Heart Reflections Live

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mary Jones & Her Bible

I have just finished reading aloud the classic true life story of "Mary Jones & Her Bible" (published by Christian Focus), to Talitha & Zara. They really enjoyed it. It has long been a favouite of mine. I get so inspired by that little girl's courage & determination, her devotion to her family & of course that long barefoot walk to secure her beloved Bible.

Mary truly recognized & sought the "pearl of great price". As she diligently worked & saved her pennies, there must have been many other things, even in those days-like hair ribbons or even nice fabric for new clothes- that she could have spent that money on, but nothing swayed her. Her heart was fixed-undivided.

It got me thinking of the affluent life that even the poorer of people in the Western World live today & how distracting it can be with all the choices we have. Mary learnt what it was to sacrifice as she saved her pennies 6 years for her Bible, & from then on saved every little penny she really didn't need, to give to 2 other Bible Societies,so that others could have the Bread of Life.

May we all learn to be more like Mary & have eyes to discern what is truly important from what is not.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 4:29 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Daily Challenge

I was recently re-reading an old journal of mine recently & came across this extract from a devotional that I copied down 11 years ago.It is still just as convicting now as then,even though my life's circumstances are now totally different & I have different responsibilities. Being too wrapped up in whatever moment we are in, whether it be good or bad is basically self-centredness & can cause us to miss many golden opportunities to share the gospel.

"If I have eaten my morsel alone."
The patriarch spoke with scorn;
What would he think of the Church were he shown
Godless, Christless, with soul unfed,
While the Church's ailment is fullness of Bread,
Eating her morsel alone?

"Freely ye have received, so give,"
He bade,who hath given us all.
How shall the soul in us longer live
Deaf to their starving call,
For whom the blood of the Lord was shed,
And His body broken to give them bread,
If we eat our morsel alone!
-Archbishop Alexander
"Where is Abel thy brother?" (Gen 4:9)

This devotional reminds me of Prov. 24 :11-12 If though forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, & those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? & he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? & shall he not render to every man according to his works?

Lord deliver us from being so consumed by self!
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 2:32 pm 1 comments

Sunday, October 22, 2006

God's Provision

We will be moving house in the next month, as our rental home has been sold & the new owners will be wanting to occupy the house.

Here is an amazing testimony of how God has gone before us & has our new home ready & waiting for us.

Rental accomodation is very hard to come by on the whole of South East Queensland where we live.Few are advertised with many applying for those homes, with prices ranging from an average of $250- $400+ AUD. We were praying for a house $240 maximium, bigger than our current very tiny house & with a bath-tub.

I was talking with a Christian friend recently, whose family had also been praying for new accomodation. They had just found a place & were preparing to move.

She asked what we needed & I said more space inside the house & a bath-tub for the children. She told me of a private rental, she had found through a church contact, that they didn't need, as they'd been accepted elsewhere the day before. We had a look at the outside of the house & we were quite excited, as it was in our favourite part of the coast & very similar to a house I had dreamed about a few months before ( 1970's-80's colours & very big). There is heaps of storage space, air conditioning, & a bath! What really amazed me was that I knew the owner through my parents! We will be paying $ 190 per week!

Praise the Lord! God owns the cattle on the thousand hills & is our provider no matter what our income is. Don't be afraid to take your needs to His throne of grace. He will truly meet you there.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:19 pm 2 comments

Monday, October 16, 2006

Christian Fantasy & Allegories

Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time, knows how much we love books & reading, & are always looking for additions to our home library that are godly, edifying, well-written, classic & have good morals in them.

I've discovered a problem with some Christian fiction books, that I would classify as fantasy or allegory.

Some allegories I love. eg. John Bunyan's The Pilgrims Progress (I found out 10 years ago that I'm a direct descendant of John Bunyan, through my paternal grandfather-all of my Dad's side of the family love to write). I'm not biased though- It's a brilliant book. I also love Hannah Hurnard's "Hinds Feet on High Places" & "Mountains of Spices". I would describe these allegories as very pure with clear biblical pictures.

Now here's where I feel the problem lies...We have a lovely volume of Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales, some of which are beautiful, clear allegories that point us to Christ & the Bible.Eg. I love "The Loveliest Rose in the World", "What the Whole Family Said", & "The Emporers New Clothes" & a few others are lovely & Pure. But I've found some very "muddy waters" in the same book & some others where I can't sense a peace to read them to my children. Some seem quite frightening, & while I don't mind a story having a witch in it if she gets her just desserts; I DO have a problem when the hero or heroine participates in the magic to achieve something-even if the end is good. To me this is an abomination. The good & bad are mixed together & the truth is muddied. How can this be spiritually healthy for our children?

The Narnia series presents the same problem for me. I read the whole series when I was a younger Christian & was troubled enough to get rid of the books. I have no problem understanding Aslan as a type of Christ, but the first book in the series has the main characters practicing magic & references to what sounds like a pre-Adamic race & the Gap Theory, which after studying I find biblically incorrect.

The story of the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, is probably the least problematic for me, but still the mix of the pagan & Divine imagery, especially the half-human/half-beast mythological creatures, bothers me.

