Heart Reflections Live
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
What Christian Music has been a Blessing to You Lately?
Have you been especially blessed by something in your CD collection lately? Please write & share about it with us here.
We haven't bought anything new for ages, but I find I'm playing some old favourites a lot lately:-
-Hymns of Faith & Songs of Inspiration- Sandi Patty
-Peace in the Valley- The Complete Gospel Recordings of Elvis Presley
-Unfailing Love-the Watershed Project - Geoff Bullock
-Revival in Belfast- Robin Mark
& 2 my husband brought back from Malaysia-A Song in the Night & Intimacy both by Pastor KB Chan. My husband is friends with Pastor KB. He is a real miracle man. He has NO kidneys! They are beautiful worship CD's & have been a great blessing to our home.
Can any other hymn lovers out there recommend some good hymn CD's? I've listened to a few at our local Christian Bookstore, but don't always like the recordings.
Monday, August 28, 2006
The Dumbing Down of the Word of God
This post is quite a serious one that I've been contemplating for some time now...In a sense it's a follow-on to "Why We Read to our Children"...
For a long time I've been concerned with the Bibles & other teaching materials coming out of the Christian Bookstores. For a start please let me say that I don't want this blog to become a war-ground of comments over "King James Onlyisms". I tend to lean that way myself based on the history of the different Bible manuscripts, & the amount of verses & part verses ommitted from the newer versions; but on the other hand you can receive enough of the gospel message to get saved from any other translation- not that I personally would trust any other translation for spiritual food anymore, based on a lot of the bible studies & reading I've done over the last 15 years or so & from comparing a lot of different translations myself. It is evident that a lot of sound biblical teaching is gradually being watered down.
I guess the real problem comes back to the decline of the English language & can we still reach out & touch others without dumbing down the message, which is sadly, what I feel is taking place.
I look at the vast array of Bible comics & new translations( many of which are heavily paraphrased) & while I understand the motives of those who have brought them out, I ask myself- Are they really necessary?
I love studying history & one thing I've discovered, is that during the long period when people considered reading nothing but the King James, most of the people who loved it & read it were poor & uneducated! My Grandfather had a very basic State education, & yet read & loved the King James Bible, all his life. Once upon a time nearly everyone went to Sunday School (children & adults together), & then a family worship service was enjoyed by all. Everyone was used to the same Bible & everyone enjoyed the same simple teaching from it. I feel this produced a greater unity than the typical bible study today, when someone pipes up with,"But my Bible doesn't say that! That verse isn't in mine!!" What confusion this brings- instead of making things easier to understand-confusion & discord reign. Give me the old style any day!
I mentioned Bible comics before...Again I can understand them being produced to reach a wider people group, but my concern is this...If a little boy is allowed to read Spiderman or Superman comics during the week & you teach him that they're just for pretend, how does the child differentiate between Superheroes & the Lord Jesus Christ, when they are both in a comic book?
I feel it's robbing the child of learning the fear of God & how awesome he is & that when you put Him in a comic book, you are reducing Him to a fantasy figure...
My husband enjoys a good biblical movie that is historically accurate to help him picture the scenes in God's Word- but he realizes that these can never take the place of reading God's Word. We also have an audio KJV on CD set & this I feel is another valid tool to help people who may have difficulty reading the Word of God. Maybe there are other things we can do in our churches to encourage people to read...
We may live in a visually bombarded culture, but I believe we do the Kingdom of God no favours if we becomes slaves to the form of culture we are in, & dumb down the Word of God to reach the masses-something very precious will be lost & we could end up preaching another gospel.
Times may change, but the power of the blood of Jesus does not- I fear we are dumbing down the Word of God in the name of making things easier to understand. There has to be a better way.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
That was a fine sermon," said one to Mr Bunyan. The good man answered, "You are too late; the devil told me that before I left the pulpit."The archfiend soon suggests to God's servants some lofty notion,& they are tempted to appropriate to themselves the honour, which belongs to God only. Ah, what I fool I am that, even when I seek to be lowest at the feet of my Lord, I find myself satisfied with my humilty! Do we not too often rather mimic humility than actually attain to it?
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Why We Read to Our Children
Aside from cuddling & praying, reading is one of my absolute favourite things that I love to do with our children. I've read all sorts of books to both of our children since they were born. Granted, we've probably missed a few days here & there, but otherwise we've been pretty consistant.
As many of you are probably aware, literacy standards have dropped dramatically in the last 50 years or so. Both of my parents(who are now in their 60's), were educated through the State education system. My Mum was blessed enough a few years ago to be able to buy a fascimile set of her school readers from Prep to grade 7. I was shocked to see how "early" they were reading excerpts from classic literature, compared with the graded age levels printed on the back of many children's books today. I also remember reading somewhere once that the King James Bible was once officially graded to be suitable for Grades 6 or 7. (I'm talking Australian grades here.) How many adults today claim they can't understand it? I wanted something better for our children.
