Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bible Mondays: What any fool can do

While looking through my dad’s Bible a few weeks ago I came across a tract with the title “What Any Fool Can Do”.  I wish I had a scanner so I could put it up here on my blog, but there was only 1 picture, and it was of a stick man with a triangle hat (like the “Dunce” hat in cartoons).  The rest of the tract had the following words that I thought I would share:

 

What Any Fool Can Do

  1. Any fool can take a drink of liquor.
  2. Any fool can smoke a cigarette.
  3. Any fool can take drugs that are harmful.
  4. Any fool can indulge in improper conduct

It doesn’t require any brains to do these things, and it isn’t very smart to copy what any fool can do.  But it does require moral courage to resist temptation, to flee from evil, to say “NO” and then to stand your ground in spite of ridicule.

 

Years ago, as he neared the end of his days, King Saul said, “I have played the fool”. He had failed in the high purpose to which God had called him.

 

As you grow older will you, too, someday say with sad regret, “I have played the fool”?

 

  • Sunday News: Movies Galore

    My friend came to visit on Monday and we has such a lovely day together.  We played on the Nintendo Wii for a bit, then we went out for lunch.

    It was rather amusing at lunch time when the waiter arrived at my table and he turned out to be one of my students from 2009.  He said he was working for the holidays to earn some spending money.  The thing about knowing the waiter's personally is that you feel you HAVE to give them a good tip.

    In the afternoon my friend and I watched The Princess and the Frog, and then Hoodwinked.

    Nothing exceptional happened during Tuesday and Wednesday, but on Thursday I did a little shopping for the last of the Christmas presents.  I also bought a few more DVD’s for my collection: Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, A Christmas Carol, Overcome, The Karate Kid (with Jaden Smith) and Shrek: The Final Chapter.  I have a great fondness for movies, especially Disney movies.

    William arrived back home on Friday afternoon.  We watched movies during the afternoon, then he took me out for supper, finally we came back home and watched another movie.  We watched The Karate Kid and Shrek: The Final Chapter.

    Yesterday (Saturday), William and I did all the errands we needed to do… Got my spare tyre on the car fixed, bought a diesel cap for my car (William lost mine), stopped by at his grandparents, and went to the farmers market.  In the evening we went to watch a 3D movie at the movie theatre, we watched Megamind.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was the first movie William and I have ever seen in 3D.  My eyes felt funny afterwards, but I’m definitely going to watch another one at a later date.

    Today we have been rather quiet, William is playing Starcraft on my computer and I am watching “Sense and Sensibility” while typing this.  I am about to make sandwiches for lunch.

    Tomorrow we will be driving to my hometown to spend some time with my mother.  William didn’t want me to travel alone so he is coming with me.  We will spend Christmas with my mother and family.

    That is all that has been happening in my life lately!

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Sunday News: Sick Week

    My Week:

    This week has been a rather shaky one for me.  I cannot really remember what happened on Monday.  I know that on Tuesday I did some Christmas shopping at a shopping mall.  I bought myself a few nice hats and Guitar Hero for my Nintendo Wii along with a few gifts for other people.

    Wednesday is when the week stopped for me.  At around lunchtime I got a horrible fever and was in bed.  I assumed it was a 24-hour flu and stayed in bed.  I took an aspirin and got take-away food for supper, then went back to bed.  It was a horrible night.

    Thursday I still had the fever as well as a few other symptoms.  I was able to sit at the computer long enough to do a search for the symptoms.  They fit perfectly with Stomach Flu or Gastroenteritis.  I did what the websites suggested and my fever broke at around 8am Friday morning.

    Friday, I stayed in bed another day, since I still felt nauseous whenever I stood up for too long, and finished reading a book.  I drank plenty of fluids, the aim is to get better now.

    Saturday, I got my first really good look at the kitchen – WHAT A MESS!!!! (ok, now I thought of that little Afghan dog from children’s stories).  I washed the dishes, then lay on the sofa drinking teas and watching movies.  I still felt weak, but I assume that is because of the lack of food.

    Sunday,  I still feel weak, and slightly dehydrated.  I’m going to take it slow today, but I am going to do some serious cleaning.

     

    In other news:

    My yellow budgie, Leya, seemed really worried about me while I was sick.  I usually let her loose in the house during the day for exercise.  She kept flying into my bedroom and onto my bed to “look” at me, then she would fly out the room again. Cute pet – I didn’t know she cared!

    William and my mom also kept phoning to find out how I was.  My mom is still going to be working until the 15th and so is William.  William might even have to work right up until Christmas, and that means we won’t see each other until New Years Eve.

    As the plans stand, we are going to visit William’s dad at the coast for a few days from the 18th, then travel inland and spend Christmas with my family in my hometown, then travel back here around the 27th and spend New Years Eve with William’s grandparents.  This may have to change if William has to work until Christmas.  If he does I’ll be leaving on the 15th or 16th to go to my hometown and spend time with my mom and other family coming back for New Years Eve.

