I have this unfortunate flaw in me...when God speaks to me, I tend to become satisfied with that one word from Him and instead of seeking Him for more revelations, I simple stay in the midst of that one word until I forget about it....sigh. I found something I wrote a year ago and as I read it, it sparked something within me and caused me to want to live it out instead of just agreeing with it in word only...and so here it is.
"19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." King James Version of the Bible.
I had read it many times, and even memorized this passage during my Christian School days, and yet for some reason, when the Lord woke me up at 6am one morning in April, and showed me these verses, they jumped right off the page at me!
Here's a little background on current happenings in my life, I'm a homeschooling mom and had just gotten back from an intense weekend at a homeschooling conference. Steve and Teri Maxwell were two of the speakers and so many of their talks really challenged my husband and myself to really take a look at our lives and start getting rid of things that waste time and don't glorify the Lord. Now to get a glimpse into their lives, you must check out their website . They have 8 children, no TV (they call it the beast!), they have tools, not toys, and just live such productive lives! So here I am being challenged with the complacent life I've become accustomed to! It's one of those things that slowly happens and then all of a sudden you are in the middle of it, and you wonder how on earth you got there! I'm sure it would've been a good idea to finish reading the book "This Day We Fight!" by Francis Frangipane. It's about breaking the bondage of a passive spirit....I had good intentions!
Ok, so it's 6am....I am NOT a morning person! I really wasn't impressed that I couldn't get back to sleep! However, I know by now that if I don't accept this invitation to spend time with my Lord I will be sad later. I DO enjoy these times, so I grabbed my journal and Bible and opened it up. Very funny Lord, it was the book of John where it talks about the Last Supper, and I'm NOT getting up now to eat! (although I did grab a glass of chocolate milk since my sugars were low) So I opened the Bible up again and it opened to James 1 and the little title above it caught my eyes, 'Listening and Doing'.
Both Jamie, (my husband) and I came back from the conference ready to make some changes in our lives and in how we raise the kids, however we wanted the changes to be Holy Spirit led and not just because others do it! These verses have now become very important to me in our vision for our family! Instead of just living and getting through life, we now have something to focus on...we have some guidelines to use to show us whether certain activities are beneficial or not! Yay Lord!...and He's probably saying, "You FINALLY get it!!!"
So verses 19 and 20 talk about anger....yes, I realize this is an area I need to work on and it is NOT acceptable to just control it! It needs to be put away from me. Yes, the Maxwell's DO have a teaching on this, and yes we DID go to the talk on anger at the conference, which I highly recommend to anyone, also, available at their website listed above. My notes from this session are available here. They were called to homeschool their children at a time when Teri was going through deep depression and anger, so out of experience they have shared how the Lord has led them to overcome anger. She has not raised her voice in anger in 15 yrs! I know, I know, I was astounded by this too! They also have a discipline chart called the If/Then Chart here's someones homemade one, which takes the emotions out of discipline. It is posted in a highly visible place and the children know that IF certain bad behaviors happen THEN a certain discipline will occur! It is done without anger, just very matter of fact. For example; the discipline for rowdy and noisy behavior is sitting at the table quietly and eating a crusty dry piece of bread...and while eating it, memorizing/reading Proverbs 17:1 "Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife." If the children are too young to read it themselves, then it is read to them. I mean, you just can't come up with a better discipline than one that is straight from Scripture! Let the Bible dictate what the various disciplinary actions are...Proverbs is chock full of them! Proverbs 30:32 is another good one. It deals with bragging and thinking evil thoughts. If this happens then they must cover their mouths for a certain period of time; while being read the following verse, "If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth." Have fun with your spouse as you figure out the various disciplines...just make sure the kids don't know how much fun it is!
So for me, I'm in the middle of implementing the If/Then Chart and hope that it helps with the anger issues. The other important thing for me to do is to DAILY set time aside for my relationship with Jesus. We can't become better moms if we don't take that time...trust me, I know! It's so easy to say, "Oh God understands how busy I am with so many small children around..." and I know there are many other excuses as well, I've tried them all! But it really is true, that we NEED this alone time with God! I'm still not as consistent as I'd like, but I am aware now of why we have bad days in our house. Those are usually the days that I neglected my most important relationship! Try it and see the difference! You may be surprised at how different your day is! It's your own attitude and responses that change, not how your children behave. And that's another thing! When your children start learning to read, they can start having their own personal time with the Lord, apart from family devotion time! I bet they will WANT to if they've seen how important it is to their mom and dad! And if you are consistent with it, it will be much easier for them to just accept it as part of their day and in this way, you are blessing your children by showing them how to live spiritually!
Ok, so that's what I wrote exactly a year ago...and I did exactly what I didn't want to do! I became a hearer only and not a doer...sigh And I have yet to finish and hang up my If/Then chart, I STILL struggle with anger and depression, not to mention the lack of discipline in my relationship with my Lord...utter disappointment is how I felt when I read this revelation I had a year ago...if I had it a year ago then shouldn't it have been put into practice and implemented into my life! I disgust myself sometimes...especially when I realize that I don't show grace to others in my life either! I'm such a mess! A judgmental hypocritical mess! Thank GOD, that I serve a loving and gracious Redeemer, Who doesn't seem to be bothered with how long it takes me to "get it". He is amazingly patient with me and knows that life is a journey and His children WILL eventually understand and grasp the concepts He wants us to learn. So now, I take this revelation and want to live it out...I'm starting fresh. God has already forgiven my lack of action and I repent for it, which means I turn away from being a hearer only...it's time to be a doer. Perhaps I should start by finishing the book by Francis Frangipane! lol So there ya have it...this is me, trying so desperately to break free from a passive lifestyle...again...