How I became a Christian …

How I became a Christian…

 

First, if you don’t know who I am, I am Jeremy, Melanie’s husband. She set up this blog and I felt compelled to share some of my story as well, starting with how I became a Christian.

IronSharpensiron

History

            I was not really raised in a Christian environment per say. This is not a slandering of my parents by any means. However, I just really didn’t know that much about God, Jesus, and the Bible. I knew some guy named Noah built a boat, David hit Goliath with a rock, Jesus was the son of God and died on a cross. I was “baptized” and that was about it. I had no real biblical understanding past Genesis 1:1 and John 3:16. I was brought up in the public school system and naturally, there was definitely some scientific claims that made the bible seem like a fairy tale. I didn’t really care about reading the bible as I felt I was guaranteed into heaven. I was as 2 Peter 3:5 says “willingly ignorant.” As Kent Hovind put it, that means “dumb on purpose.” I really didn’t know, and I really didn’t care. If you were to ask me, I would tell you I was a Christian. Most people will do the same. But no one ever asked me why…

Turning Point

            My turning point in life was at a time when I was at my lowest. I had recently got back from being deployed to Afghanistan, the marriage was rocky, I hated the world, and I’ll be honest, it didn’t seem like the marriage was going to make it. Then came The Love Dare. This was a book that has a 40 day journey in it if your marriage is in shambles and close to the final mark. It’s only 40 days. Without really going into that, let’s just say it worked. It brought me closer to my wife, it brought me closer to God, and it helped me realize how a biblical husband is supposed to act and treat his wife. I highly recommend this book, and I’ll probably write a separate post just for it when I get a chance.

Immersion

            After I came to realize what God had to offer, I began to do what I highly recommend all new Christians do. SURROUND YOURSELF IN IT. Matthew 5:29 “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee…” I changed my music style from AC-DC, Rob Zombie, and Metallica to Christian rock. Thousand Foot Krutch, Disciple, and Skillet are good ones to bridge this gap if you really like the heavier rock and want a Christian influence. We have completely switched over to Christian music. We listen to Air1 in the car all the time, I can’t remember the last time we changed the station. My 6 year old knows lyrics to music that praises God rather than lyrics that promote sex, drugs, violence, etc. I still have my hard drum beats, screaming guitar solos, and head banging rhythms, but to a style that brings glory to God and makes me realize how good we have it here on earth. I have to admit, God knows how to rock out better than the devil! I also highly restricted myself on the internet, and even cut off my Facebook account for almost a year. (You will find out who your true friends are when you do that.) Television wasn’t really too much of an issue because we had already switched to the Roku. (See my wife’s blog on that here.) I started reading books that had Christian influence such as the Left Behind Series and Ted Dekker’s Circle Series. (There are some critical accuracy issues with the Left Behind Series, but that will be another post.)

Questioning

            Finally, those questions from back in public school started to bubble up. How does the Big Bang fit into the bible? How old is the earth? Somehow, (I really don’t remember how) I stumbled across this article called “What really happened to the dinosaurs?” by Ken Ham from the Answers in Genesis Foundation. I will go in depth on several creation science topics in other posts but that was the one that really started it all. The bottom line is I was willing to seek the truth, no matter where it led. It led down a journey that questioned everything I thought I knew. But more important than that, it actually made more sense than what I had been taught all those years.

The Church

            Next, we found a church that taught the bible. I mean really taught the bible. Not some guy up on a pulpit explaining how he thought the scripture applied in a way that would benefit himself or the church. We were very shy in this church for about a year. We sat at the back of the church, did our little bit, and booked it as soon as possible so we would not be interrogated by “church people” as I used to call them! The surprising part, this church was very patient with us. They never really pried, the let us do our thing and they did their thing. However, I started to notice that this church was not a church, it was a family, I mean literally a family of Christians that knew each other on a personal level, they encouraged each other for triumphs, and they sorrowed together in failures and deaths. I mean these people truly cared. I never felt judged, I never felt like I wasn’t part of the group. After that we started opening up to them. Come to find out, you couldn’t hardly tell them apart in terms of monetary value, or possessions, or other types of cliques you see in churches. This is extremely important I think, for a new Christian, to find a biblical church and get deeper with them. Let them get to know you, get to know them, and if they aren’t willing to do that, find another church. Find a church that follows Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

