Friday, December 25, 2015

The Cross is More than Enough

I have tasted and I have seen.

*God is good*

But sometimes in the midst of it all, I just can't remember.

...But the Cross...

If all God had ever done for me was send His Son in my place--

If all Jesus had ever done for me was give His life in my place--

If all the Spirit had ever done for me was secure my place--

That is enough. More than enough. When I have trouble remembering anything else…

The Cross is more than enough.

Merry Christmas!
love, The Jacobs

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Prayers for My Boys: His Marriage {+ Giveaway!}

A couple of years ago a friend posted on facebook about how she doesn't pray for an easy, happy life for her kids. Instead, she prays that they will be dangerous for the Lord, and that He would use them for amazing things for His glory. Even if it's hard.

I was immediately convicted because I was definitely the type to pray for a happy, blessed life for my kids. But I was missing the point. It's not about being "happy," but about finding true joy in following the true Lover of their souls. So I began praying slightly more boldly.

Just days before Amanda was murdered, Derek and I were discussing trials. The idea of them scares me literally more than anything else! At any moment tragedy can strike. I confessed to Derek that I had been praying that God would use the kids in mighty ways but protect them from horrible tragedies. Tragedies like the one that occurred a few days later.

In the last month something totally unnatural has happened.

While the idea of trials and tragedies still scares me just as much as before, I see them in a completely different light. I see a family, who's wife/mom/daughter/sister's life has been cruelly snuffed out from this earth, be a bright, shining beacon in the midst of the darkest time of their lives. I see God work miracles. I see beauty.

I would never ever ever ever wish such a horrifying experience on even my worst enemy, let alone my babies. But the beauty… I wish that so much for my babes.

My blogging plan for November changed in the middle of the month when pure evil attempted to wreak havoc on God's family. But through watching Davey (Amanda's husband) from afar, I was led to pray for Jack and his future spouse in a way I had never done before: with passion. with hope. with excitement. with determination. without fear.

His Marriage

Lord, I know You have a helper, support, perfect match for my Shnook. I pray that while he runs full speed toward You, Jack will find her running beside him. Protect his sensitive heart as he navigates this cruel, ugly, impure world. Give Jack the strength through Your Spirit to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). Give him eyes to see the way out that You always provide (1 Corinthians 10:13), and the power to take captive every thought and make it obedient to You (1 Corinthians 10:5). So when he meets his wife, he will be able to love her as you love us (Ephesians 5).May he be a good steward of his wife's love, and may he always show her honor and grace (1 Peter 3:7). Please, Lord, help them to love You even more than they love each other. May they change the world- together.

Most of this focused praying for my babes happens in my war room. If you have not seen the film War Room yet, it is a must-see! The movie will be available on December 22, but Family Christian not only has it on sale but is also doing an exclusive pre-buy where you get a free prayer journal along with it! And if you pre-buy it, you can pick it up in store in time for Christmas. So go order it HERE right now! Then come on back here to enter for a $25 gift card to Family Christian! Woot!

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Giveaway ends Friday at midnight!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Our 3 Gift Christmas

We don't have much money. We never have. And we likely never will. But that doesn't really matter when you're married to a man who gives any extra we might have away. In fact, I feel fairly confident that if we did make more money, I wouldn't even know it because Derek would give it all away before I ever saw it.

The man cannot hang on to a dollar. But most of the time it's because he's handing it over to someone in need. Or not in need. Either way.

And because of his incredible generosity, I have come a loooooooooong way in the last decade. Of course, I have just about that far still to go but I'm so grateful for how he has challenged me just by example.

All that to say, limiting our kids to 3 gifts for Christmas is a lot less about the money (although that is a key factor when there isn't much!) and a lot more about Christ. Because generosity is the leader-of-our-home's thing, we choose to give our kids gifts for Christmas. What is generosity if we can't be generous to those closest to us? But because Christmas is about Christ, we are very intentional about gift giving.

