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Debt In America & How That Affects Intergenerational Stewardship

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America continues to do some soul searching in the realm of finance. One sides wants to spend, and the other side wants to cut. FoxNews reports, “The Obama administration dug in Sunday on its vow to reject proposed spending cuts by congressional Republicans in upcoming budget talks but declined to say whether the president would veto their proposals or allow a government shutdown.”

It’s interesting because elected officials do represent the landscape of America whether we like or not. How is this? Many Americans are spenders while others are savers, and this manifests itself in too many families because a vast number of households have regular heated exchanges on spending, saving, and debt accumulation. This must be dealt with because, at the end of the day, it is impossible to create and sustain a vision of any intergenerational stewardship without making a long-term game plan of some kind, and this means sacrifice.

Our society, including the Church to some extent, has so canonized personal peace and affluence (as Francis Schaeffer would say) that we refuse to deal with debt. Why is this? Simple. “What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:32-ESV). I have had many conversations with some Baby-Boomers and those older than that who could care less about the next generation, although there is a very sacrificial core that has not dropped the torch of fiscal discipline. To those who have dropped the torch, they recognize the reality of our impending debt crisis and what this will do to our country, but it’s just not on their radar. They commonly say something like this, “By the time it all goes downhill, I’ll be gone, so I don’t care.” That is the epitome of selfishness and the total lack of generational vision.

In times past, the aging generation sought to sow the seeds for a stronger future generation, but that is not the case today. After all, if this is the best it gets and the dead are not raised, then we need to ‘git’ while the ‘gitten’ is good. To tell you the truth, I have been left nearly speechless, nearly. Instead of just letting things pass by and accepting this assumed inevitability, I charge this generation to awaken from its slumber and not forsake their children and their grandchildren. Repent, and believe on Christ, for the dead are raised, and judgment is coming. You must deal with debt, and forsake this welfare statist philosophy that is choking us to death.

We must not be selfish and succumb to investing our entire lives into accumulating more stuff (affluence) so that with it we can do our own thing no matter how it affects those around us, including our children and grandchildren (personal peace). Furthermore, the mindset of selflessness and a long-term vision must start in the Church and in Christian homes. We are already developing a vision for the next generation in our home. We eat rice and beans now, so that my wife can stay home and Homeschool our children (of which I teach as well). We seek to exhaust all means of grace to see our little ones come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and may they do likewise when they have families.

Ultimately, we charge all men to forsake their sin as He commands us, and we rest in His Sovereign decree over all things. May we be bold by the power of the Holy Spirit, and may He grant revival to our lands. And even if He doesn’t grant revival and convict our people of their selfish ways, we will never bow the knee to the world’s idols of personal peace and affluence no matter if they cast us into the fire or feed us to the lions!

This is the type of intergenerational vision that we must have day in and day out.

For more insights into applying Biblically sound financial principles that you can instill today and into the next generation, check out, Take ‘Em Out & Stay Out: The Foundation and Finances of Homeschool by Jeramy and Meggan Anderson.

What About Socialization?

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A dominant mantra against Homeschooling is the recurring question of socialization. “Won’t your child lack the social skills necessary to incorporate into society?” No. The problem in that question is the premise. Ah, the premise: kick the beast in the teeth before he can even bite! The question is not whether or not your child will be socialized. The real questions are, “What kind?” and “Is it real or false?”

In government education, your child will grow up surrounded by peers of the same age, which results in little or no experience relating intergenerationally. Nowhere else will an individual be surrounded by twenty people of the exact same age again. Therefore, such social skills are superfluous. Even worse, they will be pressured to engage in substance abuse, sexual deviancy, violence, and debauchery. Nevertheless, let’s hone in on what is usually meant by the lack of socialization: reclusive homes.

When antagonists raise questions about socialization for Homeschooled children, they are generally implying that it creates a withdrawn environment from all aspects of life. There are some families who withdraw, but the majority does not. Either way, we do need to be deliberate about engaging with others. Besides the interacting at museums, parks, and other public places, the primary way to build a family with open arms begins in the home itself. How is that?

