Walking in Unity

Admittedly, I am not a history buff. In fact, in college, I had the pleasure of repeating World History, due to failing it the first time. One quarter into college, and I received a letter threatening academic probation.

The professor was like character in a movie, passionately lecturing for 2 hours at rapid speed. Sweat would pour off his brow. One day, as I was madly scribbling notes, trying to capture every word he said in hopes that I may just pass the next test, there was a loud thud as the podium that rested before the teacher came crashing down. In all of his enthusiasm and energy, he had pushed the podium right over. At 18 years old, I couldn’t even fathom being that excited about history. In fact, I wasn’t passionate about anything at that point in my life.

When God began leading our family toward homeschooling, one of the doubts the enemy enjoyed holding over me was the reminder of my failure in history. How can you teach history, when you don’t know history? Good question.

Spreading out the curriculum in front of my daughters during our very first week of homeschool, one daughter shrieked with excitement, “Oh, the American Revolution! I would just love to learn about the American Revolution!”

Okay, here we go, God. Let the growing begin.

One of my daughters devoured the books and videos we checked out. As per her style, she was all about the American Revolution for a few weeks, learning all that interested her, before moving on to the next passing passion, chemistry.

During that time, the Lord used our learning to reassure me that it was okay that I had floundered through history class. My girls and I were now a team in our learning, spending our time together, studying, growing.

Fast forward to year 2 of Ostreim Academy, our homeschool. Our family purchased Story of the World, Volume 3. The curriculum came with a copy of the book, which is basically a textbook, well written as a flowing story, capturing our attention. It also contained a teacher’s guide, as well as activity sheets. I had every intention of using each piece of this curriculum. But, in reality, what is happening, is that we listen to the audio version of the book in the car two days a week, when we do school away from home. The reader, Jim Weiss, does a beautiful job, telling the story of our world. We listen and we pause and discuss. We relate what we hear to our life.

This morning, our learning was about the beginning of our great country and our government, and especially about George Washington.

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Jim Weiss, expertly told about George Washington’s past experience, his character and the way the American people embraced him. Suddenly, he spouted off a phrase that left me speechless. The words rang through the car into my mind, but the words that followed went unnoticed because my mind was mulling over what I just heard. “The American people voted, and it was unanimous, George Washington would be the first President of the United States.”

Unanimous?

Pausing the CD, I ask my daughters, “Do you know what that means?”

“Yes, it means, most of the people voted for him,” one daughter said.

“No, not MOST, but ALL. ALL of the people agreed, George Washington would be the best person to lead the country.”

Unanimous, of one mind, in complete agreement. 

When I look at the word, unanimous, I think of the word unity. A quick study of the two words reveals their origin, unus, meaning “one”.

Oh, Lord, how far we have strayed. Please forgive us. 

Our last several elections, have brought about many things, but unity was not one of them. Anger, division, resentment, fear, hopelessness, but, no, not unity.

The Spirit reminds me of the the apostle Paul’s words regarding unity:

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,  endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4: 1-5.

Listening further, we learn about George Washington’s character, not seeking power, fame or attention. When his first term was up, he was ready to move on, but, again, the American people voted for Washington as president despite the fact that he was not desiring to be president. You mean to say, he didn’t slander his opponents, boast about himself, and post signs up and down the highway saying, Vote for Washington?

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Again, Lord, we have strayed so far. I am sorry. 

When I read the scripture, I see God’s desire for unity. When I live out verses teaching the character of Christ, I am living in peace. When I am seeking after Jesus’ heart, I am not easily offended. When I ask the Lord to search me, I am looking for a renewed heart.

Lord, help us to walk in unity. Humbling us so we put others before ourselves. Help us to walk with you, One Lord, One Faith, One Hope. Amen. 

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Peace on Election Day

Many Americans woke up this morning feeling anxious, uncertain about what this day would hold. Many have professed they will be moving to another country depending on the results at the end of the day. Some of have been holding on to November 8th, full of dread.

My question is, how is this day really any different than any other? Which of us knows what any day ahead of us holds? If we are facing this day with fear and hopelessness, we must be facing each day that way. 

When my husband and I went to see the movie, War Room, my heart was opened up to the power of prayer. I saw how Miss Clara approached God with boldness, both with her words and her stature. While in her prayer closet, she used scripture to claim God’s promises. Miss Clara was never doubtful when praying and she was never surprised when God answered her prayers. Prayer was her lifeline.  It was her first defense as well as her first form of attack against trouble.

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Wow. I had been missing opportunity after opportunity to communicate with the King of the world. I had been praying weak prayers. This had to change.

I went home that afternoon, took a look at my walk-in closet and immediately began bagging up clothes I no longer needed. 5 bags later, I had plenty of space to begin creating my very own War Room.

“Don’t you need those clothes?” my youngest daughter asked.

“No. I like some of those clothes, but I really like the idea of having a special place to talk to God even better.”

I hung pictures of my family and Bible verses on the walls. I placed some cozy pillows on the floor, as well as my favorite blankie. My daughters painted me some pictures. One is of a beautiful sunset with a cross on a hill. Another is of the night Jesus was born complete with the star of Bethlehem. And, another has the acronym PUSH, Pray, Until, Something, Happens. I have devotionals, study Bibles, and notepads. I love my space. But, what I love the most is how God meets me there.

This morning, November 8th, election day, was no different. I walked into my closet for my morning appointment with God and He met me. When I woke up, I didn’t stop and think about it being election day. But, once I got in my prayer closet, I saw my note that read, “Pray for wisdom, respect, humility” my note reminding how I want to pray for the candidates. My eyes wandered to the verses I have taped on notecards on the wooden shelf in my closet.

Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Isaiah 6:3, “And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

James 5:16, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

When I approach each day, reading aloud about where my strength comes from, about God’s reign over the entire earth, about my need to confess my sins, and about the power of my prayers, I am equipped to face what lies ahead.

Today was like no other. I woke up a human being, full of pride, weakness, and sin. But, before jumping into my day, I asked God to fill me with His Spirit and I spent time in communication with the King of the world.

Whether I am waiting to hear test results from the doctor, waiting on God’s healing for a loved one, or waiting to hear who the next President will be, I still have the same need: to be filled with His power, peace, and providence.

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