28 February 2011

Is There A "Biblical Model" for Education?

I can't add anything to this posting by Generation Cedar. End of debate.

Regarding my opinion that homeschooling is a “better” way…I would hope all of us have strong opinions on “better” ways to do a lot of things–especially important things.  If we don’t ever form carefully studied opinions on “better or worse” ways to do some things, we become dangerously apathetic.  This, I think, is a tragic side-effect of our obsession with “tolerance”.
All things are not equal and to suggest such kills the human spirit, erodes ambition and unravels the very fabric of a society on too many levels to count.
And where it involves the very upbringing and transmitting of our values to the next generation, I’d say we better all study to form VERY strong opinions about such a life-impacting endeavor.
But is homeschooling “biblical”?
First, allow me to define what I mean by that:
Saying a thing is “biblical” does not always mean everything else is “sin”.  I do NOT assert that any form of education besides homeschooling is a sin. (And yet, this crime has been continually ascribed to me.)
To say a thing is “biblical” is simply to say that there are principles in Scripture to guide and offer insight into a particular area.  Just like there are biblical principles for handling money, one is not necessarily in sin for ignoring those principles.  So, if I say, “not co-signing on a loan is biblical” that is a true statement.  But it doesn’t mean that it is sin to co-sign on a loan. There would be a lot less anger if opponents viewed my stance through that lens.
Many people claim “the Bible doesn’t speak on the subject of education” and so we can’t talk in terms of what is “biblical”.  I disagree.
It’s interesting to compare the Greek (pagan) model of education to our current public school model and contrast that to the Hebrew model (practiced by God’s people) upon which the homeschooling model is patterned:
“The Greek model of education shapes our modern American educational theories. Greek education focused on content. Hebrew education focused on relationship. Greek teachers tried to shape students’ minds. Hebrew teachers tried to shape students’ hearts. Greek students were to learn what their teacher knew. Hebrew students were to become what their teacher was. The notion that one can merely teach the mind and body of a child without involving the heart and soul is the method of the Greeks. We see no precedent in Scripture for the teaching of children’s minds for the sake of academia.” http://www.homeschoolbuilding.org/Item.php3?id=2291
In a nutshell, the “biblical model” of education is Hebrew in nature, based primarily on relationships, specifically between parent and child.  And that’s just the starting point…

27 February 2011

Satan’s Biggest Threat!

People still don’t understand why we choose, to gave our family planning over to God!  

I thought by now, pregnant with #9 it wouldn’t be an issue or a puzzle anymore, but quite the contrary.  From different sides I’m hearing the objections and ridicule of people, friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.
As I was sitting next to my 2 and 4year old, to put them to sleep for their afternoon nap. I looked at their sweet faces, and the question came to mind: Why would anyone not want such a sweet little one?  All mothers love and adore their children, they cannot imagine a life without their precious children, yet they don’t want more.

And that is fine with me! Living in the 21st Century, every woman have rights and she can choose and control her own walk of life. But that is not where it ends! People seem to find it impossible to stop criticizing families who choose to have more than the average amount of children!   
God implanted motherhood into each woman and we just cannot ignore it!  Wanting to nurture something, a baby or even a pet if it can’t be a baby, is natural to every single woman on the face of the earth. 

A few days ago while I visited with friends in a coffee shop, the sound of an almost newborn baby’s cry made everyone stop midway in their conversations to see where the precious little voice was coming from! As all eyes laid hold of the tiny baby in her mother’s arms, every single woman’s face glowed with a softness, in adoration for the mother and her baby!
The same day, a few hours later, I was in a queue at a local store with my five well behaved little ones (7years and under).  Everyone was intrigued by their behavior, until one lady couldn’t resist the question any longer and asked me if all five were my children.  On my ‘Yes’, everyone was listening. Even more, when she asked if I was ‘finished’ now. When I mentioned my 10 week pregnancy, the whole atmosphere changed before my eyes!  It was almost like a demonic manifestation and I was the centre of attack!  One after the other derogatory comment was thrown in my direction and the eyes which was filled with approval only seconds ago, glared down on me with disapproval and disgust! 
What made this happen?  

