Heart to Heart

 

      Before I begin, let me remind you that we have devoted fourteen pages to teaching His Story in our book entitled There’s No Place Like Home. The following is written as an additional encouragement to partake of the Lord’s Banquet Table.

      As a child, my parents were the most important people in the whole world to me. There was no question in my mind that they were the most wise, the most loving, the most generous, the most fun of all people to be with. In fact I sought out their company above everyone else to hear their voices, to know their thoughts, to listen to the stories of their past, to know what they wanted to do, and to find out what they wanted me to do. Indeed my greatest pleasure came from just being with them and pleasing them.

      My feelings for my heavenly Father were identical to these when I became His child, as well. He became the most important Person in my life, which resulted in that same desire to be with Him all the time so I could know Him fully. Is this what God meant when He said that unless we become like little children, we would not enter the kingdom of heaven? For indeed, I took my Bible to school and read it when I could. When I got home from school each day, I would jump on my horse and take long rides so I could talk with Him and listen to His replies. Before bedtime I would read and pray, yet there were so many other things that impeded my time with Him. Here I was a child of God, yet my days were spent at an institution that kept me far from my Father. Even my church failed to teach me His truths. So without direction, time, and materials, I felt woefully lacking. But then God did a wonderful thing for me by giving me a second chance to learn all about Him through homeschooling my own children.      Just imagine what it was like for a child who was starved for thirteen years to open up her first biblical worldview timeline. I gasped and shouted with delight, and then just sat before it in awe as I gazed upon the scope of God’s divine wisdom and His providential hand upon all of His Story. Then, as I began to read biographies and other godly accounts of His annals, I truly began to fully understand what a great and awesome God I served. As I saw nations rise and fall, I began to understand the long-term effect of our actions and the impact they have on the family, the church, and the civil government. And, for the first time, through His blessings, His chastisements, and His judgments, I truly saw my Father as holy, fearful, righteous, loving, patient, long suffering, merciful, and just. I came to know Him as the Lawgiver, the Redeemer, and the righteous Judge, and I came to appreciate both His blessings and His judgments because I understood His deep love and wisdom in both.      When I realized that He raised up men and women for certain times, always preserving a remnant for His very own, I began to truly understand my tremendous responsibility as His child and the importance of sacrificial living. And because I began studying both God’s Holy Scriptures and His complete story in chronological order, line upon line, event upon event, everything finally came together and made sense. The truth of life was no longer fragmented and unrelated as the picture became clear, and for the very first time in my life, I truly understood that God’s providential hand was upon all time and space and that He had complete sovereignty over everything. And amazingly, as I became intimately acquainted with each of my Father’s complex characteristics and understood their compatibility, not only did He become whole in my eyes, but also I became whole, as well. 

