Friday, 30 August 2013

I wonder ...

I'm currently participating in a women's study at our church, we are working through the Beth Moore, David study.  It's good.  I love they way she jumps around the Bible, yet it kind of annoys me at the same time, I feel like I spend so much time flicking through the pages, yet ... at the end of my first Beth Moore Bible study I knew my Bible like never before.

I realised this week that I often read the Bible like I read a novel, or any other book.  I assume the facts are all there, that what happened is all written down for me to understand.  What I failed to realise is that the Bible tells us what we need to know, however it doesn't tell us all that happened, or all there is to know. Some times more is said through what is not said. That sound cryptic doesn't it?

Please don't freak, I'm not denying the Bible is God breathed.  I totally believe it is.  All I'm saying is I have been reading it as if all that happened is within the pages.

Case in point:  "David thought to himself, 'One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.  The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines.'" 1 Samuel 27:1.  Beth Moore points out in the study that there is no reference to David seeking God on this matter, he 'thought to himself'.  She then goes on "We have no way of knowing how God responded to his (David's) alliance with the Philistines.  To be sure, God had an opinion.  However, He kept the matter between Himself and David at this time."

This got me thinking, clearly there are things about God I don't know - clearly!  But it seems there are things in God's Word that aren't stated but are still fact.  This may not to be a fresh revelation to you, but for me to be able to read the Bible as a historical book, a personal letter, a divine revelation, and yet understand there is so much that has not been said, not been revealed, not been suggested, forces me to trust the author so much more.

It actually makes me long for greater understanding, greater revelation, greater personal relationship.  It's a teaser, I now feel like I need to reread the Bible. I had blinkers on when I've been reading it before.  I saw it as purely factual and it is, but it's not all the facts.  God had an opinion on David's decision to flee to Philistines land, imagine that, yet I'd not even considered it.  He has an opinion on my decisions too.  Not sure I had considered that either.

I guess it has got me asking, 'I wonder...'

Monday, 26 August 2013

Is Home His Favourite Place?

I was reading an interview with a mother and wife, her husband is a musician who spends a lot of time travelling. To make the interview even more interesting - the interviewer just happened to be her musician husband.

One particular part of the interview really got me thinking. She was saying she appreciates how when her husband is home, he doesn't disappear into his office, they see him a lot.  

He replied by saying "Well I know your love language is time. And I actually like you. And usually like the kids. So I want to hang out with you. I know other musicians who feel punished for being gone, nagged, guilt tripped. They don't like being home. You make home my favourite place to be. I never feel guilty."

I started wondering ... How many husbands don't like being home?  

I envy the women who make the effort to welcome their husbands home every time they return. I mean to, but I forget, or I'm stirring,  pouring, wiping, feeding, washing up, defusing, fuming, or tiring. I remember back to the days when the husband would come home and I would hand a child to him within seconds of him walking in the door.  We are way past that point now, but I wonder how it feels to be on the receiving end:
"Hi everyone." 
"Hi, here you go."


I'm not sure I'm sending a much better message now, even though I'm not handing him a child, I am still in 'work' mode.  Quite frankly by the end of the day, I'm tired, homeschooling is fun, but also it takes a lot from you, so come 6pm, I'm weary, and wanting bed time to come fast, both their's and mine. Do I send the message that he is welcome, enjoyed and appreciated?  Or do I make it all about how I am feeling?  

When I was single I use to spend a lot of time with a very expressive friend who let you know her excitement at her husbands return, he was only gone for hours, he was a dairy farmer, he came home for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and yet every time she would be so excited to see him. You could get the feeling she really enjoyed his company.  I use to wish that I would be that devoted, when I found my Mr Right.  

What I've learnt is that she is one unique and special personality, I love her, yet we are very different. I'm more Vanilla compared to her Double Chocolate with Caramel Swirl. I enjoy my husbands company, but I'm not the expressive, squealing type, I express myself differently. Sadly, life has dulled or blurred my expression, and I'm not sure my husband knows I'm happy to see him. I mean happy, not grateful to see him because he can take over some parenting jobs, but happy to see him.