     

    Now to get to the cleaning!

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Wednesday Review: “Witches Abroad” by Terry Pratchett

    Genre: Humorous Fantasy

    Warnings:  Contains witches (duh), the Grim Reaper and a zombie, however the story is no worse than a Brothers Grimm tale.  If you watched Shrek or read Brother’s Grimm, then this book raises no more alarms.

     

    Story:  This book takes place in Terry Pratchett’s fantasy world called The Discworld.  An elderly witch (and fairy-godmother) dies and leaves her wand to Magrat, a young and up-and-coming witch, with strict instructions to prevent a certain young servant girl from being forced to marry the Duke.  Magrat, and two other witches, then travel to a far-away kingdom to fulfil this quest having many adventures along the way.

     

    Personal Opinion:  I enjoy fantasy stories, and I love Terry Pratchett’s sense of humour.  What I like about his Discworld books is that it is a completely made-up world, where anything he imagines can happen.  Even though some things are similar to the real world (for example one of the drinks in this book is a Banana Daiquiri), the entire universe is definitely 100% fictional.  He has a marvellous imagination and sense of humour.  I found myself giggling the whole way through the book, and by the time I got to the last 100 pages, I simply had to finish it.

     

    Verdict:  It is a good read for anyone who enjoys fantasy stories.  The characters are detailed, and personally the book makes me feel like a child reading a fantastic fairy-tale.  It is a nice break from reality. I would compare the feel of the book to the movie “Shrek”.  I advise it for people older than 16 though, simply because of the above mentioned warnings.  The reader needs to be able to distinguish reality from fantasy.  Also, a certain level of intelligence is needed to fully appreciate the humour.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Tuesday Crafts: Gift Wrapping

    SNC00202

     

    Recently I wrapped gifts for my work colleagues.  I was feeling rather creative so I made an effort with the wrapping of these gifts.  To do this you will need:

     

    Red and/or green paper ribbon

    Christmas tree ornaments (I used silver balls, gold bells, and little red presents)

    Wrapping paper

    Gift Tags

    Scissors

    Sticky tape

    1. Simply wrap the present with the wrapping paper, using sticky tape to hold it together.
    2. Wrap the ribbon around the present and secure with a double knot, be generous with the amount of ribbon used, make sure you have at least 20cm (about 8 inches) of each end after tying the knot.
    3. Tie the ornaments around the bow over the knot using the string meant to hang them on the tree.
    4. Take the scissors and cut the ends of the ribbon down the middle so you now have 4 strips of ribbon.
    5. Hold the scissor blade against the rough side of the ribbon with your thumb.
    6. Pull the scissor blade along the ribbon.  You should hear a “shredding” sound, and the ribbon will curl.  Do this with all four strands.
    7. Attach the gift tag with sticky tape so that it is under the ribbon, but the name is still visible.

    Bible Mondays: Head Covering

    Even though I have not said anything about this to any of my friends or family.  This topic was brought to my attention around this time last year.  After reading other blogs and forum posts on it, I decided that I would deal with 1 Corinthians 11 when I got there.

    For those who do not know, I have been attempting to read the entire bible in 52 weeks… following the reading plan I found here: http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html

    Yesterday I started week 14. I saw the week ahead’s reading plan and thought “Oh my, 1 Corinthians 11 already? Well, I knew I had to deal with it sometime, here goes…”

    First I read the chapter, actually the first section of the chapter (verses 2-16), then I reread it looking for a way to play the words so that “head” didn’t mean a person’s literal head, or that covering didn’t mean literally covering ones head.  Nothing I could come up with would hold in a court of law, it was written in black and white.

    Next I went and looked up the Greek meanings of certain key words, trying to find a way to prove that the translation could be off.  That didn’t work out either.

    Finally, I resorted to searching online for commentaries.  All the commentaries I found told me what I already knew at this point.  Here is the one that made me give up and accept what is written…


    So that’s it.  God has revealed the truth to me about head coverings.  It took some time, and a lot of head-butting, but He has made it blatantly clear, and I am going to do as He asks, in obedience to Him.  At this stage I will only be covering during my prayer time and for church, I’m testing the waters on this, one little baby step at a time.

    One more thing:
    I'm adding this in after the post, about a day after all my research.  It was mentioned to me (I am assuming the person would like to stay anonymous) that a woman's hair is meant to be her covering... 1 Corinthians 11:15.  That verse was the only one I had to back up that we no longer needed to cover.  Personally, I would rather be safe than sorry on this matter.  It was only around the time that feminism took it's grip on the world that women stopped wearing hats to church. Therefore I remaining with my original decision for the time being - I will cover during my prayer time, and for church at the moment.  The other thing is that I decided that I won't be covering with a cloth for church, but rather just wearing a hat, like was done in my great grandparents time.  If God speaks to me and tells me differently then so be it.

