Thursday, 25 September 2014

Studying through Isaiah {a nearly new Bible study}

I am SO sorry for not telling you about this sooner, but I am studying through a new Bible Study. I had fully intended to tell you BEFORE I started, but life kind of got "in the way". As before, if you want to join, we have a Facebook group where we are sharing our thoughts, daily, or whenever we are able.

Previously, I have studied through smaller books, such as an Epistle, and only read a few verses per day.  In recent years I have read through Isaiah, and thought about coming back to it, to write down my thoughts, and study it in a bit more detail. I thought now was as good a time as any!

I knew that there were many references to Christ, particularly in a prophetic way, throughout Isaiah. Springing from that knowledge, I decided to do two things, as I read a chapter a day. Firstly, asking, and noting down, how is the Lord challenging me in this chapter? Secondly, how can I see Christ in this chapter. I knew it wouldn't always be a direct reference, but just searching to see the Saviour in my reading. It's a valuable thing to do in ANY Bible reading. It may not be reading more into the meaning of the verses, than God intended in its literal meaning, but simply trying to remember that Christ is the theme of the whole of scripture. He's there, in many ways, all the way through.

So, we began last Monday, reading a chapter a day, Monday to Friday, with the weekend to do less of a formal Bible reading, or to catch up on the week.

Already, my heart is being blessed, as I see Christ afresh, in new ways, chapter by chapter.

Let me share some of the thoughts that have blessed my heart, and challenged me.

One thing that has struck me is the reference to conflict and enemies.  We live in a day and age where we see much conflict, and many enemies. It's SO like the times of Isaiah.

Chapter one challenged me to be DOING. There is a list, in verses 16-19, of verbs.

Wash, put away, cease, learn, seek, relieve, judge and plead.

Our Christian life SHOULD be one of action. We don't rest on our laurels, waiting for heaven. We should be working for the Lord - serving Him, in whatever way we can.  More importantly, the instruction to be "willing and obedient" is given. We are not to begrudgingly serve our Saviour, but with a willing heart, give of all we have and are. Obeying, with a happy heart.

Chapter 2 mentions two times (and any time something is repeated in scripture, it's worthy of note), that the loftiness of man will be bowed down, and haughtiness brought low.  Chapter 9 also spoke of pride. We need to send pride packing. We can not be anything other than humble in our Christian walk. To think that we are without fault, and never in the wrong, is sinful! Pride abased, the Lord lifted up. "He must increase, and I must decrease".

Chapter 3 reminded me that it is the righteous who eat "fruit". We need to seek righteousness, "and all these things shall be added" unto us.

Chapter 5 was a reminder that sin must be punished, and it angers God.

Chapter 6 was the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. Where is the Lord in MY life? Is He in the highest position, or am I allowing other things to come before the things of my Saviour?

I have especially enjoyed finding Christ!  Seeing my Saviour, has been the joy of my mornings, and a treasure worth seeking and finding.

Chapter 1 I saw him in scarlet and crimson, pointing me to His shed blood,.
Chapter 2 was Christ as a rebuker, as we remember Him doing so to the Pharisees, and even His own disciples.
Chapter 3, was pointing to THE righteousness, and my own unrighteousness before Him.
Chapter 4, Christ the branch, beautiful to us, and all glorious.
Chapter 5, Christ, arms outstretched to save, in love, as the antithesis of judgement, also needed.
Chapter 6, our sin purged, by the work of Christ alone, not by any works of our own.
Chapter 7, Immanuel, God with us! What a precious, yet awesome, truth!
Chapter 8, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence - but to us who believe, HE IS PRECIOUS!
Chapter 9, oh the thrill in that list of names - Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. SO much, in just a few names.

It's fascinating how much you can find.  The Lord has already truly blessed the reading of this book, to my heart and life.

Please join in this study, or plan to start it at some point.  You will not be disappointed.

I will be coming back to you, to share some more deeper insights, which the Lord has challenged me with.

