Get To Work – A Study in Haggai

In 538 BC, King Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return to Jerusalem, and just a year later, they began work on rebuilding the temple. Fast forward fifteen years however, and the work has halted with only the foundations laid. At this point God steps in and sends the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to ‘encourage’ the people in their work.

Through Haggai, God speaks to the people who were saying “it’s not yet time to build the house of the Lord” and says, “Why are you living in such luxury, while my house lies in ruins?!”

But why should God care that His temple was not built? After all, He tells us that He does not live in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24). The point is this: The Jews had become more concerned with their own comforts than with doing the work that God had called them to do. This is so often true of us as Christians today. And just as is reported in Haggai, there is no satisfaction in just working for ourselves.

The NLT puts it that the Lord then ‘sparked the enthusiasm’ of the leaders & the people. What a great thing it is to be stirred up by God! He goes on to ask them to remember the former splendour of the temple and compare it to what was in front of them. Sometimes, we do need to remember where we have been in the past, it should motivate us to get back there.

He tells them “Be strong…and now, get to work!” This may not appear to be the best of management techniques! But He adds: “for I AM with you…so do not be afraid”. What more inspiration should we need than that as we go about doing God’s work in educating our children, He is with us, the best manager we could ever have.


Love, Kindness, & Trust in God

There are many occasions in life where we can be knocked down and left to feel vulnerable. When this happens, there is often an opportunity for fear to creep in and stop us from getting back up and moving forward.

So what does the Bible say about this?

Philippians 4: 6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Proverbs 12: 9

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Psalm 27: 1

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

It seems that love, kindness, and trust in God are key in the fight against fear. Let’s help one another and ourselves by trusting in the Lord, loving one another, and being kind to those who are anxious.

We don’t have to live with fear.

Let’s have courage today and allow the Lord to enable us to get up and move forward!


The Lord Will Fight For You

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…the Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” – Exodus 14:13-14

It seems at the moment that hardly a day passes without there being something in the media which is designed to undermine biblical education, whether at school or at home. While the onslaught of negativity is tiring and sometimes frightening, we must remember the Word of God, which we are seeking to teach to our children (Deuteronomy 6:6), also teaches us that if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Whatever we are facing, be it financial difficulty or government officials, we can know that God has promised us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

There are two battles that stand out in reference to this passage in Exodus. The first is the battle of King Jehoshaphat against Moab, Ammon, & Mount Seir in 2 Chronicles 20, where God caused the different sides to war against each other. He told Jerusalem simply to praise Him, for the battle was not theirs to fight, but His! Again in 2 Chronicles 32 we read of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah praying to God for deliverance from Assyria, and again, the army was defeated by His power alone. It is noticeable that in these two instances the situation seemed so terrible, and the odds insurmountable, that only God could bring deliverance.

In Jeremiah 17:5-8 we read that “cursed is the man who trusts in man” but “blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.” Echoing the Psalmist, these people are compared to trees along a riverbank, who do not fear and are not bothered when the heat comes. Nor are they anxious or worried when there is drought. Notice that there is still heat and drought to be faced, but they do not cease from being fruitful, because they have their roots in the Word of God. As we trust in the Lord, Who alone can fight our battles for us, let us trust that He can also make us to be fruitful.


A Call to Generosity

Even though the annual ceremony of Christmas giving is over, it is a good idea to try and bring the habit of giving into the new year.

2 Corinthians 9:7 says –

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Just take a moment to think about your past day. It is certain that you will be able to recall quite a few times when you had the opportunity to give.

2 Corinthians 9:8 continues to say –

“…God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

Start getting into the habit today by giving thanks to our Creator for his example of generosity and kindness. Then continue onwards, drawing from His abundant and perfect provision.


Excellence in Home Education

You only have to read the news today to know that the authority of the parent is being questioned and undermined at every available opportunity. It is not so often assumed anymore that parents know what is best for their children. A plethora of confusing opinions are continuingly being forced upon us, and all the while the cry goes up: “How can you possibly know what to do?!”

This attitude is perhaps most commonly encountered and keenly felt by those parents who have chosen to educate their children at home. With ‘out-of-school’ settings currently in the limelight, the concern is obviously that home educators will be next in the firing line, and the freedom to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”, through the use of Biblically based & academically rigorous curriculum will be hindered.

As the efficacy of home education is questioned, we should remind ourselves of the evidence, both in forms of personal testimonies and recent research, that has shown the effectiveness of well-implemented education at home.

There is no question, even in secular circles, that a high level of parental involvement is a major factor in a child’s development. A study undertaken by the University of Cambridge stated: “In the midst of the many differences in philosophy, outlook and practice… home schooling appears to consistently offer children a more efficacious educational experience even as measured by the standards of normative performativity. One constant in the midst of much complexity is the better than average performance of home schooled children when compared to age cohorts in the general population”

Let us take heart from the witness of those past and present who stand as proof of the quality of home education, and “Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.”


Putting Jesus First

The hustle and bustle of this time of year can be an easy distraction from focusing our attention on what is important.

