Thursday, 28 August 2014

Thankful Thursday

Here are some things that I’m thankful for this week:

New Shoes
I’ve been looking for some black boots for a very long time and I’m very particular about what I like.  Basically I just wanted something like my old ones, but they’ve proven very difficult to find!  On Saturday we went shopping and I found a pair that was half price and real leather (a bonus that I do preferred but expected to be too expensive).  Here’s hoping that they last longer than my old pair.  I’m very thankful to have finally replaced these shoes in my wardrobe.

College Revue
Before I got to college I didn’t know what a revue was.  Here it is basically a bit of a talent night mixed with a comedy night.  It is expected that all acts will be funny.  I enjoyed the fun and laughs of last year’s revue but this year’s was even better.  There was much less of the (admittedly very Australian) humour of paying each other out which made the night feel much friendlier.  I was in two acts; one a medley of songs re-written on the theme of Jesus’ ascension (a comedy of our recent second year hymn-writing Doctrine 2 assignment), and a dance with some boys attempting ballet in the background (they were the funny ones, not the ‘real’ dancers).  One of my favourite acts was about the strange things that some people donate to our college op-shop.  It was such a fun night and I am truly thankful for the community that I am a part of at college.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Thankful Thursday

This week has been… well actually I’m not sure how to describe it.  Perhaps I’ll just tell you what I’m thankful for and you’ll get a picture of what my week was like from that.

Showing off my knowledge of the Zoo
Well perhaps that’s not the best way of putting it, but I was in charge of the map and the route we took to tour the zoo so I did feel a bit like a tour guide.  On Saturday we took three friends from church to the Zoo with us.  In our college community a number of families, including us, pool some money together to buy five Zoo membership passes and this means that we can essentially treat friends to a free trip to the zoo.  One of the girls we took on Saturday is new to our church and new to Australia so it was lovely to show her some Australian animals in particular.  I’m thankful for this opportunity to bless our friends and the fun that we had together at the Zoo.  I’m also thankful that the rain stopped pretty early on in the day so we weren’t miserably huddled under  our umbrellas the whole time.

Learning more about the Holy Spirit
This week our college has been having their annual lecture series.  This year the lectures are being given by Michael Horton, on the topic of the Holy Spirit.  I’ve really appreciated learning more about the Holy Spirit.  He’s the member of the Trinity who is spoken about the least so it has been good to look deeper into who he is and what he does.  Though there are moments when the technical terms go over my head, I’ve been pleased at what I have understood and it has shown me that I really have learnt lots over my time at college so far.  Last year I certainly couldn’t have understood as much as I did of these lectures. 

Opportunities to exercise
I’ve fallen out of my regular exercise routine, since the mid year holidays.  I haven’t been very good at getting back into it after my fitness slid downhill over the break.  Interruptions from sickness, study and being away haven’t helped, but this week I seem to be getting back into it.  I exercise with one of the other wives in our community, I play netball and I do ballet.  I’m hoping these things can help get my fitness back up and give me some more energy. 

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Why you don’t have to hear God’s voice in your heart

So I’ve finally gotten around to starting to write about each chapter of this book.  Sorry for the wait, I promise this book is worth it.

In this first chapter of his book Good News for Anxious Christians, Cary writes about hearing God’s voice and trusting your own hearts.  He states that you don’t need to figure out which of the voices in your heart is God’s voice, simply because none of them are.   Listening to your heart gives us self-knowledge, and this is good to have, but it doesn’t give you knowledge of God.  To know God you have to listen to God, and this means listening to a word that comes from outside yourself – the Bible. 

The Bible says that  Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph 3:17), but it directs our attention outside our hearts for what we should put our faith in: Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of Christ (that is, the good news about Jesus) (Rom10:17). 

We should be confident to name the little voice of wisdom in our heart’s as our own.  But often we label this voice as God’s in order to be able to take it seriously.  We think that our own voice or feelings are unimportant or wrong and not worth listening to.  This belief undermines our sense of morality, responsibility, and self-knowledge. 