You can find our study group if you search for Bible Study Blessings on Facebook. We'd love to have you join us!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tapestry on a Tuesday {Virtual Co-op}

This new term has heralded a slight change in direction for our homeschool.

Recently, I was made aware of a concept that was new to us, and which I felt would benefit Joshua, in particular.

Currently, we attend a homeschool co-op, where we get together with other families and learn together.  Different parents take turns teaching lessons, with the children in a group setting.  The children love it, and it gets in that ALL essential aspect of the "s" word..... (tongue firmly in cheek there)...


The children love it, and it's nice for the parents to get together and encourage each other, too.

My ideal would be to meet together with others who use Tapestry of Grace, but as yet, there are still very few families using it over here.  I would LOVE to see more using it, as it's a GREAT curriculum!

The next best thing came on my radar.

VIRTUAL co-op.

It's when children get together ONLINE, and have a class together! One parent teaches, and the children all listen in, on whichever conferencing platform used by the co-op. They  have opportunity to type or speak their answers, as they enter into discussion, or even share by video.  The teacher tends to use PowerPoint presentations, whilst teaching the class.

I particularly liked the idea of Josh participating in the Dialectic level History class, because it is where they discuss their "Thinking" and "Accountability" questions.

"What are THOSE?", you may ask?

First of all, it may be a good time to explain the stages of learning, included in a classical approach to education.

Grammar  - this is the stage where a child soaks up facts. It's the foundation stage of learning, where a child will then build upon these facts in later years.  This level, particularly in Tapestry of Grace,  is all about fun and interesting books, and activities,  packed with factual information, put across in a captivating way.

Dialectic - at this stage, a child wants to question things more, and start to take a more analytical approach to learning, also applying logic. They are trying to understand what they learned, in order to apply it better. It's the starting to ask "why" about things, instead of just accepting as fact.

Rhetoric - this is when they take the facts they learnt in earlier life, the questioning and reasoning they learnt in dialectic years, and coherently express it in oral or written. It's the level at which they can demonstrate that they have learnt and understood facts, because they can explain them to someone else. Expression, hypothesising and demonstrating more abstract thought processes, are all key elements to this stage.

Having worked for several years with grammar level (TOG splits it into Lower and Upper - younger ones using more basic texts, and older using more detailed ones), I was a little apprehensive about moving up to dialectic.  However, I realised that we already, as a family, tend to do what is expected in Dialectic - ask QUESTIONS! I regularly ask them why we think something happened, or happens. Discussing and analysing, at the simplest level, the whys and wherefores of what we are learning. Dialectic just does this as a formal part of schooling. Josh has a list, every week, of Thinking Questions, which get them to, well, THINK, and Accountability Questions, which are more to make sure they have read, and understand, what they were assigned.  Getting them to think it through more, rather than just understanding facts, like grammar level.

Here is an example, of the Questions for Dialectic.

Accountability Questions
1. What is the difference between “superstition” and “religion”? Look up both words in a dictionary and then summarize
the difference in your own words.
2. Which were the major idols or “gods” of Egypt? List the ten or twelve deities that Egyptians considered the most
3. Egyptian idols were often pictured as animal/human combinations. Prepare to share details about two of these.
(Your teacher may choose to assign you two specific “deities” to tell your classmates about in a mini-report.)
‰‰ What did your chosen “deities” represent to the Egyptians?
‰‰ What do scientists think is the most probable reason for these half-human representations?
4. Why did the Egyptians develop a pantheon of over 2,000 “deities”?
Thinking Questions
1. Were the Egyptians polytheists or pantheists? Using a dictionary, define these two terms precisely. Then answer
the question, listing specific aspects of Egyptian beliefs that support your answer.
2. Connect factors in the Egyptian environment with the development of Egyptian religion.
‰‰ What was the basis of the relationship between the Egyptians and their idols?
‰‰ Outline ways that the climate and location of Egypt may have affected their belief system. For instance, did
the Egyptians have a god of the mountains?
3. Why do you think Egyptian mythology included several versions of the stories of creation?
4. Consider the concept that the Egyptians worshipped evil gods in order to placate them. How is this different from a Christian’s reasons for worshipping God?