Homeschooling—God’s Greatest Gift to Parents

       Consequently, I have always considered homeschooling a precious gift from God, His way of allowing me to sup together with my family at His banquet table, day in and day out. For me it is an extraordinary gift because I remember when I was a slave to a system of both mental and physical bondage where I was fed crumbs in the darkness. But true to His Word, God has made up for the years that the locust destroyed and has given back a hundredfold because I have allowed Him to teach me. As a child of the Most Holy of Holies, I now sit at His feet daily supping with my family on the richness of His bounty that He not only prepared for us, but also ordained for us from the beginning. And after so many years of starvation, it is truly a privilege to dine with the King at His table, to partake of His bountiful blessings of lessons, to be tutored by Him and counseled by Him, to commune with the heavenly hosts.      And how thankful I am to be able to bring my children with me each day that they may be instructed by the greatest of teachers and that we may learn His great truths together. If, however, I had given my children their books and told them to go and do, I would have missed God’s gift of a lifetime—the privilege of being tutored by Him in His treasures and in all the fullness thereof. Instead, the thirteen wasted years of my life have been redeemed because I have allowed God to teach me through learning along with my children. And what an honor it has been for me to learn with my children those truths that had been kept from me all those years.      Each day we open His Word and dine upon the delicacies of His truth. We journey far and wide through His Story as it is told to us from beginning to end while we read and discuss the people, places, and events that have occurred throughout time. Avoiding the superhighways of just names and dates, we travel on the beautiful scenic byways where we truly get to know the people and their ways, stopping to take in the scenery and live the lives of those who lived in each time period.      As we read, I constantly stop and ask thought-provoking questions that delve into the motives and the consequences of each action, which not only stretch my children’s minds, but also require them to evaluate each according to God’s Word. It is these discussions of thoughts and revelations that bind our hearts and minds together in one accord with our heavenly Father. They are priceless and treasured within my heart as I count my blessings of being so privileged to share God’s depth of wisdom with my very own children.      Then using our timeline, maps, books, encyclopedias, videos, tapes, magazine pictures, articles, art supplies, and cookbooks, we begin to thoroughly study the geography, landscape, climate, vegetation, wildlife, language, religion, family, government, philosophers, authors, scientists, mathematicians, historians, artists, musicians, architecture, and the food of that time in history that we are studying. I also keep a dictionary by my side to define every unfamiliar word. From here the children copy notes in their His Story notebooks, along with vocabulary words and definitions, maps, diagrams, and pictures. We learn important words from each language, watch travelogues of the region, prepare foods and visit areas in our city that reflect the culture. We truly live the time period so that we may truly understand it. 

Life Without History

       Sadly, most people are so focused on themselves in the present that they possess little or no regard for others, and certainly not for others in the past. They refuse to delve into the pages of the past, neither studying the Bible nor the annals of history, because they believe that neither contains anything relevant to them. Their perception of God is far removed from any direct involvement in their own lives, so they do not see any connection between God and men, God and nations, and God and history. So preoccupied with themselves, they never even make an effort to get to know their Creator, to find out why He created them, what He desires of them, and how to get where He wants them to go. They have lost their way because they fail to look to God and those who forged His way throughout time, but instead look to themselves and their government for all the answers to life’s predicaments. Consequently, without map or compass, they rush headlong into destruction.      To those who perceive God’s Word and His Story as boring and irrelevant, I am much inclined to ask a few simple questions that would place their precarious situation in perspective. “Do you remember anything from your childhood? Do you remember your mother and father, perhaps even your grandparents? Do you remember life during your childhood: holidays, traditions, people, places and happenings? Did they impact your life in any way? Did you feel that you learned lessons from the experiences of your past? For a moment, consider what it would be like if you could not remember anything—if you indeed had no past, no memories, but just the here and now. Now consider that what you do from this moment forward will not be remembered by you or anyone else. This is your life without history.”      For a person without knowledge of his past is like an amnesia patient wandering around in a meaningless sea of time and space. They neither know who they are nor where they are nor what they should be doing. Living life with no past is living life without purpose. To be sure this is the fate for everyone who fails to study his Creator and His Story. They literally have lost their sense of identity and are condemned to wander in a sea of the present with no beginning and no end. 

