“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
A Trial Becomes A Journey
Good-bye’s can be tough. I’ve been wrestling with this one for awhile. I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed blogging here at Homemaker at Heart over the last year! However, I feel it is time to move on and pursue other things. I started this blog when I was physically ill and unable to do much, eat much or enjoy much of anything. It provided a much needed outlet for my heart and mind. Over the course of the last year, the good hand of God has continued to strengthen me and enable me to heal. What was once a wonderful way to spend my hours at home has become quite time-consuming as I am now more able to keep up with my busy family! While this has truly been a season of suffering in my life, it has also been a season of unimaginable growth and change. What was once a crisis has become a beautiful trial that God has used in so many amazing ways. And as I emerge from the valley, God has granted me a new lease on life anda deepened faith and trust in His almighty wisdom and care. This trial has been a gift in so many, many ways. And as I heal and continue to improve,each small thing we so easily take for granted has become a gift to enjoy once more.
My Heart’s Desire
Homemaker at Heart has become very much a part of me. Writing from the depths of my heart has been freeing, encouraging and a testimony to all God has done and continues to do in my life. It has been a sad, long and difficult decision to close it down; yet one made in prayer and surrender. My heart’s desire is truly to call women back to the word of God, as sufficient for ALL of life. We have strayed so far from it, and are often “tossed to and fro on every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14) Faithful reader, if you take anything away with you, may it be this: love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and never, ever leave that first love. Don’t allow life and distractions and trials to pull your heart from the Lord first and foremost,and don’t ever set aside His word for the words or opinions of men. Walk in the love of God, the fear of God and obedience to His infallible Word. All else comes second, dear one, all else. May His word always be the treasure of your heart.
I realize this is not a popular thing to say, nor will it ever be. My faithful readers are few, and the cost of continuing the blog is too great to bear with such a low readership. On August 1, Homemaker at Heart will be closed down for good. But, I trust God will be faithful to His word as He promises to be, and not one word of His good word will ever return void. Each article was written with my bible open and after much prayer, and was always published with His glory in mind. I believe the Lord will honor His word and I was honored to speak it.
What Comes Next?
What comes next is just as much of a question as where my heart is truly burdened. What comes next is my children. Not that they were ever set aside or weren’t my main focus! However, as I continue to heal I feel very much that my heart’s work is to continue teaching my children the word of God, equipping them to stand firm on the unshakable, unchangeable truth of His word in the midst of dark and troubling times. Teaching them, praying for them, and encouraging them as they go out each day in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, letting their little lights shine to the glory of God! This has always been my first desire as a mother and re-dedicating myself to it after such a difficult trial is necessary. I believe we are living in the days of the Lord’s return for His church, and the time is short my friend. It’s time to go all in, and be found faithful when He returns.
So, This Is Good-Bye…
Just as I felt led to begin this journey, I feel it is time to say good-bye. So, thank you! Thank you for reading! Thank you to those who let me know that an article touched them or made them think a bit. Thank you to my family who lovingly supported me through the valley and encouraged me to keep writing. It’s been a journey I will never forget. A journey in which my Lord and Savior get all the credit and all the glory! And in some small way, a journey that I hope you won’t forget either. So, good-bye faithful reader. And, Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, COME!
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy statutes, and I shall observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may observe Thy law, and keep it with all my heart. Make me walk in the path of Thy commandments, for I delight in it.” Psalm 119:33-35
Sipping my hot coffee, I grab my favorite spot in the corner of the living room. My bible, notebook, pens, pencils, and highlighters sit waiting and ready for me. I open my bible, calm my heart, ask the Lord’s leading and guiding, and begin to read. Some days I know exactly what I want to read about and eagerly flip the pages. Other times I’m not sure what I need but I proceed and am amazed at how the Lord can use just about any passage to speak my heart and encourage me in His ways. One thing is for sure: as I’ve learned how to read God’s word, letting it speak for itself, I have grown up in my faith.
My bible has become my well-worn friend. It is my rock, my anchor, my foundation and the first thing I make time for as I start a new day. Years of study and daily reading have made this habit second-nature, but no matter how many years I’ve spent in the word I’m amazed at how much the Lord teaches me every morning! The bible is truly a living book, the key to a lasting relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and the importance of establishing oneself in the word cannot be overemphasized. One of the benefits of so many years of reading and studying is familiarity with the text, and a continually growing grasp on the whole truth of scripture as revealed from Genesis to Revelation. I read with confidence in what the Lord has already shown Me, humbly seeking His continued revelation and truth. And, He never leaves me hungry or wanting for more.
There was a time in my life when this seemed intimidating and overwhelming. Dependent on devotionals and the opinions of others as revealed in their books, I wasn’t grounded in the scriptures. I could only long for some insight or truth but when I picked up my bible it was just too much. How would I even know where to look? What if I spent hours reading the wrong passages? How did it all fit together? I wanted quick answers and immediate relief for whatever I was facing. But just like junk food, quick and easy spiritual answers did not satisfy for long and I was back at the Christian bookstore looking for more. I didn’t realize at the time that I was basing my faith on the opinions of men or just how hungry I was for the word of God. Then, one day, everything changed.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
I was in my mid-teens when my mother began leading women’s bible studies. Bored at youth group and yet wanting to learn and grow, I was open to whatever the Lord had for me to learn. And it was a game-changer. We didn’t just learn to read a portion of a passage and answer a few questions based on how we felt about it. We learned about things like context; historical, cultural and literary context. We learned how to observe, interpret and apply; completing overviews of entire books and digging in to each chapter only after that was complete. We learned that God’s word was for everyone, and that anyone could read it, study it, and learn truth for themselves. We learned that we could absolutely know what God’s word said and meant, and could then apply it to our lives. No longer would I need to be spoon-fed and dependent on others for spiritual food. I was learning how to feed myself, and for the first time in my life I had answers, hope, help and a meaty, scripture-based diet of spiritual food. I understood how to get the most out of my bible, and those principles have become the foundation for how I approach the word of God to this day.
The Basics of Good Bible Study
“Behold, I long for Thy precepts” Psalm 119:40
There are a million bible studies out there. So, what makes a good one? First and foremost, a good bible study uses the text of scripture as its main source. Books written by others about the bible do not qualify as bible study. Second, a good bible study approaches the text inductively. Inductive bible study means we approach the text itself to determine what it means, laying aside preconceived ideas and man-made filters. Don’t let fancy terminology scare you away, because it’s not really all that hard especially when we break it up into simple steps!
Here’s what the basics of inductive bible study look like:
“How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.” Psalm 119:2
Whether you plan to study an entire book or are just wanting to glean as much as you can during your daily bible time, this is a great approach. Any good bible study will always begin by thoroughly observing the text. Ask questions! You get to play detective in this step! Get the details of who, what, when, where, why and how. Write them down in your notebook, in your bible margins, or anywhere you can easily access them later. I learned that they best way to complete this step is to read the text several times slowly, stopping and observing along the way. You want to know who wrote the book, to whom it was written, when and why the author wrote it and any other pertinent details.