(On a side note, I love how Tapestry of Grace looks at mythology and false religion ALWAYS side by side with God's Word, and pointing out the error of it.)

We had been trying to fit in our discussion every week, but it was quite the juggling act for me!

Then, I learnt about the virtual co-ops! Having someone else go through it all with them, and having them discuss it together, sounded like a great idea - both for the basic aspect of discussion, and also getting to know others.  The added bonus of being accountable,  to an outside party, was also particularly appealing!

So, through the TOG Facebook group that I am on, I heard there was one commencing for Year 1, Dialectic level.

Hang on, though.  They were, of course, starting Year 1 in September.  We had begun our school year in JANUARY!

What to do?!?!

Well, I decided that the benefits of joining in with a virtual co-op was sufficient to restructure our schooling schedule.  I decided to pause our studies with Tapestry of Grace, on a family level.  Josh has re-started Year 1, for his History and Writing, leaving the other TOG subjects, so he can join in. We will all start back together, with the whole curriculum, when Josh reaches that week in his virtual co-op.

In the mean time, I have come up with a few other projects to keep the children busy, as an alternative to TOG!  Beth is working on a Unit Study, based on Anne of Green Gables, called "Where the Brook and River Meet".  (I got it from Icthus Resources, here in the UK) It covers many different subjects, all based on each chapter of the book.  It covers history of the period the book is set in, geography of the area, nature study, cooking, craft, Bible, writing, and literature studies.  There are probably others I have forgotten about, too! Beth is loving it! I am doing a Unit Study with the younger ones, based on a Classic Starts version of Swiss Family Robinson.  I will share a bit more about that in another post, and will hopefully share ALL that we did, once we have finished. I am just putting it all together myself, rather than following a curriculum or online resource.  We are reading a chapter a week, and doing activities that spring from that. So far, we have covered storms, poetry, labelling a ship, comparing and contrasting agouti and pigs, and we also have a lapbook we are doing, which answers comprehension questions.

Josh has been really enjoying his virtual co-op. He has also joined in with a Writing class, even though, initially, he only wanted to do the History. He is loving them both, and thinks his teachers are great. (So do I - truly inspiring - hats off to you ladies - you know who you are!) I think that having someone, other than just Mum, is a good thing! I am still working alongside him, and directing him in certain areas, of course, but it's working well for him, on a motivational level. He's also enjoying connecting with the other children, of a similar age.  It's amazing to think that children, from across the world, can sit and discuss history together, in real time!

Often, I will listen in, as well. I set up Josh on the iPad, and I have the laptop open, with myself signed in. I do jobs, or work with the others, and pop in and out to listen in. It helps me to keep a track on what Josh is to do for the next week, as well as flagging up anything I want to discuss with him further.

I am hoping this opportunity will both enable him to dig deeper into Tapestry of Grace and encourage him to cultivate friendships with children across the globe. That "S" word, again.... *winks*

The long and the short of it is this - we love virtual co-op, and it's just another great reason why people should consider using Tapestry of Grace!

(Yes, he is sitting on an unmade bed, in the spare room - it's called "A Quest for a place of solitude"!)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Will they still or will they go? {Scotland votes}

Today heralds a day which will go down in history, one way or another.

One little Island, being pulled in so many different directions.

Scotland will vote on Independence

I must confess, I have not followed the debates AT ALL.

Being a Scot who has relocated to England, and who married an Englishman, my mind was already made up, in one sense.  My family is united by an English father and a Scottish mother.  I am very happy to be a part of the UNITED Kingdom.

I am very "proud" of my heritage.  I say "pride", but it's not the right word, really. I love that I am Scottish.  I love our history.  I love the place.  I love the people.  It's an amazing place, and if you ever have the chance to visit, please do!

However, the issue of pride is something that seems to drive forward the many of the ones who want to divide from the rest of the United Kingdom.  Scottish people who are so proud of what they think they are, and what they think they can be without the rest of the kingdom, that they think they can "go it alone".  Proud of Scotland's resources.  Proud of its determination.  Proud of its driving force to be independent.

