We believe that all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Darren and I have been convicted that not only should we be encouraging memorization for our children but we should in memorizing WITH THEM! Making it a family project!
For July we are starting with 1 Chronicles 16:11
“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.”
This verse is a great reminder to our families that we need to see the LORD in all things!
I have been recently convicted strongly about my role at home to be a spiritual example of the importance of apologetics and showing how to stand for truth in front of my home. You might be thinking to yourself, RIGHT ON! But HOW?
This is the area of growth for me, I believe the Holy Spirit is used to convict and bring to us opportunities of growth. My opportunity of growth has literally knocked on my physical door 3 times in the past month! And sadly every time they have come to me, I have not been prepared. What I am speaking of is the very sweet Jehovah Witness’s that have come to share a message with me.
Maybe you have found yourself in this setting in your own home. Here is how it plays out at our house; I open the door, my kids all run to the door with me to see who it is, and the JW’s share about love and invite our family to attend their gathering. Seemingly harmless, I just thanked them for their time, smiled politely and said good-bye. After closing my door and recycling their flyer they have given me, I hear the small voices of my children’s questions start pouring in:
“Who was that?” – “Oh some people talking about what they believe”
“What do they believe? – “They believe in God the Father, but not the Trinity”
“Why did you throw the paper away?” – “Because I don’t need to keep it”
“But Why?” (You knew that was coming right?)
The WHYS of life, especially with a group of 5 kiddos, (most in the WHY stage) the WHYS come marching in 2-by-2 Hoorah Hoorah!
What is the plan? Where do I go from here? And what is the purpose of knowing the WHY’s?
Go to scripture and research. Here is what I learned …
Jehovah’s Witnesses are a group of believers who identify as Christians (composed of less than 1 percent of U.S. adults), their mission is to proclaim the truth about Jehovah.
JW’s call themselves Christians but do not consider themselves Protestants, for they do not believe in the Trinity as well as other things. Let’s cover that Trinity piece a little more. As a Christ follower (Christian) I believe that God is the ONE true God, made up of 3 parts, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Jehovah Witnesses claim that Jesus was not divine, they believe that Jesus is God’s only direct creation, “the firstborn of all creation,” which is why he is called the “son of God.” Furthermore, since he is a created being they believe he is not part of the Trinity.
Is this important to know? YES! In regards to Jesus:
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
This popular verse (John 3:16) you might have heard and even memorized yourself. After doing a bit of research on John 3:16, which by the way is used and quoted by the JW’s on their website, I learned something quite interesting. The Greek word eis(in) also gets translated as into. In addition, the word IN within our verse is a preposition, meaning it connects to another word, in our verse we are looking at him (referring to Jesus). Why do I say all of this? Well a lot of people believe IN Jesus Christ, that he was a person, in fact the Bible says even the demons know his name (Matthew 8:29 and Acts 11:15). On the JW’s website they communicate they believe in Jesus, even in this death and resurrection but they do not worship Jesus as they do not believe that he is Almighty God. The difference between believing in and believing INTO is to receive Him and be joined to Him. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” So here is the question: should we therefore worship Jesus? Answer: YES! Verse support: The Bible, but seriously the WHOLE Bible from New to Old This article HERE helps outline MANY verses of support, yet some highlights to bring to our attention are as follows:
JW’s believe that the Holy Spirit is “active force” and not a person. They believe the Holy Spirit is a projection of His energy to accomplish His will. My understanding is that the JW’s believe the Holy Spirit does not work alone or have an his own identity, but is merely an effect of God.
I believe the Holy Spirit is God’s personal presence, not merely a force. The Holy Spirit is there from the beginning and you can read from Genesis that God’s presence is present. We can see God’s Spirit throughout the Old Testament starting with Joseph while interrupting dreams, we also see God’s Spirit in the Prophets. The Hebrew word “ruakh” is used for the Holy Spirit. Ruakh can describe an invisible, powerful energy, and necessary for life. The Holy Spirit points towards Jesus always. For a video look at the Holy Spirit done by the Bible Project click here.
The Holy Spirit as a separate person is shown in Matthew 12:32 “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven , either in this age or in the age to come.”
