Monday, August 29, 2011

Homeschool Sickness - My Advice

What is it about homeschooling that attracts "getting sick"? I am so glad I don't long term plan my year or even a month. Why bother? Something in life is "going to happen" and it will go flying... oh, blowing in the wind.... or out the window... whichever exit is closest.

First week of school and yes, I am in bed ... sore body, drainage, ears about to burst.... OK, I know this doesn't just happen to me... as a veteran homeschool mom I am not fighting it. Let me explain why.

I have good news:

I only planned day one! Amazingly "it" was completed, therefore I didn't have to trash (or erase) hours of lesson plans to be all prepared and try to somehow catch up (whisper - which never happens), but at least you reason you will feel good if someone looks in those planning books (whisper - no one ever will.... ) but they sure do look like you are getting a lot of school done.

Don't despair if you filled out a few weeks of plans. That is the whole point of a lesson planner.... someone else (like hubby or mother-in-law) can glance and see that at least you look like you know what you should be doing... (Secret - do you really think school teachers do what is "on" their lesson plan if they are not being "observed".)

Here is my advice to anyone new at homeschooling - a day plan is enough. Every day you can be successful, and the bonus is you will not waste time planning stuff that will never be followed... or feeling guilty for not being on schedule.

Here is a clue to make it simple: most curriculum is already broken into daily lessons so when you have school do the next lesson. (whisper: And a little thing most don't tell you - you don't have to do everything in a book or follow the lesson exactly as it is written)

And if you aren't following Curriculum but reading "real books," simply read until either your eyes glaze over or your children's eyes do or you have arrived at a great suspenseful spot. Cliffhangers are the best to bring interested children back to listen.

So homeschool sickness, take it in stride... I have come to conclude that homeschool families are going to be attacked in anyway Satan thinks he can break us down... basically, don't feel guilty that you are not doing a good job, or that you are not keep up with "the plan," or that you are a failure (whisper-all of that is the voice of your enemy). If you or one of your children  are really feeling ill, you need a day or two to rest.

Redeem the situation for good: Take the time to enjoy the Bible, a devotional and don't forget to eat grits/oatmeal/ice cream (whatever!) without doing a few other things at the same time and don't worry about planning dinner. No one in your family is going to starve by eating cereal or sandwiches for a few days. (In another post I will tell you what to stock in your refrigeration when you homeschool... to be prepared for "life happens" days.)

You never know how God is going to use "this interruption" for your good and for your family's good as He continues to conform you to the likeness of Jesus. (My blessing today: My 16 year old son told me to text him today if I needed anything... so cell phones do come in handy - *smile*)

And for a final note of wisdom: my spiritual father reminded me a few days ago .... to in any situation "bow to God and obey." With a "yes, Lord" life response, you will be teaching your children more than many lesson plans will teach them!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Week of Homeschool

Day two of 2011/2012 homeschool year, and we are already physically worn down. (I will adhere to my nutritionist and go get Vitamin D- you know who you are). We have been healthy all summer, but today my daughter and I are struggling through a cold virus. It might be a "cleaning house to begin school" virus... maybe we are allergic to school books... or to schedules...or ...(you fill in).  I just was thinking a day or so ago that I couldn't remember the last time I had a cold, and attributed this fact to a build up in resistance; maybe I had  developed immunities to most of the common colds. Now I remember how long hard days of work press our bodies' physically. And to think we are only on day two!

I am a recovering "almost" hoarder. What is that? Well, you can walk through my house without crawling over boxes, bags, and books, but getting through the garage and the floor by my side of the bed can be a dangerous feat. Of course, my dear husband of 27 years is orderly. Thankfully God usually pairs us up with someone who has qualities we need to learn. After 27 years, I guess you can say I am a slow learner, but in all honesty I have had so many higher priorities on my plate: raising three children, homeschooling for thirteen years, helping with tutorials and Bible Studies, writing anything and everything, learning relationship skills, and enduring therapy for past 10 years to recover from an very abusive childhood. Beside that, I have been twiddling my thumbs (in my sleep).

Did I tell you I now have a house of teens? Each age has its cherished points and its stress points. To be honest, which I normally am, being a mom of teens is my very favorite stage of raising my children. Finishing therapy may have more to do with it than the age of my children, since I am more now who God originally created me to be. God has brought great internal peace, joy and clear thinking to my being. (A plug for the benefit of trauma therapy by my psychologist who is a Christian.... lots of very hard, painful work, but it is so worth it! Therapy is not for everyone, but it is for those who God directs to counseling.)