Our hearts are largely shaped by what comes from outside them so it is important to hear the word of God properly preached and to take it into our hearts.  God does speak today, but it’s not in the voice of your heart.  God speaks through the Bible, which is his word.  This word gets into our heart and we repeat the word’s of God in our hearts, but this doesn’t mean that it is God’s voice.  God’s word shapes our hearts, but he speaks externally to our hearts. It has always been this way: God in his wisdom has chosen to speak to his people externally through the words of prophets, apostles, preachers and teachers.  

Cary also has some thoughts about how this idea of hearing God’s voice in your heart has gained traction which I won’t go into, you’ll have to read the book. 

This chapter was so warming to my heart.  I realised that guilt that I have felt for not hearing God’s voice is totally misplaced.  I was encouraged to memorise Bible passages so that I have the word of God in my heart.  This chapter has implications for decision making but that will be discussed in a later chapter. 

What are your thoughts about this?  Do you have any questions?  I’m very happy to chat about it so feel free to comment below this blog post.

Next up is ‘Why you don't have to believe your intuitions are the Holy Spirit’ (probably not until the weekend).

Friday, 15 August 2014

Postponed Thankful Thursday

Again I have been lax in writing here on my blog, and particularly in keeping up with my weekly Thankful Thursday posts.  Right now I’m just thankful that I’ve finally finished my essay (which I got an extension for because of being sick the week it was due).  This may be a short post because I am also thankful to be going to bed very soon.

This week I’m thankful for:

Help at Kid’s Club
J had to fill it at Kid’s Club last minute today because a couple of leaders were away, including the one who was due to do the talk.  With little preparation J did the talk on the relevant passage, brilliantly fielded some tricky questions from the kids about eternal life, and threw himself into the games.  I love watching him interact with children and seeing how much he enjoys it. 

On Tuesday we had our first game of netball and it was good fun.  I haven’t run like that in quite a while so even though we only played two 12 minute halves that was enough for me.  It was fun to do something as part of a team again and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get to know the people in my team.  I’m thankful for the invitation to join the team, which came as a surprise for me. 

Baby cuddles
A friend who I studied with last year and who lives near our college community has just had a baby.  One of the wonderful ways our community supports those with newborns is to organise a meal roster.  Today it was our turn and when we dropped off the meal J and I both got to have a hold of the little 3 week old cutie.  I’m always amazed at how little babies start out. 

Now I’m off to bed.  What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The long-awaited wedding

Last weekend I was thrilled to be a part of my dear friends’ wedding.  You may have seen some photos on Facebook already.  These friends have been dating for a long time, so it was wonderful to see them so happy to marry each other that day. 

There were a few things that I particularly liked about the wedding that I thought I’d share with you. 

On the Friday I helped out with making table decorations.  I’ve never done flower arranging before, but it was lots of fun.  I oiled vine leaves, cut them up and used them to cover an oasis (the green pad that you stick flowers into).  Someone else cut all the other pieces and eventually it was organised into an assembly line.  Here’s the final product:

I was one of the bridesmaids and I loved the dresses and shoes that we wore.  It wasn’t a typical ‘formal’ dress,  and I think this is what the bride was going for, something a bit different.  They were a beautiful blue and white pattern with some white stripes.  We also had orange shoes to contrast.  I liked that it was different from the typical or traditional wedding style (though my own wedding was pretty traditional).  I like that the bride and groom were happy to do things their own way.  I love that I’ll definitely be able to wear this dress again, and it will remind me of this wonderful day.

Another thing that was different than typical was that the bridesmaids didn’t have flowers.  Instead we carried large Scrabble-style letters, representing the bride and groom.  This photo was taken outside after the wedding and we’re huddling close together because the breeze was cold.  

But the best part of the wedding was seeing these two dear friends finally getting married.  They looked so happy as it was happening, and then relieved when it was done.   I am looking forward to seeing their love for each other grow and continuing our friendship with them. 

Congratulations J & E!