Careful observation reveals key words in the text that cannot be lifted without altering the meaning of the passage, chapter or book. These key words are marked individually in a special way with either a symbol or color, and then once again you begin to question the text. List everything you learn by marking the key words. Apply the “5 w’s and an h” to your key words as you investigate everything the author had to say about them, making sure to write it all down. Observing the text carefully, thoroughly and critically is crucial to the next step: interpretation!
“as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16
Good bible study never tries to interpret scripture without first observing and investigating it. Deductive bible study might have you read a small portion of a passage, say a verse or two, and then ask the participant to say what it means to them. Most bible studies follow this model and are reliant on the author of the study for answers, whether they are biblically accurate or not. All kinds of false teachings have been propagated and handed down through these means. Interpreting the text never comes before proper observation. Interpretation follows the rule that context is king, and seeks to support itself from the context of the passage, chapter and book, and also scripture as a whole as revealed from Genesis to Revelation. In other words, scripture always interprets scripture! There is no room for lifted one line verses to support whole theologies and doctrines. The most difficult part of bible study and the most misunderstood, good interpretation often fails because of poor observation. As my favorite bible study teacher used to say, “observe, observe, observe!”
“This has become mine; that I observe Thy precepts.” Psalm 119:56
Once observation has been completed and interpretation emerges, the most important part of bible study follows: application. All the observing and interpreting mean nothing if we do not apply what we learn to our lives. We aren’t aiming for head knowledge, but heart knowledge. Knowledge is incredibly important, but it’s what we do with it that matters most. In this step we take a step back and look at everything the Holy Spirit has taught us in His word. We meditate upon the words of scripture, we examine again cross-references we used in interpretation and we take a good, long, hard look in the mirror. If we walk away unchanged we have wasted our time. Good bible study engages the mind, penetrates the heart and produces a change in lifestyle, attitudes and actions. Simply put, it believes and obeys out of heart full of the love of God.
“I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Thine ordinances before me.” Psalm 119:30
The most important thing you need is a willing heart and an open mind. And… a great copy of the bible that will be ideal for marking and highlighting. I have used the New American Standard version of the Inductive Study Bible for many, many years. The margins are wide enough to allow for many notes and lists and cross-references to be written down. I also use basic colored pencils and highlighters, invest in a good solid notebook, and a copy of “How to Study Your Bible” by Kay Arthur for reference, which details the inductive study process nicely. In time you will need a great concordance, as well as word study tools. I use “The Complete Word Study” for Old Testament and New Testament, but there are also free word study tools available online. I like looking them up in my desk references because the definitions are more in-depth and complete.
There are many great resources available online at Precept Ministriesand I highly recommend starting with a bible study that you can follow along with. I have found over time that I can glean from God’s word on my own without a lot of help in a formal study, but to begin with it is super helpful to have the format available for following along! An easy place to start would be: “Lord, Teach Me To Study The Bible in 28 Days”. This study walks you through the inductive method one day at a time. What a great study to approach over summer break, either by yourself, with a friend, a study group, or your older children! They even have a children’s version available called, “How to Study the Bible for Kids” which is written for kids ages 8-12.
We are called to study God’s word, to handle it accurately, to defend it, obey it, and cherish it. We simply cannot do this if we don’t know what it says for ourselves! In its pages we learn who God is, what His character is, what He’s done and all He promises to do. His name is called the word of God (Revelation 19:13), and we know our God better when we know Him personally in His revealed word. So..what are you waiting for? It’s time to roll up your sleeves, grab your bible and dig in! Bible study is an investment of time which produces rewards both now and into eternity. The only thing you’ll be sorry about is that you didn’t begin sooner!
(Disclosure: None of the provided links are affiliate links. I do not profit on any purchases you make. )
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“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
A Snapshot in Time
Caleb came bounding down the stairs. “Mom, I’ve got my shorts, t-shirts and socks. I figured I’d grab what I already knew I needed.” I grabbed the packing list for his overnight field trip and crossed out the necessary items. Last year he needed me to tell him what to get from his room, item by item. “Wow, he’s really growing up,” I thought. We finished packing his duffel bag, located his sleeping bag which hadn’t been seen since summer camp last year, and laid out what he needed for the morning. He had taken this trip last year as a fourth grader. But this time, he owned it. He wanted my help, and probably still needed it a bit, but it was clear that he knew what needed to be done.
As I dropped him off at school this morning, I helped him bring everything to his classroom and fill his new hydration backpack for the big hike this afternoon. His best friend approached with a polite hello and they began chatting about the trip. And then it happened. Caleb turned and walked away, no good-byes or reassuring hugs like last year. He is a 5th grader. He is 11. He’s growing up. And, he’s becoming an independent and responsible young man. Initial shock quickly gave way to a satisfied smile. I pushed open the door to the playground, walked to the parking lot and drove home. What a difference a year makes.
Motherhood is a Season
“childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.” Ecclesiastes 11:10
I’ve been thinking about the seasons of life a lot lately. I don’t know if it’s the fact my oldest is off to high school in the fall, or that Caleb will be in junior high next year. Maybe it’s that my baby is almost done with first grade. But I am sitting squarely in the middle ages of motherhood. You know, the season when the baby stuff has been long donated or packed away, the season when your kids get to do cool big kid things like summer camp and overnight field trips, the season when you’re not sure quite what to do with yourself as a mom. I mean, yesterday I was needed to change diapers, make bottles, potty train and grin and bear it as we watched yet another afternoon of back to back PBS kids cartoons. Yes, there were days when I thought I was drowning, when I didn’t know if I could survive “survival mode” any longer…and then suddenly, here we are. Contemplating high school and colleges, first jobs, learner’s permits, braces, and dealing with all the social drama of school. And I’m wondering just what I’ll do with myself when the kids are grown and gone. When the season of motherhood is over. When they no longer need me.
There are days I’m fighting the clock to get the grocery shopping, laundry, and dishes done along with any other items on my to-do list. There are days (or weeks with a family of 6!) that someone is always home sick, has a doctor’s appointment or a special event to attend. There are also long quiet days when I’m all by myself and the loneliness sets in. There are days and weeks that go by when I rarely see my busy husband, and the kids don’t need me as much. And then, like clockwork, chaos descends as everyone comes home hungry, with papers to be signed, homework to be completed and a days-worth of activities to share. Sometimes I’m not quite sure what my role in the midst of it all is, except to love on my kids, love on my husband and care for their needs as no one else can. It’s an interesting season to be in. One of letting go, celebrating each milestone along the path towards independence, and yet still guiding along the way. One of relative peace and then total craziness. One where you celebrate how far you’ve come and yet are saddened as the years slip away bit by bit.
Seize The Day
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
As I look into the future, for my kids and for myself, one thing is certain. You can never go back. Once the kids are grown, the long days and short years of day-in, day-out motherhood are over. As I look at how far my kids have come, I’m so glad I’ve been here for it all. That I haven’t been so busy, or the kids so over-scheduled, that I missed it somehow. And, I remind myself not to miss out on what I have right now. No, I’m not sure what this mom will do when the house is quiet and there are no more lunches to make at the crack of dawn or places to be first thing in the morning. Maybe I will finish college, like I’ve always dreamed of doing. Maybe, I will go back to work and throw myself into something totally new, different and exciting. Maybe my husband and I will have the time and money to travel and spend more time together.
