A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Taking Nothing

I didn't bring a single solitary thing into this old world on the day of my birth, and I ain't gonna take anything with me when I draw my final breath. This is an undeniable, universal truth and no one can get around it. No material thing lasts beyond our life span...we will not care one lick about any of it. If we give it any thought at all, it will be to wonder why we cared so much for "things" and "money" and why we didn't give more...and more...and more.

   
     1Timothy 6:7-8  We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 


So there it is. Herein lies the proverbial rub. How do we do this? How are we western-cultured, red-blooded Americans, capitalists to our core, ever going to be able to live like this? HOW?

Well, as far as I know, the only way to live a life content with food and clothing (if that's all you've got, but that ain't all you've got) is to live in the moment. Take it one day at a time - and if need be, take it one hour, one minute at a time. Forcibly slow down the mental rat-race that constantly screams you must have more, be more, do more, achieve more, save more, take more, and more...more...more. Stop thinking! Just take a deep breath, and live in the now. That's how a Christian living in the good ole US of A in 2017 can live a truly contented life. By being thankful for what we have, and not letting tomorrow rob us of today.

Are you in debt up to your eyeballs? Trying to figure out how to pay for your kid's college education? Concerned about retirement? Owe a few too many medical bills? Afraid to start tithing? (re: tithing, just do it - do it afraid if you must, but do it!) Aware of some big expense coming in the near future, but unaware how to cover said expense?

Good.

It's a good place to be, when you have to trust the Lord and take him squarely at His Word. Make a decision to be content today with such things as you have, live a grateful and generous life before God and man, and see what He does to take care of you. Live in the now.

Day 345 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Friday, December 30, 2016

Alive in the Spirit - Experiencing the Presence and Power of God by A.W.Tozer (compiled and edited by James L. Snyder)

A.W. Tozer. Now there's a name that immediately brings to mind a spiritual giant. His words are quoted in more books, articles and devotionals than one could count. Mentored by A.B. Simpson, Tozer is nearly as well-known as Charles Haddon Spurgeon or Dwight L. Moody in Christian circles. So when I had the opportunity to read and review a book containing never before published material of his, I jumped at the chance.

The book is entitled Alive in the Spirit - Experiencing the Presence and Power of God. It was compiled and edited by James L. Snyder. This book isn't a lengthy read at just 188 pages, and the chapters are short enough to read and "digest" them one at a time in a single sitting. I'm a woman who writes in my books - and the more I like a book, the more underling, highlighting and margin notes will be found. My copy of Alive in the Spirit has a fair amount of writing in it.

Now that's not to say that I found this to be my favorite book by Tozer, nor did I find it to be as enlightening (for lack of a better word) regarding the role and work of the Holy Spirit in our life as I had hoped it would be. To be completely frank, I have found A.B. Simpson to be a great source for learning about the Holy Spirit and I suppose I imagined his prized pupil would have much more of value to share than I found in this book. I actually sort of felt like the Holy Spirit and His power were minimalized in this book....as unbelievable as that may sound. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy this book. I think it would serve people very well as it is a good book, and very well put together. I just expected more of a "KA-POW!" sort of experience than I got. And that is probably just my bad, my expectation being amiss and me being disappointed when said expectation was not met.






I do think this book is worth the read. Jump into it - study it - and feel free to come back here and leave me a comment to tell me what you think of it. I would love to have some additional thoughts about the book from others. Thanks for taking the time to read my review. Lord bless you as you seek to grow in your walk with the Lord1

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 4.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 

 Day 344 done :)

Jan L. Burt
The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study
All Things Homeschool
available on Amazon

Let's Look At ~ 1 Peter 1:9

I'm going to be doing something a little different in terms of my blog posts. Rather than my typical posts that are meant to put encourage women who homeschool, I will be blogging about the Bible. Today I would like to look at one verse in particular and share what I have learned from this verse, and maybe someone reading this will be encouraged by the Word. Better yet, maybe someone (or several someones) will decide to spend more time reading the Bible on a regular (read that daily) basis. That would be pretty fantastic. Let's get to it:


     1 Peter 1:9 - (New Living Translation) The reward from trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls. 


Okay, so you already know that trusting Jesus is the only way to have eternal salvation for your soul. (If you did not know that, let me suggest you read the book of John - right now, don't wait! - and pray and ask the Lord if He would like you to yield your life to Him and make Him your Savior and Lord over all your life. BTW, He will answer "Yes" because His greatest desire is to spend eternity with you). When you trust Him for your salvation, the reward will be eternal salvation, right?