    I strongly believe that each person should listen to their own heart on this matter.  Whichever way God convicts you, that is the way you should go.  I'm not saying I am right, in actual fact, I think that whether we cover our heads or not is a rather petty matter, and it should not be something that divides the church.  You, as an individual, need to decide this for yourself.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Playing House

    Remember the days when we were little girls playing house?  I remember dressing my dolls, cooking food, doing the ironing, sweeping the floors, washing dishes and enjoying it.  Of course all this was make-believe with plastic toy food, a plastic toy iron and a miniature broom, but it was fun.

    Somewhere between 5 and 25 all these fun things became work.  At 5 years old the concept of work doesn’t exist, except maybe the thought that daddy goes to work each day.  Somewhere around 7 years old we get introduced to homework.  At first it is fun because you are in “Big School” and you are learning new things each day.  Then we begin to realise that it is something we have to do.  And as soon as it becomes something we have to do, it stops being something we want to do.  That is when the whole system falls apart.  We start procrastinating, we begin to leave things to the last minute so that we can play now and avoid our chore as long as possible.

    I thought about all of this while packing the dishes away from the drying rack.  The 5 year old version of myself would have loved this “huge” doll-house I’m living in.  (For those of you who don’t know, my home is the size of a double garage).  My 5 year old self would jump at the opportunity to get to “play house” in here.  Why has my housework become a chore?  Perhaps it is time to see the world through different eyes… the eyes of the 5 year old me.

    As I continued packing the dishes away, I actually started enjoying the task.  I thought to myself “This is what I’ve always wanted.  I’ve always wanted my own home and now I have it.” My 5 year old dreams are real. Okay, I’m not married and there are no children yet, so they are almost real.

    Sometimes happiness is just a change of attitude.

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Red pill or blue pill?

    No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
    ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

    Every day we are going to face our weaknesses and overcome them, just like an alcoholic has to decide each day whether to have that drink or not.  We all have our temptations.  Some of us have alcohol, others food, some sexual pleasure, and various other temptations that destroy our relationship with God and others.  We can know that we are not alone.  Everybody, worldwide, is tempted. 

    Temptation, in this context can also be translated into tested or testing.  I’m not a biblical scholar, I cannot read Greek, but this is what my Bible tells me and I trust that it is true.

    God is faithful, he will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.  I love movies and TV shows.  When I read those words I thought of the scene in The Matrix where Neo has to choose the red pill or the blue pill.  God allows us the choice.  He always provides a way out.  He never puts the red pill in our hand without also giving us the blue pill.  Sometimes the red pill is in our hand and the blue pill is on the table in front of us, but we always have both options.

    There is only one thing in life you can truly control, and that is whether you are good or evil.

    A slightly more Christian perspective on that… God is pure good, Satan is pure evil.  So there is only one thing in life we can truly control, whether we follow God or follow Satan.  What helps me when I am faced with temptation is thinking whether I am choosing God or Satan whenever I make a decision.  Who am I choosing?  Which option would Jesus want us to choose?  Answer those two questions and you’ll have your answer to your temptation.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    A college example

    Please Note: This entire story is fictional
    One day, at a well-known college, a little known Christian youth minister was giving a sermon in one of the campus halls.  4 friends, Amy, Samantha, Carrie and Joanne decided to go and listen to what he had to say.  The sermon was very powerful, it gave the four friends a lot to think about.

    That night, Samantha lay thinking about it in bed.  Her logical mind analysed every bit of the sermon, arguing backwards and forwards.  Eventually she convinced herself it was all nonsense and went to sleep.  She never opened her heart to God again.  But, Amy, Carrie and Joanne listened and accepted Jesus into their hearts that night.

    Amy was overjoyed with her new found faith.  She bought modest clothing, she stopped drinking, she did everything she could think of to live a Christian life, but she neglected to build her faith on a relationship with God.  She didn’t read her Bible, she didn’t pray.  Even though on the outside she looked the part, inside she her faith had no depth.  A short while later, her parents were killed in a car accident and she was left to fend for herself.  She had to get a job to pay for her living expenses, she had to stop studying.  She couldn’t understand how a God who she felt she gave everything to could allow this to happen.  She then turned her back on God.

    Carrie, like Amy, was also eager about her faith at first.  That weekend she went out with some of her other friends to a club.  She tried to tell them about God, but they didn’t want to listen.  She ordered a soda and enjoyed the evening with her friends.  Carrie, in her own mind, lived a Christian life, but those around her did not see it.  She would go out drinking on Saturday nights and listen to the Christian radio station on Sunday mornings.  None of her friends realised she was a Christian.