One thing I do know is this, life has many seasons and all of them are meant to be celebrated. If I had to go back, I’d do it all over again. Relishing every lesson, cringing at every mistake, and reveling in every joy, victory, and blessing. I’d worry less and thank God more. I’d trust Him for all my tomorrows and bless Him for my today, despite the difficulties, despite the pain. As I look back with fondness and contemplate the vapor that life is, I’m encouraged to seize today with all the strength God supplies. To kiss every boo-boo, to listen to every long-winded story, to make their favorite cookies, pop-in their favorite movie, and to say ‘yes’ to their childhood when I least feel like it. Because tomorrow it will be over.
The journey of life is a rich one, full of twists and turns, adventures and trials. Just as it seems you get used to one season, it blossoms and changes into the next one. Each season full of its own joys and trials, equally from His hand and for our good, pointing us to the Author of them all. We don’t get to hold on, but we do get to choose how we go through each season; how we spend the time, what we invest in and what our priorities are.
We Only Really Ever Have ‘Today’
“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.” Ecclesiastes 5:18
So…today, I will fold the laundry, do the dishes once again, and vacuum up the pretzel crumbs with joy because today is the day that the Lord has made. A season that will go as quickly as it came. I will make dinner, remind the kids to clean their room, break-up the inevitable arguments, and squeeze all the joy out of this season of motherhood that I possibly can, while I still can. I will choose to make the most of these transient years, building fond memories, making the best of what we have, and laughing at all the mishaps along the way. Pondering all these things in my heart, choking back the tears, and enjoying each moment.
And tonight…as Caleb sits around the bon-fire making s’mores and telling stories with his classmates, I will miss him. I will remember when he was little, that infectious grin and tender heart that make him who he is today. I might wipe a tear, but I will wear a smile. He’s growing up after all. I will choose to give him roots and wings, cheer every milestone and celebrate every victory. And most of all, I will cherish this season of motherhood. Choosing joy and enjoying the blessings that the Lord has given me in this season, trusting Him with all the rest.
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“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
This month Homemaker at Heart’s featured product fromThe Ultimate Resource Guideis a 12-part DVD series entitled, “TRUTH: Falling to Peaces”. This eye-opening series takes you on a journey from everyday street conversations and the feelings of people living in our post-modern society to the heart of alternative spirituality and its biblical implications. This DVD series weaves together everyday dialogue, opposing viewpoints, historical background, chalkboard visuals, and teaching moments to “peace” together each subject. One of my favorite teaching tools, I have used this DVD set with my older children several times to highlight what alternative spirituality teaches and how to recognize it in all its forms. This valuable resource can be used again and again and in multiple settings. This month Homemaker at Heart is giving away 3 DVD sets of “TRUTH: Falling to Peaces”!
Falling to Peaces Trailer (fcp6) - YouTube
Be sure to enter for your chance to win at the end of the article!
“My people perish for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
Coexist. World Peace. Social justice. Spirituality. Mind-Body-Spirit. Alternative medicine. Energy balancing. Experience. Awakening. Unity. Tolerance. Centering. Yoga. Meditation. Mindfulness. Once synonymous with fringe New Ager’s, these buzz words are now mainstream. In our post-modern society where truth is relative to each individual, feelings-based spirituality is in and the soul-anchoring, unshakable truth of God’s word is out. And it’s not just taken over the world. Cloaked in Christian-sounding terminology, much of this “new spirituality” has found its way into churches, Christian schools, colleges and seminaries, youth groups, conferences, retreats, and popular Christian best-sellers. What is this counterfeit spirituality? What is it all about? And just where is it all headed?
Hard to define and difficult to pin down, the New Age or alternative spirituality is a belief system that embraces various forms of world religions, pop psychology, New Age parapsychology, Neo-paganism, witchcraft and the occult. Based in part on the premise that there is no absolute truth, it also encompasses the belief that everything is unified, all the pieces that compromise the universe are a part of the oneness or universal consciousness – a sort of “god” energy that unites everything and everyone. Believing everything evolved physically, the belief is that we must continue to evolve spiritually, awakening ourselves to this oneness and unity of all that is. In that awakening, we realize that we too are god, a vital part of the energy force that unites all. In fact, everything is god. The trees, the earth, all the animals and insects, from every speck of dust to the sun, moon, and stars – everything is energy; everything is god.
This belief system, rooted in Eastern religion, philosophy and ancient occultism, is really not new. The lie that began in the garden of Eden has been repackaged for a new generation and is behind the mind-body-spirit fad, meditation and yoga, veganism, and much of alternative medicine. Once called the New Age movement, today it is mainly referred to as New Spirituality, or even just spirituality. People don’t want a set belief system, but one where they can pick and choose what they feel is right or wrong based on their own version of reality or what works for them. Experience becomes the ultimate reality as truth is forsaken.
Alternative spirituality is highly focused on self. Self-actualization. Self-esteem. Self-empowerment. Self-help. Self-love. And on and on it goes. The lie is that although we are all god, somehow we forgot this. To achieve spiritual awakening you must love and accept yourself, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, and look inward through yoga and meditation. You must awaken the kundalini force, open your chakras, and balance your energy. Alternative spirituality also teaches that since you are god, you can and should have whatever it is that you desire. You should feel empowered to go after your dreams. You should manifest your destiny with the power of positive thinking and declaring or speaking forth your desires. Sending out positive vibrations, thoughts and words, as well as clearing all the negative ones, is key to receiving all that you want and more.
Alternative spirituality also drives the coexist gospel, and the idea that we are all one. One world. One religion. One humanity. The New Age goal has always been to come together in unity for the good of the planet, the good of humanity and the future of mankind; indeed into a new age of humanity as we attain to our higher consciousness. All differences must be put aside so we can achieve global peace, unity, and oneness. Alleviating all the pain and suffering that plagues our world and creating global unity and oneness will carry mankind into a new awakening, a future without wars, poverty, disease, or division. A day when everyone and everything is balanced, unified in community, and working together for the common good. What could be so wrong with that?
In The Beginning…
To really understand where the New Age or New Spirituality came from or where it’s going you have to go back to the beginning. You see, the Bible tells us we have an enemy of our souls who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). The Bible also tells us that the whole world lies in the power of this evil one (1 John 5:19). So, who is this enemy? The great dragon of old, Satan, who was cast down from heaven (Revelation 12:9-12, Isaiah 14:12, 15). And why was he cast down? His heart full of pride, he thought he could be like the Most High. (Isaiah 14:13-14, Ezekiel 28:12, 17). Created perfectly, full of beauty and splendor and wisdom, Lucifer decided he should be like God. He thought he could ascend to heaven and raise his throne above the stars of God.
