Born to Die

Jesus Christ was born on time and his mission to die for the whole world was spot on time, too. God is never too early or too late with what he does.

It’s obvious that after we are born we have to die sometime (unless Jesus comes back first and takes us to be with him forever – and we are still waiting for his second coming) but God has some amazing plans that enable us to die while we live if we will yield to him.  God wants to so fill our lives that the self life dies (we are told to reckon ourselves as dead – see the whole  book of Romans in the Bible) and then we can be fully alive in him. Then strangely enough we get to live life to the full as a result.

There are hardships, difficulties and circumstances that we wouldn’t have chosen but God uses these all for our good (Romans 8:28).  Diamonds are bedded in the depths of the earth and until they are discovered, honed and polished one can’t see their true value.  Similarly, we are like diamonds being polished by our maker and as we surrender ourselves to him then the true value of what he has made  comes out and shines and becomes evident to all.

That is why diamonds are so graphic in giving us an example of deadness (looking of no value) and real life (when polished – showing what they were meant to be and appreciated). So with Diamond Books – we are endeavouring to show children the life of God that is available to them so that they can grow and become fully developed and mature as they take in God’s life changing word.

Then we can say ‘beautiful, beautiful’ – God makes all things new and all we have to do is play our part in his tapestry of the world we live in.

So this Christmas let’s thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love to us as individuals and to mankind as a whole.  Let’s not forget our brothers and sisters round the world who struggle, are persecuted in a big way and have few of the benefits that we in the west experience. We can pray and give to them and make a huge difference.

Being Available to God

We humans can have a grand idea about what God wants of us.  He simply wants us to be his servants so that we can do what he asks and be on call for whoever may need us as he leads us.

When we become Christians we immediately are someone else’s – God’s.  We’re not our own any more but a subject of the King. So, when we are to do something that we naturally don’t like doing or can’t be bothered to do because it is inconvenient, our flesh (self-life) often screams.

I think that God is in the business of changing lives from within and once he has our permission when we say ‘yes’ to him to be a part of his ever-growing family then he sets to work to make us like himself.  The process is often painful and hurts but the end result can be amazing e.g. we can look at the back of a  beautiful rug when we turn it over and can be surprised at the muddle there is there. Similarly, when working on a tapestry one can’t see the whole picture until it is completed.  So with our lives – God is the Master Potter and he is moulding our lives through circumstances, choices we make and in the midst of just plain routine or even literal painful experiences or seeming accidents. God weaves everything together for good to those who love him and  are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

The outworking of this Diamond Books project is his idea.  Early on, I felt God saying that he would use this project to get to me and mould my life more appropriately to his image.  Although it is taking him a long time to do this because of my human struggles and sometimes my unwillingness to do things his way, when we do find the joy of being in the centre of his will, there is nothing to compare with it.  Life flows more easily, joy immeasurable becomes the norm and somehow every detail fits into place in his purposes.

However, I (and probably all of us) need to be constantly available to the Master and dependent on him. Then his kingdom can come on Earth as it is at this moment in heaven.  One day soon, he is coming back to our planet to set up his way of doing things on a permanent basis as he originally intended for mankind.  (You can read about what happened at the dawn of time with your children in Book 8  [‘A Beautiful Garden’] of ‘The Creation Series’ of  Diamond Books and the hope God has given us who come humbly to him.)

Let’s encourage each other to allow God’s stretching as we yield to him and allow our simple availability to become not only a huge blessing to God but also a gift to the body of Christ, his church.

Half-full?

Are you a half-full or half-empty person? Human beings seem to be in one of these camps.  We either see things positively or negatively. I hover between the two!

God has intended that we always see things from a half-full perspective.  He is always positive and gives us hope beyond our imagination and often our experience.

However our upbringing, our personality, our experiences in life can cause us to be the half-empty people who I readily identify with.  I catch myself saying something negative and need to resay it the way I want it to really be. How amazing that God knows all about our quandry and gives us Romans 12:2 to read and meditate on.

“Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” (New Century Bible)

As we focus our minds on God and his character then we can become like him – always positive; giving compliments; listening to others; believing the best of others; and thinking well of ourselves (ensuring that what we think is what God has said about us).

As we know God’s love in our hearts we realise that he is enough to fill us up to the brim and overflowing with his Holy Spirit.  Then we can see each circumstance or situation or comment from at least a half-full angle. Then we can believe God to fill us up and over with his love and grace and kindness and care to be the people he always intended us to be so that instead of reacting to others, by God’s grace, we can respond with his love.

