The Amish have it right – they really do!

Psalms 1:
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

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Recently we were watching David Gibbs Jr.’s talk at a previous ATI conference about Psalm 1 – Whatever You Do Will Prosper and I realized something as I was listening.

Psalm 1 explains why  the Amish are so staunch in their faith… at least it does for me. I don’t know if it is their explanation or not but each of the three challenges that God puts forth to us in the Psalm go along with Amish philosophy so it makes sense.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…”

David Gibbs explained this in a way that I’ve never truly thought about it. When the Bible says “ungodly” here, it doesn’t mean the worst of the worst – even though that is what it has come to mean in our society. It simply means anything/one that is not of God or following God – anyone who is not doing it God’s way, in other words.

The Amish purposely keep themselves apart. They don’t do it to be mean or secretive or because they think they’re better than  us. They do it because they do not want to be tempted. And that’s really all there is to it. They do not want to be tempted by the “ungodly” things of this world.

“nor standeth in the way of sinners…”

Again, this has been twisted and misunderstood for many years. It doesn’t mean we get in their way and it doesn’t mean we follow their path. It means we do not allow ourselves to appear like sinners. Obviously we are all sinners. We are none of us perfect. But we don’t have to look like the sin or the other people who are happily wallowing in it.

And that is why the Amish are so adamant to look different, and to put forth their best. They aren’t looking down their nose at us. They just want to show the world what it looks like to be a child of God.

Another of my favorite preachers who speaks at the ATI conferences is Tom Harmon. He said in one of his sessions that “The world is sick of our theology. They want to see our faith.” – Tom Harmon. And he is absolutely right. The world is so tired of hearing us say that God expects us to do things and say things a certain way – and then those same people see us out in public somewhere doing or saying the very things we just said we weren’t supposed to.

So the Amish LIVE their faith. They live it, breathe it and show it to the world!

and this next one was what really got me…

“nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful…”

I thought that meant to make fun or judge other people openly. And, while I admit freely that I’m not perfect and I slip and do that very thing sometimes, I thought I had that one down. Wrong again! That’s not at all what it means. It means we are not to complain, gripe, whine or moan about anything.

Well the Amish certainly have that one. Someone loses a spouse – they THANK GOD. Someone loses a child – they THANK GOD. Someone loses their home – they THANK GOD. The Amish are astonishing. And WOW wouldn’t I LOVE to have their perseverance.

I’m not there yet… far far far from it in fact – but I’m working on it. And God is working on me too. He always will be and I am extremely thankful for that!

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

King James Version (KJV)

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

© Rachel L. Miller 2014

Attitude is Everything

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I am a single mom, have been from the very beginning.

I grew up in church but religion doesn’t always leave a whole lot of room for a relationship with God. And my mother and I both have discovered in recent years that churches are very good at teaching you the rules but not why God intended it to be that way.

They were also very good at telling you everyone has to be saved but there was very little guidance about how that actually worked and what you should do after you “gave your life to Christ” . . . aside from follow the rules, of course.

So we’ve both spent a large part of our lives making bad choices and I can only imagine how many times God has had to send his angels in to protect us from what could have been disastrous results. He must have big plans, maybe not for us specifically but at the very least for the amazingly wonderful children he has blessed us with. And without mom – “Grandma”, we would not be able to do what we are doing right now. Which is to homeschool them and get them into God’s word in a serious way.

Over the past five years, we have made sweeping changes in every area of our lives. We’ve eliminated cable TV and even most movies/TV shows we used to watch on DVD. Our clothing choices have changed drastically  and we’ve even begun wearing head coverings. My daughter keeps asking “Why are we being Amish?”

Recently I attended an ATI conference and while we were there God convicted me about the way I speak to my children. My mom has been telling me for years that I sounded too harsh sometimes when I was upset or “at the end of my rope”. All moms go there at some point.

We attended our first conference last year and we were exceedingly blessed by the wonderful speakers but this year was even better. At the conference, one of the speakers was talking about how important it is to forgive those who have wronged you. I kept waiting for him to touch on how to deal with people who don’t want forgiveness or who refuse to accept any responsibility for the hurts they’ve caused you but it never came. Instead God spoke to me (I’m getting better at hearing and listening to that still small voice) and he led me to release years of built up bitterness. Bitterness I didn’t even realize I had in me. After that, without even realizing what I was doing, my attitude started to change.

It was not an instantaneous thing and it hasn’t been easy but I am tickled to say that everyone has noticed the difference. My entire family has commented on the changes in me. My son is thrilled with my “sweet voice. My mom is grateful I’ve stopped speaking so harshly to both kids. My relationship with my father (which has always been a bit rocky) is much better now too.