    Joanne, got home from the sermon and got out her Bible to look up the verses the youth minister had given them.  She didn’t quite believe yet.  After a little while, reading and studying God’s word, she accepted Jesus as her saviour.  She didn’t bite of more than she could chew like Amy.  She allowed her faith to grow slowly as God lead her.  Joanne, joined a church, she read her Bible, she prayed, and God slowly moulded her over time.  After college, Joanne had the opportunity to go on a mission trip where she met her husband.  They married and had children who they raised according to God’s word.  Their family touched the hearts of everyone they met and inspired them to live according to God’s word.  And they lived happily ever after….

    Which one of the 4 friends are you?  I know that I used to be like Carrie. Now, God has shown me the error of my ways, and I am striving to be like Joanne.

    This story is based on a parable Jesus told in Mark 4:1-20.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Recipe: Breakfast Beans

    Even though the recipe is called Breakfast Beans, I think the meal is more suited to a brunch or lunch.  It can also be served over pasta rather than on toast.  It is filling and if you add a bit of cooked minced beef can be eaten for dinner over rice or pasta.  The recipe book I got it from says “Serves 4”, and it would probably feed me for 4 meals, but as always this greatly depends on how much food the people you are serving eat.  I also garnished with green pepper – this can be excluded.

    So without further delay, here is the recipe:

    Breakfast Beans:
     SNC00188

    Ingredients:
    25ml / 25g (2 tablespoons) Margarine
    1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped
    Half a Green Pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 x 420g can baked beans in tomato sauce (this does not have to be exact, just get the closest to this size you can find, I used a 410g can)
    50ml ( 1/5 cup ) tomato sauce
    15ml (1 tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    250ml (1 cup) cheddar cheese, grated
    Toasted Bread slices for serving

    Method:
    1. Melt the margarine in a frying pan.  Add the onion and green pepper and fry gently for 5 minutes until soft.
    2. Add baked beans in their sauce, the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
    4. Mix in the cheese and cook for 3 minutes, stirring continuously until the cheese is melted.
    5. Spoon the bean and cheese mixture on top of the toasted bread slices.  Serve immediately.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Keeping the Sabbath

    “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath,
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
    if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honourable,
    and if you honour it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
    then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
    The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
    ~ Isaiah 58:13-14

    Normally, when I read Isaiah I feel overwhelmed.  Everything being written is written in common speech.  Each individual verse makes sense to me, but I regularly find myself glancing back to remind myself of the broad picture being discussed and that is when I get overwhelmed and start to just carry on reading until God brings a verse to my attention, not concentrating too much on the meaning behind any verse until that point.

    This time, the verses quoted above were the ones God brought to my attention.  Then again, while reading Mark the following verses were brought to my attention…

    Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.
    ~ Mark 1:35

    Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
    ~ Mark 2:27

    These verses started my train of thought along it’s journey.  Isn’t one of the 10 commandments to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy? (By the way, the answer is Yes).  What does a typical Sabbath look like in my household?  That’s easy…

    I wake up when I wake up (no alarm clock on a Sunday).  I make my coffee and sit down in front of the computer to read emails.  Then I turn on a computer game and play for the rest of the morning.  At lunch time I start cooking my main meal of the day.  And I enjoy that while watching something on TV.  Normally at this point I remember something that needs to be done before Monday and I start working on it.  If not, the computer game is continued until it is time for the evening church service.  After that I have a cup of tea and do my evening Bible study or read a book.  Then it is off to bed to start Monday morning.

    This is not how God wanted us to keep the Sabbath, sure it is to be a day of rest, but it is also meant to be a day we focus on him and allow him to renew our spirits for the week ahead.

    Have you ever tried working for 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year?  I am convinced that any normal person would crash and burn very quickly.  We need a day of rest!  We cannot survive without a day of rest.  The Sabbath is more for our benefit than anything else.  Our spiritual journey can become so much stronger if we take a day off once a week, or even for an hour or two, to have in depth prayer and study of God’s word.

    Even Jesus sought a solitary place to be alone with God and pray.  The Bible does not say whether it was a Sabbath day or not, but that is besides the point, the point is that he got up early to be alone with God.  When did you last get up early to be alone with God?  I did today, for the first time in weeks.  And I intend to make a commitment to keep the Sabbath holy from this day forward, using it as a time to focus on God and rest with as few worldly distractions as possible.

    NOTICE:
    For those of you who have already heard what happened, it was at this point in my blog post I started getting horrible pains in my right hand side.  I was taken to the emergency room at the hospital and it turned out to be a Kidney Stone.  I have thought about continuing the post (24 hours later), but decided against it because there is no more to say.  I am alright now.  God was with me through it.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Understanding God’s Calling

    Understanding and not doing is not true understanding.

    While sitting quietly last night the above thought came into my mind.  I know that I had heard that phrase somewhere before, but I cannot remember where.  That does not matter though.  What does matter is the meaning behind it.