The Bible

            Driving on, I started reading…the Bible. I read the new testament in its entirety two years ago and I’ve already forgotten some things. I believe you have to follow the verse “STUDY to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:15. We have recently started a nightly reading with our oldest (she’s 6 right now) and it’s been going great. We only read a chapter a day, and we have to paraphrase some things for her, but I feel like we are getting a greater understanding as a family, and I believe it is extremely important to teach children the word of God. A chapter a day doesn’t seem like much, but that means we will read the entire bible almost 4 times before she turns 18 years old. That’s only reading one chapter a day! I’m sure we will raise the bar a little bit as she gets older.

Final Thoughts

            This post is not meant to build me up in any way. I simply thought it would be a good idea to give readers a background on me before I continue to post on other topics. I don’t like to judge people by what they believe, I simply ask them the same question I constantly ask myself. What do you believe and why? I will go into my why’s more in other posts. I came to Christ evidentially. I will admit that I am weak in the blind faith department, and I used to consider that a bad thing. However, many people are evidential thinkers and therefore, if we can explain to them the evidence of God and Christ, it can become a logical reason to become a Christian for them. More to come!

-Jeremy

How we are still saving money

 

In case your have never heard of the little box called the Roku, I’m here to tell you all about it. And how you can begin saving some money.

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Money got tight

2 years ago, money got very tight. My husband’s job cut out all the overtime, the once a month drill paycheck was gone due to his fulfillment with the military, and FEMA deemed our little home in Texas in a high risk flood zone (even though we are almost always in a drought) requiring us to have flood insurance that we feel we didn’t need, our property taxes went up along with a lot of other things. We were barely making it paycheck to paycheck so we started evaluating our bills. What could we cut off?? How could we lower bills? How could we save that hard earned dollar? And how could we stretch that dollar? We found many ways to save some $$$ and one of those ways was ditching the $120 a month bill that we really didn’t watch all that often.

What is the Roku?

The Roku is a little black box that hooks up to your tv. You connect it to your wifi or you can have a hard line (ethernet cable) plugged into it. It connects to the internet and allows you to stream movies, music, and photos to your tv.

How much does it cost?

The price for the box ranges from $49.99-$99.99.  There is no recurring monthly fee after that. You pay for the box and that’s it. There is TONS and TONS of channels that you can download. A lot of them are FREE and some of them cost a small one time fee.

About the channels….

Some of the top channels include; Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video (included in a Prime Account), Spotify, Angry Birds, Crackle, TBN, PBS, Air1, Youtube (only available with the roku 3 as of right now), and too many more to name. They have 193 channels just in the Movies and TV section. They have 100 Music channels. 369 channels in the Religion and Spirutality section. There are many other categories but this gives you an idea of how many channels they have available and they are always adding more. Like I said above, most of the channels are free to download but some of the bigger names require a monthly subscription. The subscription depends on the company that owns the channel. After you purchase the Roku, there is no fees from Roku. The subscriptions is where you will pay. For example, Netflix costs a whopping ….Wait for it….. $8.49 per month for the streaming only plan. Amazon prime is a yearly subscription of $99. That breaks down to $8.25 per month. If your a student, the price is cheaper. Last year, we paid $39 for the year subscription but this year it has been upped to $49 per year. I can’t remember exactly how much Hulu is but I know it is somewhere in the ballpark of $10 a month. Channels like TBN and PBS are FREE download and have no subscription. You can watch christian movies for free.

What do you need?

  • Roku box (price varies depending on which box you choose)
  • Internet connection (Since your reading this, I’m assuming you already have this)
  • TV (this one is probably a given and you probably already have this one)

The cost breakdown

Here is what we pay per month. I’m not including our internet price since I already have that with or without the Roku….

