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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 54 Intimacy with GOD

To worship the LORD is the beginning of holiness, the beginning of our holiness journey.

“Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!” (1 Chronicles 16:29)

Genesis 4:25-26 shares that another son of Adam is born,

“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.” 

When we look at Seth, we’ll see another man who is born in sin, and yet through Seth a society is developed that seeks after Him.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 4 ends with the birth of Seth and the leadership of his son Enosh, and to mankind acknowledging “the name of the Lord.”

Praise GOD!

The most interesting thing

When we look at scripture, there are times when “LORD” is spelled in capitals; this refers to Father GOD, the Creator. Then other times we see it written as “Lord”, and at these times it refers to the Word, Jesus or the Lord who is GOD but not as the 1st Person of GOD: The Creator or Father of the Universe.

I find it interesting that here in Genesis 4, Lord is not put in all caps. What does that imply? That these people acknowledge GOD but as one walking with them, or in proximity or in intimacy.

Wow! Not only did GOD not abandon humanity, but He still walked with the people, in spite of their being cast out of Eden, in spite of their losing their perfection, in spite of their being dead in the Spirit.

It is through the line of Seth and Enosh that Noah is born. This we will look at in some detail next week…

Every blessing as you navigate GOD’s witness within your spirit this week.

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For Mothers

For Mothers: Pamper yourself

We need to look after ourselves… learn to pamper ourselves… so we can be our best for our families.

Self denial is not necessarily a virtue. If we’re flying in a plane and there is turbulence, what are we told to do when the facemarks fall from above our heads? We’re told, put ours on — first.

Self care

As mums, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t have the energy, health, or rest to take care of our families.

Life is a balance, and part of that balance surely includes taking care of ourselves.

On the other hand, self indulgence is equally unhealthy, both for ourselves and our families. So how do we find a balance?

What is pampering?

Occasionally, can we ensure we have time to ourselves?

At least once a day, can we make sure we have a quiet time where we can gather our thoughts, gather our strength, gather our emotions and acknowledge if we’re struggling?

At least once a week, can we ensure we give ourselves a treat: a bubble bath or a longer-than-usual shower; a walk in a quiet spot near our work or home; a sweet dessert or a trip to the cinema (or watch a particularly lovely film broadcast on tv)?

Pampering is devoting attention to ourselves for a specific period of time. It doesn’t have to cost money. It is occasional, not a way of life. It doesn’t have to take a l-o-n-g time or cost a lot of money (or any at all in fact). It does need to be a consistent practice in our schedule to give care: to you!

Then we are refreshed

Mums, we are worth giving kind attention to ourselves. And it makes us better mums, just as a breather gives new life to a long distance runner. 

Let’s give ourselves a little break every now and then, so we can run that hard parenting race we so long to complete well.

Every blessing.

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Politics and Society today

Tucker Carlson interviews President Putin

This was written even before Alexei Navalny’s death.

Tucker Carlson interviews President Putin. Here’s the recording:

https://twitter.com/search?q=tucker%20carlson%20putin%20interview&src=typeahead_click&f=top

The interview between Tucker Carlson and President Putin of Russia is over 2 hours’ long but it’s the last 20 minutes that is riveting. Previous to this it is a lot of meandering and posturing from Putin and Carlson just lets him talk. 

But TC becomes invested in the last 20 minutes, asking about the release of the young American journalist Evan Gershkovich in prison in Russia for espionage. He also asks Putin, ‘What do you really think about the fate of the world in combat?’

Putin doesn’t change a beat throughout the interview, doing a decent job at feigning sincerity but too static to actually be believable. Carlson, however does change his mood. As I see it, it’s because he cares.

He took a huge gamble interviewing the Russian president. And although he was fodder for criticism before and after, to my mind, he made a valliant effort to allow the West to see who Putin is. The sheer fact that Putin didn’t allow us to see into his humanity demonstrates to me, that he is a monster: a hit man, a mafia leader, a cold-hearted and calculating monster. No one needs to fear the interview. — anyone with heart can see how cold the Russian president is. Congratulations Tucker Carlson. By being neutral and by caring passionately for the fate of a 32 year old journalist, you exposed the heartless man in Putin.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 53 Cities

What does GOD think of cities?

“Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lamech.” (Genesis 4:16-18)

Cain lived, and prospered. He married, had children and lived to see several generations. 

God mentions that Cain built a city and named it after his son. Jacob would later become named Israel… which in turn would be the name of the Hebrew nation in perpetuity.

GOD refers the the New Jerusalem, the city spanning thousands of 1000s of square miles in the New Earth, with great enthusiasm,

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

And so GOD is not opposed to cities per se.

And yet, there is also the Tower of Babel which leads to mankind being dispersed in order to prevent them from completing the tower,

“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.” (Genesis 11: 5-8)

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Cain and the building of Cities

GOD allowed Cain to survive the murder of his brother yet ultimately, to prosper. 

Through Cain… and his brother Seth… humanity would survive and thrive. But it is through Cain that we see an absence of worship of GOD. It is through Cain that cities and progeny develops first. It is through Cain that the sin of man develops and grows until the Flood wipes out virtually all that went before.

