Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Are You Going to the Philistines?

The Scripture, as to all, is so full a direction, that Christians need not go down to the Philistines to whet their tools, nor to be beholden to unwritten traditions, or to the writings of pagan philosophers, for directions what to do, how to worship God, or manage any part of the conversation, either as to their general calling, or as to the particular relations.
Matthew Poole

The thing that strikes me so often is that the church doesn't bother to approach the Bible and base their lives upon it. I've been struck by this again and again, especially recently. So often I'm told that people "can't afford" to have more than two children. I recently had this from a recently married couple in my church. They will have children - they want them - but not yet. They are not yet in the right financial situation.

Individually that may be true. But as a culture, the church is not obeying the Word. We do what we want and not what God has commanded. We do what seems right in our own eyes. We are not only in the world we are of it.

The church is called to be DIFFERENT. That means that we are NOT THE SAME. We do not offer what the world offers. Or rather we should not. We should not think the way the world thinks.

Thinking differently means that we focus our thoughts on things of God. We shouldn't just avoid the "bad" stuff (though that's a great start) we need to actively meditate on the things of God (see Philippians 4:8). Obviously a big part of this is reading the Word, and commiting it to memory so that you can mediate on it "day and night". But it also means taking in things that are virtuous, things that build us up in the faith. Listen to sermons. Read inspiring biographies. Watch a docomentary on Genesis (or any other book in the Bible). Watch a Christian movie - a real Christian movie, one that actually quotes scripture and makes referrence to God in it somewhere.

We spend far too much time and thought amongst the Philistines. Think about how much TV you watch. How much is produced by Christians? How much has a Biblical worldview? (That would be an even smaller percentage.) We spend so much time and effort inbibing the culture of the world, and so little the culture of God.

Make a resolution. Resolve to take in less of the material of the Philistines, and more of the Bible, and other materials based squarely on it.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

True Woman Manifesto

"God's plan for gender is wider than marriage; all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity in their various relationships, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit."

From The True Woman Manifesto.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Proverbs 13:20, 1 Corinthians 15:33

"Studies show that the average American teen watches twenty-three hours of television every week and spends hours more online. What does that have to do with Proverbs and 1 Corinthians? Our companions are not limited to our family and friends. Our companions are the movies, TV shows, and online videos we watch. Our companions are the video games we play, the websites we surf, the music we listen to, and even the clothes we wear."

"You will not change culture by serving culture. As you make decisions about what to allow into your mind and heart, ask yourself, Does this draw me closer to God or take me further away?"
- Alex and Brett Harris, in their new book, Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are.

This has been something on my mind recently - and something that I've been really blessed as I've been obedient to God in this area. For me, I don't have that much trouble with TV. I have a TV - it just doesn't pick up any TV channels. That means I'm limited to DVDs and videos, and as I have to make some kind of effort for them I tend to evaluate my choices far more carefully than I would if I had access to TV whenever I wanted. I also watch far less TV - certainly less than 5 hours a week, and a good deal of that would be Christian lectures, sermons, or documentaries.

But BOOKS. I mean, I've been reading books since I was 3 and a half. I have more books than anyone I know - and more than some public libraries! I remember reading when I was 17 that the number of books in the home was predictive of a child's IQ - and that if there was more than 500 books the chances of them being a genius went up to more than 50% I decided to count my books, but gave up when I realised I had more than 500 Picture Story Books.

Books are companions, just and Alex and Brett say. And it is all too easy to spend far too much time with companions that hinder your walk with God.

For me I don't have too many "brainless" books. After all, I studied Literature and Classics at uni. I can debate the merits of Austen compared with the Brontes. But just because the books are hard doesn't make them good - especially not for me.

So many books - even "classics" - can promote things we do not want in our lives. George Eliott makes me feel like a rebellious female, when I personally need a whole lot more work on submission. H.E. Bates stirs feelings of lust. Hardy makes me depressed and less thankful to God. Several other books stir similar feelings.

So what I've done is go through my bookshelves - especially to "to be read" shelf. Authors I know are likely to lead me astray get put straight for the op-shop. Books that are questionable get googled - and if the book is on Wikipedia, then there is usually enough info to tell me whether or not I should be reading it.

And the blessing? Aside from clearer bookshelves (hoping to get down to 7 large shelves before I move again, whenever that is), I've been able to read a lot more inspiring books. Start Here is one. The Beauty of Modesty is another. These books are far better for my relationship with God (and other people) than the books I took to the op-shop.

And while I need to constantly re-evaluate how the books I have are helping/hindering me, every step in the right direction is progress.

Women Their Own Worst Enemy

On Sunday after church, Kal and I went out for coffee. Usually when we do this I flip through the Herald Sun and Kal enjoys her coffee and listens to me rant about stupid people writing opinion pieces / letters to the editor. The papers are usually from sometime in the past week.