I originally came across this idea of 3 gifts from this blog post ((Make sure to visit!)). We loved it! It's a perfect fit for our family. So I'm going to share with you just in case it is a fit for yours, too!
When {the magi} saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11

Gold represents something the kids want. Gold was, and continues to be, very desirable. We give one gift to each kid that they've either asked for or we feel confident they will enjoy. We don't always give them what they ask for because, well, mommy knows best! And I simply don't want any more tiny, worthless Shopkins in this house! The clutter, oh the clutter! So we are very careful about this gift, trying our best to avoid more clutter, encourage education, and make it something they love.

Games (Jack is getting this this year!)
Blocks or legos (easy-to-clean clutter that is educational!)
Accessories to something they already have (American Girl accessories, additions to their Imaginex city set)
Movies/video games
Activity gift (dance classes, ice skating date with dad, etc.)


Theologians say that the gift of frankincense was symbolic of Christ's priesthood. This gift for our kids is something spiritual. While this one can be challenging, I love it! It's so fun to listen to the Spirit on this one and see how He uses what we get them!

Jesus Storybook Bible (every single household containing children should own this book)
Bibles (Marie and Jack each got their own last year)
Devotionals (like Jesus Calling)
Play nativity set (Kempton got this last year)
What's in the Bible DVDs
Just about anything Veggie Tales
His Little Princess/His Mighty Warrior (God has put these books to good use around these parts!)


This spice symbolizes burial and death in Scripture buuut we focus on the use of it. It was used as incense or perfume. Something put on the body. The myrrh gift is something the kids can wear.

Belt (Kempton is getting this this year)
Ballet shoes
Etc. Etc.

Now I am super curious - How do you do gifts for Christmas in your home?

Can I point out one last thing? In the verses from Matthew we learn that the Magi "rejoiced exceedingly with great joy." I don't know about you, but I can't help but think that some hooting and hollering and cheering and dancing was happening when they finally found Jesus. Let's enter this beautiful time of celebrating Jesus' birth with a little… no, how about a LOT of that rejoicing exceedingly with great joy!! There's no greater gift we could give our kids.
…Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people!...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Main Reason We Homeschool (with a Book Review + Giveaway!)

There are so many reasons why people homeschool. Derek and I have several reasons ourselves. But above all other reasons out there, our main reason for homeschooling is to take advantage of the opportunity to obey this Scripture:
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7
I believe these verses can be followed homeschooling or not. But God has laid it on our hearts to keep our kids home.

Bible class generally happens over breakfast. Just keeping it real, my friends.

With this being the most important reason for homeschooling, that probably means I need to make sure I'm actually teaching God's Word day in and day out. While it is pretty easy for me to talk spiritual things throughout the day, it has not always been easy for me to find a good Bible curriculum. So I was excited to receive this book and be given the opportunity to give my honest review -

The Bible is My Best Friend Family Devotional

The great news is, it's not even meant for homeschooling families in particular. It is set up to do one lesson a week as a family. So simple and so very doable! And those are key ingredients to just about anything I'll allow in my life! Especially when it comes to cooking dinner...


Each lesson has a memory verse with a devotional.

I love the discussion questions. Every question the kids are supposed to ask the parents are tough. The kind that make you be honest with your kids. The kind that make you be honest with yourself. If you know me at all, you know this is very important to me. The author (Sheila Walsh) nailed it on these for sure!

There's also fun activity suggestions and weekly challenges.

Two final thoughts on the book:
1. Marie, at 7 years old, seems to be just about the right age to begin this book. The boys are definitely gleaning from it, but Marie does most of the question answering.
2. It is only one lesson a week. This does not "fill your quota" as a Christian parent! The name of JESUS should be spoken within the walls of your home every single day, multiple times a day! But this book offers a simple way to get the whole family together for focused time in the Word. The rest of the week for "Bible class," we generally read a Psalm and practice some of our memory verses. Marie also does her own devotions.

We've been so pleased with this book which makes me super excited to offer it to one lucky winner! Yay, new book smell! And if you don't end up being that lucky winner, or simply don't want to wait, order one straight from Family Christian just in time for Christmas!

Follow the Rafflecopter below for your entries! Only one is required - share with me your ideas for making JESUS a part of your every single day.

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