Heart Reflections Live
Monday, May 28, 2007
The Gentle Influence of a Godly Wife
Extract from "John Bunyan", by John Brown:
"On the disbanding of the army in 1646, Bunyan returned to his tinkering life at Elstow, & 2 or 3 years later took to himself a wife. Who she was & where he found her we have now no means of knowing. There is no entry of the marriage in the register at Elstow, which may arise from the fact that he found her at a distance, or that they were , according to the custom of the Commonwealth, married before some Justice of the Peace whose registers are lost. Apparently she was an orphan & a native of some other place than Elstow, for she used to talk to Bunyan about her father as though they were unknown to each other, telling him
what a godly man he was & how he would reprove & correct vice both in his house & amongst his neighbours; what a strict & holy life he lived in his days both in word & deed.
W e know not who she was, we do not even know her Christian name, but we do know that her advent brought to Bunyan what he had not had since his mother's death, a real home brightened by the presence of love. It was not brightened by much else.
This woman & I came together as poor as might be, not having so much household stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us both.
It was an unpromising beginning, but many that are more promising turn out worse. It may be that where there are health & hope & honest industry, mutual love & trust can better supply the lack of dish & spoon than an abundance of dishes & spoons can supply the lack of love.
Though the young wife bought no dower of wealth to her husband, she brought to him that which wealth cannot buy- saintly memories of a godly home & trained instincts for good; &, as we have seen, she would beguile their summer evening walks & their fireside winter talks by memories of the good man, her father, who had gone to heaven. She brought with her also 2 books which had been his, the one, The Plain Man's Path-way to Heaven by Arthur Dent, the parish minister of Shoebury in Essex, and the other, The Practice of Piety, by Lewis Bayly, a Bishop of Bangor, in King James' time.
In these I would sometimes read with her, wherin I also found some things that were somewhat pleasing to me."
John Bunyan was saved by the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ a short while later.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Learning to Turn Her Eyes from Evil
While she has always been quick to point out anything wrong or evil she notices, she is now actively turning her face away from whatever it is, as well of her own accord.
For example, "The Simpsons" is programmed to begin straight after the channel 10 news. We usually change to the local news on another channel, straight after the 10 news. Sometimes we'll be at the table eating dinner as the 10 news finishes & if one of us is a little slow in getting up to change the channel, The Simpsons theme music comes on, & Talitha says, "Quick! Change the channel! The Yukky show is coming on!". Now she used to say this as she stared at the TV intently out of curiosity, but now she is turning her head away & telling Zara to do so too!
Also, on Sunday night, we were at my Mum & Dad's place relaxing in the lounge room, the TV was on & "Ugly Betty" had started. Talitha came into the room & started to watch a bit, so I thought I'd better keep an eye on the show, as I wasn't very familiar with it. Anyway, a few minutes later they had a scene in a strip club! I grabbed the hand control- "Mum!", I said, "I 'm turning this off- visually inappropriate stuff!!"
Anyway, Talitha left the room suddenly & went to see my hubby who was finishing up on the computer in another room. My first thought was that she was going to challenge my authority & complain to Dad that Mum turned her show off.
How wrong I was & how pleasantly surprised. They both came out of the room a few minutes later & I said, "I had to turn the TV off- there was visually inappropriate stuff!"
Hubby said, "Yes, I know." Talitha came & told me that "Ugly Betty" was a very bad show. She had heard a male character say just before it was turned off that he had lots of girlfriends and boyfriends. And she said that was very bad!! And it was a very bad show & she didn't want to watch it anymore.
Praise the Lord!! Talitha has been learning at school the old Sunday school classic "Be careful Little Eyes what You See..." I've talked to her at length about guarding her heart, not conforming to what other kids say is OK, as every family has its own standards, and looking at Phillipians 4:8 as a good measuring stick for things.
God's Word is impacting her little heart. I pray she will stay true to her convictions as she grows in grace & truth.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Frugality Can Be Fun!!
What does the word "Frugality" depict to you? Does it make you picture a penny-pinching mean & miserable type of life? Or does it mean something quite different to you?
To us it's an absolute necessity, but one we've embraced wholeheartedly, as a form of Christian Stewardship & yes it's something we've embraced as fun! If we didn't choose to live very frugally, there would be no way I could stay home to raise our children, and as I'm passionate about that, I'm passionate about frugality too. When something means that much to someone, it makes sacrificing that much easier, some days it doesn't feel like sacrifice at all.
People who know us well are often surprised at what we actually live on- I guess they think we don't look that poor! or live in a stingy manner. So how do we do it?, they all ask. Here are some of our top tips:
FOOD & GROCERIES:
-Invest in a separate freezer. Find out what time of the day your local supermarkets put markdowns on everything. Stock up on markdowned meat, bread & even veges. (We don't freeze these.)
