There is always something else to do before I sit down to quiet time.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Monday, September 5, 2016
Friday, August 26, 2016
Monday, August 1, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Headlines, trains of thought, opinions – I call them “camps” around me today confuse and drain me.
One camp wants to hate (and kill even) any who are different, the other wants to love all no matter who and what they are and still, the other stands in judgement, sometimes badly, sometimes hypocritically.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
It is an early Winter Saturday afternoon. I'm enjoying Bible journalling after some time in the garden with the younger children. The shadows are long, the sun is still warm and the last of the autumn leaves are hanging on by a thread. Slowly they drift one by one to the ground.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Monday, May 23, 2016
Monday, May 16, 2016
Raising girls, raising young women, raising my grandchildren's mothers, young mens' wives, raising daughters-in-laws for another mother - raising sisters and girlfriends. These are all the titles and more that my three daughters will fulfill in their days to come.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Who Do You Say I Am?
Jesus asked this of His disciples. The answer mattered. The answer, Jesus said, was revealed to them not by man but by His Father and through the Holy Spirit.
Is Jesus Christ God?
Jesus said He was. The Pharisees hated Him because He said He was. The Bible, God's Word, Jesus being the Word in flesh, says He was.
What do I say?
Can I be a "christian" and say He was anything else? Can I be a "christian" and say He was a good teacher, an angel, a prophet, a religious zealot, a lunatic, a liar?
No. I can't.
This isn't my opinion . This is what the Bible says . This is what Jesus Christ said .
And, that's enough for me.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man .. Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man .. they shall be one flesh .. and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:22-25 (abbrev.)
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
My flowers are my Husband and my children. I water, weed and tend them every day. With God's grace they will be a beautiful aroma first to Him and then to all who will see. God help me to be faithful and a blessing to those around me.
I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Exposing The Emerging Church – No Church At All
Bass reverberates through the auditorium floor as a heavily bearded worship leader pauses to invite the congregation, bathed in the light of two giant screens, to tweet using #JesusLives. The scent of freshly brewed coffee wafts in from the lobby, where you can order macchiatos and purchase mugs boasting a sleek church logo. The chairs are comfortable, and the music sounds like something from the top of the charts. At the end of the service, someone will win an iPad.
Many churches have sought to lure millennials back by focusing on style points: cooler bands, hipper worship, edgier programming, impressive technology. Yet while these aren’t inherently bad ideas and might in some cases be effective, they are not the key to drawing millennials back to God in a lasting and meaningful way. Young people don’t simply want a better show. And trying to be cool might be making things worse.
Taking Christ out of Christianity
My friend and blogger Amy Peterson put it this way:
“I want a service that is not sensational, flashy, or particularly ‘relevant.’ I can be entertained anywhere. At church, I do not want to be entertained. I do not want to be the target of anyone’s marketing. I want to be asked to participate in the life of an ancient-future community.”
Millennial blogger Ben Irwin wrote: “When a church tells me how I should feel (‘Clap if you’re excited about Jesus!’), it smacks of inauthenticity. Sometimes I don’t feel like clapping. Sometimes I need to worship in the midst of my brokenness and confusion — not in spite of it and certainly not in denial of it.”
When I left church at age 29, full of doubt and disillusionment, I wasn’t looking for a better-produced Christianity.
I was looking for a truer Christianity, a more authentic Christianity: I didn’t like how gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were being treated by my evangelical faith community.
I had questions about science and faith, biblical interpretation and theology. I felt lonely in my doubts. And, contrary to popular belief, the fog machines and light shows at those slick evangelical conferences didn’t make things better for me. They made the whole endeavor feel shallow, forced and fake.
****My Reply Here: A truer, more authentic Christianity is to follow the Christ of the Bible, not of our own making or want. Jesus died for all. He died for my sin while I was still a sinner.
He calls me now to repentance, to walk in newness of life, regenerated, forgiven. He tells me to “sin no more”. The homosexual people are sinners like me, if they repent and turn, like me, that are saved. For us both to go on in our sin is not to truly be saved, not regenerated.****
In other words, a church can have a sleek logo and Web site,
but if it’s judgmental and exclusive, if it fails to show the love of Jesus to all,
millennials will sniff it out. Our reasons for leaving have less to do with style and image and more to do with substantive questions about life, faith and community. We’re not as shallow as you might think.
