Heart Reflections Live

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

They Bring So Much Joy

We had one of those topsy-turvey days you couldn't plan on yesterday...
Hubby woke up at 2am and realized immediately that his heart had ticked over into Aterial Fibulations and we had another emergency on our hands. After praying for the time it would take for the ambulance to get him to Emergency and packing his hospital things, I went back to bed, managed to get a little more sleep and was up before 6am. I rang the hospital to check on his condition before getting the children up, and I was able to speak to him briefly, as he had been stablized, but not Fixed yet.
Our children both prayed for Daddy as we had a quick breakfast and prepared for a longer than usual time at the hospital, while we awaited what would be his 20th Cardio-inversion and recovery. Needless to say I cancelled school for Talitha that day and packed them both a lunch.
After reminders of being on their best behaviour as there are many sick people in Coronary Care, the girls were excellent sitting on the floor with their Little Golden Books.
After Max was "fixed" ( yet again), I took the girls to my parents place for a few hours to chill out and de-stress. And de-stress they did! running rampant as they dealt with their own stresses in their own childish ways. I just about needed to de-stress myself again after that afternoon!
But how good they were again at the hospital on our return! Talitha tried to help 2 members of staff when they dropped things, and they helped a sweet little boy of about 2 years of age stay amused as he was also waiting in CCU as a visitor. Fortunately the ward was nearly empty as they staged an impromptu concert- "The Roberts Sisters" singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children", followed by Hillsongs "One Way Jesus" (she learned that one at school) and a Hi-5 number we had to can as they got a little too exuberant! Talitha even shared her one cookie with the little boy.
Our children have their days like any kids when they can be sooo naughty, but it fills our hearts with gratefullness to God, when we see their loving care and service for others and simple faith-filled prayers on what was such a difficult and stress filled day. We are all grateful too that once again the Lord has seen fit to allow my husband and their Daddy more time to live and glorify God this side of heaven.
I thought you'd enjoy this photo of our girls playing under their Snow Tree Cubby in our front garden. They truly bring us so much joy!!

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 10:34 am 0 comments

Sunday, October 28, 2007

You Can't Blame a Little Girl for Trying!!

Little Miss 5 and I were recently having a disagreement and she was desparate to turn Mama's "No" into a "Yes".

"No, Darling."

"But you have to say Yes- God told me to!"

"Oh, really. That's very interesting... He didn't tell me."

"That's because you were listening to God the Son. I was listening to God the Father!"

Before you start questioning our theological leanings, don't worry, we are Trinitarians and Miss 5 and Miss 3 are both well schooled in how God is 3 in 1. But don't let that innocent smile fool you! It's now on record that our clever little girl will even try to missuse Scripture to get her own way!

Here is our little Talitha dressed as "Mary Had a Little Lamb", at a Nursery Rhyme dress-up day at school earlier this year.

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 10:02 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Deceptions of a Manufactured Generation

Once upon a time...There was no such thing as a...."Teenager". Teenager? No such thing? Yep, there was no such thing as a teenager. Those between 12 and 21 were classified as young ladies or Young men, collectively as youth. Hence the beginning of such organizations as "The Young Mens' Christian Association" (YMCA) and "The Young Women's Christian Association" (YWCA).

The word teenager was manufactured in the 1950's- a product of commercialism that spawned not only a new generation, but a generation gap as well.

David Cloud said in his article on MYSPACE:Rock and roll created the “teen culture” in the 1950s. Prior to that, while young people had some different interests than adults and while there has always been some rebellion toward the older generation and a desire to “do my own thing,” which comes from our fallen nature, there was not such a wide gulf between youth and adults. Prior to the rock & roll explosion, young people often liked the same movie stars as their parents and wore the same dress styles and even liked the same music. Top hits of the 1940s and early 1950s before the onslaught of rock were “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” ‘The Good Ship Lollypop,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Catch a Falling Star,” “The Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy,” “I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus,” “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” “Mr. Sandman,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Sentimental Me,” “The Doggie in the Window,” “The Typewriter,” “This Ole House,” “Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You),” and “High Noon.” The vast majority of hits was morally innocent and was loved by young and old alike. In contrast, by the late 1950s and 1960s the top hits were “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” “The Twist,” “A Big Hunk of Love,” “Louie Louie,” “Purple Haze,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “House of the Rising Sun,” “Good Lovin,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Honky Tonk Woman,” “Wild Thing,” “Devil with a Blue Dress,” “Revolution,” and “Gimme Some Loving.”
The rock & roll phenomenon created an entirely separate youth culture with its very own clothes, music, movies, and attitude. Youth became a style. Young people began to be more influenced by disc jockeys and rock musicians and fashion designers than by their parents and teachers. For multitudes of young people, what’s cool became the be-all and end-all of their lives. Their innate selfishness and rebellion to authority was encouraged and enflamed by the youth culture. " Read his entire article if you wish www.wayoflife.org/fbns/myspace-or-gods.html

So that gives you a bit of a picture of how it all began and it's expanded since then with the marketeers trying to create another group- "The Tweenagers" or Tweenies- children practicing for teenagerhood, reading their Barbie magazines as a prelude to "Dolly", developing anorexia and nagging their parents for the latest fashions that imitate their favourite "Bratz" dolls. (Sorry folks but Bratz dolls still look like hookers in my book).