    When faced with proverbs, Bible verses, quotes, or other sayings, we may understand the meaning behind them, but if we do not take it to heart and put it into practice then we do not truly understand.

    Perhaps this is a good time to mention that I love quotes, sayings and proverbs regardless of what belief system they come from, as long as they do not go against what is written in God’s word. 

    At this point this Zen-Buddhist proverb entered my mind:

    It is better to sit all night than to go to bed with a dragon.

    In combination with the the first thought I began to think “What are my dragons? What am I holding in my heart that is eating away at me?” 

    Amongst other things (which I dealt with individually), I found that one of my key dragons is that I feel as though I need to get out there and lead other people to God, but I have no idea how to do it with my talents.

    The problem with that is that my skills are limited.  I am not a skilled musician or singer, so that crosses out one ministry.  I am awkward around small children, so that crosses out another ministry.  I actually feel uncomfortable around people and have great difficulty forming friendships.  Those that I do form I fail to maintain for very long. So actually any form of ministry involving direct contact with people is crossed out.

    So what are my known talents?  The ability to think logically, which results in the ability to enjoy programming and actually be good at it.  Once I get into writing a computer program I actually find it fun (getting started is the problem).

    How can I use this talent to further God’s kingdom?  I had no idea, then I read this Bible verse:

    God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
    ~ 2 Corinthians 9:8

    I began meditating on the meaning of that verse, seeking a greater understanding of it.  I like to think with proverbs and parables since they allow me to form a deeper meaning and understanding of the world around me.  Last night I had the verse backwards.  I thought that “A healthy tree bears plenty of fruit which feeds many”.  But rather it is “A person with plenty is better equipped to maintain an orchard.”  Even though my understanding of the verse was incorrect last night, it took my thoughts along the path that God wanted them to take.

    If I were to pick the right tree (the right good work), pour everything into it, God will allow it to grow and provide plenty of fruit that can fee many.  So the question was again, using my talents, what did God intend for me to do to further his kingdom here on earth. 

    That is when I felt my calling, beyond any doubt.  It excited me.  I knew in an instant what God wanted me to do, what he had brought me into the world to do.  I wrote this in my journal last night, as I wrote it, I knew what I had to do:

    “What if your calling is into a career that will earn money so you can support those who have talents that will further God’s kingdom?”

    Is God’s calling for me to simply to live a Christian life to the best of my ability, work with my hands and mind, and earn money that I can pour back into God's kingdom?  The stunning answer to that was “At the moment, yes!”  After reading all the stories about radical believers who give up everything to preach God’s word at all costs, sometimes dying for their faith, God simply wants me to live a Christian life, earning money that can be used to allow these radical believers to continue doing what they are doing?  YES Could it really be that simple? YES. 

    A person with plenty is better equipped to maintain an orchard.

    I urge you to look deep within yourself, spend time with God, meditate on his word, and allow him to show you his calling for your life.  Once you know what he wants you to do, even if it is only a temporary “To Do” and you start doing it, you will feel more fulfilled than ever before.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Feeling shunned among Christians?

    “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.”

    ~ 1 Corinthians 5:11

     

    I read this verse while doing my Bible study the other night.  I advise reading the entire chapter to understand the context that this verse comes from, but I am not going to go into it here.

     

    Perhaps some of you are thinking about a young unmarried couple in your church while reading this, or a man or woman who seems to like their glass of wine or beer a little too much.  You may even have a situation where there are people who won’t go to church when there is a huge sporting even being shown on TV.  I have heard of people taking little radios to weddings to keep track of the score – even the groom was in on the scam.  Can sport really be an idol? I say that it can!

     

    Now, I want you to stop thinking about these people in your church who I mentioned above.  I want you to think as I do.  Look into yourself.  I am not talking only about right now, look back on your whole life since you became a Christian.  Have you been sexually immoral (sex before marriage included)? Have you been greedy?  Have you put something in your life in front of God (an idol)? Or perhaps spread malicious gossip? Have you had a tendency to drink a little too much at times?  Have you looked for ways to cheat somebody out of money or anything else?  I know that I have been guilty of at least 5 of the things mentioned above since I became a Christian.

     

    How did the church treat you during those times?  Did the other Christians around you know what was going on when you got home?  For me, not everyone knew everything, but some would know about one thing, others would know something else and so on. I have discovered that even after a person makes changes to their life, reputations tend to stick around a lot longer.

     

    Perhaps some of you reading this are going through the same thing right now.  The reputation you had before you fully embraced God is still following you to this day.  You may be feeling shunned at your church, as though nobody wants you around.  I urge you to look at your life right now and determine if you are one of those people who Paul tells the other believers not to associate with!  Have you ever been one of those people?  That will explain a lot in how other believers treat you. 