Man’s ingenuity is seen in Cain. But it is an independent ingenuity. It is an ingenuity which extends as a result of man being created in GOD’s image; but without GOD there is no mention of beauty or grace or peace. The cities of Enoch and New Jerusalem are completely different one from the another, the one being originated by man’s concept and design, the other originated and planned by GOD.

In GOD’s Story, man can get on without GOD though tragedy and chaos ultimately ensue. When man looks to GOD, creativity and worship bring things to life with great beauty and blessing, and ultimately, with hope.

My preconceived thoughts 

Initially, I thought GOD was opposed to cities and preferred the pastoral. And yet, throughout the Old Testament, He enables the Hebrews to inhabit cities they didn’t even have to build, and convicts gentile kings to allow His chosen people to return to the homeland of Israel and to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

GOD is not opposed to cities. But as with Sodom and Gomorrah, as with man’s corruption, cities can manifest evil. His Jerusalem, His city of peace, is on His heart and will be until the New Jerusalem is manifest. 

Man without GOD

Mankind has and does develop to sophistication with or without GOD. Cain’s story shows us where that pattern without GOD began. However, when we look at Seth, we’ll see how a man who is born in sin yet knows GOD, can instead develop a society that seeks after Him.

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For Mothers

For Mothers: Waiting

Waiting is something we mothers have to do a lot of, right?

Our small children

We wait for our children to finish their food.

We wait for our children to follow us, to finish talking, to do their homework.

We wait for our children to fall asleep at night.

Our teenagers

When our children become teens there is a different sort of waiting…

We wait for our teen to say “thank you.”

We wait for our teen to look at us, to share with us, even to speak to us!

We wait for our teen to get home in the evening.

Our young adults

When they leave home, we wait for our offspring to call us.

We wait for our offspring to visit us.

We wait for our offspring to make their way: with a job, a family, a life of their own.

We wait.

And hope.

And pray.

And so, for mothers, our task is simple: 

Let us learn to wait with grace: patience, hope, dignity and encouragement. Rushing will not change anything and will make the waiting stressful and unpleasant for us all.

Let’s learn to wait, knowing our children want to please, want to grow, want to live just as much as we want it for them. As we wait, they will draw closer, knowing our love, compassion, nurture and hope for them is just as strong as theirs is for themselves.

Living a family life is a joint effort. Let’s do it together and do it the very best way we can: Together.

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

What angers GOD and how does He measure anger?

GOD’s anger is for a moment but His favour is for a lifetime. (Psalm 30:5)

What angers GOD?

Israel and the Hebrews disobeyed. At the heart of it all, this is what dismayed GOD and caused Him to be angry with them.

Likewise for us, we must walk with Him, surrendered to the degree of our understanding, willing to grow in His likeness. This is our call as disciples of Jesus. This means we are called to obey Him. He seeks a “contrite spirit” and to be followed on His terms, not our own.

Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”

In this GOD takes delight.

How does GOD measure our obedience?

GOD looks to the heart of mankind, and of an individual, to see How close (or far) from Him is their walk.

“I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease;

For I was a little angry [at the Israelites], 

And they [other nations] helped —

but with evil intent.” (Zechariah 1:15)

Let’s look at GOD’s behaviour towards Israel

When we look at Zechariah 1, we see that the LORD allowed nations to overcome Israel as a consequence of her disobedience. And yet, when entreated upon by Zechariah, GOD says that although He allowed “four horns” — four nations — to rise against and conquer Israel, their motive was impure. Part of their motive was for evil. And so, He was even more angry with these Gentile nations.

GOD recognised the evil in the nations who conquered Israel and they would not have their reward.

So we today must discern our motive

Today, why are we following Jesus? Is it out of fear? Yet perfect love casts out fear. Fear is unnecessary.

Why are we following Jesus? Out of duty? 

Why are we following Jesus? Because He’s True?

We need not be afraid

When we look through scripture, we see how devoted GOD is to Israel, in spite of her sin.

Inevitably, the people of Israel are brought back to the land Israel, as promised in Zechariah 1,

“I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy;
My house shall be built in it,” says the Lord of hosts,
“And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:16)

So, that temple later is rebuilt…. and in 1948, that nation is reborn. GOD keeps His promises.

And we who are In Christ

We who have Jesus and abide through the Holy Spirit, have no excuse or reason to disobey, to frustrate the plans and purposes for our individual lives nor as the Church. Just as we see GOD keep His promises to the nation of Israel even though they are disobedient, we also can trust He provides for us and protects us. We need not fear… nor disobey, but must allow ourselves to surrender fully to Him so His work can be achieved in and through us as is His intention and desire.

Let our Light Shine

Matthew 5:16 say, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Let us not grow weary nor disobey His voice when He speaks to us. Let us not take lightly the following of His will and His timing. Let us not frustrate the will of GOD but let us shine brightly, so that others can see the path and follow it.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 52 Brother’s Keeper

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 4:9

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The answer is Yes, we are our brother’s keeper. Yes and Amen.