My oldest son is a senior this year; he is finishing up school using Abeka Streaming Video Online academy. I would highly recommend this to any parent wanting to supervise but also release their child to independent study. I encourage my son to work out his own schedule, balancing 20 hours of work, 25 to 30 hours of school, a few home chores (very few: put up bathroom personal stuff, lift clothes off the floor, place dishes in dishwasher after emptying, toss out empty food containers, practice creativity by visually imaging that his bed is made)  and his social activities. While I am here to help, he needs to learn to take flight. I wont be one of those hovering parents, waiting for the text, wondering who he is with, following his daily schedule, etc. Over and over my advice to him has been to enjoy college... he knows that doesn't mean to get plastered or to party through his classes. I want him to develop relationships, to learn some thing, to try out new activities, to experience school sports and campus organizations.  We just need to find which college he will attend... one of the many things on our 2011/2012 school to-do list.

I am very happy that my other two children (David - sophomore - 16 and Angela - 8th grade -14) are doing two courses together: Starting Point (learning worldview perspectives) and Mystery of History Volume 3. I like doing some school together as a family, and the temperament of these two make working together encouraging and beneficial to both. From the bottom of my heart I love to learn and teach, but we rarely get a lot of time for this... too much required-by-law hoops to jump through for a high school diploma, but I will address this in detail later in the year.

Right now, I am going to savor any moment we get together and even if we have scratchy throats I want us to finish our 2nd day of school to keep on track... the best we can... We might still be working late tonight, but this is the luxury of schooling at home. I keep praying God will touch our bodies and bring us back to full strength physically. If you have time, pray for us. I ever keep in mind that I am in the enemy's world, that he hates Christians, and especially homeschool families. But in Jesus, we are overcomers!

So how is your week of school going?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Finding My Sweet Spot

A friend just showed a link to some of the most beautiful artwork I have seen in a long time. Here it is: Kelly O'Neill. In her graphic designs she has one titled, Not For Sale that speaks deeply to me heart.  I will be checking back to her site for new items and will definitely have her on my "to contact" list when I need a book cover or finally get to creating my logo and website.  I certainly sense though that her free flowing intimate styling fits within the design of God working in and through me - in the core of my being.

God is still forming the full picture of the ministry He wants me to take and I am loving walking with Him, as He shows me. I don't want to rush ahead of Him. Taking in the pleasures of the journey and being obedience to what He gives for me each day is helping to form and see His design and full intent He has for me to minister unto to Him and out to others. My web domain is "WritingInsideOut" and  I love it, but I still haven't launched it because I don't see the complete form.

 I am a flutterer, moving about to where God takes me, spending deep time with people sends my way, and then I am released to flitter around to the next destination. There is peace in not being heavily weighed down with the burdens of a full programmed ministry. I do ministry as I go, and I never know what each day may bring.

 It is the style God created in me - spontaneous, unfettered, tenderhearted, but totally free to be able to answer, "Yes, Lord" whenever He asks. I love living like this. "How Great is Our God!"

 Thanks for letting me share.

Friday, August 12, 2011

21st Century Education Solutions

No one has to be told the numerous problems of education in America in the 21st Century. Clearly, we have lost our way. America no longer is great as she once was. The American dream is nearly dead starved by whitewashing God from existence. The humanist experiment has horribly failed, and we -the people of America - are paying the dear price and will for many decades to come. Enough is enough! We are handing our children a world and way of life that is decadent, broken and bankrupt in every way. Each individual must make a decision - not collectively but one by one in our heart of hearts. Am I going to lie down to be rolled over and swept away by arrogant, lying professionals or am I going to use the common sense the good Lord gave me?

Education belongs under local jurisdiction. States need to learn how to budget wisely and return to the volunteer use of parents and grandparents to help keep the cost of schooling low, so the State can stop taking Federal funding and therefore, Federal control. Schools need to open their doors wide to parents instead of keeping the children in locked up guarded daily prison-like institutional buildings. Many say too quickly that they don't want to go back, but when we have left the basic guiding principles that made our Nation, we must return to our roots - reading, writing and math. If a student can do these three well, and are taught when they are developmentally ready instead of in herd-mentality, we will have a completely literate State - much like we did in our first century of existence. 

We need to once again define what education is. What is its purpose? Who should schools serve? Why do we have schools? And is it necessary to keep repeating year after year a system that is not only broken but worse - that is amoral! How can we expect to have citizens with hope, who believe that they can do what they are created to be, understand they have a unique purpose and appreciate their opportunities for a good future, if we insist on lying to them for twelve years of education? Darwinian thinking - survival of the fittest - is evil and cruel to anyone born less than the best - which frankly is all of us. 

