Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Well, I missed last week's chat on the porch, but I have made it this week!   Enjoy, and feel free to join in!

1. Would you rather cook or clean house?
Erm, do I have to get my nearest and dearest to answer this?  Maybe not!...  

Cooking - definitely cooking!  I like the house to be clean - I'd rather have someone else do it, though! lol  I do it - I do the minimum (unless I have certain visitors coming.....), because I think there is so much more to life than having a house that you could use as a show home.  And, lets face it....I have 6 children.  I would wear myself to the bone if I tried to have it permanently spotless.  So, my standards have altered to accommodate!  Plus, we have yet to catch some dreadful illness from me forgetting to dust, or not cleaning the toilet every week day.  

Cooking - I love cooking.  I would dearly love to be more adventurous, but small children don't allow for that.  Robert and I sometimes have dinner when the kiddo's go to bed.  I tend to do the same thing when this happens, but I must try some new things.  I like watching cookery programmes, so I may try and emulate some of what I have seen recently!  Baking....I love that even more!

2. Who do you resemble in your family?

My Dad.  In looks, definitely! :-o  I once had someone meet for the first time and say "You must be David Cassells' daughter?!" - OUCH!  I asked if it was the bald head or the beard that gave it away......  

I do find myself SOUNDING like my Mum.  "Bethany, have you ripped ANOTHER skirt?!" (replace Bethany, with Caroline....)  "why on EARTH did you children do THAT?"

I am told I look like my sister - I can't see that.  

I am the one on the left, if you don't know me in person! 


3. Have you tried e-books yet?

I have a Kindle app on my ipod.  Does that count?  I have downloaded one book that way, but haven't read much of it yet!  I have downloaded a few, free recipe ebooks.  Also, 2 for encouraging wives and Mum's.  I just don't find it a relaxing medium to use, on the whole.  Give me a new book - smelling all lovely and, well, "booky" - and let me curl up on a sofa with it, and give it all my attention. Bliss. 

4. Do you collect anything?

Erm, following on from a previous question.....dust?  Does that count?

I used to collect thimbles.  I still have them somewhere, packed away in a box!  Some of them cot me a lot of hard-earned money.  Some of them my Dad lovingly brought back from his travels, preaching around the world!   He managed to find them in all sorts of places.  

When I was 12, our house was robbed.  I distinctly remember worrying about whether or not they may have stolen my thimbles.....yeah, because that was RIGHT at the top of their agenda....they had heard about this amazing collection, on da street....yep, children ARE egocentric!

I DO like those Willow figures, but really, they would only help me collect more of that dust I mentioned.  

I do also like kitchen gadgets!  I have the cutest little set of measuring spoons...they measure a smidgen, a dash and pinch! You'd be amazed how many recipes call for those quantities! ;-)

5. What's your favourite fall tradition?

Well, sadly, we don't have fall quite like American's and Canadian's do! :-( But, I DO love this time of year! I know some people hate it with a passion.  But, I love the nights closing in.  The shutting the curtains, turning on the soft lighting, and putting on my winter socks! (long, and stripey!)  

We love going out and collecting conkers!  I ADORE the GORGEOUS mahogany, shiny, swirly-patterned covering.  I love the green, prickly casing, with the velvety soft inside.  I can't stand that we end up with dried up, old conkers knocking about the house for weeks afterwards, because I can't think of anything smart to do with them.  And, I hate that they lose their gorgeous sheen, and don't look as pretty!  

We also have a family tradition, with my husband's side of the family.  We have Joshua, who's birthday is the end of October, and we have Jasper, my nephew, who's birthday is on the 5th of November (he arrived with a bang! lol)  So, the family gets together around that time, usually them coming up here (to my SIL's or mine - we live close by each other), and we eat, have fun together, and have FIREWORKS!  This year, we are doing things a bit differently, so we will have more space to let them off and enjoy them! :-)  Looking forward to it!  