-Buy most of your fruit & veges from local markets. Again aim to get there just before closing. We frequently get enough not only to stock up ourselves, but to be able to bless family & friends.
-Bake from scratch. We rarely buy sweets, cakes or biscuits, unless they're crackers, & home-baked stuff tastes soooo much better. Buy store brand flour & other ingredients & you'll save heaps.
-Learn to make your own sauces for meals. If you can make a basic white sauce, it can be turned into lemon & dill sauce; cheese sauce, herb sauces or whatever. The only cook in sauce we buy is spaghetti sauce on special. This saves a lot of money.
-Buy basic no-name breakfast cereals & add sultanas, cheap oatbran etc as topping.
-Regularly check for specials on food, cleaning products or toiletries at places like Crazy Clarks etc.
-We spend next to nothing on cleaning supplies. We use microfibre cleaning cloths & water- Not expensive Enjos- vinegar & bi-carb & basics like bleach & antiseptic when required.
-Our family usually wears fairly dressed up type clothes in very classic styles that don't date.
-We buy a lot of it 2nd hand, though people would find it hard to tell the 2nd hand from the new. Sometimes we buy good quality new clothes on sale & they last for years.
-Both our little girls prefer wearing dresses over pants, which is great as they fit for longer! A long dress with a pretty top underneath will get a lot more wear than a t-shirt & jeans if your children are long-waisted like ours. They tend to outgrow things like tracksuits very quickly & we consider it not modest for their tummys to show, or if they bend over playing, for their tops to ride up at the back. Dresses are so much neater & of course with 2 little girls everything gets worn twice over. Zara gets quite excited when she receives one of Talitha's outgrown dresses.
HOUSEHOLD & OTHER:
-I try to keep lists of things we'd like from books to things for the house & you'd be amazed what we've gotten by shopping at op-shops, Ebay, garage sales & markets. Secondhand bookshops are another favourite & we have an extensive home library. It can be fun shopping almost exclusively 2nd hand. I'm a real vintage girl too, so unless something is vintage, timeless or classic, I'm usually not interested anyway!!
-Buy the way, for those with babies we've always used cloth nappies, except for night-time & going out. We've always bought the cheapest brand napisan & nappies & wipes too & never had any trouble with them.
-Make the most of free resources like the internet, the library & parks.
-Line dry your clothes
-Forsake the coffee shops & entertain at home
-We pay for my hubby's haircuts, but our girls & I keep our hair classic & long- after all the Bible does call long hair the glory of a woman & when required, I ask my husband if he'll trim us. To be honest I believe my hair looks better today than when I was single & lived at the hairdresser!
These are just some of the things we do as part of living a frugal lifestyle, I hope they'll give you a few ideas or maybe, you could comment & add your own ideas to the list, after all sharing ideas is what bloggings all about!!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Meditations on Motherhood
It works in such a strange way! The more I give, the more I gain. The more I lay down my life, the more He'll raise me up & help me run my race with joy. It has taken life as a Christian Mum, to help me totally abhor the selfishness in my own life, as that's one thing I don't want to pass on to the next generation. Through God's grace I know that if I set a bad example by displaying grumpyness or if I react angrily when they misbehave, I can turn my bad example into a good one by displaying repentance & by asking forgiveness to instantly restore the breach. It's a good thing to learn & teach repentance & grace...
I am always inspired to do better by the examples of those who have lived before...
Dwight L. Moody wrote about his Mother...
"It is a great honour to be the son of such a Mother...I could not praise her enough. In the first place, my mother was a very wise woman. In one sense she was wiser than Solomon; she knew how to bring up her children. She had 9 children, and they all loved their home. She won their hearts, their affections; she could do anything with them...
Whenever I wanted real sound counsel I used to go to my mother. She so bound her children to her that it was a great calamity to have to leave home...
I remember when George got work, we asked who was going to milk the cows. Mother said she would milk. She also made our clothes, and wove the cloth, and spun the yarn, and darned our stockings; and their was never in all those years, any complaining... That dear face! There was no sweeter face on Earth...
Now I have the old Bible- the family Bible- it all came from that book. That is about the only book we had in the house when Father died, and out of that book she taught us. And if my Mother has been a blessing to this world, it is because she drank at that fountain."
Mothers, Mrs Moody was a single Mum who raised her brood with no help from Social Security. God was truly her strength. She mourned the loss of her sweetheart so much so that she cried herself to sleep every night for years, but found peace & strength for the morrow from the Scriptures. Let us resolve to spend more time drinking from that fountain ourselves & making time to sit at Jesus' feet, to learn to be more like Him, even when the challenges of life hit. We were never meant to do it alone...