We've decided not to include the Narnia series in our library. We might let the children, when older, watch the new Disney Narnia movie under supervision, explaining how Aslan's sacrifice is similar to Jesus dying in our place & rising again.

What do you all think? Do you have any favourite Christian books? 1 Tim 1:4 says "Neither give heed to fables & endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith:so do". Does this scripture, as well as Phil.4:8, guide you when choosing good books-or not? I welcome your thoughts on this.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:26 pm 7 comments

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fresh Produce

How I love fresh produce!! We now have a fridge full of fresh fruit & veges. We went out to a local market as a family outing on Saturday morning & came back with 2 big boxes of fruit & veg for $10 per box (AUD). Bargain!!

I'm blessed to have a husband who LOVES to shop!! When he's not overseas, he does all our food shopping. I call him my "hunter & gatherer". In some ways it's harder for me to meal plan this way, but at least he is buying what he would like ( as well as what we would like), & I try to plan around the fresh stuff first-this is forcing me to become more flexible, something that doesn't come easily to me, but is essential for me to learn to become a better wife & Mother. I wish I could say that nothing gets wasted , but I'm not quite there yet. I've learned to stew fruit that is on the way out, either to put in a pie or to have as dessert with icecream or custard.

There are skills my Grandmothers used & took for granted that would be scoffed at by today's instant-microwave society.They wasted nothing. I still need to improve in this area.

I'm looking forward to eating fresh stuff all day today. Must go & plan dinner for tonight.See Ya!
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 10:54 am 1 comments

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Rich Family

This story is not written by me. I found it on the internet a couple of years ago, printed it out & put it in my Bible cover.This true story really refutes the false & distorted prosperity message that seems to be creeping in everywhere these days. Read & enjoy...

I'll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister, Ocy, was 12, & my older sister, Darlene was 16. We lived at home with our mother,& the 4 of us knew what it was to do without. My Dad had died 5 years before, leaving Mom with no money & 7 school-aged kids to raise.

By 1946, my older sisters were married & my brothers had left home. A month before Easter, the Pastor of our church announced that a special holiday offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save & give sacrificially.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes & live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. Then we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible & didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house-& yard-cleaning jobs as possible, & both of us baby-sat for everyone we could. For 15cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make 3 potholders to sell for $1. We made $20 on potholders. That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark & talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so we figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the Pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The night before Easter, we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering. We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, & the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart & her feet got wet.

But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about our old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, & I felt rich.

When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting in the 2nd row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, & each of us kids put in a $20 bill.

We sang all the way home from church. At lunch, Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, & we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon, the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, & then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope & out fell a bunch of money. There were 3 crisp $20 bills, one $10 bill & 17 $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat & stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling poor. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom & our late Dad for parents & a house full of brothers & sisters & other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware & see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night. We had 2 knives that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family,so we must be poor, I thought. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress & worn-out shoes & felt so ashamed- I didn't even want to go back to church.Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

I thought about school. I was in the 9th grade & at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the 8th grade. That was all the Law required at the time.

We sat in silence for a long time.Then it got dark & we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school & came home, & no one talked much. Finally, on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way. Mom started to sing, but no one joined in, & she only sang 1 verse.

At Church was had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa ma de buildings out of sun-dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister added, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other& smiled for the 1st time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse& pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, & I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister a announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said," You must have some rich people in this church." Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100."

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From that day on, I've never been poor again.
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:01 pm 1 comments

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Rules the World

We have a fantastic book on Australian History called "Discovering Australia's Christian Heritage" by Col Stringer. I highly recommend it to any Australian & also to Christians from other nations with an interest in God's Providence.

I grabbed it off our bookshelf the other day to look up something on one of the early explorers of Australia-Fredrick Leichhardt (1813-1848). On our trip back from Emerald on the Capricorn Highway, we passed a sign indicating there was a tree marking by him not far off the main road, but we didn't have time to stop.

The account of Leichhardt was a fascinating & exciting one. What I enjoyed most was reading the extracts of his letters back home to his Mother in Germany. They were both committed Christians. It is implied that he was a single man committed to moral purity. His Mother brought him up in the ways of the Lord.

Quote: In a letter dated September 6th 1842 the explorer wrote to his mother: "I feel as innocent as when you last took me in your arms. And I have you to thank for it. Why? Because when I think of the source of my moral principles what comes to mind is the room with the tiny little window in our old house, where you taught us to say our prayers morning & evening, & made us aware of our Father which art in Heaven." (page 69)

Isn't it amazing! Out in the loneliness of the Australian Outback, possibly working alongside people of varying moral standards, & encountering natives in varying stages of undress, Leichhardt remained strong in His Lord, whose relationship was formed at his Mother's knee.

The Bible says that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge... She taught him simply what was best & it stayed with him for the rest of his life. What are we teaching our children- the fear of the Lord, or are we filling their hearts & minds with fluff & entertainment?

Our job is the most important on Earth- molding the next generation. If we don't do it, then the world will, or the TV will. We could raise godly explorers, missionaries, doctors, godly attorneys, Legislators, Pastors, & godly wives & Mums who'll pass the baton on to the next generation, all over again- have I got you excited?

The hand that rocks the cradle really can rule the world!!
posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:51 am 1 comments