The more hospitable and welcoming you become, the more lives you will touch, and the more lives that will impact you as well. Though a significant part of not forsaking the gathering of yourselves (Hebrews 10:25) is the formal gathering of the Church, there is also the crucial element of house-to-house fellowship. However, this is not always easy to accomplish if you are not used to having people in your home. After all, our society in general is not very communal because we have sought after more stuff that want give us joy, and we desire to be left alone, but, as Christians, we can and must cultivate a community of fellowship.

Here are some practical tips that help in opening up the home and overcoming the logistics challenges.

  • So you don’t have the ‘gift of hospitality.’  This is used in America all the time as a means to be reclusive and even selfish. It is true that God has gifted specific saints with this, but he has called all of us to serve and be hospitable. Meggan was not originally in my boat with hosting, so I gently nudged her and explained to her that everything doesn’t have to perfect to host. Besides, if your house is not perfect, it makes others more likely to host because their house is not immaculate either. We live in a very closed society, and we must break out of this unBiblical mold.
  • Have one family over at a time when possible. What we mean by that is this. When individual mothers can sit and talk with each other one on one, an environment of openness is much more likely to be created, and the same goes with fathers. This can also keep a conversation focused while also fostering depth. We are not limited to hosting one family at a time, and we enjoy having several families over together when we are able. However, when you host one family at a time, it helps you get to know people at a deeper level. This requires more time and energy because you have to open up your house on a regular basis, but it is worth it, and, remember, our goal is to pour our lives into one another in an effort to weave the body of Christ into the glorious Bride that She is. This cannot and will not happen if we keep our doors closed.
  • Foster meaningful conversation that goes deeper than mere small talk.  Engage each other spiritually by talking about how the Lord has impacted your life through prayer, providential acts, Bible reading, and extra Biblical literature.
  • Don’t gossip about your last guest or anyone for that matter. Truly, the same way and measure that we judge others, the same way and measure we will be judged (Matthew 7:1-5). We are all guilty of this, so use this time as a means of sanctification to change the subject by killing the deeds of the flesh. This is a time to exhort each other and not have roast pastor. It may seem tasty at the time, but it will turn into bitterness and judgment.
  • Start out small. If you’ve never hosted much, begin with maybe one family every two weeks or even a month. Changing a lifestyle is much like maintaining your weight. If you implement meaningful adjustments, then difficult things become easy. We try to have folks over two-three times a week, but it did not start out that way.
  • Nail down a date and time. When inviting someone over, don’t just ask, “Hey, we’d like to have you over some time,” because they usually respond with, “Yeah, we’d like to do that one day also.” It typically ends there, so try this instead. Know what your calendar is like for two or even three weeks ahead of time. Then say, “We would love to have you over next Friday or Saturday night around 7:00PM. Is that good? If not, when might you be available?” They may need to check their schedule and get back. If so, take the initiative and ask when they will know. This will make it easier to firm up a date with a quick phone call, text, or e-mail.
  • Maintain contact with your guest in a way that best suits them. What we mean by this is that some people are better by phone, some by e-mail, or some by texting. Whatever that is, then do that. We are not all the same, so we may need to communicate in ways that we normally do not. Put them first because it’s about selfless Christ-like service and not about our personal preferences.
  • Call a couple of hours beforehand just to make sure everything is squared away. In other words, this is your opportunity to drop a friendly reminder should someone forget amidst a busy day, and this may provide a means for you or your guests to modify the scheduled fellowship time if need be.
  • Get you children involved. Our kids love to set the table, stir big pots, and get things ready. They can’t do much now, but they are learning to make hospitality a lifestyle from the early stages of life.
  • Be gracious with children. After all, yours aren’t little angels either. Don’t feel embarrassed to discipline yours, for this will encourage others to keep theirs in line as well.
  • Create an ‘environment of obedience.’ A close friend of mine speaks of this often, and it generally means that we ought not create more temptations for children than they already have. Therefore, keep breakables and electrical devices above three feet when possible.
  • Put gates up near stairs for small children. This will make families of small children more likely to return when you invite them over again.
  • If your family is involved in too many extracurricular activities, then cut back. Not only will this open up more time to host, but it will also save money and prevent burnout.
  • Minimize clutter. This speeds up the cleaning process and reduces time needed to maintain a safe environment. Furthermore, this lifestyle keeps a house tidy and presentable, which prevents the mad dash that sometimes happens when folks drop by.  How our house is today is how it almost always looks when people come over.
  • My house or apartment is too little. In this case, it is especially important to minimize clutter and get rid of unnecessary tables, lamps, and a host of other objects that can crowd an otherwise hospitable room. Nevertheless, just host whom you can; God looks at the heart, and it is not a contest. Our home is not that large, so we usually have one family over at a time and sometimes two. Occasionally we have more than that, but that is only for key events.
  • Dad needs to step up, help prepare, and clean up. Don’t expect your wife to do EVERYTHING. This is especially important if you, like us, do not have older children who can contribute to the major chores that need to be done. Needless to say, if Dad doesn’t help out, then hosting will be minimized.
  • Share the meal cost. Politely ask your guest to bring a side or dessert. I have never had anyone get upset about this, especially if it is a large family coming over. Most just ask anyway.
  • Ask about food allergies. Some guests may have serious food allergies or a significant distaste for something. Be kind and ask; they are often very thankful that you took the time to find out.
  • Prepare inexpensive meals like spaghetti, chili, casseroles, soups, and salads. Leave out the more costly ingredients to diminish any large financial burden. Buy wholesale and chop up items yourself; this normally reduces costs significantly. We often freeze these types of large meals when possible and then thaw them out when people come over.
  • Don’t feel compelled to cook a full meal every time you have fellowship. Many times we simply have vegetables with dip, chips and salsa, or a light dessert. Remember, it’s about the fellowship, so don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Prepare meals that stay warm should guests arrive late. Getting a family out the door is not always easy, and the last minute dirty diaper or spit up all over your clothes seems inevitable at times. Therefore, don’t badger your guests if they are a little late; they already know they are. After all, most breads like rolls, biscuits, and bread loaves bake quickly, so just pop them in the oven when everyone arrives. By the time you chit chat a little and give people time to take a breather, those delicious baked goods will be piping hot and ready to serve.
  • Take a week to take a break. If you’re like us, you have people over frequently. Fellowship becomes contagious, and many families that once hosted very little, do it all the time now. Like them, we always look forward to having people over, but sometimes you need a breather, so rest when you need it.