Evolution of humans from animals from plants from atoms is retarded (there I finally said it - what so many have been thinking for too many years), and frankly any young child who are allowed to freely reason will come to this conclusion. A created world is obvious to anyone who truly looks, listens and wonders. Why is this point central to real learning? Because a person's drive to learn must be based on real-life, personal desires and needs. If you are an accident of nature, a mutation that came to be over millions and millions of transitions, what purpose do you have to learn? If there are no truths to be discovered, to read about or to be revealed, why study lies or maybes? No wonder self-esteem is so low, and crime is so high. What do children and teens have hope to live for when they grow up?

The parents need to be told clearly that the education of their own children is their responsibility. To help them the State will provide books, teachers, schools, classes, etc. but the parent must teach their children to apply themselves to attain their highest goal. The State is not to drag students through schooling year after year that have no desire to be taught. If education is not important in one's family, the children are dangerously positioned to not succeed academically. Parents need to be integrated into their children's learning, and be given the utmost responsibility for their child's grades. Any child, every child should be given the opportunity to come to school, but no child should be force. People must learn there are consequences to their choices and actions or lack of them. The State is not the parent, nanny, safety-net, childcare, activity coordinator, sport director, sugar daddy, or tyrant.

Schools need to always teach the phonetic basics of English and only English in schools. If parents want to teach any other languages they have the freedom to do it, but to ensure all children's opportunities are widely available, every child must speak our Nation's single native language - English! With phonetic reading, comes handwriting, spelling, vocabulary, dictation, and narration. In the youngest grades reading flows into writing naturally and it should be taught as a child instinctively learns to speak, walk or sing. In the older grades as highly abstract learning capabilities develop, student learn to question, research, and develop informed, factual essays. They can also explore the creativity of poetry, lyrics, and fiction story writing.

Elementary years need to be filled with joyful learning - not the cutesy latest gimmicks of education supply companies - but true stories of heroes found in history and science from books created not to cram in facts to be spit out on testing but to inspire and grow young minds. Outdoor adventures, walking through nature, drawing what one sees - none of this take a specialist to teach. Learning environments are not sterile, but filled with practical activities that are real life (not made up for school). Real books need to be read in lieu of textbooks - including the Bible. It doesn't take a child very long to realize if curriculum is a program or natural discovery. Children, made by God to want to learn, but their minds have to be opened by not leaving them spiritually bankrupt. They must be told they are made in God's image - not an ape-man!

Parents know their children the best, and frankly they love them the most. I understand every child doesn't have a caring parent. I did not myself, but it did not deter me from wanting to learn. I had hope to be someone special in whatever I did in life, and this came from a basic understanding that there are absolute truths foundational to life.  We all have a free will. No one can be forced to learn anything, because if one tries to force education on those who reject it, government is wasting precious money, resources and time. So, mandatory education must be removed. It is a privilege to go to school, and every State/city/county must offer the opportunity for education, but it should never be compulsory. The State must return to the fact that most parents want their children to have things better than they had in life, and the State can work with the few families (in proportion) that are inept or incapable due to abuse, drugs, or illness.

Standardized testing is a total waste of money, time and energy. A teacher and parent instinctively knows what a child can or can not do. Testing, like schooling, and textbooks having become enormous million dollar businesses. There are so many ways we can reform schools, but it will not happen on a Federal level where big lobby money controls votes. Education decisions need to take place on local levels. The mother that works at the bank, the guy that is a greeter on Sunday, and the dad that works at a car plant should sit down together making real life choices for their own children or relatives. It is at this local level that those who make selections will be held closely accountable because they will see each other throughout the year interacting in community life.

It is easy to find naysayers, negative people, "oh, that will never work," "it's impossible," and the list of those who "can't" will expand and shout loudly. But it is with faith - the size of a mustard seed - that one needs to believe it is possible to teach our children. It is a reasonable expectation to have every child learn to read, write and do math. And then they can move onto becoming what they deem they are naturally created to be, not what job someone wants them to be prepared to fill. It would be cruel for a person to be given a purpose in life, but not the innate ability to achieve it. God is not cruel. 