Matthew 28:19 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
WORD of warning: JWs believe the Bible is “God’s inspired message to humans.” In 1961 a JW corporation, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, published its own formal equivalence translation of the Bible: the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT). As of 2015, the NWT has been translated in whole or in part into 129 languages. Since the release of the NT translation in 1950, this version has been criticized for changing the meaning and words of the text to fit JW doctrine. A prime example is John 1:1. Both the ESV and NIV translate that verse as, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The NWT version translates the passage as “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” The addition of the indefinite article “a” is added to avoid the conclusion that Jesus is God. Referring to this verse, Bruce M. Metzger wrote in 1953, “It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists.” Despite a preference for the NWT, JWs still use other translations of the Bible in their witnessing work. (Taken from HERE )
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE:
Ok, I have researched, read scripture, prayed, and now what? For me, it is back to the basics. I need to make sure foundationally my kids understand truth. The biggest current issue to address for my family is to make sure I am pouring the foundation for the household of faith. Within my foundation I believe when it comes to faith, we need to teach our kids the truths of the trinity. Is this tricky? OH YES! It is tricky because it is a God thing that we can have ONE TRUE GOD but 3 PERSONS of GOD. I want to provide you with some resources we are using to help lay the foundation:
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF KNOWING THE WHY’S???
There are many reasons for having answers to the why questions, but if I may be so bold I would like to hyper-focus on one HUGE reason:
IF WE DON’T TEACH OUR KIDS TO ASK WHY AND FIND THE ANSWER WE RUN THE RISK OF THEM NEVER FINDING TRUTH
We HAVE to be able to ask why, and express doubt, this is how we grow, and establish our personal convictions.
As a personal note as a mom: I have never engaged in a conversation with a JW at my door, other then to be kind, let them speak and thank them for their time. And while I don’t picture myself as someone who would work to convince them of their fallacies, I do want to start showing my kids how to handle these types of conversations, with truth, kindness, and LOVE, always with LOVE! Lastly, one of the most powerful first steps is to start the conversations of whys at the dinner table. If you are a wife at home reading this, give your husband a heads up and game plan together about how to show and live out together speaking truth to your kiddos.
How to explain that Jesus is part of the Trinity: HERE
JW.org was used to find the information on what Jehovah Witnesses believe
Francis Chan Meets Some Jehovah’s Witnesses: HERE
This post is shared with permission from Mary Rabe at Raphah Mama. It was originally published on her personal blog, but we wanted to share it with the readers here at Raising Rices as well. Enjoy!
I’ve never been very good at waiting. I’m more of a plan-and-act person: find the problem, discover solutions, and implement changes…BOOM, problem solved. I’m finding, though, that with some circumstances, this just doesn’t work. We can figured out the issue, find all the solutions we can, and start working toward change, but ultimately it’s going to take time for things to improve…and that means a lot of waiting.
I’m finding myself in this situation right now, where there is really not much more I can do to move forward. I’ve been faithful in doing all of the things I can do in my own power; now I have to let go and trust God to finish it and bring about the changes, healing, and growth I need in His timing. I’m waiting, and I have choices to make regarding how I will do that. Here are the things I am learning and trying to make purposeful decisions about while I wait.
In church a couple of weeks ago I was reminded that there will always be things we have to do that we may not enjoy, but if we’re going to do it, why not do it right, with a good attitude? I hate to be the bearer or bad news, but we are all going to have to wait sometimes. God calls everyone to a season of “not yet” sooner or later, and it is in those times that we have the choice to do it “kicking and screaming”, or purposely choosing to look to the One who has placed us where we are for a very specific purpose; loves us more than we will ever comprehend; and promises to work all things out for our good.