So...what was it like for those 12 to 21 before the teenager was invented? In many cultures- especially the Judeo-Christian culture- the age of 12 has always signified a transition into adulthood, it's an age of greater accountability for sin. Note how the Jews celebrate the Bar Mitsvah for boys and the Bat Mitsvah for girls. Jesus was 12 when he knew that he must be about his Father's business.

Some Christian denominations have confirmation around this age or soon after, or have conversation with those young one's who have grown up in the church in preparation to take the Lord's Supper. I experienced conviction of sin for the first time around this age and came to know Jesus as my personal saviour.

In our family read-a-loud time, we recently came across this passage from "Anne of Green Gables":

It's such a solemn thing to be almost 14, Marilla. Miss Stacy took all us girls who are in our teens down to the brook last Wednesday, and talked to us about it. She said we couldn't be too careful what habits we formed and what ideals we aquired in our teens, because by the time we were 20 our characters would be developed and the foundation laid for our whole future life. And she said that if the foundation was shaky we could never build anything really worthwhile on it. Diana and I talked the matter over coming home from school. We felt extremely solemn, Marilla. And we discovered that we would try to be very careful indeed and form respectable habits and learn all we could and be as sensible as possible, so that by the time we were 20 our characters would be properly developed.

I believe the book, "Stepping Heavenward"has some of the same principles. We have a copy of "Beautiful Girlhood" by Mabel Hale which I plan to read with our girls around the early teen years.

If you examine the cultural goings on prior to the 1950's, you'll find that much of the music, movies and literature of the time was consistant with Phillipians 4:8, whether the content was Christian or not. Look at the innoncence of the themes of many of the old Shirley Temple films:some of them were taken from the wholesome classics of the time-Heidi, A Little Princess, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm... In her famous song "When I Grow Up", she aspired towards marriage and then Grandmotherhood. Her character wanted to be a wife and Mum- not Paris Hilton!- what unrealistic role models children have today...

In other films of the time, charcters courted with a view to marriage, they didn't serial date- how times have changed:( Oh for the days when the "Hayes Code" kept movies decent!

Our little ones are nowhere near the teen years yet, and I still have much to learn as a parent, but I believe that avoiding a lot of modern youth culture and pop-culture in general, enjoying healthy multigenerational relationships, as opposed to peer-orientated ones can, with the Grace of God, help bridge the gap between 12 and 21 with a truly noble path to adulthood.

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:55 pm 2 comments

Monday, October 15, 2007

Homeschool Advice- Help Wanted

We are prayerfully considering a change next year in our daughter's schooling and Christian Homeschooling is one of the options we are looking at.

I've been checking out some free curriculums online such as http://oldfashionededucation.com/ I like curriculums with lots of reading-especially classics, the King James Bible, and a Creation Science perspective. This is an American curriculum, but we are willing to supplement it with Australian material.
I would appreciate some advice from Australian Homeschoolers, especially on the legalities of doing this. It doesn't bother us if there is no official accreditation at the end, so long as our children have a good education, but, we want whatever we decide to do to be legal. I am searching the net for such information now, but really don't know where to start. I like methods such as classical (like the Trivium Pursuit website) and the Charlotte Mason method, but want to keep our costs as low as possible. We already have an extensive home library and know that some books are available for free online.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 10:05 am 2 comments

Is It Just Me....

Is it just me or does any one else think that children today are rather spoilt with the range of children's footwear available to them on the market ?
Now, don't get me wrong, as a Mum of 2 little girls, I love them to look pretty, feminine and be comfortable, but my, how things have changed in the last 35 years or so!
I can remember, as a little girl, nearly always having a pair of white (usually leather) sandals for going out- in the days when everyone dressed up to go shopping-, a pair of leather school shoes (usually Clarkes), yellow gumboots , slippers, and a pair of sneakers and thongs (flip-flops) for around the house. These days it's not uncommon to find potential Imelda Marcos's with a pair to match nearly ever outfit or occasion.
Being frugal folk, we do try to buy ahead with footwear- especially if there is a shoe outlet closing down or something like that. We've done this a couple of times before,buying what we can afford going up in sizes to store away. We have paid $15 a pair before for good quality leather shoes that retail for around $65 per pair and yes, we do pass shoes down from older sibling to younger- but only if they're comfortable.
My husband has also picked up some lovely shoes for our daughters while on ministry trips to South East Asia. It is very cheap there to buy good quality leather shoes. Mary-Janes and elegant- not chunky- clogs are a favourite with our girls. Children's shoes are quite expensive here in Australia. We usually buy sneakers and the like from Big W.
We much prefer quality over quantity- after all how many pairs can a child wear at once anyway?