Why on earth, would people react in anger and antagonism towards a total stranger in the local store, who mentioned she is expecting her 9th baby?  Would they react with such criticism if I had my shopping chart filled with ten to twenty pounds of butter, asking me if I knew how dangerous it was for my health?  Would they also have given me disapproving glances if I wore a low cut t-shirt and high-cut shorts, asking me if I didn’t have something ‘more appropriate’ to wear?  Chances are that they wouldn’t even have noticed me and do not care about my cholesterol or my moral standard of fashion.
Why then do people react totally bizarre when they learn that a woman, whom they don’t know from a bar of soap, is pregnant with her 9th baby?  Why would anyone care how many children I want?  Why am I such an irritation to people (even more to Christians!), when I gratefully except another blessing from God?
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against power, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  (Eph 6:12)

God is the God of the kingdom of life! Satan is ruler of the kingdom of death and destruction! These two powers are constantly in opposition with each other, since the fall of humanity! 
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  Gen 3:15

I have just realized again, I’m opposing the biggest lie of Satan.  It is against natural design to NOT allow God to determine your family size.  It is when you choose against the biological function of the womanhood God put into each woman, that you are acting opposite to the natural.  During the past 50 years Satan subtly (but effectively) imprinted the lie of family planning deep into humanity. Even the church fell for it. It is laughable to see and hear the shallow opposing arguments, criticism and open attack of Christians against fellow families in Christ, who allow God to determine their family size! 

Satan knows that the Godly seed brought forth by women, is his biggest threat in destroying his dark works of deception and destruction.  We read that Satan has already tried twice during Bible times to kill babies. In Egypt during Moses’ time, Satan killed babies using the Pharaoh, trying to avoid the birth of a Leader that would lead God’s nation to the promised land and again through Herod, Satan killed 1000s’ of babies trying to kill baby Jesus.

We all know we are living in the final hour, before the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, more than ever Satan is killing millions of babies, which should be the part of the End-Time-Army of God!  The sad part is that not only non-Christians, but Christians also, has bought into Satan’s lies to destroy the children again, this time though ‘family planning.’ 

Why would people react bizarre towards another pregnancy?

Because the family who allows God to determine their family size, is Satan’s biggest threat!
“To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.”  II Cor 2:16
You decide.
Speaking the truth in love

12 February 2011

Does the Bible Really Say: “Have as Many Children as Possible”?

A few months ago a lady commented that she “don't actually agree with the never ending family/leaving it in God's hands practice.” Her word choice “never ending family” was very interesting to me. I haven’t thought of my family as a “never ending family.” We got involved in a debate and even more interesting words popped up: ‘have as many babies as we liked.’

It was an interesting concept to me, since I wasn’t having 8 children, pregnant with baby #9, because of my desire to ‘have as many babies as I like.’

She also clearly stated that: “if God very clearly puts in your heart to have 20 kids, then that's between you and God - we are not all called to the same purpose!” I must say, it isn’t the first time I heard: “We’re not all called to the same purpose.”

Called to what purpose? The purpose of having 20 children?  The purpose of having all the children God wants to give us or the purpose of having children at all?

Coming back to the 20 children. Never before has anyone compared me with Michelle Dugger. What a compliment for me as woman! There is only one very blessed, Michelle Dugger, through whom the Lord distributes His truth about the blessing of children into the world. But that is not the purpose of this posting.

Being pregnant with Baby #9 I received quite a few comments along the line of: “So how many children do you want?” or “Are you trying for 10?”

Am I giving the impression of having a certain pre-decided amount of children? Am I trying to have as many children as possible? This thought has never before entered my mind!

After I fell pregnant with Danika and experienced all the miraculous interventions of God in our lives as a family, on the financial side, in the birth of Danika and in my personal growth as a woman, wife and mother, we come to know that children are a Blessing.

A blessing to whom many have said to God: “Thank You, they are a blessing, but no thank you, this is enough, no more blessings, please!”

