Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Three Things I Love About Christmas

I can hardly believe it has rolled around to that time of year again.  Weather you live where it's boiling hot or freezing cold (pun totally intended!) Christmas usually has the same 'twang' for most people - a time of little or no rest, a fair amount of stress, travel, fatigue, and although we enjoy it well enough, I dare say there's more than a few people who give a hearty sigh of relief once it's over.

It doesn't have to be that way.  Whether you go all out at Christmas time or keep it basic, take time out to enjoy the little things that light up the season.  Here are my top three things that I really enjoy at Christmas time.  :)


1. The Giving

It probably sounds really corny and self-righteous of me, but I assure you that's not what I am trying to imply!  :P   One of my favourite parts of Christmas is planning gifts for my younger siblings and my parents, and the anticipation that goes with it.  ...And then watching their faces light up with surprise and joy and delight while they unwrap... it's priceless!  :D


2. The Advent Calendar

This is a new tradition for us, but we all enjoy it.  Last year, my sisters and I made a patchwork advent calendar and put a piece of chocolate and a Bible verse in each pocket.  We decided to pull it out again this year and do it again.  ^_^  It only takes a minute, but it is really special to read the verses that point to the coming of Christ and to discuss the prophecies together.  The homemade chocolate is really good too.  ^_^



3. The Music


Why is it that some of the most beautiful songs and melodies ever written only get sung once a year???  I love Christmas music.  Three albums we have been really enjoying this year are "Home for Christmas" by BarlowGirl, "A Family Christmas" by the Piano Guys, and "Rose of Bethlehem" by Selah.  (This is the one Jess and I have been flogging lately!)  Rose of Bethlehem is truly one of the most beautiful Christmas albums I have ever listened to.  Currently, my favourite song comes from that album... Here are a couple of songs from it... My favourite is the first one, Once Upon a Christmas.  The second one, Rose of Bethlehem is absolutely beautiful too as it draws a comparison between Jesus and a Rose, the thorns and the crown of thorns He bore for us.





Well, that's what I love about Christmas - some of it anyway!  What are some of your favourite traditions or elements of the season?  

In all the traditions and hustle and bustle, never forget the true meaning of the season:

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”



May God bless you and your families immensely and may you have a very blessed Christmas.  

God bless us, every one!  :D
- Tiny Tim

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A New Favourite Word and a New Favourite Poem

I have a new favourite word:




Tintinnabulation


Isn't that delicious?  I have been muttering it to myself as I walk around the house just to hear it again and again.  Yeah... I'm weird like that!  ^_^

I came across the word in my New Favourite Poem and it means the sound of bells.  I just love it.  :D

Anyway, you are probably curious as to what my New Favourite Poem is.

*Drum roll*

It is Edgar Allen Poe's The Bells.  If you have not read any poetry by Poe, then you are sadly missing out.  He had such a way with words, rhythm and rhyme and The Bells in particular is a work of pure brilliance.  I have posted it below, but before you read it, you have to promise not to just read it - you have to say it aloud.  The reason is that the way Poe wrote the poem is that as more and more bells are added to the description, the rhythm gets faster and more repetitive, just like the clamour of dozens of bells all ringing at the same time.   The last stanza is where I get really excited.  (Once again... I'm weird like that!  :P)

I hope you enjoy it  as much as I do.  :)



The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe


I.
   Hear the sledges with the bells--
             Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
       How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
           In the icy air of night!
       While the stars that oversprinkle
       All the heavens, seem to twinkle
           With a crystalline delight;
         Keeping time, time, time,
         In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
    From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
               Bells, bells, bells--
  From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

II.

         Hear the mellow wedding bells
             Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
       Through the balmy air of night
       How they ring out their delight!
           From the molten-golden notes,
               And all in tune,
           What a liquid ditty floats
    To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
               On the moon!
         Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
               How it swells!
               How it dwells
           On the Future! how it tells
           Of the rapture that impels
         To the swinging and the ringing
           Of the bells, bells, bells,
    Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
               Bells, bells, bells--
  To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

III.

         Hear the loud alarum bells--
                  Brazen bells!
What tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
       In the startled ear of night
       How they scream out their affright!
         Too much horrified to speak,
         They can only shriek, shriek,
                  Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
            Leaping higher, higher, higher,
            With a desperate desire,
         And a resolute endeavor
         Now--now to sit or never,
       By the side of the pale-faced moon.
            Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
            What a tale their terror tells
                  Of Despair!
       How they clang, and clash, and roar!
       What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
       Yet the ear, it fully knows,
            By the twanging,
            And the clanging,
         How the danger ebbs and flows ;
       Yet, the ear distinctly tells,
         In the jangling,
         And the wrangling,
       How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells--
             Of the bells--
     Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
         Bells, bells, bells--
  In the clamour and the clangour of the bells!

IV.

          Hear the tolling of the bells--
               Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
       In the silence of the night,
       How we shiver with affright
  At the melancholy meaning of their tone!
         For every sound that floats
         From the rust within their throats
              Is a groan.
         And the people--ah, the people--
         They that dwell up in the steeple,
              All alone,
         And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
            In that muffled monotone,
         Feel a glory in so rolling
            On the human heart a stone--
       They are neither man nor woman--
       They are neither brute nor human--
              They are Ghouls:--
         And their king it is who tolls ;
         And he rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls,
              Rolls
            A pæan from the bells!
         And his merry bosom swells
            With the pæan of the bells!
         And he dances, and he yells ;
       Keeping time, time, time,
       In a sort of Runic rhyme,
            To the pæan of the bells--
               Of the bells :
       Keeping time, time, time,
       In a sort of Runic rhyme,
            To the throbbing of the bells--
            Of the bells, bells, bells--
            To the sobbing of the bells ;
       Keeping time, time, time,
            As he knells, knells, knells,
       In a happy Runic rhyme,
            To the rolling of the bells--
         Of the bells, bells, bells--
            To the tolling of the bells,
      Of the bells, bells, bells, bells--
               Bells, bells, bells--
  To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Guest Post on Fullness of Joy

Hi again.  No, this isn't a real post either.  Some might even call it cheating, even though I wrote it.  ;)

I was invited by the lovely +Joy C. to do a guest post on her blog, Fullness of Joy.  Instead of re-posting the same thing here, I thought I would just redirect you to her blog and you can read it there.  :)  Have a wonderful weekend!  :D

http://joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/the-hero-of-your-life-story-guest-post.html


Friday, 14 November 2014

A Brief Post to Reassure the Readers ;)

Yes, this is long over due.