Have just been working on Set E, Book 4 of Diamond Books and I am reminded there how the 12 spies were sent into Canaan by Moses so that they could report back about the land. Two of the spies were very positive but the others were frightened and negative about the prospect of going to live there.  The consequences for those who were negative were dire and they missed out on God’s best for them.  Let’s be like the 2 (Joshua and Caleb) who believed that God could overcome every difficulty.  “Without faith no one can please  God” (Hebrews 11:6 – New Century Bible) so let’s be believing believers – half-full and rising to full capacity!

The Light of the World

During the week when some people “do” Halloween, instead let’s celebrate Jesus as the Light of the World.  He dispels the darkness around us and His light is brighter than any other. He came to remove the darkness of sin and can set us free to live in the light of forgiveness and healing. His light is brighter than the sun and to be with Him one day is to know inexpressible light and joy.

Diamond Books celebrates this light.  In the first set of the ‘The Creation Series’ we see illustrated the light that God made out of the darkness at the beginning of time when the earth was void and dark and there was nothing but water. In Book 1 ‘God’s World’ we see how God spoke and bright light was made. Book 2 of this series entitled ‘Light, Sky, Land and Sea’ details how the light was separated from the darkness and how God named the day and  the night.  Jesus, the Light of the World was actually present at creation together with the Holy Spirit breathing over his creation.

From this light, of course, comes all forms of life – plants, sea creatures, birds, animals and human beings. The wonder of what Jesus, the Light of the World, has done is so extensive. No wonder people who caught a glimpse of his actual light bowed down and worshipped him and even prostrated themselves before him – as did Isaiah. His light is so strong that it actually blinded the apostle Paul when he first encountered the living Christ.

I am reminded of a song that we used to sing “And all creation’s standing on tiptoe just to see the sons of God coming into their own.”  When we get close to the Light of the World then we start to reflect him. Then others begin to see the Light for themselves.

At this very time, the second set of Diamond Books ‘The Jesus Series’ is being produced in the U.S.A. The first reader for 4-5 year olds is called ‘The Light’ and it portrays all sorts of lights and emphasises the Light of the World. There is a photograph of my eye at the end of this book that looks just like the world all lit up with the words, ‘Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,”‘ (John 8:12 – Good News Bible) for  youngsters to memorise.

May God’s light shine in us as we seek to influence and introduce children to the Light of the World.

“Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4- AV)  We win!

Calling All Home-Schoolers

Just to say that each of you are doing a wonderful job.  Giving a child an education at home is in my mind the best start in life that you can give a child.  Not only, can you teach what is helpful to a particular child who of course like the rest of us is amazingly unique but also it can assist the bonding process so necessary for children to feel secure and loved.

We did a wee bit of home schooling with our son and we had links with many who were home schooling.  The quality of child that is produced through this method of education is astounding.  A parent can adjust the way they teach according to the child’s aptitude, ability, concentration span and interest and it is so lovely not to have to stick to a curriculum if it is not working or something captures a child’s mind, e.g. snails in the garden – it is so good to have the freedom to go with the flow and explore these little creatures and learn about them at that very moment.

The Bible says that “Your education is your life – guard it well.” (Proverbs 4:13 – Good News Bible).  When the whole of a child’s personality and physical, social, mental and emotional health is considered then the spiritual dimension becomes more and more relevant when we grasp that God made me and wonderfully so.

So, dear home-schoolers – keep going even when you are so tired. Look to the joy of the future seeing your offspring content in who they are and seeking to find out and do the plans God has for each one. Speaking of Jesus Christ, the author of the book of Hebrews says, “…because of the joy that was waiting for him, He thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross,.. (Hebrews 12:2 – Good News Bible). It might be that you feel that you are enduring a cross-like experience – but as we die to ourselves, God’s grace and power and love become more available.

When we feel weak we really are strong in God’s power working in us. “With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20 – New Century version) as we relinquish our children into God’s very capable hands. He has chosen you, home-schooler, to be the means of little people being blessed and educated in every way.

So, look up, this pathway will not be forever!

Do you have a question about home-schooling?  If so I will try to help or steer you to someone who can further your cause.