People have to regain hope based on truth, not shifting man-made philosophies that drift with time toward absurdity. There is lasting truth, lasting hope, and lasting solutions to our immense problems we face today, but we have to be honest with ourselves and God. It is time to soul search. We need to turn off the TV, close the web browser and stop the radio. And in the quiet stillness of time, where we can listen to the cry of our hearts we will know what is wrong, and thereby begin to ask the right questions and seek out the help we need. We have to stop playing other people's "games of life" that we know are not truth. We must be steadfast! We must believe God not only exists but that He is who He says He is in the Bible, and that He is the one source of freedoms in life.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Church Politics are so Tiring

Who Is the Bride of Christ? 
This post is not aimed at any one local body of Christ, and it is not meant to be divisive at all.

The comments made in this post are the culmination of suppressing thoughts and feelings about local churches, church leaders, and really the systems of organized churches - not the Body of Christ!

I love Christ and His body... but oh so often the local churches are not reflecting Christ and the teaching of the Bible.

 In every local church good things are happening but so are bad, hurtful things... and the hardest part of dealing with most local churches is that leadership and paid staff never seem to listen to members who see differently, having experienced the hidden side of the organization from the outside, not the inside.Believe me, the view is very different.

If leadership had a sincere desire to prayerfully listen and try to seek God when committed followers of Jesus come to carefully and respectfully try to speak up.... the local church would be better for having members that care enough to speak. But way too many local churches just want to crush and silence any voice that is not "rah, rah" cheering anything and everything the church does. Members should not be afraid to speak... but the atmosphere at most local churches creates a place where only "yes" people speak. Who wants to be outcast-ed, ignored, viewed as a problem, told they are not unifying, threatened to be dealt with by leadership, or told to go find another church? Hello? Nobody... so I wonder why pastors, leaders, staff hear so little feedback for regular, weekly, committed families.

Frustrated. Gripe. Want to Explode. Fear of retaliation or excommunication. Is that why so many are afraid to speak up? How long? How long will 'followers of Jesus' tolerate sin and be silent? Caution. Be careful. Don't want to be labeled divider. Unity. Pursue unity and shut up (I mean, keep your mouth shut). Leave, if you must, (I plead with you leave... you have been told before... leave... but for the love of Christ, don't speak up... don't stir dissonance. Go quiet in the night. We seal our lips in one accord. We obey leadership - after all God put them over us. We give up accountability, authority of the body, membership self-governing. Who are you or who am I to speak up? We didn't go to seminary, did we? We aren't qualified in the eyes of man.

What does it matter... changes wont ever happen anyway, at least not at a local church.... church politics gets in the way.

Normally, I am free flowing. I say what I think. Expressing my feelings and opinion - just getting it out.

But "Church" is a touchy topic - more like a lightening rod - if you expose what goes on inside - you will get burned - you will be toast!

The Bible says the Church is the "called out assembly" of Jesus followers that have counted all the cost of losing it all and still chose to be in. I am -without a doubt- a follower of Jesus, a redeemed daughter of the King. I am all in - and desire to hold nothing back from HIM.

But I struggle - I always have since I have been a Christian - with church politics. 

What's that? To me, what I am talking about is the good ole boy/gal network. Commitment, personal growth, accountability, heart .... that is not what counts. If you are in the inner circle, (a childhood friend, a family member/relative/recommended, or a former church/college/seminar pal) YOU ARE IN! And grace abounds to this group. You mess up - hey, that's OK, you're only human - forgiveness and absolution is extended. You lie - most of the time, it can't be proven anyway so no one will believe another's word (even a bunch of "out" other's words) about you - you get a pass. You blow budget - that could happen to anyone - just some bad decisions, you will learn.

But what reeks in this little church politics game is all of this 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. grace, forget-about-it, another-try, simply-growing, and boundless-trust.... is not freely extended to everyone - that is not the no-body members of the church. Partiality - you bet! Money speak loudly - sure does! Got the connections - right school, right friends, right job, right property, right upbringing.... well, we can find a ministry job for you with lifelong security unless you don't "play the game" and be "one of the team".

No church is perfect. No Christian is perfect. Mercy, I will never be... far from it, perfect. And I am not looking for perfect - never have and never will.

Who has a voice but is never heard? Who speaks inside but utters not a word? Who prays and cries? Who is sincerely, but disregarded? Who never makes the cut? Who is discounted? Who is discarded? Who is deemed unusable, nonredeemable, unchangeable, a big problem? Who is not selected, not called, not wanted, avoided? Children of God!
Who would do this to a child of God? The Church!

But I can't stand "the blind eye" and special treatment leadership gives to the special ones.

Once... understandable. Twice... probably working in areas I can't know or see. The benefit of doubt is due.