And it's not even a proper post.

I just wanted to put up a quick one to say that  have not forgotten about my blog (or you, my dear readers!) and will strive to come up with something amazing sometime before Christmas.

Life has been quite busy lately and I am under a good deal of pressure to get my Diploma of Liberal Arts and my Certificate IV in Science finished before the end of the year.  That's what happens when you are Phlegmatic - you take your time all year and then wonder why you have so much to get done at the end!  I would very much appreciate prayer for peace and for understanding in my work, if you wouldn't mind.  :)

Other than my work I have been minding little siblings while others are doing Christmas practises of various kinds.  The church Christmas Production is looming in the very near future and everyone involved is scrambling to pull it all together.  I am going to be a shepherd and a wiseman.  I still don't know my lines (with just over three weeks to go) but I am (fairly) confident that it will all come together.

That's about it.  Oh, for those of you who may be wondering, I am in the middle of the third part of the Beauty and the Beast story.  :)  Thanks for you all who have prompted my to keep writing it - I wouldn't have done it otherwise.  :)

Have a wonderful weekend, people!  God bless you!  :)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Essay on Feminism and the Church in Society.

The family is the greatest unit that God created.  On the family rests the community, the nation, the world and the church.  It can bring little wonder then that most of Satan’s attacks are targeted at destroying the family.  It is sad to note that he is succeeding.  One need not look far to see the destruction that is being wrought on the family: marriage is not binding as it used to be – it is easier to get divorced than it is to change jobs; there is a wedge between children and their parents; society promotes “alternatives” to traditional marriage, whether it be pre-marital living and/or intimacy, or homosexuality; children are viewed as nuisances and are often raised by strangers at childcare while their mothers work.  All these things, along with others, work together to tear apart the family unit.
The last point mentioned is one of the biggest points of controversy – and one of the saddest points in society – today.  The issue of childcare goes hand-in-hand with feminism, as it is the vision of feminists to get every woman out of her dingy, boring, restrictive home and away from her annoying, ratty, useless children out into the productive, exciting, rewarding world of the workplace.  And many women listen.  Motherhood isn’t easy – their own mothers have told them that much – and they would rather earn some money to provide for their detestable darlings than put up with the temper tantrums and the rebellion that is sure to come ( I mean, some kids these days aren’t even waiting to hit thirteen before adopting the attitude… but who can blame them?  It is perfectly natural…)  And so the poor little things are sent to a big building to learn socialization and other life skills from two or three strange adults and at least twenty other kids their own age.
“And with the government funding childcare,” says an excited parent, “we can afford to work longer even though childcare rates are actually increasing!  Sure, the government makes calls on how the kids are to be treated and raised, but it can’t be all bad.”
Can’t it?  Does the government really have the right or the responsibility to raise the children of our society?  This question receives varied answers, even within parliament itself.  John Howard, Prime Minister from 1996 to 2007, did not believe so.  Within the first four years of his being in office, he cut 850 million dollars from childcare funding, effectively forcing thousands of women to quit their jobs and be available for their children.    In his election campaign, Kevin Rudd however, promised a 1.5 billion dollar project to improve childcare funding and increase childcare rebates.   Such a difference of opinion represents one of the great divides that splits our society.
What does the Bible say about feminism and motherhood?  We read in Titus 2:4-5 “That [the older women] may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”  We also read in Deuteronomy 6:7 “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”  From these two passages we can see that God is very serious about the role that He gave to women and mothers, and He expects us to take it very seriously too.  Firstly, he expects women to be “keepers at home”.  This does not mean, necessarily that women should not work, but home duties should always come first.  If work is cutting in on her duty to her home, then she needs to re-evaluate her work situation.  If she is married, then her duty is home and husband.  She needs to be available for her husband to provide his physical and emotional needs.  She can’t very well do that if he’s in one office and she’s in another.  And then there are children.  As we read in Deuteronomy that training one’s children in the Word of God occurs all the time, from the moment you get up, to when you go to bed at night.  This of course implies that one is with one’s children all of the time to instil such principles.  Since it is the duty of the man of the household to be the breadwinner of the family (1 Timothy 5:8) then that leaves Mummy to be the care taker and the Bible teacher to the children.

As with most discussions that involve marriage, we can revert back to a bigger picture – Christ and His bride, the church.  While feminists call those women who choose to be home makers “old-fashioned” and “out of date”, the same is often said of the church.  With ethical standards slipping socially, the church is frequently accused of being behind the times, exclusive and closed-minded.
In one sense, I suppose the church is ‘old-fashioned’.  In society it is acceptable to abort unwanted babies, marry whomever you chose and so on.  In that context, the church is – or very much should be – old-fashioned.  That, however, does not make the church wrong.  Traditional values have stood the test of time and have never changed when other standards did.
How can we know that the Bible – God’s Holy Word – will not fail or go out of date?  Jesus himself said, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.”  (Luke 16:17)  Interestingly enough, the very next verse goes on to talk about marriage and God’s plan for men and women in marriage.
If, then, the church and the Bible are not out-of-date, and yet are separate to society’s standards, what is the church’s place in society?  James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”  This does not refer only to widows and orphans but anyone in need.  If we serve our community, meet them where they are – but keep ourselves clean from its sin – then the impact we will have on society will be earth-shattering: they won’t know what hit them.  But we will.  It is the love of Jesus.