So, there we have it.  Nice chatting with you all!  Hope the weather stays as warm with you, as it is here! :-)

Monday, 26 September 2011

Matriarch's on a Monday - Eve

I have been thinking.  (I hear could hear the strange noise, ALL the way from wherever you are...!) I have been thinking about how many women are mentioned in the Bible, and JUST how much there is to learnt from them.  As women in the 21st century, you could think that these ladies are just a part of the story of salvation, with little to apply to our modern lives!?  How wrong you would be.  Their lessons reach out to us across the thousands of years that have passed, and still have relevance today.  Indeed, they have more to teach us than so many of the bad examples of womanhood from today's society.

Where to start?  Well, there can only be one place to start, really.  At the beginning!  The woman who we "blame" for all our problems.  The one who passed onto us such things as the pain of childbirth.  And yet.....and YET, there are positive lessons to learn from the mother of all living.  Eve.

Can you imagine the first conscious moments of Eve.  To become aware of her surroundings, as God breathed life into her.  The most perfect picture of man that was ever created, was right before her.  (And you thought YOUR man was the most perfect picture of manhood?...sorry to disappoint!).  An absolutely stunning world, filled with beauty and splendour.  And, of course, I'm sure the feeling was mutual, as Adam woke from his deep sleep!  It's not everyone who wakes from his sleep to see something as beautiful as Eve, for the first time!

There is a tremendous picture for us, simply in the creation OF Eve.  Eve was created because "it was NOT good" for the first time in God's creation.  He created Adam, and realised that he was not complete.   That something - someone - was needed to complete his creation of man.  He NEEDED woman.  He had created all creatures male and female, so that they could procreate "after their kind".  But for man, it was so much more than that.  He was a living soul - different from the animals.  He needed a companion.  So, God created Eve.  To complete him.  So that they could be one.

I have always loved the analogy, heard so many times.  God did not take some of Adam's skull, so that woman would be over him, or from his foot, so that she would be under him - he took it from his side, so that she would be protected, close to his side, under his arm and equal with him before God.

However, don't we so often look to the biggie.  The part where everything falls apart.  Eve - the one who took the fruit.  The one who convinced her husband that he should eat of it, too.  The one who brought the curse upon womankind, so that they would forever have to submit to out husbands, and have pain in childbirth?  It's true, though.  Because these are the things that we SO need to learn from - lessons which we have to learn.  HARD lessons - but, needful lessons.

I think, before we look at these hard, but needful, lessons, we need to first look at the positive.  God created us, women, to be the completion of our husbands.  We have a vital part to play, in making our marriages a complete thing.  It's a God-created position.  Not something to be belittled, scorned or even dismissed.  Why should we NOT want to be all we can for our husbands.  That help meet  - or suitable - for him.  We are perfectly suited to be the wives we should be for them.  God created us for it!  It's not contrived by the 50's housewife brigade!  It's stated clearly in God's Word.

It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:18

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one 
Gen 2:24  

God gave it as a pattern for us - something that is right and good.  That man and woman, as one, should cleave - hold fast to each other - stick close together - in all that they do as man and wife.

There are so many marriages where they as well not be married.  The husband is off doing his own thing, evening after evening - or the wife is forever off with her girlie friends, leaving her husband at home alone.  You forsake that single life when you get married.  You should desire to be together when you can - sticking close to each other, not to other people!  I'm not saying you can never have a night out, but there are some people who just want to be out ALL the time, and those football/pamper nights (that's an "or" - can't imagine them TOGETHER!) take priority over their marriage.  We have to cherish our time together.  We have to desire that oneness and closeness that God has gifted us with!

In the New Testament, we again see instruction as to where our place is.

 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 
 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 
Titus 2:4-5

I think these are some of the most sobering verses directed to me as a woman!  If I DON'T do these things - I am blaspheming the word of God!  That's VERY serious!   You can't add "but, things have changed, so we don't need to do this any more....."  God's Word NEVER changes.  If we are to love our husband and children, then we equally should be keepers at home!  We should WANT to stay at home, and care for it.  To be the guardians of our domain.  It's no weak position, or some menial task.  It's a HUGE responsibility and a privilege to undertake!  It's no job for a weakling! In fact, I have always maintained that the EASY thing would be to go and work outside the home.  But, who said that obeying God was easy.....?