But when it comes to hurting families, individuals, young people, older people - over and over and over.... when other people are NEVER given a single chance to minister in the church in the area that God has created them... or in any capacity for some reason or another. Why do so many 'familiar' friends, family, connected people get the red carpet and the life-time guarantee.... and so many others get the cold shoulder, out-cast, untouchable status, never considered, never interviewed, never taken seriously. I have seen it so many times.. people ignored, overlooked, demoted, pushed to the outskirts.

When you are in the inside group of a church it is so hard to see what is really happening, you probably believe I am just griping and making all of this up. It can't be that would know about it... you would see... you would hear. Face the fact, everything looks great from your view, you dream big with God and mountains move. Everyone you "know" is enjoying life in the church, so much excitement. You have your ministry, you get asked to fill in for others, you guest speak/sing/etc. Christian life is happening and you are smack in the middle of the activity. You hear from God, you get an idea, you want to try something, and you are told, "go ahead give it a try." Your voice is heard and you see God moving through you and those you love.

But the outside view, is so different.... And God sees it. He wrote about it in the Bible through Paul in the Epistles to the church.

This isn't a denominational problem. It might be a church as a business organization problem. Hundreds of thousands to million dollar budgets create a corporate like atmosphere: jobs to be secured, friends and family to help out. It is only natural... for this to happen. Have you ever seen a church that posts open positions, seeking any member to apply that is qualified? Do all the people that sign up to serve get to fulfill their calling in the area God designed them to work in the body? Do some people never hear back? Do some people never get asked? Are some genuine children of God not wanted by the local church? Sadly, yes, yes, yes! Do you think this makes Jesus cry?

God is Supernatural! We are all heirs! We are all equal at the foot of the cross. No one in God's eyes is in the "chum" crowd. Everyone single person who believes Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross a bloody death for their sins and rose from the dead to conquer the penalty of death to win ultimate victory over Satan and his demons - everyone that believes these things and chooses to be an obedient follower of Jesus as their Master (Lord) is IN.

Help me. What is wrong?  I have been attending church about 25 years as a Christian.... so many different locations, denominations, leaderships.... but when it gets down to it - church politics reigns.

Oh, God help me. I love the church - the people - the called out body of believers - the bride of Jesus... and I most certainly love You. Why then do I get sick of the actions - the politics - inside churches? Oh, God help me. Let's face it thousands and thousands of people calling themselves Christians can't be seeing nothing wrong. As I said, "please God, help me see." I don't want to be sick of local church.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Non-Social Blogging

Blogging Questions????
It was not my plan - it just happen. Over the past 3 years I have become a pretty good "non-social blogger" and it is not something I am happy about or proud of.

Blogging has been a gift to me - a place to be me - to express what is on my heart or bottled up running around my head. Blogging has changed my life, and honestly, helped me to heal and become whole.... the person I was created to be.

I recently read this quote:
"‘Social media is about engagement and interaction,’ he says. ‘It’s more about community and posing the question, rather than having all the answers.’” (From a blog called Mashable, supposedly one of the best all time bloggers)
 I do really like the concept he writes about. In thinking about it, I have probably been highly guilty of "having all the answers." At least more so, in the earliest of years... but probably do still to some degree. I figure what are you writing about if you don't have an opinion or know about the topic, but that must not be "blogging".

What is really strange is when I am in person I like to listen and learn about others. I am about 95% better listener, but still have a way to go. I will not deny I am on the upper end of talkers... I love talking with people... not with myself... (but I do occasionally talk to myself, I am not sure I answer myself)

I love to learn so I read a lot... I have books everywhere about me. But as most readers, I have discovered that the more you learn the more you know how much you don't know. This has been growing more and more as I get older... dare I even say wiser... or just old lady since I am nearing the 50 mark.

And really, it is not that I am a know it all. I just usually have an opinion on most things, and I am definitely discovering that my opinion more and more needs to be refined, evaluated, and re-adjusted in a perpetual pattern.

I usually write "a slice of life" telling what I see/observe, experience, feel or learned. Isn't that blogging?

Maybe I haven't learned the art of engagement and interaction, but I would like to begin to do this more. I think I am more of a teller, an informer, a reporter... especially in writing... than being an engaging, interactive conversationalist.

So what do you think? How do you build a sense of community on your blog? What have you done or how do you approach post to interact and engage? And should I ask, what do you see that cuts out or limits a social atmosphere on my blogs?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If You Say So

Are you willing?
How often do we respond immediately, "Yes" when asked to do something? Can you imagine giving your reasons for doubting but still responding, "I'll do it, if you say so"? As a mom of three teens, at first glance, "if you say so" sounds a bit sarcastic, but can it be a genuine, appropriately disciplined, right response? Let's take a deeper look.