Monday, 13 October 2014

It was a Dark and Stormy Night...

... and yes, a title so cliché can be accurate none the less...

 We watched it build for about twenty minutes and then ran to get the washing in before it hit.  Much to the astonishment of certain people, I'm sure, I actually took some photos of the clouds.  ;)

When it started to rain, I backed into the furtherest corner of the verandah but was still getting spattered.  James (10) and I were delighting in the size of the raindrops when we were nearly blinded by a flash of lightening and then deafened almost at once by the thunder.  It was a cracker storm!  :D







Monday, 6 October 2014

Little Girl - A Poem.

This poem is about a girl I know - and it is all real.  I barely made anything up for the drama of the poem.  I didn't have to: the little girl that was under bondage was set free and changed by the love and the blood of Jesus.  I know because I was there and had the privilege of helping her to pray for the first time.  I have called her Angel in the poem... please pray for her as I don't know what kind of home environment she has or if there are other Christians she can go to.


Little girl – she’s so afraid:
It’s dark and the stories she’s just heard
Are echoing and repeating
Around and around… and around…
The panic builds and the masquerade
Of the sassy girl crumbles with every word.
Her confidence flees, ever retreating
And the darkness closes in…

Little girl – she doesn’t know
What to think or do: she’s on her own.
If she could only push away
But it keeps her awake… and awake…
The pressure builds and the tears flow
If only she weren’t quite so alone
She screams from the chaos and the fray
Wrought by the darkness that closes in…

Little girl – she sobs out pain
Then answers come when she least expected.
She keeps on asking, “Why, God, why?”
He replies, “Because of sin…. Because of sin…
But I made a way so you can obtain
My righteousness. You’re my elected –
I love you, little girl, and my love is high
As the clouds. Darkness can’t close in…

Little girl – I’ve a house for you
I’ve been building for two thousand years!
Now I’m waiting for you to come
But I have a job for you… yes, just for you…
There are others that need to hear of me too
Come now, my Angel, enough of your tears
I paid for you, now you can become
Bright.  The darkness need never close in.

Little girl – the fear is gone
As for the first time she prays
And is changed as she bows her head.
It is a miracle… truly a miracle…
She smiles as she is reborn
Those around her are amazed
She quietly goes back to bed
The darkness cannot close in.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Un-named Poem

Yep: another one.  ;)  This poem was inspired by a conversation on Google plus about make up and how girls today seem to use make up to completely do themselves over - almost like a daily mini plastic surgery procedure.  As I was thinking about it, I realized that the over use of make up goes so much deeper than wanting to look nice... it comes from insecurities inside, and as I mused on this, my heart just went to the girls trapped in such a mindset.

So here's a poem about it, because that is the way I best express myself.  :)  I kinda thought it would be nice in a song, but I can't compose for the life of me, so if anyone gets some inspiration, you're welcome to it.  ;)



I stand in front of the mirror
And examine myself at length
Can they all see the guilt I read
Beneath my phony strengths?
I reach and grab my bathroom bag
That contains my mask inside
With a little work I’m finished
I can show the fake me outside

So dress me up so they don’t know
Who I really am, who I really am…
If they could see the ugliness, the plainness, the decay
I’m certain they would all turn and walk away.

I smile as I walk the street,
But it’s painted on my face
The pain inside is screaming out
From a world full of disgrace.
What if I left my mask at home?
I could try it and just see…
No I can’t – I couldn’t try
I’m afraid of the real me.

I wish I could be accepted as the person that I am
But if they saw me warts and all would they want to be my friend?
Maybe I’ve got this upside down, perhaps the step to strength
Is opening up, and letting down, and revealing them my weakness.
Just perhaps they are all like me – afraid to show the dirt
Maybe by my opening up, we could all start to heal from hurt.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Worldviews Essay

I finally finished my essay!  Yay!  =D  It is rather long, so you don't have to read it all, but if you do, I would very much appreciate some feedback.  :)





A world view is something that everyone has, but varies from person to person.   Many deny they have one, yet that is a world view all of its own; for a world view, as the name implies, is the way one sees the world.  It is the beliefs that form the mindsets we have about everything and everyone around us.  Michael Wittmer said, “A worldview is a framework of fundamental concepts of beliefs about the world. In short, a worldview comprises the lens through which we see the world.”   A worldview is very much like a pair of sunglasses: what you believe colours everything you see.  Someone with a different set of beliefs will see the same thing differently to you.  This does not mean that you are wrong and they are right, or vice-versa.  Indeed there is only one right way to live, and that is in the love, grace, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In Him, everything finds its perfection and completion.
Not only does a worldview affect how you see things, it infiltrates into what you do as well.   Francis Schaeffer said, “…people function on the basis of their world view more consistently than even they themselves may realize. The problem is not outward things. The problem is having, and then acting upon, the right world view — the world view which gives men and women the truth of what is.”      For instance, Muslims keep the jihad because they believe it keeps them in good terms with Allah.  Christians pray because they understand that a relationship with God – like any relationship – is a matter of two way communication.  