What can I do?  'Pull finger' is a colloquial New Zealand saying, meaning; to just get on with it. Yet changing behaviour like this has more to do with my attitude than it does my actions.  I don't know about you but just deciding to make more of an effort isn't enough. I often decide not to eat any more chocolate, but it doesn't last more than a week.  I think that's called a pathetic disposition rather than determined.  But even more than that, making the decision to change our attitude to our husbands requires the working of the Holy Spirit.  I'm not adding this as a token morsel of spiritual insight at the end.  This is the crux of change. Don't bother without the Holy Spirit. Don't waste your time trying your hardest.  Admit your weakness and ask, plead for help and empowerment from the only One who can change you.  Plead, then comes submission, humility, repentance, and change.  If you want accountability, then tell a friend what you are praying for and ask them to ask you about it.

Lord please, I want to create a home that is my husbands favourite place.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Eternal Worth

My boys have a real admiration for Bethany Hamilton, the shark attack survivor, pro surfer and lover of Jesus Christ.  It’s easy to understand why. I greatly admire this young woman too.  Since the shark attack in 2003 she has had numerous opportunities to talk on TV chat shows, as well as public events and conferences, where she unashamedly tells people that she loves Jesus Christ, that God has a plan for her life and that she is determined to live for Him.  

Not all of us have a similar viewing audience of millions, but we do all have an audience watching us. I don't know about you, but I feel totally inadequate telling people about Jesus.  

I’ve been reading, “In the Land of the Blue Burqas” recently and I’ve come to realise that I have a badly warped understanding of what witnessing really is. I keep on wondering what, if any impact I have had on my non Christian friends. The author Kate McCord (protective pseudonym) tells about living for 5 years in Afghanistan where she often spoke to dear men and women who were convinced their faith was true and hers was false. Facing this, she never stops talking about Honourable Jesus. I imagine discouragement would be lurking close by, if clocking up numbers for 'converts to the Way', was her measure of success, but she did shed light and when light is present darkness recedes. She explains it this way; "Each time we see or hear or in some way grasp a teaching or revelation of Christ, we are drawn out of an area of darkness within our lives, into His light and truth, into His beautiful kingdom." 

Rather than thinking I'm only a link in the chain, it’s God who is seeking and saving the lost, we can mistakenly think it’s our job to 'close the deal' and get them ‘across the line’.  Remember it is NOT our job to convict, that's the Holy Spirit's job'. We are called to faithfully proclaim Christ Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Rom 10:13-15.  We/I need to keep in mind that only God draws people to Himself. I am a tool. He may use me, if only I'd open my mouth and proclaim Him without fear or impatience.  

Faith is a journey. In her book Katie McCord puts it this way;
"Sometimes we imagine that all that is good in God as revealed in Christ only belongs to those who've adopted a complete framework of theological beliefs. We imagine that until a person understands and confesses belief that Jesus is God, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose the third day, the teachings and blessings of God remain inaccessible. We sometimes make the mistake of viewing ourselves and others as either in or out, as either wearing our team's jersey or not wearing it."

I need to remember that I’m not a recruiter, I’m a fellow sojourner, who should lay down the fear of man and tell of my joy in Christ as lover of my soul, generous giver of grace and mercy. I can see that when I take my eyes off my joy, witnessing turns into a job.  Well you know what, I want to lose this sense of guilt about having to tell others about God and replace it with a genuine joy that I get the opportunity to give testimony to the greatness of God expressed through Christ’s love on the cross and the patient, yet powerful work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

As this perspective changes for me, can I see my place as that of a torchbearer showing the light of Christ and so His truth goes to work, lighting up one small portion of the pathway on another's faith journey. Of course I could try and redouble my efforts and just grit my teeth and try harder as the guilt quotient rises, but it won't be enough, in fact nothing I do will. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that I can open my mouth when fear is rising in my throat, or when impatience is wanting everyone on my team - now. 