Turns out, last Thursday (18th March) had a particularly interesting piece. It's here if you want to read it. If you want a quick summary, here is mine.

- Women are meanies, especially to other women.
- The fact that some women are against 26 weeks of paid maternity leave makes them meanies.
- Australia is a mean, patricarchal country
- Bosses are big meanies
- 26 weeks of paid maternity leave would have made things so much easier for me
- The only reason women are against this is because they are jealous
- Tony Abbott has finally come out of his right-wing haze and done something decent for the country.

Here's my thoughts.

This bill is STUPID. Rebecca Wilson is STUPID for liking it.

Sorry. Mean and judgemental. I'm working on it. It would be easier if there wasn't so much STUPIDITY in the world.

Aside from her massive generalisations that the only women who are against this are old women who are jealous because they had to suffer (and her crack at Tony Abbott), which are annoying to say the least, the piece clearly hadn't thought things through.

Businesses are in business. They make money or they shut. If they are paying for a person to not work for 6 months, as well as paying someone to cover their job for 6 months, plus paying for the training involved, what exactly does Wilson think this will do for business? Especially SMALL businesses. That's right. They will close. Not much job to be coming back to there.

My mum runs her own (small) business. If this legislation goes through, she won't hire any females of child-bearing age unless they are single and relgious. Because she knows they won't get pregnant. Hmm. Less jobs even available for women. Not so great for the sisterhood.

Then there is the fact that not having that extra money "meant no big clothing buys, no restaurant meals and very little spare cash for leisure time." That it restricted her plans to have a "big" family (of four children).

How epically tragic. She couldn't eat out. Basically, she didn't like making sacrifices for her kids. No one likes sacrifices. But seriously, if this is as hard as it gets, then Wilson has issues.

Also, Wilson implies in that statement that such a plan would encourage women to have more children. In her live blogging event she mentions how many countries in Europe have similar plans in place. I'd like to point out that many countries in Europe have drastically declining birth rates - which have only gotten substantially worse with such government intervention.

She also points out that the government educates our children, so "they can help to make it better brining them into the world as well."

Sorry, I don't think it is the government's job to make my children's lives nice. It's my job. But then, I don't think it is the govenment's job to educate them either.

Perhaps that is what this is about. Government raising our children for us. After all, who wants to be around the little blighters. She states "Don't start me on childcare! When I returned to work after two kids, I couldn't afford a nanny (who can!), so they went to two separate daycare centres. I earned a total of $20 in teh hand after paying my fees for more than a year. That is a disgrace. (That's not to mention the race to pick them up at night, the getting them there in the morning and the sad state of affairs when one of them got sick.)"

For $20? Because she liked her "sanity". I wonder how much her kids liked childcare. I wonder how many days they screamed for before they gave up and decided to make the best of things. And yes, I work in child care. I've seen full timers scream all day (except sleep time, when they fall asleep exhausted) for three weeks. I've seen one-dayers who still cry all day - after a year and a half in care. Wilson might have had her sanity, but I doubt her kids had theirs.

Being a parent (mum or dad) is about making sacrifices. It is a sacrifice of our time, our money, and about all, ourselves. The issue is, we don't want to sacrifice for others. We want everything nice for us.

This is not the way Christians should live. (I don't think Wilson is a Christian, so she is excluded there.) We are called to take up our cross daily. And a large part of that involves doing the work with our own children, and not expecting free money for doing what is basically our jobs, and is essentially our priviledge.

So in one sense, I agree with Rebecca Wilson. Women ARE their own worst enemy. Especially when they support legislation like this.

Friday, 19 March 2010

The Duggars At Work

Everyone at work has pretty much always thought I was more than slightly crazy, especially when I start talking about how I want lots and lots of children. Several of them (both parents and fellow staff) say, "Just have one, and you'll change your mind."

Recently this has changed. One of the staff members who always said that I would change my mind said, "You know, I saw that family, the one with 18 children, and they all start with J..."

"The Duggar family?"

"That's the one. And they were all so well behaved! And I thought, maybe Sam isn't so crazy. 20 children like that would be great!"

Monday, 15 March 2010

On Waiting

"I am not waiting for a husband to come into my life and give it worth: I am seeking my worth in Christ, in the state I'm already blessed to occupy. Whether I have -or ever have -a husband or not, the Lord should be the center of my joy, and the focus of my pursuits. That will make me a better wife someday should the Lord call me to wifehood, yes -but, beyond that, it will make me a better ambassador of Christ here on earth regardless. And, as I want to live ever moment I'm given in passionate pursuit of the Lord's will, I think that puts me on the right track."
From this post by Jasimine Baucham.

Purity vs Innocence

Everyone at work knows that I'm a Christian. And it leads to some interesting discussions with those who are of different faiths, both practising and non-practising, and those of no faith at all.

