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Panic!

Is this human trait prevalent to us all or is it just experienced by the likes of  the ‘Dad’s Army’ characters? I’m more prone to this and have to guard myself from spilling out and making others panic, too!

However, God, as always, has made provision for this emotion in that his word, the Bible, clearly says that we are to ‘cast all our cares on him because he cares for us’ (1 Peter 5:7).  I have advocated that our individual worries and fears and anxieties can be thrown to the Lord as they loom up within us.  Even by acknowledging a problem is halfway to solving it. I have found that by writing it down and then screwing the paper up and throwing it into the air is a very helpful way to cast ones cares on God.

The Creation Series of Diamond Books provides a spiritual anchor for our children’s lives as these books are based on God’s word.  His power at making things out of nothing can excite children and give them faith to believe that their Maker is bigger than they are.  Then, even at their early ages, they  can learn to depend on God and have confidence in him so that he becomes one they can trust.

We can’t talk enough about the great God who made everything.  God’s people, centuries ago, were told to talk diligently to their children regularly when they got up, when they sat down in their house, when they walked about and in the evening before bed (see Deuteronomy 6:7 in the Bible) so that they wouldn’t forget His presence and interest in their lives and could feel that they could converse with him as a friend.

May we learn to let God deal with our panic times so that our children can see how we trust God even in the face of many challenges and difficulties.  God will give us each his perfect peace as our minds are stayed on him. Let’s focus on Him who is solid and at hand for every problem.

Waiting

One of the hardest things we humans can do? I find this incredibly difficult but, as Christians, we are called to wait on God (Isaiah 40:28-31).  Our busy lives are not a reflection of our spirituality – in fact, I would even say that the reverse is true.

Waiting has a positive side to it in that it is often a preparation time for God to develop our character which to God is vitally important.  Moses had 40 years in Egypt in the riches of a palace, then 40 years in obscurity before he was given his life’s mission.  Joshua, too, had to wait his time for leadership, learning under Moses tuition.  Jesus himself had 30 years in obscurity and then just over 3 years of his mission.

I have been challenged recently by Jesus’ lifestyle.  He spent a lot of time with his Father in the dark times of the morning before others had got up.  Then, in any given day, he only did those things that Father had told him to do.  So why don’t we do the same?  I would say that it is probably too costly for most of us but how rewarding if we get to be like that. To be able to get God’s ‘well done’ must be the reward of all rewards.

On holiday recently, I was amazed at how God took hold of Jacob. Even with his bad hip, God made every provision for him to succeed. He even lifted him up onto the hilltops so that he could feast on the crops of the land and loved him so  lavishly.  Jacob didn’t deserve this (as we don’t either) but, chosen by God, he came to a good end, with so many children too, even though he went through so much emotional pain which in the end became the making of him.

How the children around us need an anchor and the stability to survive in this busy world. Again, ‘The Creation Series’ can provide some help to little ones and visually give them the beauty and grandeur of the Creator so that they can learn to focus on good things rather than the hustle and bustle, rushing agendas of our world..

Let’s allow our children to be the children they need to be by providing them with the right books at the right time that will enable them to learn about the power and enormity of the God who made every part of them.  To enable more children to know about the great God of the universe, the boxed set of ‘ The Creation Series’ can be ordered by libraries so that lots of children can have the opportunity of learning about the God who made everything around them and actually made them unique, too.

[One only has to ask to order the boxed set of books in any library – in the UK anyway –  and usually they are ordered for a small fee and are then on the shelves for all to borrow!]

Drenching!

Rain can give us this but the Spirit of God can give us living water that comes from God’s heart.  Trust that even though it has been the wettest February on record (I think I heard) if we had received the equivalent from the Holy Spirit I guess this would have been so much better for us and for others.

Met a Christian recently who just oozes the Lord and it was a privilege to pray with her.  I also gained a greater hunger for more of God’s Spirit as it is only in him that we can live the Christian life at all.  We so easily do things in our own strength only to find that what we do is ineffective.

