Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘peter’

Storms, calms, highs, lows, deep breaths and stepping back.

After my last post, I took a little time for reflection. It seems necessary in this life to step back and gain some perspective, and some of us need to do this more often than others.

The very next day, we sat down, zoomed through all our school work with no hassles of any kind, and the girls spent the rest of the day exploring their best friend’s wonderful new house and riding bicycles. It was idyllic for them and gave me a chance to evaluate things. I realised that I had expected far too much: we’d already done 30 minutes of maths when we had our altercation, and that was after reading, language, writing and Bible studies. Without a break. No one can be expected to stay focused for that long, especially when the work at hand is boring and repetitive.

I don’t think I was wrong to reiterate the value and importance of focus and concentration, but I do think I pushed too hard. I’m grateful for gracious daughters who forgive and understand (as much as they can) that their parents are human.

We all know the idiom “Calm before the Storm”, but I’d like to introduce (or revisit) “the Low after the High”. This weekend and the few weeks leading up to it have been full of energy and achievement. We’ve had wonderful family devotions, learnt valuable lessons, applied those lessons and seen the fruit of our labours. We have been deeply aware of God’s blessing in our lives on every level, and the activity seemed to culminate in DH preaching one of his most successful sermons on Sunday.

Since then, not so much. There seems to be a slump hanging over the whole family. Moods are low, health is quivering and tempers are short. I was listening to a sermon on the radio recently where the pastor described this very scenario. He gave some Biblical examples of it, too: Peter acknowledges Christ’s deity and messiahship, then denies Him three times! Elijah defeats and destroys 450 prophets of Baal in one of the Bible’s coolest demonstrations of divine power, then runs and hides in the desert from a single (albeit powerful) woman.

It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone in these experiences. Even heroes from the Hall of Faith share them with us, and received their due reward.

It was also interesting to be reminded of Elijah’s trials, since we’re studying this prophet’s life in Konos at the moment. In fact, we’ve just covered that very bit about the prophets of Baal being destroyed and we’re heading towards Elijah’s flight to the desert. When all the messages from all the channels say the same thing, you can be sure God’s got a lesson in there for you. What is this one? Well, I suppose it’s trust.

As I was trying to get through the appropriate amount of educational material today, while juggling some perilously late deadlines, I began to spin into my panic-mode: we’re only studying Elijah. We’re not doing any contemporary history, geography, science … I’m not giving my kids what they need! I’m a terrible mother – and everything else. AAaarrghh!

I took a step back.

I returned to the Konos resource material and saw that we’re about to start a unit full of geography, history and science. I remembered that this week the girls presented some of their own parables: allegories for Christian living today. The metaphors were rich, detailed, accurate and full of scripture. What a blessing! Who really even needs history or geography when you have a living relationship with the One who made and owns the mountains, who was there for all the history?

When I have a chance, I’ll transcribe and share their beautiful parables, but just for today I take comfort in the fact that they are getting what they need: they’re getting Life.

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Lesson #3: Not what you know, but Who.

I love the idea of the book of Acts. As I work through the Bible this year, I’ve been excited to get to this book because, even though I’ve read every other book from beginning to end at one time or another, somehow I haven’t ever read this one all the way through. I hadn’t even realised this until recently.

Our denomination did not result from the reformation, as a protest against Catholic ecclesiastical control in the dark ages. Rather, we were the early Christians, forced “underground” to survive, and essentially resurfacing during the reformation years. As such we take the book of Acts as the start of our denomination and try to emulate what we learn here as much as our limited human understanding (and the infinite grace of God) will allow. So I’ve been looking forward to studying how the early Church got started, and how we should be continuing today.

5 more minutes - pleeeeaase.

5 more minutes - pleeeeaase.

I really love the feeling just before I start a new book in the Bible, when I’ve planned to start it the next day. I wake up with a sense of expectation, and it’s pretty much the only thing that gets me leaping out of bed, rather than groaning under the covers for five more minutes!

When I started reading Acts this week, what struck me had nothing to do with the Church and how it started, to my surprise. Rather, it dealt with an old story we all learnt in junior school. You remember the song:

Peter and John went to pray one day.
They met a poor, lame man on the way.
He held out his palm
And he asked for an alm,
And this is what Peter did say:
“Silver and gold have I none,” said he,
“But such as I have give I unto thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ
Of Nazareth – rise up and walk!”

I’ve read and heard and sung the story many times, but what really struck me this time was what happened next. The chief priests weren’t happy with what they saw and demanded an explanation. Peter gave  brilliant apologetic:

Acts 4:8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;  10Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

And then this great verse, which somehow I just never grasped before:

Acts 4:13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

How could I have missed that? Peter and John were ignorant and unlearned. They weren’t gifted or smart. They had no book knowledge and hadn’t been taught by traditional teachers. Yet despite this they spoke with wisdom, authority, power, and depth – they knew the scriptures and  their meaning. Then the leaders realised that these rough, barely-literate men had been with Jesus. Their relationship with Him gave them everything else they needed:

  • A purpose.
  • A plan.
  • A destiny.
  • Knowledge.
  • Understanding.
  • Wisdom.
  • Patience.
  • Courage and boldness.
  • Authority.
  • Power.

Without Him they were common, unschooled fisherman with quick tempers and poor manners. With Him, they were part of the lineage of grace, fathers of the descendants of Abraham, the sons of faith, promised to Abraham in the desert all those centuries ago, the fulfilment of which promise all we of faith now are.

It’s just astonishing what He can do through such weak and unfit vessels if we just bring faith and obedient hearts.

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