I'm not suggesting that this is the motivation for everyone, but I know it is a large part of the argument for many.

Just listen to a tribe of Scots singing "Flower of Scotland", and you'll hear nationalistic pride by the decibel....

I fear such pride, although possibly based on potential truth, is falsely based, and we certainly know what the Bible says about pride.

It comes before destruction.

I really do wonder if Scotland voting for Independence will destroy SO much.  A lot of their history, from the days when they were independent before, is very ANCIENT history.  It was a very different world to the one we live in today.  Life has moved on. I feel they are clinging to a romantic dream, desiring something that's a rousing concept, but a sad reality.  Dividing up something that has for CENTURIES functioned successfully.

Scotland has had many of its own ways, which made it different from the rest of the UK, anyway. Its legal system, its education system,  devolved government (without total autonomy, of course), and even sport leagues which are different.

What of our Royal family, our currency, our military? What would happen to that? Could the country survive financially?  What will happen to the rest of the Nation?

I know that there is much that is imperfect and far from ideal about the way this nation is run, as  a United Kingdom, but is it really reason enough to want to break that all apart, for some rousing notion?

I could be very wrong.  Perhaps Scotland will become independent and thrive. Perhaps it will all work out in many ways, but would destroy so many other lovely things, humanly speaking.  That part I would mourn, for sure.

The thing that disturbs me most, and this doesn't simply apply to any potential new government or nation, is the lack of Christ in it all.

Our United Kingdom government does not have Christ at its centre.

A Scottish government would not have Christ at the centre.

"Righteousness exalteth a nation:"
Proverbs 14:34  

I don't see much evidence of righteousness on any side of the debate, or in any government.

I really can see how this whole thing could be God's judgement upon a nation who used to hold Christ, and His Word, in high regard. We are ripe for judgement, really.

The future is unknown.

By us.

God knows.  He is still on the throne.  He is still in control.  He still knows best.

Whatever the outcome of today's vote, I know who holds the future.

I will be very sad if the outcome is a "yes" vote, but it won't change one thing.

My life is, and always will be, one which centres upon the daily nuts and bolts of honouring God in the place He has put me.  I am a wife - I'll keep working on doing that the best I can.  I am a mother - I'll not stop mothering my children because Scotland isn't in the UK.  I am an educator - well, some of that will change, because we'll have to include this era in future history - ultimately, that won't change either.   Who I am, and my goal in life, will remain unchanged.

Kingdoms come and kingdoms go, but my God is still ruler over all, time and for eternity, world without end.

Oh, and before I finish, the other issue that has been raised in my mind is this.  Christians can have different view points on secondary issues.  I am not condemning or criticising anyone else's point of view - we are all entitled to our own. How these things are handled, and the grace and love that is extended between parties of differing opinions, has not always been ideal.  For some reason, Christians so easily forget how they are to behave when any inflammatory issues are raised.  THAT is sad.

If you vote for Independence, I will still love and respect  you.  If you don't, I love you equally.

Oh, and so long as I can still freely access my beautiful homeland, along with my family, I don't really mind who is running it! It will still be as stunning, in God's beautiful creation, as ever.

AND, if you want a video that explains a little of what it is all about, watch this...

The end.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Out of the valley {filling in the gaps}

Have you ever travelled through a valley?  It can be quite a daunting journey, especially in gloomy weather.  We once travelled through the Highlands of Scotland, to get to the Hebrides, and it was a dreech day. Those valleys seemed never-ending, and the journey seemed even darker at those points.  The mountains rose beside us, making us feel very tiny and vulnerable.  It was much better when the cloud lifted, and we got into more open roads.

Often in scripture, valleys are points and references to doom and gloom.  Battles would happen in a valley, because it was a place where one side was vulnerable, and easily attacked.

We also have the well known verse in Psalm 23.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death"

It's a valley that holds the shadow of death itself.  You can't get much darker than that.