More time with God means more of him and less of me and hopefully a greater blessing on everyone I meet as well as Father God being glorified. John the Baptist said that he wanted to decrease so that God could increase – oh for the reality of that for every day.

Am being blessed with Mrs. Charles Cowman’s “Streams in the Desert” (Volume 2). Although an old book, there are so many treasures within it that speak of hardship and difficulty and challenges.  However, these produce life changing patterns if we yield to his way rather than struggle against the flow of abiding in God to get through the circumstances rather than trying to avoid them. The drenching can begin here.

Let’s allow God to have his way so that we can be drenched by God’s Spirit continually.  Jesus spoke of the Spirit’s life giving water which we can receive if we are thirsty. The woman at the well realised that this was true as she had tried life in her own way and had multiple relationships that did not satisfy her. Then when she met Jesus and he opened her eyes to see that all her needs could be met by this life giving water, she just couldn’t stop speaking about him.

Let’s keep focused and talk with our children at every opportunity about the reality of God and his life changing Spirit through knowing Jesus Christ.  They will become so changed as they get anchored into God’s word that their excitement at being a Christian will develop and be contagious.

‘The Creation Series’ of Diamond Books shows what happened when God spoke and the Spirit of God breathed life into our world in all its different forms. Thank God that when Jesus Christ later came to our world and then left it again he left us his Spirit so that his work could be completed. Now, every tribe and tongue and nation can be aware of the power of God as they see God’s creation and all the children, too, can realise what life is about – to enjoy God forever, flowing in his drenching Spirit.

An Anchor

Every boat has an anchor but do our lives have this solid weight keeping us stable?  Sometimes a weight can be a hindrance but when it has a purpose then one can allow for it. God’s word, the Bible, provides solidness for our lives. If we ignore it, it is to our peril when times get tough. If we treasure it, then we can open it and use it for its intended purpose i.e. to create faith that can do anything.

‘The Creation Series’ is based on God’s word and follows the Genesis account of creation.  Little ones can have fun finding the ladybirds or the frogs or butterflies in various ones of this 8 book boxed set, primarily to read to 3–4 year olds. The wonders of creation never cease to amaze me.  How an intelligent mind can think that the world just came together (like bits of a watch all falling down to make a perfect working watch) without a creator, I find baffling.

Diamond Books exists to help children to have a simple understanding of what God has done so far and has seen fit to record for us to learn from. Men inspired by God wrote down various poems, historical accounts, wise words, songs and prophecy so that we could benefit from knowing the heart of God.  His pulse and heart beat are always towards his creation.  ‘People are on tiptoe to see the sons of God coming into their own’ it says in Romans 8.

Let’s not be a disappointment to God or our fellow man/woman.  The only way forward, it seems, is not only to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength but to also love our neighbour as we love ourselves. Love has to be our motivator or else what we do becomes a comparison with others or we want to be seen doing what we’re doing (subtly showing off) what God has given us to do. Getting the balance of love is a hard one – how much does one love oneself these days and how does this compare with the amount of love we give others?

God’s love is oozing in ‘The Creation Series’.  Young children don’t get hang ups about loving – they just do it as they see love modelled in us adults.  Let’s not put a stumbling block in the way of these youngsters so that love can prevail in the home, outside at play, in school and wherever they happen to go.

Let’s keep life simple enough so that we can respond to God and to others in the way of love continually and if we blow it, we can clamber onto Father God’s knee for forgiveness and his loving support and sustaining. Then we can start the way of loving again, leaning on God to enable us to love his way.

Purity

In God’s vocabulary it is very high on his list of priorities for us humans but alas not so high on ours unless we get serious at living the Christian life (his enabling totally).  No man/woman can ever see the Lord without His covering on our lives.  The blood of Jesus does this for us by forgiving and cleansing us from sin, otherwise none of us could stand before an Almighty God.  It then means that we can confidently relate to a Holy God who in fact has lived on our planet and knows what it is like and offers us a way to heaven.