Christianity
The Christian faith is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in faith believe that He is the Son of God, and Saviour of the world.  The aim for a Christian is to shine God’s love to all around them in the hope that they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and to become more like their Saviour with every day that passes.
Christian theology is decidedly unique to any other worldview.  Christianity is a monotheism, meaning Christians believe in and worship only one God.  However, Christians believe that God is triune, that is three persons in one Godhead.  These three persons are God the Father, God the Son – whom we call Jesus – and God the Holy Spirit.  None of the three is higher than the other two, and none of the three is any less God than the others.  It is a difficult concept for our finite, limited minds to grasp, but it is truth and we must believe in faith that what God says about Himself is true.   One might compare it to the three phases of water – ice, water and steam.  Each is as much H2O as the others, and yet each has its own distinctive characteristics that makes it what it is.
Philosophy for Christians is, like everything else, orientated around the Bible, the perfect Holy Word of God.  In Colossians 2, we read, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”  Some Christians think this means they are not to get involved in philosophy, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The verse says that we are not to be deceived by philosophies based on human customs or trends.  Instead, we should to study these philosophies in light of the Bible so that we can identify what is truth and what is fiction.   The word philosophy comes from the ancient Greek language literally meaning, “To love wisdom”.   Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.    If we focus on knowing God, loving and obeying Him, then wisdom and philosophy is available to us through the God who holds all the answers in His hands.
Biology – the study of life and where it came from – is one of the most controversial topics that defines the Christian-Atheist war of worldviews.   Some Christians come up with all sorts of theories trying to combine different viewpoints.  They call it peacemaking, but it shouldn’t be so complicated when God Himself has given us the account of the beginnings of the world.    In fact the entire Bible kicks off with the details of Creation and the ins and outs thereof.  Then in chapter 2, we read, “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,  before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown.”  The statement of authenticity is so clear and definite, how can anyone who claims to believe the Bible doubt it?  To attempt to combine it with evolution is foolish and he who does it will one day feel the consequences for adding to the Word of God.
Non-Christians often feel that Christianity is too restrictive with too many rules and ‘thou-shalt-not’s’.  But that is not the essence of Christian ethics.  The ethical system of Christianity differs from other worldviews in that it reflects the very character of God.  As a result, they more we strive to grow in grace and become more like the God we serve, the more like Him we become.  Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) we have a steady standard for which we can aim.  How can we learn this standard?  The main way we can learn the will and regulations of God is by reading His Word.  In fact, we cannot go wrong if we study it consistently and apply it to our lives.  Besides studying the Word, the most important thing we can do is to apply it for as James said, “…as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  Ethics is one way that we ‘live out’ our salvation and what Christ has done for us.

Islam
Islam began in 610 AD, when a merchant from Mecca named Muhammad claimed he had had a vision of the angel Gabriel telling him the words of God.  He said that God had ordained him the spokesman of God and promptly began telling everyone how they should live.  Of course we know that the way of Muhammad’s vision is not of God for Paul wrote in Galatians, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”  And again in 2 Corinthians we read, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”  Thus we can be assured that, while it may have appeared convincing that Muhammad really did hear from God, he did not and was (rather conveniently and easily, from Satan’s perspective) deceived.  Islam is major world religion today, but we need not fear it: Muslims are people just like us who need the love and the salvation of Jesus.  By studying a little of what they believe, we may be better equipped to share the hope that lives within us.

Islamic theology resembles Christianity in that it is a monotheistic religion.  However, Muslims do not believe in the trinity: they believe that God is just one person.  What is more they believe that God (whom they call Allah) is a distant being, impersonal and cold.  He has little interest in the doings of the world and often goes off on little whims of his own.
Islamic philosophy is supernaturalistic – they believe in a God and in spirits.  However, Muslims do not believe in miracles.  They find it hard to believe in miracles when Muhammad never performed any.  This of course poses a problem for them when they deny that Jesus is as great as or greater than Muhammad.   Blaise Pascal said, “Any man may do what Mohammad did; for he wrought no miracles, he fulfilled no previous prophecy.  No man can do what Jesus Christ did.”     While Muslims cannot explain the difference of miracles between Jesus and Muhammad, they do believe that he was foretold by prophecy.  They claim that the Bible and the Koran interrelate and that Islam is an extension of Christianity.   They believe that Deuteronomy 18:5 The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, and John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever… refer to the coming of Muhammad.  Christians, of course, know that these two prophecies refer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit respectively.
Like the other subjects thus far, Islamic biology resembles Christianity in many facets – but not so much in others.   It is rare for a Muslim to profess a belief in evolution: they believe that Allah created everything from nothing, and then man was created from the dust of the earth and Allah breathed life into him.  As previously stated, much of the story pertains to the Biblical account of Creation, but there are a couple of inconsistencies that betray the Islamic view.  The most notable of these is that the Koran gives varying time frames for the creation of the earth.  In one section it says it was created in six days.  Another section says Allah took eight days.  If the ‘authority’ cannot keep its own facts straight, how are we to believe it?
Ethics in Islam are significantly different to the ethics of a Christian.  Muslims believe that doing right and good things will earn your way back to Allah.  The basic foundation of these good acts is the jihad and the five pillars of Islam: praying five times a day, journeying to Mecca at least once, fasting and being celibate for the duration of Ramadan, giving two and a half percent of your life’s savings to the poor, and declaring that Allah is the only God and Muhammad his prophet.  There is an interesting twist on living an ethical, Islamic life.  Doing right and being righteous means doing the will of Allah.  This may seem rather basic and straight forward, until we remember that Allah can be capricious and erratic.  Thus, in essence, Islam says that you can know what Allah wants by living righteously and getting closer to him; but you can only live righteously by doing what he wants.