It is not hard to get utterly consumed with the details of a meal or fall into having a two hour debate with a family member on which colour lights ‘need’ to adorn the kitchen window.

Let us be reminded of the events in Luke 10:38-42 where Jesus kindly reminded Martha that being still to listen to Him as her sister Mary chose to do, was much more valuable than all her preparations.

We should be encouraged as we spend time with family and friends and enjoy the opportunity to share the truths of Jesus.

Even if the turkey does manage to run away let’s remember what He said to Martha:

…“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Follow Mary’s example this season and don’t be distracted from the one thing that is needed – putting the voice of Jesus before everything else.


TEACH Field Trips

Every home educator loves to go on a field trip! Below are some of the ideas sent in by some TEACH families who have organised field trips for their own children, and as part of one of the TEACH groups.

Make a Pizza! – Penny Hughes

Our group went to Pizza Express – they allow 15 children to make a pizza each. Whilst we waited for them to be cooked we were served squash and then we left with a pizza each. A few parents had a go as well because we only had 12 children. It had to be booked in advance and was FREE. The event took about 40mins in total but then we sat outside in the sunshine munching away and chatting.

Where Milk Comes From – Jane Godden

One of our most memorable home-ed trips was when a group of us went to the local dairy – one of the Mum’s arranged the visit, and we were shown around the dairy, from the huge chilled tanks where the milk was delivered, to the finished yogurt product. And much to our delight we were all given generous samples to take home, all for free!

Looking at Old Buildings – Tara Buck

We have visited many National Trust and English heritage properties. National Trust do a Home Educators card, cheaper than family membership, you need to make your trip on a school day, so no weekends or school holidays, but this is worth the discount and is usually less crowded. English Heritage properties are free to home educators, but you need to book in advance and explain a little about what educational boxes you will be ticking in visiting their property. If you just turn up, you will have to pay normal entrance fees.

A Load of Rubbish – Helen Klemperer

A couple of good trips spring to mind. We went on a free tour of the recycling centre to see all the rubbish being sorted plus a talk. Also a local farm runs free welly walks which are excellent. A guided tour around by the farmer with a chance to taste fresh produce in the fields.

Painting with Water – Rose Lawson

I approached a friend who does watercolour painting and we organized a watercolour workshop. The children were given step by step instructions and they all produced their own watercolour picture at the end of workshop. We took a photograph of them all and it ended up in local paper!


Home Schooling Growth

The European Academy for Christian Homeschooling (TEACH) continues to experience good growth as more and more parents are becoming concerned about the state of secular education.

The number of families home educating with TEACH has grown from 614 at the start of 2015, to over 660.

A vital part of the work of TEACH is our District Representatives. These are TEACH families who have been home educating for a number of years, and assist TEACH by connecting with new & existing TEACH members. Many District Representatives also run homeschool groups, organise promotional events, and run practices for TEACH teams & ensembles at the European Student Convention.

We are pleased to welcome a new member to this invaluable team: Robin & Susan Law in Kent. Robin & Sue have four children and joined TEACH six years ago.

“God called us to home educate our children twelve years ago. God spoke very clearly in the following two years. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Isaiah 54:13 were the main scriptures God gave us. He confirmed them wonderfully a few years later after we pulled Peter out of a good Christian school. We attended a home educator’s camp in Cefn Lea and the main theme on the programme was these two scriptures. God also brought a very experienced home educating family to our church and they encouraged us greatly. Later God led us to TEACH & ACE curriculum which also had the very same scriptures!

It has been a beautiful journey so far. It has been exciting: fulfilling and life changing. God has taught us and blessed us greatly because we obeyed his calling. It has been sacrificial and lonely at times but, our children are growing strong in the Lord and that is of greater worth than anything this world can give.”


Keep Going

As we head towards the latter end of this term you may be finding that the enthusiasm for homeschooling, which was at its height at the beginning of the academic year, is wearing thin.

There are a lot of factors at this time of year that add to the deceleration of homeschooling gusto. Whether it be the longer nights, the greyer skies, or the colder weather we can often feel downtrodden and washed out.

However, fear not and don’t be downhearted. In these darker days, we as believers always have our constant light, Jesus Christ. His Word is full of truths promising that He is faithful to carry us through difficult times.

In Luke 15:20 we can read about how the Father of the Prodigal Son saw him coming from a distance, had compassion, and ran to embrace him.

Even when we are disheartened and our thoughts have drifted from Him, He is watching and always ready to encourage and comfort us. All we have to do is face Him and He will draw us back into His care.

Friends, have courage and remember that our Saviour is always present to help us and carry us through life’s storms. Whether it be an actual storm or a particularly difficult morning of PACE work – He is there.


ABCs for English Learners Now Available

The ABCs for English Learners is designed for students aged 5-9. The English vocabulary within the curriculum allows children to verbally communicate their questions, needs and ideas.

This 36 week programme is a combination of Speaking English with Ace and Christi and ABCs with Ace and Christi. By week 19, the students are ready to begin the first level of English PACEs.

The Daily Guide provides detailed instructions for a second language supervisor. The student will gain confidence while having fun developing listening, speaking & comprehension skills.

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