I need to constantly remind myself that it's not my job to convict nor is it to persuade, it's my joy to proclaim by words and actions.  Bethany Hamilton at age 13 couldn't help tell people that her faith in Jesus Christ got her through such a devastating time. Ten years on, she is still sharing her joy. She can't help herself. She's not trying to sell anything, convince anyone of anything, she is boldly telling her story of what a faithful God has done in her life. Do we dare to desire the power of the Holy Spirit to also fill us with joy overflowing and boldness mixed with love?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Christian Family Resources - Part 14 - Dinosaurs from a Biblical Perspective

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small 
groups, mentoring, or self-study. 

Introducing: Dinosaurs from a Christian Perspective

As a parent I want my children to grow up to understand God's creation.  When I grew up dinosaurs were still somewhat regarded as mythical - granted it was a wee while ago, but also I grew up in a family who didn't really push science. Which didn't really stand me in good stead when facing science at school.  

Now that I have two boys who have educated me, I actually have a favourite dinosaur; pachycephalosaurus, it walked on 2 legs and looked like it has a helmet on it's head. After a little education from Christian books on dinosaurs, I wonder exactly when dinosaurs actually became extinct.  Were they in the Bible, called Behemth and Leviathan (Job 40 & 41)?  Were they used by ancient civilisations reigning monarchs as a show of strength? Are there ancient paintings on cave walls of dinosaurs?  Some of the evidence is quite convincing.

Our bookshelves have many dinosaur books on them, very few of them are Christian, so when I come across Christian books on dinosaurs I snap them up. I personally don't have a problem with secular science books, as they provide great talking points with my boys. The millions of years doesn't put me off, as they will face these figures their whole life and will need to be able to understand creation, evolution, old earth, young earth theories.  The one thing I reinforce as we read, is that the most important thing about creation is the WHO, not the how.  And the WHO of creation is God.  How He created is a mystery to me, when He created is a mystery to me, but I know He created.

Two Dinosaur books I can highly recommend are;
Dinosaurs Unleashed by Kyle Butt and Eric Lyons
Dinosaurs by Design by Duane Gish

Monday, 5 August 2013

Christian Family Resources Part 13 Christian Heroes - Then and Now Series

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small 
groups, mentoring, or self-study. 

Introducing Christian Heroes Then and Now Series

I have recommended a series that looks at the lives of Christian heroes from a fictional characters perspective, this series differs,they give the true stories of the heroes.  Janet and Geoff Benge have blessed us by writing the true stories of inspiring ordinary Christian men and women in a way that will touch the heart.  

I have to admit that reading aloud the story of George Muller, I was struggling to get the words out in some places.  It is very moving to read of ordinary people relying on an Extraordinary God in challenging situations.

The list of Christian heroes this series covers is vast, so I'll put the link here.

I highly recommend this series

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Christian Family Resources - Part 12 - The Barn Chronicles

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small 
groups, mentoring, or self-study. 

I would like to introduce you to The Barn Chronicles

Rosie Boom is a wife and homeschooling mother of 6.  She is a writer and speaks at conferences and events around New Zealand.  This series focuses on life, it is a very organic and homely (in a very good way) adventure in the lives of a family who make a barn a home for a number of years.  The books are written from the perspective of one of the children, Milly, who is adventurous, heroic, tender, sometimes even a little bit stroppy, but always very likeable. 

These books are about life, they are not glitzy, flashy or unrealistic. Although not many of us get to live in a barn on a fantastic farm/lifestyle block. Rosie Boom relays life with it's tears, challenges, a huge amount of hilarity, many animals, imagination and a few broken bones thrown in the mix.  My boys often giggle at the tales and fun antics that go on in the unfolding drama of life at the Boom's place.  The place they imagine as their slice of Narnia.

This series appeals to both boys and girls alike.

I highly recommend this series