We searched the scriptures and a year later we surrendered my womb to the Lord. Only that. We surrendered my womb, so God could, through my husband and I, send little people into the World. 

We would use all our time, resources and energy to raise them in His ways, so they can change the World for His glory!

And while I was still trying to order my thoughts and put it on paper I read this posting by Andrea Parunak, originally published on her blog, Pursuing Titus 2 In this posting, Andrea pinpointed Christo and my exact intentions of surrendering my womb and I’m reprinting it on my blog with her permission.

Blessings, But…

Since the original posting of this piece, multiple people have misunderstood my position. This led me to add the some clarifications to the comment thread. I thought it might prevent further confusion to include them here as well. The original post follows these points.
1. The purpose of my post was to address our attitude toward children, NOT to advocate “producing as many children as humanly possible,” or “maximizing your output of babies.” The point of this post is that children are a blessing. That is all. And that is why I chose those verses (Psalm 127:3-5, Psalm 128:3-4). I do not think that those Psalms command anything. They are statements of fact.
2. There is NO command in Scripture to have as many children as possible.
3. If it were the goal to have as many children as possible, then I would be writing blog posts about how we should all stop breastfeeding, or at the very least stop nursing at night so that we can get our fertility back sooner and produce more babies. And while we’re at it, maybe we should all be taking fertility drugs to ensure that we have twins or triplets every time. Notice, I do not advocate any of this.
4. A woman is not an inferior Christian if she doesn’t have as many children as someone else. She is not sinning if she doesn’t have as many children as someone else. She is not serving God less, or whatever else. I do not use the number of children anyone has as my “measuring stick of the godliness of other believers.” This is why I talk in my post about “Jane,” the godly woman, who for some reason does not appear to be blessed in the area in question.
5. If a woman and her husband aren’t able to have any kids at all, I have nothing even remotely negative to say about them. That would be why I said in my post, “not all of us are actually capable of giving birth to ten children, or five, or any.”
6. BUT, WHY does “normal” in the area of childbearing mean, “go on birth control, and then ask God IF you should have kids”?
7. Having babies is the biological default. It is the normal function of our bodies. NOT having babies is proactive. Using birth control is intentionally doing something to stop your body from behaving the way God made it to. That makes avoiding children the extraordinary act, NOT having them.
8. If younger women are supposed to marry and bear children, then why do we today take as our baseline the prevention of children?
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. –1 Timothy 5:14
9. I am not advocating Quiver-stuffed parenting, but I am wondering why most of Christendom feels that Quiver-empty is the right thing until “we’re ready,” or until “we feel called,” etc.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. –Psalm 127:3-5
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. –Psalm 128:3-4
Whenever I bring up birth control, I witness a strange phenomenon. I call it “Blessings, But.” This is how Christians attempt to reconcile what the Bible seems to say about children with something else, something their hearts are telling them, something born of suffering and struggle, something they’ve seen in others, or experienced themselves, something that tells them that children are one blessing they’d actually rather not have, or at least not in the abundance that the “Quiverfull” camp would celebrate. 
It goes like this, first you agree with the important sentiment that children are indeed blessings, and then you add your “but,” your reason for not wanting to be blessed at this time, or blessed very much, or for having anyone talk too much about the blessing. “Children are blessings, but they aren’t a requirement.” “Children are blessings, but we don’t want any more. We love the two we’ve got, of course, but we’re done.” “Children are blessings, but I think God wants us to use common sense.” “Children are blessings, but we need time to establish our marriage first.” “Children are blessings, but my friend, Jane, had an emergency hysterectomy and can’t have any more. Are you implying that she’s somehow less godly than women with ten children?”
Do you know what is implicit in all this? It’s the idea that children actually aren’t such blessings after all. If we really thought they were blessings, most of these “buts” would sound kind of hollow. To illustrate what I mean, imagine applying these same arguments to another blessing, good health.
“Good health is a blessing, but it isn’t a requirement.” Would any of us want to add under our breath, “And thank God it isn’t because I sure didn’t want to be too healthy!”? I’m guessing not. The fact is, most of us don’t really care whether we’re required to be healthy or not. We just know we hate being sick! Few of us would choose to have a cold or the flu, let alone cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease. Never mind requirements. When it comes to being healthy, we’re quite happy to just go ahead and be blessed. It’s kind of like asking a kid whose parents took him out for ice cream if his dad was going to require him to eat his banana split. If the kid likes ice cream, then it’s totally irrelevant.