We love to host, and everyone has something to do before guests arrive and after they leave. A legacy of home fellowship is an extension of our Homeschool because Homeschooling isn’t just teaching algebra at home; rather, we are working to cultivate an environment of community and brotherhood. For this reason, hosting nudges both parents and children to become true servants of Christ by deliberately setting aside time for others ahead of ourselves.

For more insights into cultivating a Biblical Homeschool, check out Take ‘Em Out & Stay Out by Jeramy and Meggan Anderson.

The Zimmerman Trial: Why The Left Needs Division

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As fallout from the Zimmerman verdict continues, there have been conflicting reports about the extent of the violence. As expected WND reports, “The George Zimmerman verdict is a declaration of war that only the devil can applaud, according to the Twitter feed for the New Black Panther Party.” Will that be the rule or the exception? We still do not know. Nevertheless, that is only the tip of the ice-berg because something more serious took place, and it involved the federal government, namely any heavily centralized government throughout history.  Why?

If the people ever become united against tyranny, then an overthrow or coup is almost always in order. In early America, as the Colonists became more and more united under a common banner, their strength was made known to the powerful British Empire. What is even more astonishing is that they were united under the flag of limited government where the rulers are elected to serve the people and not the other way around.  This freedom is not easy to retain because sinful man is always lusting for power, something the Founders recognized.  That realization is what every generation faces, and ours is no exception.

