Posted by: heartledhomes | April 25, 2013

Lest We Forget

Sacrifice of many

Sacrifice of many

Today as we commemorate the ANZAC’S (for my non Australian friends here’s a definition):

an·zac  /ˈanˌzak/

  1. 1.      Noun:    A soldier in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (1914–18).
  2. 2.      A person, esp. a member of the armed services, from Australia or New Zealand.

I’m capturing a moment of time when I felt the spirit of the Lord remind me of the eternal value of sacrifice.  Admittedly it was last year and only now am I writing down my thoughts, the joy of a holiday.

The sacrifice of men, women and families in war is huge and one that I honestly struggle to understand it is so far from my reality and family life.  I feel like ANZAC day so moving and almost holy, tears rise easily to my eyes when I pause and imagine what and who has suffered for me and my beloved country Australia.  I also hear the Lord challenging me to revisit the heavenly value of sacrifice.  Not just historically but right now in my life as both a mother and a follower of Jesus.

When my babies arrived, (I have three), I was so besotted and overjoyed that I had finally had a baby (after 7 years of infertility battles) it wasn’t hard to sacrifice sleep – it was love.  As my kids got older it was harder to have a sacrifice of love when they demanded my constant attention.  I couldn’t pursue my personal goals in my working life, I didn’t have the spare income to buy the clothes I wanted of and I didn’t have the house looking like I wanted to.  Then to not feel like it is my “right” as a mother to demand a return from my children.

In my many years of serving in a church, when I was young passionately in love with Jesus and “green” it was easy to sacrifice.  Now that I have served for many years I find it is a more conscious effort to leave my sacrifice before the Lord as holy and not look at it as an investment.  Sacrifice is not an investment plan!  Tithing is not a heavenly saving scheme.  There is a key heart difference that I need to work on, as I’m a living sacrifice.  Not a dead one.

Sacrifice, especially the giving of a life, like our ANZACs, is precious and priceless in the sight of God.  It has an eternal value that God uses and is never wasted or lost.  Even when I sacrifice in my home, my friendship my ministry … it is holy and eternal, never lost or wasted.

 

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Posted by: heartledhomes | January 6, 2013

kids + Church

Love in action

Sunday and off to a church service.  I don’t often get to sit in an adult church service as I love to spend most Sunday services with a younger group of followers of Jesus, children.  Today I sat with my beloved husband towards the rear of the room where most families of young children choose to sit.  Well some sit, others pop up and down chasing toddlers, reaching in nappy bags for snacks and toys, rock the pram and juggle toddlers in their arms.

I was mesmerized by the play to two beautiful 4-year-old girls. Both adorable girls … upon site of each other they each spontaneously smiled and ran into each other’s arms, twirled around one dress swishing with ease, they radiated joy and freedom.

A renowned quote of St Irenaeus …. Man fully alive is the glory of God.  I thought this was being demonstrated in front of my eyes.  Let me explain the link of two thoughts.

I’ve always seen this quote to mean that when little people are fully alive can reflect the glory of God as much as an adult.  When a child or little person is fully alive is often when they play.  Therefore it is possible the glory of God to be revealed in among child’s play.  Children constructing and creating with lego, running, twirling, laughing and jumping are fully alive.  (Oh yes there are other moments in children’s play … but for my point let’s not highlight those.)

When I watched the two girls play together, converse, love each and return safely to the arms of their parents.  They were fully alive!  A great sermon was illustrated for me, without a word spoken.  The girls were a living demonstration of the church, people called to be in a community of faith, loving one another.  How valuable it is to me,  to have children in my midst to teach, to led, to demonstrate the way of faith in Jesus.

Thank you mums and dads with young children who despite the difficulties bring your kids into church services, as parents!   I will continue to watch and learn from having children in  my midst.  Luke 18:16

Posted by: heartledhomes | October 23, 2012

Kids need a clean imagination

I recently spent some helping children be released from all the “junk” that gets into their imagination stations.  Imagination is a God-given part of us, place where  He often likes to talk to us.  Having a clean imagination station is really powerful and freeing.

Clean it up

This is how we led the children through the ministry time.

We started out with a  clean white board.   We asked the children what was in their imagination station that they didn’t want.  Things that came out included TV shows, movies, books, posters, words from others, news reports etc.   Some children said even looking at movie posters and DVD covers was enough to create a bad and fearful imagination.