Again, I am not saying there is never a circumstance that a woman should work outside of the home, but it is not the primary responsibility and role given to women.  We shouldn't go LOOKING for ways to escape our responsibilities, just because we don't like  the role that we have been given!  There are many scenarios where  it has become a necessary.  But, it's NOT the pattern that God has given us.

Now, to the negative.  The bad part we always think of, from which we can glean important lessons.

Eve was deceived by Satan.  She believed his lies.  She was convinced enough that she questioned God's Word.

"hath God said?......", said the serpent.

The first sin was doubting God's Word.  She doubted what she had been told about the trees.  She believed the word of the serpent, and not the Word of her creator - the one with whom she fellow-shipped with in the garden.  She lusted after something other than the perfect life that God had given her.

Is this not one of our temptations?  To doubt that the role God has given us is the best one for us?  That our place at home as a wife and mother is better than anything else we could possibly do?

"Hath God said that you can't go and work outside the home and put your children in day-care, just because you might be able to do something worthwhile elsewhere?"

"Hath God said that doing some kind of ministry outside of the home is more important than looking after YOUR family - God's VERY important ministry for you?"

Dear sister - don't doubt God!  Don't doubt the vital role you  have to play.  As an encourager and help to your husband.  As the one to nurture and care for your children, and train them up in the way they should go.  If GOD has given you this role, there could be NOTHING more important out there for you to do!  It's such a special job, that there couldn't be something more exciting or rewarding elsewhere!  I KNOW there are tough days (I just had a whole pile of them!....)  I KNOW that it isn't always easy!  But, it's still the BEST.

Then comes the other "biggie"!  Submission.

"and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
Genesis 3:16

Ohhhhhh, how we struggle with this concept!  Our husbands have the final word and authority over us.  Our flesh rebels and despises that, so very often!   We don't like having to obey, especially when we think we are right (*gasp*.....).  We don't like having to obey, when it goes against what WE want to do.  But, it's God's pattern.

Meekness is the key.  Meek is NOT weak.  Meekness is humility.  We have to be humble enough to accept that our husband has the final word, and that is the way that GOD has planned it.  Not out husband.  Not our Church leaders.  GOD!  We have to humbly accept that his decisions are the final word, whether they are our first choice or not.  In ALL areas.  Big and small.  Hard, isn't it?  But, the reassurance is, it's GOD'S way.  And, in His perfect wisdom, he has ordained that our husbands have the final authority.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't have good enough relationships to share ideas.  Or, that husbands should be unloving  tyrants who give no value to our opinions.  Rather, we need to trust them to have that authority that God has given them.  We have to trust that they are honouring God in their decisions, and that even if we don't understand the "why's and wherefore's", that we should still lovingly, and humbly submit to what they decide.  AND, remember that God is sovereign, and so long as they are not asking us to do something sinful, God will work all things together for our good - so long as we are obeying HIM! Plus, we need to DO it with a loving, happy and contented attitude.  Submission isn't real if anyone can plainly see we don't actually WANT to submit to our husband's authority!

Eve, these are hard lessons we are learning from you.  Hard, but SO important.  Right up there at the top of our list of "things to do"!   Thank-you for being an example for us.  May God give us the grace to learn from you.

(PS - sorry for the silence for a little while....things have been happening around here....getting ready for a house move, and various other thing, large and small.....I'll expand on some of the things as as soon as I can, but would appreciate your prayers as our family goes through some changes!)

Friday, 16 September 2011

Monumental motherhood

I was watching an interesting programme, on BBC iplayer (watch it here, for those in the UK) with my children this week.  It was about Buckinghma Palace - that iconic dwelling of HRH Queen Elizabeth.  The place visited by so many millions of tourists every year, hoarding around to get a picture in front of the main Royal residence.  I learnt a lot from watching it.  Did you know that the Marble Arch used to be right in front of Buckingham Palace?  They used to drive their carriages through it to get there!  They moved it when they added the facade on the front (that whole section was added very late on, and isn't part of the original!).

