Some thoughts for the new year, 2014

Do not “boast” of future accomplishments for 2014.

James 4:13-16 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

Seek first the things of God first

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

  • God will provide necessities for life if you seek His Kingdom first (please note, it does not promise a perfect life)

Mat 6:30-33

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Trust God, and follow Him, versus fearing man this year

Pr 29:25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

Put your trust in God and not in what man can do in this next year

Psalms 115:11 “Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.”

Psalms 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Psalms 118:9 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

Do not trust/believe in your self but rather believe/trust on God with all your heart

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Proverbs 28:25 “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.”

Focus more on gaining “the fear of the Lord” than earthly wealth and gain

Pr 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

  • If your goal is to seek the fear of the Lord and humility more than even riches, honor and life, those “things” will be obtained as a side benefit.

    Pr 22:4 “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.”

Follow Christ’s commands if you really love Him in 2014 and beyond

John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

 

 

 

Thanksgiving

WIMG_0398e have so much to be thankful for. Most of all, God loved the world enough to send His perfect Son to die for us, His enemies. Now, those who have repented from their sin, and believed in His Son, can have eternal life (John 3:16 and Luke 13:3). What greater thing could we be thankful for? Yet, God continues to give so much more. It reminds me of the hymn, “The Love of God.”

“The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.” – Fred­er­ick M. Leh­man

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Snow!

IMG_9223Snow in October is always a blessing – at least to me. For others, it is a character building exercise. 🙂

“Take a look out the window if you want to see something interesting,” I heard coming from outside the door of my room. I had a suspicion that I knew what it was, so I bounced out of my warm bed to take a look. Yes, it was snow! We had a fantastic winter storm, complete with lightning, thunder, snow, and sleet. Later, as we sat down for breakfast, we heard a crack and thud. We all hurried to the window to see the bouncing power lines, and our dropped phone line. One of our neighbour’s branches had fallen on it and ripped it off our house. Since the leaves were still on the trees, the extra weight from the snow had broken multiple branches off, and heavily bent many more. We soon went out to shake snow off of branches to prevent further damage and to clean up from the damage that was made. My camera also came out for a while. 🙂 Despite the continued snow and sleet, an AT&T serviceman came not long after our calling, and repaired our phone line. Adventure and winter wonder!

You missed Autumn everyone!

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Why Christians should keep clean

Photograph of CloverBelieve it or not, the Bible has a clear answer for the question, “Mommy, why do I have to take a shower?.”

As followers of Jesus, we need to model Christ in every aspect of our life. Since God is a God of purity (see Psalms 12:6), we need to imitate this on both the inside and on the outside of our beings. While having a pure heart is much more important to God than having a clean body (see Luke 11:39), there is a tendency to associate what is on the outside with what is on the inside.

Revelation 3:4 says: “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” Although, the association here is made in the opposite direction, with the heart being likened to the clothes that are worn on the outside, there is a clear connection between the inside of the heart, and the clothes on the outside.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians 3:2

While being dirty on the outside is not a sin, we should strive to imitate things above when achievable. Since in heaven everything is pure and clean, we should try to do the same on earth. Clearly, this is an imperfect world, and dirt will tend to accumulate on our earthly clothes (mothers know this), but when possible, the principle of cleanliness is important to keep.

“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” – Titus 1:5

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” – Hebrews 10:22

The Greatest Race

 

Because they have a higher goal, athletes do not sit around all day.

Because they have a higher goal, athletes do not sit around all day.

Athletes know how to work hard. Olympians train for years, to simply be ready for anywhere between minutes to a couple of hours of performance. In order to accomplish this, they make tremendous sacrifices. Sacrifices of time, energy, and comfort, in an attempt to win a prize.

