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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


November 16, 2011

Thankful for Devotional Time


Deborah's  Picture    

 The times that bring the most joy to my heart and that I am most thankful for are our times of personal devotions, school devotions, and family devotions. To be gathered together before the throne of God and the Word of God, without opposition, is truly a reason to give thanks. These are the times we heed the mandate of God to remember Him, to proclaim His works to our children, to remind them of His commands and precepts, and to proclaim that He is great. 

However, these times are not without their trials. Satan does all that he can to interrupt, distract, and destroy these times. We become too busy and distracted, or we are buffeted on all sides before, during, or after our devotions. Believe me, I know from daily experience that Satan is doing all that he can to prevent the Word of God from becoming planted in our hearts. Why? Because he knows the power of God's Word to change us and to make us strong, to make us more like Christ, thereby affecting all those around us. Satan understands the power of the Word of God and prayer better than we do. If we truly understood what he understands, we would make sure we win this battle. If we knew the holiness and majesty of God like Satan does (he trembles before Him), then we would not let his oppositions frustrate or halt our attempts to make devotions a first priority in our hearts and lives.

Perhaps you think you cannot find the right devotional book. Well, the one book that says it has all that we need for life should answer that problem. Read the Bible separately and together, talk about it, pray over it, think of ways to apply it, remind each other throughout the day about it, meditate on it, memorize it, copy it. Pretty simple. If you need something else on top of that, there are hundreds of great resources out there to help you. 

I have been asked to share what goes on in our home, but I am sure "devotions" look different in each of our lives, so don't allow Satan to add guilt to his list of weapons against you. 

Personal Time: I have my own prayer and Bible time at least once per day. My personal goal is to meet with the Lord at 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 10 p.m., and 3 a.m. if the Lord wakes me up. These are not lengthy sessions, and there are bound to be interruptions, but it's just a goal to work toward. Sometimes I pray for others, sometimes I get a bite of His Word, and sometimes I just cry out to Him with all that is bottled up. But every time I want to hear from Him, either quietly in my heart or through His Word. 

School Time: After Dad leaves for work, I gather the kids and we study a psalm or a proverb or whatever I have been reading in my Bible. Some days we go through a devotional book. This year, we are reading through this book: Field Guide to Bible Promises, by Helen Haidle. She also has a book we have used called The Lord Is My Shepherd. These are geared toward younger children, but the discussions are good for all. Some days this doesn't happen. So for school, the kids each read through the Bible at their own pace. My 6-year-old reads one verse a day; -the 8-year-old, a half chapter; -the 11-year-old, one chapter; the 13-year-old reads two; the 16-year-old reads five; and the older children are on their own. We have written one verse every day (copywork) until that verse is memorized. Then we move on to another one.

Family Time: Whenever Dad can; maybe once a week, he leads us in Bible study. We don't ever want to add guilt to our dads by nagging or complaining about how often they are (or not) leading us in devotions. You just keep doing what God has called you to do and leave the rest in God's hands. 

Don't let feelings of guilt for what you are not doing overwhelm you. Just get up and carve out your times of devotion as an important, even urgent, priority every day. 


TOS Senior Editor 




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Gena Suarez


Hey from Gena          

Gena Suarez, Publisher of TOS     


Devotion time, can't survive without it. My highest priority should be that I get God's word and prayer daily in me and in my kids. When I'm frustrated and don't "see" God, I know it is time to read His word. God speaks to us through His word, the Bible and I have to look for Him there. If we can't find Him, it's time to run to Him, and we do that by reading His words. What a great comfort is there. Devotion time don't, miss it--even if you only have a few minutes to meet with your Lord to read His Word and pray.


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Creation Revolution  

Are cave paintings drawings of real animals or spiritual representations?  At one time it was thought that dappled horses in cave drawings were imaginary, now  scientists aren't so sure. 


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The FamilymanTodd Wilson
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries  


Thankful for devotional time!


