A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Monday, February 24, 2014

About Knowing God's Will (for my life...)

Every believer desires to know God's will for their life. His exact will. And, hopefully, His will is very good, filled-to-the-brim with blessings. That's pretty normal. I'd be willing to gamble that most Christians would admit they want His will for them to be good will, and they would like to know what His is for them.

Here's my question: Is it enough to want God's will, even if that means I don't have an exact picture of His will for me personally?

It's a tough question, and it's okay to think about it for a while and see if it actually makes sense. (I never claimed to be the most sensible person on the planet, after all!)

What I'm getting at here, the point I really want to make is that there is a profound difference in the two "wills". It takes time and maturity to fully embrace God's will while laying aside the desire to know God's will for my life. It takes a heart fully yielded to Jesus to fully know and accept that God's will is enough for us...and that God's personal plan for each of us is an aside, something extra, a non-essential.

I've found that once I ceased seeking Him for His will for me, trading it instead for simply seeking Him, that my worries faded away. My fretting dissipated. My intercessory prayer for others expanded and became more fruitful. My self-focus changed to something better - as if I was no longer near-sighted spiritually, but far-and-wide sighted.

Here is my challenge to you - this week, just for the next seven days, try asking God to make His will enough for you. Beseech Him to work His will out through you in ways that remove your need to know what your future holds. Trust Him to make you far-and-wide sighted. And at the end of the week, examine your heart and see if you don't feel a whole lot lighter, and much closer to Jesus.

Lord bless you today!

Day 306 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Monday, February 17, 2014

Satisfied - Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption (by Jeff Manion)

The book Satisfied by Jeff Manion is now on my "Favorite Book List".  It's subtitle, Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption, does give you an idea of what the book is about; but Satisfied is much more than just another Christian book on finances, tithing, generosity, the effects of greed, budgeting, and so on. It's not like any other book I've read on the topic of what followers of Christ do with their money. The chord it struck within me was unique, and this book is not only one of my new favorites, it is also now required reading for my children during their high school years in our homeschool.

So, why do I think Satisfied is such a great book? It's not confrontational, it's simply the truth. The truth is, we in America are much more prosperous than most of the rest of the world will ever dream of being...and yet we don't live as if we have enough. The truth is that many followers of Jesus do not know how to live a contented, satisfied life - we chase after more, more, more and end up looking exactly like the rest of the world. Which means we end up offering nothing of value to those in our circles of influence who need a Savior. And we do all this gathering of stuff, stuff, stuff so that our children and grandchildren can sort through all of the stuff, stuff, stuff when we've moved on to heaven (where, BTW, we will walk on streets paved with something more valuable than the stuff, stuff, stuff we spend our lives chasing...think about that for a moment).

How many of us dreamed big dreams when we were young? Dreams of adventure and a thrill-filled life. Then as adults we fall into the rut of work to buy, stress to pay the bills, drool over the neighbor's latest toys, battle health issues that are a direct result of the stress... This is not God's will for our lives. I think He gave us hearts that dream big dreams and long for adventure. And one sure-fire way to live a life full of adventure is to become radically generous toward God and man. This isn't in the book Satisfied, it's my own personal opinion, but I think many of the same ideas can be found in the book. Who doesn't want to live the dream? I know I don't want to miss out on one single thing the Lord has for me, and I'll gladly go on an adventure with Him because there's no where safer for me to be.

In Chapter 1, Jeff Manion says, "The amount of junk we surround ourselves with is insane." Do you agree with him? If you do, even a little bit, then you should read this book. In Chapter 3 he says, "If our goal is more, then whatever we have is never enough. It's like running a race where a finish line doesn't exist." From Chapter 6 - "The heart that believes God has ripped it off can justify anything." & "Trust is the glue that holds any relationship together, and if you fundamentally distrust God's goodness, it is highly unlikely that you will follow His leadership in your life." And my last quote is from Chapter 15 - "Though greed can stifle generosity, the more frequent culprit is fear."

I really hope you pick up a copy of this book and read it - share it with others, lead a small group, read it once more yourself. It's really that good.

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

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

Day 305 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Plan Now to Finish Well

Now that it is February, the dreaded Winter Doldrums have fully set in for most homeschool families. It happens to the best of us, and there's no shame in admitting it. But a little thoughtful planning now can ensure an excellent end to the school year in spite of the winter blahs. Here's what you do to make May/June a time of blessed relief instead of dreaded bookwork.

Look over your children's remaining work in each subject. How many math lessons are left in the book? And when, ideally, would you like to be finished with the school year? Say you have 4 months until your family vacation ~ that's about 16 weeks of study time. Divide 16 weeks by the number of lessons remaining the the math curriculum and you'll know exactly how much you need to do each and every week in order to reach your goal. Simply do the same for every subject, write down what you discover (or this entire exercise will be pointless because you won't remember how much to do each week in each subject!) and get cracking!

The interesting thing I have discovered is that we're almost always much closer to our end-of-year goals than I thought. It's refreshing and gives me a renewed sense of energy as I decide to finish the homeschool year well.

Not to mention the fact that it provides a concrete way to "get it all done" in a timely manner, in manageable chunks - and as an added bonus, if illness strikes the family, I can easily make an adjustment to the lesson plans to still finish on time.

Keep on keeping on, fellow homeschooling mothers! The Lord will bless your efforts, the snow will melt, and spring will be here soon!

Day 304 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study (& head baker for Dessert to Your Door)