray that I might have. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 18 - Your Wedding

Our favorite picture

The mother of one of my school friends took this pic

The whole wedding party

Us with my mom and dad...despite the looks, my parents really did like Terry :-)

Terry with all his siblings. The last time they were together until this year.

Us with the entire Bartell clan

Me with my brother Bill, Karen my sis-in-law, and Bryan my nephew

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Terry Bartell

One of my favorites - Terry dancing with my grandmother, Bobby

Electric slide anyone?

Here we are with my siblings (all but one) from my Dad's side, plus nieces and nephews. There were a bunch who weren't there.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 17 - An Art Piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc.)

Have I mentioned that my men are very talented?

All the pieces together

Spring Stroll by Terry

Indian Summer by Terry

Autumn Stream by Terry

Winter Snowscape by Terry

Flower River by Sammy (with direction from Dad)

Remember Beach by Terry- painted for our friend, Kris