I had a childhood rich in books- many became" best friends". I was taught from childhood, that if I could read, I could learn anything I wanted to. More than anything else for our girls, I desire for them to be able to read & understand & respond to the Word of God & other great works from the past, that can teach them well.
I learnt early on in parenthood that a child will feed on what it's given: whether it's veges or junk food, TV or books. Take this further with regard to reading, & it can be junky books, or quality books & good literature.
We've always endeavoured to keep books elevated at a greater level than TV watching for instance. Our girls watch a very little TV & then mainly DVDs we approve of.
Part of the blame for the decline in literacy levels can go to the switch from teaching phonics to the look-say method. In our country this trend is slowly reversing. But the blame can never totally be laid on the Department of Education. Although we are not homeschooling at this point & may or may not in the future, I still believe that the parents are meant to be the key educators & encouragers of their children, regardless of whether the children go to school or not.
I've recently read the biography of Fanny Crosby. She came from a poor family & had a basic education at the local village school.( This was prior to her attending the blind academy.) At home for fun & entertainment, they wrote poetry & her Mother & Grandmother read aloud from books such as the King James Bible, The Pilgrims Progress & other classics. As well as reading them aloud, they also memorized large portions of Scripture.
I've gotten some great ideas from www.triviumpursuit.com on teaching children, & they have some good lists for recommended reading as well.
When you read good literature, your vocabulary improves, & your mind absorbs how good sentences are constructed,& stories are put together. I always try to choose books that are above our children's supposed age level, & our 2 1/2 year old now has an amazing vocabulary & uses her words in context- words like excellent & actually. We haven't pushed her to learn new words, it's just happened as we've been enjoying our books.
My husband loves to write too, but from an early age,he's had problems with spelling.( I'm his editor!) For the last 2 years he's been reading the King James Bible & during that period of time, the corrections I've had to make have noticably decreased.
We still have some short books that are just for fun & these will be handy, as the children learn to read for themselves.
So what would I recommend in the way of reading material for family read alouds.
-Well written Bible stories with realistic pictures
-read scripture straight from the King James, especially if they already know the stories
-real-life missionary stories
-poetry like Milton & Keats
-Children's classics like A.A. Milne & Beatrix Potter
-chapter by chapter classics such as Little Women, Treasure Island, A Christmas Carol, Anne of
Green Gables etc
A last piece of advice:
Leave the TV off for longer, & make friends with good books- your children will thank you for it.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Wisdom from Proverbs
"The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." KJV. Proverbs 19:11
Imagine how peaceful life would be if every believer walked in this truth! Every moment of every day we have a choice to walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit.Remember our Saviour & what He endured for us on the way to Calvary. In & of ourselves we can do nothing, but we are IN CHRIST. In Him we can do all things. Let us determine to abide in Him & take the high road instead of the low road.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
On Being a "Keeper At Home"
I have a saying that I love to quote to my friends:
"You can't be a "keeper at home" if you are not at home to keep it."
I don't know about anyone else out there, but those days when you're popping in & out all day for errands, do nothing to help my housekeeping skills. I need to semi-schedule at least, breaking my jobs into brackets during the day. If I can accomplish something in a space of time then I feel I've done something concrete with my day. I love to alternate between jobs & time with the children. When I am in & out all day the house is a mess.
If I am home most of the time, the house has a greater sense of order & then I feel free to enjoy a special family day out.
Does anyone have any tips to share?
Some of Our Favourite Children's Christian Books
I love getting ideas from other ladies in the blogosphere on things they do with or read to their children. I've received lots of tips from others in the past, so I'd like to share a list of some of our favourite children's Christian books. I'd love to hear from you if you've been blessed by the same ones or if you have your own favourites to recommend.
It seems the more commercialised the Christian Book industry becomes, the harder it becomes to find quality reading material for children. A lot of stuff is so worldly or tacky looking, we put it back & keep digging. Occasionally we strike gold! Anyway, here's our list:
-"The Princess & the Kiss" by Jennie Bishop
-"Just Like Mama" by Beverly Lewis
-"I'd Be Your Princess" by Kathryn O' Brien
-"The Candle in the Window" by Grace Johnson
-"The True Story of Noah's Ark" by Tom Dooley (Master Books)
-"A is for Adam"
-"D is for Dinosaur" both by Ken & Mally Ham
_"What Happens when Children Pray" by Evelyn Christsenson
-"Christian Mother Goose- Rock-a -Bye Christmas" by M. A. Decker. (This was a gift from our
neighbours when Talitha was born.)