This was a safe and free time for the children to share their own personal thoughts.  There were no right or wrong answers (except Justin Beaver!)  We wrote up on the white board (in black) all the words or pictures they wanted to be free from.  The whiteboard was soon full.

Jesus said; “now you are clean because of the word that I have spoken (John 15:3).  In the name of Jesus we asked him to take away the bad imagination and its power.

Together we wiped off, one by one, the words and images written on the board.  We prayed as we did this and received the cleansing victory of Jesus at the same time.

Next we re-imagined with God.  When God wants to talk to our imagination station, what would He want to show us, tell us or give us?  Then we began to write and draw the things He shared with us.  This time we used coloured markers.

(In one session we also took communion as another way to identify with the victory of Jesus making us clean.)

You can do all of this at home with your family. 

“The way we think rules our life.  Our mindset can either be a fortress to the enemy or a temple for the Living God.  One will imprison our spirituality; the other will set us free to govern our circumstances.”  Graham Cooke

Posted by: Family Friendly | February 13, 2012

How to grow younger God’s way!

I think Jesus gets as pumped and excited as the kids when they splash in puddles, he knows how good it feels. Jesus was a kid himself. When kids say how much they love playing hide and seek (so let’s have just one more game!!) I think he smiles knowingly!! When I read Jesus’ words, “seek and you will find…” or that he has come to “seek and save the lost” I go to my childhood memories to know how that felt – how thrilling it feels to find who you have been looking for. It makes you think about missions in a whole different way. How much more fun is going on a God inspired “treasure hunt” than an evangelistic outreach!
When we’re young we can’t wait to grow up. Then when we’re older we wish we still had time to play. God understands. He knows how to keep us ‘growing young’ so we understand his kingdom as intuitively as kids do…
How cool that God when he visit’s us with his presence makes us feel like giggling and rolling around laughing, dancing, and being free like children. Sometimes its as if he is reaching down from heaven and tickling us with a giant feather! Just like being amongst excited kids at a party, God’s playtimes include explosions of joy and happiness! Don’t be too ‘grown up’! Ask, like kids do, for God to do it again and again and again.
Remember what its like to walk to the park with a little one. Small kids find the smallest pebble on the footpath fascinating and a reason to stop, touch, wonder about and tuck away in their pocket just because they like it and want to hang on to it (even though they don’t know what they will do with it they just find it special). Imagine if we paused like that while reading a verse. Held onto one word and wondered about it. Tucked it away asking God ‘what is it about that’.
Look and learn from your kids – remember how it felt to be a kid, and experience worship, prayer and missions in a whole new way.
I watched a 3 year old in the butterfly house at the zoo wait in great anticipation for a butterfly to come and land on their shoulder. In seeing that I saw how to wait for God to pour out his spirit on me…with huge anticipation, total trust, and big expectation!

Posted by: Family Friendly | November 8, 2011

Planted

The recent rain then sunshine is sure doing wonders for my lawn! My trees around the boundary are loving it too. All that is except one. It despite my faith in it has got no leaves. It has dead wood instead of healthy branches. It did not come through the dry summer well. It couldn’t find the water it needed to survive. On the same fence line is a tree whose roots in their search for water have travelled down into the drains causing havoc with the plumbing. While I hate the fact I now have to spend money cutting those roots out, I kind of admire the gutsy tree that is, going after what it needed to keep growing.
I love the description in Psalm 1 of the person who thinks about God’s ways, day and night. They are a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season. I decided that’s what I want to go after for my kids. I want them to live with fruit in season, prospering in whatever they do. So when looking for the right neighbourhood, school, or after school activities even holidays for the family I think about where I am ‘planting’ them. I think about the people I am ‘planting’ them next to. I look for a community that will encourage their roots to go down deep into His love. It’s not just a church environment that does that. I have made choices for our family based on situations and circumstances that ‘drive their roots deeper’ – doing hard things, making hard choices, facing teachers that are unreasonable, friends that are fickle or questions that I can’t answer for them. My role is to encourage them to think about God’s ways, day and night (Deut 6:7) so that their thirst for Him will keep them growing. Their roots will then seek out that water for themselves… ‘teach them the way they should go so when they are older they won’t depart from it”.