Cosmic Humanism
While a lot of Cosmic Humanism sounds rather ridiculous and farfetched, it is actually quite wide spread and accepted and is growing in numbers with several ‘big name’ celebrities such as George Lucas, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and Dr. Oz included in its numbers.  Influenced greatly by some of the Eastern religions, Cosmic Humanism is intimately connected into the spiritual world which people can link themselves to through ‘channelling’ and meditation.
With faith that reaches from the stars to one’s own soul, Cosmic Humanistic theology states that everyone of us is God, that God is every one of us and that all is one and in some part God.  Science of Mind magazine says, “The significance of incarnation and resurrection is not that Jesus was a human like us but rather that we are gods like him – or at least have the potential to be.”   But it doesn’t stop there: not only is everyone God, everything is as well, putting Cosmic Humanism in the theological category of pantheism which comes from Greek meaning literally “all god”.   In saying this however, everything is not always referred to as ‘god’.  More often than not, ‘god’ is regarded as a force that surrounds us and from which we can obtain power and strength by meditation or channelling.  
The philosophy of Cosmic Humanism is entirely non-naturalistic.  In fact, Cosmic Humanists claim that nothing exists except spirit.  Everything we ‘perceive’ is just illusionary: none of it really exists.  In that belief however is the assertion that everything that does exist is God, because God is spirit.   If nothing we perceive is real, then, how do we know what is truly true?  The answer, or so we are told by Cosmic Humanists, comes from inside of each of us individually.  The more we meditate and concentrate on the inner self, the more we connect with and become more aware and conscious of the real us.  Since we are God, then when we come in contact with ourselves we are a never ending, never failing fountain of truth from which to draw life’s wisdom and guidance.  How can we know when we have that truth?  It is an unmistakable sensation, says the Cosmic Humanist.  You will know it when you feel it.
Cosmic Humanist biology is markedly unlike any other view that we shall cover here.  This difference lies in the fact that Cosmic Humanists believe that the world is simply an illusion and that everything that really does exist is spirit.  However, Cosmic Humanists d believe in evolution, but it is an evolution all of its own.  It concerns the evolution of man to spirit and our evolving consciousness of our higher selves.  The more we meditate and connect with our inner selves, the more highly evolved we become.
There is only one absolute in Cosmic Humanist ethics, and that is the absolute of individual autonomy, freedom and self-government.  Because of this, it is entirely unethical for a Cosmic Humanist to judge another person.  If we each are self-governing and each are God and have truth within us, then how can anyone ever possibly be wrong?

Secular Humanism
Secular Humanism – the worldview of the material world, humans and, essentially, self-centeredness.  Yes, Secular Humanism is all about Number One – you.  If you don’t want to, you don’t have to; if you want to what’s holding you back?  You were born to enjoy life and be happy.  It all seems pretty shallow but it goes much, much deeper as Secular Humanism is one of the weapons used against God by Satan to try and bring about his dastardly plans on earth.   Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said in his commencement address to Harvard University, “If, as claimed by humanism, man were born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to death, his task on earth evidently must be more spiritual…”  
Secular Humanistic theology is atheistic and denies the existence of any divine being whatsoever.  What is more, Secular Humanists do not believe in any spiritual or supernatural world.  They firmly hold to their claim that humans are the highest form of anything in the universe: nothing compares to us and our science, reason and understanding hold all of our truth and knowledge.  This, of course, is not a secure platform on which to place our trust, but if there is no Deity for us to lean on for wisdom, where shall we go?
As can be expected from what has already been said, Secular Humanist philosophy is naturalistic, meaning that only what can be perceived with the senses of our physical body is real and truly exists.   This, of course, creates a problem when confronted with obvious things that are not tangible, such as thoughts.  Thoughts, says the Secular Humanist, are simply manifestations of electronic signals in the brain.  How they manage to make something intangible the manifestation of something that is palpable does not really make sense, but that is what they say.
Predictably, Secular Humanists believe in evolution when it comes to biology.  Taking their cue from Darwin from the get-go, Secular Humanists believe in the lot, because if they had any divine being behind any part of the process, they would cease to be atheistic, and their entire worldview would crumble.  The story goes that billions of years ago, there was an explosion out in space somewhere.  Where the gasses in the explosion came from, we aren’t sure - Secular Humanists aren’t sure either.  The point is, however, that the explosion left a heap of rubble and junk floating around in space.  One of these rocks had a swamp on which were floating some amino acids.  Somehow these amino acids found each other and created the first protein which grew and was eventually able to drag itself out of the water as some creature that multiplied (how that happened with only one spark of life remains a mystery) and over time coped with different variations on earth until all the creatures we have today – including wonderful beautiful you – were formed and evolved to face the harshness of this earth.  It sounds ridiculous, but sadly it is what most people believe now days because they refuse to submit themselves to a God who loves them and longs to receive them into His presence forever.
Humans “may, and do, make up their own rules… Morality is not discovered; it is made.”    So says Max Hocutt, a Secular Humanist.  And that is a fairly accurate sum up of Secular Humanist ethics.  They believe that there is no truth, for what can be true when each must make decisions based on his or her circumstance and his or her own judgement?

Marxist-Leninist
Marxism-Leninism is based on the ideals of Karl Marx that were added to and built on by Vladimir Lenin and all tied together by Joseph Stalin.   The essence of Marxism-Leninism is to abolish social standings and form a classless society.  To accomplish this, all private property is removed and belongs to the state.  The commoner works on communal farms, all the produce of which goes to the state.  It is impossible for one to improve oneself: there is only way to go under Communism, and that way is down.
Marxism-Leninism theology can only be classed as atheistic.  Marx, Lenin and Stalin were all positively set against religion of any kind, Marx calling it the “opium of the people”.  To a Marxist-Leninist, humanity is the highest form of life, and relying on a deity or on religion is considered weakness.
One of the points that sets Marxist-Leninist philosophy apart from other philosophies is the Marxist dialectical system.  Dialectics say that there is a constant tug-of-war happening between the forces all around us.  The thesis and the antithesis struggle and then the best parts of both are combines to make a new thesis which then struggles with its own antithesis and so on.  The theory of dialectics is very prominent in Marxism-Leninism, and they apply it to every area of life.
Biology for Marxist-Leninists is – not surprisingly – evolutionary.  In fact, when Karl Marx first read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species he was very excited that he had finally come across a theory that supposedly answered the question of the origin of life without a Creator.  Marx took Darwin’s theory and tweaked it to fit inside of his theory of dialectics.   The problem with the theory dialectics in relation to biology is that the first spark of life had to come from somewhere.  For this reason, many Marxist-Leninists – such as Friedrich Engels in Marx’s time – believe firmly in spontaneous generation.
Marxist-Leninist ethics also embraces the theory of dialectics.  By the clashing and ‘evolving’ of classes, all one has to do to achieve morality in a Marxist-Leninist society is advance the cause of communism.  If this involves killing millions of people so be it.