We are our brother’s keeper

The Father has put into our hearts a love for one another. He has created us in His image and His love overflows toward all His children, as we also must do. We are called to watch out for and watch over our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are also called to love our neighbours, those who may not know the Lord as their LORD. Yes, we are called to be our brothers’ keepers.

Let s all meditate on this well known parable in Luke 10:30-37,

“Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

How will be “do likewise”?

What GOD says we are to do

Show love and compassion.

GOD’s love and compassion for Cain

Even Cain the murderer was shown compassion.

Genesis 4:10-15 reads,

“And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.”

There was a consequence for Cain’s sin and yet, as he received the consequence and was full of fear, the LORD GOD committed to protect Cain’s life.

The LORD is good. His mercy endures to all generations. (1 Chronicles 6:34)

From GOD’s point of view

We are to model the Lord. From His point of view, He is full of compassion for all. There is no-one who cannot receive the Kingdom of Heaven. 

And so we are called to “go out into all the world….” (Mark 16:15)

And so we do!

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For Mothers

For Mothers: Let them run… without helmets

Dear Mothers, Fathers, Governments, 

Please allow our nations’ children to play….

This is a plea

Today around the Western World, children are sanitised to such an extent that playground equipment is limited, sport is limited, on the basis of health and safety.

Councils safeguarding children ban all sorts of play equipment. Helmets must be worn when cycling, skiing, sledging… all in the name of safety.

But where is the fun!?

What are we all so afraid of?

I’m all in favour of protecting our children. Mothers have an innate sense of “seeing the danger” that children don’t have, because they don’t have the experience and they don’t have the inbuilt sense of forward thinking that mothers have.

But in safeguarding physical safety, are we not stunting our children’s growth socially, emotionally, and even physically, as we limit their freedom and their experiences so that they learn to self protect?

May I encourage us all to allow our children to play freely. Can we not find a meadow, find a garden, find a space where there is no traffic, and let them play unhindered?

Every blessing, 

Sarah

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Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Preparing the Bride for the New Earth

Eureka moment

Sitting with a group of Christian artistic friends last evening and sharing insights about GOD’s direction for the Arts, I had a Suddenly! — you know a sudden moment when a lot of understanding comes all at once. This suddenly is about GOD’s preparing the Bride for the New Earth.

Angels and Heaven

In recent weeks, I’ve been studying about angels (as suggested by a bishop friend) and about Heaven (as encouraged by a pastor friend). I’ve been in agreement with the general thrust of what I’ve been looking at, which is that life in eternity is on a real planet, where we are flesh and blood, have proper jobs and responsibilities, with perfect bodies and perfect peace.

Carrying this perspective into the meeting last night, I listened as one in the circle said she’d been preparing for ministry in the Arts through prayer, sowing into the ground as though a crop of potatoes was ripening but unseen, and that we were meant to continue in fellowship and prayer without developing any particular project going forward.

And there-and-then I had a “suddenly” about this internet posting stream: Preparing the Bride.

We are being prepared as the bride for the New Earth

I’ve been writing about developing our character to be ready for Jesus for some years now. I’ve been examining and exploring our depth and breadth of understanding and maturity in Jesus. That’s all fine. BUT I’ve just realised that matters are changing….

All that we as a body of believers are doing right now, all we’ve done, all we are called to do in this life going forward is more about being and about being ready, than it is about doing. The being is not only for the next phase of our journey with GOD here on this earth, but also (and probably more) about living with each other and with Jesus on the New Earth.

We will receive crowns in heaven (Revelation 4:10-11). We will have jobs to do as opposed to sitting on thrones (Revelation 20:4, 6).

He is preparing us — whether it’s for rapture or for Heaven, depending upon your theological perspective and level of revelation with GOD — He is preparing us to be His bride for eternity. That destination ultimately, is the New Earth: His New Earth (or the revitalised Earth that we inhabit now, reclaimed and renewed by GOD). (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1)

On the New Earth, we will not be singing and strumming harps endlessly, and floating on clouds in spiritual-rather-than-physical bodies, but (according to my reading of scripture and secondary readings) we will be living life on this renewed planet Earth, with joy, peace, love for one another, free from strife, anxiety or any other sort of pain, eating and drinking, working and playing, with Jesus, in perfect fellowship altogether. (Revelation 21:4)

In order to live that life, we need to prepare for it now.

And now, what we need to do is hone our fellowship skills

For some of us, the preparation now is on our fellowship skills. Some of us have used our talents (Matthew 25:14-28) to the best of our ability. Some of us are aged or infirm or have disability. Some of us are healthy, fit and full of zeal to do GOD’s will. But whatever our situation or condition, He is calling us to deeper fellowship with Himself and with one another.

He delights in our unity. (Psalm 133)

In John 14:2 Jesus says,

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

As we meditate on this scripture, and any others you look up which I’ve referenced above, please let’s all wait on Him and begin to absorb the current responsibility we carry: to grow in our fellowship so that we are the beautiful Bride He will have with Him in the time to come.