I don't know about everyone else's family devotions, but ours can get pretty ugly. In fact, a while back I wrote an article on family devotions, which I entitled "Family Emotions." Be sure to check it out.
Now going off-road--I hate to be a nag, but I don't want you to miss out on making some of the greatest Christmas memories of your children's lives. You've heard me talk about Family Advent Nights, and why not make this year the time to start this meaningful family tradition? During our December family nights, we make a craft, read a Scripture and a Christmas book, have a fun Christmas snack, dim the lights, and sing a Christmas carol or two.
Because crafts aren't always easy to pull together, we've done it for you. For only $7.50, you get four ready-to-assemble crafts (one per week). So if you have three children, you order three craft kits. You order, we deliver . . . voila, memory made.
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Be real,



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It's Just Common Sense 

Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist 


Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant  


 Six in the morning. Hubby is up getting ready for work. Any minute now, there will be the pitter-patter of footy-pajamas heading my way. Happy faces will ask about chaws (Nate-speak for Cheerios) and my day will have begun. Grabbing my Bible to read some Psalms, I turn my attention away from the rocket-launch start of my day to the One who gave me this custom-designed plan for growth.

I knew early on in my homeschooling life that my devotional time in the morning was not for God's benefit. It was for me. In the brief or long minutes I might get to spend before the Lord, I had an opportunity to align myself with His purposes for my day, and ultimately, my life. Sometimes I was rejoicing before Him, thanking Him for His blessings. Other times I was grabbing myself by my collar and telling my soul to get in line! God's plan for our family was good, and part of that good was laying aside the objections of my flesh, forgetting my pre-homeschool devotional perfection and embracing the call of God to serve my family.

The older I got, the more I realized that the Lord was not concerned with formality, He was only concerned with me coming before Him with the realities of my day. He needed no sugar-coating to be pleased with my petitions, praise, and prayers. When I couldn't get to the quiet time in the morning, I often found Him giving me time at a baseball practice or a car ride to quiet my heart before Him. When I stopped beating myself up for not having the perfect quiet time, I realized that He was teaching me about His perfection.

Homeschooling is a 24/7 display of your heart. I will be the first to say that it wasn't always pretty. But as I took refuge in my Savior, He demonstrated that indeed, His mercies are new every morning, and His faithfulness is great. As I accepted the role of transparency, it was amazing the ways He could take my struggles with life and make them a testimony of His unfailing love for me and my family.

While I may have started out trying to show Him my love, I realized that our quiet time meetings were about me getting quiet long enough to hear how much He loved me and my family. Those were the days when we could follow His lead, share His love for each other, and be a blessing to Daddy.

The good news is that though we are not always devoted to Him and His ways, He is always devoted to us. I encourage you to find a few quiet minutes each day to put your head on His shoulder, feel His arm around you, and receive the love and strength you need to walk through each day of this custom-designed journey for you and yours.

~ Debbie 




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Contest Central  

For the month of November, 2011   


Point to Happy: A Book for Kids on the Autism Spectrum  


This is such a fun book! It is a large board book. We have a child living with us at present who has a probable diagnosis of autism, and we are looking for ways to improve her language and communications skills. This book comes with a pointer that reminds me of an old-fashioned back scratcher, but the handle isn't that long. It's a colorful plastic hand on a short extension to use for pointing.


The book contains large photographs of children in different moods and situations, different foods (apples, pretzels, raisins, pizza, etc.), and other familiar objects. The idea is to have the children point to what they are feeling, what they want, or what interests them. Just the act of pointing at the objects and connecting them in their minds helps them to learn to focus. We are just learning some of the ways of engaging this child, but I can see this book being a very helpful tool in this endeavor. It would be wonderful if Workman Publishing would come out with some similar flashcards (heavy cardboard like the board book) to accompany this so that the child could actually hold each one in his or her hand.


We will use this book a lot, and I recommend it to others who need this type of resource. It could be a useful tool in improving the communications skill of your very special child.


Read more Learning Styles/Special Education product reviews here.


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Email Deb with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Point to Happy" for a chance to win* this book!


2011-12 Schoolhouse Planners  

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