The beautiful gates (yes, been there, done that, and the t-shirt cost too much...)

THAT balcony..... (why they didn't put up the nice velvet thing for us, I don't know)

(no, I wasn't there...this one is from the web....)

The soldiers ( listen out for the query by my son....the answer to which is, "it depends which regiment is on guard duty".....this is who it was on the day we visited, 4th of July 2011 - 2nd regiment of the PWRR)

And then, there is the rather huge and impressive statue in front of the palace.  You know?  The one with the water around it, where people jump in on special occasions (even though I don't think they are SUPPOSED to?)  The one with the iconic golden statue on top?  (depicting "victory") The one which I didn't know the name of, other than "the one with the golden statue on top, outside Buckingham Palace")

It's actually called the Victoria Memorial - in memory of, yes, you guessed it, Queen Victoria.  It was erected, after her death, by her grandson, George V. It is a memorial to all that his grandmother stood for, and depicts justice, truth, and motherhood.

MOTHERHOOD?  A monument to motherhood, standing in London?  Yes, indeedy.  The wikipedia entry states it is supposed to represent "charity", but the programme on the BBC said "motherhood".  It makes sense when you look at it, and when you consider that Queen Victoria had 9 children and 42 grandchildren! 

(this one is my picture, cropped,  Gives you an idea of it's immense size)

Yes, the statue depicts a mother, with a child being breast-fed, one hugged close, and one tucked under her skirts! What a truly beautiful image.  One that shows a role that should be cherished, honoured, and respected.  One that deserves such a monument.  One that, sadly, is now shunned, dismissed and belittled by the women of today.

We, as mothers, have a vital, God-given role.  We are the ones that have the growing baby inside us for 9 months -  who have the special bond of being able to feed them ourselves ( I know that not all are able to do this, but all things being equal, it is how we are created...) - who care for, guide, teach and nurture as they grow older.  We see these precious moments, each one monumental on it's own, as they roll, crawl, walk, talk, and do a thousand other amazing things!

But, do we live it in a way that would inspire our family to raise a monument to US?  Do we cherish our role in a way that would cause our children to "rise up and call us blessed" and be praised by our husbands?  Do we embrace the trials and struggles, in the knowledge that we are doing a work for eternity?  Do we battle through the hard times, remembering all the precious moments as an incentive to carry on.  Such as the moment when the child is placed in our arms for the first time and we realise that they are OURS.  The moments gazing at the perfection of tiny hands and feet.  The moments when they say something sweet and precious, in a little, lisping voice.  When they still come and give us hugs when they are getting bigger, and still desire that closeness of a hug with their Mum?

All so precious.  All such a privilege.  All monumental.

Let's all endeavour today, to be the example as a mother that will inspire our children and grandchildren, all to the glory of God.  

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Chats on the Farmhouse porch

Are you a morning person, someone who does best in the middle of the day, or a night owl?

I much prefer mornings.  I don't tend to struggle to get up, unless I am pregnant! I really like the quietness before the children waken up.  I do NOT get on well with late nights at all.  I struggle to be coherent or get anything done past dinner time! My husband is the absolute opposite!

Do you take vitamins or supplements?

I take folic acid and liquid iron when I am pregnant, and nothing in between! Oh, and raspberry leaf capsules at the end of pregnancy's - I cannot sing the praises of the stuff highly enough after my last labour.

If you were a dog, would you be a) a Poodle, b) a Retriever, c) a Sheep Dog, or a d)Chihuahua?

Definitely NOT the first or last.  I have no time for fussy or strange looking pets!   Sorry to all who love them. Although, I have heard that poodles don't shed....

Retriever's are ok, but I am going to cheat.

I am going to say an "old English sheep dog"!  They are beautiful.

I have a story about one - we had one as a pet when I was little....although I don't really involves the puppy, a "mess" it made, and me eating....enough said.  My parents got rid of it, much to my hind-sighted sadness! They did end up getting a Jack Russell when I was a little older....hmmmm....this I DO remember .....another story involving me, the dog, going under the table during grace, and an injury to my nose, still visible today....

