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Hope

Hope

Who’s Stoking Your Hope?

Do you need more faith and love in your life? Read on because you’ve got a faith-love generator at your disposal. And surprisingly, it’s name is hope.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, Colossians 1:3-8  

Surprise! Faith and Love Spring From Hope

We are all familiar with the triangle of faith, hope, and love, with love being described as “the greatest of these.” But did you realize Paul says faith and love both spring from hope? Who would have thought such a humble, overlooked characteristic (hope) could be so powerful as to generate faith and love?  

So What Is Hope?

Merriam Webster dictionary describes hope as “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.” Hope is the convergence of values (what we cherish), pleasure (desire), and the future (anticipation). For the Christian, hope is not wishful thinking but absolute confidence in the fulfillment of God’s promises, eventually culminating in Heaven. Because hope involves desire and anticipation, it necessarily engages the emotions. It is possible you’ve been told that emotions are sinful and you can’t rely on them. While there is some truth to the unreliability of our emotions, what makes hope so powerful is that it involves our emotions in healthy, helpful, God-centered ways. And we all say, “Amen!” to that!  

How to Get Hope

Hope is fueled by looking at the gospel and understanding the provisions purchased by Christ on our behalf. Many of these provisions are daily, here and now provisions. Some, such as sinlessness, are for Heaven. Either way, hope increases as we nurture our desire for these things by seeing their value and by anticipating God will keep His promises to fulfill them. Think about it for a moment. If you are facing a difficult day, hope happens when you ponder that the cross of Christ purchased your access to God. You can go to Him and make your requests known, fully assured of His promise to hear and graciously give you all you need. Spending time meditating on the promises of God provided us in the death of Christ fuels hope; with it, faith and love also rise. It is important to note that “a true understanding of God’s grace” is what increased the fruit bearing in the Colossian believer’s lives. God’s grace is the center of the gospel. Perhaps you grew up in a religious home where “gospel” really meant “morality.” Or maybe “the gospel” was a strict set of rules and task-mastering. It is clear the Colossians had some “gospel” baggage (the Galatians did too), and Paul states that the gospel is a message of grace. When we truly understand that, it changes everything. Hope explodes when we understand this good news!

Learned From Epaphras

Perhaps this is my personal favorite part of this passage: “You learned it from Epaphras.” Isn’t that beautiful? We should all have people in our lives who are teaching us and reminding us of the gospel of grace in ways that stoke our hope. We should also be that person in someone else’s life. As we close today, answer this: Who is stoking your hope by drawing you back time and again to the message of God’s grace and all it entails? Seek out “Epaphrases” who will do this for you, whether they be online or in person. And finally, whose hope are you stoking?

About the Author

complete head shotArabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and cross culture worker to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She writes to showcase the trustworthiness of Jesus midst the barren places of life. Her books include Energy Explosion: A 7 Day Guide to Jumpstart Your Energy, Complete, and The Family Table. You can find her at ArabahJoy.com.

Home – The Heart of Homeschooling

Home - The Heart of Homeschooling at TheRoadto31.com

We’ve heard it said: ‘Home is where the heart is’. For homeschooling families, home is where our children’s hearts are. It’s the place where we intend to lovingly guide, equip, shepherd, and prepare our children’s hearts for the life set before them.

As Christian homechoolers, we do this through:

  • Discipleship –guiding and leading our children to seek after God and to make Him known to others. This is so much more than just a weekly bible study, but is also the process of teaching our children each day through opportunities that present themselves.
  • Education – raising well-rounded children with the necessary skills, knowledge, and understanding, to live life successfully, and to also cultivate in them a love for life-long learning.

Underpinning both our discipleship and home education goals is how we parent our children, whatever our philosophy or methods, so our children know they are loved unconditionally, nurtured and cared for, and have our support in whatever path they chose.

The Gift of Time

I’ve come to believe that the early years with my young children are so vital for laying foundations both in their faith, but also within our relationships with one another. We can’t be in a hurry, or crowd our lives with so much activity that we miss the simple and beautiful opportunities we have to nurture and guide their hearts.

Homeschooling gives us that gift of time with our children where we can intentionally create an environment to shepherd their hearts. We can do this without being in competition to a school system that is often pulling our children’s hearts away from God, and we can also watch over the other things and people that will influence their hearts.