“Good health is a blessing, but I don’t want any more. I loved the health I had, of course, but I’m done.” This is like saying, “I was happy being healthy for a few years, but now I’m looking forward to hypertension and bad knees.” Nobody would say this. Those of us who like being healthy would like to continue to be healthy for a long, long time. We’ll take all the health we can get.
“Good health is a blessing, but I think God wants us to use common sense.” You know, because going to the gym is just too expensive; and cooking fresh vegetables is too time consuming; and some families run themselves into the ground financially trying to pay for vitamins and check-ups; and I know people who are always exercising, and it takes up so much time. Being healthy is great and all, but there are a lot of other things that are way more important. 
This is really just saying that good health isn’t actually so important at all, or isn’t really worth sacrificing, or prioritizing, or getting creative about. If there are problems with exercising and eating well, rather than solving them because taking care of ourselves is crucial, we’d rather just use “common sense” and forget about it.
“Good health is a blessing, but we need time to establish our marriage first.” This implies that good health gets in the way of a healthy marriage, that health is somehow at odds with a marriage, or that it unduly stresses a marriage in some way. Again, nobody would say this. Nearly all of us think that the blessing of good health is a benefit to anything we want to do, including establishing a marriage.
“Good health is a blessing, but my friend, Jane, has chronic fatigue syndrome and never feels good. Are you implying that she’s somehow less godly than healthy people?” 
Whenever we talk about a blessing, we have to confront the cases of people who love the Lord, but who appear not to be “blessed” in this particular area. And when that area is physical, either good health or the ability to bear children, we always have to come up against the Curse. We live in fallen bodies. They break. They get diseased. They’re susceptible to mental and physical illness, hormonal imbalance, and injury. Not all of us are going to have radiant health, just like not all of us are actually capable of giving birth to ten children, or five, or any.
What’s telling, here, though, is our attitude toward the blessing itself. When this problem of unequal blessing is brought up about children, the implication is usually, “So, quit putting so much emphasis on them!” But how does this sound for health? Would anyone conclude that since godly women like Jane don’t have all the health that others have, that health really isn’t such a blessing after all, or that if God doesn’t give it in equal measure to everyone, then it isn’t something to be desired? In the case of health, when we see a godly woman who is chronically ill, most of us are impressed by her faith, her love for the Lord, her steadfast perseverance in the face of a hard circumstance. “Wow, it’s really hard to be joyful when you’re denied the blessing of good health. But look at Jane! She’s such an example to us.” Few would take her case as proof that health isn’t beneficial, and we certainly wouldn’t consider it license to eat all our meals at McDonald’s or never leave the La-Z-Boy.
So, what does the fact that we do make all these statements about children really mean? I think it means that we don’t really think children are blessings. Even parents who ferociously love the ones they have, still may not think that all children and any children, including those born third, or seventh, or tenth, would actually bless them.
Why is that? Is God wrong about children being a blessing? How come the Bible doesn’t have any “buts” about this? It’s not because the idea of preventing unwanted children was unheard of. The story of Onan way back in Genesis proves that. What about families that are strapped financially, or mothers who are worn out, or parents who can’t seem to control the monstrous blessings they’ve already got? What about people who just “don’t like kids,” or who want to do things with their lives that children get in the way of (like climbing Mt. Everest, or becoming a CEO, or even spiritual things like mission work)? Would another child really bless these people? Are all children blessings, or only some, the ones we “want,” the ones that are “planned,” the ones that have handsome trust funds established at birth to cover Ivy League tuition, the ones that don’t disrupt our sleep and our lives, make us morning sick, or get in the way of our careers? Does the blessing vanish if another child means we have to shop at the thrift store, grab “dates” at home on the couch, or give up our dream of touring with Yo-Yo Ma? 
Are we only blessed if we are spared hard work and sacrifice? We can’t have it both ways. Either children are blessings or they aren’t. There are no such things as “Blessings, But...”
Emphasis added

With Love

04 February 2011

Sonja's Questions Answered

Here is Sonja's questions, asked with my posting Free to Ask. 

