News from Our Blog
Starting Off on the Right Foot!
By Guest Author: Christine Hughes, 5/6th grade teacher
Back to school can be daunting and overwhelming for some students and parents, but
there is no need to be caught in that web. My pigeon pair are all grown up and established in their careers, but I can flash back to those early elementary years when I did feel the weight that September brought, in addition to the many hats I was trying to juggle! I can sit back now, with a smile on my face, and reminisce on what I did, and what I would change if I could go back in time!
Create a peaceful environment at home where your children feel safe, loved, and cared
for. Home should be a haven which can be a springboard for kids to do well in school. I believe that obeying the command given in Proverbs 3:5-6 is a good first step in establishing the tone for the school year, by allowing the Lord to direct our paths by trusting Him explicitly. Make time for family devotions and prayer regularly with the children, to strengthen familial ties and foster unity. Encourage your children to make time for God every day. A prayer list generated by the kids is a good way to see answered prayer and growth in their lives.
Physical needs should also be a priority for a successful school year. 1 Timothy 4:8 says
that “physical training is of some value.” Adequate sleep (10-11 hours), a healthy diet, and
physical exercise are integral parts of keeping stress at bay and functioning well in school. Look for a healthy balance between curricular and extra-curricular activities in order to avoid burnout. Planning ahead and organizing can make for easy mornings, and smooth transitions.
Finally, motivate your child to stay flexible and face difficulties with faith and courage. When they fall, encourage them to get up, try again, and constructively solve their problems. They are not alone. God’s promises are trustworthy. (Isaiah 41:10) I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. There is no reason to fear; you are not alone. God has been there for every tear and every
sorrow (Psalm 56:8) and He will strengthen your heart and help you back to your feet, no matter where He finds you today.
What Kind of Swimmer Are You?
July 2, 2023
By Guest author: Renee Smith, Middle/High School English teacher
Summer is the time for swimming! What kind of swimmer are you? Do you enter the water incrementally? First, you test the water temp with your toes, then bit by bit enter the pool, all the while wondering if you should turn back? Or do you jump right in, regardless of the consequences?
Pool time often reminds me of a quote by missionary Lilias Trotter—but before I share it, let me introduce you to this exceptional woman.
Lilias Trotter (1853-1928) was born in England and raised in wealth and privilege. She was a self-taught artist, whose talent quickly came to the attention of the art world. (One famous critic, John Ruskin, called her “England’s greatest living artist.”) Along with art, Lilias felt drawn to the things of God. In her early twenties, she and her mother experienced the
teaching of American preacher, Dwight L. Moody, when they volunteered at his revival meetings.
Although many encouraged her to pursue an artist’s life, Lilias believed she could not embrace “painting and continue still to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.’” She found local mission work to do through the YWCA and other such organizations and eventually felt a call to foreign missions.
On her 34th birthday, Lilias applied to the North African Mission but was rejected because a heart condition kept her from passing the physical exam. Because she could support herself, Lilias and two other financially independent women (unusual for that time period) made preparations to go to the mission field on their own and work alongside the established mission organizations.
Upon arriving in Algiers, Lilias wrote, "Three of us stood there, looking at our battle-field, none of us fit to pass a doctor [physical] for any [missionary] society, not knowing a soul in the place, or a sentence of Arabic or a clue for beginning work on untouched ground; we only knew we had to come. Truly if God needed weakness, He had it!"
Lilias and her friends spent the next forty years sharing the Gospel with Islamic women and children, seeing many converts follow Christ in spite of banishment, punishment, and even death. The three women founded a mission, which eventually grew to encompass thirty workers, and Lilias wrote several books.
During her entire time of service, Lilias’s health was so poor that she divided each year between months working in Algiers and months recuperating in England. Of her life, she wrote, “I am seeing more and more that we begin to learn what it is to walk by faith when we learn to spread out all that is against us: all our physical weakness, loss of mental power, spiritual inability—all that is against us inwardly and outwardly—as sails to the wind and expect them to be vehicles for the power of Christ to rest upon us.”
By now, you’re wondering how Lilias Trotter’s bio leads back to swimming. Here’s the relevant quote from her journal:
“‘I am come into deep waters’ took on a new meaning this morning. It started with perplexing matters concerning the future. Then it dawned
that shallow waters were a place where you can neither sink nor swim, but in deep waters, it is one or the other . . .