The age old questions have always been, "What happens after we die? What on earth are we here for? What is the meaning of life?" The answer, of course, is always Jesus. Jesus died to rescue you from the power of sin and death and hell and the devil, and after you die you will either spend eternity with Him or separated from Him. There is no middle ground; those are the only two options. If you don't know what on earth you are here for, the answer to that will be made known to you once you yield your heart and your life to Jesus and allow Him to be Master and Commander of all things. He alone gives us purpose and meaning. He has that right and that authority, because He is the One who was and is and is to come, and through Him all things (including you and me) were created. The Creator knows exactly what He did the creating for, if you get my meaning. Those age old questions are all answered by Jesus. He is the only answer you will ever need.

Now, if this verse from the New Testament tells us that our eternal salvation is decided, and the question of what will happen after we die has been answered, then it seems to me that there ought to be absolutely no other worry, question, concern or feat that overwhelmingly haunts or plagues us. You see, with the most important and precious aspect of your life covered and protected and rescued, aren't all the other parts also covered and protected and rescued, as implied by this verse? What about your health? Well, pretty much it's all good in the sense that you are immortal until the day the Lord calls you home to heaven - and then you're truly immortal! Finances? Oh, He owns it all and He is very good at providing for the needs of His own. Work stress? He can and will be a part of your daily work life, so long as you open up to Him and invite Him to be a part of it. Don't shut Him out, and He will be right there with you! And any other daily need, big or small, is safe in His loving hands. He's got this. More importantly, He's got you. 

Is your soul alright? Then all the rest is alright, too. There is indeed a reward from trusting Him; eternal life in a perfect, pain-free world. There is also a huge amount of reward for trusting Him in this life. I pray you seek and find Him and all the blessings and rewards He has for you in this life and in eternity. Great is His reward for you, as great as His love can pour out.

Lord bless!

Day 343 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study
& All Things Homeschool


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Growing Up

Women who home educate have chosen, in a very loud and clear manner, to take responsibility for the education of their children. Additionally, we have chosen to guide them into adulthood with the goal of them becoming, well, adults. Not only adult as defined by age, but actual adults who no longer behave like adolescents. 

Sure, there are times we struggle with letting them grow up. It's hard! For a zillion different reasons, it's hard. And sometimes we hold on too tightly. That may be due to fear on our part, or sadness that this all-defining aspect of our own lives is changing, or perhaps we don't even realize we are still holding on. It is possible to believe you have let go of something only to look down and see it still tightly grasped in your hand. But for the most part, I think homeschooling mothers are working to get their children into adulthood in the proper time frame (as in, they behave like adults when their birth certificate reveals they are legally adults). 

Sippy cups and diapers are quickly replaced by college applications and FAFSA forms. Life moves on. Kids grow up. And moms, we need to grow up, too.

Yup, I have more wrinkles and a whole head of graying hair. That part of growing up comes very naturally for me. My question for each one of us, myself included, is this: Am I allowing my children to grow toward adulthood without any guilt or manipulation on my part? Ouch, that smarts a little bit....

The thing is, it's really difficult to pour all of yourself into the homeschooling lifestyle and then one day just....stop. It is really, really hard to step back and let go as they become who God created them to be. It's the end of an era, and it can feel like the end of our identity. Because we're not just moms, we're homeschooling moms. When the kiddos grow up and leave, our job, so to speak, leaves with them. It's empty-nest syndrome on steroids! We're now unemployed and unable to "mother". Yikes!

Bear in mind it is very healthy and completely right to let go as God leads. Remember, we are training up the next generation. God has good plans for each one of our children. He also has good plans for us as we move from one phase of life to the next. 

Didn't Solomon say there is a time for everything? How right he was. If you are in a time of transition, of letting go, of hanging up your homeschool hat and preparing for your empty nest, cling to Jesus. He knows how hard this season is for you, and He will be faithful to help you navigate these new waters with His peace and love to be your guide and your comfort.