The Bible tells us it was Satan who was in the garden of Eden and tempted Eve to the same prideful sin he himself fell for. Casting doubt on God’s word and character, Satan tempted Eve with the offer of becoming like God. It’s this same lie that has been packaged and re-packaged over and over again down through the ages in various religious traditions and practices. The same hiss of the serpent can be traced through the ages to the present day and it is this hallmark lie we should recognize immediately for what it is. We can be sure that any philosophy that subscribes to such notions is from hell itself.
Satan is a master at deception and the father of lies (John 8:44). In fact, there is no truth in him. He comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He was thrown down in great wrath and has gone forth knowing his time is short (Revelation 12:12). And yes, my friends, he has a plan to deceive the whole world. As you begin to understand the tactics of the enemy and what the Bible warns us is coming, it becomes easier to make sense of the world we live in. Alternative spirituality is one of many avenues that Satan is using to deceive the world, because he knows what’s coming next.
A Sign of the Times
“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.” Matthew 24:3-4
We are living in difficult times. Most people agree that the world is off. At a time when the world is crying out for peace and unity, the Bible warns us that the worst time in human history is just around the corner. Though this article doesn’t permit the time, it is clear from Bible prophecy that we are living in the period of time known as the end times; literally the period of time before the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1, Matthew 24:21). The world is desperately longing for a world leader who will unite everyone: all nations, all people, and yes, even all religions, for the good of humanity. And the Bible tells us they’re going to get one. So, who is this coming global leader?
The Bible refers to this great global leader as the antichrist (Revelation 13, 14:9-12). Though he’s evil to the core, he certainly won’t appear to be at first. He will deceive the whole world into believing he is the one they’ve all been waiting for – the messiah, the savior of all mankind, the one who will rescue the world from all its many problems and bring the peace everyone longs for. As Buddhists wait for the 5th Buddha, Muslims wait for the Mahdi, Jews wait for the Messiah, Christians wait for the return of Jesus Christ and New Ager’s wait for the advent of Maitreya, a man will show up appearing to be all things to all people and uniting everyone together in peace and unity. His smooth words will give people over to godlessness (Daniel 11:32). He will make great boasts, declaring himself to be God (Daniel 7:24-26, 9:27, 11:36, Matthew 24:14-15). He will make alterations in time and in law (Daniel 7:25), even controlling a global currency (Revelation 13:16-17). All will appear to be well at first, but such world peace and global unity won’t last. He will bring swift destruction on himself and those who follow him (Revelation 20:1-10). The greatest period of human suffering and global war ever to break out will engulf all of mankind as God pours out His judgement on an unrepentant humanity. Truly, only when the Lord returns and sets up His Kingdom will the world ever know true peace (Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 22, 27, Revelation 20:4-6).
So, the question remains: how will the world, the professing church, all nations and religions get to this point? Such things don’t happen overnight. How will so many people accept this global leader, the antichrist, without question? Well, it will be the end result of years upon years of conditioning. Years upon years of deception, and a total rejection of God’s truths in favor of the opinions of men. With no truth to anchor the soul, with the only framework for truth being “how one feels about it”, and with experience trumping any moral or spiritual absolutes people are left open to the greatest deception of all time. Indeed, the antichrist will look and feel like the real deal! He will be Satan’s greatest masterpiece. Mankind will truly believe the savior has come to unite us all. Only a love for the truth will rescue souls from the powerful delusion.
The Love of the TRUTH
“And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10
The love of the TRUTH is crucial to salvation, especially in these last days in which we are living. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6). Jesus is THE truth, and there isn’t another way or truth that leads to salvation. There is but one truth, and it is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 45:5 says, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” The one and only truth is revealed to us in His word.
You simply cannot separate Him from the truth of His word, they are one and the same. It is only a love for the truth, a love for Jesus Christ and His word, in these perilous and deceptive times that will save us from what is to come, and what is already here preparing the way.
“when the Son of Man comes will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8
As alternative spirituality continues to increase in popularity, the masses that buy into it are progressively being conditioned for the religion and worldview of the coming antichrist. Indeed, the spirit of antichrist is already at work (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The very concepts and ideas that will one day “unite” the world and its religions are the same ideals both longed for, taught and embraced by this New Spirituality, both in and out of the church. What’s most concerning though is that what used to be fringe ideas and mostly discredited concepts are now mainstream. Cloaked in scientific or Christian-sounding terminology, these concepts, ideals and spiritual experiences are leading millions away from a biblical faith, away from the only truth that will save their souls and into an all-encompassing, unity-embracing, community-doing deception of epic proportions. The enemy of our souls is at work, working the poison of lies and deceit and destruction into the fabric of our post-modern, truth-hating society. The only antidote is a profound love for the scriptures, and the only true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who changes not, and His Son Jesus Christ.
A Call to Discernment
“Let no one in anyway deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3
I absolutely love that God never does anything without revealing..
“Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord.” Psalm 130:1
Do you believe that God is a God of second chances? I hate to admit it, but there was a day when I’m not sure if I believed that! I was convinced that my choices had sealed my fate. I was doomed to despair, heart-break and regret. You see, I wanted another baby… badly. My first-born son was just under two years old when baby fever set in. Every month I’d cross my fingers for a positive pregnancy test, but it just never seemed to come. I tried to hang in there, but a pattern was emerging that I didn’t want to be true. My heart ached for a baby that I wasn’t sure would ever come. And it wasn’t just that I wasn’t conceiving. It was that I knew that even if I did, I had no idea what we were going to do! We were in a tight spot, and I felt like it was all my fault.
The truth is….Choices Have Consequences
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word.” Psalm 119:67
My heartache was rooted in a single decision I had made just a year prior. Well, there were lots of decisions, really, but only one major decision that led to all the rest of them. I had returned to work full-time, and as a supervisor at that. I hadn’t even asked the opinion of my husband. I had simply applied, interviewed and accepted the position – and I loved it, at first! James wasn’t terribly opposed to it either. He had just gotten a new job and our combined incomes would allow us to buy a nicer home close to work, family and friends. We had agreed I’d stay home for the most part with our son when he was born, save the daycare costs, and allow me to focus solely on home and family. All that had changed with the single choice to apply for and accept that job. I just didn’t realize what that decision was going to cost me.
As a full-time working wife and mom, the conflict at home began. I came home tired, completely worn out from being on my feet all day. No time was ever my own. Household chores, meal prep and grocery shopping, and time spent together all suffered. Despite two incomes, daycare took such a large chunk that we were still struggling. We barely made ends meet. I didn’t think it was going to be this hard. I mean if finances were still going to be tight, why not live in a less expensive home and just stay home with my son? Why had I decided to go back to work whole hog? Why had I decided to buy a home at the top of our budget? I wanted to be pregnant, to have another baby and devote myself to my husband and children. I had always wanted that! Why had I set that desire aside? Couldn’t I have had just a bit more faith and patience, instead of relying on my own efforts to “help” our family out? At the time, everything had seemed perfect! But now, regret had set in. There was no way out of the circumstances that I had put us in, and I was certain this was how it was going to be forever.