When we are asked to do something, we can usually come up with a long list of reasons why we can not or even should not. Most of us - if not all- are frankly busier than we ought to be. Our schedules are bulging and our bank accounts are shrinking. Certainly, different life stages are more chaotic then others: after a new baby, moving, during an illness or injury, or right before a big event (like a party, wedding, trip). But if truth was told, and we got to openly examine each other's "to-do's" list, we could all easily identify several items that just don't belong there. It is also likely that we wouldn't want anyone to see our daily agenda because we already know some things we are involved in are not the best choices.

To be honest, whose business is it anyway how we live our life?

That  answer is simple - God. (God is after all that perfect Sunday School Church answer to every question, along with Jesus, which is one and the same.) But, let's look deeper at this simple answer - God.

To followers of Jesus, what we do, what we buy, what we listen to, what we say, what we wear, where we live, who we spend time with, how we do things, how we think about things, where we go... matters a lot to God! 

It is not that God is all bossy. He is not a shouting drill sergeant or a cold-hearted dictator. He is not an evil superior or a wicked master. Nor is he is not a controlling parent. Too often we have a warped view of what an all-knowing, all-powerful, supreme authority person would be like because we try to piece together ideas of people we have known, experienced or been taught about. God is best known by His Word.

In Luke 5, Jesus approaches Peter on the shores after a long night of fishing, that was an unsuccessful waste of time. Peter had not gotten a catch. He was tired, frustrated, and wanted nothing more of fishing at this point. But Jesus...

I can't help to pause. Isn't it always after we have failed, we have a wonderful opportunity for a "But Jesus..." moment. When we are at our end, finished with our own efforts, Jesus is about to begin.

So Jesus tells Peter to go back out into the water and fish AGAIN. You have to imagine Peter is reeling, ready to  unload of realistic excuses. I know I would be fully tired, and ready to let fly what I wanted to say. Listen to what Peter said:

But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” (Luke 5:5, NKJV)
Some of the new versions of Scripture use the phrase "if you say so" in place of "nevertheless" making Simon Peter's response sound like one of my teens. I am sure you will agree if any of our children replied, "Mom, I have already tried for a long time doing that, and it didn't work; nevertheless at your word I will do what you say" we would question our hearing.

Simon Peter in submission, in deference, in honor, in faith begins with "Master." In this one word it is clear he complete knew who Jesus was and who he was. By addressing Jesus as Master, he was admitting to be a slave to Jesus. For a Master, does not have simply followers. We must first come to Him in complete surrender as have slave, willing to do as He bids.This is a point that can't be skipped.We can't be a friend, an heir, a child, a vessel, a disciple, or a follower, until we first know Him as His slave. Many "Sunday Go To Church" people never were told about this. They prayed a prayer to be saved, and asked Jesus in their heart. It is a shock, even a repulsion, to think being a Christian means they have to die to themselves, their will, their wants... and never knowing God as Master, they distance themselves or even simply and suddenly walk away when their are confronted with this truth.

Then after Peter explained the evident situation, he said "nevertheless." What a powerhouse packed word! Nevertheless is a turning point word. It is coming to a free will decision that you will put aside your feelings, desires and wants. It is surrendering your previous direction. Nevertheless should be a key word in the vocabulary of every follower of Jesus, because "not my will but yours" thinking is what follows.

The next words Simon Peter spoke were "at your word" which is also paramount in the thinking of Jesus' followers. We live by faith, we walk by faith, and faith comes by the hearing of God's Word. The Bible is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. His Words are truth, eternal, and good. In anytime of life, any moment, any day, that we find ourselves uncertain, questioning our direction, unclear of a choice, or worried about what we need to do, the answers we seek are found in God's Words. His Word is the User Guide Manual for life. The more we read, study, meditate and memorize the Bible, the more transformed we will be, because the Bible says we are transformed by the renewing of our mind with the Word. It is what shapes us, corrects us, instructs us, and encourages us.

We can never go wrong will saying to God, "at Your Word, I will." Moreover, it is the essence of what our every follower of Jesus' response to God should be.

God, I love you. I know you love me. Everything in me is exhausted. I have tried as hard as I can, and I have been working a long time with nothing to show for it; nevertheless at Your Word I will do what you say!

I believe God!
Of course, God, if you say so, I believe!