Having reread the question - what would I BE?  Based on what I am like, it may have to be a sheep dog - slightly dipsy looking, but able to round up a flock and get them moving in the right direction!

Please tell us about what you're reading now.

I am reading the third book in the "Mark of Lion" trilogy by Francine Rivers.  The trilogy is set in the 1st century, post-destruction of Jerusalem.  It revolves around the life of a young Christian girl.  Very gripping, and really helps to get a better understanding of life in the early Christian Church.

I am also dipping in and out of "large family logistics", which is what it says on the tin!  Organising a large family.  I need to put some of it into practice, however!  Also, the Duggar's latest book - "A love that multiplies".  Lovely to get  a glimpse into the life of this very organised, very large family!

Okay, here I go with that magic wand! If I came to your house and could fix up one room with the wave of my wand, what would you have me renovate/redecorate/refurnish? (BTW- If I only could! That would be such fun. Then we'd sit on your porch and visit.)

Well, as I am about to move house, it's hard to answer,  I haven't lived in the house, so I don't know what I would change! Possibly the bathroom, or the utility room. Really not sure!

Nice to chat again, Patrice! 

Top Tips Tuesday - Surviving Pregnancy

Someone asked, on an online group that I am on, how to cope with lots of little children during pregnancy.  It got me thinking about what helped me to cope, and how I struggled, during my prgenancy's.

Contrary to common opinion, I am NOT superwoman.  (I KNOW that some of you are well aware of that.....). Some people seem to think that I am, because I am a SAHM, who has 6 children, and who homeschools.   But, I certainly have many a day where I do not feel like a super anything.  Well, maybe a super-whiner, or a super-failure, or a super-lost-it-completely.  ANYTHING of any merit that is observed, is ALL of God's grace, and God's grace alone.  I could NOT do it without the Lord, and HIS strength.

So, for my Top Tips, I am going to give a few ways to prevent pregnancy melt-down, a lot of which applies to general life, as well.

1.  Don't miss out on your quiet time.

Now, I have to ALWAYS alter how and when I do my quiet time, when I am pregnant.  I simply can't manage the early rises quite like I normally do.  I have to adjust that.  Sometimes I don't get my readings done until the evening, or it may be in the morning, but with the children milling around.  But, I have discovered (to my personal disaster), miss it, miss out.  Or, miss it, mess up.  If there is ever  a time when you need to know that closeness with the Lord, it is when the children are little, and you are hormonal, and pregnant.  Melt-downs happen waaaaaay quicker, if you are not keeping your eyes on the Lord.  Pray a lot.  Think on God's goodness. You REALLY need to.  Otherwise you dwell on the problems, and how "blah" you are feeling, and you end up in a downward spiral of self-pity and tears. (yep, tears...easily the tears)

2.  Don't do more than you have to

Yes, YOU! That lady there, reading this, who's a perfectionist and couldn't possibly imagine letting ONE thing "slip" from her perfect routine.  Let some things wait.  Because they CAN wait until you are feeling better.  Or until someone else offers to do it.  Or until the baby is born.  It is more important to have a Mummy who isn't having a melt-down because she has lost her last ounce of energy ironing the tea towels.  (for the record, I NEVER iron tea towels, but I do iron more than some I know.  My lovely husband likes things to be ironed, so I do.  But, a pile ALWAYS builds up in early and late pregnancy, and I just do what NEEDS to be done...the earth isn't going to implode beacuse you don't get all the ironing done!)  Let your standards slip.  Ok, maybe put more positively, alter your standards for a short while.

3.  Take help when it's offered.

No matter how much it may not the way you like it done, or the speed you like it done, take help when it's offered.  If someone has a kind enough heart to offer in the first place, you would be MAD not to accept.  Even if the offer is purely because someone is trying to be self-righteous, or nosey, still say yes!  It's for gOd to judge the heart, and in the meantime, you reap the benefits. Yes, Mrs Blogs' dinners may not be quite like yours, but it beats making it yourself!