History Is Living Manna

       History is God’s story written for our instruction. It is breath to our lungs and food for our minds and souls. It is life, a living manna from our Lord. And it is this very food that teaches us the most valuable lessons in life on the nature of our sinful, foolish, arrogant hearts; the long term consequences of each of our actions; the reality of the long term consequences of sin; the effect sin has on nations; the immense spiritual battle that rages; and the true character of our holy, truthful, faithful, just, loving, merciful, long suffering, patient, faithful, wise, and sovereign Redeemer. It teaches life’s greatest lessons about God and man, sin and death, faith and life. For throughout history we can clearly see that pagan cultures’ rebellion to God’s authority produced devastating consequences to their nation: immorality, prostitution, venereal disease, homosexuality, human sacrifice, broken families, poverty, tyranny, slavery, terror, hopelessness, anarchy, plagues, and finally destruction.      On the other hand, we can also see how Christianity transformed barbarous nations into ones of civility, for the consequences of being God-centered produced morality, strong whole families, health, liberty, justice, a limited civil government, prosperity, generosity, peace, and hope. Learning these lessons imparts the proper perspective of ourselves and our relationship to God in both time and space. They clearly show us who created us, why we were created, and what we are supposed to be doing. In truth it teaches us the great responsibility of covenantal faithfulness and our duty to pass on our inheritance. “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” (Ps. 22:27,28).      Our own American history is replete with the blessings that came from our forefathers’ obedience to God and their sacrificial example. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith …” (Heb. 12:1,2). We are not to be influenced by our surrounding culture. We are salt and light and have a great responsibility to carry the baton of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, running the race with endurance. So how do we prepare our children for such an awesome task? 

Parents Must Learn to Learn

       Well sadly, even many homeschoolers’ conception of schooling is defined by their own experience in school, which consisted of traditional textbooks used within four walls. As a result they fail to comprehend that just taking their children out of the system and placing Christian curriculum in their hands is not what God requires of them as parents. Remember God tells parents to diligently teach their children when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise up (Deut. 6:7). Yet they neither see, hear, taste, nor breathe the richness of God’s creations because they too were fed crumbs in the darkness. So content to allow others to teach their children, they accept simulation in place of experiential learning and consequently miss out on the greatest opportunity God offers parents in learning together as a family.      To overcome this obstacle, parents need to first differentiate between rote memorization and learning. For parents can give their children an education that will produce high scores on standardized tests without ever coming close to teaching their children how to learn, which encompasses how to observe, how to explore, how to ask questions, and consequently how to think beyond the box. For learning is defined as “gaining knowledge by instruction or reading, by study, by experience or observation; acquiring skill by practice.” And since this is not the way most parents were taught, they must break out of the mold the schools crammed them into and learn to learn themselves. They need to learn to look carefully so they can really see, listen intently so they really hear, chew slowly so they really taste, touch carefully so they really feel, breathe deeply so they really smell, and ask questions so they really learn from life.      A vast storehouse of treasures and a wealth of information awaits all who avail themselves of God’s goodness, for both learning resources and experiences surround everyone for those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, and taste buds to taste. Yet if senses are not trained to pick up on the evidence of God’s signature touches on everything in life, both His goodness and His lessons will be missed. So parents must recognize their role as one that requires action, for the success of learning is largely due to the active role the parent takes in the learning process. To do this they need to develop a thirst for God and all He created while cultivating a deep sense of inquiry and a confidence to approach others and ask questions. 

Remember

       Throughout His Word, God continually commands us to remember Him and His Word. The following are just a few examples, but as you read through these, notice the reason for the importance He places on remembering each.      “And Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place’” (Ex. 13:3). “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). “And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, in order that you may remember to do all My commandments, and be holy to your God” (Num. 15:39,40).      “And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day” (Deut. 5:15). “And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not…. But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deut. 8:2,18).      “You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), in order that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt” (Deut. 16:3). “You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing” (Deut. 24:17,18).      “Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth” (1 Chron. 16:12). “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke … ‘Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses’” (Neh. 4:14).      “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work, and muse on Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; what god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have by Your power redeemed Your people” (Ps. 77:11-15). “Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels, and the judgments uttered by His mouth” (Ps. 105:5). “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands” (Ps. 143:5).      “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them’” (Ec. 12:1).  “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Is. 46:9,10). “‘Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed … Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, in order that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,’ the Lord God declares” (Ez. 16:61-63).      “And they do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds are all around them; they are before My face…. Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me. And they do not cry to Me from their heart when they wail on their beds … They turn away from Me. Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against Me. They turn, but not upward …” (Hosea 7:2,13-16). “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel” (Mal. 4:4).      “I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles” (2 Pet. 3:1,2). “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:7,8).      So why does God command us to remember? I believe First Corinthians 10:1-11 clearly defines His reasoning: “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea … and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased … Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. And do not be idolaters … Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”      God tells us to remember His greatness, our sinful natures, the sins of our fathers, the consequences of sin, God’s judgment, His deliverance, and our responsibility to pass on these truths. It is our covenantal duty to faithfully pass on God’s entire story that our lives can bear fruit and transform barbarous cultures into civilized ones. God’s Word and history serve as God’s pattern for avoiding failure and living successfully.      David confirms this formula for success in Psalm 1:1-3, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” 