There is an excellent song by Lincoln Brewster called “While I Wait”, and it has really spoken to my heart in this season. The words convey a purposeful choice to still worship God in spite of the pain and unknown in waiting for resolution:
Deep within my heart, I know You’ve won, I know You’ve overcome
And even in the dark, when I’m undone, I still believe it
I live by faith, and not by sight
Sometimes miracles take time
While I wait, I will worship; Lord, I’ll worship Your name
While I wait, I will trust You; Lord, I’ll trust You all the same
When I fall apart, You are my strength; Help me not forget
Seeing every scar, You make me whole; You’re my healer
I live by faith, and not by sight
Sometimes miracles take time
I live by faith, and not by sight
Sometimes miracles take time…
You’re faithful every day
Your promises remain
You’re faithful every day
Your promises remain
Though I don’t understand it I will worship with my pain
You are God, You are worthy; You are with me all the way
So while I wait, I will worship; Lord, I’ll worship Your name
Though I don’t have all the answers, Still I trust You all the same
There are going to be many times when God’s timing just isn’t ours, and we have to wait for Him to come through with the miracle, healing, and answers we long for. In these times, though, He is still worthy of worship. He deserves our praise, not only for all that He has already done and will eventually do, but even for what He is doing in the waiting (whether we see it or not). So we all have a choice to keep our eyes focused on ourselves—on what we long for, how long it is taking to get it, and how very painful and hard it is to wait—or on the Unchanging One who is always worthy of our praise.
Until circumstances change and the desired answers and changes are provided, we can decide to sit around moping, grumbling, and depressed (yes, I have done this). Or, we can choose to find some kind of good in this waiting–or even better, create good in an otherwise very bad situation. I’m not at all saying this will be easy; in fact, in many cases it can be intensely difficult. The fact of the matter is, though, that grumbling about your circumstances will not make them change or improve any faster. All it will do is feed into your own misery and maybe even bring down the people around you. I’m not saying we shouldn’t share each other’s burdens or be honest with others about our struggles (just see my post on vunerability for more on that), but there is a difference between seeking support and help, and “venting” our yuckiness in order to gain sympathy or appreciation from others. (Yes, again, I’ve been guilty of this).
Instead of grudgingly “accepting” that things are just going to be bad now and waiting for them to get better, why not do what you can to make things as enjoyable as possible while you wait? Just this week I was taught a good example of this in my own life. The spring and summer are busy travel times at work for my husband, and he is often gone at least every other week for anywhere from 3-7 days each trip. After doing this routine for almost 3 years now, I’ve gotten pretty good about not feeling too anxious or upset by it. Yes, I miss my husband; of course the circumstances aren’t my favorite; things are definitely more challenging and tiring as a “solo mom”; and I am very much looking forward to when things ease up. I’ve grown to realize, though, this really isn’t the end of the world, and we will make it through this season. My counselor challenged me to take this one step farther: don’t just “make it through”, but make the most of it. She suggested I set up special things that are only done when Daddy is gone: unique meals, certain outings, little traditions, etc. “This way,” she explained, “the times when Daddy are home are good…and the times when he is traveling are good, too.”
Someday my husband’s travel schedule will ease up, or he could get a less demanding job, or my kids will be old enough for me to leave behind so I can join him on more of his travelling adventures. I don’t want to miss out on the joy and fun this season could have while I’m waiting, though! I want to make special memories with my kids so they look back on Daddy’s travel as special times with Mommy and not just a hard thing we survived but didn’t really like. What can you do, now, to make the most of the waiting time you are in?
I completely understand the feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and dread that can surface while waiting. Whatever you are waiting for–change, healing, improvement, adjustment–any kind of delay can cause a lot of fear. The Bible even speaks to this experience: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” says Proverbs 13:12. I’ve had moments in my own waiting that I have crumpled into panic, wondering if things really will ever get better, or if it will always be “like this”. That fear can easily spiral into defeat and ultimately despair if we don’t battle it. The next part of the verse, though, gives us the answer in how to win that battle: “…but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” We can choose to trust that God will bring about what we are waiting for. It may not look exactly like we envision or hope, but things are not going to be this way forever; we will not be waiting and wondering for the rest of our days. Beyond that, we have ultimate hope in remembering and trusting that God is going to use every single part of this waiting for our good. It really comes down to that same lesson I myself keep coming back to: letting go (of our need to control, have answers, fix the problems, just be happy again)…and let God do what He wants to do instead.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“We know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28)
Waiting isn’t easy, and can be very painful and humbling. However, when we are called to these times, I believe we will learn more, grow faster, and draw nearer to God when we make the purposeful choices to worship Him, make the most of the time, and trust our loving Father…no matter how long it takes.