Sorrow & Repentance
My sorrow was unbearable. I cringed at every newborn baby I saw, my soul welling up within me. I avoided the baby aisle at the grocery store and deliberately did not go anywhere near the baby clothes when I visited Target or Wal-Mart. I was heart-broken. My soul was so sad that I physically hurt. Sometimes I wondered if the pain and tears would ever go away, if only I could just forget and move on. James and I had reached a point where we fought more often than not. I both longed for and hated the weekends. Everything was fresh and raw at home.
For a short time I tried to go part-time again, though it didn’t last long. On one of my day’s off with my son I let him pick a movie to watch while I cleaned the upstairs bathrooms. He chose one of his favorites: Veggie Tales Jonah. I put the disc in and hurried about my chores, ever aware of the fact that I wish I had more days like this. I stared at the empty bedroom across from his, the one I had hoped would be another baby nursery when we bought the place. My pain and frustration was real, overwhelming and never-ending. What had I done? I had ruined my life, my marriage, my hopes and dreams of motherhood and being a busy stay at home mom someday….all for what?!?! I was genuinely sorry, and ready for change. I had asked forgiveness, but felt doomed to suffer the consequences of my choices. I had made my bed. I guess now I had to lay in it. Despair consumed me.
As I worked upstairs I could hear David’s movie playing just down the stairs. The movie had gotten to the part where Jonah was stuck in the belly of the whale, totally distraught. It was over in his eyes, and death was inevitable. In fact, he deserved it.
Just then the song began:
Praise the Lord, He’s the God of second chances. You’ll be floored how His love your life enhances. You can be restored from your darkest circumstances. Our God is a God of second chances….Second chances, second chances. Praise the Lord, He’s the God of second chances.
The words pierced my heart and soul. I couldn’t help but break down and bawl my eyes out. “Oh Lord,” I prayed, “please forgive me! Will You really give me a second chance? Forgive me for choosing work over my family. Forgive me for failing to put You first. I’m so sorry. I don’t deserve it but please help us, Lord!” I cried my heart out. In fact, every time my son watched that movie I cried. I poured out my soul with weeping every morning and evening, I dug into His word looking for answers, hope, and direction. And then, I waited….maybe, just maybe, God was a God of second chances.
Winds of Change
“If Thou, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.” Psalm 130:3-4
Circumstances rarely change overnight. As is usually the case, there was a lot of prayer and a lot of waiting. My heart still hurt but I was slowly stepping out in faith. I had been forgiven. I believed God was a God of second chances, and there is nothing that He cannot do. I held onto that truth and daily immersed myself in His word. Over and over again I saw that children are not only a gift and reward from Him, but He alone opens and closes the womb. I asked him for another baby; I asked him for the family I had always wanted; I asked Him for the ability to stay home again. It looked impossible, but I held on and waited.
Right around the time I was rejoicing over a positive pregnancy test, James called me at work just to chat. He mentioned that a guy he worked with in Iowa had put in his notice and was moving on. He was a Network Administrator, a position James had always wanted but never thought he’d get…not anytime soon anyway. The phone call was over quickly but something about that call gave me fresh hope. I didn’t even know how or why, but things felt like they were changing.
I continued to work full-time as my pregnancy progressed. It was stressful, especially as people kept pressing, “what are you going to do after the baby is born?” I had no idea. I couldn’t really afford two kids in daycare or to quit my job. I was scared, but determined to walk in faith. If God was giving me this baby I so desperately wanted than somehow this would all work out. It had to. All I could do was take it a day at a time.
New Baby, New Beginnings
“I know that Thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.” Job 42:2
Caleb Matthew was joyfully welcomed into our family March 13, 2006. I was so full of awe for all God had done in granting me another son, and so in love with that adorable bundle of joy. As the day came to a close, James and I settled in for the night at the hospital with our new baby nestled into his little bassinet. I looked at James and said, “I want to stay home. I don’t want to work. I don’t want to raise the kids in daycare. It seems so impossible. I don’t even know what we’ll do after maternity leave is over.” He grabbed my hand and said, “I know someone who does. Let’s pray about it.” With lights dimmed and baby sleeping, we bowed our heads. We praised the Lord His goodness to us, and we humbly asked Him to allow me stay home somehow, someway. We left it all in His hands and turned in for the night.
The next several months were very hard. Caleb was a fussy baby, I was still working full-time and we were all exhausted. I remembered our prayer and everyday on the way to work I prayed again. Daycare was figured out on a week-by-week basis. Sometimes we’d have someone for a week or two, and then we’d be forced to look again for a more permanent solution. I hated it. It felt all wrong and yet all I could do was wait and pray.
As the stress mounted, James came home with interesting news. The Network Administrator job in Iowa had been posted internally, and he was considering applying. It would mean a move, but maybe the change would mean a fresh beginning for our family! Was this the second chance I had been waiting and praying for? After he applied the wait was excruciating. It took months before they interviewed candidates. But if God had meant this for our good, surely it would work out. Eventually the day came & he was invited up to Iowa for the interview. Our second chance was just around the corner.
A God of Second Chances
I was used to waiting when the answer came, but the wait made the answer that much sweeter! James had gotten the job, a big promotion really! And we were moving to Iowa. The job came with a complete relocation package, and we didn’t incur a single expense related to moving. God was providing! His pay was increased and if we were frugal, I could STAY HOME! I couldn’t quit my job quick enough! The wait was over! Our second chance had arrived! The Lord had heard, He had graciously forgiven, and He had given me that second chance! My heart was so full, and the pain a distant memory. I remembered our humble prayers in the hospital the night my beautiful boy was born and I knew He had heard! He had done the impossible! I was going to embrace my calling as wife and mom whole-heartedly. I was ready!
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy name give glory because of Thy loving-kindness, because of Thy truth.” Psalm 115:1
Yes, my second chance had come. We moved into our new home in Iowa exactly 9 months after Caleb was born, and just in time for Christmas. I had been given a gift. No, I didn’t deserve it but God had in His mercy forgiven my selfishness and sin and offered me another chance. I woke up that first morning in our new home with the most peace I had in a very long time. And I threw myself into my God-given role as a wife and mother with fresh vigor, new hope and full of joy. Truly God had given me this second chance, the desire of my heart. He not only blessed me with the chance to stay home and be with my two boys, He also in time blessed me with a daughter and another son! More than I could have ever hoped for!
What about you?
My friends, we serve a God of second chances! I believe that as a sovereign God He uses our choices and circumstances to lead us to Himself, if we are willing. We all make mistakes, it’s what we do with them that makes all the difference! When we come to Him with godly sorrow, a truly repentant heart and a turning from our sin, He forgives us! He doesn’t always remove the consequences of our choices but He so often will work in and through them for our very good and for His glory. Indeed, He makes all things new. If you’re drowning in depression and despair, as you survey the damages your choices have brought upon you, look up! Confess your sin! He is faithful and willing to forgive your sins, cleansing you from all unrighteousness.(1 John 1:9) He won’t always deliver you out, but He sure will surely see you through. He is a God of mercy and grace, and yes, second chances!