The "mountains" of our circumstances can tower over us, and make us feel very, very small.

It can feel that we are wading through a darkness that is never going to pass.

There is depression, anxiety, doubt, and fear.  Many, many women have a tendency to think of ourselves in a low way - we see our negatives, our failings and our faults. Like we find in The Pilgrim's Progress, we fall into slough of despond. Overwhelmed by our circumstances.

When we get into that place, it is an obstacle to being in a place of blessing from the Lord. We're stuck in the valley, far from the mountain top where He longs to encourage and bless.

Our sin can make us feel like we are in the valley.  Whether it's the sin you feel, because you are a sinner who has never trusted in the Lord for salvation, or if you are a child of God who is acutely aware of their sinful nature daily battling with the Spirit.

There are many things happening in the world today that make us feel like we are in a valley - the valley of death itself.  So much fighting, death, pain, and hurt.  It aches my heart to hear of things that are happening around the world, and even closer to home.  It can make us feel very low.

Last Lord's Day Robert preached from Isaiah 40. He read a verse that I have heard many times before, as well as heard it sung as part of Handel's "Messiah".

"Every valley shall be exalted"

I had never really about what it really SAID.

The valleys will be "exalted".  Well, we know what a valley is - it's that low point, between the hills or mountains.  What about "exalted"?  It means to be "lifted up".

So, if valleys are going to be lifted up, it means they are gone - they are brought up to the same level as the mountain top.

That's exactly where the Lord wants us to be - in that place where He came to be that blest Saviour and comforter to us.

To be there with Him, we need to lift ourselves out of that valley.

 See what else Isaiah says?

"Prepare ye the way of the Lord"

Prepare YE.

We cannot slip down into that valley - the valley of despair and misery - and just sit comfortably, waiting to be air-lifted out. The air-rescue don't know that someone needs to be rescued if they don't put in some effort to alert the rescuers.  We need to exalt those valleys, and claw our way out to the Lord.  If we come to the Lord, He will come to us.

We need to cry out to the Lord, and make our way to Him.

The Lord came to bring us out of those valleys.  He came to save and to BLESS.  He wants to bless, but until we prepare the way, it won't happen.

We need to turn our back on the valley - turn away from those things that would make us doubt and despair - and lift our eyes UP to the one who can bless and encourage us.  Who will fill us with His love and grace.

It is no passive experience.

  "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. 
  Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
They go from strength to strength"
Psalm 84:5-7

This Psalm shows us the way out of the valley - placing our strength in Him.  Making our way one that is in HIS ways.  We pass THROUGH the valley - and it is filled with water and rain - the blessings of God.  We GO from strength to strength.

We don't sit, huddled on the valley floor, silently waiting in vain hope to be refreshed and lifted up.


IN Him.


Passing THROUGH.

GO from strength to strength.

There is action required, by us.

The Psalms are filled with things that the write "will" do, and the resulting blessing that ensues.

We need to DO.  We need to be a woman who says "I will".

"I will rejoice"

"I will praise"

"I will be glad"

"I will sing"

"I will bless the LOrd"

"I will be satisfied"

"I will love thee"

"I will trust"

"I will call"

"I will declare"

"I will pay my vows"

"I will fear no evil"

"I will walk"...

I could go on - that was only up to Psalm 26, out of 145 "I wills" in the Psalms alone!

Valley experiences are both real and no respecter of persons.  They happen to us all.

Women who feel they are failing in their parenting skills.

Women who doubt they are doing the right thing in the choices they make.

Women who look around and see others, then fall foul to the comparison bug.

Women who have regrets and remorse for sin, which they fear is too great to allow them to have fellowship with their Saviour.

We cannot allow these valley moments to keep us from blessing.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord.

Come to the Lord, with a heart empty, ready to be filled.

Turn your back on your circumstances, doubts and fears, and lift it up to a place of communion with the one who can fill the valley like a well, with waters of blessing.

God is still great.  God is still good.  His ways are still perfect.  He is still able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.