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GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY part 51: Birth, Sacrifice, Murder

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Genesis 4:1-9 New life through the first Birth, Sacrifice, Murder

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

“So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

“Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”

He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?””

GOD reveals to us the weakness of our humanity

We see the first human family torn apart with jealousy, violence and shame. First, there is new life which is wonderful.

The first birth of the human race

Eve conceives and gives birth to Cain. How wonderful! Then she gives birth again to Abel. A double blessing… but not for Cain.

The boys grow, Abel offers a sacrifice to the GOD whom He recognises. Here is sacrifice, a sincere desire to worship the Creator.

But Cain’s sacrifice is deemed unworthy. Perhaps it is because he is copying his brother and it isn’t a heart-felt sacrifice. Perhaps it is because there is no blood shed that Cain’s sacrifice is not recognised. But GOD shows compassion as he seeks to teach Cain, ““Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?If you do well, will you not be accepted?” He warns Cain to do well.

GOD is GOD. And he who is humble is a blessing and is blessed while he who is insecure, proud and rebellious will reap what he sows. In Genesis 4, we see sin is in Cain’s heart and it leads to fury, jealousy, murder. Cain first strikes, then he shirks responsibility, and finally he must be outcast. Yet, even though he is cast out, we see later that GOD shows him mercy, giving His own mark of protection upon Cain.

Pain of parenthood

And the story doesn’t mention Adam or Eve at this point. What suffering do they endure as one son is killed, the other has caused the parents’ grief, and then he is banished for it.

What does GOD want us to understand?

Moses wrote down Genesis under GOD’s instruction. Surely there were many stories but GOD chose which stories to share, where to give detail, and what will be remembered across time through His Word.

In this aspect of Biblical history we learn the importance of relationship to Creator GOD. We discover there are godly ways to honour Him and ungodly ways. We learn that GOD sees, He receives, and He teaches if only we will learn. We learn the bitter heartache that selfish pride causes. And we learn that in spite of our sin, He seeks always to teach, guide and protect us even from ourselves.

Conclusion

The story of Cain and Abel is crucial to GOD’s message to us: He values sacrifice and yet it is valued on His terms. He sees into our hearts and exposes pride which is so destructive and does not escape GOD’s gaze. He always seeks to show mercy, grace and justice. Amen.

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For Mothers

For Mothers: Whose job is it to parent?

Government v Parental Responsibility

I do not believe it is the job of a government to parent children. Parents are called parents because they have children in their care to… parent.

Ensuring a child gets schooling is the parent’s responsibility. Ensuring school is available is the government’s responsibility.

Ensuring a child has clothing, food and shelter is the parent’s responsibility. Ensuring there is work available, or for those who cannot work that there is a source of finance, is the government’s responsibility.

Sage wisdom

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he grows up he will not depart from it.” Proverb.

Healthy habits form early

There is a lot of wisdom in this. Whatever we learn when we are young tends to stick. So, let’s expose our children to wholesome people and wholesome places and wholesome food. That way our children will grow into healthy people emotionally, socially and physically.

Let’s not delegate

It is the parent’s responsibility to provide a secure, wholesome environment. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure safety and security is available throughout society.

It is a parent’s responsibility to love our children. The government cannot possibly love, care and protect children to the degree we can ourselves. 

We must not delegate or relinquish our jobs as parents. Our influence, our hearts, our actions are second to none. We cherish our children. Our children need our love and care. 

It is the parent’s job to parent. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure a safe society where parents and children can thrive. This is my opinion. What is yours?

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Politics and Society today

England is in decline

I rarely have a word such as what I’ll say now but here it is: 

I claim to have a Word from GOD today, which of course needs to be tested:

Prophetic word

“England is in decline.” 

That may seem obvious, not particularly insightful or discerning as we look at the social and political landscape, but what I am suggesting is that this decline is not temporary nor based upon current circumstances, but rather there is a downward path which is set and irreconcilable until Jesus returns…. or unless something incredibly dramatic takes place — perhaps such as revival — to provoke a major transformation before He comes.

Although we pray consistently that Britain will be a sheep nation by Jesus’ gracious judgement and not a goat nation at the End of the Age (Matthew 25:32), nevertheless as I write now, Britain is in decline; I don’t think it’s going to bounce back. In particular, England is drifting downward into decay.

I heard GOD say specifically England

Historically, it was England that socially, morally, politically, geographically and economically dominated the world, arguably from the reign of Elizabeth I through Queen Victoria and beyond.  Although it sowed cultural disregard for other of those nations over which it ruled, dominating them with their superiority complex, it was a British Empire who’s power brought to the world an increase in prosperity, advancement in culture, education, health care; and of course it took the Gospel of Jesus to many nations — from the British Isles particularly to significant parts of the continent of Africa and into the Far East. It did so not without error unfortunately, attaching cultural bias to the Gospel and therefore misguiding and misrepresenting the Gospel in some situations. However, it’s my view that the good outweighed the bad. Great Britain did a lot of good in the world in a different era. However it has been a long time since it made positive contributions to the betterment of the world. It’s been living on borrowed time and the time is up.