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5
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“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in the house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool
I had been planning it all out for months. The homeschool curriculum was bought, the lesson plans poured over and the table set out with books, maps, crayons and papers. I called my second grader and preschooler into the dining room, “Time for school boys!” I was crossing my fingers that my toddler and my baby would cooperate today. “Please Lord,” I prayed, “we need to get something done.” The boys sat down and looked up at me as I stood by our huge wall mounted map of the world. Our curriculum would take us all around the world through countries and cultures. We were going to experience the art, literature, history, music and geography of the world! It’s just…we never actually got to leave the dining room.
“Who wants to come find China on the map?” I asked, launching into the lesson. After David pinned China’s flag to its place on our world map we dug into the detailed lesson plans I had created. Five minutes in and my newest baby, Jonathan, was crying. No matter, I thought. I’ll just carry him. I picked up my chunky 20 pound baby boy and tried to proceed. He squirmed and cried and didn’t want to be consoled, breaking my back, arm and hip in the process. Thinking maybe he was hungry and tired, I made him a nice warm bottle, grabbed a burp cloth and returned to the dining room to find the boys done with their papers already. My 4 year old clearly spent all of 5 seconds coloring and could not sit still much longer. “Here, try a few puzzles,” I uttered, hoping that he wouldn’t get up and I’d have to start the process all over again. And David was beyond bored.
I tried to feed my baby boy a bottle but he didn’t want more than an ounce. I could tell hunger wasn’t to blame for the fussiness. Deciding that a nap was in order, I took him up to his crib and laid him down. I had been hoping that his nap time would coincide with my daughter Hannah’s nap time later in the day, but it appeared not to be so. After a few minutes of comforting my son I remembered I needed to go check on my barely 2 year old daughter. Was she still doing okay? I had left her watching cartoons within ear shot of the dining room, but I had been gone longer than expected. I hurried into the living room to check on her. She was fine, but ready to do something else. The stress was mounting.
I brought my three children back into the dining room and attempted to get school going again. I just had to finish the lesson plan for the day, and I still had math, reading, and language arts to accomplish with my oldest. Not to mention the hands-on stuff I liked to do during Hannah & Jonathan’s afternoon naps….if they were even going to occur together at all! Just as I started to speak I noticed Jonathan’s angry, roaring cry was going strong. I needed to go check on him. I left the kids in the dining room and ran up the stairs. Peeking into his nursery I saw him literally screaming, red face, runny nose and all. His cry so often was one of fear and anger, unlike any of my other babies, and try as I did he was SO hard to figure out. Nothing this experienced mother of 4 did could calm that scream.
I gently rocked him, listening to his fearful cries, trying to console him. I could hear the kids downstairs running about, desperate to just go be kids, and I started to cry. Everyday was the same mess. I was in over my head. I needed a break, help, something to go my way. Is this really what God was asking me to do?
In The Beginning
It had started out innocently enough. We had moved to a small town in Iowa with a promotion for my husband. His animal health pharmaceutical company had a plant there and this was a big step up into a Network Administrator role for him. It also meant that I could stay home with our 2 boys at the time. My oldest son missed the kindergarten cut off by days by Iowa law, and being a very intelligent little guy was dying to go to school. I decided to teach him how to read and write that year, and he excelled. Whatever I gave him to do he’d devour in days and want more. We lived at the library and soon he was reading an entire Magic Tree House chapter book in a day, and asking for another. I was thrilled to see this, of course, and thought that homeschool just might be the ticket for us. The glossy catalogs made it look so easy and fun.
Still, I sent David to kindergarten the following year at the small Christian school in town. I was pregnant with our third child, had an energetic toddler and David still hadn’t made any friends since the move. He enjoyed the social aspect but became bored very quickly. He was reading; the class was learning their ABC’s. His observant teacher began bringing him second grade work, trying to keep him engaged. By year’s end I decided to save the thousands in private school tuition and return to homeschooling. Surely it would go as well as the first mini experiment with it had gone.
But…this is God’s way!
The church we had been attending, and several women I had met there, for the most part home schooled their kids. It was the thing to do, if you were a serious Christian of course. The rational was that God told us to teach our kids “when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). Therefore, to obey God you had to homeschool. Schools were evil, brain-washing places that selfish women dropped their kids off at so they could work or do their own thing (no….I’m not making this up)! Godly women homeschooled, ungodly women sent their kids to school. In their minds, it was as simple as that.
I took the argument, but with a healthy dose of skepticism. I was uncomfortable when I’d hear these things, and the spirit of pride ran high in this circle. Something just didn’t seem right about it all. But, I too didn’t care for the local public school system in our town. Illiteracy rates were sky-high, and the town fairly uneducated as a whole. I was scared. The homeschool community preyed on that fear, and in time I was certain that I was fulfilling my obligation to the Lord in homeschooling my children.
Something Just Wasn’t Right…
By the time Jonathan was born I was in over my head, and desperately searching for a way to save my homeschool. I purchased new curriculum, bought more books and dedicated myself anew to the challenge. I read every book, blog, and website about homeschool I could get my hands on, but they left more questions and concerns then I’d had before. I sorted through every catalog and made sure to attend the conference in Des Moines. But something still just wasn’t right. I struggled and wrestled in my spirit daily. Did God ask me to do this? Where did it say in the Bible that I had to homeschool? I knew all the verses well. It’s just that none of them mentioned teaching science, math, geography, english, writing, reading, art, music, PE, or history!
The harder I tried, the harder it got. The more I pressed forward, the more I needed to pull back. And in the mean time, school wasn’t always getting done. Desperate, I began asking other homeschool moms for help. Reluctantly they each stated that they too were struggling under it all. Some threw out formal school altogether and just let the day lead where it may. They might read a book, go to the park and if they saw something intriguing they’d go home and look it up. That was school for the day. Another told me they just did math and english worksheets in the morning, and called it a day. I was horrified. My gifted son was bored to death, had no friends, and spent the entire day inside waiting for a make-shift lesson while I *tried* to meet the needs of my other kids. A lady at church tried to reassure me, “Oh, I don’t even care if my kids don’t get a traditional education. It’s more about character. I’d feel like a failure if they grew up and got a good job. I’m just training them to go into ministry. ” I was dumb-founded.
A Turning Point
“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1
As my wrestling continued, the Lord spoke to my heart one day as I stood doing dishes. “You are laboring in vain.” The words were almost audible, but I was alone. I was carrying a heavy burden indeed and getting nowhere. I was weary, tired and overwhelmed. I had tried my best and to no avail, I was drowning. Despite everyone telling me what I was doing was “enough” I knew better. My son was smart, intelligent, hungry to learn….and terribly bored. I was failing him, no matter how many books I bought or workbooks he completed. There was a gap I couldn’t fill. My younger children were bored in their own right. No amount of Play-Doh, coloring books or LEGO’s made the day any easier. Their short attention span was no match for the lessons and attention my oldest son desperately needed. And my newest baby was a complete puzzle. I had reached my breaking point.
Laboring in vain. The words sunk in. But Lord…aren’t I doing all this back-breaking work for You? Aren’t you pleased with me for trying so hard? I remembered a verse my mom so often quoted when things got hard. “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” A heavy, difficult burden wasn’t from the Lord. It was a work of the flesh. Human effort working in self-righteous pride. I was convicted. Had I ever asked Him what He wanted? Had I inquired of the Lord about school for my kids or had I listened to the opinions of religious sounding people? Had those same people walked humbly and in faith with the Lord, or were they puffed up with all the trappings of self-effort and self-righteous, religious pride? I knew the answers to all these questions. I had reached the turning point.