-"My Bible Friends" set by Etta B. Degering
-"Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories" 1964 Edition
"The Bible Story" set by Arthur Maxwell.
( These last 3 are Seventh Day Adventist. They are excellent. There is less than 5% doctrinal stuff in them that we differ on- very easy to correct as you read.)
-Hymns For a Kid's Heart 1 & 2-Focus on the Family-These are great. They come with a CD each too!
I hope this list blesses you. I will be doing some future posts on the importance of reading to your children.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Baby Moses is Hiding Under the Dining Table
Do your children like to play out Bible stories? Mine do. One of their favourites is Baby Moses. It's so sweet to watch. One of them will grab the baby doll, put it in a baby bath with a copy of the Baby Moses story,(thrown in for good measure) & crawl under the dining table. (The chair legs make great bulrushes when you're 4 & 2.)
Talitha will start, "Shhhh- I'm Miriam. I'm hiding Baby Moses. Oh Look- Here comes a pretty princess."
Zara will say something like, "What's that over there ? Maid- Go get that basket!" Zara becomes the maid for a minute & crawls under the table, fetches the basket & becomes the Princess again, oohing & aahing over the baby.
Talitha hurries out from under the table,"Do you need a nurse for your baby?"
"Yes,I do." says Princess Zara.
Then suddenly, yours truly, who's been relaxing with a cuppa enjoying the scene, becomes an active participant, with a baby to nurse!
Then the girls swapped roles & played the scene all over again. After all, Talitha deserves to have a turn at being a pretty Princess too!
I wouldn't trade my girls for anything. It's my prayer as they grow older that they'll choose to hide God's Word in their hearts, with the same delight they take in hiding Baby Moses under the dining table.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
How We Teach Modesty to Our Daughters
It can be scary raising girls in today's society where dress standards have dropped so dramatically. I feel blessed to have grown up with a mother who always set a good example for me in that area. I was born in 1967 & throughout my childhood I can always remember my Mum wearing modest dresses & dressing them up with stockings & nice shoes whenever we went to town. She only wore slacks when it was very cold. There may have been a pair of jeans hiding in her wardrobe, but I can hardly remember them seeing the light of day. She followed in the footsteps of her mother who was always a picture of modest elegance.
My! How standards have dropped in the last 40 years! Most clothing now is either hardly there, downright ugly, ripped or torn, or so androgenous you can't tell if one is male or female.
The saddest thing of all is how dress standards have dropped in the Church. I can understand an unbeliever coming to Church dressed immodestly. We need to accept them & love them into the kingdom of God, but why isn't anyone preaching modesty to the believers anymore? It's part of the practical side of basic New Testament teaching: 1Tim 2:9-10, 1 Peter3:3-4. I rarely hear these books preached on from the pulpit these days.
So much of the world has seeped into the Church, it's hard to tell the difference between the two.
Does not the Bible say in Titus 2:11-15,
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness & worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
The main reason is so that we don't stumble our brothers in Christ. Men have been designed to be stimulated by the visual. Life can be full of temptations for them in the work or marketplace-why make life hard for them when they're trying to worship God?
So how do you train your daughters to embrace modesty & femininity in a world that screams otherwise?
We haven't figured it out fully, but here are some of the things we do:
1. Set a good example yourself as a Mother.(Think modest, feminine & tidy- not sloppy)
2. Our 2 little girls are too little at 4 & 2 to understand the stumbling block principle, so we teach them that they are set apart to God & precious, so they must keep their bodies covered & be happy they are girls.
3.Be careful what examples you set before their eyes: We have a lot of old-fashioned prints in our home& vintage children's picture books on the shelves. I like these not only for the good moral stories, but the images of purity & innocence.
4. Our girls don't play with Bratz or Barbie dolls. As an alternative we bought Talitha a very pretty Queen Esther doll & taught her the story too. She also has a modestly dressed Singapore Airlines attendant. Zara has a Disney Jane doll from Tarzan in a very old fashioned yellow dress.
Of course they love their baby & little girl dolls too.
5. We find pretty modest dresses for them usually secondhand. We also have family & friends on the lookout for us too. When they swim they wear a "rash T shirt" & pretty board shorts.
These are just a few things besides prayer that we do with our girls. We will be building on these as they get older. Already Talitha will tell us if she notices that someone is not modestly dressed. We make sure she knows how blessed she is to be taught these things & that other people may not have been taught the whys & hows of modesty. Being modest with a proud heart is pure legalism-that is not what we're aiming for. Still we are pleased that she is discerning modesty from immodesty at such a young age.
We hope to find some like-minded families so we can provide a positive peer influence for the girls as they grow older.
Has anyone else any ideas to share on bringing up little girls to be modest?