"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Gardening played a large part in our homeschool curriculum because so many spiritual and scientific lessons could be taught. Today was another example of that truth. After gathering several large baskets of apples from a friend's orchard weeks before, we decided today was the day for making applesauce. Following our scheduled lesson plans for "home economics" class, we carefully prepared the canning jars and lids and gathered the other paraphernalia required. Unfortunately, my daughter and I were in for a big disappointment when it came time to actually cook the apples. As we removed the top layer from the baskets, we discovered the bottom layers of apples were spoiled and too rotten for preserving. Apparently, my four-year-old son had gathered bruised apples from the ground and placed them in with the good apples picked directly from the trees.

Even though the amount of applesauce canned was drastically reduced, all was not lost. The damaging effect of one bruised apple taught a valuable spiritual lesson to my children. Using the spoiled apples as an illustration, my children and I talked about the truth in 2 Corinthians 6:14: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" "Like these rotting apples, bad company does corrupt good morals, so you must be discerning when choosing your friends," I said.

What about your friendships? As homeschooling parents, we also need to examine our relationships. Are there people in your life who easily lead you into sinful actions? Do you have friends who encourage you to be disrespectful to your spouse, negligent in maintaining your home, spend more money than you can afford, or gossip? If you find yourself being influenced for evil more than influencing them for God's good, maybe it's time to reconsider the persons you spend time with as friends. Remember, the old saying "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch" is true not only in science, but also in life!

Father,

Teach me how to live a life that is pleasing and acceptable to You. Show me those people You want me to befriend and how to love others, while remaining a vessel that can be used by You. In Jesus' name, Amen.