1Linnie, if you, like Solomon could choose something very special, what would it be?
I would have chosen wisdom in raising my children and help them through difficult times and choices as they grow older.  Even though there are brilliant websites and blogs, books and teachings from Godly women in raising children, every family’s dynamics are different, mothers are at different levels of maturity, have different virtues and vices. Then there is the husband’s way of seeing things too, it is sooooo complicated and never easy!  Every day is a challenge!  
Currently I need the power of Jesus in my home! I need wisdom to know how to increase Jesus’ power and how not ‘quench’ the Spirit and ‘loose the Power of Jesus in my daily walk with my precious children.
2. If you could choose a talent, what would you choose?
I would choose to be able to play any piece of music on the piano!  
I just love the piano, but don’t have the time or patience to practice.
3. When you think of raising your children, what is the most important value you want to build into their lives?
Obedience to the Word of God, no matter the costs. 
4.  If you were granted the privilege to make a new law for our country and to abolish an old law, what would it be?
I would change the law on abortions.
5.  Where is the most beautiful place on earth for you and if you could choose, where would you like to live?
Fifteen years ago Christo moved me to the most beautiful part of the world - Cape Town. There is no other place I would rather like to be than in Cape Town.  No place compares to a Cape, rainy, winter’s evening, snuggled up in front of the fireplace with the love of my life, while all the children are sound asleep. 
I fell in love with Table Mountain and the Cape when I was 12years old. I grew up on a farm in Bloemfontein.  Apart form Bloemfontein, I didn’t know any other place than Margate, where we went to for our annual vacations.  During that time, our school organized a tour to the Cape.  I didn’t even dream of asking my parents, they were very protective.  My mother was a teacher at the same school I went to for the first 8 years of my school career (not good - but that is a story for another day) and one of the teachers convinced my mother to send me with.  She borrow the money from my grandpa and off I went to Cape Town for 2 weeks.  I was the youngest in the group, but all the children were fond of my mother and promised her they would take good care of me as the ‘baby’ in the group.  It was an amazing two weeks, I missed my parents a lot, but for two weeks I could actually do as I liked, without being afraid I’ll do something that would disappoint my mother or cause her shame.  (My mother had VERY high expectations of me, expectations I often couldn’t ‘meet).  For weeks after we came back, I would start my sentences with: “When we were in the Cape...” 
When Christo and I got married, he refused to tell me where we would have our honeymoon, only that I would need summer cloths (we got married in Autumn). He agreed to tell me where we were going, first thing after we got married, IF I was on time at the church (he did give me a 3 minute margin)!  That got me motivated to not let him wait in front of the altar, but I didn’t take into account the amount of traffic 09h15 on a Saturday morning.  All the cars slowed down the moment they saw the wedding car, to get a glimpse of the bride and we got stuck at a very busy intersection!  
At the end I was 7 minutes late and my dear bridegroom refused to tell me where we were going.  Only after our reception I managed to convince him to leak the secret to me and he told me we’re off to Cape Town for our honeymoon!  
I was ‘over the moon’!   
I just love Cape Town, the mountains, the wine lands, the weather (although the summers is becoming hotter every year).
6.  What is your most favourite pass time?
Having a coffee date once a week with my husband! 
7.  If you could hope for one dream to come true for you personally, what would it be?
To tour Europe with my husband and children, the little ones a little older, but the older ones still at home! 
Walking through little towns, visiting old castles and historical places, enjoying the beauty of the mountains! That is almost an impossible dream, but we can dream, can’t we?
Thank you for asking, Sonja!
With love
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