A Season of Slow Change:
Out of Homeschool & Into the Light
God was at work. My husband’s company was sold and while he retained one of a few jobs, we knew it was time to move on. The economy was in the tank, and despite the fact it was a terrible time to find a job, sell a home or move all the details fell into place. By God’s gracious hand he found a job in Phoenix, Arizona and we sold our house quickly. A change of scenery was good. I wanted to leave our life in Iowa behind and start new, fresh. But I was still wrestling with school. The fears that the homeschool community engrained into me about sending my kids to school were real, bordering on brain-washing and control. Wasn’t I going to be sinning sending my kids to school, especially public school? At close to $10,000/year per child, Christian school was out of the question in Arizona. I was scared, desperate, and in need of help. Now what?
I’d like to say that coming out of the homeschool community was quick, simple and easy. But, I’d be lying. It took awhile to un-do the wrong thinking and fear-mongering that plagued me. I had been so entirely unhappy, heavily burdened, and broken-hearted at watching my kids flounder in that lifestyle. Would I be throwing my kids to the wolves in public school? Would they live to tell the tale? Would they be deceived? Would they even get a good education?
I took my cries to the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew my kids better than I did, and loved them more than I ever would. I needed guidance, direction, vision, purpose and peace. What did He want me to do? I placed it all before Him, wrestling it out in prayer and tears and late night bible reading sessions. I wouldn’t quit until I had an answer. And you know what? One late night that answer came.
Scrunched up in a big, cozy chair with my bible in my lap I came upon John chapter 17. Jesus was praying for His disciples, and was concerned about what would happen to them when He wasn’t with them anymore. He prayed:
Those verses leapt off the page. There it was – the answer, the wisdom I so needed to find! No, we are not of this world. But He didn’t ask that His disciples be taken out of this world either. We are in it, but not of it. Jesus prayed that as they walked through the world that His Father would keep them from the evil one. The truth of God’s word would sanctify them and set them apart and the Lord would go with them.
That was it! Jesus cared for His disciples just like I care for my children! He didn’t hide them away in fear of the evil one. No, He sent them out with the sanctifying truth of His word and in the capable, protective, loving arms of the Father. They would be salt and light. They would walk through the world and yet not be of it. They were His witnesses; testimonies to His saving grace and the light of the truth. My kids were safe in that same place – the arms of My Heavenly Father. I would not go with them each day, but He would! There was no place for fear. It was the truth of God’s word that would sanctify those children. No amount of homeschool, Christian school, or protective parenting would do it.
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
Yoga is in! Over 37 million Americans practiced yoga in 2016 and over 80 million people will give yoga a try in one years time, with the vast majority of participants being women. It is being promoted virtually everywhere we go, from doctor’s offices to magazine covers in the grocery store, even businesses, schools and churches are joining in! Yoga has certainly caught on fast and it isn’t going anywhere soon. In recent years I have seen ads, DVDs, books as well as churches promoting Christian yoga. Once considered a pagan or New Age practice, droves of Christians are flocking to the practice with out so much as a second thought. What is yoga? Where did it come from? And should we be participating?
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a Hindu word and a Hindu spiritual discipline. It literally means “union” and the purpose of yoga is to become one with the universal consciousness, to become one with Brahman. Yoga is such an integral part of the Hindu religion that the two cannot be separated from each other. As the saying goes: “There is no yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without yoga.”
There are several types of yoga, but each type has two distinct parts:
The physical aspect – where one learns to control their breathing, mind, body, movements, behavior, and so on.
The spiritual aspect – in which one recognizes that they are divine and part of the universal oneness.
Yoga begins as a physical discipline, and once a practitioner is able to control their thought process it progresses to a spiritual level. The purpose is to bring the mind to total stillness, to focus on a single word/sound/object in a deliberate way to bring the mind to a state of total peace so that the person practicing yoga may have a spiritual experience. The spiritual experiences are thought to be a revelation or penetration of higher spiritual “truths”. The highest reality is to recognize one’s own personal divinity. It is to realize that all is divine and that you are god!
Chakras, Kundalini & the Spirit of Yoga
To recognize one’s divinity is the direct goal of yoga. It is achieved through awakening the kundalini force said to lay at the base of each person’s spine. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word for “coiled one” and refers to a form of primal energy or shakti (Wikipedia). It also literally means “cobra”. The practice of yoga is said to awaken this sleeping force at the base of the spine and through continual practice it rises up through each of the Chakras until reaching the 6th Chakra located between the eyebrows known as the third eye and the seat of psychic powers. As the kundalini rises up to this 6th Chakra it is said to release the Hindu god Shiva, the serpent power in you, awakening your psychic powers and awakening your god-consciousness.
Kundalini must be awakened for one to reach god-consciousness. Yoga is one way to awaken this force. It can also be awakened by the use of breath control, often used alongside yoga or other forms of pagan prayers or meditation. Achieving a certain breathing rhythm or pattern, or through the use of breath prayers, is said to awaken the serpent power and brings about a change in consciousness. Laying on of hands is also a way to awaken the kundalini power and is often done by Hindu god-men referred to as gurus.
It is easy to see that the spirit of yoga is the spirit of the serpent, with the kundalini serpent force rising up inside the one practicing yoga. The movements associated with yoga are serpentine in nature and the practice of yoga is also considered a religious exercise in which the practitioner is bowing down to the god of the serpent. The use of controlled breathing to reach altered states of consciousness to bring about religious experience is dangerous. In Hinduism, both yoga and meditation are used to shut down rational and logical thinking as well emotions. The thought is that if you can turn off rational thinking you then can reach absolute truth – that all is one and you are divine.
A Biblical Response
“And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
Yoga cannot be separated from its Hindu roots and made into a Christian practice. No where in Scripture would this be condoned. It cannot be used as a form of exercise for the Christian because the very movements themselves are meant to awaken the kundalini spirit, they are meant to force the rise of kundalini in the practitioner. The postures, movements and techniques that are part and parcel of yoga are Hindu rituals meant to trigger a supernatural entrance into the “god presence” and an awakening of the divine. The only mention of this in the Bible would be in the perpetual lie of the serpent that man can become as God, as Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden. One cannot take a pagan practice, change the terminology, and call it Christian. God is not honored in this. Scripture is clear that there is only one way to the Father and it is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way, nor method.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6
A Christian does not ever need to engage in any form of spiritual practice such as mantras, poses or stilling the mind to come into the presence of God. We come into the presence of God simply by calling on His name because believers have the Holy Spirit with them at all times! We enjoy the presence of God every time we pray in His name, open our Bibles and chose to walk in faith and obedience. If one is not coming into contact with the Lord Jesus Christ during yoga or meditation, then it follows to reason that darkness and not light is the source of the spiritual experiences that follow. Scripture warns us again and again not to imitate or learn the detestable ways of the nations. (Deuteronomy 18:9, Jeremiah 10:2, Leviticus 18:3, 2 Kings 17:8) This is a perpetual warning to God’s people. Darkness and judgement await those who forsake His ways and adopt pagan practices.