Have a blessed and happy Mother's Day!!!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
All of Grace
"All of Grace" by C.H.Spurgeon, is one of the most treasured items on my bookshelf. It's been many years since I first read it, and I still remember how impossible it was to lay it down, & the buckets of tears I shed while reading it. I was already a Christian at the time, but never had I heard the way of Salvation so simply & beautifully expressed. Oh, for God to raise up more preachers like Spurgeon, who don't water down the gospel message!
If you've never read it, I urge you to & I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
Here is another quote from "The Prince of Preachers":
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. It is a very surprising thing- a thing to be marvelled at most of all by those who enjoy it. I know that it is to me, even to this day, the greatest wonder that I have ever heard of- that God should ever justify ME. I feel myself to be a lump of unworthiness, a mass of corruption, and a heap of sin apart from His almighty love. I know and am fully assured that I am justified by faith which is in Christ Jesus. I am treated as if I had been perfectly just and made an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. And yet by nature I must take my place among the most sinful. I, though altogether undeserving, am treated as if I had been deserving. I am loved with as much love as if I had always been godly, whereas before I was ungodly. Who can help being astonished at this? Gratitude for such favour stands dressed in robes of wonder.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
What's Central to Your Life?
Let's go on a journey together...Back through time, to a little country town...Look!There is the Library, the Town Hall, the village school, and the Church in the middle... The centre of all that happens there-the joys of New Life, love and marriage, the goodbyes as our loved ones go on to glory & the many Lord's Days, as families fellowship together, worship Jesus Christ & rest from the week's toil and labour. Sundays were quiet days, restful days- none of the shops were open...
Keep imagining with me...Let's walk home with an imaginary family-Mum & Dad, 3 little girls & a baby boy... Home is an easy stroll with baby in the pram... It's wonderful living so close to Church & CHALLENGING too...Living in such close proximity to everyone in town, requires everyone to keep short accounts with God & Man. Many learn the wisdom of not taking offence in the first place.
The family arrives home, relaxing on the front porch, while Mum sets the table & finishes preparing Sunday lunch. The front porch is a wonderful, cool place to relax. The family waves at their neighbours as they pass by. The children refrain from quarrelling- after all they have been taught the Fear of the Lord, & who wants to be seen quarrelling on the front porch anyway...
Mum calls us in for Sunday lunch... We give thanks to the Lord for His gracious provision, enjoy the meal & each other...Then Dad gets out the family Bible ( the one they received on their Wedding Day), reads the Word, & leads family devotions...
My reason for visiting times past, is to illustrate that in olden times, the centre of town was the Church, & the centre of the home was the Word of God & family life.
Modern techno living has succeeded in many cases, to sweep this away. The centre of many communities is now the shopping mall- with its call to "Buy Now- Pay Later!"- materialism & hedonism. They are even open Sundays now, tempting people even more away from going to church.
In many homes now, individualism reigns. Children have access to their own TVs, DVDs, computers & techno-games. They don't even have to share anymore. Having all these gadgets at their fingertips, means they can indulge their flesh ant time they like; setting the scene for lack of self-control in adolescence & adulthood.
People may be spending more money on their homes, but spending less time there together, relating as a family...
Here is the challenge I want to present: Technology can be both a blessing & a curse. Time is short. Eternity is long. If these things in our modern world, are separating us as families, or not growing us Spiritually, we need to consider pulling the plug!Sometimes they may be beneficial, sometimes not...
Read Deut 6:6-7 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, & shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down & when thou risest up."
If both parents are working full-time, how can this happen? If everyone's wrapped up in their own piece of technology, how can this happen? If the family is constantly going in different directions, how can this happen?
My plea is to learn from our forebears... Jer. 6:16 "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, & see, & ask for the old paths, where is the good way, & walk therein, & ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."
Find ways to spend time together... Establish the Family Meal Table... Spend time in the Word of God TOGETHER... We may need to sacrifice some material enjoyments to do this, but then sometimes less can be more...Strong families build strong churches & strong communities.
What's central to YOUR life? I pray you'll find it's the Word of God, your family, & the fellowship of your local church.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
A Mothers' Worth
While the world slept peacefully,
To bring to mind the wakeful nights
That Mother spent with me.
I had to climb the stair at dusk
With sleepy children too,
To know how weary she was when
Her busy day was through.
I had to make decisions that
Brought many heavy sighs,
The way she disenchanted dreams
Of mine that were unwise.
No dearer Mother, I was sure,
Had ever graced the Earth,
But I had to be a Mother too,
To truly know her worth.
by Guelda Nieboer Klooster