4.  Use paper plates and cups

Yes, that's right. Paper.  And throw them away.  One less job already - no washing up! You can get them VERY cheaply in Poundland and big stores.  It's easier for the children to clear up as well.  Even if you jsut do it for lunch, it's still a little help.

5.  Get the children involved

If you don't already have the children helping in the house START NOW! Every small thing that they can do, is one less thing for YOU to do.  It's all a great education for them, and it may start some excellent routines for the rest of life.  Even small children (2 or 3 years old) can do many things.  Changing hand towels, replenishing toilet paper, putting things away, getting out cutlery.  The list is long!  As for older children - my oldest two (9 and 8) could make basic dinners, and lunch with any kind of sandwich fillling (but especially PB&J and chocolate spread!....there's PROTEIN in peanut butter - it's GOOD!)  All these ways that a child can help can free up a nauseous and weary mother, reserving your energies for the things that you really need to do.

6.  Have "room time"

Again, if you don't already do this as part of your routine, start now!  We have done this for years now.  For an hour in the afternoon, the children spend an hour in their room.  I usually have them read for half an hour, and play for half an hour.  Girls in their room and boys in theirs.  Now, invariably, I have had my youngest child nap i the morning, and the room time is in the afternoon.  This is so that I was able to do school work in the morning, whilst the youngest was asleep.  You need to decide which things are more valuable to your time and energies.  I found that getting school done with fewer interruptions and having the smallest child with me during room time, is better than doing school in the afternoon when the youngest is awake just so I can have  a rest when the children have room time.  So, find what works for you.  But, I HIGHLY reccommend this "room time".  They are told NOT to keep coming out and bringing problems to me.  They have to be nice to each other, and sort out any problems themselves!

7.  If you home school, be flexible

I have known people (including myself!) to get into a real tizz about keeping up with a very busy home-schooling schedule during pregnancy, and ending up stressed out and exhausted.  I would suggest, if your curriculum choices allow, to take a less intensive approach at the harder times in pregnancy.   Get your older children to do a lot of independant reading.  They can learn SO much from factual books, by just sitting, quietly reading on their own.  Maybe get them to write some short reviews to show you what they have learnt, or narrate some facts to you, or demonstrate in some other way.  DO NOT stress about the younger children.  If you have started early with your children, and are already in a very strict schedule with, say, a 4 year old.  CHILL OUT! They are still SO young, and they can cope with something less intense, simply to allow their Mum to rest and cope.  You can do many "educational" things, such as simply reading aloud to them.  You can sit on the sofa, and they can be learning by just chatting to them - pointing out colours, numbers, things beginning with different sounds, light, sound - all just from your sofa! Learning comes in so many different shapes and forms.  RELAX!  Try and take it easy with the the things that can wait. Concentrate on teaching Biblical character traits. Eternal things, of so much importance, can be taught in very informal ways.  In fact, you could tie it in with the helping, by setting them tasks to tie in with character traits, which will also help the whole household! Get inventive, as much as your weary brain will allow!


Remember....this will pass!  It is such a short season in life, with a far more eternal weight of glory.  You are growing a child inside of you, who you will be raising for the kingdom of Christ.  The weeks of nausea are far outweighed by the blessing of the child that will so very soon bring you joy!  Keep on, just one moment at a time.  Don't worry about how you will cope tomorrow, or next week, or next month.  TODAY is what counts for the Lord, and we must honour Him in our lives TODAY.  He WILL give you the grace and strength that you need.  If it doesn't seem like you have much, God know it is what you need, and you need to do what you are able to do, with the strength that HE has given you!

So, for all those of you going through pregnancy, keep your chin up!  Maybe you have some ways that you have found to cope with those tough days.  PLEASE share them!

Perhaps your child-bearing days are over?  PLEASE impart your wealth of experience to those whose days of tiredness and nausea are still not done! There must be something that you can share!