The Obama administration was on the ropes and badly needed something to set the public on edge during the run-up to the 2012 Presidential Election. Among other things, the Zimmerman-Martin case provided exactly that. As America continues to heal from prejudice in her past, Obama personally injected himself into the fray and seized the opportunity to rip the nation apart. Wounds that began to heal were torn open yet again.

The race baiters showed up immediately, but it was discovered that Zimmerman was actually part Hispanic, thus the need to call him a ‘White’ Hispanic. Division was needed and it was needed sooner than later. After all, a united country that despised Obamacare, high taxes, abortion, redistribution of wealth, and everything else the left still represents was a threat to Obama’s reelection bid. To compound the situation, the opposition was silenced by the IRS, which blew wide open after the election when it was ‘safe’ to blow up.  This too needed to be squelched, and the Zimmerman trial helped to do that as well. It helped during the election, and it has helped during the cover-up. The people continue to be distracted and divided.

How should we then live as Christians?

As the Church, we must maintain our unity under the banner of Christ. We are one body under Him: both Jew and Gentile. If we are united under Christ and preach Him crucified, then no government can divide us. We cannot control the reaction of non-believers to oppressive regimes, but we can call the Church to the love of Christ. As we do that, God uses this to bring the lost to repentance. Therefore, may we continue to keep our eyes on Christ and the Truth of God’s Word so that we will not be distracted and lose sight over major issues that we face today like abortion, sodomite influence in society, over-regulation, redistribution of wealth, etc.

Foundation Upon Sand: Egyptian Government Doomed From Start

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To create a society that enjoys the most freedom while maintaining the best order is not easy. Cultures have attempted this throughout human history, but they fail … unless they are built and are maintained upon the Bible. The more such governments are based on the Bible and then consistently apply the Bible, the better and more stable those societies remain. For this reason, any attempt to build a free society in Egypt today is futile.

Egypt is once again in turmoil. Fox News reports, “Thousands are protesting in Egypt after both the Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents called for new mass rallies Sunday, renewing fears of another round of street violence after the country’s military removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi from office.” Apparently, many of those who ousted the former leader did not want to exchange one dictator for another, but they certainly will. It may not be another member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but any society not built upon Scripture is doomed to collapse into chaos, which then paves the way for a tyrant.

A look in the past illustrates this. In his ten-part “How Should We Then Live” series episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age”, Francis Schaeffer explains why unBiblical governments that attempt to build a free society  always fail. The American Revolution and the French Revolution occur within the same era, but they turned out much differently. America revolutionaries was immersed in Biblical thought, but the French leaders were steeped in secular pagan thinking. The revolution here presupposed key principles about the nature of man that came out of the Bible, and our forefathers also implemented many Biblical principles and laws into the various levels and branches of government. The French, on the other hand, destroyed Churches and led the people into deep idolatry, with ‘Reason’ being the chief idol.

What was the result?

The United States became prosperous and free while maintaining order at the same time. In contrast, France turned into a blood bath because it did not have a Biblical basis for government. Her false assumption about man as being born without Original Sin was devastating because sinful man seeks power and seeks to use that to his own advantage. He must be checked. Moreover, if the conscience of man is not restrained by his reverence to God in Christ, then he will do as he pleases, and anarchy will erupt. Corruption skyrockets, and the strong dominate the weak. Riots fill the streets and violence quickly erupts as different factions strive for power. The people then cry out for order and peace, even it means giving up all the liberties that they were originally willing to die for. They follow the strongest leader, and propel him to power to bring some sanity into society. In the case of France, Napoleon did exactly that.

Such will be the case with Egypt. Morsi has not been strong enough to maintain power it seems, though I wouldn’t write off the Muslim Brotherhood quite yet. Even so, Egypt will eventually be given to a strong leader at some point that will rule with an iron fist and any hopes of liberty for the average man will be lost. For this reason, as Christians, our prayer must for the repentance of a people. It is only if they submit to Christ that they will have the opportunity for lasting freedom. Otherwise, such attempts at liberty are only vanity and striving after the wind.