Seek His will for your life even as you continue seeking His will for your children's lives. He will help you to let go when you need to, and even in the letting go, He will never let go of you. 

For His glory alone we homeschool.

Day 342 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dutch Sheets ~ Intercessory Prayer (How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven & Earth)

Well, it's been quite a good long while since I have posted a book review. Yup - you guessed it...I'm back at it again. A bit more selectively, albeit, but back at it nonetheless.

I have been reading through a book written by Dutch Sheets entitled Intercessory Prayer. It is a book about exactly what you think it's about when you see the title; prayer, and specifically that of intercession. If you don't know what that is off the top of your head, no worries - you are certainly not alone. In a nutshell, intercessory prayer is any praying done on behalf of other people or situations that is intended to generate a specific and tangible change. An excellent example would be the time spend praying for your child in one certain way - concertedly, and until God moves and answers.


This book, published by Bethany House and available for purchase at Amazon and other retailers, is one of the few books I have read on prayer that actually talks about how to pray. Not vaguely dancing around the idea, quoting Bible verses and giving general thoughts on prayer - which is fine, but shouldn't a book about prayer be about actually praying? Well, Dutch talks a whole lot about how to pray, what to pray, when to pray, and gives loads of examples of how prayer impacted life on earth in the here and now. It's 316 pages all about prayer. Which is excellent, since prayer is the most important daily business a believer can be about.

I pray quite a lot. So I am all about books that encourage Christians to pray. So many overlook this aspect of a disciple of Christ's life. Our prayers make a difference while we are in the flesh on this planet living out our one short life. There will be no need to pray in the next life, as we'll be with our Lord and will see Him and speak with Him face-to-face. Let's make a difference in this life by spending time in intercessory prayer. You will never regret one moment spent in prayer - but you might well regret all the moments you failed to spend praying. (Go ahead - write that down on your to-do list or on your calendar or text it to yourself...it's actually a pretty important point and I really, really want you to get a grasp on it.) I love that this book is all about prayer. There's a whole lot that can be learned and/or gleaned from Intercessory Prayer.

And yet there are some things in this book that I found myself uncertain about. Was that because they were wrong, Biblically speaking? Not necessarily. Were those things traditions that I am unfamiliar with in my Christian experience?  Possibly. Were any of these ideas or methods right for someone else but very foreign to me? Absolutely. Have I been applying what I have learned to my own prayer life? Yes - yes, I have. So overall, I think this book is a "winner winner chicken dinner" when it comes to an in-depth, applicable study on intercession.

Prayer - just do it. That would make a pretty great slogan for Christians, wouldn't it? So if you're up for some challenging, inspiring, make-you-really-think reading to spur on your prayer life, go ahead and pick up a copy of this book.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 4.5

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 

 Day 341 done :)

Jan L. Burt
The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study
All Things Homeschool
available on Amazon

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Best Advice for the Homeschooling Mother? Be a Thankful Woman

Psalm 78:4 says this: "We will tell the next generation..."

Tell the next generation what? What are we to tell them?

"...of His power, and the wonders He has done."

Do you know the absolute best way to convey to the next generation God's great power, God's great wonders? It is by being a woman who is consistently thankful. Full of thanks. Always grateful. Speaking of God's great power and astounding wonders with such a thankful heart that the two become inseparable.

A thankful woman is a content woman. Is that how you see yourself? How others would describe you? Do you feel discontent? Try some gratitude. The impact will be pretty much immediate. Not to mention, your family will love the "new you".

Homeschooling is very much about proclaiming the Lord's mighty deeds and declaring who He is to the next generation (at least for the Christian homeschool family). It is a big part of why we do what we do, isn't it? Do we forget that sometimes in the midst of cooking dinner and grading math and diapering the baby? We just do what we do on a daily basis- and that's not a bad thing- but sometimes we need a reminder that we are actually raising little eternal beings and our job assignment from God is to make sure they know who He is. And we know He is arrayed in splendor, mighty in word and deed, powerful beyond all compare. He truly has done wonderful things and will keep right on doing wonderful things for time and all eternity. That's what the Christian homeschool family is really all about.