     

    Decide to change your ways right now, at this very moment if you have not done so yet.  You are not alone in this, others are walking along the same path as you! Rely on Jesus to walk with you every step of the way and He will.  Be determined that you will not fall back into your old patterns.  Live the life Jesus wants you to live!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    News

    This is just a quick update from me on what is going on in my life right now.  Some of you may have noticed that I have not written anything for some time, so this will hopefully get you up to speed on what is happening…

     

    On Friday, 22nd October, I handed in my final assignment for the year.  I got the marks back today – 88% for Section A and 65% for Section B.  This may not sound marvellous, but I only lost marks in the sections I decided to leave out to save myself time.  Everything that I did I got completely correct.  The final examination starts on the 14th of November.

     

    Secondly, I have decided that next year I am going to start doing research towards my Master’s Degree in Information Technology.  It was a difficult decision to make, but I talked it over with my mother and with William.  I think that this is the best choice for me.  I also have felt God leading me towards this.

     

    This past weekend I decided to rest without having any work hanging over my head.  I made a choice not to go online, read emails, make blog posts or anything from Friday afternoon until today (Monday 25th).  The only work I did this whole weekend was a 15 minute cleanup on Saturday morning and washing the dishes once after cooking a large meal that would last me all weekend.  I spent the whole weekend playing The Sims 3 and watching Stargate SG-1.

     

    The decision that I made was a good one (in my opinion).  Today I was more motivated to work and “Do it now” than I have been in a long time.

     

    There have been a lot of other interesting developments at work, but a lot of what has happened would be gossip if I were to relay it here.  All I shall say is that what has been happening could rival most of the popular TV Shows. However, nothing directly affects me, except that one of my friends may be switching jobs next year and I might be getting his office. 

     

    Now this is all from me for the moment.  I am off read the Bible a little before bed.

     

    May God Bless you!

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Lowering/Raising the Bar

    “The future of the world is in the hands of disciplined people.  The undisciplined waste their energies with themselves and their own tangles.”
    ~ Author Unknown

    Why is it that when we run into difficulties we lower our expectations? 

    I have seen countless women who dreamed of Prince Charming while they were young girls marry very different men.  Prince Charming was different for each woman, but he was their ideal. 

    As we grow older and we experience relationships ending in misery and hurt, we begin to lower the bar for our prince charming.  For example, we may say “I’ll never marry a man who smokes”, then we find the “perfect” man, but he is a smoker, so we lower our standard just a little to accommodate him.  It is as if we don’t believe that our ideal man is out there somewhere for us, or rather that we don’t believe that God will lead us to that man.

    The fact that the man smokes should be an indication from God that he isn’t the one for us, rather than an indication that our standards are too high.

    I hear about countless women, world-wide, becoming disgusted at the behaviour of modern men.  Just the other day I had an experience where a young man I know told me in detail about a horrific video he saw on the internet.  I was shocked that he would think I would find it entertaining, and I wondered how his girlfriend could put up with it.

    I begin to wonder, if all the women in the world decided not to accept anything less than their ideal, would the world-wide situation improve?  Wouldn’t it force men, world-wide, to live up to a higher standard?

    The same is true in the way we teach our children, and the way we live our life.  Set high standards for yourself.  Expect 100%, then be proud of yourself for getting 90% because you know that if you had aimed for 50% you would never have got 90%.  A person can do this in all aspects of their life, from school marks, Christian duty, work, housework, relationships and so on.

    "I had rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed”
    ~ Robert Schuller

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    School-girl Love

    He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'”
    ~ Luke 10:27
    Over the past few days I have woken up feeling like a school-girl in love.  Any woman can tell you what that feels like, and if you don’t know just watch Disney’s animated movie “The Little Mermaid”, Ariel is the perfect example of a school-girl in love.

    The difference between myself and Ariel is that my love is not felt toward an earthly man, it is felt towards my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ / God.

    How did this love happen?  Well, like any good relationship, it comes over time spent together.  Talking, praying and even just sitting quietly with Jesus / God builds up the relationship.  Focusing on other aspects of life break it down, just like any other relationship.

    When you first meet a real man (as a teenager, older women are wiser in this matter) that you have a romantic interest in, you go out of your way to dress in ways he’ll find attractive, to “accidentally” bump into him at a certain place, to write love letters in your diary, and to talk about him with your friends until they no longer want to be around you because he is all you talk about.  Your entire existence revolves around him.  Why should our love for Jesus Christ / God be any different from this?

    We can dress in ways Jesus / God will find attractive (modestly).  We can see him at church every Sunday.  We can write letters in our diary to him, and we even have the privilege to talk to him at any moment of the day (unlike a School-girl crush).  We can talk to our friends about him.  We can base our entire existence around Him!  In fact this is what we should do!  Jesus said himself “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”

    I am sure that there are some people reading this who have never experienced that sort of love for Jesus / God.  I hadn’t experienced it either until a few weeks ago, and I have only been experiencing it fully over the past few days.  It takes constant prayer, and a dedication to focus on Jesus / God every minute of every day.  It is something that rarely just happens. It takes work and many hours in prayer, but the rewards are phenomenal!