$3.25   —–Amazon Student Prime Account (based off of last years price of $39 per year)

+$8.49  ——Netflix streaming only account

$11.74       TOTAL MONTHLY CHARGES 😀

That’s a grand total of $108.26 SAVINGS! For a year, you would be saving $1,299.12!!! Are you ready to start saving money?

Try it before you buy it

You could go out a buy the little box if your ready to take the plunge but I can understand where it all seems too good to be true. We were the same way when we first heard about it. Our internet/cable company had them for lease for a small fee of $5.99 a month with no strings attached. If you didn’t like it, you were only out $5.99. So check your local internet and/or cable company first. Once you get the box, you may want to try trials to some of the top channels.

Free Trials

Amazon Prime offers a free 30 day trial. So check out this link. Amazon Prime 30 day trial. By the way, the Amazon Prime account includes more than just the streaming content. They include The Kindle Lending Library (borrow free books for your kindle) and free 2 day shipping on tons of their products. In my opinion, the free 2 day shipping alone if worth more than they charge. Netflix has a 1 month free trial. Check it out here to set up an account. Netflix trial. Hulu Plus has a 1 week free trial Hulu trial. If there are any other channels that require a subscription, make sure to google it to see if they offer a free trial.

Was it worth cutting off the cable/sattelite??

From our experience, ABSOLUTELY! We do not miss that $130 bill and we enjoy saving money! We don’t feel like we miss anything and not having to watch commercials (this can vary depending on which channels you use but Amazon and Netflix is commercial free) is just an added bonus. Not seeing commercials has dramatically helped not wanting the newest, bestest, shiniest toy or that mouth watering, heart clogging fast food. Yes, advertising does work and no, your not excluded. Before I had our oldest, I completed 90 credits towards a Bachelors Degree in Advertising and because of moral reasons and wanting to be the stay at home mom, I decided it wasn’t the path for me. But back to the Roku… We loved the Roku so much we bought 4 Roku boxes. And they are so light and easy to hook up, you can take them with you if you travel. Almost every hotel has wifi. I have to mention, if you are an avid sports or news watcher, the Roku may or may not be for you. There are sports channels but unless you pay some hefty sports subscription, you will not get to see the game live. The news channels that are available only offer 3-4 minute clips of the news, no full length broadcasts on the Roku. So you may want to google it and do some research if you are not one that wants to miss game night or your news broadcasts.

Last but not Least, homeschooling and the Roku

There is literally tons and tons of educational content on the Roku. Last week we studied butterflies. I was able to find a ton of documentaries on Amazon and Netflix to watch for the subject. There are websites and facebook pages dedicated to homeschooling with the Roku, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. One of them is; Homeschooling with Netflix. The fawesome.tv channel  is also another good channel that is FREE that offers educational content. It is a channel packed with channels. ieducation can be download separately or it can be viewed through fawesome.tv Continue reading

Why homeschooling was one of our best decisions

Why homeschooling was one of our best decisions we have ever made……

homeschooling best

This is our first year to homeschool and we don’t think we will ever choose any other way. When I say we, I am also speaking on my husband’s behalf. At the beginning of the year, we had every intention to send our daughter to public school. Homeschooling had been brought up in the past but it was always a passing discussion and when it got down to crunch time, we registered her for kindergarten. We even participated in the parent meeting on what to expect when sending your child to school. Can you believe they don’t take naps in kindergarten anymore?! **GASP** I wish I could take full advantage of those scheduled naps that I wanted to pass up in K. Anyways…

Fast forward to about 2-3 weeks before the first day of school. We got the nudge to look into other options. There was 2 Christian schools in our area but we most definitely could not afford them. Again, homeschooling was brought up but my doubts would creep up. I never doubted if I was intelligent enough to teach.  There was the issues of; if I could handle never getting a break even though I have been a SAHM (Stay at home Mom) the whole time (yeah I know I have my brilliant moments), I didn’t know how to homeschool, how would others react, how can we afford the curriculum, and the big one; socialization. (I won’t go into the socialization part in this post, let me just say homeschooled kids are not doomed to only have their parents and siblings as friends) We were to a point where we didn’t know what to do. So we prayed.