10The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.

11The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.

12Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Psalm 33:10-12

Freezing Vegetables

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One very easy way to store vegetables is freezing them.

1. Wash them thoroughly.

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2. Boil a large pot of water.

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3. Throw in the veggies.

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4. Wait for the pot to start boiling heavily again.

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5. Now let the pot boil for about 3-5 minutes to blanch the veggies (blanching-varies depending on the food).

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6. Take out the veggies and put them in an ice bath.

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7. Strain them and lay them out on a towel to dry.

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8. Finally, put them in freezer bags, write the date on the bags, and stow them away.

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For a chart of blanching times and a more detailed overview of this critical aspect of freezing different fresh foods, check out:
http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/blanching.html

Reproduction and Homeschool: God’s Long-term Condemnation of the Sodomite Agenda

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The Supreme Court recently set the wind in the sails of Sodomites, so they will surely test the states that have passed laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman. This will only heighten the controversy and a liberal Supreme Court is likely to continue to erode whatever Biblical values we have left off of the face of America. Yea…but there is always the Hand of Providence that keeps the high ground.

As much as those who despise the Bible and want to to see its presence in society destroyed, they cannot flee from the reality of its worldview. How so? In this particular case, the sodomite worldview has always and will forever self-destruct. They cannot biological reproduce, and their sin results in terrible disease, infection, and host of other maladies that lead to an early miserable death. They do steal children via adoption, but it is usually only one or two, and those children end up in public school whereby they have few or no children themselves.

On the other hand, the Biblical worldview will always stand its ground and march forward as the Kingdom of God increases day by day. In the midst of all the bad that exists, may we take comfort in that. The reason why is because the Bible commands procreation right out of the gate. “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV) The Fall has made all of all life arduous, and childbirth is especially painful (Genesis 3), but God’s grace prevails and children are brought forth by His Divine decree.

Bearing children is a good thing that God has ordained in the context of marriage, and that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman, something that Christ reiterated, “6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9). As we follow this Biblical mandate, the human race will not only continue, but it will thrive.

On the contrary, when we oppose God, we set ourselves up for failure and entire civilizations have collapsed and disappeared as a result of rebellion against the Lord God. The most memorable was from direct judgment in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah. “The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.” (Genesis 19:23-28) Others have received judgment through other means, with most occurring as a result of the inevitable consequence of ungodly living.

The second invaluable answer to the Sodomite agenda is a Deuteronomy 6 Homeschool. ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) When a parent sends a child to to the local government temple, 13,000 seat hours will crush the heart and mind of that child because the ungodly of this world will steal that child’s soul and give the parent the shell to take care of at night and on the weekends.  This is the great secret that the world has tried to keep hidden because it is a surefire way to maintain their abominable agenda.

However, the cat is out of the bag because God always preserves a faithful remnant that he bestows great wisdom and insight into, no matter how evil a society becomes. Such is the case with the Homeschool movement among Christians. Those who oppose Christ propagate caricatures just like they always have, but the Lord marches on. What’s even more astonishing is that the faithful have awaken from their slumber, and God is honoring that faithfulness.

Therefore, may you who currently Homeschool, continue to press on and be used of the Lord to raise up a mighty generation ready to oppose the wiles of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. May you who are considering Homeschool or are openly confronted with the reality of what children face in the government indoctrination temples every day take a serious look at Homeschool as the best option in the raising of your children.

Remember, the great risk is not having many children and educating them at home. Rather, willfully refusing to have at least some children and then sending those that you do have to government schools is the greatest risk to the soul of your child that he will ever face. This is a serious matter, so choose wisely.

For more insights into maintaining a Biblical Homeschool or the transitioning into Homeschool, check out Take ‘Em Out & Stay Out: The Foundation And Finances of Homeschool by Jeramy and Meggan Anderson.