Praise God!

He is so good to us. He is so patient with us. He is so much more forgiving than we deserve. And I am Thankful for it. Otherwise, we’d be sunk.

So take a minute to examine your past. If there are hurts there that you might be holding on to, take a few minutes to get on your knees and release those hurts and the bitterness that goes along with them.

You’ll never be the same.

God Bless You!

© Rachel L. Miller 2013

My Journey of Faith | Part 1

MoreGrace I was one of those kids who grew up in church. We may have bounced around from church to church as we moved around but I was almost always in church on Sunday morning. When I was about 8, I went down with some of my friends and “got saved”. That was it. I had no clue just what I had committed myself to but my friends did it and my mom was thrilled so I did it. Over the next 20 years, I went through life making good choices and bad choices. I never questioned the existence of God but I never really understood what it meant to live for him either. So I went along in my life just living.

But sooner or later, living that way – disaster strikes, right?

Well it did. It struck again and again and again actually. Through it all, and I can only imagine it is because God has some tremendous plans for me or one of my kids, God kept a hand on me. There were so many situations I got myself into that could have been so much worse than they were, even fatal. But God kept me safe. And he has blessed me so much more than I could ever deserve. I was told by the doctors that it would take a miracle for me to have children. They were being nice but they really meant it would be impossible. Doctors often think they know everything but it’s obvious they had no idea of God’s plans for me. God planned for me to have children. I’m certain he would have preferred I be married to a good man and in a church at the time but I believe in pre-destination and I believe God uses what he can to achieve his plans. I wasn’t where I needed to be but it was time for my son to be born and then my daughter so God used the circumstances I gave him to bring those two Amazing children into this world. Once I realized I was responsible for the life of another human being, that he was going to be counting on me for everything, I did some hard looking at my life. I changed a lot of things but I still didn’t quite “get” how God fit into it or what I needed to be doing to live FOR HIM. I didn’t “get it” until after my daughter was born (actually about 4 years after she was born). Just over three years ago I finally started to understand God’s place in my life. I’m still nowhere near where he wants me or even where I want to be but I finally feel like I’m on the path he wants me on. I finally feel like I’m going where he wants me to.

I finally feel like I’m on the path God wants me on.

Well, in my journey as a mother, we did try to go to church. We visited many many many churches and we were always met with the same issues. Once the church realized the full extent of my circumstances, we were treated more like lepers than sinners and I did not want my son to grow up in a toxic atmosphere like that so we would try again, and again, and again. We still have not found a church that preaches the Bible without politics getting in the way, where they dress like we do (modestly) and LIVE God’s word (not just on Sunday) and don’t treat us like lepers. But we did find ATI and IBLP and we are so thankful for that! IBLP (the Institute in Basic Life Principles) is a wonderful organization and I think EVERY Christian in this country should support this wonderful organization! They focus on teaching families (Yes, the whole family. Not just the children) about how important the Character of Jesus Christ is for us to LEARN and APPLY in our everyday life. ATI (the Advanced Training Institute) is their division that concentrates on homeschooling.

Do yourself a favor. Check out IBLP and ATI!

They have been a tremendous blessing to our entire family and I do not believe we would be where we are spiritually if we hadn’t found them. We have learned so much from their teaching materials, the conferences we’ve attended and the speakers we heard at those conferences. These people truly “GET” what Jesus was all about and they are such a blessing to us! We attended our first ATI conference last year and it was a wonderful experience. Here we are, sitting in this huge hall, not knowing what to expect and in walks David Gibbs Jr. And if you’ve never heard David Gibbs Jr. speak about God, you are missing out! I highly recommend that everyone find a way to attend an ATI conference at least once! David Gibbs Jr., Tom Harmon, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Otto Koning, Ken Pierpont, Paul and Jenny Speed, Jim Sammons, William J Federer, Doug Small, Dr. Jobe Martin, Chris and Anne Hogan, Jim Schettler and Bill Gothard of course. These men and women really understand God’s love, God’s word and God’s plan for salvation. Listening to these amazing speakers has helped us find God’s plan for our own lives and we might not be where we are today without the amazing experience that conference was for us.

Suffice to say this organization has helped turn our baby steps (a bit faltering at times) into giant leaps on our journey of faith!

If you are not interested in ATI but you think you might want to listen to some of these amazing speakers anyway, they do have MP4s of their messages available in the IBLP store HERE. And you can always check out the Embassy Institute HERE. They even have a few videos you can watch for free (including the first session of IBLPs basic seminar).

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV)

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
© Rachel L. Miller 2013