Do go ahead and do it - give thanks. Be thankful. Live a thankful life in your own home right now, this very day. Give thanks continually. Give thanks in prayer. Give thanks out loud. Give thanks to one another and for one another. As you read your Bible, give thanks. Write down your thanks.

Be a grateful woman. Thank Him, and then thank Him again.

And then watch and see how He begins to move and display His great power and amazing wonders in your very midst - right in your very own home.

Have a blessed and thank-filled day!

Day 340 done :)

Jan L. Burt


Friday, April 1, 2016

Keep Your Homeschool Grounded In Prayer

I don't know about you, but I will fall flat on my face and end in total failure and disappointment any day which I have not bathed in prayer. I just can't do this thing called life, this monumental task of home education, without the Lord's steady hand upon me. And I can only walk hand-in-hand with Him to the degree that I seek Him first in prayer.

If the hand the rocks the cradle truly is the hand that rules the world, then our world is in utter danger if those cradle-rocking hands are not folded in prayer to our Lord each day. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the actual truth for all mothers everywhere is this: we shape the future by the manner in which we raise our children today.

Here is a quote from E.M. Bounds on prayer and thanksgiving that inspires and challenges me:


          "God does much for us in answer to prayer, but we need from Him many gifts, and for them we are to make special prayer. According to our special needs, so must our praying be. We are to be specific and particular and bring to the knowledge of God by prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving, our particular requests, the things we need, the things we greatly desire. And with it all, accompanying all these requests, there must be thanksgiving." - E.M. Bounds On Prayer


So, what about you today? Do you need some special gift from Him that will aid you in your homeschooling? Then make special prayer for that gift which you need! Don't delay, but get about the work of praying for what you need today! Be specific as you pray; request exactly what you need, what you desire. But be sure to give Him abundant thanks as you pray. Don't neglect being thankful! A grateful attitude is key in keeping our hearts properly aligned with our loving Father. Be careful as you pray that you don't act like a bratty, spoiled child. Rather, as Paul said, with thanksgiving make your requests known.(Phil. 4:6)

Pray today for your homeschool. For your children. For your wants and for your needs. For your husband. For your local church. For yourself.

We are most blessed when we are safely grounded in the Lord through prayer with much thanksgiving. We bring Him great glory when we live lives of thankful dependence upon Him alone.

Day 339 done :)

Jan L. Burt





     

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Whoa...This Is A Surprise

So, I have not been much about blogging lately. Correction: I have not been much about blogging annually, since I haven't posted here in over 6 months and prior to that my posts had been sporadic at best. Honestly, I pretty much reckoned my blog as "dead", for lack of a better word. I figured no one was reading it, I knew I had not been keeping up with it, and as the end of my years as a homeschooling mother are drawing to a close, I figured it may have served it's purpose. Reached it's expiration date. Surely no one even knows it exists anymore.

I was, to say the least, surprised, when I checked my stats only to discover that not only is this blog not dead; rather, the stats over the last 30 days have been the highest EVER.

Wait, wait? Huh? Is this for real?

It seems some of my more obscure posts are being read, and not just here and there, but read a lot. So maybe the purpose of my blog has not yet been fulfilled. Maybe the time I have spent focused on finishing my race (as in my work as a homeschooler) well and for the Lord's glory hasn't been wasted, because it seems He was keeping my blog alive and well and "healthier" than it ever was when I was tending to it on a regular basis. Only God can do that. Anyone who knows much about social media and blogging would tell you that failing to post regularly is a death blow. Except when the Lord leads you to set that part of your life aside for a season and singularly, with intentional focus, obey Him. (For me, that has meant making homeschooling priority number one from the hours of 8-4, M-F).

I guess reckoning something as dead doesn't always make that something dead. And I know for certain that doing things in the time and season of the Lord's choosing, without delay or complaint, is always the surest way to live with His overwhelming peace. When you combine the two, it becomes a far more awesome combo than peanut butter and chocolate...(think back to the Reece's commercials from the '70s and '80s).

And I have been feeling Him tug at my heart about getting back to the world of blogging. I figured it would take a lot to kick-start a new blog (remember I had reckoned this one as dead!) and maybe even find a new niche, a new platform. But now I see that isn't going to be the case at all. I may have slightly different content and I certainly need to revamp and reorganize my blog, but this blog is the place I need to utilize to bring glory to the Lord.