    Deeper understanding, deeper trust, deeper faith, joyful heart, and a shining glow of love.  It is a marvellous feeling and well worth the effort.  Do yourself a favour and pray with a sincere heart every morning “Jesus, please help me to centre my life around you today.  Allow your love to shine through me, and allow my love for you to grow today.” Then spend the rest of your day remembering that prayer and doing what you can to make it a reality in your life.  As my fiancĂ© always says “God helps those who help themselves”, meaning that if you try God will help you to succeed.

    May God bless each and every one of you today and always.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Bathroom Bliss

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

    ~ Matthew 6:19-21

     

    “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

    ~ 1 Timothy 6:10

     

    I have been spending some time focusing on my surroundings and trying to accomplish a minimalist look.  I am trying to remove clutter from my life since I believe that less stuff will allow me to focus more on Jesus in the long run.  Lately I have been getting the distinct feeling that possessions come between me and my Lord.  Nobody ever seems to be content with what they have got, everybody seems to want more.  So it is time for me to want less.

     

    This is taking time since every item I have needed to carefully consider whether I am going to keep it, give it away or throw it away.  You’ll be happy to know that I am finished with the bathroom surfaces (inside the cupboard and cabinet is another story).

     

    I picked the bathroom as the first room to clear of clutter because it is the easiest room to start with.  Here are the pictures:

     

    P1030238

     

    The bathroom sink.  All that I have is a glass with my toothbrush and toothpaste, a scrub brush for nails, a bar of soap, a hand towel and toilet paper.  There is no need for more stuff than that.

     

    P1030242

    The toilet, I had magazines, candles and the rubber duck on the toilet and I was going to clear it all off, but to my eyes it looked strange.  I decided to keep the rubber duck because I find it relaxing to see it bobbing in the bathtub.  Pity that my current home does not have a bathtub.  There is also a dustbin, a toilet brush and a small bathroom mat.  The Rubber duck is the only object without a purpose other than decoration.

     

    P1030243

     

    The hamper, shower towel, scale and door of the shower.  Each item is used daily.

     

    I couldn’t get a decent photograph of the shower, but just know that it only contains my net sponge, soap, shampoo, face wash, face cloth, and razor. I threw out a lot of old bottles and some sponges I hadn’t been using.

     

    My bathroom has now become a relaxing place for my soul.  Last night I even considered moving my quiet time into my bathroom!  I am looking forward for the rest of my home to be as free from clutter as the bathroom is.

     

    I have two major conflicts going on in my mind.  I want to go out and buy matching towels for the bathroom in neutral tones, however I have to keep telling myself that I do not need matching towels.  I have enough towels in my home.  I have the ones you see in the photographs, I have 3 other Bath Towels (2x black, 1x Navy) and 1 other Hand Towel (black).  I also have a few towels in a chest at my mothers home so I truly do not need any more.

     

    The other conflict is that rubber duck is still bothering me, if anybody has a suggestion for something to replace it (that won’t cost money) please leave a comment below.

     

    The next task is inside the cupboard under the bathroom sink and in the cabinet above the bathroom sink.

    Living Sacrifice

    "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”

    ~ Romans 12:1 (NIV)

     

    As of the 30th of November my current job is coming to an end.  I have been offered a renewal of the contract from the 1st of February 2011, but for December and January I will have no income and no work.

     

    Over the past few weeks I have been praying for God’s guidance on the direction he wants my life to take.  I have been praying that God will accept my life as a living sacrifice to Him and that He will show me the path that will best fill His goal for my life.  So far I have had a few feelings about God’s path for me.

     

    I distinctly feel as though my time working under my current boss has come to an end.  I have no doubt in my mind regarding that.  I also feel that it is not time for me to become a full-time homemaker.  So that means I do need to begin looking for other work. 

     

    I received an email a few days ago about a certain company in this city that is looking for new employees.  I fill all the requirements, therefore I am sending in my CV first thing on Monday morning.  I firmly believe that God will allow me to get that job if it is where he wants me to be.  I also firmly believe that God will prevent me from getting that job if I am not meant to get it.  So now the only thing to do is pray that God’s will shall be done.

     

    I urge everyone reading this to give up your life to God’s will (if you haven’t yet) and allow him to lead you.  Offer your body as a living sacrifice.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Recipe: Cheese Puffs

    "She gets up while it is still dark; 
    she provides food for her family 
    and portions for her servant girls."
    ~ Proverbs 31:15

    In context, this verse describes a "wife of noble character" (Proverbs 31:10).  From time to time, I am going to post recipe's that I use regularly, or that I specifically like.  So here is one of my favourites, and a favourite of all the people who have tasted it.