****My Reply Here: Again, a Jesus of our own making. The Jesus of the Bible was love and He was judgement. There are absolutes. To not understand this, is to engage in another gospel or not a gospel at all.****
You can be dazzled by a light show at a concert on any given weekend, but church is the only place that fills a sanctuary with candlelight and hymns on Christmas Eve. You can snag all sorts of free swag for brand loyalty online, but church is the only place where you are named a beloved child of God with a cold plunge into the water. You can share food with the hungry at any homeless shelter, but only the church teaches that a shared meal brings us into the very presence of God.
What finally brought me back, after years of running away, wasn’t lattes or skinny jeans; it was the sacraments. Baptism, confession, Communion, preaching the Word, anointing the sick — you know, those strange rituals and traditions Christians have been practicing for the past 2,000 years. The sacraments are what make the church relevant, no matter the culture or era. They don’t need to be repackaged or rebranded; they just need to be practiced, offered and explained in the context of a loving, authentic and inclusive community.
But I believe that the sacraments are most powerful when they are extended not simply to the religious and the privileged, but to the poor, the marginalized, the lonely and the left out. This is the inclusivity so many millennials long for in their churches, and it’s the inclusivity that eventually drew me to the Episcopal Church, whose big red doors are open to all — conservatives, liberals, rich, poor, gay, straight and even perpetual doubters like me.
****My Reply Here: And sinners like me but not living in my sin, not perpetuating the decision day by day that Jesus died to save me from. Living in regeneration, a sinner, saved by grace. Living as acceptable to Him because of Christ’s blood shed for me.
I applaud the “millennials” out there, keep up the rage, search for truth. I pray for the gift of faith and understanding to be yours.
Jesus said “go, and sin no more”.****
Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’
By Rachel Held Evans April 30, 2015
Friday, March 4, 2016
We don't see it, we don't want a too serious faith. We want to have Jesus and our "cake" too. Lately false Christs set up their mobile canvassing stalls at our local train station. They roam our neighbourhood on foot and bicycles, knocking on doors. False Christs are increasing in our mainstream churches too. They hog our blogosphere, I've seen it.
We as a people can't take strong doctrine. We are perishing for lack of knowledge. He told us that.
A deadly recipe is brewing. It is leaving His church confused and therefore impotent.
As evil increases so does grace, He promises us that too.
Increasingly, the question of our age is:
Who Do You Say I Am
For there shall arise false Christ, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Friday, February 12, 2016
A pilgrim was I, and a wandering the cold night of sin I did roam,
When Jesus the kind Shepherd found me,
And now I am on my way home.
When Jesus the kind Shepherd found me,
And now I am on my way home.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
All the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever, And I shall feast at the table spread for me;
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life.
He restoreth my soul when I'm weary, He giveth me strength day by day;
He leads me beside the still waters,
He guards me each step of the way.
When I walk through the dark lonesome valley, My Savior will walk with me there;
And safely His great hand will lead me To the mansions He's gone to prepare.
From a pilgrim wandering alone to an adopted child of God walking with Him to the mansion He has prepared for me! Praise GOD!
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
To run a marathon from what I know, you have to work up to the distance over time. Gain strength and endurance. You must know your race, the length, the route and you have to mentally plan for it.
Motherhood isn't like that. We cannot know what is ahead. We have plans and dreams, we watch others, reflect on our own upbringing and our own Mothers yet, each child, each family is different and inevitably we are unprepared.
Mathew and I learnt as we went along, we didn't have good role models to follow nor many to cheer us on from the sidelines. We had thought these things would make us better parents because we knew what didn't work and what we didn't believe in. What we didn't realise though was that we also had no reserves to draw from, no role modelling to imitate, so it was very difficult. We often felt lost and bewildered and consequently our marriage was in serious trouble.
When our first child was only 3 years old we came in contact with Growing Families International and the parenting curriculum Growing Kids God's Way. It changed our marriage first and then our child raising techniques and outcomes. With each subsequent child we employed what we learnt. We have been and continue to be great and vocal advocates of these child raising principles. Over time in this marathon however, new and varied stages and dilemmas present themselves. I have personally gone back to the "book" regularly.
Last night I found myself scouring our bookcase shelves again for some inspiration, encouragement, even words of wisdom for another shift in the marathon route that I never trained for and am finding myself failing on.
Right about here I am reminded that God's Word itself is all I need and to turn to Him and ask for wisdom, grace, forgiveness and patience is the good and right to do. However, I also can glean from those who have gone before and have the talent to write and teach parents like me. I must admit there isn't much if anything written for parents of older children.
I held to the idea that attitudes and problems start in the early years and to get them while they are young will save trouble later yet I'm here, in trouble, I've run a good race, I'm tired but it isn't over yet. This crazy thing called "love" for a child. Love that won't let go, that chases down and forgives over and over, that fears and trembles at some stages - this love is frightening.