Our children need to know and be encouraged to aim at living a pure life that is pleasing to God.  Diamond Books is based on a couple of verses that help us keep our minds focused on what really matters and we are trusting that little people will be able to do this too. The apostle, Paul, says in Philippians 4:6-7(NIV) “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Our minds steer our lives and that of our children.

The Creation Series of Diamond Books aims to guide children’s minds to what is pure and lovely and admirable and right.  The illustrations have such a big impact on their little minds and they have been so lovingly created by Sharon Rentta as she has received inspiration from God.

Let’s aim at purity and let God continually cleanse us from the evil effects of the world we live in.  As we concentrate on what is wholesome and right and pure, God can actually make us like himself.  God can keep us pure and if we sin we have an advocate with the Father through Jesus Christ who can keep our slates clean (see 1 John 1:5-2:2 in the Bible). This God is a trustworthy God and we can train our children to trust him and to believe what he says.

Then, as our children get older, they can more easily say ‘no’ to temptation (as it comes to all of us) so that they can learn to wait God’s time for the good things that God wants to give them.  Books to help our teenagers can be obtained from Eden Christian Bookshop  or St. Andrew’s Christian  Bookshop online so that they can be encouraged to swim upstream and get to the goal of the best that God intended for them and for us all.

Peace in our Time

Peace with God is the only answer. Our hearts have to have a complete change (that only God can do as we come to Jesus Christ) to enable the Prince of Peace to have his way. Otherwise individual opinions hold and, as everyone’s differs, then people just do what they think is right in their own minds without consulting or listening to God for his wisdom in situations.

Jesus said that he came to bring a sword in families (Matthew 10:34) as one member would be divided against another when the Prince of Peace is not in each heart of each family member.  He knew the conflicts there would be in families when His Lordship isn’t paramount. However he longs for peace and he promised long ago that his desire is to give us peace in our hearts that would fan out to bless others even those in our families who retaliate possibly because they don’t clearly see or feel the great love of God for them.

‘The Creation Series’ of Diamond Books seeks to bring order and peace to children educating them in the early beginnings of life as we know it.  God, being the powerful person he is, only had to speak and the wonders of creation were made. We can teach our children to be careful what they say as even our words have huge repercussions. It just shows how we were made in God’s image.

Young children need to learn to trust their creator who does all things well even when sometimes we don’t understand.  Basilea Schlink once said “I don’t understand You but I trust You.”  A child has a great capacity to trust and when they come to God simply somehow their faith is so pure and real and can put us adults to shame.

So ‘The Creation Series’ of Diamond Books originally intended to be read to 3-4 year olds can be read and appreciated by older children, too, especially those with disabilities including autistic children who love these simple yet profound books.

Let’s allow the peace of God that passes all understanding to under-gird and lead us in his way and that those round the table in Geneva even this day will be aware of the Prince of Peace that can cross any barrier, culture, views, ideas or ethics so that peace can reign in Syria and all the refugees from there (many of whom are Christians) can return home and begin to build again.

Surprised By Joy

Yes – a title for one of C.S. Lewis’s books and a good read, too, but are we surprised when we have lots of joy? I am of the belief that we are meant to have joy continually for “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)  and don’t we need strength all the time?

Joy is so different from being happy, an emotion that fluctuates with circumstances and situations, so how can we get it?  It is considered a fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit (given to us so that we could complete God’s work on earth after Jesus Christ went back to heaven from our planet). We each need to become Christians first and then let the Holy Spirit daily fill us (continually is best!). The Holy Spirit is given to every believer so that his fruit of love e.g. joy can come out of our lives.

We’re encouraged in John’s gospel to ask anything in Jesus’ Name as believers, too – so that our joy can be full as we see his answers. What an invitation and how we need to simply trust God to do what he says.

As we go through difficult and challenging times we can find that the joy of the Lord keeps welling up in us to help us to overcome.  We can smile more when we realise that God is in control (and we use less muscles to smile than to frown so it is well worth going for it!)