What’s A Christian to Do?
God has not left us without instructions and the bible clearly lays out what His children are to do with such pagan practices. Not only are we not to participate but we are called to be holy and set apart. Instead of shutting down our rational thinking processes we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, by soaking our minds daily with the word of God. Though yoga may be the “thing” to do, as Christian women we are not to follow after the ways of the world nor adopt any form of paganism – whether we try to Christianize it or not. Check out these verses:
“Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean and I will welcome you. And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18
“You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil.” Exodus 23:2
“And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; the Lord hears when I call to Him.” Psalm 4:3
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2
Our peace and joy and fulfillment are found in Christ alone. He is truly all we need!
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“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, & went away to a secluded place, & was praying there.” Mark 1:35
The house is both quiet and dark. The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafts up the stairs from the kitchen and beckons me down. Filling my cup, I head to the living room where I grab my bible, notebook, pencils and highlighters. This is my favorite time of the day! No distractions or interruptions (well, most days anyway..). Just me, my open bible and precious time with my Lord Jesus Christ. My heart is open and ready to hear what the Lord has to say to me. He speaks truth into my mind and soul, meets me in my most desperate of trials and lights my path when decisions must be made. His Spirit guides me into all truth as I pour over the pages of His word and prayerfully apply them to my life. I have found true treasure, the very words of life.
This morning routine has been dear to me since I entered high school, and has stayed with me for well over 20 years. It has anchored me to the Rock of my salvation in every trial and storm, given me wisdom and discernment, chastening me, encouraging me, and giving me hope and peace that cannot be taken away come what may. My heart is full, my soul encouraged, and my mind is guarded as I close up my well-worn bible and get ready for a new day. This is the heart of a vibrant, real relationship with your Creator and Savior and it begins in the morning.
First Things First
“by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days” Deuteronomy 30:20
I remember coming home from my honeymoon with my new husband. Madly in love we never wanted to be apart for a second! Our long conversations could go on for hours at a time. We are soul mates, best friends, a match made in heaven! As we settled into our little town home and began our life together I’d get up, brew my coffee, grab my bible and then just as I was starting to read my sweet hubby would settle in next to me and begin chatting. I so wanted to just enjoy that first cup with him, and yet I knew that there was One who I needed to meet with first. The bond of our relationship began over the word of God and a strong marriage would only come when the Lord Jesus Christ was first in each of our hearts. I had to let my man know that he was second. My heart belonged to our Lord first and foremost, and I meet with Him everyday in those precious few morning hours.
You see, God wants our hearts. He is not interested in our self-righteous acts or religious duties, but in whether we choose to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is that one thing we must grasp if we want to know Him and to be known by Him! He is to be our first love, the One we run to and cling to and live for. He is to be the treasure of our heart, the object of our affection, and we must cultivate this most important relationship. Our eyes and hearts are to remain steadfastly devoted to Him above all else, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the lover of our soul.
One Necessary Thing
“seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
As time went on, the Lord blessed my husband and I with four kids. I know the chaos and craziness that little ones can bring to a household. I know the lack of sleep, lack of routine at times, and lack of motivation that can accompany multiple days on end being home. But I also know that the very foundation of being a good mom, a good wife, a good homemaker is my relationship with God. My morning bible time is the fuel I need to get my heart in the right place, to pour out my soul to a God who understands and cares, and to encourage and strengthen me for another new day. I simply can’t be the woman I need to be without that morning time spent with the Lord.
As women we have so many, many things to care for and do. Our to-do list’s are long, we are tired and distracted, and so often we give God the leftovers or just a scant few minutes before we hit the day. We run here and there, desperately trying to get it all done, and so often in our own strength. We know we need regular time with the Lord in His word, but we allow the worries and cares of this life to creep in and choke it out. How wise we would be to realize that for all that we have to do, there is really only one thing that is necessary, and we must actively pursue and protect that time as much as we can.
Remember Mary and Martha? Mary had chosen to sit at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word, while Martha ran about worried and bothered by so many things. And the Lord rebuked Martha.
Did you catch that? There’s really only one necessary thing that we do each day as women. It’s the one thing we must do above all else, and that is to spend time sitting at the Lord’s feet, engaged in His word and in fellowship with Him. He comes first, His word comes first, and fellowship with the Lord over an open bible and in prayer comes first. No other person or priority is to take you away from those precious morning hours with your sweet Savior. It is a choice we make. Do we really love Him? Is He really first?
Carving Out Bible Time with Little Ones in Tow
“But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 5:16
When my oldest was born he was a good baby, but I found the best time for bible study was during his morning nap. I was careful to get him on a predictable routine and would claim that time for myself and the Lord. No phone calls or chores, just my bible, coffee and time with the Lord. I can also remember when my second child was a baby that I struggled to get in my morning bible time because he was such an early riser! During this time I decided to get up a little before he would, and take just a few minutes in my bible to get my heart and mind focused. A few minutes a day does nothing for cultivating a lasting relationship though, and my real bible time came during afternoon naps when both boys would go down. I’d brew up a pot of my favorite blend and head to the dining room. I’d dig into the Scriptures for a few hours, pouring over passages, taking notes, praying and growing in my faith.
I remember this season so fondly! I remember what God taught me and what He was calling me to do. Much of my foundation for parenting, my relationship with my husband and the course of our life together was forged and laid down during those times, gleaned and cherished from the pages of the precious word of God. It was my first priority even during the seasons of life when I was the busiest. In fact some of those times were the sweetest because I came before the Lord empty, ready for Him to fill me up. I came with a heart ready and willing to learn and grow and obey, and that’s exactly what He wants. A heart that longs to spend time with Him, that knows and loves Him, and that walks in holy reverence of Who He is.
Guard Your Morning Bible Time
“and when day came He departed and went to a lonely place” Luke 4:42
Marriage and motherhood have taken me through many different seasons of life, some more difficult than others. The one thing that has remained constant and provided me a foundation on which to stand is my morning bible time. If Jesus needed to get away to pray, how much more do we? If Jesus needed to hear from His Heavenly Father, how much more should we be seeking His truth, guidance, instruction and encouragement daily in His word and in prayer?
We must be determined to never let anything steal away that precious morning bible time. It is the key to a real relationship with God Himself, and cannot be substituted for anything else. He alone is our refuge and our rock. Your kids need to see a mom committed to the Lord and His word, who can model what a relationship with the Lord looks like! Your husband will be blessed to see a wife committed to what matters most! We must love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We must dedicate ourselves to studying the word of life that we may accurately handle the word of truth.
Often as I descend the stairs in the wee hours of the morning, eager for that first cup of coffee and the familiar pages of my favorite bible, my heart is filled with joy. For there on the couch sit a few of my children, bibles open. They are pouring over the scriptures themselves, with hearts eager to be filled before it’s time to get ready for school. And in that moment I know that there is nothing more valuable in all the world to me than that morning bible time!
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