So that's the news from me today! My prayer for you, homeschooling mother, is that God will surprise you in some crazy-awesome-unexpected way, like He did for me.

Thanks for being such amazing readers. I'm humbled and totally blown away.

Day 338 done :)

Jan L. Burt

All Things Homeschool - 180 Devotions for Homeschooling Mothers
The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

About Prayer - Post # 2

Are you one who prays about everything?

Few do, you know. It's difficult to train oneself to pray often and over every situation, and people as a whole are lazy about training ourselves to do the things that benefit us - and others! - the most. Praying over everything can also seem, well, weird. And we don't usually like to be seen as weird, strange, odd by our peers or even by strangers. While we live in a society that is eliminating social mores at a staggering pace, in a culture that tells us nothing is weird and everything is acceptable, we still do not want to be seen as weird.

Would you like to become a person who prays all the time, over things both large and small? Then spend time in prayer and ask the Lord to make you a constant and consistent pray-er, one who listens to His voice and responds when He calls you to prayer. It's not complicated, but it does take a willing and obedient heart. If you seek Him and expect Him to grow you in prayer, He most certainly will.



Again I am going to quote E.M. Bounds, as his works on prayer are a treasure to me:

          "If there is anything not involved in the words all things whatsoever (Matt. 21:22), or not found in the phrase ask anything (John 14:14), then these things may be left out of prayer."



What can I add to such a frank and truth-filled statement? All things whatsoever, and ask anything...Jesus' words urge us to pray about anything and everything. We have no reason to ask for less than our Savior authorized us to ask for.

Start today; pray about things as they come to mind. Seek the Lord and His will and His wisdom in every situation. Be a person who prays for those you come in contact with. Pray. Then pray more.

Lord bless you today as you seek to grow in prayer for the glory of the Lord.

Day 337 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study
and All Things Homeschool ~ 180 Devotions for Homeschooling Mothers

Friday, August 28, 2015

About Prayer - Post # 1

The funny thing about prayer is that you actually have to do it in order to gain any results.

So many Christians talk about prayer and read about prayer and say they want to be better at praying...but fail to actually pray.

If we do not do the thing we need to do, how on earth will we ever improve in the doing of it? In other words, if you want to have more success when you pray then you absolutely must pray more.

Take a look at this quote from E.M. Bounds, and see if it sums up the attitude of most Christians in this day and age ~


     "Yet men, in general, have quit praying. They are too busy to pray. Time and strength and every faculty are given over to money, to business, to the affairs of the world. Few men expend themselves in great praying. The great business of praying is a hurried, petty, starved, beggarly business with most men."  (from the book E.M. Bounds on Prayer, the eighth chapter)


I would argue that this statement is drastically more true for the church of 2015 than it was when Bounds first wrote it (which was probably sometime in the late 1800's or early 1900's). Men and women, in general,  have quit praying. And we are shameless about it! Too busy, we say. But that begs the question, "Busy doing what?"  Earning a living? It is God who gives you the ability to get wealth and every good and perfect gift comes from above and He is our Jehovah-Jireh ~ so no Christian can truly be so busy earning a living that they have no time to pray. Doing the Lord's work in the area of ministry where He has called you? What a ridiculous excuse, since any work done for the Lord in our own strength is sure to be powerless simply because we have not bothered to ask the Holy Spirit to do His will, His way in that ministry! Raising a family? Well, now, that is interesting, because I see no purpose in raising children according to the world's bent when the end result is worldly children! Raising children who love and fear the Lord and serve Him alone all the days of their lives requires vast amounts of prayer. And God's Word is strikingly clear on the point that He desires us to raise "godly seed". 

Any other excuses can easily be debunked in this same manner. We have no viable reason not to pray, and to pray long and with great importunity. Truly, we have turned the awesome and nearly unbelievable gift of prayer into something so rushed, so starved, so beggarly that it cannot rightly be called prayer at all.

If you know that your prayer life is lacking, then there is one remedy and that is simply to pray more. Much more. Beyond what we would consider much more.

Let us become a praying church, and then we will be astounded at all that God would do.

Day 336 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study
and All Things Homeschool ~ 180 Devotions for Homeschooling Women