Postmodernism:
Arguably the most paradoxical and self-condemning worldview, it is somewhat concerning to discover that postmodernism is also one of the most popular worldviews.  This is possibly because it doesn’t require anybody to commit to anything, nothing has to make sense, and people are free to believe what they want to without being judged for what they believe.
In light of the above paragraph it is with intense hesitation that postmodernists label themselves as atheists.  In reality, no one really minds what you believe, as long as you don’t try to push your beliefs onto those around you.
Postmodernist philosophy is somewhat confusing and self-contradictory.  Statements such as “There is no metanarrative,” “Words don’t have set meanings,” and “You have no right to judge me,” are all self-conflicting in some way, yet postmodernists hold to them.  Because of these beliefs, John 3:16 makes no sense to a postmodernist as it describes a God who loves the entire world, and according to postmodernists, there is no “whole world”, only small groups according to race, culture, lifestyle, age, gender, etc.
Because everything in Postmodernism is relative and based on opinion, no one really minds how the world began.  For the sake of having a standard to believe in, however, postmodernists claim to hold to punctuated equilibrium.  This rather unique take on biology says that everything came into existence by means of fast evolution: things didn’t slowly change from one species to another, instead they remained what they were until – bang! – one generation was significantly different to the one before it.
Ethics in postmodernism are, like everything else, relative.  Truth can only be found in the individual, whether that be the individual person, individual community, individual culture, or so on.  Each ‘group’ creates its own set of ethical standards to live by because only they can know their situation and what they want to require of themselves.  Something may be utter lawlessness in one culture or community, and yet be perfectly acceptable in another.  And we are not allowed to judge.  That is the lowest wrong-doing according to a Postmodernist because it does not allow another individual to be who they are and who they want to be.  As a result, Postmodernism has no authoritative set standard of right and wrong.


Now that we have seen the ins and outs of the six main worldviews that we come into contact with, it is time to ask ourselves: which way is the way to live?   Is it possible for everything to have come into existence by chance, or was everything created?  Is there a universal standard for morality and justice?  Is there a God at all?  No matter what different people say, there can only be one answer that will fully satisfy the human soul, and that answer is Jesus.  Until we find Him and realize that we were created by Him, are justified through Him, were made to live like Him and worship Him as our God and our King, than we will never have real satisfaction or peace in this world.   And so the question remains, why do people continue in their own wicked ways when it brings no real joy or gratification?  Jesus said in John 3:20-21 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”  Because those who follow another way other than Christ are evil, they resist the righteousness of God.  Does this mean they are hopeless cases?  Not at all!  May God give us the grace to continue to love those around us and to shine His light to those who we come into contact with day by day, that they might come to know Him.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Kids Camp 2014

I will place a disclaimer right here right now that I was not allowed to take photos of kids at all on this camp, and as it was a kids camp that would have been difficult, so I didn't even try.  ;)  These photos are from the Google image page so you get a feel for the beautiful place we stayed at.  :)

Now that that is out of the way, I will try and share how awesome the camp was... it is very hard to put in writing as my thoughts are running wild with all the different things I could say and would only I will probably forget half of them before I press that resolving "Publish" button.

I won't lie by saying that I was a little trepidatious in accepting an invitation to go and be a leader of a group of kids at the annual Tahlee Christian Kids Camp.  I had never 'done' a kids camp before in my life so I didn't really know what I was getting myself into.  Looking over the flyer, I was pretty sure it would be fun and as I love kids I wanted to embrace any opportunity to minister to them.


Jess and I went over to Tahlee on Saturday for two days of leaders training and looking over the programme.  The theme for this year's camp was Chains, Shackles and Freedman.  It was a significant theme for Tahlee as the property was originally an estate owned by a Christian couple in the 1830's who ministered to the convicts that arrived by ship directly onto the property.  By drawing a parallel between the convicts and humanity in sin, the kids were presented with a powerful illustration of what is is to be a slave to the world and to Satan, and the joy of being set free in Christ.  The two days of preparation were not easy - it was a rather pressing schedule to make sure we knew what we had to know, knew where we had to be at what times, organize who would be leading what segments, etc.  On the other hand, those two days - as well as the leaders meetings we had every morning and night for the duration of the camp - quickly knitted all of us leaders into a single unit: we clued each other in on certain children, prayed for each other, laughed and cried together, encouraged each other, supported each other... we made some wonderful new friends and it was such a blessed time every time we sat down and off loaded, shared funny little stories or had the joy of being able to relate a transformation in a child's life.

Monday came.  We gathered per normal in the the morning and prayed together for the children who would be arriving in just a couple hours time.  Eventually, everyone turned up and I was able to lead my group - the Cunning Convicts - to their dorm.  All up, the Cunning Convicts consisted of two leaders (myself and another young woman) and six little girls from grades 3-5.