We only need to remove that obstacle to blessing, and climb out of the valley, and level it with the mountaintop.

Don't be discouraged, sisters.  The Lord has come - He is our Saviour still - He LONGS to bless.

Exalt your valley.

Friday, 5 September 2014

My Menu Planner {FINALLY, some "prettified" organisation}

Today, I have a "Ta-da" moment.

Over a year ago, I shared about Organising your Meals. I found a really great idea for doing a meal-planning board.

It looked lovely.

Just my kind of thing.

I thought it would massively help my organisation.


If I DID it.

Well, over a year later.... I DID IT!!!!

I am LOVING it.  I love how it turned out. I love that it has buttons.  I love that I will HOPEFULLY be better at planning meals now.

Do you wanna see??...

Ah! You want to know how I MADE it, first? Oh, ok then!

So, I salvaged a magnetic white board, from the back of beyond in my school room.  I used it pre-large-whiteboard, and forgot I had it, until a clear out the other day. Perfect size, perfect shape.

I got some double-sided tape, and put it all over the surface of the white board.

Then I covered it in pretty paper. I didn't have enough of one type, so I used two, complementing designs. 

My principle was based on using pegs (clothes-pins) to clip my meal cards onto.  I was in The Range, just last week, and they had these sets of pegs, with the days of the week ALREADY PRINTED on them!!!! ONLY £1!!!! BARGAIN! (I now have some family members who have a set - I thought they could be useful!) Buying these are what inspired me to FINALLY get this board made!

I also wanted little pockets, to put the meal cards into.  I found some little envelopes I had, and with a bit of cutting, sticky backed tape and pretty paper, I made three pockets.  I think they will work on the principle of "meals we have regularly", "meals we have less regularly" and "meals we have rarely".

I was  thrilled to find, in Bethany's stash of craft items, some stickers on a kitchen theme!  So, I used them to decorate the little pockets.  the children INSISTED on the first one, as I was reluctant to describe myself thus....

This next one is certainly how I TRY to make my meals, but Elijah sometimes questions the first part (he's my fussier eater!)

Then, I embellished and prettified it! I had a LOT of fun, picking out buttons, sticking on flowers, and finding ribbon!


I ended up with a bit of a "gap" at the bottom, so I thought it would be good to have a space to hang up some scripture, perhaps any memory verses we have, or simply good verses to be mindful of? 

This seemed like a good one to begin with.

So, that's my board!


I am really pleased with the overall effect...  the colours tone in with my kitchen and dining room, so I plan to (sorry, I plan to have ROBERT....) hang it on the hatch doors, so that it is visible from the kitchen with them shut, but also seen in the dining room, when they are open.

That's the plan.

So far, it's not quite happened, and this leads me to my last picture.

Can you see?.....

I learnt a spiritual lesson, on the way through.  I was reminded about the life that God has given to us.  Sometimes it is less than perfect, or a bit "messy".  Sometimes the imperfecttions are invisible.  Sometimes they are visible, and we try and cover it up, to make our life look more "normal".

Ultimately, like my imperfect board (people who know  us well may guess the culprit, who pulled SEVERAL pegs off the board, requiring repair....) we just need to pray for grace from those around us.

 I kind of hope no-one will point out its flaw! It will probably not be seen most of the time, but I will know it's there.  So, I need to show MYSELF some grace, as it hasn't quite ended up as perfect as I wanted. 

Likewise, as we hit problems and imperfections in our life - our marriage, our children, our relationships, our choices - we need to show ourself some grace. Not beat ourselves up about the "messy" parts. Instead, we need to put our best foot forward, making things right as we are able, and move on.

I COULD have thrown the whole thing out, because it wasn't right.  That would have been SUPER silly.  It will be barely noticeable, and still perfectly functional.

Our life is the same.  Even with messy bits, it's silly to just give up when things are less than perfect.  We need to press on, and make the best of it, most of all remembering that GOD shows us grace, even with our imperfections! 