    Cheese Puffs:

    Makes About 9

    Ingredients:
    • 250ml (1 cup) flour
    • 10ml (2 teaspoons) baking powder
    • Pinch cayenne pepper
    • Pinch of onion salt (or regular salt)
    • 250ml (1 cup) cheddar cheese, grated
    • 1 egg - fill up to 250ml (1 cup) with milk

    Method:
    1. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F) & grease patty pan.
    2. Sift together flour, baking powder, cayenne and onion salt
    3. Add grated cheese
    4. Mix in egg and milk mixture and whisk.  Pour equal amounts into the patty pans.
    5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, till golden brown and set.
    6. Serve hot with margarine/butter

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Making the day’s count

    “My intercessor is my friend
    as my eyes pour out tears to God;
    on behalf of a man he pleads with God
    as a man pleads for his friend.”
    ~ Job 16:20-21

    This morning while reading my Bible (Job 15 to 16), these verses and another stood out for me.  Keeping it simple, the intercessor mentioned reminded me of Jesus Christ.  As our tears pour out to God, Jesus pleads with God on our behalf, just as a man would plead for a friend.

    “Only a few years will pass
    before I go on the journey of no return.”
    ~ Job 16:22

    That was the second verse that stood out for me.  We do not have much time in this life.  That is evident by all the deaths this past year.  My father died of cancer on June 30th.  I have heard of many other people passing away this year.  My aunt and grandmother have been at their worst this year than any other time in my life.  So death is something I am familiar with.  I know that my days are numbered, my life is in God’s hands, I may die on the way to work today, or on my 100th birthday (just under 75 years from now).  I don’t know.  Either way, my days are numbered.  This verse allowed me to think of how short our time on earth is.  I do not know how long I have left, but I do need to make every day count and I would like them to count for God’s glory.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Preparation for a new beginning

    Better to sit all night than go to bed with a dragon

     

    Each time we wake up God gives us a unique gift.  A completely new day ahead and complete freedom to choose how to spend that day, but sometimes we get caught up in life before our day even begins.

     

    Some people like to start their new day focused on God, but so often things happen in our life to prevent us from starting our day focused on God.  I know that it happens to me regularly, or at least it used to.  I have discovered something that helps me start the day the right way.  My discovery is to end the day the right way first.

     

    At night, before I go to bed, I sit in my quiet spot.  At the moment, my “quiet spot” is a cushion on the floor of my bedroom with candles and an incense burner.  I just sit on the cushion in my quiet spot for a few minutes before praying. 

     

    I do this to calm my mind after the day.  So often my mind is racing in the evenings.  Thoughts pop in and I shove them out.  All these thoughts prevent me from falling asleep, but they also prevent me from focusing on my Lord while I pray in the evenings.  I am sure that many people who read this know what I am talking about.

     

    My solution: I sit quietly, I listen to my thoughts, I acknowledge each thought, I write a note if I feel it is necessary, everything that comes into my mind I listen to.  When my mind is quiet (it usually takes 5 minutes), I begin spending time with my Lord.  Because my mind is now quiet, I can listen for His voice and guidance without interruption. 

     

    Results: I fall asleep more easily.  My time with my Lord is more intense.  When I wake up in the morning, I wake up calm and focused on the new day ahead, prepared to do my Lord’s will.

     

    Better to sit all night than go to bed with a dragon

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Where I'm coming from

    Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. ~ Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV)

    Jesus wants so much more for us than leading the typical Christian life.  He wants to be our complete focus.  We may be stumbling along in the dark, but it is better to have Jesus leading us around obstacles than tripping over them all by ourselves.

     

    There is a burning desire in my heart to centre my life around Jesus Christ.  I don't know where I am going, that is up to him, I only know where I am coming from.

     

    I have been living a lukewarm Christian life.  Perhaps warmer than some, but not boiling with passion.  I accepted Jesus as my saviour when I was in my teens.  I was baptised in my early twenties.  However I have never lived a life filled by Jesus Christ.  I lived a life just like every other lukewarm Christian I know.

     

    I’m filled with dirt.  I am sure that those who know me the best could write a novel on all my dirt.  Now I am seeing what I am through different eyes.  I am seeing it through the eyes of somebody who is further along her spiritual walk.  Some things God has been convicting me on, other things I ask you to please be patient with, I’m a work in progress.

     

    This past weekend, on October 3rd, I decided that I am tired of being a lukewarm Christian.  I began to earnestly pray for Jesus to become the centre of my life.  This blog started off about me, but it is going to continue about Him.

     

    Jesus wants so much more for us than leading the typical Christian life.  He wants to be our complete focus.  We may be stumbling along in the dark, but it is better to have Jesus leading us around obstacles than tripping over them all by ourselves.