What sort of decline?

What sort of decline is this nation experiencing? Is it purely a spiritual decline as Christianity is declining in popularity, or is this largely a political or economic decline?

I believe the moral decline in the West, including by association Britain, has had the direct consequence of destroying the fabric of society. Judeo-Christian values have been replaced with “anything-but” in the West. This has triggered instability worldwide. Social and spiritual decline has led to a decline in political and economic influence and power across the Globe, destabilising the balance of power. Britain is no longer fulfilling its mandate to influence the world in a life-giving way.

A USA and UK connected

The reason the UK and USA have often been in sync is because they are both leadership nations, capitalist and with the same bedrock of Judeo-Christian values. They’ve worked together based upon an interlinked history and world view. In recent years, the emphasis of both administrations have become increasingly secular and Globalist (with some exception as represented by a Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump’s presidency in the US), with the significant consequence being a decline in their international influence.

And so, as their influence and power wain, the world is looking at other influences. I believe GOD has allowed this because these nations have largely turned from Him.

Decline…

The decline is perhaps inevitable. Nations rise and fall. But if these nations turned back to GOD, perhaps the decline could be reversed. Certainly, without a turning, the end of the West as we know it, lead by these two nations, is finished.

What shall we do now

We who know GOD pray. Pray for stability. Pray for revival. Pray for GOD to reign in the hearts and minds of people, including government leaders and ministers. We pray and when asked, we may have to act: join support networks, even engaging in politics… That may seem to get our hands dirty, but if we are concerned, pray even, but never engage with our Members of Parliament or our Local Council, how can they know we object to ungodly decisions and biases. Unless we speak, they will not hear our voices.

Every blessing.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: pt 50 Where is Eden?

At the end of Genesis 3 it is written,

“therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:23-24)

So, where is Eden? 

If it existed, and certainly it did or else the whole of Genesis is in question… Where is it? Surely it didn’t vanish. What happened to the angels guarding the entrance to it and what happened to the tree of life?

There have been films with heroes and villains searching for the holy grail, the elixir if life and yes, the tree of eternal life. But unlike the proverbial cinematic quest, the tree has never been found. Where is the garden?

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

GOD has given us our brains to question

It is vital that we question, probe, contemplate, seek answers and I wholeheartedly believe GOD loves our questions as part of our relationship with Him. And there is no question too shallow or too deep, in which He cannot take delight and that He cannot answer.

And so I challenge you as I was challenged recently, to look at the Cherubim — the angels; to look at the flaming sword which turned every way — the gateway, and ask: 

“LORD, where is Eden now?”

A very intriguing series of 4 online lectures, which leads to scientific answers, discussing angels, dimensions, and portals, offers serious and intriguing answers. The first is here.

This is not New Age stuff but a GOD loving and fearing speaker named Chuck Missler discussing how physics and faith meet the scriptures to reveal how what is unseen exists — both how and where.

Feel free to watch these, to dialogue with me at sarahtun@laruspress or on this platform in Comments below.

Every blessing,

Sarah

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

LOST: a poem

Lost in such a fast-paced world

Lost being tossed to and fro

No one knows or sees or cares

That life is full of woe.

“Not true” says the stranger on the road

“Not true” no one can cope;

Someone sees and knows and cares

That life is full of woe.

“Speak above the noise” I call

“Speak aloud to me — and all”

“I have” “I am” “I always will”

Declare: Life is full of hope.

I hear, I trust, I follow now

I finally know what’s true

Found at last, I know what’s right

Found amidst the roaring crowd

He sees, He knows, He cares for me

The One who took my woe.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 49 Immortality

Man created Immortal

I’ve decided to back track a bit in the look through Genesis because there’s an important point to address, rather than assume it’s common knowledge.

Did you realise mankind was made to be immortal?

Made in GOD’s image, mankind was originally created immortal, but part of the curse that GOD laid upon man was mortality:

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,

For out of it you were taken;

For dust you are,

And to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:19)

After the sin of Adam, mankind lost immortality. That means we lost not only our relationship with GOD, but our physical strength and power became limited, and our immortal existence was lost.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Man became mortal

With the recognition that we became mortal through sin, the reality that Jesus brings us back to immortality through faith in Him is also true.

Salvation of Jesus gives us eternal life… again

Not only was Jesus born free from sin, but through faith in Him, we inherit that eternal life. It is not only spiritual but physical rebirth…

BUT ALSO

That we were created physically immortal implies GOD intention is for us to be physically immortal. Ah but don’t our physical bodies still die? Yes, indeed! So how does the truth of physical immortality line up to our mortal, physical death?

Forbidden fruit

GOD cast Adam and Eve from the garden in order to prevent them eating from the tree of life. All humanity lost the opportunity to maintain immortality both because of our sin which we inherit from Adam, but also the “ticket” through eating of the tree of Life… Until Jesus.

GOD did not want us to have immortality AND sin. So we were denied the privilege of remaining in Eden.

