Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unexpected Conviction

Where do you find conviction in your life??
In your Bible reading?
In your pastor's sermons?
In a song?
In a spiritual book?
Maybe you find it other places, too.
But, today I found it in an unexpected place.
In the History book I was reading to my sons.

I was reading chapter 9 of The Light And The Glory - Did God have a plan for America, by Peter Marshall and David  Manuel, and suddenly I was fighting back the tears... trying to keep reading. I don't know if my boys noticed or not. But it really affected me. The passion and dedication of the Puritans to following the way God was leading them was piercing my heart.

My boys and I have been working our way through the book. Reading sections as we come to the time periods in our History study. 

I wish I could copy the whole chapter for you here. If you have not read The Light And The Glory yourself, or to your older children I would highly recommend it. I would recommend it for middle school, 7th grade or so, and up. I am so sorry to say that in my 20 years of homeschooling this is our first time through this book. I had it when we did American History years ago but did not read it to my children, or even myself. I am recommending it to my daughters to read and they promised to put it on their reading list.

The chapter is about the misrepresentation that has occurred about the Puritans and a look at their life and how they lived. It especially covers:
  • the willingness to search out and confront the sin in their own lives
  • their confrontation of sin in others in their midst since they were covenanted together and needed each other so much
  • the mercy and forgiveness of others sin that came out knowing their own sinful nature
  • how that affected their parenting (this is where I started to cry)
  • how all of the above affected their helping their children choose spouses
  • then, how they relied on each other (in their church/community) since they were bound together
  • and lastly how the sacrifice of their leaders and the providence of God provided their desperate needs at almost the last minute.
I will quote one or two little parts here for you, but I really recommend that you read the chapter for yourself. If you don't have a copy of the book, see if your library has the book or click in the links above to go to Amazon and buy yourself a copy. This quote is from page 178
"...we are not willing to risk losing the "love" in our relationship with our children by persevering with them in matters of discipline. The biggest single cause of the breakdown of the American family is that so much of what we could call  love, the Puritans would have another name for: idolatry."
They are talking about putting the children and their feeling higher than your obedience to God. I am sorry to say I often do this. I am a wimp. I give in to my children instead of following God. It has caused many problems in our family. I pray to God for strength to do what I know he wants me to do each day... especially in homeschooling my boys.

Here is quote 2 from pg. 180:
""We do also give up ourselves one unto another in the Lord, and according to the will of God, freely covenanting and binding our selves to walk together as a right ordered congregation and church of Christ, in all ways of His worship, according to the holy rules of the Word of God, promising in brotherly love, faithfully to watch over one another's souls."
Imagine the reaction most Americans today would have at the thought that their neighbors might be watching over their souls. Even among those of us in the Body of Christ, when we say, "How are you?" and smile, we are inwardly relieved when the answer is limited to the obligatory "Fine." So many of our churches are congregations of private people, surrounded by private personal spaces ad wrapt up in private thought, until it is time to smile and shake the minister's hand and get into our private cars.
In fact, for many of us Americans, privacy has become our religion, with the home as the foremost place of worship. As a result of increasingly temporary and artificial friendships, frequent uprooting, and growing insecurity in the world, we turn more and more for fulfillment of our needs to family relationships."
They go on from there to talk about the fact that family members cannot possibly provide all the love which we are so desperate for. We can smother our family members and drive them from us instead of loving them as Christ loves us and drawing us together.

The part in the quote above that is bold is my doing... this hit me hard. What about you? Do you find many of your friendships, even at church, temporary or artificial? I know I have had that problem. I have seen the look in others eyes when they ask me how I am and I don't say fine. They sometimes make excuses to get away from me as fast as possible. Friends and I have drifted apart. I am not sure how to fix it but I want to dig into some of my "friendships" at church and show others that I care about them and want to know more than that they are just "Fine." I want to know their needs and struggles and I want to covenant together with them and pray with them right then and there and then also promise to pray for them later, and then do it. I also want to keep those requests in mind, which will mean writing them down, and I want to keep updated on them. I cannot change others but I can start by changing me!

I also have some changes to make in my approach to my own sin and then in my parenting. I also have need to ask for forgiveness from my family. I know I have a long way to go in my Christian walk. I am glad that God knows my steps and my path and keeps putting His thoughts and words in my path to keep me on the straight and narrow... even if I find them in our History books!

Oh, know too that this book was written in 1977... my how things have deteriorated even more in America, in our churches and homes since then.

Let me know in the comments what you think of this. Especially if you have, get, or buy the book and read the chapter for yourself. I know I will be chewing on this for a while and re-reading this portion of the book so I get all the good stuff out of it.


I am also going to link this to since we are reading this book aloud for History.


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*** Note:  the Amazon link above is an affiliate link... if you click the link and buy from Amazon I will get a small portion of the sale. You will not be charged more for the book, but the small portion of the sale I get will be used to buy books for our homeschooling. Thanks.

3 comments:

Michele said...

WOW. What a heartfelt, inspiring, honest post. I want you to know that you are not alone in the thoughts and feelings you are having. I relate to almost everything you wrote. It is difficult these days to hang on to friendships that are deep and meaningful. And it's not easy. It takes effort and dilligence. I have a few friends that i am trying to reconnect with, and it seems like it's taking a lot more effort than it used to.
I definately want to read this book, and know that i will probably also be convicted, both in the family and friend department.
Thank you, my friend, for sharing your feelings and convictions so openly and inviting us to do the same. And you can always tell me if you are not fine...i will pray for you, too.
Hopefully we will get together soon.
Love you
Michele

ps. what are you doing up so late? lol

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Oh, I think this is a perfect RAT post! I've never read this book, but I do have it. Sounds like one I'd really enjoy personally. Thanks fir linking ip!

Debbie said...

Michele,
Thanks for your comment. I know that you are there for me. I know I can tell you when I am not fine. You don't know how much I appreciate that. You are not one of the friends I was talking about.... there are others though.

As to the being up so late, school took a long time yesterday... as it does most of the time these days. I also exercised and yesterday was my day to cook so that took up a lot of my time. Then the family watched a movie together. Then it was 10:30 and I remembered that I had wanted to write this post... and especially I remembered that I had not posted at all yesterday. I have been posting every day in Feb. for a challenge one of my friends set up on Facebook. It has been a good challenge. Since I already had the idea for this post from yesterday's History reading I just did it. But writing posts takes me a lot of time. So... that is why I was up so late.

Thanks for the prayers.

I would have invited you over this week but Nathan has been sick. Now Rachel has it. It is only colds and sore throat, I am glad it is not the flu that is going around. I hope we skip getting that completely this year. Pray for us in that because we are supposed to sing the 6th of March at church and we need everyone healthy. To sing on the 6th but also to practice before that!

Love you,
Deb

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