Posted by: heartledhomes | September 19, 2011

I win!

Protecting our generations side by side

Protecting our generations side by side

I love it when my kids have a birthday … each year is like another trumpet sound and time to reflect on a battle that my husband and I won. 

Some where some time,  we have to choose to get busy in the battle field of having the full measure of what God has for us.  For me there have been many times when I’ve had to “go to war” with prayer and faith.  One significant battle was the one to have children.  My husband and I were given a diagnosis of infertility – which after 6 years of trying, is a fair diagnosis.

We were recommended to take up the offer of the IVF (GIFT) programme as our last and best chance to have children of our own.  For us that was a tough decision to make, but we declined the offer to go on the programme.  I can still remember the feelings of “oh no, that’s our last medical option and I’m closing the door saying no thanks and I’m thirty something ahh”

With a peace and confidence in God, we decided that; with our without children, we had given our lives over to Him and that He is Lord, not us.  We decided to stay in that place of His Lordship.  Low and behold 6 months later we feel pregnant … surprise!  Only to face the trauma of losing that babe early in the pregnancy.  For those who have been through a loss like this, you will know the depth of pain that loss brings.

A few months later, I began to feel the Lord tugging at me to “go again” and believe once more for a baby.  Low and behold I feel pregnant again, without medical intervention.  This time I carried the baby through to full term and we had our first-born son of promise.  Michael John.

We continued on in faith and we had some more losses but have three children all naturally.  I’ve also had several hundred children, in my care the through the children’s ministry in my church.   The battle I won was for me, my generations and my church family.  Each battle we win is significant not just for us but many other people.  Like King David from the Bible, he killed Goliath, not just to marry the princess, but for his brothers sake and to bless is an entire nation.

Parents, some times you have to pick up all of your weaponry, authority and guts to fight the battles so your child and the generations to come will have the fullness of His measure!  Lisa Beevre said “if you’re not using your spiritual authority, someone else is.”

Posted by: heartledhomes | August 22, 2011

Feed your family – how?

What’s for dinner tonight?

It’s always a daily routine – feeding our families.  Not just with good healthy food but also a good healthy spiritual diet.

Some times, it seems like life is just too busy and we don’t have time to prepare a three course meal, especially if you’ve just attended a church or work conference – ah.  Some times I simply can’t think “of another thing to cook up for dinner”.  Sound familiar?  Here’s a tip for keeping your family feed spiritually.

Each time I’m in a gathering where I am being taught – I ask myself, how can I give this away to my kids?  What language, illustration, and story can I pass onto to my children?  Recently I heard a great message by Leif Hetland his key illustration was around three chairs, one chair being a place and rest as God’s beloved child.  The second chair was a chair of a child striving to please their God.  The third chair was a chair for a lost child.  Now that’s a great story and even a game to do with kids at home … how easy is that to retell at home and have some fun.

 Tell of His wonders and deeds.  When I hear a story or testimony of how God answered a prayer, whether it is provision of need, healing or other divine encounter, I will slip it into a conversation with my children.  Either at the meal table, I will say “hey guess what I heard today ….” Of course they are curious and want to hear the next part of the story.  I am also filling them up with faith and courage as I speak the testimony.

Simply parents – when you get feed, pass it on to your child, just change the language to suit their age and stage.  When ever you walk out of a church gathering, a time of reading your bible, talking with Jesus, think about how you can share your meal with your family.    Bon Appetite!

What’s your tip to keep your family spiritually fed?

Posted by: heartledhomes | August 16, 2011

A mum’s story …

showers from heavenHere is a single mum’s real story of how God touched her little girl.

What an amazing busy weekend …

I’ve just been loving the presence of God at church lately and I really wanted to go to church again tonight and take the kids (something I’ve never done on my own, go church at night with the kids) I floated the idea past the kids and they were happy enough to go.  I think it was a God thing as they were pretty tired from the weekend, and even I wondered if it was a good idea!  We sat down near the front for worship, but I didn’t feel the presence fo God too much, even though many others were.  Partly though, it think because I had to keep an eye on what the kids were doing.