We know that through our faith in Jesus: our faith in who He is and what He has achieved through His death and resurrection (Ephesian 2:8-9), once our sin is removed it is logical that the physical immortality is also made available to us once again. But how? We don’t see the evidence of that, but rather we see the evidence of our mortality every time a loved one dies.

We will inherit new flesh

We who are in Christ — saved by faith — are not going to be disembodied spirits for eternity. No. That is not what GOD had for us at the Creation and it is not what He has for us forever.

Isaiah 65:17 says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

and Revelations 21:2 says, “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Therefore a newness to Earth and Heaven is coming where Jesus will dwell with those of us who are saved.

Ezekiel 11:19 says, “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh” in the context of taking dry, dead bones and bringing them back to life.

Revelation 21:3-5 says, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

GOD does not speak about an etherial reality in time to come but a physical reality. He speaks of a revived earth, where Jesus sits on a physical throne. And He is with us. There will be no more tears, pain or death. The things former are gone and all is new. He tells John to write things down, which John does — We have the book of the Revelations as evidence.

There is physical immortality as there is spiritual immortality

Praise GOD.

Those of us who have chosen faith in Jesus have everlasting life: The spirit is revived yes, but also the body too is made new and immortal.

Eternal life is through Jesus, both spiritual and physical life. Thank you LORD!

Categories
For Mothers

For Mothers: If you make a mistake, fess up!

Mothers, we are human, fallible. The best thing we can do if we make a mistake is to confess to our children the mistake. Letting them witness our humanity is good for them, good for us, and good for our relationship.

Share only what is directly relevant to them

Of course the mistake needs to be directly related them. I don’t mean we confess our deep, dark secrets to our children. They don’t have the emotional capacity to deal with parental issues or adult problems (unless they are 40 themselves!) But if we’ve done something wrong: been too harsh with them, made a wrong judgement call, not been available to support them, or not shown up to an important event of theirs, we need to recognise and apologise.

To show respect for them, if we’ve done them wrong, we need to admit it when we realise it. “I’m sorry” isn’t on a one-way track. Yes, they need to learn to apply “sorry” to us and to others as they are growing up. But we need to be able to model it as well as teach the principle. As with everything, they learn from our behaviour.

Another reason to apologise to our children when we’ve made a mistake, is to build communication. Heart-to-hearts are nourishing for the relationship, bringing us closer to one another and building mutual trust.

Whatever is age appropriate

It’s important to safe guard our children’s innocence. And we need to be aware of their limitations in experience and understanding. So when we apologise, it isn’t a confession of our souls they need to hear (though that is probably what we need to do for our own release from our guilt and regret) but a simple awareness we’ve come up short and an apology.

To bear our souls may be what we need to do, and therefore we may need another adult to share that aspect with. 

No excuses or explanations

We apologise for our children’s sake. We don’t need to explain or give an excuse. That’s for our benefit, not for theirs. Instead, an earnest, heartfelt, sincere “I’m sorry, I made a mistake” keeps the child free from any responsibility and gives them a chance to receive from us. If they’ve been cross or simply need to forgive, an open-ended, unconditional apology from us will give them the space to do that.

An apology is for their benefit but we benefit too

To say sorry to anyone is for the benefit of the person receiving. The great thing about an earnest apology though, is that it also releases us from our shame, guilt, and a break in that relationship.

It’s important to remember that the focus is on the child and not on ourselves when we have to fess up!

Every blessing,

Sarah

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

STOP: song lyric

Busy, bustling, hastily progressing —

ambition or lust for power?

Stop and see the man upon the tree.

Raging , roaring, fiercely drawing:

images for sale or free

Pause, look, see the man upon the tree.

Capture me, enrapture me

All to set me free….

Fuming, flaily, risk exclaiming

giving up with dread

Stop, stare, see the man upon the tree.

Capture me, enrapture me

All to set me free….

Starting, waiting, hope proclaiming

rest and stillness led;

Now at last: you have stopped

To see the man upon the tree.

Capture me, enrapture me

All to set me free….

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 48 GOD’s Will always wins

Man created Immortal

Made in GOD’s image, mankind was originally created immortal. Although this was lost, it has also been restored because GOD’s will always wins.

Part of the curse that GOD laid upon man was mortality

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,

For out of it you were taken;

For dust you are,

And to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:19)

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

Today we’ll see that GOD’s will always wins. How?

Man became mortal

With the rebellion, the fall, the sin of Adam: which ever way you choose to label it, man lost his immortality when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:22b-23 reads,

““And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”

Forbidden fruit

GOD cast Adam and Eve from the garden in order to prevent them eating from the tree of life. Did that mean GOD didn’t want man to have life forever?

As a consequence of Adam’s sin, all of humanity lost physical immortality, inheriting the same consequences. All born from Adam, we all have inherited mortality. 

…. But then comes Jesus who offers us eternal life once again. 

Salvation from Jesus gives us eternal life… again

Not only was Jesus born free from sin, but through faith in Him, we inherit eternal life. 

Praise GOD.

Although all are born into mortality — eternal life is through Jesus. 