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:26 am 2 comments

Monday, October 08, 2007

Embracing the Culture of Family, Hearth and Home

It's not the homemaker section at your local department store that makes your house a home. You know, the new season towels, sheets and kitchenware that make you feel like you're keeping up with the Joneses...

"Things" are important in the family home- otherwise we'd be eating off the floor!- but we need to move beyond superficiality to what really matters.

Are designer sheets that important? No, but memories past and preserved,and the living memories happening daily, are part of the culture of family and home that we must embrace.

The traditions we have as a Christian family become the mortar between the Living Stones that bind us together.

We have done , for a long time now, eaten our evening meal together as a family and recently we started to do the same with breakfast. My husband remembered with fond joy,as a child, enjoying a laden table with much to choose from, complete with a china butter dish and toast rack. Through our garage saleing and op-shopping, we recently purchased a china butter dish and a toast rack of our own- complete with little jam trays- and now these have become part and parcel of our family's traditions.

I set the table nicely, put out a selection of breakfast cereals, toppings for toast, make the cuppas, and sometimes an omelette for my husband if he requests one. We all pray together, as we do at our evening meal, and enjoy family time together. A quick bowl of cereal on my own, with a teabag dangling in a mug, doesn't compare anymore. I thought I was saving time, but our new method doesn't really take the time to prepare, that I thought it would.

Everything we have or do in our homes, becomes an important building block in our children's memories. The music we play, the books we read, Family devotions, the scents in the bathroom, the aromas in the kitchen, the sweetness of our temper- all add up.

We women need to embrace the culture of family, hearth and home: simple tasks undertaken in love, can be the difference between the beautiful and the prosaic.

It's easy to become a bit flat in our homemaking duties, where we start to do things the quickest or easiest way. When I'm tired or not well, that special effort tends to fly out the window with me and I need a kick in the pants or a fresh dose of inspiration to get me going again.

The Bible says, "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing." I know when I'm feeling this way, I need to spend more time in God's Word-This is an investment in your time- it won't eat your time!and I take a bit of time out to flip through my old collection of "Victoria" magazines from the 1990's. They inspire me in the "art of living" once again, as I read of the simple, beautiful things that make such a difference to those we love.

Our homes are a place of refuge from the chaos of the world outside, not a pit-stop and a change room. We have to live in our homes anyway- why not live beautifully and do all of our tasks to the glory of God.

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 2:07 pm 0 comments

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Thoughts on Holy Communion

When we take Holy Communion, or The Lord's Supper, we hold in our hands a simple piece of bread and a small cup of juice.

These simple elements represent Jesus Himself- His body which was broken- whipped, scourged and then nailed to the cross and His blood that was shed for the remission of our sins.

All through God's Word, blood was always shed for the remission of sins and Jesus was the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the world. With Jesus, the sacrificial system finished, the temple veil was torn in 2 and the way was opened before us to be able to commune with God intimately-just as Adam did in the beginning!

This overwhelms me! The nails didn't have to hold Jesus to the cross- His love for me did! God's Word says I was foreknown by God. He loved me so much, that instead of calling on God's angels to loose Him- which He had the authority to do- He stayed there and bore the penalty of my sin. He believed I was worth something.

We are ALL sinners. God is a righteous God and by His Law, sin in any degree or form must be punished- and it was- through His Son!! If we humbly come to God in repentance, confessing to Him that we are sinners and asking Him to have mercy on us and save us- HE WILL!!! He sent Jesus to die in our place! But we must believe and receive it.

ROM 5:8 says, " But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

God had it in hand all along. He called me and drew me to Himself, as a child, lovingly showed me my selfishness and pride and pointed me to the cross. How could I resist this wonderful love!

There is one other thing that I'm reminded of every time I take Holy Communion, and that is UNITY. We Christians are all the Body of Christ now here on earth. We are all part of one another, as Christ lives in us.

Jesus prayed for us in John chapter 17:21 He said, "That they all may be one, as Thou, father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me."

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 2:32 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Christian Hospitality

More wisdom from "Uncle Tom's Cabin":

"It was the first time that ever George had sat down on equal terms at any white man's table; and he sat down, at first, with some constraint and awkwardness; but they all exhaled and went off like fog, in the genial morning rays of this simple, overflowing kindness.

This, indeed, was a home- home- a word that George had never yet known a meaning for; and a belief in God, and trust in His providence, began to encircle his heart, as, with a golden cloud of protection and confidence, dark, misanthropic, pining, atheistic doubts, and fierce despair melted away before the light of a living Gospel, breathed in living faces, preached by a thousand unconscious acts of love and goodwill, which, like the cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple, shall never lose their reward."

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posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 7:27 pm 0 comments