Recently I was talking with Belinda, and she chalked up all of my desire to get married and have children to the fact that I was extrememely hormonal, and that I was so brainwashed that I wouldn't do anything before I got married.

I carefully explained to her that I converted to Christianity, I wasn't brought up in it, so any brainwashing was done by myself. I also mentioned that before I was a Christian I lived with my then boyfriend for two years.

She then asked why I bothered to not do anything. If it'd been done, then I may as well do it again, whenever I wanted to, with whomever was willing. I was kind of surprised by this comment - I'd never heard anything quite like it before. After turning it over in my mind, here are my thoughts.

She was confusing innocence and purity. Innocence is a once-off. One slip up and you are not innocent. And it's all or nothing, so once you're gone, you may as well have a bit of fun.

Purity is different. Purity is about a state of mind and soul as well as body. And so you can be pure and not innocent and, (far more commonly, unfortunately) you can be innocent and not pure. Purity is focusing on being pleasing to God, especially in the area of sexuality, and so it it something that we can always grow in, and so is not a once-off.

Purity, as I said before, is about pleasing God. So those who commit various sexual acts before marriage are not pure - even if they are technically innocent.

We are told to "flee" sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18, 2 Timothy 2:22). Fleeing does not mean doing a little bit and then expecting to be "safe". It means to FLEE! It means, as I often say to the kids, "Don't even think about it." There's this great video of Joshua Harris as an example.

Purity is in our hearts and minds. It is about what we think as well as what we do (or don't do). And so, if we are regularly washed in the water of the Word we will find our minds being slowly transformed until they resemble the mind of Christ and shine with a radiant purity clear to all who see us.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

John Stott On Our Bodies

Our body has not only been created by God and one day will be resurrected by him, but it has been bought by Christ's blood and is indwelt by his Spirit. Thus it belongs to God three times over, by creation, redemption and indwelling. How then, since it does not belong to us, can we misuse it? Instead, we are to honour God with it, by obedience and self-control. Bought by Christ, we have no business to become the slaves of anybody or anything else. Once we were the slaves of sin; now we are the slaves of Christ, and his service is the true freedom.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Testimony Given on Sunday 7th March, 2010

The Toddler room used to be known as the ESL room. Now it’s known as the religious room. We have:
o Me – a Protestant
o Amera – A Coptic Christian (Egyptian Orthadox)
o Ilanit – a Jew
o And Maryam – a Muslim
And they are all VERY interested in talking about religion. Seriously, we’ll all be sitting around, patting the children off to sleep, and be talking about what we believe, why we believe it, and how it effects the way we live out our lives.

I’ve really been blessed especially in talking to Maryam, the Muslim.

Because she thought that all Westerners were Christians, and most Westerns are basically self-centred and rather decedent, she thought that Christianity was a religion that encouraged that. When she moved to Australia from Iran she continued to think that most Westerners were Christian, but that because they never went to church or prayed it was a religion that even they didn’t believe in, and was one that gave them a licence to live generally immoral lives.

Recently Maryam told me how working with me has changed her view of that. She said how it was very good that I was a Christian, because my religion made me a good person. She realised that a Christian is someone who actually tries to live differently from the world, and when she saw this she was very impressed.

So much so, she told me on Friday that she has bought a Bible and is beginning to read it! She said it isn’t easy to understand, and that she would like me to answer her questions to help her understand it!

Psalm 67
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,

That your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.

God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Praise God!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Ecclesiastes 3:11

I've had lots of blog posts in my head recently, but I haven't really had enough energy to transfer them from my head to my blog.

It hasn't been helped in that recently I've been feeling very ugly. It sounds so vain to put it so, but it's true. I've been feeling like I'm just plain ugly. It doesn't help that I see everyone around me pairing up, entering into the halls of coupledom, and I am so horrifically single, with nary an admirer in sight.

And then one of my friends went and made a joking comment about me being fat. I know I'm not (and probably never will be), but still, it rankled.

So I'm sitting around, all mopey, brooding on my lack of beauty. And it's not as though I have all this inner beauty to console anyone with. Nope, I'm mean, selfish, and prideful. I'm more than slightly aggressive. I definitely lack the quatlities of true beauty, such as a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). Heck, I know non-Christians who are more gentle in spirit than me. (That would be because I am one of the most ungentle people I know.)

So I'm double-mopey, because not only am I not beautiful to look at I'm really not beautiful in spirit and thinking about being not beautiful in any way, shape, or form (ha-ha) is, quite frankly, more than slightly depressing.

And then God spoke to me, saying, "I make everything beautiful in its own time."

Everything includes me. In spite of my pride, it really does include me. God will make me beautiful, truly beautiful, in time, in His own time. True, for me it'll probably be a mili-second off of eternity (is that even a time?), but it WILL happen. God has promised that!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11