Create an Environment

Your home environment is made up of both the words and attitudes that are resident within your walls, as well as what you do practically to set up your home school. I would like to suggest, that the first aspect is much more important than the second. Your children will be happy with the simplest set up, as long as you the parent let them know through your words and actions that they are cherished and loved.

Like many homeschooling moms, I absolutely love to create both practical and beautiful areas that communicate to our children that they are important and learning is a priority in our home. But whether or not you manage to have individual drawers for your art supplies, color-coded tabs on folders, or containers stacked high full of learning activities, let your relationships have primary importance as to how an environment of love, learning, and joy is cultivated in your home.

Keeping Home at the Center

It’s understandable that we want to give our children all those wonderful experiences and opportunities to try new things that will hopefully add value and joy to their lives. However, consider evaluating regularly how often you should be out and about, including attending classes and co-ops, and adding extracurricular activities to your schedule. Those things can be good, but it’s a good idea to keep everything in balance.

Naturally, it will depend on how many children you have, their ages, and your educational goals (my children are all under 10). I have struggled with this in the past, as I want my children to have a full and satisfying childhood packed full of wonderful experiences and opportunities. But as I’ve minimized our scheduled activities, and kept home as the center, we have enjoyed homeschooling and being in one another’s company so much more, as well as the children being more alert and attentive in school time.

Getting too busy driving around and attending groups or classes can make everyone tired, and if you’re anything like me, you might find it hard to keep momentum going throughout the rest of the week when it comes to learning time.  Our time outside the home now tends to be more spontaneous and without the time constraints.  I’m also finding that concentrating on sibling relationships and a few close friends is so much better than over filling our young children’s lives with lots of friendships and larger social opportunities.

Next time you are considering what your children truly need, perhaps it’s not more social time, more extra-curricular activities, more field trips and learning experiences – perhaps it’s just you, your undivided attention and your unconditional love. Rather than think what they ‘may’ be missing out on, considering what they are being given instead.

Let your home be a place of love, learning, trust, rest, hospitality, joy, generosity, and peace. Working to this end takes commitment, effort, and the grace of God that is given to us. It also takes everyone in your home doing their part, from the youngest to the adults.

The Heart of the Matter

The longer I homeschool, the more I realize just how much it’s me that needs to be changing and learning, and how much I depend upon the Lord to help me to live in abiding relationship with Him. That is what affects my children the most, and what sets the environment in our home.

If you are struggling to know how to include everything in your children’s schedules, or how to balance all your homeschooling goals, be encouraged today that building an environment in your home where everyone loves to be together is by far the best thing you can do to enjoy your homeschooling journey. When you concentrate your efforts here, the rest will fall into place.

The July Edition of the Homemaker’s Companion is HERE!

HCJuly2014Ad2The July Edition of The Homemaker’s Companion Has Arrived!

This one is near and dear to my heart as I began compiling it months ago.  I know that I need to focus more – make more of a priority – studying God’s Word and spending time in prayer.  How about you?  Well, here are a few Bible Study resources to help you get started:

  • Prompted Prayer Journaling Pages
  • Scripture Memorization Tracker
  • Sermon Notes

The menu plan this month is a bit different.  Instead of a normal monthly menu plan for you, I had a desire to create a little menu plan centered around hospitality.  This menu plan has some great ideas for creating healthy meals for new moms, those who are in recovery, diabetics, and even a church potluck!  I included some extra sheets for you to print and fill in your own meals to keep track and personalize your menu plan.

A special gift from me to you is an 8×10 image that I designed of The Romans Road.  It will be included in your download file.  You can print this and hang it in your home if you like to remind yourself of the beauty of salvation found in Scripture.

TheRomansRoad8x10

If you are already a subscriber check your next newsletter for your FREE download!

Are You New to The Homemaker’s Companion?

The Homemaker’s Companion debuted in February of this year and is NEW every month and is COMPLETELY FREE for subscribers.  Have you ever heard of a Homemaking Binder?  This is kind of like a homemaking binder but on steroids.

Each month has a different theme and they cover everything from financial planning in April to Back to School in August.  This is a year long event with FREE Printables for YOU every month that come straight to your inbox.  Do you want to get in on it?  You can sign up HERE. Once you confirm your subscription you will be taken straight to your FREE Homemaker’s Companion.  If you are already a subscriber, then no worries! Check your next newsletter for the direct download!

Want to read more details?  You can watch the video clip HERE.

 

The Build Your Bundle: Homeschool Edition Sale

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