Maybe you are not pregnant, but still struggling.  Maybe with illness or a difficult child - I am sure these ideas may help you in some way.  I pray that God will use them to His glory!

Please link up below, if you blog about this subject, or share your experiences in the comments section below.

And, sorry it's late - but I DID start it on Tuesday! *grin*

Friday, 9 September 2011

Are we wearing the right clothes?

As women folk, we (on the most part) tend to care very much about what clothes we wear.  If we have a heart for the Lord, we will desire to look both modest and feminine.  Maybe it's a pretty blouse, or your favourite long, swishy skirt?

But, despite what you thought when you read the title of this post, I'm not going to talk about modesty and femininity!  I do, at some point, intend to post about that topic, but today I am dwelling on something that is equally important - in fact, more so.

I have been continuing to read through the book of Isaiah, and it continues to both challenge and bless me.  There are SO many wonderful verses, hidden in amongst prophecy which is a little beyond my understanding!

I came across this verse today - a verse full of many wonderful things, but one thing in particular struck me.

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."
Isaiah 61:3

What garment are you wearing today?  Are you clothing yourself as a reflection to how your day is going?  Are you clothed in sackcloth and ashes, mourning your difficulties and troubles.  Adding to your misery, by clothing yourself in an attitude of 

"poor me...everything is going wrong...nobody loves me...why can't things go better for am I supposed to cope in these circumstances...?"

You need to put on the garment of praise!  You need to clothe yourself and surround your being with an attitude of praise!  Thanksgiving to God at all times, in every situation, no matter what your circumstances.

"Oh yes, (you may say), it's all very well talking about having a garment of praise when everything is all hunky-dory".

Oh, but look!  The garment of praise, when?

 "for the spirit of heaviness;"

You have to put on praise WHEN your heart is heavy.  At the time when it is hardest and you least feel praise coming to your lips.  You need to CHOOSE to put that garment on.  You need to CHOOSE to praise, instead of pouting.  You need to CHOOSE to remember that the God who is good on the good days, is worthy of our praise at ALL times.  Oh yes...He is worthy of our praise all the more on the bad days, because despite our attitude of self pity and misery, He still comforts, blesses and draws His arms of comfort around us.  He is worthy of our praise, and we need to choose to give it to Him.

Not just saying a cursory "thank-you, Lord".  Not just a brief "God is good", with no heart in it.  Surround yourself in praise.  The garment is not some skimpy mini-skirt, or a light-weight cardigan.  We're talking wrapping yourself from head to foot.

The original Hebrew says it best...

A primitive root; to wrap, that is, cover, veil, 

Surround yourself - cover over all of your struggles, sadness, despair, bitterness and self pity - wrap yourself in praise to the Almighty, Unchangeable God. Veil those sinful thoughts and attitudes with praise.  Praise to the one who deserves it, because of His unending love and compassion - His grace and His mercy - His blessings, too innumerable to count.

So, you think you got dressed this morning?  Go back and check again - go and pick up that garment, that is so important for getting your day right.  Put on that garment of praise, and watch your day take shape the way it should. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

"mummy, carry me"

How  many times do we hear those words?   "Mummy, carry me!"

When those little legs grow weary....when they simply can't go on any more....when being in the arms of their parent is clearly seen as the option of ease and comfort....when they just can't manage a seemingly daunting task.

It happens often, in the life of a child.

But often do we cry out in the same way to the Lord?

"Lord, I just can't do this in my own strength."

"Father, this trial is hard, and I can't seem to walk through it."

"I am weary, Lord Jesus, I need you to carry me through this time of difficulty."

And, oh, how he delights to help his children!

No reply of

"you're too big to get carried, you need to just keep walking".

No, no such thing at all.

"even I will carry, and will deliver you."
Isaiah 46:4 

"he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom,"
Isaiah 40:11

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:" 
Deu 33:27  

Oh, such a blessing to know that He will carry us - He will bear us through times of trial and difficulty.  We don't need our own strength, because He will simply take us up, and carry us through in HIS strength.

Be encouraged today - your own strength is weak, but God will CARRY you through!