God must have been so full of joy when he created our world including all those strange and wonderful creatures some of which the human eye can’t even see except under a microscope. When he made the first humans he must have had a twinkle in his eye knowing that all subsequent human beings would be unique and wonderfully made.  He knew that we would need him to get on with one another and to learn to love as he loves. Thus, he provided the Holy Spirit to give us the means to relate well and  to display his character on Earth .

‘The Creation Series’ of Diamond Books relishes in God’s wonder working joy filled world and shows many diversities and varieties of his creation for little eyes to see and appreciate.  What child isn’t fascinated by little ants rushing around carrying leaves on their back that are more than double their size or counting the spots on a ladybird? Let your 3-4 year olds be blessed with this boxed set of 8 books that will enable them to be in awe of the great God who made all things well.

P.S. When our lives are half-filled with his joy or display no joy at all there is probably a reason for this.  Try getting more sleep or searching one’s heart to see if there is anything in our lives that is displeasing to him who knows us so well.  Then we have more freedom to choose his best and are enabled to receive the power to resist temptation and then to even glimmer with joy!

Beautiful New Year

Just as we take our Christmas decorations down and the evenings get a wee bit lighter (here in the UK) so God surprises us with the sheer beauty of his world.  Whether there are storms, winds and rain or glimpses of the sunshine, his rainbow comes out to remind us that God is a promise keeping God.

I’ve seen several rainbows recently some a full 180 degree arc and each time I get excited and thrilled that God made all the colours in the spectrum and he brightens up the skies of our world just like that! Colour is amazing and there are so many shades of the same hue. Apparently, in the extravagance of God, we each see colours uniquely as our eyes are made distinctive as is the rest of our being.

The colours in ‘The Creation Series’ books (a boxed set of 8 books – Set A of Diamond Books) are really beautiful.  Sharon Rentta has done a superb job with the illustrations for this series which complements the text that is aimed for reading to 3–4 year olds. The wonder of his creation is amazing and Sharon has tapped into the heart of the Creator, so allowing little ones to appreciate the greatness of all that is around them.

Let’s be like children this year and value the simple, lovely and beautiful things that are around us ready for us to notice.  A little plant or creature or insect or even the colour of a leaf can be an incredible source of awe as we see it in a fresh light. How can we resist worshipping and praising God, the Creator of all who by his power and might also made and brought to pass the creative plan of sending Jesus Christ to our world so that his order and rightness of things can be restored to our world.  He is altogether lovely!

 

New Beginnings

God makes all things new – so we are told in the book of Revelation that looks ahead to a great future of splendour and beauty and peace and rest – but what about today?

Every day is new and a creative gift from Father God. Every sky is painted differently each day and it is varied even in a locality and across nations too.  We can stand in awe of the creation we see – hence Diamond Books for children.  Letting young ones see the wonders of God’s creation is one of the bonuses that ‘The Creation Series’  is offering particularly for 3-4 year olds to appreciate. The amazing illustrations by Sharon Rentta show off God’s creativity.

Beauty and colour and variety and detail mark God’s creation and we have endeavoured to show each of these aspects in The Creation Series’. “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8 KJV) is reflected in these books and the sheer immensity of what God has made is emphasised. To think that God not only made (for example) just one dog but also many different breeds; and so many varied insects that even the naked eye can hardly see them, is staggering.  As the days go by, man is discovering more than meets the eye and the lusciousness of his landscapes and plant life around our world is breath taking.  The more scientists discover, the more we can see the amazing Creator’s hand on his world so carefully formed in it’s position from the sun – any nearer we would burn up and more distant we would freeze up.

Let’s honour and respect our Creator God even more than the creation he has made.  May 2014 indeed be a year when we each draw closer to him and get to know his amazing creative ways with our health, with our weather and with the challenges he allows in our lives. May God be praised indeed and a happy 2014 to all you bloggers and readers!

 

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.