GOD’s will is done

GOD created humanity in His image, immortal. This was and is His will for us. His will ultimately is done as He offers salvation to those who choose it, through faith in His son’s death and resurrection. It is a huge cost which GOD bore, and yet, it was and is in His will. 

No matter what’s Satan tries, GOD has His ultimate way forward, and the ultimate victory, always. Hallelujah!

So we can move forward in all our circumstances, knowing GOD wins, always.

Categories
For Mothers

For Mothers: trust your instincts

Do you ever wonder whether you should say “yes” or “no”?

Do you ever consider you might have been too harsh? Or too lenient?

Do you ever wish you had all the answers for your children’s demands and desires?

The truth is, you do know best!

You can trust your instincts, I believe.

I wholeheartedly believe that innate within us, is the knowledge of what is the best way forward when we have a decision to make for our children.

Give it time

When we give ourselves time to ourselves, when we resist the demands or urges or persuasions of our children, when we examine what we know of their personalities, needs and desires, we will know the best way forward.

So, let’s take time to reflect. Let’s take time to ponder our finances. Let’s take time to weigh the strengths and vulnerabilities of our children, and then make a choice confident that in the long run, we know what is best for them.

Being honest with ourselves, then being honest with our children, we can build them to be the best people they can be.

And that surely is the objective for us all.

Every blessing and Happy New Year!

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Where I am in my journey of life: a reflection

Welcome to this New Year 2024.

Time marches on… Life is brief, funny, ironic and blessed, isn’t it?

At this time early in the year, I’m contemplating where I am in my journey of life.

Chronologically, I reckon I’ve lived about 75% of my years. The time dial turns regardless of who is living the life, who is marking their time, and I take this moment to reflect on my time so far…

My life remembered

GOD, you’ve never left me. Even before I knew You, You were waiting for me. Life has sometimes been hard. It became more challenging and more enriched when I became one of Your children.

GOD. You gave me so many talents. As a young woman, I tried to develop them all, naively. Ambitious, hopeful, almost none of the things I thought I wanted did I achieve. Yet what I learned in the process of life was that I didn’t want those things at all.

In early years, fame, praise, performance work was what I chased after. But I didn’t want those things. I had some talent; I studied to develop those talents; I worked hard. But I didn’t want those things really, and so I never understood how to achieve them. I lacked real courage.

Instead, I had a very simply desire to be loved. And through marriage, parenting, and especially through You personally, I have been loved. I have experienced the joy and pain of deep love, and I am so grateful.

As I stand in the autumn of my earthly life (perhaps it is early September metaphorically:), I look back and reflect. Then I look forward. I lacked courage but I was granted my deepest desires neverthelsss.

One of my favourite scriptures has always been from Philippians 3, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on….”

I do not mourn missed opportunities, where I lacked the courage to seize all the opportunities presented to me. Instead, I pray for the courage now to take every opportunity to be my best self: effective, purposeful, useful to the LORD and for others.

My Prayer

“LORD I pray, let me be kind consistently, ever thoughtful of others, gracious as You have been so gracious to me. Let me be bold to be myself, whom you have created me to be. Let me praise others as I would have liked to have been praised. Let me hope for others as I hoped for myself. Let me trust You totally and with abandon. And let me yield to You at every turn.

“As I stand at the end of the past and at the start of the future, let me have no shame, no fear and no regret. 

In Yeshua Jesus’ mighty and loving name, Amen.”

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: part 47 GOD’s 4 Questions

How did man fall?

What were GOD’s 4 questions to Adam that preceeded the fall of mankind?

GOD created man in His own image, out of His creativity and for fellowship.

But He also gave one condition… Man failed to uphold the condition and through scripture we observe the fallout:

“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him,

“Where are you?”

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So the Lord God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

Then to Adam He said, 

“Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.

Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:9-19)

How does GOD’s respond to Adam’s disobedience?

Surely GOD knew all that had happened in the Garden and yet He asked Adam 4 questions. How He must have felt such deep sorrow as He observed Adam digging himself deeper when he didn’t trust GOD enough to just admit his sin but instead, though he answered factually, he deflected the blame.

What is GOD’s response to the  disobedience of Man? It appears to me that it isn’t only the disobedience but something else that touches GOD deeply as well. 

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective.

GOD’s 4 questions

Adam hid and what did GOD do? He asked Adam questions.

Adam did not conceal his guilt when GOD asked him where he was, but he did divert it. I think this is the core issue with his fall.

Avoiding responsibility, avoiding shame

Adam diverted responsibility. I wonder if this is his greater crime?

What if Adam had repented then and there? What if he’d taken full responsibility rather than fearing, hiding, pointing his finger at his wife? Would GOD have responded differently?

Did GOD ask Adam questions to invite him to confess? Would it have made a difference to the curse or the consequence?

Knowledge of good and evil

We aren’t meant to know good from evil and yet we tend to weigh our decisions using a strategy of working out what is the good behaviour or good action verses the bad? Adam was suddenly aware of his wrong-doing and became afraid. He didn’t trust GOD to deal righteously. Rather, Adam didn’t want the consequence of his action and so first he covered himself and hid, then he tried to dilute his sin by pointing the finger elsewhere.