And even after we were pushed towards homeschooling, we prayed some more. Finally, we listened. 🙂

Looking back on it now, it was a leap of faith. We felt the Lord tell us to homeschool and even though we had our doubts, we followed his lead. And we are sure glad we did.

Now that you know the how, lets get to the why…… Why homeschooling is the best decision we ever made?

  • True Knowledge– We can teach her about the Bible. I am reminded of this verse. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”( Proverbs 2:6) If true knowledge and wisdom comes from the Lord, then what would be a better curriculum to teach than the Bible? In my personal opinion, most schools are missing out on the true wisdom that comes from above. 
  • Custom paced schooling -My daughter already knew colors, letters ,numbers, shapes and was even reading before Kindergarten. With homeschooling, we could move forward and expand her learning so she wasn’t bored. Now, I know this may not be the case with everyone but you can go at the speed of your child. If they need longer to focus on a subject, you can take as little or as much time that they need. Homeschooling is a customized approach to school.
  • Not stuck in a classroom all day– We don’t spend 8 hours to school our kindergartener and she is so far ahead. Now, the older they get, the more time it may take but for now, 1-2 hours is more than enough to get the materials covered.
  • A closer bond between me and my daughter-For 1-2 hours, we are one on one with each other. I am the teacher and she is the student. She can ask tons of questions with my undivided attention (except minor distractions from the little one).
  • Respectful-She respects me more now than she did. She realizes momma has some knowledge and even though she is bright, there is a lot of things she doesn’t know.
  • Flexibility. Right now, our schedules can be very hectic. My husband works full time on the weekends so he can attend college full time during the week. If we need to homeschool in the morning, we can. If we need to homeschool in the afternoon, we can. If we need to have some family time and go fishing, we can.  And not only can we have a blast fishing, we can learn about fish.
  • No Doctor’s Note-If she’s sick for 3 or more days, we don’t have to drag her to the doctor just to get a note confirming she was sick. We can let her rest up and give her natural and/or over the counter medicine without paying for an expensive note and visit to the doctor that told us to do exactly what we already knew to do. And during this time, she doesn’t miss a beat of school. The schooling waits for her to get well and pick back up where we left off.
  • NO HOMEWORK
  • There every step of the way-She doesn’t come home with some foreign new concept that I have no clue how or why they are teaching this concept to her. I know, this probably doesn’t happen often during kindergarten but my point is, I am there every step of the way so I know exactly what is being taught and how to teach it.
  • Sowing seeds– Seeing her learn and grow is AMAZING! It is hard to put into words the joy you get when your child absorbs the materials you present to them.
  • Fun Learning for everyone-I learn new things.  No, that’s not a typo. I had no idea that there was a lizard that could run on water. They nicknamed it the Jesus lizard. Or that butterflies only live 2 weeks or less. Or the monarch butterfly migrates  from Mexico to Canada .The female monarch will only lay her eggs on milkweed because the monarch caterpillar eats the milkweed after it has hatched and by eating the milkweed,  it keeps its predators from wanting to have it as a snack since it tastes like milkweed.  Some of the butterflies wings look like their predator’s predator such as a snake and an owl. I find that fascinating and awe at God’s wonderful creation. You may or may not know some of this but my point is I learn new things all the time and I actually enjoy it.

I could probably go on an on of how great I think homeschool is but the bottom line, it is one of the best decisions we have ever made. Don’t think it is always exciting, cheerful, and glorious. We both have our days. Some days she hits a brick wall and we just have to take a break. Sometimes I get frustrated and think how much easier it would be just to send her to public school. Or how much cleaner my house would be if I didn’t have to make lesson plans, research curriculum, figure out fun ways to present certain ideas to her, or all the hard work that goes into homeschooling. But at the end of the day, I sit back and can see a seed is sprouting. Right now, it’s going to take some hard work to nurture and take care of this fragile seed. And eventually, it will grow into this beautiful tree that puts off good fruit.