Mary Rabe is a stay-at-home mama of 3 kiddos that she enjoys the privilege and blessing to homeschool. She is right in the thick of the “little years” with all her kiddos 7 and under, so it is a busy season, for sure, but also so much fun! She and her husband Jed have been married for 10 years and have loved to have had the chance to “grow up” together after marrying young. Mary says, “I am a recovering perfectionist learning how to let go of control and just trust my amazing Heavenly Father to take care of things for me (which is why I chose the word “raphah” for my blog, the Hebrew word for “let go”). I am still learning and growing a lot, just a young mama being refined and matured in this grand adventure of life, but I pray that what I write will bless, encourage, and inspire each of you in your unique journeys.”
You can visit Mary’s blog at https://raphahmama.blogspot.com/.
Darren and I have been doing a lot of vision casting for our family. What we want, and how to achieve a vision of our family. There are many areas in our family life that we are excited to grow in the coming future, however one that REALLY excites us right now is: CAMPING!
We both grew up in families that camped together. In fact, the majority of our growing up family vacations consisted of camping. Elements of fresh air, tech-free, togetherness was just what the doctor ordered. When we think back to our experiences we remember: vulnerable and deep conversations around the camp fires eating a s’more, walking among God’s creation while breathing in the fresh smell of peace, and family games with laughter and homemade camping cookies.
As we looked at what we desired for our family, we both were in excited agreement that camping must be in our future.
Darren and I both grew up with tent camping, which was a memory in itself. Our first years of marriage and first baby we followed through on the tradition of tent camping. Then when baby number two was born we were blessed by our parents with a tent trailer.
I have this horrible (but awesome) desire to Pinterest-fy all things, so with my excitement and Pinterest inspiration we redecorated the tent trailer.
We loved this little tent trailer and all the wonderful memories we made it in, but once baby number 5 hit we were blessed with a new addition to our trailer family. A wonderful man at church had a friend selling his 31 foot, sleeps 10, cougar trailer. It was a perfect match, price and all! But once again the Pinterest fein in me felt that temptation to redecorate and make it our own.
Here are the BEFORE:
And here are the DURINGS:
Lastly, here are the AFTERS:
We can say we are officially we are ready for camping season 🙂
We are Happy Campers 😉
Verse: Colossians 3:12
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Lord God, I pray you would allow my family to have and show compassion. We are your chosen people LORD, and I pray that you would clothe us in your garments of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Thank you LORD for showing compassion on us. LORD let you be the light to our path and show us the way to show compassion to others.
Verse: Titus 3:2
2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
God, I pray my family will cultivate an ability to show true humility towards all. I pray you will teach us how to lead with a humble heart. May we watch the way we speak and show courtesy towards all people! Thank you LORD for your gentle humility.
Verse: Galatians 6:5
5 for each one should carry their own load.
Lord, I pray my family will learn to be responsible, I pray we can learn to each carry our own load and work together as a team. May we learn to be responsible with ourselves, our things and our passions and pursuits.
Verse: Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us,
Lord God, I pray my family will always work to persevere in all we do. Help us to run the race in front of us. When things get tough may we remember our God is tougher! Let us throw off everything that hinders us. May we endure the race marked out for us, and we will win the prize.
Focus: Peace Loving
Verse: Romans 14:19
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Father God, I pray my family would have hearts of peace. I pray we would make ver effort we can to promote peace, whenever we may go. I pray that as we choose peace it would lead us to strengthening us and our relationships. Lord let us be the peacemakers.
Verse: 1 Timothy 6:18
18 Tell them to do good and be rich in good works. They should give much to those in need and be ready to share.
Lord, I pray that my family would be rich in good deeds, generous and excited to share. I pray we can give to others the blessings we have been given. May we have our eyes open to those in need. I pray we can use the blessings to be a blessing. Thank you LORD for everything we have and may we remember it is all YOURS and for Your GLORY!