Surely I am being honed out of this rock of life just as surely as my child is. May I be a good student for the potter, may my child and I hold still and be moulded into His likeness, may I wait patiently on Him, may I mount up with wings not for me or even for my child but for His glory and His Namesake. Amen, Lord.
Friday, January 8, 2016
You know, you pray for a child, you have them, you raise and nurture them day by day by day, you believe in godly parenting and motherhood and fatherhood, in marriage and the family unit, you believe in Biblical submission to a loving Husband.
More than that, you preach it to all those watching, those that may ask - although precious few want to know - you really live and breath and honestly come to think you are on the right road. Not because of our efforts although they are real but because of God's promises in the Bible, His Word to me about my children and family.
Then the season comes when that child wants more than the home and life they have lived. They rightly or wrongly want to stretch their wings and because of how they've been raised there is no fear of the world or understanding of the dangers of certain decisions. There is little suspicion of others' motives or life's turns. An innocence that could set them up to be vulnerable.
Raised with unconditional love, acceptance and all the right insulation to weather life's storms, yet a tenderness to be protected, prepared and provided for at this later stage in their lives.
Wasn't it meant to be the hard work when they were babies, then toddlers? Yes, then too. This motherhood, it's a marathon not a sprint. I'm getting that today ..
Yeah. Amen to that. Because God told me that didn't He, only I wasn't listening as keenly as today. It didn't mean as much to me as it does today. His living Word. Every day it is new, relevant and able to encourage, rebuke, discipline and comfort me.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Timothy 3:16
Some days it is a wearisome journey. Would I have it any other way, do things differently, yes and no. Each child is different! I'm learning too. We are all learning about ourselves before our great God. The important thing for me to remember is "this too shall come to pass". To "keep on" and "pressing toward the mark".
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
This gives me much comfort. Some days as mother I wonder at how and if I have made a difference, am making a difference. Then I'll spy a child doing their chores when no one is watching and no one has reminded them. I'll spy two teen girls playing and giggling together in complete friendship while an hour ago they were bickering to my distraction. My son will text me and keep on texting me telling me about his day, sending a picture to me that he knows I'll like.
Then I see God's hand moving and shaping us all. I feel His comfort and His understanding and I feel brave again that "this too shall come to pass" and that He has us and me in the palm of His hands. That no matter the storms of life, we are in His hands and we can have peace in knowing that.
That I can be still and know He is God.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
As the world around us including the christian church waxes and wanes, where knowledge and wisdom is flying out the politically correct door faster than ever before, it seems all too hard to keep ourselves and those around us focussed on the person of Christ Jesus.
We thank God daily for our faith and the knowledge He has gifted us with, the ability to understand and to obey His Word. Continually around us we see decay and change. It's difficult to focus some days yet we do. In day by day Bible reading, prayer and supplication (asking) we seek to continually sit at His feet to do His will, to obey and to be pleasing to Him. Not because we have to but because we want to.
Change and decay in all around I see,
help of the helpless O' abide with me.
Once we were apart of a community that prided itself on outward appearances in all manner of ways as a temperature gauge for our faith. They would deny it yet their actions spoke clearer than their protestations. Now we are surrounded with almost the opposite problem. Outward doesn't matter and our lazy, sinful selves are indulged and even apologised for. Just this past week I heard "aim lower", "ask God to forgive you for being too hard on yourself .."
If I'm confused and dismayed how much more those of little faith, yet faith indeed, and those who are "seekers" that is, they walk into church for the first time or are sometime comers just lurking at the corners of Christianity?
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
God takes Himself very seriously. He is love and He is truth. There is judgement. It matters what you believe. It matters who you say Jesus Christ is. We can't have it all ways as we seem to want it.
Notice there because I did, Jesus didn't worry so much what others said about who He was, He said "but who do you say I Am".
So who do you say He is. It matters.
It's so rare to have this taught and spelled out and to be led through His Word the Bible on this issue and all that comes from this central truth. The sadness that is the watered down christian church, strong words yet we are just fodder to this depraved, fallen world.
Jesus knew didn't He. He said "I will never leave or forsake you". Over the years of homeschooling and conservative faith we have oftentimes been criticised for isolating ourselves and our children so that "when they get into the real world they won't cope". Firstly the real world is living one day at a time with the Creator Himself, the one true God. Secondly, not living and knowing the truth would make it even harder to try to understand the world and its ways. The best gift we can give our children, the best hope for resilience - that buzz word amongst child raising techniques today - is to have a living hope and belief in a real and loving God.
So what is salvation?