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On the Conference Trail, and a New Book

This year I have had the privilege to participate in several conventions. It is always meaningful to be together in person and either meet for the first time or reconnect with people of like precious faith. As much as I enjoy interacting with parents it is also a joy to meet young people who have used Math-U-See. Last weekend I was in Wichita, KS. While there a mom took a photo of me with her kiddos. Then when she returned home she sent a picture of the three of us nine years earlier.

At three of the events, anyone who was interested met at 7:30 AM to worship, praise, and work with God. We read Scripture, sang hymns, and prayed together. “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” God met us and we met Him. Very special. I have a PDF of the 4 pages we used. If you are interested email me and I will send it!

I also led a workshop at several events called “Parents as Priests.” If you have been listening to my podcasts, you know that God has been teaching me what it means to be a priest in the kingdom of God since 2023. I continue to ponder and walk in the light of what He is teaching me. Here are two passages that affirm this calling that we all share.

“You also, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

“You have made us a kingdom and priests to our God.” (Revelation 5:10)

Wonderful Opportunity
A few weeks ago I was invited to meet with a group of younger homeschooling dads about ways to be involved in the homeschooling journey of their family. I have thought a good deal about this question. If I had been asked this question thirty years ago I would have answered it differently than I would today.

For most of my experience as a parent, I focused on what I should be doing as a Christian father. Family worship or family devotions was high on my list. Doing life together as a family would have been my next priority. Both of these objectives came from Deuteronomy 6:7, to teach diligently and be with them as much as possible. 

Twelve years ago, a mom asked why I had not considered the two previous verses. As you read through them, notice that they are specifically for parents, and deal with the inner man of the heart. “You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6)

As I read these passages, I saw God’s wisdom in arranging verses 5-7. Before I can teach my children to love God and His Word, I must love Him with ALL MY HEART and love His Words with ALL MY HEART. You may have heard the phrase: the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. 

Having a heart that is fully devoted to God and His Word requires earnest and diligent effort. Moses encourages us in Deuteronomy 4:29, “You will seek YHWH your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” It also involves asking God for His help. “Search me, O God, and know my heart!” (Psalm 139:23) 

Not an Ephesian
The next thought I had was whether I was an Ephesian. After commending this church in Ephesus for two verses, God put His finger on the condition of their relationship with Him: “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Revelation 2:4)

I did not want to share in this spiritual condition and began intentionally and earnestly asking God to help me love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was His response was to quote Deuteronomy 6:6, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

I knew God would answer my prayer, for it is according to His will. However I was surprised how he answered my request. In hindsight I see that He rebuilt my understanding of God and His goodness. He revealed several of my misconceptions such as if I do more stuff for God He will love me more. 

He also revealed the Great News in a new way by illuminating John 15:9 and coupling it with Matthew 3:17. Jesus told His disciples the night before He was crucified, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in my love.” (John 15:9). I wondered how the Father loved the Son and the Spirit led me to Matthew 3:17, “A voice from heaven said, ‘This is My dearly loved Son, Who brings Me great joy.”

Because of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross, in taking our sins upon Himself, clothing us in His righteousness, adopting us into His family, we now can expect that every time we draw near to our Father, Our Dad looks at us and says, “You are my dearly loved Son, Who brings Me great joy!” And He smiles. Warmly. Then He says, “Come unto Me.”

Wonderful Opportunity Update
Currently we are making plans to meet with these homeschooling dads, not once, but ongoing. Instead of talking about how to do this or that, our focus will be on the condition of our heart. Do we love God well? Does God love us well? For “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

As we are “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17) and abiding in a loving living relationship with our Divine Dad, we will be on the road to being a loving Husband and Father to our family. 

When Jesus was told be His Dad “This is My dearly loved Son, Who brings Me great joy” He had not done anything. This was the commencement of His earthly ministry. His Dad gave Him the assurance that He was loved, that He belonged, and that He was pleasing. With these words reverberating in His heart, mind, and spirit, the Son of God became the Savior of the world. 

The night before Jesus was to die, He passed on this message to His disciples, “You are My dearly loved friends, Who bring Me great joy.” I am certain that this message entered into their heart of hearts and they were then able to faithfully fulfill their role in the plan of God.

PS. If you would like to learn more about the love of God, there is a PDF of a book and an audiobook of the same available here

A New Book, By Every Word
Reading through the Bible annually since 1976 has been the best spiritual discipline God has helped me to establish in my Christian walk. As Jesus teaches us: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

This new book is a collection of anecdotes about how God has led, taught, and encouraged me His inspired words. From how our children were named and how He brought my wife and I together, to a Psalm which encouraged me in one of my darkest hours, I hope you will blessed by this testimonial of God’s living, active, and profitable Word.

You may access it here.

Upcoming Events
April 28-May 3, Vibrant Life Online Event
May 4, Manchester, NH, Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference,
June 1, The Homeschool Journey in Nova Scotia, Online
June 6-8, Richmond, VA, Home Educators Association of Virginia Annual Conference
June 13-15, Ontario, CA, Great Homeschool Convention
July 11-13, Red Rock, TX, Great Homeschool Convention

Podcasts:
Podcasts 398 through 401 focus on the shed blood of Jesus at Calvary (Easter/Passover). These are followed by a series on the Holy Spirit (Pentecost). They are posted weekly here and on Facebook along with a written transcript.

396    By Every Word, #10, The Account of how Steve was Born from Above
397    By Every Word, #11, Abide in My Word
398    The Blood of Passover
399    Christ a Better Sacrifice, Hebrews,
400    The Blood in Psalms and Isaiah
401    Jesus, Our Propitiation
402    The Disciples Receive the Spirit

May God’s love be poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Adapted from Romans 5:5) Amen!

Steve