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." 
James 4:6

See, the HUMBLE! I have to be willing to put my imperfections on show, and press on!  Not one of us is without the messy parts, so receive grace, and give it in return, in equal measure.

So, there we have it.

My Menu Planner. 

Oh, if you are interested in my master list of meals, I can share! Let me know!

If you make your own, please send me a picture - I'd love to see it.  Or, link up and tell me how you show your weekly meal plan!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet {Quickened, Redeemed, Saved... }

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"
Ephesians 2:5

"redeemed.... with the precious blood of Christ"
1Peter 1:18&19  

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:5

I don't think there has been any other post that has given me as much joy, as this one has.

Having to catch up on three weeks of Blogging through the alphabet, just LENDS itself to something splendid.

Something so special, it needs multiple words to describe it, yet it won't do it justice.

This week is the week that my eldest daughter, Bethany, came to us and told us that she has trusted the Lord for salvation, and has asked to be baptised.

It was funny how it came about, that she told us. I had been chatting with some online friends about believers baptism versus infant baptism.  I proceeded to further discuss it with Robert, when he got home.  As the children were gathering for family worship, we had concluded our discussion, so Robert took the opportunity to explain what Paedo-baptism is, and why we believed in baptism of believers, by full immersion. 

After family worship, I went off to make dinner for Robert and I, and when I came back through, a teary-eyed Bethany was talking to Robert. He told her to tell me what she had told him.

When Beth was 7, she knelt by her bed and asked God to save her.  The only motivation was fear of punishment in hell.  Earlier this year, I took Josh and Beth to the baptism of a friend's daughter.  By listening to all that was said that night, Beth realised that her prayer, aged 7, was not one of true repentance for sin, only a desire not to be sent to hell.  She realised that salvation only comes from true repentance, and an acknowledgement that only Christ, through His shed blood, can save from that punishment for sin.  She cried out to God, that night, and asked him to save her. In her words "my tears of sadness turned to tears of joy, as I realised that God had saved me from my sin". 

What utter, and sheer joy.  My heart was full, and my own eyes filled with tears.  

To hear your precious child claim Christ as her Saviour, is a very, very precious thing.  Not only is she my daughter, she is my sister in Christ - we are joint heirs with Jesus! 

In the coming weeks, we will arrange a baptismal service for her.  Then, she will be able to publicly profess her faith in Christ.  Baptism will not save her, or sanctify her - it is simply her profession that she is Christ's, and He is her's. 

Our prayer is that others will come to a saving faith, through her profession, as the profession of faith of ANOTHER Bethany, earlier this year, brought her to an understanding of her own sinful state before God.

Interestingly, Robert had prayed, with a deacon on Monday, that they would see souls saved in the Church, and that especially the baptistery would be opened and baptisms would take place!  How quickly God answered prayer!

If you are reading this post, and you call yourself a Christian, look at the three verses I shared at the beginning, with my Q, R and S. They pretty much sum up the way of salvation.

We are all sinners.  Dead, in trespasses and sins.  Not dead in body - we are very much alive.  Dead in our souls. The Bible says "the wages of sin is death".  Our sin has a price.  We deserve death.  Bethany was right to fear such, because it is what happens, not just to our bodies, but to our souls, if we die in our sin.  We will be eternally punished, in hell.

Praise God, that's not the end to it.

We CAN be saved!

The verses make one thing VERY clear, though.


No-one else can save us, either.

I couldn't save Bethany.  I desire that ALL my children will be saved, but I cannot save them.

"What can wash away my sin?"


Because God loves us, He sent His one and only, precious Son, who died on a cruel cross, shedding His blood, to save us - quicken - to make alive. Spiritual death, to spiritual life. Redeeming us - paying for our sins, so we belong to Him. Saved - from death, unto life.

It's by grace - that special love which God loves us with - His riches, at Christ's expense - that we are saved. 

Washed clean from sin - into new life.  Not walking in our old ways, and the ways of the world, but in God's ways, by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life. When we are saved, we are regenerated, by the presence of the Holy Spirit within.  

THAT is what has happened in the heart of my precious daughter, and it thrills mine beyond words.