The kids ended up getting a bit too restless so I took them into parent’s room, and there was no one else in there but us.  Then there was a shift in the worship.  It was amazing and the presence of God was very powerful.  I had my hands raised in worship (Grace had been playing on the floor).  She came over to me and put her hands in my hands.  I asked her if she could feel the presence of God.  She said yes, so I started to pray for her, to talk to her, I asked her what she could feel and then it went from there.

She said she felt like raindrops of love falling down.  I asked her if they were warm or cool, and she said “just right”.  Then she said she felt like God had given her a key to heaven and an angel was leading her to Jesus.  Jesus told her she has a wonderful heart and then Jesus was dancing with her.  Grace was standing in the middle with Jesus dancing around her.  She said it made her feel loved.  Then she said that Jesus had written her name in a book and that book meant she was going to heaven.

Grace talked about all this the whole way home and still also when we were home and still when she was in bed.  It was really significant for her.  And then she prayed and thanked God for all this she experienced….It is so awesome!

I think it’s awesome for her to experience God in this way, and I’m so grateful to our church, that it is an environment that kids (even in grown up church) can feel His presence.

Grace has said to me that she has not felt God like that before.

Posted by: heartledhomes | August 10, 2011

“I want a life without limits”

“You’re just like your dadhow many times I have  said this,  with varying facial expressions and tones.  Some times I even referenced characteristics from otherfamily members, granddad, yourself or sibling.  Of course I’m referring to more than the colour of eyes or hair.  Sound familiar? 

The words we speak create pictures, life or death and maybe even ceilings of what we expect our children to grow up to be and reach.  Then we ask God to pour down things from heaven, but maybe we have created a glass ceiling that is hindering all the blessings and power of God reaching our kids.  Words spoken have created a ceiling and therefore a limitation.

I wonder what I would say if I saw each child from God’s heavenly perspective.  What would it be like if I was parenting a Joseph, to child born to save nations, what if your child is a Daniel, who will influence governments and live in a foreign land?  Imagine if in your home you are raising a Paul, Moses or Debra, Esther or John the Baptist (well he would have a limited dietary needs)

What words would we speak over our children knowing God’s plans and purposes for them?  

God is now doing something amazing with children, like He has always desired.  I recently heard a prophetic declaration that “God is lowering the age of a prophet”.  Whilst those are the literal words spoken, I wonder if it’s children who are being raised up to hear and receive from Him and now they are released to soar as He has designed and intended.

With prayer we can lift off the ceilings over children in our households, schools, churches and families.  Bringing the opportunity for a life without limits, an outpouring and receiving all God has for our children, what a nation we will have.

Posted by: heartledhomes | June 28, 2011

Letting go for freedom

Recently I put together two pieces of information that I have found helpful that I want to carry into my parenting.  I hope sharing my story sparks something for you and your child…

I am a  competitive person;   whether that’s because I grew up in a busy family with three brothers and a sister, my Scottish ancestry … or because of my very own God-given nature and gifting.  My competitiveness has good and bad benefits, so I’m not against all competition.

I also knew that God was highlighting to me that He is a God of more than enough.  More than enough healing power, more than enough grace, He has more favour and provision than I could even contain.   He was showing me that there’s plenty to go around and then even some more left over.  Just like the fish and bread ….  Somehow I thought the anointing and touch of God in meetings would run out and I’d be left empty and had that “missed out” feeling.  I had to some spiritually compete to get the blessing.

Then I had an “ah ha” moment.  I realized I was putting my competitive nature in front of my perceived image and nature of God.  I somehow thought I needed to compete for a touch from God,  just in case there wasn’t enough grace, anointing to go around … that maybe His favour had limits.    Like I remember our family budget or family meal had limits.  I can clearly remember looking at menus and choosing to decide the less expensive option to ensure there was enough to ago around.

Alan Meyer spoke at a retreat I was attending and he said a great statement that has stayed with me.  This is not word for word quote but it goes something like … sometimes we have to let go of traits from our family of origin to inherit all God has for us.”   I’m deciding that I can let go of my trait to compete for God’s attention and blessings.  I know He more than enough for me and my family and the generations that follow me.

As parents we need to seek the freedom from some mindsets, habits from our family of origin so we can see ourselves and our children walk into all God has for them.  When we know truth and revelation we can pass it on and teach our children the difference between our human nature and God’s divine nature.  As parents we are the primary ones who shape the picture our children have our amazing abundant all-sufficient God.

Happy remodeling ….

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