Unfortunately, this effort is not often matched in a even greater race – the race of life for God’s final prize. Paul said in Philippians 3:14 “ I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He did not live a life of comfort and rest. He earnestly pressed toward God’s prize. Being a Christian, he had a very good reason for doing this, as found in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Jesus put it simply in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” We need to leave behind all competing affections that steal our time, energy, and actions from seeking God. Paul wrote Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:4 saying, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 commands “thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” When we do this, God promises in Matthew 5:6 that “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Being filled with God is about the best thing that could ever happen to us.

Every individual should make this important choice: to dedicate themselves completely to God, to seek Him first in their lives, and to press toward that mark. We need to give our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, completely dedicated to him (see Romans 12:1). The only other option is to waste themselves on the things of the world, temporal pleasures that do not last, but burn with the fire.

Will you be like King Josiah, of whom the Bible says that there was no king “that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.” (see 2 Kings 23:25).

 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6

If you have made a decision to seek God first in your life, and to completely give your life to Him, there are a couple of steps that will help you follow through with this. First, write down things that distract you during your day. TV, computer games, or anything else that steals your time or thought life from more important things. Next, write a list of good things you should be doing, such as reading the Bible, memorizing, and sharing your faith with others. Use this list to replace your other list in daily life, as spending time fulfilling God’s priorities is a method of putting your treasure, which in this case is time, in heaven.

Also, remember that after you have given yourself to God, your life is not yours to take back. It is always His, so when you are making decisions in the future, make them according to God’s will, and not your own. This is much better than serving yourself, as God is the one who has saved you from eternal judgment, and it is Him who will keep you until He comes to take you home.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

NoteWorthy

Over the past few weeks the majority of our family had a chance to learn more about music during a music camp called NoteWorthy (at Verity Institute). We learned some about how to conduct a choir, an orchestra, and children’s choir. That was only part! Some of the other topics and classes we learned/participated in included choir (not conducting this time), song writing, orchestration of a hymn, and volleyball (Oops…. that is not a topic or class… oh well it was fun:)). We learned about solfege, which is a musical scale that uses hand motions, and its scale is “do re mi fa sol la ti do.” solfege’s claim to fame probably would be the movie, The Sound of Music (“Do – a deer, a female deer. Re-a drop of golden sun”).

 

At one point our choir had a chance to sing at a church on Sunday, but the best part was the bus trip to the Church. It is not that I have a great love for buses, but is was because we sang the whole trip… and to us at least it sounded pretty good. At the end, as grand finale, we had a concert that included choir and orchestra… and a few examples of our final course work.

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By Andrew

 

 

When the 5 Hancock children were little, they greatly looked forward to going to our home school summer conferences where they would attend a special session just for young ones call the Children’s Institute. I remember the first year that Christianna, age 4, was allowed to attend. I’m not sure how much she learned that year, but I know attending did set a precedent of seeking God in her life. As she grew, she would tell us (at times hurriedly before her older 4 siblings would interrupt :-O ) the things they learned -like the Obedience Song or the Names of God. Now, much older, things are a little different. This year she is looking forward to being the 5th child in our family to teach  in the CI. It will now be Christi’s turn to guide a younger generation of children  by helping them to learn the love and wonder of God. Still, I’m not sure who grows more -the children or the teachers?

Anniversary Adventure – Part 1

peaceHappy 28th wedding anniversary Mom and Dad!  You have been such a Godly example and guiding hand in my life.

To celebrate Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary, we decided to visit the Allegheny mountains. Since Andrew and I (Daniel) were the only children at home, it was a two parent, two child adventure.

After travelling a short 3 hours to the hills, we arrived at Bent Run Falls around 7 PM. We had been at this waterfall previously, but thought it was worth a second visit. Bent Run Falls is a long line of little waterfalls cascading down a mountain, and it was a ton of fun to explore the various levels of the falls. Because we still needed to set up camp before sunset, we only had 45 minutes, which went by in a flash — especially with a camera in hand. Shortly before calling it a night, we played several aggressive rounds of UNO, and I snapped several photographs near the water of the beautiful evening.

Click here for part 2.