Effectual Doers

       We must study the past to bring clarity to the present so we can avoid destruction in the future. In 2 Timothy 2:15, God tells us to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” How can we rightly divide the word of truth? By studying His Word. Yet just studying His Word is not enough. “For not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified” (Rom. 2:13). “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25). Effectual doers are those who faithfully pass on God’s Word, who sacrifice themselves, daily taking up the cross of Christ that they may transform the lives of others around them. They are the faithful line of believers whose lives ultimately transform nations.      David shows us the way when he says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually. Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels, and the judgments uttered by His mouth” (Ps. 105:1-5). Seek His face continually! Remember His wonders! Make known His deeds and speak of all His wonders!      What kind of foundation are you laying? Are you too feeding crumbs, a little here and a little there, even though your children deserve the richness of God’s vast treasures? How should you labor then? By seizing each fleeting moment to instruct the hearts and minds of your children with the rich food of the Lord’s wisdom, for twenty years are gone before we know it. Contemplation, determination, and prayer are the only safeguards that will secure fleeting time because the devil will do everything in his power to distract, entice, and tempt us away from His Word with appealing alternative attractions. The intense study of the Bible and history are the only sure way to impart a biblical worldview in which everything our children see and do will be evaluated in the light of God’s Word. 

What Will His Story Say of Us?

       Consider, Dads and Moms, that we are making history every day. Whatever we do becomes the history of our time spent on this earth. What a tremendous opportunity we have to transform not only the lives of our children and our great great grandchildren, but all those who come into contact with them. Everything we pass on will be for posterity. So it is our responsibility to instill in them a thorough knowledge of their Lord and His Story and a deep appreciation for all those who came before them, who sacrificed that they may live and worship freely. We must instill in them a sense of responsibility to preserve the inheritance that they have received, so that they, too, may pass it on for posterity. For God is forever using men to shape history, and we can either be a part of His godly plan or a recipient of His judgment.      Let us not for one moment think that if we just give them a good education that we have fulfilled our role as educator. For knowledge apart from God only puffs one up. “Knowledge makes arrogant” (1 Cor. 8:1). There are those who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). But God says, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things” (Jer. 9:23,24). Paul says, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him … that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:8-11).      Psalm 119 is a beautiful psalm of direction for our lives. I encourage you to take the time to read the entire psalm, but since it is 176 verses long, for brevity’s sake, I will just print some of the text for meditation. “How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart…. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You … Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You…. With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth…. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word…. Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors…. Incline my heart to Your testimonies … Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity … Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You…. So I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts…. I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies…. I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts…. Teach me good discernment and knowledge … O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation…. How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…. I have inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, even to the end. I hate those who are double-minded … My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation and for Your righteous word…. I am Your servant; give me understanding … Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me…. The sum of Your word is truth … Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble…. My soul keeps your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly…. Your law is my delight.”      “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them. They are all straightforward to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Take my instruction and not silver, and knowledge rather than choicest gold. For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her” (Prov. 8:8-11).      Dads and Moms, we have been given the greatest opportunity of a lifetime. Let us all use it wisely and not squander it away with the ways of the world. Let us follow God’s pattern for wisdom and living. He desires for us to dine at His banquet table each day that we may fulfill His grand purpose for our lives, that our life’s story please Him. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).      The Lord’s Banquet Table is already prepared and waiting for you! Y