Each day was run essentially the same:

  • 7:00 am -  Leaders meeting, then race back to get the girls (who should be up and dressed and take them to the dining room for breakfast.
  • 8:00 am - Breakfast, after which everyone heads back to the dorms to have 'dorm time'.
  • Sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 - Dorm time.  This consists of everyone cleaning their dorms for the dorm inspections, and reviewing and discussing the previous day's lesson and preparing for that day's lesson.
  • 9:30 am - Adventure Zone A in which we all meet for songs, skits, and teaching by the wonderful Mrs. A who taught from the Bible via chalk talks.  She did a fantastic job.  This session also included that day's memory verse presented in some way (usually a skit) so that parts of the verse could be taken down to stimulate the kids memory.  ;)
  • 11:00 am - Morning tea.
  • 11:30 am - Water sports.  This was arguably the most popular session of the day.  The options were tubing, swimming, fishing, canoeing  and a water slide.  I decided to join the water slide 'maintenance' team as it was the only option other than fishing that didn't involve being entirely on or in the water.  It turned out to be the best choice, in my opinion.  :D  So fun - just add detergent.  XDD
  • 1:00 pm - Lunch time!
  • 2:00 pm - Craft.  There was a lovely older couple at camp who have been part of the camp for 35 years.  Mrs. R organized the craft and made sure everyone had what they needed and that everyone listened to her step by step instructions.  We made treasure chests, kites and necklaces.
  • 4:00 pm - afternoon tea.
  • 4:30 pm - Adventure Zone B.  This session consisted of more songs, more skits and puppets, and an object lesson which was my session with Mr R, (only he let me organise it and did what I told him!)  Most of our object lessons were science experiments that we could relate to what Mrs. A had spoken about in the morning, so Mr. R presented himself as an absent minded professor and I was his level-headed assistant.  It was very funny, and the kids responded well to the demonstrations.  
  • 6:00 pm - Dinner time.
  • 7:00 pm - this time was varied from night to night.  Tuesday night was a history walk.  We took the kids to a cellar under Tahlee House, the boat harbour where convicts used to be dropped off, and the servants quarters behind the house.  At each station, the kids met a historical figure (a convict, Lady Isabella, and a maid) and learned what it was like for each person socially in the 1830's.  Wednesday night was the bush dance.  This was really very funny as +Toby Kolos and I were leading the dance and had practised before hand.  As a result, we knew what we were doing and did it relatively well, I thought.  (Most of the time, that is... I would keep forgetting whether it was right or left arm first!)  So we showed the kids how to do it, got into groups and gave it a shot.  The heel-toe polka is relatively straight forward, so that wasn't too bad, but then we demonstrated the "Strip the Willow" dance.  This one was my favourite of the two as it was more complicated and gave one a sense of accomplishment.  ;)  Anyway, Toby and I led the dance, skipped down the middle, skipped back, led the lines around and behind for the next couple to start their dance at the top.  Unfortunately, no one else really got the point of it and went randomly from one person to the next in utter disregard for beat or rhythm.  It was quite fun though.  Thursday night was very powerful as the Tahlee staff set up a recreation of Pilgrims Progress and the kids walked the trail with their burdens and learned about different aspects of the Christian walk.  
  • 9:00 pm - Lights out for the kids and meeting for the leaders.  We would get to bed any time between 10:00 and 11:00.


Friday was the last day and even though we were all ready to go back home, we all knew it wasn't going to be easy to let the kids go and say goodbye.  One by one, they all went home and we said good-bye to the other leaders which was every bit as sad if not more than saying goodbye to the kids.  One of the other leaders - a really sweet Asian girl whom I got along really well with - is returning to her own country soon and saying good bye to her was very sad. As I said before, the entire leadership team became a single unit that worked together to minister to the kids so everyone checked up on everyone else to make sure we were all coming back next year.  :D



There are so many other things I could mention, but the one thing that stands out is the awesome privilege Jess and I had of being able to pray with a girl to accept Christ for the first time.  It was so exciting!

To sum it all up (if that is even remotely possible!) the entire week was such a blessing and I can't wait for next year already!  :D  Praise God for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do in the lives of children in our area, NSW, Australia, and the world over.



Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Best Laid Plans... Are in His Hands!



The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley

Or so they say... and so it would seem at times.  How often we have had to cancel a much anticipated visit for a child who got up sick; or the times we have had to scrounge up dinner from who knows where because someone (no names mentioned!) left the food unattended and let it burn to the point of no return.  And some days just go so completely haywire, you wonder why you even bothered getting out of bed that morning.  

As unbelievable as it may sound, the Lord is in charge of those days too: just waiting for you to lean more into Him, to ask for His peace and strength.  But that is not what I was going to write about.  I was going to focus more on life plans and how sometimes they just don't go the way you imagined, planned, and even wrote down they would.  

Spend ten minutes in the company of a young child, prod them with a couple of questions, and you will get the full run down of what they plan to do when they are grown up.  Oh!  Far distant blessed day!  Will it never come?  I remember planning my entire life what I would do after school - the options were widely varied from year to year, month to month - dare I say... day to day... ;)  I remember a few of those options: a florist (hay fever galore!), a map draw-er (I HATE art) and a professional tennis player (I can't think where I even got that idea from!  Asthma!)  Needless to say, none of those options were long term commitments.  A friend of ours once said that kids change their dreams as often as they change their underwear, and I am inclined to agree with her.  ;P


   A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.  (Proverbs 16:9)

I love this verse - perhaps because I have experienced it in my own life... It is so comforting to know that everything we do is in the Lord's control, and if we are in sinc with Him, He will guide us wherever He wants us to go.  The Lord's will is not based on whim.  He has planned our ways before the age of time, and has woven our story into the tapestry of eternity.  The right opportunities will arise, the right people walk in, the right words spoken exactly when we need them to.  Why?  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)  We are called, and if we follow, He will orchestrate our lives to bring about the best for us, and we will live a blessed life on earth and an eternity in heaven.  This is not to say we will never have hardships in our lives - of course we will!  That is the result of sin, and just because we are saved does not exclude us from them either.  It just means that when we face hard times, we will have hope and a source of peace from which to draw daily refreshing strength.  And we can be sure that the best will result from suffering, although we may not know what that is this side of heaven.  Who knows how many lives we may touch without us even knowing?  It is an exciting thought... Enough so to make me want to trust God with the rest of my life forever!  :)