Is each of us living free from shame as we’re meant to be?

Shame is a hurdle most of us encounter and must learn to overcome. 

When we do wrong, we may try to hide behind lies; this triggers our own shame. We choose this path rather than to hold up our hands and admit our guilt. Had we been obedient in the first place, we could have avoided so much pain.

GOD’s broken heart, GOD’s desire

To live free from shame, first we choose to trust a sovereign and kind GOD, then we bring light into our situation by being transparent, seeking to admit our sin and walk in love and obedience. When we have nothing to hide, we walk without shame, and enjoy the joy of the LORD. This is GOD’s passion for us.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Relinquishing Control

When we feel stressed

It’s a sign

We are holding on:

Let go control.

When we know peace

It’s a sign

We’ve let go control

And are trusting GOD.

When we are surrendered

It’s a sign

We are growing in GOD

We have yielded control.

Control is an illusion

It’s a sign

We are self determined

And need to lean on GOD.

If you’re holding on

Let go control.

Categories
For Mothers

For Mothers: love, love, love

When our sons and daughters bring us joy: let’s love them with high-five.

When our sons and daughters surprise us: let’s love them with a dance.

When our sons or daughters disappoint us: let’s love them with a tear.

When our sons or daughters curse us: let’s love them with embrace.

When sons and daughters bring us peace we’ll love them in great gratitude.

When sons and daughters bring us strife we’ll love them in spite of attitude.

Our sons and daughters love us; they may not love themselves:

May our love, our joy, our hope, our delight be enough to fill them too.

Love is the answer to every ill; Love which is tough or gentle, or still.

Love is enough to carry any form; May our love be available in absolutely every storm.

Categories
GOD'S STORY

GOD’S STORY: pt 46 The first shame

The First Shame

When was the first time you ever felt embarrassed? Vulnerable? Like you made a big mistake? How was it dealt with by your parent, employer or yourself?

Genesis 3:7-8: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

The Shame of Adam and Eve

What was the first shame mankind ever experienced? It began with Adam and Eve recognising their nakedness.

What did they do with that shame? First they covered themselves and then they hid themselves.

Our shame

Where do we get our sense of shame from? Where does our feeling of oppression originate? 

It begins with knowing good from evil.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

Knowledge of good and evil

We were not meant to know good from evil but rather we were meant to remain innocent. And yet, how frequently do we attempt to make “good” choices or to refrain from “evil”?

The first shame was never intended to occur, not if Adam had not eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But he did, and then shame, regret, fear… provoked him and Eve to cover themselves and to hide from GOD. How tragic.

Light and Truth of Jesus

Jesus says, “the truth shall make you free”… and so when we make a mistake, let’s not hide it, let’s not cover it up, let’s not live in shame or false bravado. But rather, let us confess and be set free from shame.

When light is shed on a problem or a mistake, light allows correction and healing. 

What did GOD do when Adam and Eve put on the fig leaves? That’s for next time. In the meantime, let’s meditate, contemplate, and consider: Are each of us living free from shame as we’re meant to be? If so, praise the LORD. If not, how can we get to that place of freedom?

Blessings for the Christmas and New Year Season. 

Categories
For Mothers

Shall we spoil our Children at Christmas?

It’s Christmastime! 

What’s THAT mean? Does it mean overabundance of food, gifts and family fun? 

Or does it mean stress and disappointment? 

Or does it mean an opportunity to teach about giving while giving?

My short message today in light of Christmas coming is that the focus can be about giving but it can also teach about giving.

There are opportunities to serve others — in food banks or soup kitchens. 

Shall we spoil or children at Christmas?

There are opportunities to show our children how much we love them, how proud and pleased we are for them, how much we want them to enjoy themselves… In a word: we want them to enjoy life! 

But I also believe the over-indulgence that is prevalent in a our society is not a good thing. 

Some people have plenty, some have little. The emphasis on the material leaves some outside, puts a huge amount of pressure on those with plenty to over-indulge.

That’s a lose/lose to my mind.

What is a win/win?

I look to achieve a balance between rest and enjoyment ie Leisure

And

Modelling and teaching self control.

A child who is spoiled may come to expect and even demand his desires be met. Once entitlement sets in, a child is robbed of the value and rich blessing of receiving — because they’ve become jaded… they’ve learn to think it is owed to them. 

Instead, I’d hope to model a balance between giving and restraint; refraining from excess, seems to me, to encourage an appreciation of what is given (as well as encouraging conditions for a bit of self control in this over-indulgent world in which we live). 

Do we or don’t we?

So do we spoil our children at Christmas? There’s no such thing as too much love.

So yes, let’s spoil ‘em. But let’s spoil them with love, encouragement, hugs and respect. A gift, a turkey, a sweet is great; that can be a fun part of loving. But food and gifts are not the main part. Just a part. 

That’s what I think… How about you?

Happy Christmas whatever you aim to do.

I’ll be back in the New Year — 2024!!! Oh My!!