I can only imagine how emotional it will be, the day she is baptised! 

I love how the Lord used so many things to shape that moment on Monday.  Working over many different occasions, to bring her to Himself.  

I think, when we have been saved for a while, we can too quickly forget that immense joy that new life in Christ brings.  My heart is full, as I see it afresh, and rejoice, once again, for my own salvation - that Christ has drawn me unto Himself, also.

As the angels in heaven rejoice, over one sinner that has repented, will you not join me, too, and rejoice also? Pray with me, too, that we will see many more souls saved - especially our own family and friends - to the glory of God.

I pray that the Lord will help me to guide her in her new-found faith, and help her to grow closer to Jesus, and that the Lord would use her mightily in the extension of His kingdom.

Ben and Me

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Looking for rainbows {finding the REAL treasure}

Rainbows are a thing of beauty.  I love to see them in the sky, and I love to use their colours in crochet! I have made various different items with those colours in them - they are always so cheery!  I have one, very special one, waiting to find a way to its new home....more about that another day.

I have had children, in the past, ask if we can go and find the end of the rainbow - to chase it down so we can be right next to it. Legends talk of pots of gold at the end of a rainbow, but of course, it's not true (if only!....)

A child, of course, doesn't always understand the concept of a rainbow.

There is science behind it, but the basics of it are simple.

You are standing in one spot, and the rainbow is there due to your situation.  You have to be near both rain and sun, and the direction of the sun in relation to the rain, makes a rainbow.  If you tried to chase it, those optimal circumstances would go, and the rainbow would disappear, too.

You caught that part, as you well know - you need RAIN and SUN.

Sun alone will not produce a rainbow, neither will rain.

The rainbow is a sign of God's promise - his covenant with Noah - that he will not destroy the earth with a flood again. We have come to think of it as a sign of God's promises, in a general sense.

He has given us SO many promises, in His Word. There are promises to suit every situation.

The thing is, we can't go chasing promises. We can't go making changes in our life, just because we don't like we we are now. We can't go looking for promises that don't suit the situation we are in RIGHT NOW.

Instead, we need to see the presence of the "Son", and find the "rainbow" for where we are right now.
Often, my children see the sun shining, whilst the rain is falling, and shout, excitedly

"Look for the rainbow! There has to be one!"

Such confidence in the laws of God's creation.

Do we have the same confidence in God's promises in our situation?

Where you are, RIGHT NOW, precious friends, is where you will see God's promises.  He is there, whilst the "rain" falls around, bringing trials and a feeling of gloom and darkness. God is with us always, giving us all we need.  If you look, right where you are, there will be a rainbow of promise, to give you hope and encouragement.

If God says "I will", he WILL.

If He says "I shall", he SHALL.

If He says "You will", you WILL.

"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."
II Corinthians 1:20

We can have confidence, no matter our situation, that God has promised us SOMETHING to help us in our time of need.  

 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" - His Pardon

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee" - His Peace

"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" - His Presence

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength" - His Power

"we know that all things work together for good to them that love God" - His Perfect Purposes

The list goes on - whatever your struggle and trial - whatever hardship is "raining" down - there is a promise just for you, waiting to be seen and to bring you blessing.  Like my children, you just need to look for it.

Don't try and get to the bottom of it - don't try and run away from the rain - just accept it, and find the rainbow where you are.  

There's no pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. 

There IS a treasure to be found, in every circumstance that the Lord allows us to pass through. There are those "rainbow promises", that we can claim.  What a treasure there is - what a wealth of treasure - as we claim God's promises, in those rainy days.  

And, don't go LOOKING for the rain, either! God has given us promises that are ours ALWAYS! Be glad if it's just "Sonshine" in your life, right now - the rain WILL come, as it does for each one of us! When it does, the rainbow will be there somewhere. Whilst the "Son" shines, there is much to give thanks for, and be blessed in.

Give thanks for the rain, and watch as the Son shines on your day, spreads that bow in the sky, giving you promises which are yours to claim.