Swimming is the intense, most strenuous form of motion—all of you is involved in it—and every inch of you is in abandonment of rest upon the water that bears you up.”
In other words, swimming engages nearly every muscle group in our bodies, yet the entire endeavor would be impossible were it not for the water holding us up.
What a great metaphor for living the Christian life!
We must put our “faith” muscles to work—studying and memorizing Scripture, sharing the Gospel, serving others, etcetera. Yet we accomplish nothing for eternity unless empowered by the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
So I ask again, what kind of swimmer are you? Do you dangle your feet in the water or stick to the shallow end of the pool? Or are you ready to jump right into the deep end for the adventure of a lifetime?
***To learn more about Lilias Trotter, I encourage you to check out her biography, read one of her books, or watch the 2015 documentary written by Laura Waters Hinson and featuring Michelle Dockery and John Rhys-Davies.
A Passion for the Impossible by Miriam Huffman Rockness. Amazon
Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper: https://www.desiringgod.org/books/faithful-women-and-their-extraordinary-god
A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter by Lilias Trotter & Miriam Huffman Rockness. Amazon
Parables of the Cross by Lilias Trotter. Amazon
Many Beautiful Things. Documentary available on YouTube & Amazon
News from Our Blog
the Kingdom: the "already" and the "not yet"
Are Christians a people out of time - trying to go back to a more archaic and less enlightened way of life and trying to impose an ancient value system on a modern world? That’s how many in the world view us.
What we actually believe is MORE radical - the Future Kingdom of heaven is time travelling back to us and bringing its perfect values and truths with it. There are definite clashes because two cultures are trying to occupy the same space - the human heart. As we allow the authority of Jesus to reign in our hearts, we find His kingdom is what we have all been searching for. He is a monarch who died for his subjects in order to bring us freedom, which contradicts the monarchs of this world. Monarchs of this world believe, like Lord Farquaad, “some of you may die, but that’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.” We have a limited knowledge of how the future is going to play out, the opportunity to actually shape the kingdom and can help bring it to pass. This will happen as we:
Acquire a working knowledge of this Kingdom
Are comforted by how the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ can explain how this Kingdom has power to reshape our entire identity
The unexpected nature of the Kingdom
Consider the theme of the Kingdom of God as you look at the Parables in Matthew 13. Here are some truths:
It is slow growing but impossible to stop.
It is costly… but worth the full commitment.
It creates conflict.
It is both outside of us AND within us. It brings invisible change inside of us like yeast, and outside of us like salt in our food.
The struggle of the already and the not yet Kingdom
Matthew uses present tense, “The kingdom of heaven IS like…” but also future tense, “Not everyone will enter” or “Your kingdom come.” Which is it? On its way or here? Yes!
Wouldn’t it be nice to say simultaneously “I am already done and not yet done at the same time?” I’d love to respond when Melody calls me, “are you home yet?” with “I am already home” even while I am still 10 minutes out. But she’d only hear “not yet.”
But there are other areas of life where this can be done. In 2010, when Melody was pregnant with Caedmon, I could honestly say “I am a father, but not yet fully.” There are also seasons of life where we are already but not yet something - teenagers are living as adults in many ways, but not adults in other ways.
The already and not yet keeps us both living by hope and encouragement of what already is, yet in humility and dependency on God for what is not yet. The church struggles with this. Paul writes a letter to the Thessalonians correcting their overemphasis on “the Kingdom is here already” by instructing them to work and live quietly. They were sitting around waiting for Christ to return and not working or evangelizing and creating a burden on the rest of the congregation. Paul also addresses the other end of the spectrum when writing to the Corinthians, reminding them to think of what is already true. From lawsuits to sinful abuse of freedom, Paul challenges them to live as citizens of the Kingdom they are already in (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Next time we’ll continue to look at this conflict of already and not yet.
Fostering Family Devotions
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"One perk of being a small school is that we are not only a school community but a family. This family has never failed to encourage each other in bad times, laugh with each other in the good times, and push each other to become better... Yes, this school has brought me great memories, amazing friends, academic knowledge, life lessons, and much much more, but the most important thing is how it aided me in making my faith my own."
~ Jennifer Puhalski, Salutatorian, ULCS '20