 

The Star is Born

Have you ever looked at the stars and wondered how they got into the sky? Have you considered that each grain of sand and each snowflake is unique?  Did God just throw the atoms and bits into the air like the contents of a watch and let them fall and hey presto each unique creation came to pass?

I am awed by the fact that each human being is unique as well.  Every one of us has a part to play in God’s great scheme of things.  God can and will instruct us and guide us as we read and learn His instructions.

I use 7 hours each weekday to work on Diamond Books, the project that God has given me to do.  I have a timer, to use the time carefully.  This was not always easy to do but it is getting better as God has disciplined me and helped me with this.  There are the usual distractions to overcome: the telephone and mobiles; the doorbell; the buzz of an insect in the room I am working in; and the housework staring at me.  However, my focus is getting better. There is a wonderful bonus to the work I do.  As the ‘Chariots of Fire’ hero, Eric Liddell  once said, ‘When I run I feel God’s pleasure’ so when I write I feel His pleasure, too.  So, it is not a hard task to do what I was made to do.

The Bible, as Sally Lloyd-Jones said in one of her blogs, is not about us but about the One who made the stars, the sand, the snowflakes and us.  He watched us individually as we were forming inside our mothers. Then He made every provision for us to live and move and have our being in Him.  Jesus Christ truly is The Star of this world.

 

Calling All Parents! – 8 tips

I know how busy and frantic life can be with children in the family.  I also know that ensuring that our children have strong and firm spiritual foundations is so essential.  That is why we have produced Diamond Books – to help busy families do what is right.

Here are a few tips for helping young children to become grounded in what is true and right (see Philippians 4:8 which forms the basis):-

  Introduce the Bible to your children as early in their years as possible     (not  necessarily at 4 am!)

2   Tell your children that the Bible is the best book in the world (as it is read by more people than any other book).

3   Inform children that the Bible is like a lot of love letters from God to them (and put into one big book).

4   Have a daily devotional time at one of your meal times, reading a bit from a modern Children’s Bible (and there are many lovely ones e.g. ‘The Jesus Storyteller Bible’ by Sally Lloyd-Jones) and praying simple prayers specifically.

5   Get into a habit of thanking God for whatever is good around you and the answers that come from praying.

6   Sing lots of Bible songs throughout the day.

7   Talk about various aspects of creation as you see them referring to God as the Creator of them all.

8   Buy and read together ‘The Creation Series’ (Set A of Diamond Books) and enjoy the wonderful visuals of so much of what God has made.

Have fun and laugh a lot and let me know how you get on!

 

 

 

 

Feeding Children’s Hunger

I have a hunch and a simple understanding of children to know when youngsters are hungry.  Sometimes, they are just bored, sometimes they just want a fix almost like a habit (eg when they come home from school) and sometimes they are plain hungry with rumbling stomachs.  Physically, the signs are there but are we aware of children’s spiritual hunger?  I firmly believe that we were made with a God shaped hole within us that only God can fill.  When God is allowed to fill us (with our permission) He does and then there is that great satisfied feeling.

I am passionate about the Bible and its simple yet profound truths.  I believe that the inspired words in this best book in the world (bought and read by more people than any other book ever) have a great impact on us people if we are open to receive its wisdom.  I happen to believe, too, that little people (our children) can have an even greater understanding of the truths in this book as they are far more open to receive.  We are encouraged to be like little children as we come to God so that we can easily learn great foundational truths that can last a lifetime.

‘Diamond Books’ has actually been written with these thoughts in mind.  Children love to hear about the Old Testament heroes and the amazing miracles of Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible. When they realise that these events are not fairy stories but actual happenings in the past then they can see and understand the greatness of God.  Children are so amazed at the various aspects of creation. When they are taught that God made each grain of sand different from the rest and each snowflake uniquely and knows the number of hairs on each of our heads their understanding can expand and soar.  They can then be in awe of God’s handiwork.  Their hunger for who they are and why they are here can truly be answered quite simply as they read the Bible.

Of course, children need a guide to help them receive this spiritual food (‘bread’ from Heaven).  The Bible is that guide.  It was written by many men inspired by God.  As adults we need to pray that the Holy Spirit will feed our family with this food.  Our children need to see the reality of the Holy Spirit providing the spiritual food we each need.  This food is just as important as the physical food we eat.  So daily coming to  God is essential  to avoid being spiritually starved or unbalanced as children or adults.

What do you think?  Have you any suggestions as to how to eat this spiritual food and make it easily palatable to young children?