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.  (Proverbs 19:21)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Another Poem - The Vow

Here's another poem for critique... my school assignment was to write a paper on the essence of marriage.  Because I feel that I convey that kind of thing best on poetical form, I wrote a poem instead.  At first my head was all done in - I know what I believe, but getting it down on paper is so much harder.  I was able to have a chat with my lovely friend though who helped to step it out for me and gave me a couple of pointers.  Thanks so much, dear friend!  This is for you and your fiance.  :)


The Vow

It’s naught that I bring
And yet I bring everything
I am giving it all to you.
I’m so excited, but scared
I pray to God I’m prepared
For the new life we’re about to pursue.

My old life is behind me –
And though it’s the life that’s defined me –
I promise I’ll never go back.
For you will secure my ardour
And going back will be harder
The farther we go down the track.

Things won’t always be perfect
There’ll be times when we’re wrecked
And it all seems to be going awry.
I know I’ll make mistakes
But I’ll be with you in the heartbreaks
To comfort you while you cry.

We are young and new to this
What if we err or go amiss?
Fear not for example precedes us:
Christ’s love for his bride
Her sweet trust to confide -
We’ll follow wherever He leads us

What a blessed sweet vision
It makes firm my decision
To love you with whole mind and heart
I will love you forever
And forsake you never
As we say, “Until death do us part”.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Plans

Don't you love having a whole lot of 'things' to do to fill out time?  I love being at home but I am also a social butterfly (or so my Mum tells me).  I am rather excited about the upcoming months - we have an 18th party to plan and host and a 70th to help with and attend - but outside of parties, there is still so much going on.

The one I am really looking forward to is the Tahlee kid's camp.  My family aren't fans of sending kids of camping on their own and there is no way we would do it except this time it's played out at the other end.  Jess and I are leaders at this camp which means we'll be looking after the kids, eating with them, sleeping with them, playing with them, keeping them in check.  Being a Christian camp, we will also have a unique opportunity to minister to them  and input into their lives.  Grace and Joy are also going along to help out adopted grandparents in the kitchen to cook for everyone.  It should be a fantastic week.

The other thing I am really - and I mean REALLY! - excited about is our church's Christmas production.  Because she is the 'unofficial music director' (it's a long story... ;) )  Mum is in charge (under out pastor) to write and direct the show.  True to form, my sisters and I have a lot of ideas, some more ambitious than others, and we are having so much fun in the lead up to Christmas practices.  I won't give away anything here, but it is going to be awesome - we have some really talented people in our church who are really going to add a lot to the show.

For Christmas itself, the plan is to go up to our Grandparents in Toowoomba.  They are really excited about it and we are looking forward to seeing them and Dad's sister as well.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Training and Mission Grounds

Just now, as I sat in the lounge room with my laptop, it suddenly occurred to me: my blog is a year old.  Fancy that!  It's amazing how time flies, even when you feel like you haven't been doing much.

Not that I haven't been doing anything, but sometimes the little everyday things can add up to nothingness because they are everyday, you forget about the little things that make up your life and how each in their own way - with the people you love - they make the emotions and the memories that stay with you forever.  If you were to ask me what I have been doing, I would probably answer something along the lines of, "Not much - maths, chemistry, biology, literature, modern history, online drivers tests (yes - I'm still trying to achieve the five perfects in a row!) and just everyday life stuff."  It doesn't sound particularly exciting.  I wake up every morning and painfully try to open my eyes with the thought I have to get up - but I don't want to do everything again!  Once I'm into it, though, it doesn't seem nearly as bad.  (With the exception perhaps of biology. Blergh!  I'd just as soon leave that out, but if I am heading to a future in doula-naturopathy, I guess it is something I will have to learn!)

It is easy to wish these days away - and I am ashamed to say I have done it many times.  We can be encouraged, however, for we know that nothing happens without purpose and that God is constantly guiding our lives, molding and shaping us to who He wants us to be.

 "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the lord rejoices to see the work begin..." (Zechariah 4:10) 


He rejoices over the work He begins in you!  And what's more, we read in Philippians that the work begun inside of us will be completed until Jesus returns, for the work that is inside of you is far richer, far more valuable and far more important than the work you achieve throughout your life.  I firmly believe (even if I struggle with it myself) that everything in life, especially the mundane things that you really hate, are God's training ground for us.  He is building up the character in us that reflects Christ so that we will be ready for the ultimate work He has for us in our lives.

But guess what!  God also believes in learning on the job.  That's right!  Where you are now is just as much God's work for you as the 'ultimate task' He is building you up for!  I have dreams of being a doula but I believe my ultimate task is someday to be a wife and a mother of many children.  I believe adoption is in my future and training and homeschooling my children will be a main mission field.  But right now, my job is to serve and minister to my immediate family.  Not only to I get the privilege of inputting into their lives, but it is a training ground for the 'one day'.  

Trust God!  He knows what he is doing and will direct your life if you submit to His will and allow Him to shape you.  It's not easy - I know that, but I have also learned that it is so worth it to let go and let God.  I pray you will have peace throughout your life's journey and contentment where God leads you... He loves you and will never forsake you... I can't express everything I am trying to convey, so I'll let God do that for me.  :)   This is one of my favourite Psalms - I pray it will bless you richly and eternally.  :)

Psalm 91


He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say of the Lord“He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9Because you have made the Lordwho is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”